Weekly Top 10 Sports News Headlines and Major Events: May 8, 2022
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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 8, 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 8, 2022
Magic makes a play for the Broncos
Magic Johnson announced this week that he’s joining a bid to buy the NFL’s Denver Broncos. The Hall of Fame point guard is teaming up with the co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers on the effort. The Bowlen family, which owned the Broncos for 38 years, put the team up for sale earlier this year. Estimates are that the franchise may sell for more than $4 billion.
Just because the franchise is up for sale doesn’t mean that it’s been a sleepy off-season in the Mile High City. The Broncos have a new head coach, former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. And of course, they also made a massive trade, acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson, who helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in 2013. So the stage is set for a new era with a new owner.
We didn’t know this, but Johnson is already a part-owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. On his watch, the Dodgers ended their 30-plus-year World Series title drought in 2020. All of which makes us optimistic that things will go well if Johnson ends up achieving his goal with the Broncos. ‘Cause clearly, he’s got the Magic Touch.
the gilded age lives on at Madison Square Garden
The theme of the Met Gala on Monday was “Gilded Glamour,” and that concept extends to other institutions in Gotham as well. This week it was reported that for the 12th year in a row, the NBA’s New York Knicks were by far the most expensive franchise to see in person. To attend a game, a family of 4 has to spend close to $1,000. Even worse? Odds are that after spending that much, you’ll end up watching the Knicks lose the game. Consolation prize? You might get to see Spike Lee.
hats off to dusty baker
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, 72, crossed a significant career milestone on Tuesday. With the Astros’ 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, Baker became the 12th MLB manager — and the first Black manager — to reach 2,000 career wins. With one exception, all of the others are in the Baseball Hall of Fame (the only exception just hasn’t become eligible yet).
Prior to managing, Baker excelled as a player, with 19 seasons in the majors, the majority of which came with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. Baker made two All-Star teams, won a Gold Glove and won the 1981 World Series with the Dodgers.
He’s the only manager in MLB history to lead five different franchises to the playoffs. He’s taken two teams — the San Francisco Giants and the Astros — to the World Series. Baker has yet to chalk up a World Series win – but his place in the history of the game is surely cemented now, come what may.
Here are 10 other headlines to know from the world of sports this Sunday.
1. NBA Playoff Updates: Eastern Conference
In the end, Round One of the NBA Finals went exactly as one would expect. The No. 1 – 4 ranked teams beat the No. 5 – 8 ranked teams.
However, after the various Game 3s, the conference semifinals are actually beginning to get interesting. Our Sports Desk notes that all of them are shaping up to be competitive, and the field is wide open at this point for the national championship.
Here are the high points from the East.
Miami Heat, 2 – Philadelphia 76ers, 1
On Wednesday night, the Miami Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 119-103, to take a 2-0 lead in their conference semifinal series. The Heat had already started off with a strong Game 1 win, 106-92. Miami played both of the first two games this series without Kyle Lowry, who was out with a hamstring sprain. He returned for Game 3.
The Sixers’ Joel Embiid missed the first two games, as well. You’ll recall that we reported last week that the star center suffered a right orbital bone fracture and mild concussion in the 76ers’ first round Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors. Unfortunately, in his absence, James Harden played very poorly. Causing many to declare that he’s just not the player he once was.
Happily for Philly fans, Embiid returned for Game 3 and led the 76’ers to a decisive 99-79 win at Wells Fargo Center. Wearing a black protective mask, Embiid posted 18 points and 11 rebounds. Game 4 is tonight.
Milwaukee Bucks, 2 – Boston Celtics, 1
The Boston Celtics evened their series to 1-1 with a 109-86 win over the defending national champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. Game 1 was a lopsided affair in the opposite direction, with the Bucks defense proving decisive in their 101-89 win.
In Game 3 yesterday afternoon, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered a stellar performance that allowed the Bucks to pull out a 103-101 victory over the Celtics to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Antetokounmpo finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The Celtics had a four-point lead at halftime, but the Bucks outscored them 34-17 during the third quarter and flipped the game completely. Khris Middleton is sorely missed, but they’re getting the job done anyway.
Game 4 is Monday night.
2. NBA Playoff Updates: Western Conference
Here are the high points from this week’s playoff games in the West.
Golden State Warriors, 2 – Memphis Grizzlies, 1
This series has arguably been the most emotional, dramatic and entertaining to date of all the conference semifinal matchups. Warriors fans (and we count ourselves among them) were euphoric after the team’s 1-point win in Game 1. Jordan Poole scored a team-high 31 points and Klay Thompson nailed the game-winning 3-pointer with less than a minute left as Golden State beat Memphis 117-116 in Game 1. Ja Morant missed a potential game-winning layup at the buzzer.
And of course, our spirits were then crushed after a closely-fought Game 2 that ended with a 101-106 loss. Memphis guard Ja Morant scored 47 points in that matchup, including 18 in the fourth quarter. CBS Sports notes that this earns him membership in an exclusive club: Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the only other players in NBA history with multiple 45-point playoff games before turning 23.
The first two games in this series were plagued by simmering animosity and outright aggression, with bloody injuries, booing crowds and middle fingers all featuring prominently in the mix. A low point was when the Warriors’ Gary Payton II fractured his left elbow trying to break his fall after a flagrant foul from Memphis’ Dillon Brooks in Game 2.
Still, Warriors’ captain Steph Curry kept a cool head and a can-do attitude, saying in the post-game press conference after Game 2, when asked how his team would recover from the loss: “It’s in our DNA. We know what to do.”
And indeed, that turned out to be true. In Game 3, with the Grizzlies trailing the Warriors by 10 points near the end of the second quarter, Ja Morant made a half-court shot just before the second quarter buzzer that hit, giving him 17 points in the first half. But it wasn’t enough, as the Warriors, playing at home, came away with a 142-112 victory. Morant finished with 34 points, seven assists and three rebounds. But five Warriors players finished in double figures. Steph Curry had 30 points and six assists and Jordan Poole had 27.
Whoever advances to the conference finals, at age 22 Ja Morant has made his mark on the league and is already being talked about as one of the next great NBA players.
Game 4 is tomorrow night.
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Phoenix Suns, 2 – Dallas Mavericks, 1
On Wednesday night in Game 2 of their conference semifinal series, the Phoenix Suns dominated the Dallas Mavericks with a fourth-quarter scoring barrage, winning the game 129-109 and taking a 2-0 series lead. After trailing by two points at halftime in Game 2, Phoenix came from 2 points back at halftime, winning the second half 71-49. Devin Booker had 30 points and Chris Paul (aka “CP3”)had 28.
The Suns had easily won Game 1, 121-114, so the need to scramble was a bit of a surprise. Still, a win is a win and watching Devin Booker and Chris Paul in action was probably well worth the nail-biting for Suns fans. Meanwhile, Mavs’ star Luka Doncic had 45 points in Game 1.
The tables turned during Game 3 on Friday night, when the Mavs ruined CP3’s 37th birthday with a crucial 103-94 win. Game 4 is this afternoon, and Dallas has the opportunity to even the series on their home floor.
3. How about those Mets? Yep, they’re still on fire.
In what seems to be becoming a weekly norm four weeks into the MLB regular season, we can once again report that the New York Mets are having a dream season so far. Even without Jacob deGrom!
This week’s episode is like a Hollywood movie plot from the golden age of cinema. On Thursday night, in an away game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets came back from a 7-point deficit, scoring seven runs in the ninth inning, to win 8-7. It’s the first time the Mets have won after being down six or more entering the ninth inning since 1997.
CBS Sports shares this fun fact: until this game, the Mets had been 0-330 over the last 25 seasons when trailing by six-plus entering the ninth inning. We just have to ask: Who keeps the books on all these esoteric statistics? And why are they so easy to retrieve and publish? We have no idea. We are just passing this tidbit along in the interest of ensuring that you can drop some knowledge on someone at your next barbeque or cocktail party.
As of this posting, the Mets sit atop the NL East, with the second-place Marlins six games behind. They’re tied with the Brewers for the best record in the league.
In less happy news, the Mets’ Robinson Canó has been “designated for assignment.” That means he’s being cut from their roster. Canó, 39, batted .195 with one home run in 12 games this season to date. He missed the entire 2021 season while serving a 162-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, the second PED suspension of his career. Canó joined the Mets under the prior owners, the Wilpon family, and the team still owes him $20.25 million for this season and next. The consensus is that new owner Steve Cohen has the financial means to absorb whatever it costs to remove this distraction from a roster that is otherwise generating real excitement.
4. Yanks on top in AL East.
It’s a fine time to live in Gotham, as the cross-town New York Yankees are at the top of the AL East, with an 18-7 record. When was the last time both New York teams led their respective divisions? Some baseball stat dude surely has the answer to that, and we anxiously await it. The Yanks had won 11 in a row before losing to the Blue Jays in Toronto on Wednesday night.
Aaron Judge has been on fire of late, which is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is that he turned down a massive contract offer from the team at the beginning of the season. If he keeps playing like this, that decision is going to look extremely wise.
5. Shohei Ohtani continues to shine.
We’ve added a new entry to our bucket list: see Shohei Ohtani play live. It’s becoming more and more apparent that he’s going to be a legendary player for the ages. Attention has already been paid, but he’s moving into truly rarified air. This week at Fenway Park, the Angels’ ace and slugger struck out 11 and walked none and went 2-4 with an RBI and a run in an 8-0 Angels win. The last person to do this? Babe Ruth, in 1919.
The Angels currently lead in the AL West, with an 18-10 record.
6. Homers have been harder this MLB season.
CBS Sports answers a pressing question on the minds of many MLB fans: is it just our imagination, or are there a lot fewer home runs this season? It turns out that teams are hitting just 0.90 home runs per game this season, on track to be the second-lowest rate since 1999. Why? The league has changed the ball again, “deadening” it to make it harder to hit. The goal is “more contact and more balls in play.” But so far, the only result has been more fly balls. Which is not making the game any more interesting to those elusive younger potential fans.
7. NFL News
Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins gets 6-game suspension
The prospects for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals took a huge blow this week. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The Cards acquired Marquise Brown during the first round of the NFL Draft (perhaps in anticipation of this ruling). But Hopkins is the preferred target of Arizona’s quarterback adorable Kyler Murray. His stats are substantially worse when Hopkins isn’t on the field. So add this to the drama around Murray’s negotiation to extend his contract, and its not the best vibe to start a new season.
Tennessee Titans’ Ryan Tannehill is unhappy
Tennessee Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill shared this week that he was “hurt” by the blockbuster A.J. Brown trade. The team sent Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tannehill also noted that he wasn’t informed of the Titans’ plan to take Malik Willis as his backup quarterback. He also made the petulant remark that “it’s not his job to mentor” Willis. Lots of veterans took exception to that remark, although many also understand his distress at losing Brown.
International games set
This week the NFL announced some of the games that will be played outside of the US in the upcoming season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Seattle Seahawks in the first ever game in Munich, Germany. The New York Giants will play the Green Bay Packers in London. This will be the first time the Packers have ever played overseas.
8. NHL playoffs
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and here’s the status of the first-round matchups as of this posting.
Washington Capitals, 2 – Florida Panthers, 1
Toronto Maple Leafs, 2 – Tampa Bay Lightning, 1
Carolina Hurricanes, 2 – Boston Bruins, 1
Pittsburg Penguins, 2 – New York Rangers, 1
Colorado Avalanche, 3 – Nashville Predators, 0
Minnesota Wild, 2 – St. Louis Blues, 1
Dallas Stars, 2 – Calgary Flames, 1
Edmonton Oilers, 2 – LA Kings, 1
9. WNBA season is on
The WNBA’s new season started Thursday night, with games continuing through this weekend. Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne are back on the court.
Sadly, though, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner remains in detention in Russia. She has been held there since the start of the war in Ukraine in February. Griner was in Russia playing for UMMC Yekaterinburg, with a salary said to be almost five times more than what she could earn playing with the WNBA.
She was not alone. Recently, The New York Times reported that since the WNBA season runs from May to September, many players go overseas during the off-season. To Russia, China, Italy and other countries — to supplement their incomes by playing for international leagues. This past off-season, 70 of the league’s 144 players went abroad. In fact, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Jonquel Jones (last season’s MVP) were all playing for the same team as Griner – but they made it out safely. Now, the Times reports, those kinds of engagements are likely to end – shining a light on how hard it is for female basketball players to make a living playing professionally.
10. Massive upset win at the Kentucky Derby
Yesterday was the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs – aka The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports – and it was an eventful one. One of the three-year-old Thoroughbreds, Rich Strike was an 80-1 long shot. He put on a late surge to beat Epicenter and Zandon in one of the the biggest upsets in Derby history.
Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: May 8, 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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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.