From the start, this weekend was set up to be about as exciting as it can be for sports fans. From The Masters to the Boston Marathon to the opening rounds of the NBA Playoffs and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the weekend was chock-full. Even the MLB had a full slate of games over the weekend.
Drama Up and Down the Court
As the NBA and NHL playoffs get underway, some events have gone as expected. Others, not so much. In the NBA’s Western Conference, three of the four playoff series have gone fairly as expected so far. The Golden State Warriors jumped to a 1-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in a chippy affair. The Houston Rockets won game 1 against the Utah Jazz. In Portland, the Trail Blazers beat Russel Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder in game 1. The one potentially unexpected result in the west was the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs’ game one win on the road against the second-seeded Denver Nuggets.
The East, on the other hand, begins fairly normal and then becomes quite a doozy. The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks lead the eighth-seeded Detroit Pistons, and the fourth-seeded Boston Celtics lead the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers. In a twist hardly anybody saw coming, the sixth-seeded Brooklyn Nets upset the third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in game one. Doubling down on the early-series surprises, the seventh-seeded Orlando Magic beat the second-seed Toronto Raptors in game one, Orlando’s first playoff win since April 2012.
Upsets on Ice
The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs has also had its fair share of surprises. Most notably, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team with the best record in the regular season, have found themselves down three games to none against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The defending champions, the Washington Capitals, seemed on track to sweep their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, on April 15, the Hurricanes beat the Capitals in a (frankly embarrassing) 5-0 shutout.
Baseball is weird
Have you heard of Chris Davis? No, not Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics slugger who makes hitting home runs look easier than a kindergarten word search. We’re talking about Chris Davis with a C. On the Baltimore Orioles. The Chris Davis who signed a seven-year, $161 million contract in 2015 after leading the major leagues in home runs in 2013 and 2015. Chris Davis started the season with a streak of 62 straight plate appearances without a hit, the longest-ever streak by a position player in MLB history. A man making $23 million a year was 0-for-the season. Just as all hope appeared lost, a miracle happened. On the afternoon of April 13, Chris Davis got a hit. Then another. And another. After not recording a hit since September 14, Chris Davis recorded three against the defending champion Boston Red Sox. He also recorded four runs batted in. Two days later, with the proverbial monkey seemingly off his back, Davis blasted a 408-foot home run to center field in Boston.
Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!
In Augusta, Georgia this weekend Tiger Woods made history. Again. Woods has been plagued by a litany of off-the-course issues in the last decade, like extramarital affairs, struggles with addiction and then later a battle with injuries, Woods had not won a major tournament since June 2008. In the years since, he has seemed more kitten than Tiger on the course. In the last 11 years, Tiger has won only 15 tournaments. That may seem impressive, but in the 13 years prior to Tiger’s personal issues, he won 65 tournaments.
This week, Tiger seemed reborn. He made shots he has not made in years. Fueled by the crowd’s ceaseless chants and cheers, Tiger hung around in the hunt for the lead, trailing by two shots entering the final round of play. Upon sinking his final Masters-sealing putt, Tiger jumped for joy as the crowd erupted with chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” He spent a moment acknowledging his competitors and the crowd, then went straight to his family. His son ran into arms and hugged his father, who had not won a major tournament since he was born. This scene was heartwarmingly similar to Tiger’s first Masters win, in which he went to directly to his own father following his win.
A two-hour race decided by two seconds
In the 123rd annual Boston Marathon, Kenyan national Lawrence Cherono won in what is being called a “near photo finish.” Cherono recorded his first Boston Marathon win with a time of 2:07:57, while Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia finished with a time of 2:07:59, only two seconds behind Cherono. The final block of the race was a neck and neck sprint between Cherono and Desisa, who won the marathon in 2013 and 2015.