Buy or Sell: D’Angelo Russell, Pittsburgh Pirates and Utah Jazz

While Joel Deering, Mickayeen Farner and I were discussing, Joel brought up D’Angelo Russell’s move to the Golden State Warriors, and labeled Russell as the next Steph Curry. Mickayeen immediately disagreed. So the two decided to debate it out here in this week’s Buy or Sell. Along with Russell vs. Curry, we’ll also bring up the Pittsburgh Pirates after they crushed the Chicago Cubs 5-18 and the Utaz Jazz and their Western Conference chances. 

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D’Angelo Russell by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Aman: D’Angelo Russell is capable of being the next Steph Curry?

Mickayeen: I’ll start with the classic Player A/Player B scenario. These are the first four seasons of Steph vs the first four seasons of D’Lo:

Player A (per game): 16.5 points/ 3.7 rebounds/ 5.1 assists
Player B (per game): 19.2 points/ 4.0 rebounds/ 6.1 assists
Seems pretty close on the surface, but when we dig deeper and look at more advanced numbers, we see where the separation really is:

Player A: 35.3 3P%, 49.2 eFG%, 76.2 FT%, 51.9 TS%, 28.2 USG%, 6.6 WS, 4.6 VORP
Player B: 44.6 3P%, 54.8eFG%, 90.1 FT%, 58.6 TS%, 24.2 USG%, 24.7 WS, 11.2 VORP
Explanation of those stats: 3P% is simply three-point percentage; eFG is adjusted for the three-point FG is worth one more point than the two; FT% is free-throw percentage; TS% is a true measure of efficiency, taking into account, two-pointers, three-pointers, and free-throws; USG% is usage percentage, or the estimate of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor; WS is the estimate of number of wins added by the player, similar to WAR in baseball; and VORP is an estimate of points added per 100 possessions.

Player A is D’Angelo Russell and player B is Stephen Curry through their first four years in the league. I mean, it’s not even really that close when you look at it. Steph shot 10% better from three-point land, was more efficient in every single category, and scored more points per game despite having a lower usage rate than D’Lo. The counting stats wills look closer when looking at the per 36 minutes or per 100 possessions because of that higher usage rate, but make no mistake about it, even though D’Lo is a really good player, he is no Steph, and the efficiency numbers and advanced metrics reveal that truth.

Joel: Looking at Mickayeen’s breakdown of D’Angelo Russell against Steph Curry, I can see how one might think to say Russell is the next Curry is ridiculous. However, there are several other stats we can look at that will say otherwise.

In their first four seasons in the league, Russell made 589 three-pointers, while Curry made 644. Curry made 55 more three-point shots than Russell. However, Curry also started more games and played more minutes per game. During their first four seasons, Curry started 28 more games and averaged 5.6 more minutes per game than Russell.

When you do the math, you’ll find that Curry averaged 2.55 three-point shots made per start. Looking at Russell, he averaged 2.63 three-point shots made per start. At that pace, had Russell started as many games as Curry during their first four seasons, he would currently be at 662 three-point shots, 18 more than Curry.

Moving on to their points per game, Steph Curry beat out Russell in points averaged per game during their first four seasons. We could go back to the starts argument here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll compare how long it took each player to get over 20 points per game. It took both Russell and Curry until their fourth NBA season to average over 20 points per game, Russell averaging 21.1 and Curry 22.9.

Next, we’ll look at their assists. How long did it take each player to average over six assists? It took both of them until their fourth NBA season, with Russell averaging 7.0 and Curry 6.9.

Next, let’s look at the playoffs. Steph Curry didn’t take his team to the playoffs until his fourth NBA season. D’Angelo Russell didn’t take his team to the playoffs until his fourth NBA season. What seed were their teams in their first playoff appearance? They were both six seeds.

Finally, I’ll just add that D’Angelo Russell is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 500 three-point shots made. Russell may not have the same shooting percentages as Curry, but there are plenty of other similarities between the two guards.

Mickayeen: The Utah Jazz are favorites to win the Western Conference?

Joel: As it currently stands, I don’t think the Jazz are considered the favorites to win the Western Conference. They’ve made some really nice moves this offseason, which I think definitely makes them contenders to win the Western Conference, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say the favorites.

Looking at the teams in the Western Conference, you’ve got the Nuggets (Should be even better than last season), Warriors (Will still be contenders despite losing Durant and Klay being out), Blazers (Consistently tough), Rockets (Despite drama, should still be there), Lakers (Should be in the playoffs this season), Clippers and several other teams. Among all those teams, I don’t think I’d take the Utah Jazz as favorites. Do they have the pieces to win the Western Conference? I think they do. Are they the favorites? I think at least a few other teams would be favored at this point.

Aman: I was about to buy this, but then the Los Angeles Clippers did two things. First, they signed NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard from Toronto Raptors. Due to that, Paul George signed from Oklahoma City. To be honest, even Leonard alone would’ve pitted the Clippers as favorites for me. And adding onto Joel’s points, the Houston Rockets can be NBA title contenders, forget the Conference. The Trailblazers, Warriors and the Lakers will likely be in the hunt, not to forget the kind of damage the Denver Nuggets can do. Therefore, I sell this.

Joel: The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish with a better record than the Philadelphia Phillies by the end of the season despite the Phillies having Bryce Harper?

Mickayeen: I wish I could buy the Pirates being better than the Phillies by the end of the season, but I just can’t. Even as it stands right now (July 3rd), the Phillies are 3.5 games better, have a +6 run differential while the Pirates have a -39. The Phillies are the more talented team overall and will probably finish 5-10 games better than the pirates. You can never say never in sports, especially baseball, but this doesn’t seem like it’ll finish close.

Aman: In terms of wins and losses, both teams seem similarly consistent this season. The Pirates have just won two fewer games, but the reason I buy the Pirates doing better than the Phillies this season is the away ratio. The Pirates have a batter away record winning 22 games compared to the Phillies’ 20.

 

Now that you have our takes on these intriguing debates, let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

  • Is D’Angelo Russell set to be the next Steph Curry?
  • Are Utah Jazz favorites to win the Western Conference?
  • Will the Pirates beat out the Phillies?

What you may have missed this weekend: 7/5 – 7/7

If you didn’t think much happened in the last few days around the world in sports, trust me, a lot more happened then you think. Along with the NBA Free Agency headlines, there were three soccer finals yesterday and a special 15-year old is causing an earthquake in London’s Wimbledon. So without further ado, let’s start by seeing what the Los Angeles Lakers are up to during the NBA Free Agency.

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Coco Gauff by Kate Tann is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

NBA

Lakers on the hunt:

After a dismal NBA season, the Lakers are being quick to patch their team by signing some big names. Right after Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard announced his decision, Danny Green announced he would be signing with the Lakers for a two year, $30 million deal. The other big name to come to Los Angeles is DeMarcus Cousins from Golden State Warriors and Rojan Rondo is set to rejoin his former team. The Lakers completed three more signings in JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Quinn Cook.

Clippers, Thunder secure big trade:

After the Los Angeles Clippers signed NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard, they were quick to move for Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George. However, the Clippers have had to give up a lot for George. First, they traded away Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, but also four future first-round picks, another protected first-round pick in 2023 and an extra potential two more picks of the Clippers.

 

UFC 239 (By RahimAli Merchant)

Jones beats Santos, Nunes wrecks Helms:

It was a busy week in Las Vegas for the world of sports, we not only saw the start of the NBA’s Summer league where Zion Williamson showed off, but we got to feel an earthquake or two that might have changed the whole atmosphere. The fight between Jon Jones and Tiago Santos was not affected by the earthquake, but they definitely hit the road running with a five-round contest that ended in a decision by the judges that gave Jones (25-1) the controversial victory.

Let’s not forget about the women. Though the men were the highlight of the night, Amanda Nunes did some quick work to Holly Helms with a head kick knockout in the first round to claim the victory. Both Helms and Nunes have proven that MMA is not just for the boys.

 

Wimbledon:

Coco Gauff advances to Round of 16:

After a shocking victory against 15-year old Coco Gauff’s idol, Venus Williams, Gauff sealed her place in the Round of 16 by beating Pelona Hercog on Friday. After losing the first round unfortunately by six sets to three, Gauff won a 7-9 tiebreaker in the second set, before nearly avoiding another tiebreaker in the third set, winning 5-7. Gauff is currently playing possibly her hardest opponent yet, Simona Halep. What’s most impressive about Gauff’s playing style is her youthful athletic ability on the court.

 

Soccer:

USA wins fourth World Cup title:

After beating France earlier in the tournament, the US proved they were favorites to retain the FIFA World Cup title and had one last game to play before lifting the trophy: the Netherlands. After a tight, scoreless first half, VAR played a role once again in giving the US a penalty in the 61st minute, which Megan Rapinoe scored. Just eight minutes later, Rose Lavelle netted a second for the US and the US won 2-0, adding a fourth star.

Mexico wins another Gold Cup:

The US Men’s National Team were involved in another soccer final on the same day as the Women’s, and just like the earlier, the favorites won, but in this game, the US wasn’t the favorites to win. The US had an excellent Gold Cup, without a doubt, but Mexico was far too strong. Despite Mexico only scoring once through Jonathan Dos Santos, the US wasted plenty of opportunities to score under pressure, and Mexico lifted the trophy at the end of the night.

Brazil beats Peru in Copa América Finals:

Peru made a Cinderella run to the Copa América Finals, but they were unable to compete with the hosts as Brazil routed Peru 3-1 to win their first Copa América since 2007. Everton continued his excellent tournament and international career by opening the scoring in the 15th minute before Gabriel Jesus typically added a second right before the half. Peru got one back through their hero Paulo Guererro, who scored a penalty in the 44th minute, but Richarlison put the nail in the coffin by scoring Brazil’s third in the 90th minute.

What you missed this weekend: 6/21-6/23

Another week in this summer has flown by really quickly and with that, another weekend! Although domestically, there wasn’t much action on the field, the NBA and NHL leagues had their drafts for the next season. The MLB, a summer tradition, of course still continues and the US is currently involved in the Women’s FIFA World Cup and the Gold Cup. Speaking of the Americas, the group stages of the Copa America have nearly been concluded and some teams are either making their exits or pushing for a Semi-final spot in the Cricket World Cup as well. Let’s start off with some historic draft picks, first with the NBA.

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IMG_4921 by Dinur is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

NBA Draft

Bol drafted surprisingly low:

Oregon player Bol Bol was expected to be one of the top picks but didn’t get drafted until Miami Heat picked him up as the 44th overall. Concerns about his injuries were likely the key reason. He did miss the rest of the last season after November following an ankle injury, but Bol himself says, “My foot is 100 percent healed.” Following the pick, Bol was traded to the Denver Nuggets, who have a different approach, a more positive one, to the Bol situation. Tim Connelly, the President of Basketball Operations at the Denver Nuggets said, “It’s hard not to be excited,” when referring to Bol.

Timberwolves exchange Saric for number six pick:

The Minnesota Timberwolves exchanged their no. 11 pick and Dario Saric for a number six pick from the Phoenix Suns. The Minnesota President Gersson Rosas was working for some time to move the Timberwolves’ pick up higher and settled for sixth. If the Suns chose to keep Saric, he would be a good pick after he averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.

Hachimura becomes the first Japanese player drafted in the first round:

Only two Japanese players have ever been drafted before in NBA history, and Rui Hachimura became the first one to be drafted in the first round. The Washington Wizards drafted Hachimura as their ninth overall pick, citing his flexibility to play multiple positions and his key role in the Japanese national team, heading into the Olympics. Being a junior at Gonzaga, he averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

NHL Draft

Record eight US players picked in the first round:

Starting with Jack Hughes to the New Jersey Devils, eight players in total from the US under-18 national team were selected in the first round. The previous record was four in 2000, 19 years ago. Typically, the draft is dominated by European players. Here is a list of the American players drafted and by which team:

  • Jack Hughes to New Jersey Devils, no. 1
  • Alex Turcotte to Los Angeles Kings, no. 5
  • Trevor Zegras to Anaheim Ducks, no. 9
  • Matthew Boldy to Minnesota Wild, no. 12
  • Spencer Knight to Florida Panthers, no. 13
  • Cam York to Philadelphia Flyers, no. 14
  • Caul Caufield to Montreal Canadiens, no. 15
  • John Beecher to Boston Bruins, no. 30

MLB

A warm welcome home for Pujols:

Although Albert Pujols’ current team, the Los Angeles Angels lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 2-4 on Saturday, the moment of the match came for the Angels when Pujols homered in the seventh innings in front of his former home crowd. The sold-out St. Louis crowd greeted Pujols with loud cheers and salutes, to which Pujols responded by returning from the dugout and tipping his hat.

FIFA Women’s World Cup

Germany crushes Nigeria 3-0 in Round of 16:

Both Germany and the US are currently undefeated and both Germany and the US are yet to concede a goal in the entire tournament! Alexandra Popp scored the opener in her 100th appearance for the country with a header in the 20th minute. Seven minutes later, Sara Daebritz netted in a penalty for the Germans. Both goals were given with the assistance of VAR, to the dismay of Nigeria. The third goal didn’t come until the 86th minute after Lea Schüller scored.

Norway sends Australia home after penalties:

After the game ended 1-1 at the end of the two-hour mark, Norway beat Australia on penalties 4-1. Before penalties, Australia fell a player short after Alanna Kennedy was sent off. Both sides did have plenty of chances missed though as Norway had 11 shots off target out of their 24, and Australia, despite having six percent more possession, registered only 8 shots, four on target.

England too good for Cameroon:

Just like Germany, England beat their Round of 16 opponents, Cameroon, 3-0. England’s first goal, which came in the 14th minute, was a rarity, coming from an indirect free kick (a free kick inside the keeper’s box in which defenders can defend the goal) after the Cameroon goalkeeper, Annette Ngo Ndom, picked up the ball after it hit her own teammate last. The Cameroon players ran into some trouble with VAR after Ajara Nchout’s goal was deemed offside and the players clearly objected in the dying minutes of the first half. Alex Greenwood got the third goal in for England at the 57th minute after receiving a pass from a corner kick and netting it in the low right corner.

France survives Brazil scare:

France played an intense game at home against Brazil where the game had ended 1-1 at the end of the 90th minute. Valérie Gauvin opened the scoring for the French in the 52nd minute before Thaisa scored an absolute beauty in the 63rd minute for Brazil. Thaisa’s goal was originally called offside but was overturned after a VAR review. The moment of the game came in the 106th minute when Amandine Henry scored in the bottom left corner after receiving a long free kick and France beat Brazil 2-1.

Copa América

Machís, Martínez send Venezuela through to Quarter-finals:

After struggling to find some goals in their opening two matches, Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 to advance to the Quarter-finals and finish second in their group. In the first few minutes, one could tell it was all over for Bolivia as Machís ran easily through the defense to meet a cross with his head in the second minute, which found the back of the net due to poor goalkeeping. Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez ended up scoring a header too in the 86th minute, right after Leonel Justiniano was able to pull one back for the Bolivians four minutes earlier.

Peru qualifies for knockout rounds despite Brazil thrashing:

In the final game of Group A, Brazil beat Peru 5-0, but Peru’s four points were enough to get them past the group stage. All five goalscorers for Brazil were different with Casemiro, Roberto Firmino with a no-look goal and Everton scoring in the first half, before Dani Alves netted and Willian scored in the last minute. Brazil finished first in the group with seven points.

Argentina beats Qatar to qualify for Quarter-finals:

Argentina needed to win to survive in this Copa América and they did just that. Lautaro Martínez scored in the fourth minute and Sergio Aguero made it 2-0 in the 86th. Argentina finished second in their group, leaving Paraguay in third at Qatar packing their bags at fourth.

Cricket World Cup:

England no longer favorites:

It seems that England has lost their title of favorites once Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunuratne handed the ball to veteran Lasith Malinga. On a slow Leeds pitch, Sri Lanka scored 232-9 after Angelo Matthews stepped up with his 85(115)*, and was hoping that would be enough to bowl England out. Surely enough, it was. Not only did Malinga pick up four wickets, but he also picked up the most crucial of them, getting both of the English openers along with Joe Root and Jos Buttler out. Spinner Dhananjaya de Silva helped clean up the lower order, grabbing the wickets of Moeen Ali, who miscued a shot to Isuru Udana at long mid-on, and having both Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid caught behind. Ben Stokes played a heroic effort, scoring 82*, but the game ended when Mark Wood edged Nuwan Pradeep behind on duck at the end of the 47th over. England is still in the top four, but they play Australia, India and New Zealand next while Sri Lanka’s semi-final hopes are still alive.

Afghanistan nearly causes World Cup’s greatest upset:

Six days after India beat Pakistan by 89 runs, one wouldn’t think Afghanistan would be too big of a problem for Virat Kohli’s India either. But Afghanistan’s spinners Mujeeb Ur-Rehman and Rashid Khan attacked the Indian batting extremely well, leaving them desperate at 224-8. Rohit Sharma, six days prior, scored 140 but was dismissed for just one after being bowled by Ur-Rehman. Kedhar Jadhav also played a handy 52 off 68, but India would’ve thought they fell short on runs. Man of the Match Mohammad Shami got the crucial wicket of Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai, but Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi held their ground, frustrating the Indian bowlers. After an over of six yorkers by Jasprit Bumrah, Afghanistan needed 12 from the last over but Shami completed a World Cup hattrick, taking the wickets of Nabi, who was caught by Pandya at long mid-on, and bowling both Aftab Alam and Ur-Rehman.

Brathwaite can make history but not re-create it:

Three years after Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes against Stokes in the final over in Kolkata, Brathwaite was bound to do something similar against New Zealand in Manchester. The match started off West Indies’ way when Sheldon Cottrell found two wickets in the first over, trapping Martin Guptill LBW first ball and bowling Colin Munro. A 160-run partnership between New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor made things right before Taylor departed for 69 off of Chris Gayle’s bowling and Cottrell added a third wicket in Williamson being caught behind.

Gayle was brilliant in the next innings, scoring 87(84), but the Kiwis did pick two early wickets in Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran. Trent Boult was brilliant for New Zealand, registering four wickets and three runs per over and securing a very important catch later on. After Gayle was dismissed in the 24th over, a middle-order collapse left West Indies’ fans worrying as West Indies were at 245-9 at the 45th over, Brathwaite on 60* at the time. With just one wicket left, Brathwaite hit five sixes to get him to his maiden One-Day International century and with just six runs needed to win from seven deliveries, Brathwaite went for six again, but Boult was sitting at the mid-wicket boundary, waiting for the catch. Brathwaite was left crying on his knees as New Zealand ended up winning by five runs.

Pakistan comes to light; South Africa in disarray:

Both sides needed a win in order to stay alive in the World Cup, but it looks like South Africa will be the one going home. Pakistan had a perfect start at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London with openers Imam Ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman involved in an 81-run partnership, before both batsmen were dismissed for 44. Babar Azam scored yet another half-century, but the most impressive batsman was Haris Sohail, who came in for Shoaib Malik, scoring 85 off just 59 to take Pakistan to 308-7.

South Africa, who have never chased a target above 300 in a World Cup before, was off to a bad start when Mohammad Amir got Hashim Amla out LBW with his very first delivery. Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis worked to recover with their 87-run partnership before Shadab Khan found the wicket of de Kock, who was caught at fine leg by Ul-Haq. From there, Pakistan continued to take regular wickets as Amir had a total of two and Khan and Wahab Riaz both had three wickets to their name. Andile Phelukwayo’s 46(32)* prevented Pakistan from bowling South Africa out, but Pakistan still won by 49 runs.

 

What you missed this weekend: 5/17-5/19

Although most leagues around the world are coming to a close, What you missed this weekend won’t. This weekend, things continue to become more exciting in the NBA and NHL playoffs, the Braves and Cardinals find success in the MLB, an anticipated boxing match ended rather quickly, and as England get their World Cup preparations underway. Also, we have to say good-bye to a few names from the world of sports, which we’ll cover. 

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Stanford vs. Washington State by Daniel Hartwig is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Bob Schloredt passes away at 79

College Football Hall of Famer Bob Schloredt has passed away on Thursday. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 after leading the University of Washington to consecutive Rose Bowl titles in 1959 and 1960. He received MVP Honors in both Bowl games. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Schloredt and football fans from Fourth Quarter Sports.

 

NBA Playoffs

Warriors’ Curry drops 37 in game 2 comeback to take a 2-0:

Stephen Curry was just too much to handle for Portland Trail Blazers. In game 2 of the conference finals, the 2016 NBA MVP put 37 points passed Trail Blazers in Warriors’ 111-114 victory over them to establish a 2-0 lead for Golden State. Although the scoreline reads a tight encounter between the two, Trail Blazers could’ve squared the series as they had a 15 point lead at half-time. As this game was on the road for Golden State, Kevin Durant didn’t join the team, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference for as of Sunday night, Warriors currently have a 3-0 lead.

Kwahi Leonard “The Klaw” led his team to a win in double overtime:

Just as Toronto was starting to lose hope, Kwahi Leonard lead his team to victory as Toronto beat Milwaukee 112-118. In the NBA’s first double-overtime game since 2007, The Klaw’s 36 points helped Toronto come back in the series 2-1. Leonard ended up scoring 11 shots and 12 free throws and played for a new personal record 52 minutes.

Tyreke Evans dismissed from NBA:

Pacers’ guard Tyreke Evans has to pack his bags after violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. This is the third time he’s been suspended, first for anything related to drugs, with the first suspension being in 2010.

 

NHL Playoffs

Boston sweep Carolina:

A few weeks back, in a special NHL edition of Buy or Sell, with Joel Deering, RahimAli Merchant and I, I backed the Boston Bruins to lift the Stanley Cup. On Thursday, Boston knocked Carolina out, beating them and winning the series 4-0, to advance to the Stanley Cup. In game 4, both teams were tied at 0-0 for the first 25 minutes until the Bruins scored back-to-back goals in the powerplay. Boston’s goaltender, Tuukka Rask , also came to the occasion, stopping a whopping 109 of the 114 shots he faced in the four games.

 

NFL

Le’Veon Bell to leave Jets?:

After New Jersey Jets manager Todd Bowles was fired at the end of the 2018-19 season, it seems that interim manager Adam Gase doesn’t think Le’Veon Bell fits in his plans. Gase stated that the Jets spend too much money on Bell, which points towards the possibility of Bell being traded away. Although he could find himself at Seattle or San Francisco, it seems difficult to do so at this stage, and Bell may just have to wait through this upcoming season.

Chris Long retires from Philadelphia:

After winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year last season, the defensive end Chris Long has announced the end of this eleven-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Retiring at the age of 34, Long won two consecutive Super Bowls, 2016 with the New England Patriots and 2017 with the Eagles. His father, Howie Long, also played in the NFL and combined with Chris Long, both have a total of 154 sacks. This last season, Chris Long held 6.5 sacks to his name, his most since 2013.

 

MLB

Cardinals beat Rangers for the first time since 2011:

Since the World Series eight years ago, the Arizona Cardinals have failed to beat the Texas Rangers until Friday. It was a big win as well, with the Cardinals winning 8-2. The fifth innings seemed to be the breakthrough which saw six runs being scored by Arizona. The Cardinals also pitched well as Dakota Hudson pitched six innings, striking out five batsmen and allowing only two runs.

Ryan Pressly goes 39 games without giving up a run:

In 2011, Craig Kimbrel went 38 games without giving away a single run. In 2019, Ryan Pressly has gone 39 games and counting. He broke the record Friday night in the Houston Astros’ 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Since August 10, 2018, Pressley has struck out 47 batsmen and allowed only 17 hits and three walks. It was a special night for Pressly as teammate Gerrit Cole remarked: “We were all aware of what he was going for, and wow, what a special moment for him.”

Braves beat Brewers in dramatic series:

On Friday, 20 runs were scored as the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-12. On Saturday, the Braves won, but just barely as Freddie Freeman’s homer in the tenth innings was the difference, handing Atlanta a 4-3 win and the series. This made Atlanta the first NL East team to beat Milwaukee in a series this season. However, the drama wasn’t over just yet. The Brewers found solace in another overtime game as this time, the Brewers won 3-2, thanks to Ben Gamel.

 

Boxing

Wilder quiets Breazeale in the first round:

The rivalry between heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and challenger Dominic Breazeale had reached such a high point that Wilder threatened to kill Brezeale in the ring. Such didn’t happen, but Breazeale’s will was killed within seconds. Wilder’s right-hand punch to Breazeale’s jaw was the difference as Breazeale was knocked out in the first round. Wilder has now tied Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis for nine consecutive titles.

 

Soccer:

Manchester City hero announces retirement:

Another athlete hung up the boots this weekend, this time, in England. Manchester City and Belgium captain and defender Vincent Kompany announced he’s played his last game for City after City won their fourth Premier League title, the last two being back-to-back. Despite facing an injury-filled career, Kompany’s long-range goal against Leicester City in the 70th minute ensured City were favorites going into the final week and prevented Liverpool from winning the title. Kompany’s leaving City after winning the domestic treble this season after winning the PL, Domestic Cup and the FA Cup, and will start managing for Anderlecht in Belgium.

 

Cricket:

England stumbles to victory at Trent Bridge:

Pakistan’s poor bowling continued to cost them as England chased down Pakistan’s 340-7 with three wickets and balls to spare. In the first innings, after Imam Ul-Haq was retired hurt, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez both made half-centuries while Babar Azam found a century. England opener Jason Roy replied with a century as well before Mohammad Hasnain took his wicket. Spin made the difference as Imad Wasim and Shoaib Malik found wickets, but Ben Stokes’ 71(64)* and Tom Curran’s 31(30) lead England to victory.

Chris Woakes bowls well in Leeds:

England wrapped up the series with a 4-0 win over Pakistan as England won the final ODI at Headingley in Leeds by 54 runs. England achieved a score of 340-7; half-centuries from Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan and Shaheen Shah Afridi and Imad Wasim shared seven wickets. In the second innings, Pakistan was exposed to a poor start by losing three wickets in the first six runs. Babar Azam and wicketkeeper/captain Sarfaraz Ahmed steading the ship with a partnership worth 146 runs. However, Pakistan collapsed after Sarfaraz was stumped out on 97(80). Afridi and Hasnain had a comical partnership of 47 runs at the end of the innings, but the game was already lost for Pakistan by then.

Amir, Asif, Wahab in for World Cup:

Right after the England series, Pakistan announced their final World Cup squad. After an excellent performance in the England series with two half-centuries, Asif Ali was included over opener Abid Ali. From the need of serious pace in England, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have been recalled, replacing Faheem Ashraf and Junaid Khan.

Asif Ali mourns daughter’s passing:

After a long battle with cancer, Ali’s daughter has passed away at the age of 19 months after receiving treatment in the U.S. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, teammates and friends of Asif Ali from us here at Fourth Quarter Sports.

USA Women find light in T20I series against Canada:

As the men’s team finds success in ODI cricket, the women are roaring through the T20 format. The US beat Canada 3-0 in a T20 series, the first by ten wickets after restricting Canada to 66-6, the second by 37 runs after bowling Canada out for 76 and the final one by 35 runs after the Canadians could only score 81-6. In the first T20I, medium-pacer Lisa Ramjit broke records after bowling 2-5 in her four overs.

What you missed this weekend: 3/29-3/31

As the Basketball season wraps up and looks to put an end to all the madness next weekend, things are just starting to swing off in the MLB.

This past Thursday was opening day of the Major League Baseball season and you can see what we at Fourth Quarter Sports thought about the divisions and playoffs here. 

Don’t forget about the NBA playoff picture and where we are entering the few games of the season. So let’s see what we missed?

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PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA by Dan Gaken is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

NCAA Basketball

Two No. 1’s go down an ugly fashion:

Despite Auburn’s best player Chuma Okeke getting injured, Auburn still defeated North Carolina astoundedly 97-80. Malik Dunbar accumulated 13 points in this game while Bryce Brown and Daniel Purifoy won 12 points each. Jared Harper got nine points, but more importantly, 11 assists. This win is important as Auburn aim for their first Final Four in history.

While Auburn is aiming for Final Four, Texas Tech have made it with their 75-69 win over Gonzaga. Though close, throughout the last minute, it was even tighter. Josh Perkins of Gonzaga’s five points in the next half-minute wasn’t enough as Gonzaga stumbled in the hunt for a win.

Though Perkins is not perfect. In the last minute, when Gonzaga was just trailing by two points, Perkins stepped outside of bounds, allowing Texas Tech the free throws they needed to win.

Perhaps earlier Gonzaga could’ve used a window of opportunity to win. When Texas Tech’s Tariq Owens was caught out of bounds while defending the ball, when Gonzaga should’ve been awarded the ball, they fouled seconds later, allowing Texas Tech to score more. The stars of both teams did show up. For Gonzaga, Rui Hachimura scored 22 points, Brandon Clarke with 18 and Perkins with 16. But what cost Gonzaga were the 16 turnovers.

Along with the excess of free throws, Texas Tech’s Jarret Culver scored 19 points and Matt Mooney surprisingly scored 17 himself.

Virginia finally makes the Final Four:

For the first time since 1984, Virginia has made the Final Four! Tony and Dick Bennet become only the second father-son coaching duo in history to be coaching in the Final Four. In Bennet’s words, he described the sensation as, “I’ve always dreamed of coaching in a Final Four…This seems [easy]’ — I didn’t realize how hard it was.”

Auburn makes first ever Final Four with thrilling OT win (By RahimAli Merchant):

Coming into the tournament as the conference tournament champ, you should be one of the favorites to go far in the tournament. That was necessarily the case for Auburn as they reach their first ever Final Four.

Auburn was on the edge of an upset in the first round as they won by a point against New Mexico State. They used that to fuel them to two huge wins over Kansas and No. 1 North Carolina before finally taking down their conference rival Kentucky in overtime. I knew Auburn was a sleeper team in the tournament, but they proved a lot in the NCAA tournament and I think they could beat Virginia and fight the Spartans for the National Championship next Monday night!

Duke’s 17 turnovers cost them a Final Four berth:

The reason this was an upset was that Duke was the no. 1 seeded team. And Duke lost by one point. Michigan State won 68-67. R.J. Barrett had the chance to win the game for Duke, but only one of his free throws went in. And Michigan State move on to the Final Four.

Players declaring for NBA Draft:

UCLA’s small forward Kris Wilkes
Oregon’s center Bol Bol
San Diego State’s forward Jalen McDaniels

MLB

Bryce Harper’s first homer as a Phillies player:

Expectations on Phillies’ new signing Bryce Harper were high, but his maiden home run for the team shattered all of that. Harper’s home run went for 465 feet and the Phillies went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-6.

Yu Darvish’s big return:

For the first time in nearly 11 months, Yu Darvish stepped onto the grass to pitch. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan. Darvish’s only two innings saw seven batsmen walk. The two runs which Asdrubal Cabrera was able to score off of Darvish resulted in the Texas Rangers triumphing over the Chicago Cubs 8-6.

Yelich making history:

Christian Yelich is already such a good player, being the reigning MVP, but this season might just be even more fun to watch. In all of MLB history, Yelich is now the sixth player to be an MVP who opens the following season with a home run in each of his first four matches. The last one was truly special as in the ninth innings, Yelich won the game for the Milwaukee Brewers against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yankees SS Troy Tulowitzki homers for the first time since ’17:

It’s been a two-year wait for Tulowitzki, but he finally was able to score. After suffering through ankle and heel injuries, Tulowitzki was able to hit a homer in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles. However, the Yankees still went on to lose 5-3.

Goldschmidt hits 3 HRs in 2nd game with Cards:

It’s hard enough to score one home run, but Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs in his second ever match for the Cardinals against the Brewers. His first came after facing nine pitches from Freddy Peralta before his tenth one was hit far enough. By the end of the game, Goldschmidt had accumulated three homers and five RBIs as the Cardinals won 9-5.

NBA:

Despite their poor effort in make the playoffs, Lakers Vets want to return next season: (By RahimAli Merchant)

With the arrival of LeBron James in LA, the Lakers expectations were huge! It was a playoff or bust type of season and as we can see from their 35-42 record. The Lakers will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, but they are hopeful for a better run next season. With a lot of cap space and roster spots available, the Lakers front office has to decide what they want to do.

Two of the teams veteran players, Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee, have made it clear that they want to be back. McGee has an a career season offensively and Rondo has been the Rondo Lakers fans once hated when he was a member of the Boston Celtics. They have both managed to play a lot of minutes due to injuries to guys like Lonzo Ball and Tyson Chandler and when given the chance, they made the best of it.

As of now, the Lakers have been officially checked out as most then half the roster is injured and will sit the rest of the season. Can Rondo and Mcgee be apart of the 2019-20 Lakers and help lead them to a playoff?

Spurs retire the jersey of one of Argentina’s greatest athletes:

The Spurs’ most beloved player, Emanuel Ginobili was rewarded with the retirement of his no. 20 jersey. The ceremony was held at the AT&T Center after the Spurs beat the Cavaliers 116-110. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reflected on Ginobili’s career afterward. He noted that with him in the team, were Spurs able to win the championships they won. Ginobili was also accomplished with an Olympic gold which he won for Argentina in basketball in 2004. En la termina, gracias Manu. 

Wade-Dirk final battle:

Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki played their final game against each other when Miami Heat took on the Dallas Mavericks. Wade found success in the last chapter with his eleven points pushing Heat to a 105-99 win over their opponents. Though the rivalry between the two people at times did heat up, a public jersey swap earlier made things much more positive. In the loss, Nowitzki scored two more points than Wade, but the Heat’s win allowed them an eighth-place spot in their conference.

Thunder striking:

Oklahoma City Thunder’s 107-99 win over the Indiana Pacers including an amazing 24-0 run in favor of the Thunder. In total, Paul George scored 31 points that night. Steven Adams pitched in with 25 points and 12 rebounds while Russell Westbrook made his name in 17 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists, being his 29th triple-double of the season.

What you may have missed this weekend: 2/15 – 2/17

It’s been two weeks since the NFL has begun its sleep. Today, even Premier League soccer decided to take a nap, but that doesn’t mean the fun has ceased. The NBA was the peak of the best headlines this weekend, along with some interesting features from Spanish soccer in La Liga and the start of the Pakistan Super League in cricket. Along with that, off the field, plenty of headlines to read were made in the NFL and the MLB.

NBA All-Star Game 2010” by Rondo Estrello is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

NBA

All-Star game (RahimAli Merchant):

The best part about NBA All-Star weekend is the All-Star game, where we have two teams full of the best players in the NBA playing for a charity and the excitement of the fans. And boy was it a good one. Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 178-164 after shooting 35 of 90 from three and coming back from 18 down.

Team Giannis took control 53-37 early in the first quarter behind team captain Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Bucks teammate Khris Middleton with a combined 28 points. Giannis finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a losing effort. Team LeBron was led by Kevin Durant with 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter and winning his second All-Star MVP.

Sonya Curry keeps it in the family:

To start off the All-Star Weekend, basketball players Stephen and Seth Curry, along with some members from their families, competed in basketball challenges, including a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot. In the dire final minutes, Stephen and Seth’s mother, Sonya Curry completed the half-court shot, erupting celebration and discussion within the family. Afterward, Sonya’s husband, Dell Curry told ESPN “She told me she was going to make it — she called it. I was shocked, surprised, amazed.”

Sonya herself was having a bit of fun with her children as she jokingly trash-talked her children before scoring, but Seth could simply call it a “lucky shot”.

Kyle Kuzma shows off with MVP in Rising Stars game:

In the recent past, Team USA hasn’t been as successful against Team World, but this time, thanks to Kyle Kuzma, Team USA was able to find a 161-144 win. Kuzma was able to win MVP through the people’s vote with his all-time high 35 points, 14 coming in the first quarter.

Dunk Contest/Skills Challenge:

Not only is Hamidou Diallo good at dunking, but he’s extremely impressive at it. Diallo managed to dunk over Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who is 7’1″, all while wearing a Superman shirt underneath his OKC jersey.

In the skills challenge, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics won after scoring a half-court shot against Trae Young. Tatum went behind in the layup portion, but then came back to seal the victory.

Curry brothers’ bet:

When you have money, why not spice things up a bit? In the three-point scoring contest, the Curry brothers wanted to add more to the prize other than just the name. The winner would have to buy tickets for the family to their matches when they play each other for the entirety of their careers. Stephen Curry ended up winning the bet, so have fun, Seth!

 

NASCAR

Daytona 500:

It was quite an interesting Sunday in Daytona, with a huge crash that wiped out most of the field and led to an emotional win by Denny Hamlin.

It was Hamlin’s second career Daytona 500 win, but this one meant more, as he dedicated the win to J.D. Gibbs. Read more about that in the NFL section

 

NFL

Former NFL Coach Joe Gibbs touched by support:

Though he’s not on the NFL field anymore, Joe Gibbs and his son are now involved in NASCAR. Unfortunately, this weekend, between Gibbs and his son J.D. Gibbs, only one remains. J.D. Gibbs, unfortunately, passed away after his battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49 years of age. His father expressed his gratitude to the support he’s received from the NASCAR community. Denny Hamlin, a NASCAR driver, pledged $111 for every lap he led on Sunday, as 11 was J.D.’s favorite number to the J.D. Gibbs Legacy Fund.

Colin Kaepernick settles grievances against NFL:

Kaepernick has won. The NFL has agreed to pay him an undisclosed fee after going through the court. Although technically the NFL didn’t admit to trying to prevent Kaepernick from playing, this is the one case in which the NFL didn’t walk away unscathed. This does open up opportunities now for Kaepernick to play football again, and some teams, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Carolina Panthers could be looking for a new quarterback (though his agent thinks he could sign for the New England Patriots as well).

 

MLB

Two of baseball’s best still available:

Both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still available to be signed, though they might be close to a deal. CBS reports that Harper is extremely close to finalizing a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, while Manny Machado is on the verge of signing a $240 million, eight-year deal with the San Diego Padres.

 

Soccer

Real Madrid’s title challenge halted:

Third placed Real Madrid was six points off of first-placed Barcelona in La Liga, but now the lead’s nine. While Barcelona won their match against Valladolid 1-0, Real Madrid lost to 15th placed Girona 2-1, thanks to Girona goals by Christhian Stuani and Portu. However, along in the process, Real Madrid captain and defender Sergio Ramos received his 19th red card, breaking the record for most La Liga red cards.

 

Cricket

Melbourne Stars let the BBL title slip in horrifying fashion:

After rivals Melbourne Renegades put up a short total of 145-5, Melbourne Stars were cruising to victory. Then the worst batting collapse in Big Bash League history happened. After Ben Dunk and Marcus Stoinis put up a 93-run partnership, the Stars lost seven wickets for 29 runs. For the Renegades, Dan Christain, Cameron Boyce and Chris Tremain each picked up two wickets a piece with Harry Gurney having the seventh.

Shahid Afridi fights champions Islamabad United for win:

On a new, green surface in Dubai, Multan Sultans used their bowling strength to restrict Islamabad United to 125-7. Despite Luke Ronchi’s 51(33), Junaid Khan, Shahid Afridi and Ali Shafiq still managed to grab two wickets each. However, the run chase wasn’t easy for Multan. It took Multan 18 overs to chase 126 thanks to the bowling of Faheem Ashraf and Samit Patel. However, captain Shoaib Malik’s 31(29)* and Afridi’s final two sixes won Multan the match.

Lahore Qalandars fight for win vs. Karachi Kings:

After the Karachi Kings restricted Lahore Qalandars to 138-6, it didn’t make sense that Karachi lost. Of Lahore’s six wickets, two were taken by 19-year old Umer Khan, who took the wickets of Sohail Akhtar and AB de Villiers, and one each by Mohammad Amir and Sikandar Raza. But Lahore’s bowling on Saturday was something else. Unplayable fast bowling it seemed. All ten of Karachi’s wickets were at the hands of seam bowlers, one for Hardus Viljoen, two for poster-boy Shaheen Afridi, three for veteran Rahat Ali, and best of all, four for emerging player Haris Rauf. Karachi was skittled for 116 off 19.5 overs and sit fifth in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) table (Lahore are still sixth).

Quetta Gladiators remain top; Islamabad face batting questions:

Things didn’t start well for Islamabad in their second match Sunday morning when Sohail Tanveer took the wicket of Luke Ronchi on the first ball. Trying to cut it for four past third man first ball, Ahmed Shehzad hunted the catch and Ronchi, and practically the entire Islamabad team, was sent back to the pavilion. Despite being 8-3 at one period, thanks to Hussain Talat 30(18) and Asif Ali 36(27), Islamabad managed to push past the 100 mark for a total of 157-8. Tanveer finished off with four wickets while Pakistani-born Australian Fawad Ahmed’s leg-spin added three.

In the second innings, Quetta Gladiators felt virtually no pressure. Shane Watson came to the show with his 81 off 55 not out and Umar Akmal maturely assisted again in the form of his 44 off 28. Quetta won by seven wickets.

Lahore no match for fiery Peshawar Zalmi:

Hasan Ali: injured knee, bowls three overs, takes four wickets. Lahore was sent to bat first and managed the second-lowest PSL total of 78 (the lowest total of 59 also belongs to Lahore). Along with Ali’s four, Wahab Riaz took three wickets and 20-year old leg-spinner Ibtisam Sheikh picked up the two wickets of Viljoen and Hassan Khan. Peshawar Zalmi chased the target down in ten overs thanks to Umar Amin’s carnage in his 61 off 39 not out.

 

College Basketball:

Losses by top 25 teams:

24 Maryland to 6 Michigan (65-52)
18 Kansas State to 23 Iowa State (78-64)
1 Tennessee to 5 Kentucky (86-69)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         13 Villanova to St. John’s (71-65)

What you may have missed this weekend in sports: 1/18 – 1/20

Well, we’re only three weeks into 2019, but it may be hard to find another weekend later on in the year as entertaining as this past weekend was. Despite there being only two NFL games, the two ended up playing with fans’ hearts. Interesting headlines were also made in boxing, college basketball, the NBA, the English Premier League and in cricket. But first and foremost, the Super Bowl teams have been decided.

Tom Brady, a National Football League player.” by Jeffrey Beall is licensed under CC BY 4.0

NFL Playoffs

Tom Brady and the Patriots not done with Atlanta yet

As if what the New England Patriots did to Atlanta two years back wasn’t bad enough, this year, Atlanta will have to see the Patriots in the Super Bowl in their own backyard. Despite both the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots being close in the AFC Championship, with the Patriots winning by one touchdown in overtime, 37-31, it was clear from the start who would win, as Tom Brady’s side was winning 14-0 at the half. Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs were struggling offensively, as he faced constant pressure from the Patriots’ defensive line. However, through the use of shotgun passes, the Chiefs came back and managed a 31-31 tie before falling in OT.

Favorites Saints knocked out in New Orleans

Despite beating them once this season already, Los Angeles found a win against the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 26-23. As expected, being at home in New Orleans, the Saints dominated early, ending the first quarter 0-13. However, a Los Angeles touchdown eased the pressure as the half-time score read 10-13. In the dire final moment, the Rams secured a field goal to tie 23-23 and then followed up with another monster 57-yard field goal to win 26-23.

However, it could be argued that Saints should’ve progressed to the Super Bowl before overtime. When the score was tied at 20 with just 1:45 left, Robey-Coleman of the Rams made helmet-to-helmet contact with a Saints receiver and should have been called for pass interference, but their was no penalty called. If a penalty was called, the Saints would’ve been in prime scoring position to put the Rams away.

 

Boxing

At the age of 40, Manny Pacquiao did not just win against Adrien Broner, he out-classed him. Pacquiao won unanimously, but even statistically, the fight was his. Within the first three rounds, Broner faced 70 jabs from the Filipino, and in total, Pacquiao won 118-110 on points. Afterwards, Pacquiao claimed he’d be willing to fight Floyd Mayweather as well.

 

NBA

Cousins’ impressive debut

After injuring his Achilles while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans and signing with the Golden State Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins made his debut. It was as Stephen Curry describes, “Poetry in motion”. In the Warriors’ 112-94 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Cousins scored 14 points, along with six rebounds and three assists. He did fouled out after just 15 minutes, but if he played longer, we surely would’ve seen more from him.

Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid rivalry renewed

When asked if Joel Embiid had fouled Russell Westbrook in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 115-113 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, Westbrook simply responded with, “Go home bro.” This clearly frustrated Embiid, who defensively responded by saying Westbrook was the one who needed to “go home.” The conflict started on-court when it appeared that multiple times, both players fouled each other. Both sides play each other again on February 28th.

 

College Basketball

Losses by top 25 teams

2 Michigan to Wisconsin (64-54)
4 Virginia to 1 Duke (72-70)
7 Kansas to West Virginia (65-64)
8 Texas Tech to Baylor (73-62)
14 Auburn to 12 Kentucky (82-80)
20 Oklahoma to Texas (75-72)
25 Indiana to Purdue (70-55)

 

Soccer

Arsenal stun Chelsea

When fifth-placed, defensively weak Arsenal took on organized, fourth-placed Chelsea, it only made sense for Chelsea to win, but The Emirates had other plans that night. Chelsea’s pacy attack failed to score any goals, as they fell to the Gunners 2-0, thanks to goals by Alexandre Lacazette and Captain/Defender Laurent Koscielny. Despite this, the teams’ positions in the Premier League table did not change.

Crystal Palace temporarily trouble Liverpool

Liverpool got themselves the three points against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but Crystal Palace left Anfield making a statement. Within the last six minutes, the score went from Liverpool 3-2 Crystal Palace to Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace, goals by Sadio Mané for Liverpool and Max Meyer for Crystal Palace. Liverpool managed to grab three points and retain their position at the top of the table on an entertaining night at Anfield. Crystal Palace currently sit 14th with 22 points.

US Women’s team gets off to losing start

The US Women’s team, ranked number one, lost in a friendly against hosts France. USA lost 3-1, with the US’ only goal being Mallory Pugh’s late in the 91st minute. The US play Spain next tomorrow at 20:30 (8:30 PM) GMT or 2:30 PM EST and will be live on ESPN2 in the United States.

 

Cricket

India wins ODI series in Australia

Despite winning the first ODI is spectacular fashion, Australia was quick to succumb to the Indian batting line and Wicket-keeper MS Dhoni’s fine finishing abilities. India won the series 1-2 after beating Australia in the third ODI by seven wickets, with the Aussies setting the Indians a low total of 231. India’s bowling was dominated by spinner Yuzvenda Chahal, who upon being called up to the team for the third ODI, was gifted six wickets for 42 runs. In the second innings, captain Virat Kholi taught the Australians batting with his 46(62) and two half-centuries followed suit in MS Dhoni’s 87(114)* and Kedhar Jadhav’s quick 61(57)*. Chahal received Man of the Match while Dhoni got Man of the Series.

Pakistan turn things around against South Africa

Although Pakistan was tipped to find victory in the One-Day series against South Africa, at the innings break of the first ODI, it seemed that South Africa controlled the match. South Africa had finished their batting innings on 266-2, with Hashim Amla scoring a record-breaking 108(120)* and debutant Rassie van der Dussen scoring 93(101). However, it wasn’t enough as Pakistan chased the target in 49.1 overs with five wickets remaining. Imam Ul-Haq scored 86(101) and Man of the Match Mohammad Hafeez took Pakistan to victory with his 71(63)*.

David Warner’s unorthodox batting

David Warner, who normally bats left-handed, decided to switch to his right hand after facing three dots from Chris Gayle. What followed was incredible. On his “wrong” hand, Warner scored 14 off three, compared to the earlier zero off three. This occurred in a Bangladesh Premier League match between Dhaka Dynamites and Sylhet Sixers, in which Warner, who plays for Sylhet, scored a total of 63(43) in the Sixers’ 158-8. Dhaka ended up winning by six wickets.

2018-19 NBA Predictions: Central Division

40829042322_b8120be32e_o.jpg
Victor Oladipo” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There will definitely be some eyes looking towards this group of five, especially after the departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers. That could possibly pave the way for another team to top the division. If it won’t be the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indiana Pacers could be front-runners for that title.

Along with the Pacers’ excellent season they had last year, the Milwaukee Bucks have had an excellent off-season, winning both of their games so far. The Detroit Pistons are also a team who must not be written off. New head coach Dwayne Casey has done some restructuring with the team and has won one match of three this preseason and lost to the Brooklyn Nets by just two points in overtime.

This division looks to be one of the most competitive in years and can either give us some shocking and different results this season or could end up just like last season.

 

1. INDIANA PACERS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 48-34

Postseason Result: Lost in the first round, but challenged the Cleveland Cavaliers, taking them to seven games.

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Signed SG Tyreke Evans, F Doug McDermott, F Kyle O’Quinn in free agency.
  • Drafted PG Aaron Holiday and F Alize Johnson in the NBA Draft.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost F Glenn Robinson III, SG Lance Stephenson and PG Joe Young in free agency.
  • Waived Al Jefferson.

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

This team definitely found many eyes last season, and with the departure of LeBron James from Cleveland, they should only excel more. The team has been change around a little bit. They have picked up some excellent signings and draft picks. How well will these new additions help their star, Victor Oladipo? How much support Oladipo gets from these guys could determine how far they go.

Prediction: 50-32

 

2. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 50-32

Postseason Result: Wasn’t what many of us were expecting. It’s one thing to lose, it’s another thing to lose 0-4 IN THE FINALS. Despite that, they had an excellent season and postseason making their run to their fourth consecutive finals.

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Drafted G Collin Sexton in the NBA Draft.
  • Signed Channing Frye and David Nwaba in free agency.
  • Traded for F Sam Dekker.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Lost F Jeff Green and G Jose Calderon in free agency.

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Yes, many of us have to think twice about the route the Cleveland Cavaliers are taking this season. Some of us may even question their presence in the playoffs without LeBron James. However, Cleveland has done an excellent job utilizing their younger players and have made excellent signings, especially David Nwaba from the Chicago Bulls, who’s been rated as one of the most athletic players in the league.

Many are also backing eighth-overall draft pick, Collin Sexton, to have a great rookie season. It seems like Cleveland might be preparing him to be their next star. So with all this talent, can Cleveland’s young players keep them playoff bound?

Prediction: 48-34

 

3. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 44-38

Postseason Result: Lost to the Boston Celtics 4-3 in the first round of the playoffs.

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Signed Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton in free agency.
  • Drafted Donte DiVincenzo in the NBA Draft.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost F Jabari Parker to the Bulls in free agency.
  • Waived G Branon Jennings.

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

The Bucks have built an excellent core of young talent and will look to continue their excellence in exploiting on the wings. They will face stiff competition, however, and might find it hard to improve from last year. However, if things were to improve, can the Bucks push for a second-round appearance in the playoffs? Can the Greek Freak continue improving himself and the team?

Prediction: 48-34

 

4. DETROIT PISTONS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 39-43

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Signed PG José Calderón, SG Glenn Robinson III and C Zaza Pachulia in free agency.
  • Drafted Bruce Brown Jr. and Khyri Thomas in the NBA Draft.

Offseason Departures:

  • Fired Coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower.
  • Lost Anthony Tolliver and James Ennis in free agency.

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Detroit looks to start a new season under a new manager and coach optimistically. They definitely have a talented enough squad to make improvements this year. But the question here is, can the players link together under new head coach Dwane Casey and get themselves into the playoffs?

Prediction: 40-42

 

5. CHICAGO BULLS

OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 27-55

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • Selected Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison in the NBA Draft.
  • Signed F Jabari Parker in free agency.

Offseason Departures:

  • Lost PF Noah Vonleh and SG David Nwaba in free agency.
  • Traded Jerian Grant.

2018-19 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

This season, the Bulls have been blessed with a myriad of talented youth on their side, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll win many games. Within a few years, we should expect them to be playoff bound again, but for now, with much more organized teams in their division, they probably won’t make it out alive. But it does beg the question, if Chicago’s youth can continue to get better, can they push for a playoff spot this year?

Prediction: 30-52

 

PREDICTED DIVISION STANDINGS:

  1. Indiana Pacers (50-32)
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers (48-34)
  3. Milwaukee Bucks (48-34)
  4. Detroit Pistons (40-42)
  5. Chicago Bulls (30-52)