Allegany Communications Sports
The world of sports on an Easter weekend, right? While you weren’t in church, what did you see over the weekend that you liked or, maybe, didn’t like?
What did I like? For beginners, it was another great spring weekend in College Park. The Maryland men’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, beat another top-10 team in Ohio State to win a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and remain undefeated at 11-0.
The Terps have one regular-season game remaining, Saturday in Baltimore against arch-rival Johns Hopkins, and have been ranked No. 1 in the nation for every week of the regular season.
Maryland women’s lacrosse, ranked No. 8, also beat Ohio State to improve to 13-1, while Maryland baseball, ranked No. 24, continues it resurgence and continued the weekend whitewash of Ohio State with a three-game sweep of the Buckeyes to improve to 29-7.
Now once Maryland can figure out how to do this against Ohio State in the fall, we might be on to something …
What else? I’ll tell you what else. How about the first weekend of the NBA playoffs? Not an NBA person? More’s the pity. Start watching the NBA in the spring again and you will be. It’s the best basketball in the world hands down.
The Boston Celtics’ last-second 115-114 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Easter Sunday was one of the outstanding basketball games you’ll see – unless you decide to watch the rest of this first-round playoffs series, because if you do, you might see six more games just like it.
The Celtics and the Nets have no use for each other. In fact, they can’t stand each other for a number of reasons.
Kyrie (Yes, I Have a Middle Finger On Each Hand) Irving, a former Celtic, lit up his old team for 39 points as the Boston fans did their best to light him up. But the C’s did an outstanding job defensively staying in the way of Kevin Durant and Boston’s Jayson Tatum was fantastic once more himself, scoring 31 points, including the game-winner as time was running out, completing a brilliant feed from the aptly-named Marcus Smart.
This game on Sunday was reminiscent of playoffs games of years gone by, say the ‘80s and ‘90s without the violence. The old Boston Garden is long gone, but this game, played in its successor, the TD Garden, felt as though it were played in the old building. The intensity was that high and the tension, particularly for a Game 1, was that thick.
The Celtics are one of the best and smartest teams in the Eastern Conference, if not the entire league; but the Nets are such a low-seeded team because some of their best and most important players, beginning with Irving, missed a significant number of games because they refused to be vaccinated.
Since then, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has lifted the mandate for unvaccinated athletes and performers, which will allow them to play in New York for Adams’ purpose of “putting New York athletes on a level playing field.”
Whether you like that or don’t like that, or agree or disagree that they deserve a level playing field here is, of course, your choice …
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles exploded for five runs in the eighth inning (and that’s a major explosion for this current team) to beat the New York Yankees, 5-0, on Sunday to complete a 2-of-3 series win. And truth be told, the Yankees, who aren’t looking too terribly crisp right now, which Yanks fans fear is a carryover from the last couple of years, were possibly a Saturday hail storm away from being swept by this underwhelming team of Orioles, which finished the weekend 3-6 on the season.
What has been far from underwhelming, though, has been the Orioles pitching, particularly the bullpen, in these very early stages. What is significantly overwhelming is the loss of staff ace John Means, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Sunday with an elbow injury. Currently, though, the feeling in Baltimore is Means will be out for far more than 60 days — the entire season seems more likely, which is the last thing this club needs at this stage of its potential growth and development.
Elsewhere in our own little three-team 2HDC (2-Hour Drive Conference), the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals completed a four-game series in D.C. on Sunday, with the Pirates winning three of them to take the series and improve to 5-4 on the season, one-half game out of first place in the NL Central.
The Nationals, 4-7, are currently in last place in the NL East, just as the Orioles are in the AL East.
Pirates fans like this. Orioles fans understand this. Nationals fans … Well, haven’t really seen too many of those lately.
That said, I still like the Nats’ chances to win our conference …
More on the #NFLTheTVShow version of our 2HDC this week.
Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT