Clear the schedule. It’s a huge day ahead in sports. Nadal and Djokovic take the court this morning in the French Open semifinal (11:30 am ET) before the kickoff to EURO 2020 and another night of NBA playoffs. All that and more in the Weekend Must-Watch List. But first, we take note of another ascending NBA superstar and crown a champion in the Women’s College World Series.
Take Note: Donovan Mitchell Has Arrived
Donovan Mitchell (37 Points) is Taking Over the NBA Playoffs as Jazz Take 2-0 Series Lead
The next young gun in the NBA Playoffs is rising in the second round. Utah’s shooting shirts read “Take Note” on Thursday night. If anyone hasn’t taken note of Spida Mitchell, they have now. Mitchell followed his 45-point outing in Game 1 with another 37 points in Game 2, including 27 in the first half. He also hit six 3s and shot 52 percent from the field. The Jazz squandered a lead in the third quarter but held on (117-111) to take a 2-0 series lead over the Clippers. Both Western Conference series — Jazz/Clippers and Suns/Nuggets — are 2-0 in favor of the top seeds.
Fun Fact: Donovan Mitchell is the second player in Jazz franchise history with four straight 30-point playoff games (Karl Malone).
Watch: Donovan Mitchell Explodes for 27 First Half Points, Put Jazz in Driver’s Seat Against Clippers
Other NBA Playoff Highlights
Gm 3: Bucks def. Nets (86-83)
The Milwaukee Bucks’ all-stars finally showed up in Game 3 to get a game back in the series. Khris Middleton (35 points, 15 rebounds) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 points, 14 rebounds) were the only Milwaukee players in double figures. The Nets are still without James Harden, but that could change in Game 4. BKN Leads Series (2-1)
Gm 3: 76ers at Hawks (7:30 pm ET)
Series Tied (1-1)
Gm 3: Suns at Nuggets (10:00 pm ET)
PHX Leads Series (2-0)
USA Today: Jazz Put Clippers on Ropes Again Thanks to Another Huge Donovan Mitchell Game
CBS Sports: Giannis & Middleton Hold Off Nets in Game 3 Thriller
Oklahoma Wins WCWS in Game 3
#1 Oklahoma def. #10 Florida State (5-1) to Win 5th Women’s College Softball World Series
The Sooners are back on top! The No. 1 seed in the WCWS fought back from the losers bracket and out of a 0-1 hole in the best-of-3 series to claim their fifth Women’s College World Series on Thursday. The winner-take-all championship game started with solo HRs from Jocelyn Alo and Jayda Coleman in the 1st and 2nd innings before pitcher Giselle Juarez closed the door with a two-hit outing. Juarez got the last batter of the sixth inning to pop out to the mound before slamming her glove and rejoicing on the infield in front of the Oklahoma City crowd. OU’s fifth title is also their third in the last six years.
Watch: Oklahoma Wins WCWS
USA Today: Oklahoma Beats Florida State to Win Women’s College World Series Championship
SI: Giselle Juarez & Jocelyn Alo Were ‘Just Different’ as Oklahoma Won the National Championship
Vegas Wins 4th Straight to Advance
Stanley Cup Semifinals Set After Vegas Closes Out Colorado on 4-Game Win Streak
The Stanley Cup semifinals are set! The Vegas Golden Knights rounded out the NHL’s final four on Thursday night with their fourth consecutive win to take the series against the Colorado Avalanche (4-2). Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury moved into 4th all-time in playoff victories with his 89th, and Vegas joins the hottest teams in the league with the Stanley Cup on the line — the Canadiens (7 straight), Lightning (5 of last 6) and Islanders (3 straight) are all red-hot entering the semis.
Watch: Golden Knights def. Avalanche (6-3) to Win Series in 6 Games
Stanley Cup Playoffs (Semifinals)
West/North: Golden Knights vs. Canadiens
East/Central: Islanders vs. Lightning
*Semifinal Round Begins Sunday with Islanders at Lightning (3:00 pm ET)
ESPN+: 10 Reasons to Root for the Canadiens, I Guess
NHL: MacKinnon, Matthews & McDavid Named Hart Trophy Finalists
TENNIS: Women’s French Open Final Set
Unranked Barbora Krejcikova and (31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were winners of the women’s semifinals at Roland-Garros on Thursday. They’ll meet in an unprecedented finale on Saturday that doesn’t feature a top-30 player in the draw.
️ MLB: Phillies Walk It Off… Again
One night after Luke Williams’ walk-off home run, the Phillies rallied to score 3 runs in the 10th and get another walk-off against the Braves (4-3, 10). Zack Wheeler had 12 Ks in a brilliant pitching performance before Jean Segura smashed a 2-RBI shot to deep-center for the win.
️ SOCCER: USWNT Blanks Portugal in Friendly
An under-the-radar matchup for the U.S. Women’s National Team saw the United States earn a 1-0 win over Portugal on Thursday. Sam Mewis (’76) scored the only goal of the match as the USA dominated from start to finish — they outshot Portugal (26-4) in the summer tune-up.
The non-waiver trade deadline is exactly 50 days away Thursday, and although GMs and executives don’t believe we’ll see a rash of trades until the final days of July, there appears to be action, even if only 10 teams are eligible for postseason berths compared to 16 a year ago. (USA Today)
NFL Preseason Schedule Release
The NFL has released its full preseason schedule ahead of the 2021 season, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network: Each team has three preseason games this year, with the exception of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys as they will play a fourth against each other in the Hall of Fame Game. (Bleacher Report)
Who Could Cancel the Tokyo Olympics?
The intensity of the standoff between International Olympic Committee officials and the Japanese public over whether this summer’s Tokyo Games should go on as planned was clear recently when IOC member Dick Pound said the event would take place even if Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked that it be canceled. (Wall Street Journal)
College Football Playoff Committee Recommends Expanding Field to 12 Teams With 6 Conference Champions
NFL Players Who Aren’t Vaccinating Speak Out on Hesitancy
Celtics & Kemba Walker Looking to Part Ways This Offseason
Columbus Blue Jackets Hire Former Assistant Brad Larsen as Next Head Coach
Australian Swimmer Drops Out of Olympic Swimming Trials Over ‘Misogynstic Perverts’
The Must-Watch List
Another sports-filled summer weekend is on the horizon. In the next 72 hours, we’ll crown the French Open champs, hit the track for NASCAR’s All-Star Race and kickoff EURO 2020, among other national soccer competitions. Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs continue, and we could see a sweep by Monday morning when we run it back. Enjoy!
French Open (Women’s Final)
(31) A. Pavlyuchenkova vs. B. Krejcikova (Sat. 9:00 am)
French Open (Men’s Semis)
(6) A. Zverev vs. (5) S. Tsitsipas (Fri. 8:50 am)
(1) N. Djokovic vs. (3) R. Nadal (Fri. 11:30 am)
Men’s Singles Final (Sun. TBD)
NASCAR All-Star Race
Texas Motor Speedway (Sun. 6:00 pm)
Soccer (National Teams)
EURO: Turkey vs. Italy (Fri. 3:00 pm)
EURO: Wales vs. Switzerland (Sat. 9:00 am)
EURO: Denmark vs. Finland (Sat. 12:00 pm)
EURO: Belgium vs. Russia (Sat. 3:00 pm)
EURO: England vs. Croatia (Sun. 9:00 am)
EURO: Austria vs. N. Macedonia (Sun. 12:00 pm)
EURO: Netherlands vs. Ukraine (Sun. 3:00 pm)
COPA: Brazil vs. Venezuela (Sun. 5:00 pm)
COPA: Colombia vs. Ecuador (Sun. 8:00 pm)
FRIENDLY: USWNT vs. Jamaica (Sun. 10:00 pm)
Gm 3: 76ers at Hawks (Fri. 7:30 pm)
Gm 3: Suns at Nuggets (Fri. 10:00 pm)
Gm 3: Jazz at Clippers (Sat. 8:30 pm)
Gm 4: Nets at Bucks (Sun. 3:00 pm)
Gm 4: Suns at Nuggets (Sun. 8:00 pm)
Gm 1: Islanders at Lightning (Sun. 3:00 pm)
MLB Regular Season
Storm at Sun (Sun. 2:00 pm)
I. Adesanya vs. M. Vettori 2 (Sat. 10:00 pm)
*All Times Eastern