Mitch's Sports Report: Warriors Top Bulls' Best; Kobe Does Not Go Quietly Into That Good NBA Night
On the season's final day, the Golden State Warriors made history in Oakland, easily beating the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 to set a new NBA record for most wins in a regular season campaign. The Warriors finish the season with seventy-three wins, one better than the 1995-96 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
It's difficult to compare different eras, you have to take into account whether Chicago faced tougher competition when they set the record at 72, but I'm pretty confident in declaring that the best team of all time has now been revealed: It's the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.
Also last night, Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers played the final game of his Hall of Fame career, and if not for what the Warriors did, this would be the game everyone would be talking about because Kobe did not go quietly into that good NBA night. Instead, he turned back the clock, turned up the volume, and poured in sixty points in a 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz before a delirious home crowd at the Staples Center. He rallied the Lakers from 15 points down to win the game, scoring twenty-three of his sixty points in the fourth quarter, and capped off a twenty-season career in a style even Hollywood would reject as a script for not passing the suspension of disbelief test.
And third down on the list of remarkable NBA games last night was an amazing comeback by the Boston Celtics, who fell behind by twenty-six points to the Miami Heat, but came back to win 98-88 in Boston. Isaiah Thomas led the way back with twenty-one points, and with the win the Celts grab the fifth seed in the playoffs, and will face Atlanta in round one of the playoffs.
It's official. The Baltimore Orioles will not go 162-0 this year. The only undefeated team in the majors this season had its streak stopped at seven games last night in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox in Boston. The Sox, meanwhile, picked up their first win at Fenway Park for 2016 and broke their three game losing streak to boot.
Joe Kelly didn't exactly dazzle in his second start for Boston. He gave up seven hits over five innings, including a two-run homer to Chris Davis, but the Boston bullpen was excellent, and Craig Kimbrel atoned for his disastrous outing against Baltimore on Fenway's opening day when Davis took him deep for a three-run blast. This time Kimbrel picked up the save in style, striking out all three batters he faced to give Kelly his first win of the year. Jackie Bradley Jr. provided the winning hit in the fourth inning, driving a ball off the base of the wall in right for a triple that scored Brock Holt all the way from first. Xander Bogaerts had a two-run double in the third for the Red Sox' first two runs.
In Toronto, the Blue Jays beat the NY Yankees 7-2 on the strength of six effective innings by J.A. Happ, who scattered seven hits and gave up just one run while striking out four. Jose Bautista had a two-hit night that included the 800th RBI of his career. Michael Pineda took the loss for New York, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits over six innings.
The New York Mets were trying to break a four-game losing streak after a 2-5 start to the year, and even though it's only April, manager Terry Collins apparently felt stopping that slide was important enough to bring in his closer in the eighth inning to nail down a five-out save. That's unusual, but it worked. Juerys Familia preserved the Mets' 2-1 lead and beat the Miami Marlins by that score. Kevin Plawecki hit a tie-breaking two run single in the seventh for the game winning hit.
In the NHL playoffs the Pittsburgh Penguins were forced to start their back up to the back up goaltender against the NY Rangers in Game one last night, but no problem for Jeff Zatkoff, who made thirty-five saves in the Penguins' 5-2 win. And more bad news for Rangers fans as their star goalie Henrik Lundqvist had to leave the game after taking an inadvertent stick to the eye from his own teammate.
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on a goal by Alex Killorn, and the only goal of the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues was scored in overtime by the Blues' David Backes as the Blues took game one from the Hawks 1-0.