Finals of Fire

June 5, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back

The first weekend in June brought a smorgasboard of sports. Both NBA and NHL Finals are in full gear. Manchester City is one step closer to the treble. History was made on the LPGA Tour. And the French Open is on the brink of the quarterfinals. We have it all to kickstart a week full of underdogs, playoffs and special features.

After a weekend with 100-plus games, matches, and competition, we\’ll do our best to recap the top moments.

Letter Rip!


Game 2: Heat Fire Back

Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Heat Get Hot in 4th, Survive Game of Runs & Jokic’s 41 Points for Series-Tying Game 2 Win (111-108)

We have a series! The Heat bounced back in Game 2 of the NBA Finals to beat the Nuggets in a back-and-forth game of runs on Sunday night in Denver. Miami jumped out to an early lead (10-2) before Denver took over and went on a 33-9 run. The Nuggets\’ advantage ballooned to double digits in the third before the Heat struck fast to open the fourth quarter with an 18-2 spurt courtesy of Duncan Robinson’s 10-point stretch. Suddenly, the Heat were up double digits with a few minutes left, but it was Denver\’s turn to come roaring back. The Nuggets got another 11-2 run down the stretch to pull within 3, and Jamal Murray’s game-tying 3 caught iron as time expired (111-108).

For the first time all postseason, the Nuggets surrendered a home game. It\’s Miami\’s mountain, and we’re all even heading back to Florida for Game 3.

Game 2: A Game of Runs

1Q: Miami (10-2)

1Q-2Q: Denver (33-9)

4Q: Miami (18-2)

4Q: Denver (11-2)

Home-Court Streak Snapped: Game 2 was the Nuggets’ first home loss of the playoffs, and the first loss at Ball Arena since March 30 dating back to the regular season.

Heat-Check: Miami shot 48.6 percent from 3-point range (17-for-35) in Game 2. That’s a 15 percent increase from Game 1 where poor shooting plagued the Heat.

Game 1 Stat Leaders

N. Jokic (DEN): 41 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists

G. Vincent (MIA): 23 points

J. Butler (MIA): 21 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists

B. Adebayo (MIA): 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

J. Murray (DEN): 18 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists

Watch: Heat Hold Off Nuggets in Game 2 (111-108)

NBA Finals Schedule

Gm 3: Nuggets at Heat (Wed. 8:30 pm ET) | Series Tied (1-1)

Read More

FOX Sports: Heat Hold Off Late Nuggets Rally, Even Finals at 1-1

Sporting News: Nuggets Fall Flat in 4th as Heat Level Series 1-1



Vegas Cuts First

Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Golden Knights Beat Panthers With 3rd-Period Runaway in Game 1 (5-2)

The first-hand goes to the dealer, but there are still chips on the table. The Golden Knights beat the Panthers Saturday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a third-period blitz. The series-opener was tied 2-2 after two periods. It should’ve been 3-2 in favor of Florida, but Vegas goaltender Adin Hill made the save of the series in the second period. Vegas scored three in an 11-minute stretch of the third, including Mark Stone’s stellar steal-to-wrister that made it 4-2 inside seven minutes, effectively icing Game 1.

A late scuffle led to the ejections of Matthew Tkachuk and two others, giving the Golden Knights a four-minute power play to find goal number five.

Heroic Hill: The Vegas net-protector’s .938 save percentage in his first postseason run ranks first among this year’s playoff goaltenders. The best career-long playoff save percentage belongs to Tim Thomas (.933). Needless to say, Hill\’s efforts have made Vegas borderline unbeatable.

Game 1 Stat Leaders

S. Theodore (VGK): 1 goal, 1 assist

J. Eichel (VGK): 2 assists

A. Hill (VGK): 33 saves

Watch: Golden Knights Beat Panthers in Game 1 (5-2)

Stanley Cup Finals

Gm 2: Panthers at Golden Knights (Tonight, 8:00 pm ET)

Read More

ESPN: Stanley Cup Final 2023: What We Learned in Game 1

Yahoo! Sports: Golden Knights Know From Experience, Game 1 Victory Doesn’t Ensure Stanley Cup Finals



A Debut to Remember

Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

20-Year-Old Rose Zhang Wins LPGA Debut; Viktor Hovland Steals Memorial Tournament With Late Surge

Not one, but two golf stories surfaced from Sunday in the PGA and LPGA. Viktor Hovland won his first tournament of the year with a four-stroke Sunday comeback while LPGA rookie Rose Zhang made history as the first player to win her debut tournament in 72 years.

LPGA: Zhang Makes Debut History

Rose Zhang won the NCAA golf tournament less than two weeks ago for Stanford, and she wasted little time getting her first win on the LPGA Tour. Zhang conquered Liberty National Golf Course with a 9-under playoff victory on Sunday just 13 days after winning the NCAA title. The 20-year-old Zhang is the first women’s golfer to win in her first appearance on the LPGA Tour since 1951 (Beverly Hanson). The LPGA just added a star.

PGA: Hovland Rallies to Take Memorial

Viktor Hovland (-7) rallied on Sunday at Muirfield Village to beat out Scottie Scheffler (-6) and Denny McCarthy (-7) and win The Memorial Tournament. Rory McIlroy (-3) began Sunday with the lead while Hovland was four strokes back. McIlroy faltered, Scheffler surged, but Hovland birdied the 17th to force a playoff with McCarthy before capitalizing and claiming his fourth career PGA Tour win (1st of 2023).

Read More

SB Nation: Tiger Woods Praises Rose Zhang’s Performance in LPGA Debut

PGA: Mature Viktor Hovland Wins Memorial Tournament With Clutch Late-Putting



Treble 2/3 Complete

Photo: James Gill / Getty Images

Manchester City Tops Manchester United in FA Cup Final (2-1) to Complete 2/3 of Historic Treble

That’s two! Manchester City won the Premier League with two weeks to spare, and now they’ve captured the FA Cup. Only the Champions League remains. City beat their rivals Manchester United on Saturday (2-1) thanks to Ilkay Gundogan’s brace (1’, 51’). Gundogan ripped a one-timer from outside the box just 15 seconds into the match for the fastest goal ever scored in FA Cup history.

Watch: City def. United in All-Manchester FA Cup Final (2-1)

City have won the Premier League. They’ve conquered England. Now, the undisputed title for Europe’s best awaits. Only nine clubs have ever won their league, domestic cup and European crown in the same season. Can City become the 10th?

Manchester City Treble Quest

  • Premier League (Won)
  • FA Cup (Won)
  • UCL: Man. City vs. Inter (Sat. 3:00 pm ET)

Read More

ESPN: Man City’s FA Cup Makes Treble Triumph Look Inevitable

UEFA: What Teams Have Won a Treble? Man City Closing in on Remarkable Feat



 French Open (3rd & 4th Rounds)

M: #1 C. Alcaraz def. #17 L. Musetti (6-3, 6-2, 6-2)

M: #3 N. Djokovic def. J. Varillas (6-3, 6-2, 6-2)

M: #5 S. Tsitsipas def. S. Ofner (7-5, 6-3, 6-0)

M: #4 C. Ruud def. Z. Zhang (6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4)

W: #1 I. Swiatek def. X. Wang (6-0, 6-0)

W: #28 E. Mertens def. #3 J. Pegula (6-1, 6-3)

W: #7 O. Jabeur def. O. Danilovic (4-6, 6-4, 6-2)

W: #2 A. Sabalenka def. S. Stephens (7-6, 6-4)

W: #6 C. Gauff def. M. Andreeva (7-6, 6-1, 6-1)


Braves Top D-Backs on Eddie Rosario’s Grand Slam (8-5)

Marlins’ Luis Arraez Has 5-Hit Game, Raises Avg. to .390

Nats’ Stephen Strasburg Shut Down With Nerve Damage

Liam Hendriks Gets 1st White Sox Win Since Return from Cancer


Breanna Stewart Hits Game-Winner for Liberty Over Sky (77-76)

Aces Stay Perfect With 6-0 Start After Beating Fever (84-80)

 Formula 1

Max Verstappen Tops Lewis Hamilton in Spanish GP





Today\’s Must-Watch List

Stanley Cup Finals

Gm 2: Panthers at Golden Knights (8:00 pm ET)

French Open

M: #6 H. Rune vs. #23 F. Cerundolo (6:15 am ET)

W: #1 I. Swiatek vs. L. Tsurenko (8:15 am ET)

W: #6 C. Gauff vs. A. Schiedlova (8:15 am ET)


Rays at Red Sox (4:05 pm ET)

Astros at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)

Cardinals at Rangers (8:05 pm ET)
Cubs at Padres (9:10 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter\’s Must-Watch Calendar