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How to Talk about Sports This Week: April 21, 2019

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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly recap to help you learn how to talk about sports right now. If you’re just starting to learn about sports, or need a quick summary, or even if you just want to fake a modicum of sports knowledge at work or at the bar with some semblance of credibility, read on. Here’s what you need to know to talk with a sports fan the week of April 21, 2019.

Sports Talk: What You Need to Know This Week

First, some short takes for those in a hurry to get to the Easter egg hunt.

Tiger Woods wins the Masters tournament

Even those who only read the style section are probably already aware that last Sunday, Tiger Woods won the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National. It was his 15th major championship win, his 5th time winning the Masters, and his first major title in almost 11 years.

Tiger Woods

Russell Wilson becomes highest paid in the NFL

Russell Wilson signed a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks for $140 million for 4 years. With that deal, he becomes the highest-paid player in football.

Russell Wilson

Zion on everyone’s minds

Duke basketball phenom Zion Williamson declared for the NBA Draft this week, confirming everyone’s expectations. Will he be the number 1 pick? Seems that way. Will the New York Knicks sign him? We’ll see.

In the meantime, check out this adorable video of of Zion lending a hand with a couple’s gender reveal this week. To help out an employee of Duke’s Blue Devil Network  and his wife, Zion dunks a confetti-filled mini-ball on a basketball court. The color of the stuffing that flew out revealed that the little bundle on the way is a  . . . well, you should see it for yourself, here.

Zion Williamson

what you need to know to talk about sports this week 

For Those Who Do Not Avidly Follow Professional Sports and Want to Be Able to Talk to a Sports Fan, here are the happenings that you should know about for the week of April 21, 2019:

1. NBA

must know:

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing. As of this posting, the Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors are all up 2-1 in their series against the Orlando Magic, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the LA Clippers, respectively. The Boston Celtics are 3-0 against the Indiana Pacers. And the Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks are 2-0 against the Utah Jazz and the Blake-Griffin-less Detroit Pistons, respectively. The Philadelphia 76’ers are 3-1 over the Brooklyn Nets. The San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets are tied 2-2. The biggest surprises so far include Portland and the Spurs.

The Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019 NBA Playoffs

Despite being behind in their series at the moment, the LA Clippers are smashing records. They mounted the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history in Game Two against the Warriors, when Golden State blew a 31-point lead and the Clippers ultimately won, 135-131. In that same game, the Warriors’ DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins hurt his quad. It was later confirmed that Cousins will be out for the entire playoff period.

DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins

nice to know:

In the past 20 years, there have only been 8 teams that have won their first 2 playoff games in a series each by more than 20 points. Numbers 7 and 8 just happened this year: the Bucks and the Rockets.

In other fun facts, the Detroit Piston’s star forward Blake Griffin has not played one minute of the playoffs so far due to an injury. Yet he has managed to accumulate 2 technical fouls without ever leaving the bench. Twice he has argued with officials about calls they made (the second time he was wearing street clothes). Happily, the Pistons have announced that Griffin will be active for the first time in the playoffs for Game Three. The dude clearly wants to get off the bench.

The Detroit Pistons’ Black Griffin on the bench during Game Two of the 2019 Playoffs

And James Harden (aka The Beard) had a triple double in Game Two against the Utah Jazz.

extra credit:

On the back of Game Two in the series between the Philadelphia 76’ers and the Brooklyn Nets, someone posted a flyer outside the Barclays Center asking if anyone has seen Ben Simmons’ Jumper, which has gone missing. It further asked that if anyone knows anything, they should contact Kendall Jenner.

The swipe came after an episode on March 25, when the 76ers’ Ben Simmons missed a game because of what his team called a “stomach virus.” Reports are that Simmons actually missed it because he was partying in Orlando the previous evening with Kendall Jenner, to whom he has been romantically linked.

Ben Simmons and Kendall Jenner

2. MLB 

must know:

As of this posting, the Tampa Bay Rays (14-7) sit atop the AL East. The Yankees have finally gotten to .500, with a 10-10 record to date that puts them in second place. The Indians and the Twins are one and two in the AL Central. In the AL West, the Astros and Mariners are duking it out for first place.

In the NL East, the Phillies and the Mets are one and two. It’s the Pirates and the Brewers in the NL Central. And in the NL West, The Dodgers lead the Diamondbacks by 2.5 games

nice to know:

The East Coast arch-rivals Yankees and Red Sox had a two-game series this week in Boston. The Yankees swept it. And celebrated their victory in the second game (which they won by virtue of a grand slam by Brett Gardner) by turning on a fog machine in the locker room. ‘Cause its foggy a lot in Boston. Get it?

For those living across the Pond, note that the Yanks and the Sox will be playing two games in London at the end of June.

extra credit

Injuries continue to plague many players and teams. This week the Yankees announced that slugger Aaron Judge suffered an injury to his oblique during the victory over Boston. And the Mets Jacob deGrom is also on the injured list with a sore elbow.

3. NHL

must know:

The New York Islanders swept past the Penguins and are now into the second round of the NHL playoffs.

nice to know:

The Columbus Blue Jackets (most people don’t know there is a hockey team in Columbus, Ohio called the Blue Jackets!) swept the Tampa Bay Lightning and they’re now into the second round. Tampa Bay was the top scoring team in the regular season, so this was a true upset.

extra credit:

In what seems to be related news, Steve Yzerman, who became Tampa Bay’s general manager in 2010, has announced his return to Detroit. Yzerman was the Detroit Red Wings captain and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. While playing in Detroit, he was part of three Stanley Cup championship teams as well as being the captain. The excitement about this among Detroit hockey fans cannot be overstated. They are totally stoked.

Steve Yzerman

4. NFL

must know:

The NFL schedule for the coming season is out. The teams have known all of their opponents for about 2 or 3 months already. This announcement adds in the actual dates and times of the games.  So people can now set the dates for weddings, baptisms and weekend getaways from now until the Super Bowl. The NFL hath spoken.

Nice to know:

The New England Patriots have the easiest schedule in the league, with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills not far behind.

Some of the big games this year will include a Rams-Saints rematch, a Pats-Chiefs rematch in Foxborough, and an Eagles-Pats Super Bowl 42 rematch. There will 5 games overseas in the coming season: one in Mexico City and 4 in the UK.

extra credit:

Vegas already has predictions for this NFL  season for those who are inclined to place a few wagers. For the top 5 teams, here are the odds: Pats and Chargers at 12 – 4, Eagles, Saints and Chiefs at 11 – 5. Conversely, if you feel better betting the bottom 5, here are are your odds: Miami at 3 – 13, Cards and NY Giants at 4 – 12, and the Jets and Raiders at 5 – 11.  The new phenoms, the Cleveland Browns, are predicted at 9 – 7. Unlock the beer!

Our Sports Desk was adamant that we issue a User Alert about these: in some cases, the actual team records at the end of the season can turn out to be different from these predictions. You’ve been warned.

That’s what you need to know to talk with a sports fan this week. You’re good to go. Happy Easter, and Happy Passover. See you next week!

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