Greetings sports fans, it's Chris Bengel. I certainly hope you're having a better morning than I am. The Philadelphia 76ers ripped my heart out of my chest last night.
Sadly, being a Philadelphia sports fans has prepared me for moments like this and it's something that I'm all too familiar with. This one does feel a little bit different, considering that the Sixers had nearly 20-point leads in Games 4 and 5 and let those games get away. Now, the franchise will be forced to make some big decisions as to whether they'll break up their talented core. With Game 7 in the books, I'd expect to hear lots of "trade Ben Simmons" chatter -- and rightfully so.
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Anyway, enough about my misery. With all the chaos in the sports world, let's not waste any more time and get to the news!
📰 What you need to know
1. Hawks upset Sixers, advance to Eastern Conference Finals 🏀
NBA fans were treated to a pair of Game 7s over the weekend and both took place in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks were able to outlast the Brooklyn Nets in overtime in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Then, on Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks did the impossible and came away with a 103-96 win in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers to advance.
Hawks star Trae Young has been the straw that stirs the drink throughout much of the series. However, he had his fair share of struggles in Game 7 as he missed 18 of his 23 field goal attempts. Enter former first round pick Kevin Huerter.
Huerter rose to the occasion with a 27-point performance while also secured seven rebounds. Overall, Seth Curry and many of the Sixers struggled to stick close to Huerter and Philadelphia ended up paying for it.
CBS Sports NBA writer Sam Quinn took a closer look at the Hawks' triumph in his takeaways from the contest.
- On what's next for Ben Simmons: "Maybe Simmons can be salvaged on another team. Maybe he needs more shooting around him, or a less ball-dominant center, or the right coach, or simply a change of scenery. We'll probably learn the answers to those questions in the coming months and years. But the 76ers were a No. 1 seed playing against a team with almost no playoff experience ... That they managed to still lose this series should be a referendum on the idea that Simmons and Joel Embiid can win a championship together."
- On Huerter stepping up for the Hawks: "So naturally, Huerter went out and shot 10-of-18 from the field in the biggest game of his career. He drew the biggest foul of the night and pulled down seven rebounds. He even helped get Seth Curry into foul trouble, and in that sense, is responsible for the 76ers playing 17 full minutes without, yes, I'm going to say this, their second-best player."
Like I said from the top, Philly has some enormous decisions to make following this loss. Has the process completely failed? Has Ben Simmons played his final game with the Sixers? We'll have to wait and see while fans like me mourn.
2. Jon Rahm sinks clutch putts to win first career major at U.S. Open ⛳
Golf's majors always produce some of the most intoxicating theater that the sports world has to offer. This past weekend's U.S. Open definitely was no different.
Jon Rahm won the U.S. Open with a final-round 4-under 67, which tied the lowest round of the week. The Spanish golfer finished off his performance at Torrey Pines with a 6-under 278 when it was all said and done. Coincidentally, Rahm captured his first win on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines back in 2017 and Sunday marked his first major title since joining the PGA Tour.
This win did not come without drama for Rahm. He was chasing down Louis Oosthuizen and came through with birdies on the final two holes to pass him. You really should watch the pair of clutch putts Rahm pulled out on 17 and 18.
CBS Sports golf scribe Kyle Porter wrote about how Rahm broke away from the pack to win the U.S. Open before it was even over.
- Porter: "Great champions always put on a cloak of inevitability at some point in majors like this one. After Rahm guided the putt on No. 17 right into the heart, the entire thing felt over despite Oosthuizen being tied with a few holes still to play. Patrons up and down the 72nd were treating Rahm as if he were already the champion, and it felt -- though we didn't exactly know how -- that he would emerge with the trophy."
It was truly special to see Rahm come away with his first major title just weeks after being forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test. Rahm was able to finish the job this time around, and seeing him hold his newborn son as he finished up No. 18 -- on Father's Day -- was a great sight.
3. Devin Booker dominates as Suns take Game 1 of Western Conference Finals 🏀
The Western Conference Finals got underway on Sunday as the Phoenix Suns came away with a 120-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The opening game of the series lacked quite a bit of star power, as Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard and Suns star guard Chris Paul were out. Leonard is still dealing with a knee injury and Paul is currently in COVID-19 protocols.
But Paul not being on the floor didn't seem to affect Suns star Devin Booker too much. He finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists while knocking down three shots from beyond the arc. In doing so, Booker became the first Suns player since Steve Nash back in 2005 to register a triple-double in the playoffs. Booker was able to get just about any shot he wanted and absolutely torched the Clippers.
Our NBA scribe Jasmyn Wimbish broke down what allowed the Suns to come away with a huge win in Game 1 with her takeaways of the contest. Spoiler alert: Booker's scoring clinic was among one of her main takeaways.
- On Booker's offensive dominance: "They ran a high screen and roll, and Booker got to his spot at the elbow and knocked down mid-range jumpers left and right. It felt like he took 100 of those shots today, and every time you knew it was coming. Yet the Clippers couldn't do anything to stop it."
- On what needs to change for the Clippers: "Adjustments will certainly need to be made on the defensive end for the Clippers. But as far as offense goes, it can't be completely up to George to carry this team every game. Morris and Batum need to knock down shots. Rondo needs to be more of a factor rather than just playing spot minutes. Perhaps we see more of DeMarcus Cousins in this series after putting up 11 points in five minutes early in the game. Whatever it is, if L.A.'s role players don't show up, this could be a very short series."
It still boggles my mind that there were 12 players selected ahead of Booker in the 2015 NBA Draft. Booker is one of the more talented scorers that the NBA has to offer. On this big stage, the world is truly getting to see that just how great he is.
4. Winners and losers from the weekend in MLB ⚾
Major League Baseball had its fair share of exciting action over the weekend, with everything from walk-off grand slams to Shohei Ohtani long balls to a game-ending triple play. Division races are really beginning to come into clearer view and we're starting to see the contenders separating themselves from the pretenders.
Two of our best baseball minds here at CBS Sports, Katherine Acquavella and Stephen Pianovich, weighed in on some of baseball's top winners and losers from the weekend's action. Here's a glimpse at what they came up with:
- Winner: Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor -- "Lindor has begun to emerge from his early season slump ... On Saturday, he recorded his first multi-home run effort with the Mets with a pair of two-run jobs. He took Nats starter Joe Ross deep with a runner on in the first and fifth innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Lindor had five RBI and scored twice in the Mets' 5-1 win. The five RBI were his most since his career-high seven for Cleveland on July 2, 2018."
- Loser: Arizona Diamondbacks -- "Things went from bad to worse for the Diamondbacks this weekend. On Thursday, the D-Backs set a mark in historic MLB futility with their 23rd consecutive road loss. Arizona now owns the longest road-game losing streak in MLB history. Not exactly the record you want to be recognized for."
My biggest winner would likely be Ohtani and the fact that MLB fans are going to get to see him mash home runs at Coors Field for the Home Run Derby. Ohtani has blossomed into arguably the most exciting player that baseball has to offer. It's not every day that we see a player that can pitch and hit and excel in both avenues. Whenever Ohtani comes up to bat, I find myself glued to the television screen and it's going to be a treat to watch the dual-threat sensation slug homers.
📝 Odds & Ends
- During Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers, Shohei Ohtani blasted his 23rd home run of the season, which was also the 70th of his career. In doing so, Ohtani became just the third player in MLB history to hit 70 home runs and record 100 career strikeouts as a pitcher
- The Yankees also made history as they completed the first game-ending triple play since 1967. In addition, it was the first unassisted triple play since 2009, when the Philadelphia Phillies turned one.
- Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is expected to commit to playing for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics next month
📺 What to watch tonight
🏒 Islanders vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. | TB -185 | TV: NBCSN
⚾ Cleveland vs. Cubs, 8:05 p.m. | CHI -135 | TV: MLB.TV
⚾ Dodgers vs. Padres, 10:10 p.m. I SD -125 I TV: ESPN
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
Father's Day was a little bit more special for University of Virginia catcher Logan Michaels. Michaels hit his first home run of the season in Virginia's 6-0 win over Tennessee in the College World Series. The Cavaliers catcher's home run was even more special because his father was in attendance for the game.
Michaels' father is a three-year pancreatic cancer survivor and a fan that caught the home run ball actually made sure that Michaels' father received the ball. You can't draw up a better Father's Day gift than that.