Fun Fact of the Day: A piece of the Staples Center floor from Kobe Bryant’s last game sold for $179,100. And in disgusting memorabilia news, a towel Kobe wore during and after the game was auctioned off for $8,365.
Let’s keep this train rolling. Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked well-rested and dominant, easily defeating the Toronto Raptors 115-84 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. This is the Cavs 9th straight win this postseason—a new record for the franchise. Cavs superstar LeBron James barely missed all game (11-13), shooting 100% from the field (7 -7) in the 1st half for the 1st time in his career.
Lucky numero uno. As retired center Dikembe Mutombo accidentally foretold, the Philadelphia 76ers got the #1 spot in the NBA Draft lottery, which means they’ll be selecting 1st from this year’s prospects. They are expected to pick either LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Ben Ingram. And boy did they need it. The 76ers have been using a tanking strategy called “The Process” since 2013 in the hopes of getting a player they can build their team around. Who knows? This could be it! The last time they had the #1 pick they selected Allen “The Answer” Iverson. For the complete draft order, click here.
Neck and neck. Last night, the San Jose Sharks blew out the St. Louis Blues (4-0) to tie up the Eastern Conference final 1-1. The Sharks dominated on the power play and the goalie Martin Jones stopped 26 goals to shutout the Blues. This was the Blues first postseason shutout at home since 2001.
An appealing Odor. Texas Rangers 2B Rougned Odor received an 8-game suspension for punching Toronto Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista during Sunday’s game. Odor is appealing the decision. Gifts to go around… Bautista received a 1-game suspension, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was suspended 3 games. What’s with all the suspensions? These teams have been feuding since last year’s AL Division Series, when Bautista disrespected the Rangers by flipping his bat after hitting a 3-run homer. This past Sunday, they let all their anger out on the field when Rangers P Matt Bush hit Bautista with a baseball, Bautista slid hard into Odor, and Odor punched Bautista in the face. The rest of the team rushed the field to join in, leading to 6 ejections from the game.
The biggest losers. Yesterday, the Atlanta Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez, who figured out he was canned via an airline email. The Braves’ farm team manager Brian Snitker will serve as interim manager. Why’d they fire him? The Braves have a league-worst 9-29 record to start this season, but most people think it’s not Gonzalez’s fault. Over the past couple of seasons, the front office has been trading away the team’s veterans and promising youngsters so that they can rebuild. But it looks like having the worst record in the league crossed the line into too bad territory and management decided to make a change.
Seen and Heard
Say no to drugs. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) just opened disciplinary proceedings against 31 athletes from 12 countries, after their drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games retested positive for PEDs using improved testing techniques. The athletes could retroactively lose their medals and/or be barred from competing in this year's games. Next steps… Expect the IOC to release the athletes’ names and continue retesting samples from the 2012 London Games and 2014 Sochi Winter Games, particularly after recent reports of state-sponsored Russian doping.
The Western Conference finals continue! Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors—the Thunder lead the series 1-0, 9pm ET on TNT
The Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue! Pittsburgh Penguins @ Tampa Bay Lightning—the series is tied 1-1, 8pm ET on NBCSN