About Last Night: The Playoff Picture

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In case you were busy scaring little children by reciting Mariners hitting stats from the past decade, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:

  • The Utah Jazz were eliminated from the NBA playoff picture after an 86-70 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. But don’t worry, people of Salt Lake City, you still have a critically acclaimed production of the classic musical West Side Story playing through April 21 at the Capitol Theatre. The Salt Lake Tribune raves, “This touring production of the 2009 Broadway revival hits on most cylinders.”
  • Who will be taking the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs? Why, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers, who not only qualified, but in beating the Houston Rockets 99-95 in overtime, were able to snag the seventh seed in the West. “It’s quite an achievement,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni after the game, “that a team no one believed in overcame all the odds to make the playoffs. If you had told me when I took over this team that was stuck in a mire that we would be seventh in the West …” D’Antoni then drifted off and shook his head, before Lakers center Dwight Howard tiptoed up behind him and dumped a small cup of red Gatorade over his head.
  • Despite sitting out the last game of the regular season, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony secured his first NBA scoring title as New York beat the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden, 98-92. Anthony credited his scoring title to teammate J.R. Smith, saying, “The guy comes up to me every night and says, ‘If you pass it to me, you ain’t seeing that ball again.’ Then he gives me this crazy look that lets me know he’s serious, and I know I can’t just go and pass the ball all willy-nilly; I gotta put the ball in the hoop myself.”
  • In his first start of the season, Red Sox first baseman Mike Carp was an unlikely star, getting three extra-base hits as Boston won its fifth straight game with a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Carp is providing additional circumstantial evidence to the “Mike+Fish=Good at Baseball” theory of scouting, much to the chagrin of Canadian Mike Sturgeon, who, despite being drafted in the 1980s by the Edmonton Oilers, never made it to the NHL. “Eh, I guess I’m the exception that proved the rule,” Sturgeon said when asked about his career choices over a plate of poutine. “Shoulda hit balls instead of pucks, eh? What are you gonna do? Can’t change the past.”
  • A controversial goal from Robin Van Persie salvaged a 2-2 draw for Manchester United in their road fixture against West Ham United. Van Persie, who slammed home a rebound from what appeared to be an offside position, said after the match, “Obviously, I want the calls to go the right way, but when they can benefit an underdog who just never seems to catch a break like my manager Sir Alex Ferguson, well, I don’t want to say that justice was served with the non-call, but justice was served with the non-call.”
  • The Oakland A’s jumped out to a quick six-run lead, then held on to complete a sweep of the Houston Astros with a 7-5 win at home. Josh Reddick, who had a two-RBI double in the first inning, said after the game, “Please help me … my beard … I cannot control it anymore. I fear for my safety and the safety of my family. Oh, no, I think it can hear me, send help … ehhhhhckkckcckcchkt … Josh is not here anymore. It’s just you and me, Beard Reddick. I think you will find that my neck of the woods is quite accommodating. For I am The Beard!
  • Homer Bailey pitched eight shutout innings, and Aroldis Chapman finished the job in the Cincinnati Reds’ 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Reds manager Dusty Baker, who used his closer Chapman in a non-save situation, said after the game, “Please help me … this book of statistics … it made me read it, and I didn’t want to, but now I fear for my beliefs, the beliefs of my family. Oh, no, I think it can hear me. Send help — THWACK — Dusty is not here anymore. It’s just you and me, The Book, written by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andrew Dolphin. I could not allow for Chapman to go unused in another high leverage situation. So I went after Dusty’s spine and crown. For I am The Book!
  • On an emotional night in Boston, the Buffalo Sabres eked out a 3-2 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. After the win, an apologetic Sabres coach Ron Rolston said, “We’re sorry; we blew it. We weren’t even rooting for ourselves in the shootout. We knew we were basically Iceland in D2 tonight, but we’re still Buffalo, so we still screwed it all up.”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Carmelo Anthony, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester United, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Oakland A's, Philadelphia Phillies, Utah Jazz

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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