When it comes to food, Easter is no Thanksgiving
Yesterday was Easter, which meant I stuffed my face with some ham and deviled eggs and peanut butter chocolate eggs. Let’s be clear about one thing. Turkey is far superior to ham. Let’s dig in and get your week started on the right foot with your Monday morning edition of The Cheat Sheet.
Bulls upset Celtics in Game 1, but Isaiah Thomas was the main story
Charles Barkley said the Chicago Bulls had no chance of beating the Boston Celtics. “Zero.”
Yeah, about that…
Jimmy Butler scored 30 points and had nine rebounds, 23 of which were scored in the second half, as the Bulls rallied to steal Game 1 in Boston with a 106-102 victory. The Bulls took control of the boards in the game, out-rebounding the Eastern Conference’s top seed 32-16. With the Celtics going on a bit of a cold streak shooting the ball (18-of-45) and with Isaiah Thomas playing with a heavy heart, things just came together for Chicago in this one. Thomas, who scored 13 points in the first quarter and unloaded the ridiculous play seen below early on, was playing for the Celtics one day after losing his sister in a tragic car accident.
Isaiah Thomas during pregame warmups just one day after his sister's tragic death ? pic.twitter.com/ujPgmvYVG4
— NO CHILL SPORTS (@NoChiIlSports) April 16, 2017
— No Off Days™ (@NoOffDays_) April 17, 2017
Nothing but respect & admiration for @Isaiah_Thomas .The strength that he is displaying right now is unreal!!! My prayers go out 2 him & his
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) April 16, 2017
Game 2 of the series is scheduled to be played on Tuesday, but it is currently unknown if Thomas will be available. Thoams will be attending his sister’s funeral in Seattle, which means he may not be able to get back to Boston in time for the game. Celtics coach Brad Stevens obviously understands the priorities involved here.
Brad Stevens on if Isaiah Thomas will play in Game 2 or go home to be with his family: It's his call and should be.
— Bill Doyle (@BillDoyle15) April 17, 2017
Stevens said if Isaiah Thomas wants to go home and miss Game 2 to be with his family, he'll support his decision.
— Bill Doyle (@BillDoyle15) April 17, 2017
In the other Eastern Conference playoff matchup tipping off on Sunday, John Wall scored 32 points and recorded 14 assists in pushing the Washington Wizards past the Atlanta Hawks at home in Game 1 of their series.
James Harden and Rockets blow away Russell Westbrook and Thunder
In a matchup of the NBA’s top MVP candidates, there was no contest in which team had the upper hand in a Western Conference tilt. The Houston Rockets surged past the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half, pulling away in decisive fashion for a 118-87 victory. James Harden scored 37 points and had nine assists, seven rebounds, and three steals to help his team get by the Thunder. Russell Westbrook, perhaps the favorite to win the NBA’s MVP award this season struggled from the field, converting just six of his 23 attempts for 22 points. He also had 11 rebounds and seven assists, but also accounted for nine turnovers sin the game. It was a rough performance on the road.
This play may sum up the game about as well as any…
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 17, 2017
Rockets-Thunder Game 1 summary pic.twitter.com/wgFJLAFR5o
— Temp. Wizards fan (@KofieYeboah) April 17, 2017
Of course, it was just one game, but the MVP discussion seemed to be pretty slanted in one direction after the game (remember the MVP is a regular season award).
When James Harden for MVP fans see Russell Westbrook for MVP fans. pic.twitter.com/TpjwMpJu8E
— FletcherNostradmus™ (@SaintFDW) April 17, 2017
Every single MVP voter that wasted their vote on Russell Westbrook looking at James Harden mop these fools like…. pic.twitter.com/9bSwppPB5f
— BBB (@BeenHad__09) April 17, 2017
James Harden "more valuable" than Russell Westbrook during NBA regular season and in Game one of playoffs. #FactsMatter
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) April 17, 2017
Maybe that last one is true, but if not for Westbrook, where exactly would Oklahoma City have been this season? Anyway, let’s check back in with Charles Barkley…
"I wish somebody would tell James Harden & Russell Westbrook that the MVP race is over." pic.twitter.com/5JVvmy1RQp
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 17, 2017
Also on Sunday, the Golden State Warriors began their postseason on the winning note with a 121-109 victory over Portland. Draymond Green was an assist shy of a triple-double. For Portland, CJ McCollum put up 41 points, but the Warriors were simply too overwhelming. Portland hung with Golden State for three quarters, but the Warriors pulled away with a 12-point advantage in the fourth quarter to take the 1-0 series lead.
Overtime win sees Pens put Blue Jackets on thin ice; Blues also lead Wild 3-0
Last week when I took a look at the playoff pairings in The Cheat Sheet, I said the Penguins-Blue Jackets first-round matchup felt a lot like Villanova drawing Wisconsin in Round 2 of the NCAA tournament. Both teams had a terrific season and absolutely do not deserve to be seeded together in the first round of the NHL’s ridiculous playoff format. Regardless, Pittsburgh is close to sending Columbus home for the rest of the year after taking a commanding 3-0 lead thanks to an overtime victory in Columbus on Sunday.
— NHL (@NHL) April 17, 2017
Jake Guentzel’s overtime goal was the third of the game for the well-timed hat trick. Columbus got off to a good start in front of their home fans for the first time this postseason. After a rough offensive showing in the first two game sin Pittsburgh, the Blue Jackets fed off the emotion of the home fans and scored three goals in the first period, including this one 11 seconds into the game from Cam Atkinson (who scroed twice in the first five minutes).
— NHL (@NHL) April 16, 2017
But the Penguins chipped away as Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky couldn’t hold off the Penguins enough on 47 shots on goal (42 saves).
Zach Werenski also got hit in the eye with a puck for a scary moment, but he’s a hockey player and returned to the game.
Playoff hockey… pic.twitter.com/4GNoLYVECu
— Zach Werenski (@ZachWerenski) April 17, 2017
— NHL (@NHL) April 17, 2017
The Blue Jackets aren’t the only team close to be sent home from the Stanley Cup Playoff. The Minnesota Wild are also on the brink of elimination after going down 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues. Through three games, the Blues are riding the hot goaltending of Jake Allen, who notched 40 saves in a 3-1 victory. The Blues can wrap up the series at home on Wednesday night.
On a quick related note, The Columbus Dispatch swung and missed on their attempt to troll Sidney Crosby. Personally, I’m fine with newspapers not trying to be fans, but that’s just me.
The New York Rangers are not on the edge yet, but they are now trailing the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in the series after dropping a game on Sunday by a score of 3-1. Alexander Radulov got the best of Henrik Lundqvist for one of those goals, and Kevin Klein flipped Torrey Mitchell into the Rangers bench.
Late Sunday night saw Edmonton score the only goal in a 1-0 Game 3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers now own a 2-1 series lead as a result.
– Fans of the Washington Capitals had to leave a double overtime playoff game early because D.C. Metro shuts down at midnight. No exceptions. The Maple Leafs ended up winning the game to tie the series and now Caps fans are right to feel absolutely nervous.
– A minor league hockey player was tossed from a game after throwing seven cross-checks to a player down on the ice. The worst part of it all? The guy delivering the blows is the team’s captain!
Here's the video: Kalamazoo's Ben Wilson with 7 Cross Checks to the back of Simon Denis. Wilson was ejected. Will be suspended. pic.twitter.com/UD7mRiIfet
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) April 16, 2017
– And in case you missed it, a brawl broke out in an U-16 hockey game in the Czech Republic, and at one point a ref was exchanging blows with a player.
– Maybe I should have tried replying to that email…
— CTV Edmonton (@ctvedmonton) April 14, 2017
Poor guy probably spent the past decade trying to share it but no one ever replied to his email. https://t.co/Ix7XUCrtI9
— Nuck Fuggets (@MatHouchens) April 16, 2017
– How about the weekend Eric Thames of the Milwaukee Brewers had? In a weekend series against the Cincinnati reds, Thames belted five home runs. FIVE!
— MLB (@MLB) April 17, 2017
– And while on the subject of home runs, Bryce Harper smashed a three-run walk-off homer against the Phillies on Sunday afternoon, because the Phillies were dumb enough to throw a fastball to him in this situation for some reason.
— MLB (@MLB) April 16, 2017
– The lovable Bartolo Colon picked up his first win with the Atlanta Braves.
– Things are not going well in Toronto for the Blue Jays, and Buster Olney of ESPN thinks the bad start may be enough to push the team into tearing things down and starting over. I still think it’s too early to hit any panic buttons like that, but if it does happen, there should be some interesting moves to be made.
– ‘Survivor’ contestant loses real life job after outing a transgender contestant on the show.
– We finally agree with NFL referees on at least one thing; there are ways to make the game more fun.
– Catch up on some of the latest movie trailers, like Star Wars and Thor.