As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast.
If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
The World Series was decided last Tuesday night and it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who claimed their seventh title, and first in 32 years. After making it to the WS in three of the past four years, LA finally gets a win. Dave Roberts became the first manager of Asian heritage to win a WS.
His dad died last year and was a huge Dodgers fan. With his dad’s hat and shirt in his hand, he watched them win… https://t.co/csUnXty8UB— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1604252500.0
Corey Seager won World Series MVP and did it all throughout the postseason including the matchup against the Rays. Seager had a .400 batting average in the WS and hit two home runs, five RBI, scored seven runs, had a stolen base, and played excellent defense.
Seager is only the eighth player in league history to win the MVP award in both their League Championship Series and the World Series.
In 1988, the Lakers and the Dodgers won their respective league titles, making Los Angeles the first city to win a… https://t.co/rrHlfgGcog— Front Office Sports (@Front Office Sports)1603857377.0
In Game 6, Rays manager Kevin Cash made a questionable decision to pull starter Blake Snell in the 6th inning after allowing a single to Austin Barnes with the top of the order coming up. Snell was only at 73 pitches and had gone 5 ⅓ allowing 2 hits, no walks, no runs, and had struck out nine. Six of those strikeouts were against Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner, who had struck out in every at bat against Snell in Game 6. What ensued was a Betts double, a run scored on a wild pitch, and an RBI infield single to give the Dodgers the lead they would never relinquish.
Cody Bellinger has a chuckle over Kevin Cash lifting Blake Snell in the sixth. https://t.co/JeCgsrg3Wd— Kenny Ducey (@Kenny Ducey)1603858440.0
Randy Arozarena finished with 10 home runs, 29 hits, and 64 total bases during the 2020 postseason. All are MLB records for a single postseason. His 14 extra base hits tied him with David Freese for most ever in a single postseason. Arozarena leads a young core for Tampa Bay who should have a window of opportunity to make it back to the World Series over the next few seasons. Most of their players are either under contract or arbitration eligible through 2023.
RANDY. AROZARENA. AGAIN. Starts off Game 6 with his 10th home run of the postseason 🤯 (via @MLB) https://t.co/C1CwSRLJWF— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1603844026.0
Clayton Kershaw had two wins for the Dodgers in the WS. Throughout the playoffs he went 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA .91 WHIP, and struck out 37 over 30 ⅔ IP. This championship cements his legacy as one of the best pitchers of his generation adding the one thing that's eluded him during his illustrious career.
The October stage has been so cruel to Clayton Kershaw. But now … a curtain call. Take a bow, @ClaytonKersh22. 💍 https://t.co/YYoeKE0QwS— The Athletic MLB (@The Athletic MLB)1603856648.0
Week 8 in the NFL saw its fair share of upsets. Most notably Joe Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to a win against the Tennessee Titans 31-20. Burrow had 249 passing yards and two touchdown throws. Giovani Bernard had two scores on the day. For the Titans Derrick Henry had 112 yards and a touchdown as Tennessee loses their second game in as many weeks.
Joe Burrow escapes inside pressure & tosses one up for Tee Higgins, goodness what a haul - https://t.co/hkV4gWh2mF— Michael Kist (@Michael Kist)1604326405.0
Tua Tagovailoa earned his first NFL win in his first NFL start against the Los Angeles Rams. The Dolphins defense and special teams helped get the W for Miami as Andrew Van Ginkel scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery and Jakeem Grant scored on a punt return.
The Vikings upset the Packers 28-22 in a division matchup behind the performance of Dalvin Cook. Cook had 163 yards and three rushing touchdowns, and added 63 yards receiving with another touchdown through the air. Aaron Rodgers finished with 291 yards and three touchdown passes, all of them to Davante Adams. The Packers drop to 5-2 and hold a slim advantage over the Bears for the NFC North.
The Raiders embarrassed the Browns 16-6 in a snoozer. Coming off a five touchdown performance in Week 7, Baker Mayfield was unable to find anything downfield, and the explosive offense we've come to expect from Cleveland was nowhere to be found on Sunday. With the Bengals looking to be trending up, the Browns will need to get back on track quickly if they want to avoid a collapse that could find them at the bottom of the division by year's end.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matchday 2 (10/27 and 10/28)
The UEFA Champions League held its second matchday in the group stage on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bayern Munich defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1 and lead Group A with six points. Manchester City dominated Marseille behind goals from Ferran Torres, İlkay Gündoğan, and Raheem Sterling. Man City leads Group C with six points.
Caption this! #UCL https://t.co/kjgbcgDwRS— UEFA Champions League (@UEFA Champions League)1604325293.0
A much anticipated fixture between Juventus and Barcelona didn't yield as exciting of a result as hoped. Barcelona saw Ousmane Dembélé score in the 14th minute and Lionel Messi added a goal off a penalty kick in extra time to seal the win. Juventus was unable to score and Barcelona now has a three point advantage in Group G over Juventus.
Messi said goodbye to Bonucci 👋 https://t.co/vMMDI8dqZw— Goal (@Goal)1604323740.0
Other notable wins from Matchday 2 included Manchester United with a resounding 5-0 win over RB Leipzig, Dortmund defeated Zenit 2-0, Chelsea beat Krasnodar 4-0, and Liverpool over Midtjylland 2-0. Matchday 3 continues this week beginning Tuesday 11/3 and continues into Wednesday 11/4.
Deontay Wilder has accused Tyson Fury of loading his gloves with "Something the size and shape of an egg weight".
Deontay Wilder releases a video accusing Tyson Fury of cheating. (via @BronzeBomber) https://t.co/NFJULVNtHJ— DAZN Boxing (@DAZN Boxing)1604172742.0
Furthermore Wilder is accusing his former coach Mark Breland and the training staff of putting a "muscle relaxer" in his water from that fight. Wilder's actions and statements of late have been erratic and not helping his cause in getting the rematch he wants with Tyson Fury.
Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) and Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) fought in a highly anticipated matchup between the young prodigy and the veteran champion. "Tank" Davis delivered a Knockout of the Year contender Saturday night on his way to winning the WBA World Super Featherweight and the WBA World Lightweight championships.
Gervonta Davis (-600 ML) puts Leo Santa Cruz to sleep in the sixth round #DavisSantaCruz https://t.co/LelZWUImpu— Barstool Sportsbook (@Barstool Sportsbook)1604202530.0
Davis fights for Mayweather Promotions and is the protégé of the former champ, Floyd Mayweather. With this win he has justified his rise to stardom and put two divisions on notice. Whatever is next for Davis, it's sure to be in the main event.
Dana White believes there's a strong possibility that Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to attempt to finish his career with an even 30 wins. Currently, Khabib is 29-0-0, and his early retirement was focused around the loss of his father and coach and not a decline in ability. White feels strong enough about the potential for one more fight that Nurmagomedov will remain lightweight champion rather than vacating it in lieu of his retirement announcement.
Dana White also told me Khabib Nurmagomedov is still the lightweight champion. He's not SURE Nurmagomedov will retu… https://t.co/o8u0z8AUVW— Brett Okamoto (@Brett Okamoto)1604198299.0
White also announced that Israel Adesanya will be moving up to compete for the light heavyweight championship against Jan Blachowicz. A win for Adesanya would make him a two-division champion.
I have heard that Israel Adesanya wants to face me next. No problem, If you are ready to fight in March, let's do t… https://t.co/8VxSRtu35v— Jan Blachowicz (@Jan Blachowicz)1603991515.0
Anderson Silva took a loss in what was billed to be his final fight inside a UFC octagon. Uriah Hall won by TKO in the fourth-round, but Dana White spoke about how disappointing the performance was for both fighters. Noting that Hall only threw 11 punches in the second round and seemed to be allowing Silva to stay in the fight. White flat out stated he doesn't believe that Silva should fight again. Even though Silva was hesitant to confirm his retirement in his post fight interview, it appears unlikely he would be offered the opportunity by the UFC.
In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.
After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.
The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.
It should also be stated that Reggie Jackson has been really good for Los Angeles throughout the playoffs and is someone that the team leans on to take and make tough shots in crunch time. His fearlessness attacking the rim provides a lot of space for his teammates.
Reggie Jackson after getting his free agency bag this summer https://t.co/kgR7AUeQZ5— Josiah Johnson (@Josiah Johnson)1624936925.0
The Suns have dropped two of the last three games, and their win came in Game 4 which saw a final tally of 84-80 so it's tough to gauge how much stock to take in that victory. What I'm trying to say is the Clippers have definitely looked the part of a Western Conference Champion the past three games, and the Suns are at risk of flaming out.
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (MCL sprain) will not play tonight in Game 5 of the WCF against the Phoenix Suns.— Chris Haynes (@Chris Haynes)1624923130.0
The Clippers' starting big man, Ivica Zubac, was out with a knee injury while Los Angeles out scored the Suns by 26 in the paint. So far in every game but one (Game 3 when L.A. beat Phoenix 106-92) the team that has scored the most points in the paint has ended up winning. Both teams are good from the free throw line and it gets the opposition into foul trouble so it is a sound strategy for either side. But Deandre Ayton wasn't able to get much going offensively in Game 5 finishing with only 10 points in 37 minutes.
For the Suns, they were quick to point out their own shortcomings following the loss. Coach Monty Williams noted, "It's just unacceptable the way we started the game," he continued on to compare the Suns and Clippers in Game 5, "We showed up in the first quarter, and they played with desperation."
Monty Williams: “Leadership is tricky - if you can’t get people to follow you, you’re just walking by yourself”— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel Nichols)1624922492.0
Chris Paul who had 22 points and eight assists talked about Phoenix's inability to hold onto advantages, "We've got to close quarters better," Paul goes on to say, "that's been a problem for us all series long."
Paul has been a leader both on and off the court helping this young team to play far above the level anyone expected them to this season, but he's also been a part of many teams that fell short in the playoffs.
A championship run is the one knock on his hall of fame resume, and it seemed destined to happen this year especially after the Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. But he isn't the only player who has had their reputation affected by playoff performances.
The nickname Playoff P isn't an endearing one. It has become synonymous with Paul George and his failures in the postseason up to this point. Any success that the Clippers were going to have this year was always likely to be attributed to Kawhi Leonard, but now that he is sidelined it's all on PG to carry the load.
George entered rarified air Monday night joining the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant as players who scored 20 or more points in each of the first 18 games in a postseason. All of their teams reached the Finals. George is hoping to follow suit as the Clippers are headed back home to host Game 6.
Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.
Offense being the key word here.
Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.
For a player that relies so heavily on driving to the basket to get shots off close to the hoop, it's expected for that player to draw plenty of contact resulting in a lot of free throw opportunities. That was certainly indicative of what we saw from Simmons in the first two rounds of the 20-21 playoffs.
He got to the line 45 times against the Hawks in their second round matchup, but only converted 15 freebies which equates to a 33% free throw percentage in the series. Simmons shot just 34.2% from the stripe if you include their first round games against the Wizards, which accounts for the worst free throw percentage by a player with at least 70 attempts in a postseason in NBA playoff history.
With a minimum of 70 attempts, Ben Simmons' 34.2% free throw percentage this postseason is the worst in a postseaso… https://t.co/EvEcQxEe8m— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPN Stats & Info)1624244835.0
In the four games that Atlanta beat Philly in this series, they lost by a combined 17 points. If Ben Simmons shoots just 70% from the line and makes 31-45 during this series, that adds 16 to Philadelphia's series point total. Obviously, the attempts might not directly impact the losses, but from a very broad overview, it would draw the series significantly closer — especially taking into account that three of the four losses the 76ers took in the series were lost by four points or fewer.
Also let's not allow people to say that the free throw stat is overblown and out of context. It's not. Shaquille O'Neal, who is notoriously one of the worst free throw shooters in league history, still managed a career playoff free throw percentage of 50%. That's why we saw the conception of "Hack-a-Shaq" where teams would intentionally foul O'Neal to put him on the line rather than allowing him to hurt them in other ways.
We've begun to see teams adopt this practice now with Simmons, which is just flat out embarrassing for a player of Simmons' pedigree. We have seen what he's able to do with the ball. He flies down the court on fast breaks, is a brilliant creator for teammates, and is one of the better finishers at the rim that we have in the league today.
We've already touched on his defensive prowess that has elevated him to becoming NBA All-Defense multiple times and a three time All-Star. But what do the Sixers do with Simmons before next season?
The 24-year-old point-forward still has plenty of time to work on his game. We've seen other players add a jumper later in their careers to great success; just ask Vince Carter how that works. But, usually, in order to develop a perimeter shot, there is at least a solid foundation to build on — that being the ability to consistently hit free throws.
Simmons is a career 60% free throw shooter, and he shot right around the mean during the regular season. The decline in made shots from the charity stripe in this postseason is cause for concern that this isn't the beginning of a trend.
Add to that Simmons' reluctance to take shots further away from the basket, and defenses have the luxury of ignoring Simmons in the half court set. We have seen teams (like the Jazz and 76ers) that rely heavily on the pick and roll get shut down in these playoffs, and it's teams like Atlanta and Phoenix that are able to spread defenses thin by putting multiple shooters on the court at one time succeed.
In 34 career playoff games, Ben Simmons has made 5 shots outside of 10 feet (from the basket).— Paul Hembekides (@Paul Hembekides)1624277710.0
Joel Embiid was phenomenal in the postseason, so let's not ignore that fact. Also, he was playing on one knee and still almost willed the Sixers to a win. But again, Embiid was not 100% in the playoffs, which limited his abilities.
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team https://t.co/8xL35u98RC— Rob Perez (@Rob Perez)1624244460.0
Following their loss, Doc Rivers was asked if he thought Ben Simmons could be the point guard of a championship team, to which he responded, "I don't know that answer to that question right now," which doesn't provide a whole lot of confidence in Simmons' status with the team next year. Trade rumors have already begun to circulate, and it would make sense for this Philly team to hit the reset button now.
If Simmons continues to be exploitable in big moments, as we've seen him be so far in his career, his value is only going to go down. Adding further complications into the situation is the team just agreed to a new contract extension with Simmons and is due to make between $33 and $40 million per season over the next four years.
As the two cornerstone pieces of The Process appear to be two Scotties without a Mike, the early departure for the East's top seed will likely mean a big shakeup in the near future. If Embiid is healthy, he is elite without question. Maybe Philadelphia will go out and add around their two stars, but unless the organization is confident that Simmons can avoid another atrocious offensive performance in future playoff series, all they have is a really good regular season team.
The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.
After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.
LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.
The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.
🗣 DEVIN BOOKER— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622601795.0
The idea of effort is something that was lacking on the purple and gold side last night though. It didn't take long after Booker started hitting everything that the Lakers team started playing sloppy and launching up bad threes in a failed attempt to not let the game get out of hand. Well it did.
The two teams were among the best defensive teams in league this season, the Suns finished seventh in overall team defensive rating and the Lakers first. The Lakers typically like to use their defensive prowess to control pace and work in the half court with their combination of speed on the wings and their combination of big men down low that includes Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis (when healthy), and former Sixth-Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell. Incase you forgot Harrell does in fact still play for the Lakers, but before last night if you blinked for too long you would've missed him on the court.
WHY ISN’T MONTREZL HARRELL GETTING PLAYING TIME?????@MONSTATREZZ #FreeMontrezl https://t.co/j55u9zg9kN— NBALakersReport (@NBALakersReport)1622603465.0
For some unknown reason Trez has been an afterthought in Frank Vogel's rotations, not only in this series, but throughout parts of the regular season. With AD being ruled out for Game 5, it would've been logical to think that we'd see an uptick in minutes for the high energy reserve, and we did. But not until the game was far out of hand in the second half. While the Suns were building a 30 point lead we saw Phoenix's guards cooking the slower big men of the Lakers off pick and rolls.
30 points is the largest lead at half in Suns playoff history. 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/UoozhMf6Io— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622604230.0
It's understandable to want some size to limit Deandre Ayton, but when it's Booker, Payne, and Bridges hurting you offensively why not see how a quicker and more agile defender like Harrell might fare slowing down the pick and rolls? We saw Jae Crowder having success doing that on the other side for the Suns all night!
It's not fair to just talk about how bad the Lakers were, in fairness it looked like they were getting open looks and were just collectively having an unlucky shooting night. Maybe they all got it out of their system now? But the Suns would have beat anyone on that home court last night. Let's give all credit to them by playing one of the best games ever seen against a LeBron James-led playoff team. Devin Booker is an absolute star and this team plays with a very focused chip on their shoulder which has been manicured by Chris Paul. His leadership has made ALL the difference for this Phoenix team and it can be seen most on the defensive side of the ball. The Suns players have adopted Paul's attitude and intensity on that end and it all paid off last night.
We've seen LeBron actively frustrated during playoff games on the court, and last night is one of the most cringe-worthy to have seen. James spent way too much time talking to officials about calls, and not just between whistles. It would be interesting to know how many possessions the Lakers played four on five because James never made it back on defense before the Suns put more points on them. LeBron was seen leaving the court with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, and sure it could be to start receiving treatment on the injured ankle. But we know the real reason he left. We can only hope he didn't punch anything on the way to the locker room.
While the teams will travel back to L.A. for Game 6, the Lakers know they are in a must-win situation. We saw the rest of the team around LeBron scrambling because they felt the pressure. James was the only Laker in the second half that kept the team functioning. When we've seen a visibly dejected James like we did last night, it's been because he knew his team didn't have it. I don't think that's the case with this Lakers team.
There's plenty of talent on the roster even without Anthony Davis. Maybe Game 6 is when we get to see Harrell getting some meaningful minutes. Maybe Vogel can devise a way to get Andre Drummond more involved offensively. Maybe AD plays and isn't slowed by the groin injury. Or maybe you should've listened to us back in January when we told you the Suns were a pretty good basketball team.