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Welcome to a playoff-centric edition of "Number One Says"!
Number One says:
The Stanley Cup Playoffs got underway last night with three games in Tampa, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. First off, the defending Eastern Conference champions won Game One of their series against the Red Wings by a 3-2 score, behind two goals and an assist from Nikita Kucherov. In Pittsburgh, Patric Hornqvist picked up a hat trick, leading the Pens to a 5-2 victory over the Rangers. Finally, the first dose of playoff OT hit St. Louis, and it was David Backes who scored the OT winner in the heart of the period; 9:04 in. Four series begin tonight, with Game Ones in Sunrise, DC, Dallas, and LA. The Ducks' series with the Predators starts tomorrow in Anaheim.
Yesterday was perhaps the most memorable and historic NBA season finale in history. For one, the Warriors defeated the Grizzlies to pick up their 73rd win of the season, eclipsing the 72-10 mark set by the 1995-96 Bulls. On a larger note, Kobe Bryant played his final game of his storied 20-year career, and he ended with a bang, taking 50 shots and scoring 60 points! Kobe became the oldest player to score 60, as the Lakers won 101, 96 over the Utah Jazz.
Speaking of the Jazz, they were eliminated from playoff contention when the Houston Rockets won their game last night. The Miami Heat clinched the Southeast Division when the Hawks lost to the Wizards; in fact, the Heat, Hawks, and Hornets ended up in a three way tie in the division at 48-34; the same record that the Celtics have.
So regarding the playoff matchups, the top seeded Cavaliers will face off against the Pistons. The Toronto Raptors will face the Indiana Pacers, while the Heat and Hornets will clash. The Hawks will face the Celtics, as ATL winning the season series over BOS gives them the home court. Boston has that same edge over the Hornets, making them #5 over Charlotte. In the West, the Warriors will face the Rockets in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals. The Spurs will face the Grizzlies, the Thunder will compete against the Mavericks, and the Clippers will go head-to-head with the Blazers. The NBA Playoffs start on Saturday.
The NFL world suffered a terrible loss over this past weekend, as former New Orleans Saints DE Will Smith was killed on Saturday evening. More and more details emerged in the case, as it was revealed on Sunday that a man named Cardell Hayes committed the murder, and it later came out that Hayes intentionally rammed Smith with his car, shot Smith's wife in both legs, and then shot Smith eight times; seven in the back and once in the torso. Smith, who was 34, played his entire career with the Saints, and was beloved not only in New Orleans, but by every football fan, myself included.
On to baseball, where the Twins and Braves, who faced each other in the World Series 25 years ago, are BOTH winless. The Braves are 0-8 to start the season, while the poor Twins are 0-9. Last season, the Twins were in the playoff race until the penultimate day, so this is a big step backward for them. On the flip side, both Chicago teams are off to good starts; the Cubs are 7-1 and the White Sox are 7-2. The Orioles received their first loss of the season last night, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Red Sox.
The #1 Burning Question of the Week: Which NBA series is the most intriguing?