Greetings sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel back again to bring you the latest happenings in the sports world.
Coming off a wild sports weekend, Tuesday could prove to be just as exciting. The NBA and NHL playoffs continue to churn along and have been nothing short of entertaining over the past week. In addition, we’re starting to learn more and more about the MLB landscape as the calendar is about to turn to June.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening all across the sports world on this Tuesday morning.
📰 What you need to know
1. Breaking down the landing sports for Julio Jones 🏈
Monday was a busy day in the NFL with Julio Jones going on the record that he no longer wants to play for the Atlanta Falcons. During a phone call with Shannon Sharpe on FS1’s “Undisputed,” Sharpe asked Jones if he wants to remain with the Falcons and he responded by saying “Nah. I’m out of there, man.”
Jones is still one of the top wide receivers in the NFL and an absolute game-changer when healthy. Aside from last season when he was limited to just nine games, Jones has registered at least 1,394 receiving yards in each of his last six full seasons dating back to 2014. While it appears that Atlanta is seeking a first round pick in return for Jones, they may not get that kind of a return considering that he is 32 years old. Jones is still one of the top 15-20 wideouts in the game and could easily turn a team into a Super Bowl contender.
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora compiled a list of the top landing spots for Jones now that he has revealed his desire to leave Atlanta. Here are a few of the teams that could be interested in acquiring Jones.
- 49ers: “There is an obvious Kyle Shanahan connection here and the 49ers are not averse to splash moves. Yes, they have invested draft capital in the receiver position … but they have also seen just how brutal and barren things can be when injuries strike that position.”
- Patriots: “[Bill] Belichick and Shanahan tend to look at things similarly, and they did hook up on a blockbuster of their own a few years back when Jimmy G left New England. This coach has a thing for 30-something superstars going back the length of his career, and loves to buy low on future Hall of Famers. Yeah, they added some pass-catchers already in free agency, but Kendrick Bourne was really a one-year proposition at under $5M, and Nelson Agholor was a one-year wonder. No one on that roster has this kind of pedigree, and this offense needs to make a huge leap from where it was a year ago.”
2. NBA Playoffs 🏀
There were a pair of Game 2s in the Association last night and two preseason title contenders flexed their muscles in blowout wins that saw the Bucks take a 2-0 series lead on the Heat and the Nuggets even their series with the Blazers at 1-1.
CBS Sports NBA writer Sam Quinn offered up his winners and losers from the third day of NBA playoff action, headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo anchoring Milwaukee’s defense and the Blazers squandering a huge night from Damian Lillard, who posted 42 points and 10 assists while shooting 9-for-16 from 3-point range.
- On Giannis and the Bucks’ D: Milwaukee’s second-round loss to Miami [in 2020] raised a lot of questions about their roster and coaching decisions, but perhaps none greater than why Mike Budenholzer was so hesitant to allow Giannis Antetokounmpo to defend Jimmy Butler. Butler, after all, was destroying the Heat late in games, and Antetokounmpo, who was the Defensive Player of the Year, was surely up for the task. We now know for certain that he was because, in two games as Butler’s primary defender, Giannis has helped hold Butler to 8-of-32 shooting.
- On Lillard’s lack of support: Those 67 points from Lillard’s teammates? That’s not a new phenomenon. Portland has squandered plenty of Lillard’s best games, including a 60-point explosion last season and a 50-point outing against Oklahoma City in 2019. The Blazers can live with allowing 128 points to Denver…But the Blazers can’t beat anybody if their role players aren’t scoring. Lillard can only do so much by himself.
3. Our latest MLB Power Rankings ⚾
The 2021 MLB season is starting to take shape with some teams starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The San Diego Padres were among the preseason favorites to get to to the World Series and they’re clicking on all cylinders right now.
In this week’s edition of MLB Power Rankings, CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder took notice of what the Padres have been doing as they earned the top spot in his rankings. In addition, the Tampa Bay Rays cracked into the top five after sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game set.
The American League East is the best division in baseball once again and these rankings certainly prove that. Here’s how Snyder sees the top 5 teams in the MLB right now.
- No. 1 San Diego Padres
- No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers
- No. 3 Boston Red Sox
- No. 4 New York Yankees
- No. 5 Tampa Bay Rays
4. Takeaways from the PGA Championship ⛳
The PGA Championship dust has finally settled and Phil Mickelson’s performance was nothing short of remarkable. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing highlights of him sink his putt on the 18th hole to clinch his sixth major title.
It was a fun final round and until the final hole, Mickelson’s victory was never set in stone. Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen were nipping at Mickelson’s heels throughout the final round. Mickelson did have some shots that ventured into some rough areas, but he remained cool, calm, and collected en route to victory.
CBS Sports golf writer Kyle Porter put a bow on the PGA Championship with his takeaways from the major, which ranged from Mickelson to Koepka and Oosthuizen keeping it close until the very end.
- Brooks Koepka had a championship performance: “A lot of his achievement gets lost in his machismo for a variety of reasons, but don’t let the hats or the knees or the goatee or his “I only practice when it matters” chatter dissuade you from the reality that Koepka is one of the great champions of the modern era,” Porter wrote. “The evidence of this reality is that he continues to give himself high-level chances at big-boy trophies just as much as it is that he already has a four-pack of them in his living room.”
- On Louis Oosthuizen’s showing: “The five-time runner-up at major championships is a beneficiary of his own rhetoric. Here’s the thing with Oosthuizen (who I absolutely love): to my knowledge, he’s never said — like Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka have said — that majors are the most important events, the only ones that truly matter to him. Because of that, we don’t hold him to his own standard the way we do with these other guys.”
- On Phil Mickelson’s love of the game of golf: “It might be an act of cognitive dissonance to actually believe that work is going to pay off, even more so to hope that it could. But Sunday was a reminder that, for aging legends as committed as Mickelson, playing and winning is a result that got in the way of an extraordinary love for the game and its mastery. That will get lost amid the hoopla of the win, but I sure hope it does not.”
📝 Odds & Ends
- The NBA announced that the creation of a new entity called NBA Africa. Former NBA stars like Dikembe Mutombo, Luol Deng, and Grant Hill will serve as investors for the new brand.
- Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slugged his 14th and 15th home runs of the 2021 MLB season on Monday. Guerrero is now tied for the MLB home run lead with Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Oakland Athletics executives are going to travel to Las Vegas and Portland as the team looks at other cities for a new home. This is in the event that the team’s plans for a new waterfront ballpark fall through.
📺 What to watch tonight
🏀 Celtics vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m. I BKN -9.5 I TV: TNT
🏒 Predators vs. Hurricanes, 8 p.m. I CAR -185 I TV: CNBC
🏀 Lakers vs. Suns, 10 p.m. I LAL -1.5 I TV: TNT
🏀 Mavericks vs. Clippers, 10:30 p.m. I LAC -6 I TV: NBATV
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
With the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, United States gymnast Simone Biles continues to prepare for the Summer Games and defy reality. On Saturday, Biles became the first female gymnast to land a Yurchenko double pike in vault during a competition. Biles accomplished the remarkable feat during this past weekend’s U.S. Classic in Indianapolis.