It’s been five long years since the Toronto Raptors last took part in the NBA Playoffs, but they made it back to the post-season in style this year, winning the Atlantic Division and finishing in third place in the Eastern Conference.
In doing so, they were also able to record a franchise-record 48 victories and secure home-court advantage for their first-round match-up against the Brooklyn Nets.
That alone should have every Raptors fan pumped up for Game One at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. And if it doesn’t, this playoff pump-up video, titled “#WeTheNorth,” should do the trick:
As a matter of fact we will, thanks to the geniuses at Extra Mustard who simulated bouts between some of the NBA’s biggest individual rivals, including a classic tilt between former NBA commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
You can check out all of the fights via the video below:
We already know what an ankle-breaker looks like in basketball (see: Hot Sauce or this guy).
Now we all get to see what an ankle-breaker looks like in hockey after Tomas Plekanec treated us to one—at the expense of Lightning defenceman Radko Gudas—during the Montreal Canadiens’ playoff opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
Check it out:
That beauty was the Habs’ first goal of the 2014 NHL Playoffs, and they would score four more to secure a 5-4 overtime victory over the Lightning in Game One of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal battle.
Sam Stout entered his TUF Nations Finale bout versus K.J. Noons having never been knocked out during his 11-year, 30-fight MMA career.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old from London, Ontario, he was no match for Noons’ striking ability on this night, resulting in a first-round knockout, followed by an impromptu grappling session with referee Philippe Chartier.
At one point, Stout actually had Chartier in a guillotine choke, albeit a lose one, but Chartier was able to tap out in time and save himself from injury—although it does drop his unofficial MMA record to 0-1.
Here’s a look at the final seconds of Sam Stout’s knockout loss against K.J. Noons, as well as his subsequent headlock on referee Philippe Chartier:
Hat Tip to DanD for the lead and SportsNet for the gif.
It was on this day in 1997 that New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur scored during a playoff match-up against the Montreal Canadiens. With that goal, he became just the second goalie in NHL history to score in the playoffs.
During Game One of their opening round playoff series against the Canadiens, the Devils found themselves leading by a score of 4-2 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. That two goal lead allowed Brodeur to take a chance and shoot for the Habs’ empty net, and he would capitalize on that opportunity, as his shot eluded the six Montreal players before crossing the goal line and giving his Devils the 5-2 lead. New Jersey would go on to win that series, but they would lose to the New York Rangers in the following round.
Three years later Brodeur recorded the second goal of his career during a regular season game against the Philadelphia Flyers, tying him with Ron Hextall for most career goals by a goaltender. And in 2013, he was credited with the third goal of his career during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Here is a look at Brodeur’s playoff goal against the Montreal Canadiens.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ATP – Born on April 17, 1985 (age 29) in Le Mans, France
Boomer Esiason, NFL – Born on April 17, 1961 (age 53) in West Islip, New York
Theo Ratliff, NBA – Born on April 17, 1973 (age 41) in Demopolis, Alabama
The 2014 NHL playoffs kicked off tonight with an epic Eastern Conference tilt between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning (it’s currently tied 3-3 in the third). but before the puck was dropped at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, those tuned into CBC in Canada were treated to another one of their epic opening montages.
Last year they used The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” to help set the tone for the NHL Playoffs. This year the song of choice was Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and it was nothing short of amazing.
Check it out:
Well what do you know! Goal, Montreal! Habs lead 4-3 with eight minutes remaining, while the Blue Jackets and Penguins are tied 3-3 after two periods of play.
Metallica and 13 goals in less than five periods of hockey? You couldn’t ask for a better start to the 2014 NHL Playoffs.
After digging through the numbers and making all of their final calculations, ESPN has released this year’s list of the “25 Top-Paid Athletes in the World.”
The numbers used to make up this list are based solely on guaranteed money (i.e. base salaries or prize money). They do not include endorsement deals, which, as we all know, can account for a large percentage of the income many of these athletes bring in each year.
Topping this year’s list is none other than Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., who reportedly earned $73.5 million for his fights against Robert Guerrero and Saúl Álvarez ($32 million and $41.5 million, respectively).
You can see which other athletes made the list by checking out the graphic below, courtesy of ESPN:
It was on this day in 1996 that the Chicago Bulls set an NBA record with their 70th win of the season. The Bulls broke the record previously held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who went 69-13. As for Chicago, they finished the season with a 72-10 record.
Including the playoffs, the Bulls won an incredible 87 of 100 games, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the newly acquired Dennis Rodman. Rodman was traded in the off-season from San Antonio along with Jack Haley for center Will Perdue and cash considerations. Rodman was brought in to replace Horace Grant at power forward, and he filled in admirably, leading the league in rebounding as well as being named to the All-Defensive First Team, along with teammates Jordan and Pippen.
The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls are considered by many to be the greatest team of all time. With the way they dominated as a team, as well as all the individual awards and accolades, it is hard to argue against those who say they were the best ever.
Here are highlights form the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls season.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA – Born April 16th 1947 (age 67) in New York City, New York
Boris Diaw, NBA – Born April 16th 1982 (age 32) in Cormeilles, France
Jonathan Vilma, NFL – Born April 16th 1982 (age 32) in Coral Gables, Florida
Exactly one week ago, just a few days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and less than 24 hours after making an emotional speech on “Monday Night Raw,” The Ultimate Warrior suffered a fatal heart attack outside an Arizona hotel.
Last night, the WWE paid tribute to the Ultimate Warrior one more time, as they opened the show with a video commemorating the former champion, followed by a moment of silence with ten tolls of the ring bell, and finally, the playing of the Warrior’s theme music to a standing ovation from the audience in Birmingham, Alabama.
You can watch the entire opening tribute via the video below:
It was on this day in 1991 that Magic Johnson broke the record for all-time assists in a career. Magic earned his 9,888th career assist, breaking the record which was previously held by Oscar Robertson.
Johnson would end his career with 10,141 assists, but his record would not last long. Less than four years later, John Stockton of the Utah Jazz passed Magic and went on to add over 5,000 more assists to his record. Stockton finished his career with an astounding 15,806 career assists.
Like Wayne Gretzky’s career points total, Cy Young’s career wins total and Emmitt Smith’s career rushing total, John Stockton’s career assists total is a record that will likely stand the test of time.
Here is a clip of Magic’s best assists.
Michael Cooper, NBA – Born April 15th 1956 (age 58) in Los Angeles, California
Kevin Lowe, NHL – Born April 15th 1959 (age 55) in Lachute, Quebec
Ilya Kovalchuk, NHL – Born April 15th 1983 (age 31) in Tver, Soviet Union
The Philadelphia Phillies did something awesome on Sunday when they allowed children from the Phillies Phundamentals after school program to drawn line-up headshots of the Phillies players, which were displayed on the stadium video board during their game against the Miami Marlins.
It was all part of Turkey Hill Kids Day at Citizens Bank Park, and the results of this cool idea were actually quite impressive. You can check them out via the gallery above.
It was on this day in 1996 that the Detroit Red Wings set an NHL record with their 62nd win of the season. Their total eclipsed the mark set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens who won 60 out of their 80 games. The Red Wings accomplished the feat in 82 games.
Although the Wings had tremendous success in the regular season, they would ultimately fall short of their main goal, which was to win the Stanley Cup. After getting by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the St. Louis Blues in the second round, the Red Wings would face their arch rivals, the Colorado Avalanche, in the Western Conference finals.
Even with the likes of Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Paul Coffey, and Nicklas Lidstrom, the Avalanche were too much for Detroit to handle. Colorado would win the series in 6 games and go on to sweep the Florida Panthers to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Pete Rose, MLB – Born April 14th 1941 (age 73) in Cincinnati, Ohio
David Justice, MLB – Born April 14th 1966 (age 48) in Cincinnati, Ohio
Greg Maddux, MLB – Born April 14th 1966 (age 48) in San Angelo, Texas
Bubba Watson may not need another green jacket in his wardrobe, but he has one anyway after winning the 2014 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, his second Masters title in three years.
Watson entered Sunday in a tie with Jordan Spieth at five-under-par, and he even trailed the 20-year-old by two strokes after seven holes. But from that point on it was all Bubba, as he birdied the next two holes and finished with a final round score of 69—making him one of only five players to shoot in the sixties on Sunday.
With a final score of 8-under, Watson finished three strokes ahead of Spieth and Jonas Blixt, who each shot 5-under for the tournament. They were followed by Miguel Jimenez at 4-under, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar at 2-under, and Lee Westwood at 1-under.
Here’s a look at Bubba celebrating his second Masters victory with his two-year-old son, Caleb: