This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For May 1, 2022, here are the weekly top 10 sports news headlines to know: the big stories and major events in sports news this week in the NFL, the NBA, MLB and more.
weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: May 1, 2022
Here are 10 headlines to know from the world of sports this Sunday.
1. NBA Playoff Updates: Eastern Conference
The Eastern and Western Conference semi-finals begin today, and now the NBA playoffs get really interesting, even for occasional fans. Round 2 games start today. But first, here are the highlights from Round 1 in the East: one sweep, a couple of lopsided wins and an injury that threatens one team’s Round 2 viability.
Round 1 final: Boston Celtics, 4 – Brooklyn Nets, 0
The Boston Celtics completed a sweep of the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night with a 116-112 Game 4 win, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs. Jayson Tatum scored 29 points and Jaylen Brown had 22. They take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Round 2, with Game 1 today in Boston.
Given this ignominious ending, it’s hard to believe, but the Nets entered this season as the favorite to win the NBA title. In the end, the power trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden never gelled, and Harden departed midseason in a trade for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. In the end, Simmons never even played for the Nets this season, plagued by injuries that prevented his planned return to the court in Game 4. The chatter has already commenced about what the Nets need to do to live up to the hype next season.
Round 1 final: Milwaukee Bucks, 4 – Chicago Bulls, 1
At the start of the opening round of the playoffs, the defending national champion Milwaukee Bucks were expected to easily blow out the Chicago Bulls. And in the end, that’s pretty much what happened. It wasn’t a sweep, but Bucks showed why they won their championship last year, turning in three straight wins to finish the series in five games.
In a major setback for the Bucks, though, Khris Middleton will miss the entire Round 2 series against the Boston Celtics, due to a Grade 2 MCL sprain, according to The Athletic. Middleton suffered the injury during Game 2 of Milwaukee’s first-round series against the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks lost the game in which he got hurt, but won the next three. CBS Sports reports that when the Bucks visit Boston later today for Game 1, they will likely start Bobby Portis in Middleton’s place.
Round 1 final: Miami Heat, 4 – Atlanta Hawks, 1
The No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks just couldn’t hold their own in the end against the No. 1 seed Miami Heat. Even when the Heat lost two key players. Miami is into the second round, despite losing both their starting point guard Kyle Lowry and their star forward Jimmy Butler. Even without them, they delivered a 97-94 Game 5 win.
Round 1 final: Philadelphia Seventy Sixers, 4 – Toronto Raptors, 2.
This series began with a blow-out Game 1, which Philly won 131-111. Followed by another dominant Sixers’ win in Game 2, 112-97. The Raptors rallied to keep the series interesting, but in the end, the 76ers finished them off with a 132-97 win in Toronto. In Game 6, Philly’s Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden played his best game of the series with 22 points and 15 assists. The 76ers led by just one point at halftime, but outscored the Raptors 70-36 in the second half. They face the Miami Heat in Round 2.
In a major blow to the Sixers’ prospects in Round 2, however, center Joel Embiid is out indefinitely after suffering a right orbital fracture and mild concussion in Game 6. Embiid suffered the injury after being elbowed by Raptors forward Pascal Siakam with just four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The concussion protocol will keep him out for at least Game 1 on Monday. Embiid will be re-evaluated next week, but reports are that so far the orbital fracture does not appear to require surgery. An MVP candidate for the second straight season, Embiid is the marquee player for Philadelphia, and it will be a lot tougher to face the No. 1 Heat without him.
2. NBA Playoff Updates: Western Conference
As in the East, Round 2 playoff games start later today. Here are the final scores and highlights from Round 1. No sweeps here – just several Game 6’s.
Round 1 final: Dallas Mavericks, 4 – Utah Jazz, 2
The Dallas Mavericks won a playoff series for the first time since they won in the 2011 NBA Finals, with a 98-96 victory in Game 6 against the Utah Jazz. The Mavs’ Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson both scored 24 points. Spencer Dinwiddie had 19 points. And Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded. Dallas meets Phoenix in the second round.
Round 1 final: Memphis Grizzlies, 4 – Minnesota Timberwolves, 2
This series was arguably the most suspenseful of all in Round 1. The Memphis Grizzlies entered as the favorite, but the Minnesota Timberwolves fought back hard. In Game 6, in a dramatic finish, Memphis closed out the series with a 114-106 win. They did it by erasing a 13-point lead and outscoring the Timberwolves 40-22 in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies move on to face the Golden State Warriors, with Game 1 later today in Memphis.
Round 1 final: Phoenix Suns, 4 – New Orleans Pelicans, 2
Phoenix had a remarkable season, dominating the West with ease. But they had more trouble than expected getting through Round 1 of the postseason.
The Suns’ loss of their star guard Devin Booker, who missed Games 3, 4 and 5 because of a right hamstring strain he suffered during the third quarter of Game 2, had lots of observers wondering what it might mean for Phoenix in a series that became much closer than expected.
Booker returned for Game 6, and the story has a happy ending for Phoenix. Suns guard Chris Paul went 14-for-14 shooting from the field (meaning no layups or dunks), setting a playoff record for most attempts without a miss, as Phoenix advanced past New Orleans with a 115-109 win. Paul finished with 33 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Deandre Ayton had 22 points, and Devin Booker made his return from a hamstring injury with 13 points.
Top-seeded Phoenix faces the Dallas Mavericks in Round 2.
Round 1 final: Golden State Warriors, 4 – Denver Nuggets, 1
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokić narrowly escaped entering the record books by becoming the first MVP to be swept in the first round of the playoffs. In the end, though, the Nuggets fell to the surging Golden State Warriors when Steph Curry and team won a 102-98 victory in Game 5.
It wasn’t all bad for Denver, though. Jokic’s historic season ended with a masterful 30-point, 19-rebound, eight-assist Game 5.[white_box]
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3. How about those Mets? No-no!
As we reported last week, this season MLB’s New York Mets are proving to be . . . Amazin’. It’s still early, of course. But here in Gotham, there’s a distinct undercurrent of excitement and hope that this might be a special season for this team. As of this posting, at 15 – 7, the Mets are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for second-best record in the league. They lead the NL East by 2 games.
Even better? Mets starter Tylor Megill and four relievers combined to achieve the first no-hitter of the season, throwing 159 pitches to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 on Friday night. It was only the second no hitter in franchise history.
Oddly, the Mets also have the best record of the season for being plunked. Coming into Wednesday, the Mets had been hit an MLB-leading 18 times, seven more than any other team. Which makes it somewhat understandable that a benches-clearing brawl broke out with the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon. A pitch hit Nolan Arenado, then the Mets threw high and tight against a Cardinals player. Both benches and the bull pens emptied. Arenado and Génesis Cabrera were both suspended for their roles in the brouhaha.
4. Yankees on top
They’re baaack . . . Yes, that’s right. As of this posting, the New York Yankees are in first place in the AL East, with the best record in the league right now, at 15-6. The pinstripes are finally getting into a groove, and as our Sports Desk puts it, their bats are starting to come alive. First baseman Anthony Rizzo, a trade from the Chicago Cubs last season, is currently leading the major leagues in home runs for the season, with 9. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo also had a strong week (until Gallo suffered a groin injury last night in the game against the Kansas City Royals).
5. Ronald Acuña returns.
Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. returned to the Atlanta Braves lineup more than a week earlier than expected. Acuña has not played since last July, when he tore his ACL. He missed the entirety of Atlanta’s championship run last season. And also missed out on an opportunity to win his first career Most Valuable Player Award. In 82 games last season, he had 24 home runs and 17 stolen bases. His career stats still make him one of MLB’s top players. Braves fans are cheering his return.
6. NFL Draft outcomes
On Thursday night, the NFL welcomed 32 new players into its ranks during the first round of the 2022 Draft. For only the second time in the modern draft era (which began in 1967), all five first picks were defenders. The only other time was 1991. There were no running backs or tight ends in all of the first round, and only one quarterback. Kenny Pickett went 20th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Both New York teams considered winners
Both New York NFL teams are getting high marks for their draft picks. For example, the New York Giants got Kayvon Thibodeaux at five and offensive lineman Evan Neal at seven. CBS Sports notes that since the team opted not to pick up quarterback Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option, this was a smart move. Neal should be of help to Jones – and if he still struggles, 2023 is a much better quarterback class than 2022.
The New York Jets chose Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at number four (can we just say, that is one of the best nicknames ever? Can’t wait to see what the New York tabloids do with that). They got wide receiver Garrett Wilson at 10 and edge defender Jermaine Johnson II at 26. All were considered good or great picks by most commentators.
7. what about the fashion statements at the NFL Draft?
It’s not the Met Gala, but the NFL Draft has become a sort of Fashion Moment. So of course, many of us want the attire details far more than we do the particulars of offense and defense. For the record, there was bling, bling and then some more bling. So put on your sunglasses, and behold the top 3 looks of the night.
Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner sported a diamond “Sauce” chain and a diamond sauce bottle chain. Which were somewhat tempered by his smartly tailored sky blue suit. Love the white Louboutin sneakers with the silver spikes! Love all of it, actually.
Nakobe Dean proved once again that men can wear pink without diminishing their stature. He wore a pink suit and a rose-colored fedora with a pink feather, toned down by all-white sneakers, a white shirt and white straps on his backpack. The finishing touch was the de rigueur chunky chain that dudes all over the world are rocking right now.
Ikem Ekwonu looked effortlessly cool with a white-on-white ensemble (remember, this was all happening in Las Vegas, which is notoriously blazing hot). His family is Nigerian, and as a homage, his suit jacket featured alternating green and white stripes on the left lapel and green stripes around the forearms, to represent the country’s national colors.
8. meanwhile, in New England, things are getting strange
New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick made headlines this week when his first round pick was an offensive lineman from a small school at number 29. That would be guard Cole Strange from UT-Chattanooga (and yes, that really is his last name).
This move quickly became the laughing stock of the league. LA Rams head coach Sean McVay was in the middle of a televised press conference when the news crossed the wires. He blurted out that they had predicted that Strange would go at number 108 or so – and started laughing. (He later apologized to both Belichick and Strange).
But others say that perhaps “Hoodie” is playing three-dimensional chess here. Although it must be said that Belichick is not famous for good draft picks (with the exception of one pick at 199, Tom Brady). The 23-year-old Strange already has dinner plans with quarterback Mac Jones. As as lifelong members of Patriots Nation, we wish them both the best.
Finally, Green Bay’s moves this week caused some head-scratching. After locking down their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, the Packers proceeded to execute a number of big trades. They sent star wide receiver Davante Adams to the LA Raiders in one of the biggest trades of the offseason. Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent. And Equanimeous St. Brown signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent.
So the pressure seemed to be on to pair Rodgers with offensive players to get the team back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2010 season. The experts note a glaring need at wide receiver, among other holes. And yet, this week the Packers became the only team in 20 years to go through the first round of the draft without taking a “skill position” (wide receiver, running back or tight end) in the first round of the draft. Instead, they took a cornerback. Huh? Our Sports Desk reports that people think this is a waste of Aaron Rogers – and that it really gets under his skin.
9. NFL Trade News
Speaking of offensive options, two more huge trades involving wide receivers were announced this week. A.J. Brown is going to the Philadelphia Eagles, having signed a four-year, $100-million ($57 million guaranteed) extension. The experts note that Brown will pair perfectly with DeVonta Smith, making this a very big and smart move by the Eagles.
Also this week, the Baltimore Ravens sent Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.
10. Emmert steps down as NCAA President.
NCAA president Mark Emmert is stepping down. His last day will be June 30, 2023 or whenever his successor is officially appointed, whichever comes first.
So who will replace him? Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president for basketball; Val Ackerman, Big East commissioner and the first WNBA president; Condoleezza Rice; and Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA director, are reportedly among the top candidates to replace him.
Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: May 1, 2022
That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about football, basketball, baseball and more. Stay well and safe out there, dear reader. See you next week.
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. A Detroit native, she has 3 Harvard degrees and has written 3 mystery novels. After serving as a senior corporate executive, CEO of CNBC and partner at McKinsey, she now serves on the boards of several tech companies. She’s all in with the Pats, the Warriors, the Red Sox and the Wolverines. Also Naomi and Coco. And Roger. She would like to thank her advisors on the Sports Desk, without whom this column definitely would not be possible.