The Buck Stops Here

May 25, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

Phew. Bright and early. Three games (NBA and NHL) played until 1:00 am ET last night, including the Jets-Oilers triple overtime thriller in Game 4. We’ll be sending a politely-worded letter to the league scheduling committees.

The playoff grind is on and we won’t stop until it’s over.

Letter Rip!



The Buck Stops Here

Photo: Quinn Harris / Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks Leaving No Doubt in the 2021 NBA Playoffs


Two games hit the court on Monday night, and both were blowouts. The Milwaukee Bucks are erasing the ghosts of playoffs past with a reckoning that looks to be Finals-focused. In the late game, a Nuggets bounce-back showing evened the series. Let’s jump right in.


Gm 2: #3 Bucks def. #6 Heat (132-98)

Following Khris Middleton’s Game 1 winner, the Bucks blew the doors off the Heat in Game 2 by outscoring Miami 46-20 in the opening quarter and cruising through the final 36 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo packed in a full stat-line (31 pts, 13 rebs, 6 asts, 3 stl, 1 blk), and the Bucks are off to a hot start following back-to-back postseason letdowns. MIL Leads Series (2-0)


Gm 2: #3 Nuggets def. #6 Blazers (128-109)

The Nuggets answered. Damian Lillard and Nikola Jokic, who combined for 68 in Game 1, went at it again in Game 2. Lillard (42 points) hit nine 3s in an attempt to keep Portland in the game, but Jokic (38 points) shot 75-percent from the field (15-for-20) in a Denver runaway. It’s all square out West. Series Tied (1-1)


Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 2: #7 Celtics at #2 Nets (7:30 pm ET)

BKN Leads Series (1-0)

Gm 2: #7 Lakers at #2 Suns (10:00 pm ET)

PHO Leads Series (1-0)

Gm 2: #5 Mavericks at #4 Clippers (10:30 pm ET)

DAL Leads Series (1-0)


Additional Storylines

B/R: Top Takeaway From Every NBA Team’s 2021 Playoff Debut

NBA: Warriors GM Bob Myers Confident Team Will Re-Sign Stephen Curry This Offseason



Rodgers No-Shows at Packers OTAs

Photo: Dylan Buell / Getty Images

Amid Trade Demands, Aaron Rodgers Forgoes $500,000 by Missing Offseason Program


The saga continues in Green Bay. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was a no-show (as expected) on Day 1 of OTAs this week. That wasn’t a big surprise given Rodgers’ adamant trade requests this offseason, but it is confirmation that the organization is losing the battle of convincing the reigning MVP to return to Wisconsin. And Monday was a significant next step in signaling the end. After missing all of the virtual Phase 1 offseason activities, Rodgers has now missed enough time to lose his $500,000 offseason participation bonus.


“We want him back in the worst way. I know he knows that, and we’ll continue to work at it each and every day.” — Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur


If the holdout continues, Rodgers will face fines of nearly $100,000 by missing next month’s minicamp, and $50,000 per day come training camp. Money talks, but Rodgers is one NFL superstar who doesn’t need money. Your move, Pack.


Additional Storylines

Clutch Points: Aaron Rodgers Bails on Packers OTAs Amid Front Office Fiasco

NFL: Aaron Rodgers Speaks on Unrest With Packers: ‘It’s About Doing Things the Right Way’



7-Eleven: The Rays Are Always Open

Photo: Name / Getty Images

Tampa Bay Reels Off 7-Run 11th Inning for League-Best 11th Straight Win


The longest win streak in the majors is still intact after a close call on Monday. Extra innings in the AL East put the Rays’ epic run in limbo for a moment, then they popped off. Tampa ripped off seven runs in the 11th inning of Monday’s meeting with the Blue Jays to blow open a 14-8 win and extend their win streak to 11. That’s the longest streak in MLB this season. Francisco Mejia and Randy Arozarena began the onslaught with RBI base-hits, and Tampa Bay — just seven months removed from the World Series — looks like a contender again.


Watch: Rays Plate 7 in 11th Inning to Extend Win Streak to 11 Games


MLB Quick-Hitters


Crew End Padres StreakThe Brewers put a stop to the Padres’ nine-game win streak on Monday (5-3) thanks to Brandon Woodruff’s gem (7 IP, 8 Ks, 3 Hits, 0 ER).


Luplow Seals It for TribeJordan Luplow made a game-saving circus catch in right field to seal the Indians’ 6-5 win over the Tigers.


Lynn Lights Up CardsWhite Sox ace Lance Lynn had his way with the Cardinals on Monday in a 5-1 win. Lynn went seven innings and gave up just three hits and one run.



Jets Complete Sweep in Triple OT

Photo: Darcy Finley / Getty Images

Kyle Connor Nets 3OT Winner to Eliminate Oilers; Panthers & Wild Avoid Elimination


The longest game in Winnipeg Jets history had an ending that was well worth the wait. With a 3-0 series lead, the Jets and Oilers went into triple overtime before Kyle Connor took the puck and fired the game-winner past Mike Smith to send Edmonton home from the playoffs. With the sweep, the Jets eliminated the top two point-scorers in the regular season — Connor McDavid (105) and Leon Draisaitl (84). Winnipeg gets a well-earned rest while they await the winner of the Maple Leafs-Canadiens series.


Elsewhere in the NHL Playoffs, two teams staved off elimination in do-or-die games. The Panthers and Wild were on the ropes, but they live another day. Here’s the latest:


Stanley Cup Playoff Highlights


Gm 4: Jets def. Oilers (4-3, 3OT)

WIN Wins Series (4-0)

*Kyle Connor wins in triple overtime


Gm 5: Wild def. Golden Knights (4-2)

VGK Lead Series (3-2)

*Minnesota scores four goals on just 14 shots


Gm 5: Islanders def. Penguins (3-2, 2OT)

NYI Lead Series (3-2)

*Josh Bailey scores game-winner on turnover


Gm 3: Maple Leafs def. Canadiens (2-1)

TOR Lead Series (2-1)

*William Nylander scores for third straight game


Gm 5: Panthers def. Lightning (4-1)

TBL Lead Series (3-2)

*Spencer Knight makes 36 saves


Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 4: Maple Leafs at Canadiens (7:30 pm ET)

Gm 5: Predators at Hurricanes (8:00 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

NHL: Alex Ovechkin Refuses to Discuss Future After Capitals Eliinated From Playoffs

SportsNet: Panthers’ Goaltender Spencer Knight Makes 36 Saves in Huge Game 5 Win



⛳️  The Betting Aftermath of Phil’s PGA Victory

It was a pretty unbelievable Sunday of golf, as fans watched 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, in the words of CBS’s Jim Nantz, “defeat Father Time,” defying the odds and winning at Kiawah Island. Speaking of those odds… (USA Today)


🏀  1st Impressions of Every NBA Playoff Series

Can the Heat get more out of Bam on offense? Is it time to give Deandre Ayton his due? We’ve got one observation for all eight first games from the 2021 postseason’s opening-weekend bonanza. (The Ringer)


🏈  Julio Jones Landing Spots

The Falcons’ star receiver finally spoke out on the trade rumors saying, “I’m out of there.” It’s looking more and more like Julio Jones will be dealt, but where? Here are some of the best landing spots after the June 1 window opens. (CBS Sports)



Opinion: This Was the Weekend That Brought Sports Back to Normal, And It Was Glorious to Watch

(USA Today)


Donovan Mitchell Furious That Jazz Held Him Out of Game 1 With Injury Concerns

(Bleacher Report)


Brooks Koepka Irked by Crowd on 18th Hole at PGA Championship, Says Injured Knee Was Hit



Umpire Joe West Breaks MLB Record for Most Regular-Season Games Officiated

(CBS Sports)


Utah’s Jordan Clarkson Wins NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award

(NBC Sports)


Iowa Guard Jordan Bohannon Suffers Head Injury From Physical Assault at a Bar

(CBS Sports)



Question of the Day

Let’s try this again. Due to technical errors in yesterday’s poll question, we were unable to track votes.


Which of the Game 1 winners among NBA Playoff underdogs (lower seeds) has the best chance to win the series?

#5 Mavericks  Lead #4 Clippers (1-0)
#5 Hawks. Lead #4 Knicks (1-0)
#6 Blazers. Tied #3 Nuggets (1-1)
#8 Grizzlies. Lead #1 Jazz (1-0)