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Sports Rundown - April 25, 2024

The Seawanhaka Sports Rundown is a weekly roundup of five stories that examine developments in sports news at the local, state, national and international levels.


The Arizona Coyotes Are On the Move

Coyotes in Arizona Are No More, Will Move to Utah (Photo via Sportico)

On Thursday, April 18, the NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the transfer of ownership from Alex Meruelo to the Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith for $1.2 billion. With the Coyotes moving to Utah next season, they must come up with a completely new name due to NHL rules and regulations.

Another huge factor in this deal is that Arizona will be awarded with a new expansion team in the near future. The deal will be facilitated through the NHL, with $200 million going to league owners as a relocation fee. 

Over the past few seasons, the NHL has seen much success with expansion teams, specifically with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights have been a franchise for seven seasons, dating back to their inaugural season back in 2017. Since their creation, the Knights have accumulated five playoff appearances and won the NHL Stanley Cup Championship last season. 

Sacramento defeats Golden State in 9 vs 10 WC Play-In Matchup

Keegan Murray drives down the lane (Photo via Sacramento Kings Instagram)

Tuesday, April 16th featured a Western Conference Play-In matchup between the 9th seeded Sacramento Kings, led by the All-Star duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantis Sabonis, and 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors, led by the greatest shooter in the history of basketball, Stephen Curry.

Throughout the first half, both teams managed to go on solid scoring runs, but the Kings would take a 54-50 lead heading into halftime. However, the second half was a completely different story. Sacramento dominated, outscoring Golden State 64-44, thus defeating the Warriors 118-94 to advance to the second round of the Western Conference Play-In. 

The Kings were led by Keegan Murray, who finished with 32 points and nine boards, De’Aaron Fox, who ended with 24 points, four rebounds, and six assists, and Keon Ellis, who stepped up big, finishing with 15 points, three steals, and three blocks.

Curry totaled 22 points on 8/16 shooting from the field, but the main storyline for Golden State was the play of Klay Thompson. Thompson finished the game scoreless, shooting 0/10 from the field and 0/6 from three.

Unfortunately for the Kings, they didn’t advance to the playoffs, losing to the New Orleans Pelicans in the final Play-In game. Although their season is over, they may have been the last team to play the Steph, Dray, and Klay dynasty in Golden State.

Blake Griffin Announces Retirement from NBA

Blake Griffin soars over Kia to win the slam dunk contest (Photo via Fox News)

Six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA player Blake Griffin announced his retirement from the NBA on Tuesday, April 16. Throughout his 13-year career, Griffin averaged 19 ppg, 8 rpg and 4 apg on 49.3 percent from the field.

Griffin was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009 but sat out the entire season due to a broken patella in his left knee. The next season, Griffin won Rookie of the Year, posting averages of 22.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg, and 3.8 apg while playing all 82 games. The number one pick would play with the Clippers for seven more seasons before getting traded to the Detroit Pistons ahead of the 2017-2018 season. 

After an injury-riddled opening season with Detroit, Griffin came back the next season and was selected to his sixth and final All-Star game, as well as his fifth and final All-NBA appearance, while leading the Pistons to their most recent postseason appearance. The last few years of Griffin’s career were spent in Brooklyn and Boston. 

Although Blake Griffin never won a championship, he will always be remembered for his freakish athleticism, groundbreaking dunks, and overall growth he contributed to the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons. 

Damian Lillard Historic First Half Performance

Damian Lillard sets Bucks postseason mark in opening half (Photo via The Seattle Times)

Damian Lillard showcased a scoring outburst we haven’t seen much of from him this season. In game one of the first-round series between the three-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and six-seeded Indiana Pacers, Damian Lillard set a franchise record 35 points in the first half on 11/19 from the field, with six of those shots coming from behind the arch.

For reference, the entire Indiana Pacers team scored a total of 42 points in the first half. This was shocking to many because the Pacers finished first in the regular season in points per game with 123.3 and placed second in offensive rating at 121, so to see them struggle to score against the Bucks team without their best defender in Giannis Antetokounmpo was worrisome. 

For the Bucks and their fans, this game was a great start to their postseason. Lillard displayed that he can still be the focal point of an offense and lead a team to a dominant 109-94 victory over an inexperienced Pacers squad. 

LIU Softball Sweeps Manhattan

Lindsey Cowans earned her 13th win of the season and hit a three-run home run in game one on Thursday (Photo via LIU Athletics)

In a double-header matchup against Manhattan on Thursday, April 18, LIU showed up big, shutting out Manhattan in a 2-0 sweep. In game one, Lindsey Cowans did it all for LIU. After hitting an RBI double in the second inning to give LIU a 1-0 lead, she followed it up by hitting her second home run of the season in the sixth inning to give the Sharks a 5-0 lead. On the mound, Cowans only allowed two hits the entire game. 

In the second game, Emma Niece and Dallas Andrews each scored a run, while pitcher Alyssa O’Donnell wouldn’t allow any runs to Manhattan. The Sharks look to end the season strong, with series against Wagner, Merrimack and Le Moyne before heading into the NEC Tournament on May 9. 

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