Need to Know Sports: May 6, 2015

I’m introducing a new thing this week. It’s called Need to Know Sports and its a daily email that answers the question, “What do I need to know about sports today?” Whether you’re someone who needs to know everything about sports to feel alive or someone who views sports as being strictly on a need to know basis, this is a good way to start your day.

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Subject: Need to know sports: May 6, 2015

Dear Sports Fan,
What do I need to know about sports today?

Today’s Top Stories


There’s really no giant headline today beyond yesterday’s games and today’s too. There is this, but it’s not a giant, blockbuster story:

ISIAH THOMAS BACK IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: Isaiah Thomas was an all-star NBA player before he was a terrible, terrible coach and general manager for the New York Knicks. He was fired in 2008 amid reports of his sexual harassment of women who worked for him that were later confirmed when he was found guilty in a lawsuit. Yesterday news broke that James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks and their WNBA counterpart, the New York Liberty, wants to hire Thomas back, this time as President of the Liberty. This seems almost spit-takingly insane to me, as it does to many people. Forget that he was a disaster working for the Knicks before, he also seems uniquely unqualified to run the operations for a women’s sports team given his well-established history as someone who has sexually harassed female employees. Kate Fagan and Jane McManus wrote a point-counter-point article on ESPN that will tell you more about this story.

Yesterday’s Games, Today’s Conversations

National Basketball Association – The Washington Wizards played Game Two of their series against the Atlanta Hawks without their point guard and best player, John Wall. It showed. The Hawks beat the Wizards 106-90 to tie the series at one game apiece. The number one overall seed in the NBA playoffs, the Golden State Warriors finally lost a game, 97-90 to the Memphis Grizzlies. At times it’s seemed like the Warriors path to the title was becoming more and more frictionless, but last night was a bump in the path. How big remains to be seen.

National Hockey League – Oh, Minnesota Wild. I want you to be good, so badly. You’re the closest thing the United States has to a Canadian style, hockey means everything state and yet your NHL team just cannot beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Last night, the Hawks beat the Wild 1-0 to take a virtually impenetrable 3-0 lead in the series. The Calgary Flames beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in overtime to keep their dream and the dream of having a Canadian Stanley Cup winner alive. The series is now 2-1 in favor of the Ducks but that’s a lot better than 3-0.

MLB Baseball – 41 year-old Bartolo Colon remains amazing for the New York Mets. He pitched 7 and 2/3 innings last night and only allowed a single run. The Mets were able to score three and only let in one more after Colon left the game. That’s all the ingredients necessary for a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Champions League Soccer – I wrote in yesterday’s post that Real Madrid was probably feeling lucky having drawn Juventus as their semifinal opponent instead of Barcelona or Bayern Munich. Well, I guess ‘be careful what you wish for’ is the lesson to be learned after Juventus beat Real Madrid 2-1.

Today’s Sports Forecast

NHL Hockey

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. ET on USA: Down 2-0 in the series, having lost both of the first two games in Montreal, the Canadiens and the whole province of Quebec will be in mourning if their team cannot find a way to win this game.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network: The Rangers have played eight games in the playoffs so far and every single one of them has been decided by a single goal. That’s a hard way to win and it’s starting to show. They’re down two games to one against the Capitals.

NBA Basketball

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. ET on TNT: The Bulls sauntered into Cleveland and won the first game of the series. The Cavaliers may be in trouble, but they’ve got basketball’s best trump card, LeBron James. I’d be surprised if LeBron didn’t score over 35 points tonight. The question is — will it be enough?

Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT: The Clippers are another road team that won the first game of their playoff series. Winning the first game on the road pretty much turns the second game into as close to a nice-to-have as you can get in the playoffs.

MLB Baseball

New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, 7 p.m. ET on regional cable: Baseball believes it has a speed problem — it’s games are too slow. If you agree, this would be a good game for you to watch. The Blue Jays pitcher who’s pitching in this game, Mark Buehrle is amazingly quick. He pitches, gets the ball back from the catcher, and pitches again. It’s great.

Champions League Soccer

Bayern Munich at Barcelona, 2:45 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1: This is a massive soccer game. The game involves two of the most scintillatingly beautiful and talent laden soccer teams in the world. The plot revolves around Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola. Guardiola was a long-time Barcelona player and later an extremely successful Barcelona manager. He’s a winner wherever he goes but the question is, which team has more Pep in them? His old team or his new team?

Verisimilitude (or How to Sound Like a Sports Native)

Talk about a busman’s holiday, retired baseball player Kyle Farnsworth has resurfaced playing on the defensive line of semi-pro football team in Orlando, Florida. If you’ve got half an hour on a train, bus, or plane, read this moving and deeply confusing ESPN article by Wright Thompson about legendary baseball player, Ted Williams’ daughter, Claudia Williams, and the difficult emotional and physical legacy she lives with. From Sarah Lyall comes the New York Times tale of a 1965 high school football game that continued on despite a school building burning to the ground just a few dozen yards from the field and the photo that made it famous. Ken Dryden, a great former NHL goalie and contemporary author, writes an article about Carey Price, the man who currently plays goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, Dryden’s old position.

Thanks for reading,
Ezra Fischer

Photo by Eduardo Davad.

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