May 4, Week in Sports
:: Boston Celtics Top Bulls in Game Seven (Pro. Basketball)
:: ‘Mine That Bird’ Surprise Winner at Kentucky Derby (Horse Racing)
:: Manny Pacquiao Destroys Ricky Hatton in Two Rounds (Boxing)
BULL FIGHTERS: CELTICS ADVANCE TO ROUND TWO
The Boston Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls by a score of 109-99 in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series. Sports writers and fans alike are calling it the greatest first-round playoff series of all-time.
The series was incredibly close, with seven overtime periods played in the first six games. Game 7 was not nearly as tight, though it was by no means a blowout. The Celtics took control in the second quarter of the game, at one point going on a 20-2 run against the Bulls. Ray Allen, who dropped 51 points on the Bulls in Game 6 of the series, followed up that deadly performance with 23 points for the Celtics in Game 7. Ben Gordon led all scorers with 33 points, but it wasn’t enough for the young Chicago Bulls.
The Celtics will now advance to play the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs. Though they stand a chance of beating the Magic, even the most die-hard Celtics fans suspect that this team’s days in the post-season are numbered–especially given the looming Conference Finals matchup with the powerhouse Cleveland Cavaliers.
Quote of the Week: “Call it Game 7, call it Round 15, call it whatever you want. Just remember to call it the greatest first-round series ever played.” — Bill Simmons, ESPN.com
Further Reading: “Close not good enough for Chicago Bulls” — Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune
‘MINE THAT BIRD’ OVERCOMES THE ODDS
On Saturday afternoon, Mine That Bird shocked the world by winning the Kentucky Derby. Mine That Bird’s victory was the second-biggest upset in the 135-year history of the Derby, which is the first leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing.
Mine That Bird entered the race as a long-shot, to say the least, with odds at 50-1. The only bigger upset was in 1913, when Donerail won the race. Mine That Bird’s jockey, Calvin Borel, turned in a brilliant performance on Saturday, guiding his underdog gelding to an easy victory over the rest of the field. This is Borel’s second Derby win, having won the race with Street Sense in 2007. While Mine That Bird’s victory inspired the crowds at Churchill Downs, nobody was more excited than the horse’s trainer, Bennie Woolley Jr. This was Woolley Jr.’s first time running a horse in the Kentucky Derby.
While it turned out to be a great day for horse racing, the event got off to a bad start. Earlier in the day, the Derby favorite, I Want Revenge, was scratched from the race after his trainer discovered that the horse had a swollen left ankle. Several other horses had pulled out of the race earlier in the week, as well. In the end, though, no horses were killed in this year’s main race–bringing sighs of relief from horse racing enthusiasts, after last year’s tragic death of filly Eight Belles.
Quote of the Week: ”Really and truly, you’ve got me surprised. But the horse is in the Derby for a reason.” — Calvin Borel, Jockey
Further Reading: “Mine That Bird Uses Shortest Route to Win Derby ” — Joe Drape, New York Times
PACMAN REMAINS POUND-FOR-POUND KING
Manny Pacquiao annihilated Ricky Hatton on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in one of the biggest fights so far in 2009. Though Pacquiao was the favorite, it was a highly anticipated fight, and many expected it to be much closer than it was.
With this victory, Pacquiao solidified his reputation as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He dismantled Hatton very early in the fight, knocking “the Hitman” down twice in the first round. In the second round, PacMan delivered a huge, vicious left that knocked Hatton out cold. Hatton, who went to the hospital for brainscans after the fight, later claimed that he never even saw the punch coming. This comes as a devastating loss to Hatton, who is certainly no slouch in the ring and was once considered one of the most feared boxers in the world, before his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December of 2007. Meanwhile, with Pacquiao’s victory against junior welterweight Hatton, he has now won titles in six weight classes–tying a record set by Oscar de la Hoya.
Earlier on Saturday night, former undisputed pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced that he was returning to the ring, after retiring almost a year ago. Mayweather will fight Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18, and should he win, he would face Pacquiao in the fall. If that matchup were to actually take place, it would be, by far, the most anticipated boxing match in recent history.
Quote of the Week: ”I guess I just missed boxing. Somebody’s got to keep the sport up and running. Why not me?” — Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Further Reading: “Dominant Pacquiao drops Hatton in 2nd ” — Associated Press, via ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: PRO. BASKETBALL: The NBA playoffs continue this week. Check out the schedule at www.nba.com.
:: HOCKEY: The Stanley Cup playoffs continue this week. The most anticipated series of round 2 is between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. The schedule is available at www.nhl.com.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The 2009 season is underway, and it runs through October. [Official MLB Website]
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 NBA playoffs are currently underway. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): “The Tournament” is now over. The University of North Carolina won the 2009 national championship over Michigan State. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): Now that the NFL Draft is over, things will be relatively quiet until training camp begins in the middle of July. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now over, with Florida defeating Oklahoma in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. The next Major Championship is the U.S. Open. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Stanley Cup playoffs are currently underway. [Official NHL Website]
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. The next event is the French Open, which takes place in May. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic