Greetings sports fans, it's Chris Bengel back again to bring you the latest happenings in the sports world.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day and had a chance to spend lots of time with their families. I also hope everyone had a chance to reflect on why we celebrate Memorial Day and thought about those that lost their lives fighting for the simple freedoms that we enjoy.
Let's take a look at what's happening on this Tuesday morning.
📰 What you need to know
1. The Maple Leafs complete another playoff collapse
The Maple Leafs have not gotten out of the opening round of the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. It looked like that was going to change this year, as they held a commanding 3-1 lead in their opening round series against the Canadiens at one point.
- Brendan Gallagher, Corey Perry, and Tyler Toffoli each registered a goal for the Canadiens
- Veteran Eric Staal also dished out a pair of assists in the win
- With the win, the Canadiens will face the Jets in the next round
As for the Leafs, the deck certainly became stacked against them when they lost captain John Tavares to a concussion and knee injury in Game 1. Tavares missed the ensuing six games as a result. The Maple Leafs were also forced to play Game 7 without defenseman Jake Muzzin, who left Game 6 with a suspected groin injury.
Here's a deeper look at the Leafs' collapse and what it means for the franchise:
- Games 5 and 6 were so close: It was a very tight series that forced the Canadiens to win Games 5 and 6 in overtime in order to force a Game 7. Toronto had outscored Montreal, 12-4, in the first four games of the series and their only loss in those came in a 2-1 defeat in Game 1
- Championship drought hits 54 years: With the loss, the Maple Leafs' Stanley Cup drought was extended to 54 seasons. Toronto last hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup during the 1966-67 season when they defeated -- you guessed it -- the Canadiens, 4-2, in the Stanley Cup Finals. In addition, the Maple Leafs haven't been able to get past the Conference Finals since that fateful 1966-67 campaign
- Fifth straight first-round loss: To their credit, the Maple Leafs have made the playoffs every year since the 2016-17 campaign. But the issue is that they can't win once they get there. They've lost three straight first-round series starting in 2016-17 -- including two Game 7 losses to the Bruins. After those two losses, the Leafs lost in the qualifying round of last year's playoffs
2. Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open 🎾
If you are watching the French Open, you will notice that one of the biggest names on the women's side isn't in the tournament. That's because on Monday, Naomi Osaka announced that she is withdrawing from the French Open.
In a statement released on social media, Osaka cited her mental health as a major reason for stepping away from the game at the moment. Osaka also referred to the conclusion of the 2018 US Open final against Serena Williams as a tough obstacle for her to overcome (that was when Osaka won her first Gland Slam after Williams received three code violations, including a game penalty, during the final set.)
Prior to the French Open getting underway, Osaka had said that he planned to skip every post-match press conference in order to protect her mental health. Following her opening round match win against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday, Osaka stuck to that statement and was fined $15,000 for skipping a press conference.
Here's a rundown of what Osaka said in her statement regarding her huge decision.
- Osaka: "I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris"
- Osaka: "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that"
- French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton: "The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year. As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes' well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players' experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do.
3. Fans continue to act out during NBA playoffs 🏀
Since NBA arenas have been increasing capacity levels lately, there have been several fans that haven't exactly been on their best behavior. Last week, a 76ers fan dumped popcorn on Wizards star Russell Westbrook and Hawks star Trae Young was spit at.
On Monday, a fan attempted to run onto the court at Capital One Arena during Game 4 between the Sixers and Wizards.
- He was tackled by security on the baseline before reaching the court
- The fan has been banned from the arena
- D.C. police will be pursuing charges against the fan
Over the weekend, during Game 4 between the Nets and Celtics, yet another fan was unruly and tossed a water battle at Kyrie Irving. Once the fan was identified, he was arrested and now faces a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The fan was banned for life from TD Garden for his actions.
After that incident at TD Garden, Kevin During stuck up for his teammate and sent a message to people attending playoff games.
- Durant: "But we're not animals, we're human beings ... Grow the f-- up and enjoy the game. It's bigger than you."
I think that lines have been crossed and all of the recent behavior from fans is downright unacceptable. Booing opposing players is understandable and fine, but it's awful to hurl objects or spit on players. Nothing -- including buying a ticket to a game -- gives fans the right to act like that.
4. Who is the best golfer in the world? ⛳
With the PGA Championship in the rearview mirror, the golf landscape is completely wide open. Phil Mickelson winning the PGA Championship was a phenomenal story and many were excited to see him come away with one of the biggest victories of his career.
However, Mickelson obviously isn't the best golfer in the world. Who is?
CBS Sports golf scribe Kyle Porter broke down which golfers could potentially be in the running for the best golfer in the world, but admitted that there isn't one right now. Here's who he did say is in the conversation:
- Jon Rahm
- Jordan Speith
- Colin Morikawa
For a more in-depth take, here's what Porter wrote about that above group of three.
Porter: "If you made me pick somebody, I'd probably go with Rahm, who has seven top 10s in 11 appearances worldwide in 2021. I could also be convinced to choose Spieth, who is No. 1 in the Sagarin rankings over the last four months and has the best strokes-gained number in the world when looking at every period from six months inward. I would also consider Collin Morikawa, who is gaining over 2.0 strokes per round from tee to green this year (the only golfer who's doing that) and could have won about four events with a putter approaching average. But I don't feel fantastic about any of these choices, which is sort of the point"
📝 Odds & Ends
- The NFL is likely aiming for an 18-game regular season schedule
- Lakers star Anthony Davis likely won't play in Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns. Davis suffered a hyperextended right groin in Game 4 on Sunday
- It appears that social media influencer Jake Paul has his next opponent tabbed. According to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, Paul will box former UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. The date, venue, and rule set have yet to be announced
📺 What to watch tonight
🏀 Celtics vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m. | BKN -12.5 | TV: TNT
🏒 Lightning vs. Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m. I O/U 5.5 I TV: NBCSN
🏀 Lakers vs. Suns, 10 p.m. I PHX -200 I TV: TNT
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
On Sunday, All Elite Wrestling held one of their biggest pay-per-views of the year in Double or Nothing. The show finished off with a "Stadium Stampede" match between the Inner Circle and The Pinnacle. The match allowed the competitors to fight all over TIAA Bank Field, which is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
During one point of the match, Chris Jericho and Maxwell Jacob Friedman were fighting and made their way into new head coach Urban Meyer's office. In a pretty cool spot, assistant coach Charlie Strong tossed Jericho two footballs to throw at MJF. In addition, Meyer handed Jericho a laptop to use as a weapon.