It’s likely that before you enter a playoff series against LeBron James, you understand there might be a game or two that’s going to be taken from you (unless you’re the Warriors, in which case it’ll be three games in a row you’ll never live down no matter what you do). He’ll go supernova, shoot something like 7-for-9 in the last part of the 4th quarter, drop some dimes, throw up one or two blocks that will deflate one or two souls violently enough that it’ll be picked up by television mics, and you’re fucked. It’s going to happen, and you have to race to four wins before his team finds the other two or three.
The feeling of watching LeBron watch along with you as someone else puts you to the sword must be not just of the reaper approaching, but him sitting at your table, slowly eating the rolls, and never stopping grinning at you.
LeBron wasn’t much good in the second half against the Nuggets in Game 2, which opened the door for Denver to erase a 16-point third-quarter deficit and even put their heads in front for a couple seconds. But the Lakers have another card to play, which is a rarity for a LeBron team.
Anthony Davis went 8-for-13 in the second half, racked up 22 points, and put the Nuggets back in a hole they’ve become so chummy with through these playoffs with a last-second buzzer-beating three. Neat trick.
Maybe the Nuggets will have to figure something else out than trying to stick overgrown pencil eraser Mason Plumlee on Davis next time. It’s worth a thought.
Being down 2-0 probably won’t phase the Nuggets much, who have clawed back from 3-1 deficits twice already in these transported and contained playoffs. Still, there comes a time when you’re on this kind of run when you reach into your bag and you’re out of crystals, and facing the duopoly of ass-kickery that is LeBron and Anthony Davis is not the best time to be out of magic. Coming back from 16 points only to come up empty suggests the bag might be empty.
After the Chicago White Sox clinched their first playoff spot in 12 years earlier in the week, the National League’s version of the new hotness, the San Diego Padres, clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years Sunday afternoon.
The Padres have captured the attention of most baseball fans by playing with a swagger and joie de vivre that rubs crusty baseball the wrong way, which only endears them to baseball fans even more (sadly MLB itself can never seem to figure this out or use it to its advantage, but baseball having its thumb in its own ass isn’t news). Fernando Tatis is a genuine MVP candidate (he leads all of baseball in WAR), and Manny Machado is right behind him. The left side of the San Diego infield is baseball’s Showtime at the moment.
What kind of noise can the Padres make come next week? Who knows? They can sport three starters in Dinelson Lamet, Mike Clevinger, and Zach Davies that would have any team concerned if they can get through the opening spin-the-bottle contest (the best-of-three). The pen can be lights-out through Pierce Johnson, Drew Pomeranz, and Trevor Rosenthal, but the latter is just as likely to go Three Mile Island at a moment’s notice as well. And the fact that there won’t be off-days in the Division Series or LCS means they can’t just lean on those three or ignore their fourth and fifth starters. But neither can most teams, and the National League is basically the ooze that you find in your tub when it backs up. Past the Dodgers, anyone’s liable to get it, and as they might catch the Dodgers in the Division Series and only need three of five. There’s no reason to put a ceiling on what the Padres could do.
It’s worth keeping an eye on what’s going on in the WNBA right now, as Sunday’s game between the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx was postponed at the last minute due to ‘inconclusive’ COVID tests on the Storm. While nothing is official, a WNBA source tells Deadspin that the rumors circulating among the players is that at least one follow-up test came back positive. Could it be The Bubble isn’t as secure as we thought?
Why don’t they play the U.S. Open at Winged Foot every year? Admit it, it was fun seeing the pros hit like the rest of us. We even got a real-life Tin Cup moment from Danny Lee, who six-putted from four feet on the 18th hole, only without the cheeseball ending. Lee then peaced out of the tournament entirely, which was really his only option, considering.
You can watch the entire thing in all its glory here:
Should have gone with the ole Billy Baroo.
Muscle hamster Bryson DeChambeau wound up winning the tournament by 6 shots over Matthew Wolff.