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This Week in US Sports: NBA closes out season like it started, with massive drama

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 22:36 IST

People love to watch the NBA for its drama and there was plenty of that in the final week of the regular season.

Two Western Conference teams ended the season in extremely dysfunctional circumstances, as the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings saw high-profile departures.

The NHL Draft Lottery saw two teams land picks they hardly could have dreamed of, while in MLB the New York Yankees are off to a poor start.

All that and more on this week in US sports.


1. Magic Johnson resigns at president of the Lakers

In possibly the most bizarre and surprising move of the season, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson stepped down in from his position in an impromptu media conference before their final game.

He did so without telling team owner Jeannie Buss and said he made his decision because he felt like he could not be himself anymore.

The move reportedly completely caught the entire organisation, including LeBron James, off guard.


The Lakers finished the year with a 37-45 record, James missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-2005 season in his debut campaign with the Lakers.


2. Kings fire coach Dave Joerger

While the Lakers dominated the headlines with Johnson's departure, the Kings made an unexpected move by letting go of their head coach.

Sacramento fired coach Dave Joerger after he led the team to a 39-43 record and a ninth-place finish in the Western Conference. The 39 wins were the most they have had since the 2005-2006 season.

Joerger is the Kings' sixth straight coach to fail to make it to a fourth season with the club.


3. Devils win NHL Draft lottery; Rangers get second pick

The NHL Draft lottery turned out a stunning outcome as the New Jersey Devils won the "Lose for Hughes" challenge and secured the first pick.

New Jersey now have the chance to take center Jack Hughes, who broke the US National Development Team all-time scoring record this season. He could be a cornerstone of the team for years to come alongside either Taylor Hall, who won the Hart trophy last season, or beside another young rising star in Nico Hischier.

The New York Rangers received the second pick and have a chance to take Kaapo Kakko, the Finnish forward having established himself as one the top two players in the draft alongside Hughes.

Whichever order they go in, there is no doubt the Devils and Rangers struck it lucky.


4. Virginia win National Championship after yet another controversial late-game call

The Virginia Cavaliers achieved the ultimate redemption as they went from being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season to winning a National Championship in 2019.

Virginia took down Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime on the heels of a controversial review in which the Red Raiders appeared to have forced a turnover, only for possession to be given back to the Cavaliers upon review.

That call came just one game after Virginia were given three free throws with less than a second to play down two points to Auburn in the Final Four. Kyle Guy hit all three shots to send the Cavaliers to the championship game.

It also took Virginia a last-second shot at the end of regulation to get to the Final Four. An improbable play by Mamadi Diakite put the Cavaliers in position to beat Purdue in overtime.

5. Yankees reeling

Not a lot is going the Yankees' way right now. First, they found out they lost starting pitcher Luis Severino for yet another six weeks, then they got swept by the Houston Astros for the first time ever during a three-game series.

To add insult to injury, the second loss of the series came courtesy of a 26-mph single off the bat of Carlos Correa.

The Yankees are now 5-7 on the year and 4.5 games adrift of the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. This is far from the start the Yankees wanted.

Published 12 Apr 2019, 04:32 IST
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