It’s another season, yet it appears to be the same old story for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite having at least two big stars on their team for years now, they haven’t been able to make much of a run in the playoffs. And, unless they turn things around very quickly, that trend is going to continue for another year after they went down to a 2-0 series deficit against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. CJ McCollum had 33 points for the hosts, while Damian Lillard chipped in with 29 of his own as they ran out comfortable 114-94 winners after a dominant second half saw them overturn a slight deficit from early in the game. Russell Westbrook, who has seen this movie plenty of times before, was a rebound shy of a triple-double yet claims his play wasn’t good enough. Apparently not, and now the Thunder have lots of work to do to stay in the playoffs. Paul George led the Thunder with 27 points in the defeat.
Elsewhere in the NBA, a couple of series got squared up as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 111-82 and the Denver Nuggets overcame the San Antonio Spurs 114-105. Kawhi Leonard answered the critics and naysayers with 37 and Kyle Lowry scored 22 after having none in the opener to make it 1-1 out East. Out West, it was the Nuggets, fueled by Jamal Murray’s 21 points and the inspiration of the Clippers’ comeback against the Warriors, that allowed them to come from 19 down to win and even up their series with the Spurs. DeMar DeRozan had 31 points to lead all scorers in the loss.
The Boston Red Sox were already having a torrid time of it to begin the 2019 MLB season. They came into Tuesday’s game with the New York Yankees at 5-12. David Price was 0-3. Those numbers got even worse as the Yankees hammered them 8-0 in Yankee Stadium. All of that despite the fact the Bronx Bombers have a whole platoon out injured currently, further needling the Red Sox. The home team got 12 strikeouts from pitcher James Paxton in eight stellar innings and as a team held their rivals to just three hits in the entire game. Rookie Mike Tauchman had four RBIs with a double and a three-run homer in the victory in the first game between the age-old rivals this season.
The seemingly impossible frequently happens in baseball, so much so that the term “it’s baseball” is used to explain strange things. Maybe “it’s hockey” should start to catch on, too, especially after the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Tampa Bay Lightning out of the first round of the NHL Playoffs on Tuesday. Their 7-3 win saw them win the series 4-0, but the most impressive part is that they did it against the best team we had seen this season. The Lightning had tied the NHL record for most games won, yet they couldn’t win a single postseason game. Furthermore, the ‘slip’ came against a team that had never won a playoff series previously.