You want sports drama? Boy, oh boy, did we get a load of it this weekend.
What a weekend of sports we just had. Sunday was certainly not short on the drama between the events that unfolded at The Masters, around the baseball world, on the hockey ice, and on the basketball court. There is a little something for everybody here in our Monday morning edition of The Cheat Sheet. Let’s get you caught up to speed.
At long last, Sergio is a Masters champion
The Cleveland Cavaliers. The Chicago Cubs. Northwestern made the NCAA Tournament. Now, Sergio Garcia has a major championship under his belt, with a brand new green blazer to prove it. Sergio Garcia had gone through 70 major tournaments during his professional career, yet he never managed to win one until Sunday at The Masters. No professional golfer had played as many tournaments as Sergio before winning one, which made the final holes extra excruciating as he had to win a playoff with Justin Rose.
After Dustin Johnson, one of the heavy betting favorites, pulled himself out of The Masters after teeing off due to pain from an accidental fall, the door was left wide open for anyone in Augusta. Sergio took advantage of the opportunity. Appropriately enough, the golf world showered the newest Masters champion with congrats on Twitter.
Congrats @TheSergioGarcia. Well earned.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 9, 2017
Sergio may be the big story from Augusta, but Matt Kuchar did sink a hole-in-one, which is always cool.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 10, 2017
But if you were glued to The Masters, you were not alone. There is no shame in that, although you may have missed a few other things that happened on Sunday that are worth your attention…
Russell Westbrook has 42 more triple-doubles than you do, and he’s about to have one more NBA MVP than you too
Just hand Russell Westbrook the damn MVP right now, because there is no way anybody else will be as worthy of the award as him. I have been banging that drum for a while now, but just in case you needed any more persuading, Westbrook came through with a 50-point performance to highlight a triple-double. His three-point shot in the final seconds against the Denver Nuggets [NBA Jam voice] from way down town [/ NBA Jam voice] was the game winner to end all game winners this season.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) April 9, 2017
I mean, seriously? That is just insane. But as you know by now, Westbrook now sits alone in NBA history with 42 triple-doubles, and he still has two games remaining!
Westbrook: clinched a 50-point triple-double with his buzzer-beater, his 4th go-ahead FG in the final 10 seconds this season, most in NBA pic.twitter.com/HyZje5lnWM
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 9, 2017
That 50-16-10 line, the 42nd triple double, and the game winner… Russ probably locked up those MVP votes today.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) April 9, 2017
And to serve as our transition to our next highlighted story from Sunday, let’s remind you once more Westbrook has 42 triple-doubles THIS SEASON. Here is what milestone LeBron James hit on Sunday…
LeBron James recorded the 55th triple-double of his career Sunday. He's 4 behind Larry Bird for 6th-most in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/SQ39W4xw4w
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 9, 2017
Cavs blow 26-point fourth-quarter lead, lost twice to Hawks over weekend
LeBron James may have hit the triple-double, but the Cavs lost. Somehow. And it wasn’t a fun weekend for the Cavs against the Atlanta Hawks.
Oh, isn’t this just a little bit of cruel sports fate for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team that celebrated being on the happy end of one of sports’ all-time greatest collapses just last summer against the Golden State Warriors ended up on one of the worst collapses of the NBA season on Sunday when the Cavs saw a 26-point lead in the fourth quarter evaporate against the Atlanta Hawks two days after losing a home game against the Hawks when Atlanta was resting key players. Yikes. Atlanta outscored the Cavs 44-18 in the fourth quarter and then took the game in overtime, 126-125 and a lot of people were left eating crow. Atlanta has taken three of the four regular-season meetings against Cleveland this season, so it would stand to reason Atlanta would have nothing to fear should the two teams cross paths in the postseason.
Atlanta is the third team in NBA history to come back from at least 26 points down in the fourth quarter and win the game.
— Hawks PR (@HawksPR) April 9, 2017
The Cavs were feeling so comfortable in the third quarter, LeBron James was dishing out stuff like this as if this were an all-star game…
Proof that LeBron James was a wizard in another life. pic.twitter.com/aUrkpdNrOi
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) April 9, 2017
This game should have come as a nice sigh of relief for Atlanta sports fans. Of course, they had to endure the pain of watching the Atlanta Falcons blow a sizable fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl a couple of months ago, and the Atlanta Braves simply could not put a win away against the Pittsburgh Pirates (but we’ll get to that and some more baseball craziness in a few moments).
— 11Alive Sports (@11AliveSports) April 9, 2017
The ramifications of the result? The Cavs are now tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics. Two games left to play. The pressure is on for the defending champs, and the Hawks are feeling it.
But just remember…
The Cavs blew a 26-point lead against the Hawks today.
Today's date is 4/9/2017.
Warriors blew a 3-1 lead
— Jëan Gréy (@GreyMatterrs) April 10, 2017
Stanley Cup Playoffs Set
And now the fun begins. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have now been locked in with the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday, and the matchups are set! Here are your first round matchups in the east…
— NHL (@NHL) April 10, 2017
… and in the west…
— NHL (@NHL) April 10, 2017
If you prefer a bracket, this one is for you…
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 10, 2017
A couple of quick predictions from a casual NHL observer: The Washington Capitals will inevitably fall short. So will the San Jose Sharks. It’s just what those teams do. The Penguins-Blue Jackets first-round matchup feels like Villanova drawing Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. Never doubt Chicago or Boston this time of year, but Chicago feels like a safer bet than the Bruins.
I’d personally love to see a Canadien team once again hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end, and given how things have been going in sports it feels like maybe this could be the year to end that drought. What better way to do that than by seeing Toronto do the dang thing. It’s not going to happen, but it would fit the ongoing championship trend we have been observing in the sports world.
A Sunday of Wild Baseball Finishes
In the course of a 162-game season, you are bound to let a few wins here and there slip through your fingers. On Sunday, it seemed to be an epidemic. The biggest collapse of the early season belongs to the Seattle Mariners after blowing a 9-3 lead in the ninth inning and losing to the Angels, 10-9. Albert Pujols inched closer to his 600th career home run to get the rally started (Pujols is now eight away from the 600-mark), and the wheels came off immediately after that for Mariners pitchers. The incredible rally was capped by Cliff Pennington singled home Mike Trout for the unexpected and shocking 10-9 walk-off.
— Angels (@Angels) April 10, 2017
Teams leading by 6+ runs entering 9th were 2,529-1 since 2011. The only loss was the Royals defeating the White Sox on May 28 last season. https://t.co/N87POMcA84
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 9, 2017
Things got a little crazy in Pittsburgh as well between the Pirates and Atlanta Braves trying to hand off a win to the other team in the late innings. The Pirates, while wearing a fantastic throwback uniform on Sunday, battled back from a two-run deficit in the eighth and ninth innings, then went down a run in the 10th inning and then celebrated a win after Starling Marte ended things with a two-run shot for a 6-5 win.
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 9, 2017
On the other side of the state of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Phillies nearly let one get away against the Washington Nationals a day after smacking the Nats 17-3 (with a 12-run first inning!) when Ryan Zimmerman tied things up in the ninth inning with a three-run home run off Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez. That shot took Stephen Strasburg off the hook for a loss, but the Nationals still left Philly with a series loss after the Phillies took their second straight with a walk-off hit by Cesar Hernandez.
— Phillies (@Phillies) April 9, 2017
In the American League, the Kansas City Royals couldn’t hold on to a one-run lead in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros, and then Houston walked off in the 12th inning. It came with a walk-off-walk, and now I have a craving for some shrimp.
— MLB (@MLB) April 9, 2017
That was a fun first week of baseball. Let’s see what the secodn week of the season has lined up for us.
– The Detroit Red Wings have officially eliminated from postseason contention a while ago, which meant Sunday’s game was the final game to be played in Joe Louis Arena. It ended with a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Watch as we officially close The Joe. #Farewell2TheJoe
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 10, 2017
First goal at The Joe:
Dec. 27, 1979: D. Sobchuk (1:43, 2nd)
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 9, 2017
– Holy cow, these hockey saves…
Welcome to the show, Tristan Jarry. pic.twitter.com/TDl7wZvdwt
— NHL (@NHL) April 9, 2017
ARE YOU KIDDING pic.twitter.com/CH3Srll1EM
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 8, 2017
– As mentioned above, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to drop the pucks, but over the weekend a pair of hockey champions worth noting were crowned…
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 8, 2017
The Denver Pioneers are your 2017 National Champions! pic.twitter.com/PgL2fhzYuI
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 9, 2017
– Here was a cool moment from the NHL’s final day of the regular season. Bryan Bickell scored a shootout goal for the Carolina Hurricanes in his final game of his career, helping his team win.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) April 10, 2017
Even the Flyers had to give props…
Pretty cool of the Flyers to give fist bumps to Bickell after his goal pic.twitter.com/l53s808IZ9
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 10, 2017
– Holy cow, this pass by (NBA Rookie of the Year?) Dario Saric…
— NBA (@NBA) April 9, 2017
– I went to a triple-A baseball double-header on Sunday and saw a Mets fan wearing an orange shirsey with the No. 15 Tebow on the back. I laughed, of course, but then learned Tim Tebow mashed another home run in the minors and now I would not be shocked if the former Heisman Trophy winner eventually makes it to the big leagues just because.
— Columbia Fireflies (@ColaFireflies) April 9, 2017
– Just days after reports said Japanese baseball star Shohei Otani is ready to test the international free agent waters, he gets placed on the bench with a left-thigh muscle injury for the next six weeks. He missed out on the World Baseball Classic for Japan due to an ankle injury too.
– I get a kick out of early regular season baseball games when baseball players are protecting themselves against the elements…
— Niko Goutakolis (@NikoMetsPlus) April 9, 2017
– The New York Yankees placed Gary Sanchez on the disabled list.
– You can now bet on the NFL Draft in Las Vegas. God bless America.
– An Iowa State football player proposed to his girlfriend at the team’s spring game.
– It seems The Situation from “Jersey Shore” fame has a bit of a… situation.
— AP Eastern U.S. (@APEastRegion) April 7, 2017
– The caption in this tweet says it all…
You're not Jesus mate. pic.twitter.com/D7E3q1ZHHw
— Darwin Award ? (@AwardsDarwin) April 9, 2017
– I have been a fan of comedian Jim Gaffigan for a long time now, and his stand-up routine centered around Hot Pockets is classic Jim Gaffigan. He ran into a bit of a conflict this weekend in Boston when his favorite guilty pleasure showed up on the menu…
I'm staying at the fanciest hotel in Boston. Well I thought it was until I saw what was on the bar menu. pic.twitter.com/Zd8HHiZ0mk
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) April 9, 2017
Kiefer Sutherland chimed in with his recommendation…
@JimGaffigan Oh my God, Jim, just surrender and order it. If it's served at the right temperature it's high class. All my love, Kiefer.
— Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) April 9, 2017
– LA Weekly took a tour of filming locations for White Men Can’t Jump in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary.
One last gratuitous moment of procrastination
Maybe don’t do this at the next red light…
Not recommended. pic.twitter.com/jgpcaMCY9G
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 10, 2017