Finals, Firsts & Fights

July 9, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

Finals weekend is upon us in the NBA, Wimbledon, Euros and Copa America. We’ll crown at least four champions by Monday morning, along with a Saturday night trilogy fight you won’t want to miss. T-minus two weeks to Olympics. The scorching hot summer of sports is just getting started, and the Suns are lighting the fire.

Letter Rip!



Game 2: Suns Catch Fire in Title Chase

Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Suns def. Bucks in Game 2 (118-108) & Take 2-0 Lead in Finals Despite Antetokounmpo’s 42 Points


Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything he could in Game 2 to prevent the Suns from taking a commanding lead in the series, but it still wasn’t enough. The reigning MVP poured in 42 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 68 percent from the field, but Phoenix was firing from 3-point range early on. They shot 50 percent from deep (20-for-40) and dominated the second quarter (30-16) to extend the lead. Devin Booker (31 pts) and Chris Paul (23 pts) were sensational once again, but Mikal Bridges (27 pts) was the x-factor in Game 2. It’s Phoenix with a two-game lead heading back to Milwaukee, and the Bucks are up against the ropes.


Watch: Suns-Bucks Game 2 Highlights


NBA Finals Schedule

Gm 3: Suns at Bucks (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

FOX Sports: Suns’ 3-Point Shooting Burns Bucks in Game 2

CBS Sports: Suns Shoot Past Bucks, Hold Off Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 2



Wimbledon: Women’s Finals Set

Photo: Julian Finney / Getty Images

(1) Ash Barty & (8) Karolina Pliskova Meet for Wimbledon Crown; Men’s Semifinals in Play This Morning


The women’s final is set at Wimbledon. (1) Ash Barty knocked off (25) Angelique Kerber in straight sets Thursday morning shortly after (8) Karolina Pliskova rallied to defeat (2) Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. The finals matchup pits two players on different paths who have never reached the finals at Wimbledon. The 25-year-old Barty — the World No. 1 — is still searching for her second major title. Her first came at the French Open in 2019. Pliskova, on the other hand, has a chance to reclaim her place in the women’s singles heirarchy after a multi-year slump. She was once the No. 1 player in the world, but has yet to win a major championship. Her only major finals appearance came in 2016 (U.S. Open) where she lost to Kerber.


It’s the red-hot Australian eyeing her second major vs. the comeback Czech who’s waited far too long. The women’s final takes Centre Court Saturday morning.


Women’s Semifinal Highlights

(1) A. Barty def. (25) A. Kerber (6-3, 7-6)

(8) K. Pliskova def. (2) A. Sabalenka (5-7, 6-4, 6-4)


Men’s Semifinal Schedule (Today)

(7) M. Berrettini vs. (14) H. Hurkacz (Fri. 8:30 am ET)

(1) N. Djokovic vs. (10) D. Shapovalov (Fri. 10:30 am ET)


Final Schedules

W: (1) A. Barty vs. (8) K. Pliskova (Sat. TBD)

M: TBD (Sun. TBD)


Additional Storylines

ESPN: Ash Barty A Win Away From Realizing Childhood Dream at Wimbledon

Yahoo!: Djokovic Set to Rule Over Wimbledon’s Young Pretenders


UFC 264

The Trilogy: Poirier vs. McGregor 3

Photo: Jeff Bottari / Getty Images

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 3: Saturday (10:00 pm ET, PPV)


The lightweight trilogy fight has finally arrived. UFC 264 brings a monumental main event to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when Conor McGregor (22-5-0) and Dustin Poirier (27-6-0) face off for the third time. McGregor dominated the featherweight bout in 2014 with a TKO in less than two minutes, but it was Poirier — who waited six-plus years for his revenge — who scored a 2nd-round TKO back in January. Following that stunning upset, Poirier pushed for the trilogy fight for a chance at the lightweight title. The third tiebreaking fight is next.


Lightweight Belt in Limbo

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired back in March, leaving the lightweight title belt vacant.


Odds in UFC 264

D. Poirier (-130) | C. McGregor (+110)


UFC 264 Main Card

Sean O’Malley vs. Kris Moutinho

Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya

Tai Tuivasa vs. Greg Hardy

Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor


UFC 264: Saturday (10:00 pm ET, PPV)


Additional Storylines

Watch: UFC 264 Pre-Fight Press Conference Highlights

CBS Sports: UFC 264 Picks: Fellow Fighters, Celebrities Make Their Predictions for McGregor-Poirier 3



⚾️ MLB: Padres Pull Off Improbable Comeback

Brace yourself for this one. The Nationals led the Padres (8-0) in the 4th inning before reliever Daniel Camarena ripped a grand slam — for his first career hit! — to spark a San Diego comeback. The Padres clawed back to tie it at 8-all before Trent Grisham smacked a walk-off single to plate Tommy Pham (9-8). The eight-run comeback is the largest in the majors this season.


🚴♂️ TDF: Nils Politt Wins Stage 12 of Tour de France

After a full two weeks of experienced riders winning the stages, a newcomer grabs the spotlight. Germany’s Nils Politt won his first career stage of the Tour de France by breaking away from a 13-rider pack at the front of the stage on Thursday. Politt won the stage by 31 seconds, but it’s Tadej Pogacar who still holds the overall lead.


🏆 BEE: Zaila Avant-Garde Wins National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee took place Thursday night in Orlando, and the winner is nothing short of a superstar. Zaila Avant-Garde, a 14-year-old Louisiana native, became the first African-American winner of the event. She’s also a basketball prodigy with three Guinness World Records related to juggling and dribbling. Amazing.



⚽️  Before England Could Celebrate, It Had to Suffer

Even victory, even vindication is not free from suffering. For more than half a century, England has known nothing but pain, disappointment and regret. A 55-year wait for a place in a major final was always going to be agonizing. The final step did not disappoint. (NY Times)


🏒Are the Lightning a Modern-Day Dynasty?

The Tampa Bay Lightning have long been the best team in the salary cap era but didn’t have much to show for it until last year. They won the President’s Trophy in 2019 and they regularly went deep into the postseason, including the Cup Final in 2015 and Eastern Conference Final in 2016 and 2018. (Bleacher Report)


🎾Don’t Push Tennis Legends Into Retirement

There is only one sport where a player can still be in the top fraction of the top one percent in the world and be asked every day when they’re going to retire. Tennis is going to regret the ubiquitous notion that it’s time for Roger Federer and Serena Williams to go, just because they stopped winning grand slams. (USA Today)



The Must-Watch List

No stopping now! The July sports sprint stretches into Week 2 with just two weeks until the Olympics. We’ve got more NBA Finals, Wimbledon wrap-ups, and a buffet of international soccer. We’re also watching UFC 264’s highly-anticipated trilogy match between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. We’ll recap the highlights on Monday before the MLB’s All-Star break and the smash-fest that is the Home Run Derby. Enjoy the weekend!


NBA Finals

Gm 3: Suns at Bucks (Sun. 9:00 pm)


UFC 264

McGregor vs. Poirier 3 (Sat. 10:00 pm)


Wimbledon (Men’s Semifinals)

(7) M. Berrettini vs. (14) H. Hurkacz (Fri. 8:30 am ET)

(1) N. Djokovic vs. (10) D. Shapovalov (Fri. 10:30 am ET)

*Men’s Final: TBD (Sun. TBD)


Wimbledon (Women’s Final)

(1) A. Barty vs. (8) K. Pliskova (Sat. TBD)


Euro Final

England vs. Italy (Sun. 3:00 pm)


Copa America Final

Argentina vs. Brazil (Sat. 8:00 pm)



El Salvador vs. Curacao (Sat. 5:00 pm)

Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago (Sat. 10:00 pm)

Canada vs. Martinique (Sun. 6:30 pm)

United States vs. Haiti (Sun. 8:30 pm)



Yankees-Astros Series

Nationals-Giants Series

Cubs-Cardinals Series

Phillies-Red Sox Series


Tour de France

Stages 13-15 (Friday-Sunday)


*All Times Eastern