Fun Fact of the Day: L.A. Lakers Kobe Bryant is the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points in a single game.
They did it! In their last game of the season, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies (125-104) to collect their 73rd win, beating the ’95-96 Bulls record. The Golden season. Warriors Steph Curry was hot from 3-point range, as per usual, hitting 6 in the first quarter and 10 total in the game. He finished the season with 402 3-pointers, up 40% from the previous NBA record of 286 that Curry set last season. Next up. The Warriors will face the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
One for the Lakers fans. In last night’s victory over the Utah Jazz (101-96), Kobe put on one last show for his fans, scoring 60-points including 2 clutch 3-pointers to take the lead in the final minute of the game. The Kobe retirement party. The night started off with Magic Johnson introducing a Kobe tribute video, including clips from #1 Lakers fan Jack Nicholson and former teammate Lamar Odom. What is Kobe’s legacy? Coming into the league fresh out of high school, Kobe was known for being hyper-competitive throughout his 20-year career with the Lakers. He collected a slew of accolades, including 5x Finals champ, 2x Finals MVP, 18x All Star, and 3rd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In 2003, he faced some troubling sexual assault allegations that were later dropped. Fans will never forget his many clutch performances and incredible 81-point game. Competitors and contemporaries will remember him as a fierce competitor, a hero and a villain.
The Game 1 results are in! The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs kicked off yesterday! Here is your cheatsheet on what went down:
- The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings (3-2), despite missing leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman to injuries.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the N.Y. Rangers (5-2), thanks to a hat trick by Patric Hornqvist. Injured goalies galore. The Penguins 1st string Marc-Andre Fleury and 2nd string Matt Murray were sidelined with injury, but thankfully 3rd string Jeff Zatkoff had a magnificent performance. Rangers starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist had to exit mid-game after a stick hit his eye.
- The St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks (1-0) thanks to an ugly goal by David Backes in overtime. Blues goalie Brian Elliott earned his first career playoff shutout.
On to the semifinals… Bayern Munich and Atletico will advance to the Champions League semifinals, joining Real Madrid and Manchester City who won their matches on Tuesday (psst—the Champions League one of the most prestigious soccer tournaments in the world and it is played annually between 32 qualifying European teams). Wait, where’s Barcelona? Yesterday, Atletico defeated last year’s champs, making it only the 2nd time in 9 years that Barcelona hasn’t advanced to the semifinals. A Messi situation. Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi continued his slump, again failing to score his 500th career goal. He’s probably been a wee bit distracted. Messi’s been implicated as part of a tax fraud network by the Panama Papers investigation.
Seen and Heard
Kings ouster. Sources report that Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl will be fired today, after 2 seasons with the team. Why? The Kings failed to make the playoffs again, making this the 10th straight year. There were rumors that Karl would be fired earlier, after he clashed with the King’s best player DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. What happened? In November, Boogie shouted obscenities at Karl in front of the other players, at the end of a frustrating loss. When Karl went to management to try to suspend him for his behavior, Kings GM Vlade Divac didn’t give his approval. Did Karl do anything right? Karl was in a tough spot as the 9th coach for the Kings since 2006. Even though they didn’t make the playoffs, the Kings’ 33-wins this season was the most they had in 8 years.
Stanley Cup Playoffs continue! The first round of the playoffs continue tonight with 4 more games. Need to fake a hockey conversation in a hurry? We’ve got you covered with our Stanley Cup Playoffs Survival Guide.
- Washington Capitals v. Philadelphia Flyers—The Caps are the favorite to win it all this year, despite their heartbreaking exits in previous years. This season, they scored the most goals in the Eastern conference thanks to the league’s leading-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, and they allowed in the fewest goals because of likely Vezina Trophy winner (best goalie) Braden Holtby.
- Florida Panthers v. N.Y. Islanders—Watch out for Jaromir Jagr who at age 44 is still the leading scorer on the Panthers, as they go up against the Islanders’ hit-or-miss offense.
- Dallas Stars v. Minnesota Wild—The Stars are the top seed in the West and lead the league in goals scored this season. In the first round, they’ll play the Wild, who squeaked into the playoffs and lost their last 5 regular season games.
- Los Angeles Kings v. San Jose Sharks—The Sharks were eliminated by the Kings in 7-game series the past 2x they made the post-season. Will this year be different?