Good morning to everybody however particularly to…
GOLF FANS EVERYWHERE
It’s time for one of many most enjoyable but exhilarating occasions in sports activities: the Masters.
We’ve spent all week previewing each angle, and now it is time for our knowledgeable picks. Let’s begin with Kyle Porter’s:
Porter: “Winner — Scottie Scheffler (5-1): I’ve by no means been extra positive of something in my life than I’m that Scheffler goes to contend on this 12 months’s Masters (statements like that normally go effectively). Scheffler has been a beast thus far in 2023, and he’s truly enjoying higher than a 12 months in the past when he got here in and torched this discipline. He would not have something worse than a high 12 end because the fall, and although his odds are horrible when it comes to choosing a winner, I’m nonetheless going to roll with him. That’s how effectively he is enjoying.”
Our Patrick McDonald, in the meantime, goes barely farther down the board.
McDonald: “Winner — Xander Schauffele (20-1): Schauffele was my choose to win the Masters firstly of the 12 months, and he has performed nothing to make me soar off the ship now. Over the final three months, he’s gaining +2.01 strokes per spherical with huge efforts from each his irons and putter. The driver has been a weak level for him, however the broad touchdown areas of Augusta National ought to alleviate a few of that stress. A confirmed contender in main championships, Schauffele has a pair of podium finishes in his Masters profession — each a silver and a bronze — and seems primed to lastly climb to the highest spot.”
You can see extra takes on winners, surprises, guys who undoubtedly will not win and extra right here. Still making an attempt to determine who you must choose? Kyle narrowed the sphere all the way down to 9 guys who might win, and sure, each his and Patrick’s choose are on it. Also on that record? Rory McIlroy. Kyle has an superior piece on him as he chases the profession Grand Slam.
Tiger Woods, for what it is price, says it is “only a matter of time” earlier than McIlroy will get that elusive inexperienced jacket. Woods, who has 5, additionally talked about Scheffler defending his title. As for Tiger’s recreation itself, can his physique maintain up?
And lastly, to get you prepped for right now:
Not so honorable mentions
Clippers proceed dominance of Lakers, choose up essential win 🏀
The stakes have been as excessive as they’ve ever been on this collection, however the finish consequence remained the identical. For the fourth time this season, the eleventh time in a row and the thirty sixth time within the final 43 conferences, the Clippers beat the Lakers, this time by the rating of 125-118.
The groups entered with equivalent 41-38 information and the No. 5 seed within the West on the road, giving the sport huge implications with the season ending Sunday.Norman Powell had a team-high 27 factors off the bench, and Kawhi Leonard had 25 because the Clippers had six double-digit scorers.LeBron James had 33 factors — 30 of which got here within the second half — however it wasn’t sufficient because the Lakers’ four-game profitable streak got here to an finish.
Now, this is what the Western Conference standings for 2 playoff spots and 4 play-in spots appear like:
(Nuggets, Grizzlies, Kings, Suns all clinched playoff spots)
But again to the Clippers earlier than we transfer on, as a result of this was a really superior efficiency and a reminder of simply how harmful this workforce is. This win got here with out Paul George and confirmed LA’s spectacular depth. I already talked about Powell — one of many league’s premier sixth males — and Leonard.
But there was additionally Russell Westbrook (14 factors) persevering with his strong play for Los Angeles’ “different” workforce. When he sat within the fourth quarter, fellow midseason acquisition Bones Hyland scored all 14 of his factors. Center Ivica Zubac was regular all through with 17 factors and 13 rebounds.
Basically, the Clippers have talent, scoring and flexibility throughout. They shall be a workforce nobody needs to face within the playoffs, and so they simply took a large step in ensuring they get there.
Rays transfer to 6-0, match MLB historical past within the course of ⚾
There’s just one workforce nonetheless undefeated this MLB season, and so they’re not simply profitable; they’re dominating. The Rays polished off a sweep of the Nationals with a 7-2 win and at the moment are 6-0. They’re the primary workforce to start out 6-0 because the 2016 Orioles, however that is not probably the most spectacular half.
They’re the primary workforce to start out 6-0 and win every recreation by at the least 4 runs because the 1884 St. Louis Maroons.
If you are unfamiliar with these Maroons, they completed the season 94-19-1 in a league referred to as the Union Association, which folded after one season largely as a result of the Maroons have been too good. Don’t fear baseball followers, the Rays aren’t going to trigger MLB to fold, however they’re actually good. Here’s who’s standing out thus far:
Wander Franco has 10 hits, a .417 batting common and 7 RBI in six video games. He crushed a two-run residence run Wednesday.Luke Raley has three residence runs in 13 at-bats. His game-tying residence run within the ninth inning Tuesday sparked a five-run inning.Shane McClanahan by way of two begins: 2-0 report, 12 IP, 15 strikeouts, 1.50 ERA.
The Rays are off right now earlier than starting a three-game collection with the Athletics tomorrow. Oh, and in case you are questioning, probably the most consecutive wins to start out an MLB season ever is 13 by the 1987 Brewers.
Bucks clinch NBA’s high report, however Middleton harm; Nuggets get West No. 1 seed 🏀
With their 105-92 win over the Bulls, the Bucks clinched the NBA’s finest regular-season report and, in flip, home-court benefit all through the playoffs. But it got here at a price.
Khris Middleton left the sport with a knee harm and didn’t return.
The Bucks have been already with out Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee), however Bobby Portis (27 factors, 13 rebounds) stepped up in his stead.Middleton appeared hobbled after a fadeaway lower than one minute into the sport, although he didn’t come out instantly. He didn’t return after the primary quarter.Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated it was “a re-aggravation of one thing that we have been working with him on all 12 months.”Middleton has performed in simply 33 video games all season attributable to wrist and knee accidents. He additionally missed a lot of final 12 months’s playoff run with knee points.
It’s been a troublesome 12 months for Middleton, even when on the courtroom. He’s capturing a career-low 43.6% from the sphere, and his 31.5% 3-point capturing is his worst since his rookie 12 months. Still, he is a vital one-on-one scorer in halfcourt settings for the Bucks, particularly within the playoffs.
The high 5 seeds within the East are formally locked in:
Out West, the Nuggets clinched the No. 1 seed because of the Grizzlies‘ additional time loss to the Pelicans. It’s the primary time ever the Nuggets have earned a 1 seed.
Here are the playoff footage: East | West
What we’re watching Thursday 📺
⛳ We’re watching the Masters. Here’s how.
🏀 Heat at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Nuggets at Suns, 10 p.m. on TNT
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