The first upset of the 2019 NBA Playoffs took place on Sunday as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 4-3 by taking Game 7 in Denver by a score of 100-96. That came after they had trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half as well, highlighting a resolve and fight in their team that just isn’t present in most at that stage. CJ McCollum, who has played second or even third fiddle all season long, came up with the goods, pouring in 37 points, including some big baskets down the stretch, to help them advance to face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The #2 seed Nuggets got a typically strong and consistent performance from center Nikola Jokic, who contributed to the losing cause with 29 points and 13 rebounds. This was perhaps their best chance at making a run, so this will sting a little seeing as how they lost at home. But there’s always next year.
In the other Game 7, being played across the continent in Toronto, the Raptors got themselves over the line and into the Eastern Conference Finals after a thrilling conclusion that saw Kawhi Leonard rise up and drain an impossible looking shot that bounced on the rim for seemingly ages to seal a 92-90 victory in what had been a downright ugly affair offensively. Little to not real spark was to be found, and it was the Toronto bench, led by Serge Ibaka that had helped pull the Raptors away a bit. But just as things looked to be settled, Jimmy Butler and the Philadelphia 76ers came back into it. Butler would somehow tie the game up with just over four seconds remaining, fighting back from a deficit that had looked inescapable just a couple of minutes prior. But with the ball in his hands, Leonard showed he’s a true world class superstar in draining the most vital two points of his career, part of 41 in total, and booking a series with the Milwaukee Bucks in the process.
After 38 games that took course from August to May, Manchester City finally defended the Premier League title on Sunday afternoon in what was the very last game of the season. City came into the day one point ahead, meaning that they needed to simply win in order to fend of Liverpool, no matter what their challengers did. Liverpool scored the first goal against Wolves and then got great news as City went behind to Brighton. However, it wouldn’t last long as City responded with Sergio Aguero and then three others scoring to give them a 1-4 win. Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolves proved to not be enough in a remarkable season that saw them become the only team to not win the league with over 90 points.