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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Heat is off in NBA Finals; Time is a flat circle in WNBA Finals; Central teams all spit bit in MLB playoffs

Where you gonna go, Jimmy?
Where you gonna go, Jimmy?
Image: (Getty Images)

The Lakers and Heat did indeed play a basketball game

Game 2 of the NBA Finals sure did happen on Friday night. Games 3 and 4 also are going to happen, on Sunday and on Tuesday. After that, uh, yeah, we’ll see.

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The Lakers are two wins away from their first championship in a decade, which would be their 17th overall and tie the Celtics for the all-time lead. That also means LeBron James is two wins away from getting his fourth ring — and the way things are going, maybe his fourth Finals MVP, which would make him the first player to win that award with three different teams.

James scored 33 points on Friday night, coming up a rebound and an assist shy of a second straight triple-double. Anthony Davis, the other Finals MVP candidate, had 32 points and 14 rebounds in a 124-114 Los Angeles win that was never in doubt from the time Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were ruled out for the Heat.

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Miami had leads of 5-4 and 8-6, and those leads lasted a combined 53 seconds. The Heat made 11 three-pointers, shot 51% from the field, got 25 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds from Jimmy Butler … and it didn’t matter at all.

It’s too bad, because this could have been a good series, but Miami winning four out of five is pretty far-fetched. The Heat can’t contain both James and Davis, and so far they haven’t been able to stop either one. And if Rajon Rondo is going to come through with 16 points and 10 assists like he did on Friday, it’s going to be light work for the Lakers.

Since it’s 2020, nothing is over until the trophy is presented, but this isn’t really fun right now. This could’ve been a really good Finals, a top-heavy Lakers team with two of the best in the game against a cohesive Heat group led by, but not completely riding Butler. Without Adebayo and Dragic, it’s just too much to ask.



The Seattle Storm took the opener of the WNBA Finals, 93-80, riding a couple of incredible performances by incredible players past the Las Vegas Aces. Breanna Stewart, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles, had 37 points and 15 rebounds, the first 35-15 game in WNBA Finals history, and Sue Bird, two weeks from her 40th birthday, had a playoff-record 16 assists.

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Stewart got to UConn in 2012, a full decade after Bird’s college career ended. That just makes it all the more amazing that they’re dominating like this, together, in 2020.



The American and National Leagues Central divisions combined to claim seven of the 16 spots in the MLB playoffs, and all seven are now done after the Cardinals failed to score against nine different Padres pitchers in Game 3 of their wild card series. Jake Cronenworth capped the 4-0 San Diego win by becoming the first Padres rookie ever to homer in the playoffs.

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The Cubs also got shut out on Friday, losing at home to the Marlins to complete a sweep. That followed the exits of the Brewers, Reds, Twins, White Sox, and Cleveland over the previous two days.

Maybe the fact that these seven teams got to spend a good chunk of their 60-game schedules beating up on three of the dirt-worst teams in baseball — the Pirates, Royals, and Tigers — had something to do with their being able to rack up enough wins to make the playoffs in a system that remained divided as American League and National League despite the fact that while there was interleague play, there was no interdivision play. That part of baseball’s plan this summer always did have a certain lack of logic to it.

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The division series, however, will sort all of that out, because it winds up being four matchups of division rivals: Rays-Yankees, A’s-Astros, Atlanta-Marlins, and Dodgers-Padres.



The baseball playoffs are between rounds now and both basketball series have the day off, so it’s mainly college football on TV on this Saturday, with some tennis and soccer sprinkled in, plus some auto racing.

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“Plus some auto racing” is doing it a disservice, because one of the races is the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs at Talladega, and Talladega means two things: big speed and big wrecks. The Cup Series is there on Sunday, and that’ll be its own bucket of fun, but don’t sleep on the “minor league” race.

The Texas A&M-Alabama and Auburn-Georgia games are the only college football matchups of two ranked teams. The latter should be good. The afternoon game, well, “two ranked teams” is a nice way of putting it, because both teams being in the Top 25 — in this case, the Top 15 — is not indicative of their being on the same level. Alabama is a 17-point favorite and the Jimbo Fisher era at Texas A&M isn’t exactly known for a history of causing big problems for the SEC’s elites.

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It’s very much a flipping-channels kind of a day, but here’s the whole sports TV schedule, with picks for “main watching” in bold. All times Eastern.

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6 am

French Open (Tennis Channel)

10 am

Villareal at Atlético Madrid (beIN Sports)

Brighton & Hove Albion at Everton (NBCSN)

Noon

South Carolina at No. 3 Florida (ESPN)

Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina (ESPN2)

NC State at No. 24 Pittsburgh (ACC Network)

Baylor at West Virginia (ESPNU)

Missouri at No. 21 Tennessee (SEC Network)

TCU at No. 9 Texas (Fox)

12:30 pm

Getafe at Real Sociedad (beIN Sports)

Manchester City at Leeds United (NBC)

Abilene Christian at Army (CBS Sports Network)

2:30 pm

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 2 (NBC)

3 pm

Real Betis at Valencia (beIN Sports)

3:30 pm

No. 12 North Carolina at Boston College (ABC)

No. 17 Oklahoma State at Kansas (ESPN)

No. 13 Texas A&M at No. 2 Alabama (CBS)

Texas Tech at Kansas State (FS1)

4:00 pm

Virginia Tech at Duke (ACC Network)

Ole Miss at Kentucky (SEC Network)

Charlotte at Florida Atlantic (ESPNU)

New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC (Fox)

4:30 pm

NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 300 (NBCSN)

6:00 pm

Navy at Air Force (CBS Sports Network)

7:30 pm

No. 20 LSU at Vanderbilt (SEC Network)

No. 7 Auburn at No. 4 Georgia (ESPN)

Tulsa at No. 11 Central Florida (ESPN2)

No. 18 Oklahoma at Iowa State (ABC)

8:00 pm

Virginia at No. 1 Clemson (ACC Network)

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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