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WNBA Ready to Roll

THE WNBA tips off with a full weekend slate of games this week, our local Seattle Storm with high hopes (again) this year for winning the league title.

And that recent Seattle TIMES article about LJ playing again in Australia, and doing well on top of it, was a hit with local fans. 

It took almost no time at all for letters to the editor of the sports page to start coming in suggesting/pleading for the Storm to bring her back at some point this season, at least to have her come off the bench if her current gig doesn’t result in injuries.

Elsewhere, Kristy Wallace has cracked the Atlanta Dream roster, Alanna Smith is at Indiana Fever, Bec Allen and Sami Whitcomb join Opals coach Sandy Brondello at New York Liberty, Liz Cambage is with LA Sparks, Steph Talbot, and Ezi Magbegor are back at Seattle and joined by Jade Melbourne.

OVER on this side of the pond, there is a term in baseball for when a pitcher retires all the opposition batters consecutively — no-one reaches base for any reason.

That’s a “perfecto” and there have only been 23 or so of them in the almost-150-year history of Major League Baseball.  Now the NBA has their first playoff “perfecto” equivalent.

Late last week, the Phoenix Suns won their first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans by winning Game 6 in New Orleans 115-109. 

In that game, Phoenix’s Chris Paul had the first NBA playoff “perfecto” ever.  He was 14-of-14 from the field, the most ever without a miss in the playoffs.  For good measure, he was also a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line, and he also added eight assists to go with his game-leading 33 points.

STAYING with the NBA playoffs, the Conference semifinals are now set.  In the Eastern Conference, it is the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks against the Boston Celtics, starting in Boston. 

The other Eastern semifinal pits the Miami Heat against the Philadelphia 76ers, starting in Miami.

The Western Conference semis will have the Phoenix Suns play the Dallas Mavericks, starting in Phoenix, while the Memphis Grizzlies will start at home against the Golden State Warriors. 

The first game in two of these best of seven series was played on Sunday and, interestingly, both visiting teams came out the winners. 

Klay Thompson of the Warriors made a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left in the game for winning points for the W’s, as they escaped with a road victory, 117-116, after Ja Morant missed a relatively tough layup in traffic at the buzzer.

In the other game, interest was very high and the tension palpable.  The Celtics were at home, and had played wonderful defence on Kevin Durant in their series win over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. 

There was a lot of speculation as to whether they could duplicate that against The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.  The answer was a resounding “no”, at least in this first game, as the Bucks drew first blood in Boston, 101-89, and Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with a 24-13-12 triple-double.  Jrue Holliday added 25 points and 10 boards. 

The Bucks beat the Celtics at their own game, defensively shutting them down—the Celtics shot only 33% from the field.

May 3

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