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An all-time finish for an all-time performance from Luka Doncic – theScore

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In a league that has always been defined by its transcendent talent, there’s a special breed of NBA playoff performance authored by those stars that embeds itself in our minds.

For fans of a certain era, perhaps it’s a young Michael Jordan – sorry, God disguised as Michael Jordan – dropping a postseason-record 63 points on Larry Bird’s Celtics in a losing effort. Maybe it’s Isiah Thomas hopping his way to 43 points against Magic Johnson’s Lakers on a bum ankle in the NBA Finals.

Surely, you remember where you were when LeBron James singlehandedly beat the mighty Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals, or when James made that face during his Game 6 evisceration of the Celtics in 2012.

Years from now, we’ll look back and remember where we were when Luka Doncic did what he did to the Clippers in Sunday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinal; where we were when commentator Mike Breen rewarded Doncic’s audacity to pull up for three, down one at the end of overtime and two games to one in the series, with a rare double “BANG!”

If mentioning Doncic’s Game 4 performance in the same breath as Jordan, James, Thomas, or any other legendary postseason masterpiece, seems like hyperbole to you, then you’re not fully appreciating how special Doncic was on Sunday afternoon.

The Mavericks superstar wasn’t even a guarantee to be on the floor for Game 4 until about an hour before tip-off; his questionable status due to the fact that less than 48 hours earlier (in Friday’s Game 3 loss), Doncic’s left ankle contorted in a way only Slinkys should safely be able to.

Yet there was the Slovenian phenom, unloading one of the most memorable postseason game-winners you’ll ever see and getting mobbed by his teammates following nearly 46 minutes (45:45) of Godly basketball just hours after his Game 4 status was confirmed.

The Mavs were without Kristaps Porzingis, and the Clippers built a 21-point lead in the second quarter. But, there was Doncic, pouring in 43 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, and a block on 58% shooting to drag the Mavs back into the fight. He went shot-for-shot – and then some – with Kawhi Leonard down the stretch.

Doncic’s game-winner was one of his four 3-pointers on a day he only got to the free-throw line five times. The 21-year-old knocked down tough jumpers, scored from mid-range, and put defenders in the spin-cycle en route to mesmerizing layups. He sized up Leonard at times, and punished the Clippers for their bewildering decision to switch screens and allow Reggie Jackson to guard him on multiple occasions in crunch time, including on the final possession of the game.

His 13 assists led to 30 points. That means if you totaled all of Doncic’s individual possessions (including turnovers) and assists, he scored or created 73 points on 53 possessions. To put that in perspective, Dallas scored only 62 points on its remaining 58 possessions.

Doncic even flashed some of his one-on-one defensive potential in matchups against Leonard and Paul George on Sunday; a possibility that should terrify the rest of the league given how dominant the Mavs star already is on the offensive end.

Pool / NBA / Getty Images

Six days after producing the most prolific postseason debut in NBA history, Doncic joined Oscar Robertson and Charles Barkley as the only players with a 40-15-10 playoff game.

In every conceivable way, Doncic picked the Mavs up off the mat and breathed life back into an undermanned underdog gasping for air. Then he out-dueled the reigning Finals MVP to win a playoff game at the buzzer to even up a postseason series against a championship favorite.

On a day when Joel Embiid and the listless 76ers reminded us there are very few superstars capable of singlehandedly giving flawed teams a chance to win big – or at least beat a superior opponent – in the playoffs, Doncic pointed out that at 21 years old, and in his sophomore NBA season, he’s already one of those select few stars.

Against all odds, this series is now a best-of-three.

History suggests the better team, led by an all-time star like Leonard, should prevail in such a high-leverage scenario. But, whether you’re prepared to admit it or not so early in his career, Doncic is already knocking on that all-time door, and Breen’s screams of “Bang!” Sunday afternoon might’ve been the sound of Doncic crashing through it.

Remember where you were when you heard it happen.

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New York Mets vs. Tampa Bay Rays – 9/23/20 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction – Sports Chat Place

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Tampa Bay Rays (36-19) at New York Mets (24-30)

MLB Baseball: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm (Citi Field)

Tyler Glasnow (4-1) (4.21) vs. Michael Wacha (1-3) (6.75)

The Line: New York Mets +190 / Tampa Bay Rays -210 — Over/Under:
Click Here for the Latest Odds

TV: SNY, SUN Stream the MLB Game of the Day all season on ESPN+. Sign up now!

The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Mets meet Wednesday in MLB action from Citi Field. 

This will be the third and final installment in a three-game series between the Mets and Rays this week. Tampa Bay landed the first blow with a 2-1 win on Monday. In the Tuesday game two, the Mets were able to strike back with a 5-2 victory of their own. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place. 

Check Out Our Cosensus Report To See How Many Handicappers are On A Play

New York Mets vs Tampa Bay Rays Free Pick 9/23/20 MLB Pick and Prediction MLB Tips

The Rays posted just five hits to the Mets’ 10 in the Tuesday loss, and could only come up with a pair of runs. Willy Adames put up a solo homer with two runs for Tampa Bay in that one, and starting pitcher Blake Snell took the loss with 5.2 innings, three earned runs, six hits, three walks and nine strikouts.
For the Wednesday starting pitcher outing, Tampa Bay will go with Tyler Glasnow. In his 10 starts this year, Glasnow has a 4-1 record with a 4.21 ERA and 83 Ks in 51.1 innings. Over his MLB career, Glasnow is 14-18 with a 4.46 ERA and 375 Ks in 309.0 innings. 

Over on the Mets’ side, starting pitcher Seth Lugo put up 6.1 innings in a win on Tuesday with four hits, two runs (one earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. Pete Alonso slapped a homer with three RBI and two hits on the night.  

In the Wednesday game three starter job, the Mets are going with Michael Wacha. In his seven games (six starts) this year, Wacha is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA and 33 Ks in 28.0 innings. Across his MLB career, Wacha is 60-42 with a 4.00 ERA and 792 Ks in 895.2 innings of work.

The Rays are 12-2 in their last 14 games following a loss and 4-1 in their last five Wednesday games. Tampa Bay is 18-6 in their last 24 road games and 12-4 in their last 16 games as a road favorite. 

Meanwhile, the Mets are 14-3 in their last 17 Wednesday games and 2-5 in their last seven home games. New York is 6-16 in their last 22 games as an underdog and 24-53 in their last 77 games as a home underdog. 

Pick: Going Rays again here. There aren’t a lot of teams I’d pick over Tampa Bay right now; they’re just cooking. Glasnow has been great lately as well, with at least seven strikeouts in each of his last seven starts. In all likelihood, this will be Glasnow’s final start before the playoffs begin, and he’s got a nice opportunity to help the Rays put one of the final nails in the Mets’ 2020 season coffin. 

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Andrew’s Pick
Tampa Bay Rays -210

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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Blue Jays rout Yankees, inch closer to playoff berth – TSN

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BUFFALO, United States — The Toronto Blue Jays showed Wednesday night why they could be a dangerous wild-card team in the playoffs.

Danny Jansen hit two solo homers as the Blue Jays used a 16-hit attack and eight-run sixth inning to bulldoze the New York Yankees 14-1 at Sahlen Field. Jansen had four hits and three runs to help the Blue Jays move closer to nailing down a playoff berth.

“Putting ourselves in this spot is a great feeling,” Jansen said. “But we’ve still got work to do.”

Toronto (29-27) trimmed its magic number to one with the victory and can secure its first post-season spot since 2016 with a win in Thursday’s series finale.

Cavan Biggio scored three times, Randal Grichuk added a pair of runs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., had three RBIs. Starter Robbie Ray was effective over four-plus innings and A.J. Cole threw a scoreless fifth inning for the win.

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the post-season. Division winners will be seeded No. 1 through No. 3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

The Los Angeles Angels, currently ninth in the AL, kept their faint playoff hopes alive earlier Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

Facing veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-3), the Blue Jays took advantage of a couple breaks to put up two quick runs in the first inning.

With Biggio on after a leadoff walk, Teoscar Hernandez hit a double-play ball up the middle that took an unexpected high bounce near the lip of the grass and rolled into the outfield.

Guerrero stroked a single that scored Biggio with the game’s first run. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tried to pick the young slugger off first base but a wide throw went down the right-field line as Hernandez trotted home.

Ray breezed through the first inning but issued two walks in the second. Gio Urshela singled to load the bases and a passed ball allowed Luke Voit to score the Yankees’ lone run.

New York loaded the bases with none out in the fifth inning. But Cole (3-0) held off the heart of the Yankees’ order by fanning Giancarlo Stanton and getting Voit — who leads the majors in homers — on an infield fly and then Gleyber Torres on a flyout.

“That was really the game,” Jansen said. “Saving that was huge for us. Bases loaded, no outs, coming in and getting that. There’s a lot of momentum swing right there.”

Toronto followed New York’s lead by putting its first three batters on base in the sixth. The Blue Jays took full advantage by batting around with a two-run single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Biggio’s two-run double serving as highlight blows.

The victory came a day after New York dumped Toronto 12-1.

“Today was a big game after yesterday,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “That’s what they’ve done all year — come back from top losses. It was great to see, facing another good pitcher like Tanaka, coming back tonight and scoring all those runs. A big win for us.”

New York (32-24) had four hits and a season-high four errors. The Yankees have a magic number of one to secure a second-place finish in the East Division.

Ray, who was pulled after the first two batters reached in the fifth, allowed three hits, four walks and had five strikeouts. Tanaka gave up three earned runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out five.

Jansen, who went deep off Tanaka in the fourth, added another shot in the eighth off Yankees catcher Erik Kratz, giving the Toronto backstop six homers on the season.

Toronto was a wild-card entry when it last reached the post-season four years ago. The Blue Jays went on to reach the AL Championship Series for the second straight year.

Notes: Ross Stripling threw four shutout innings of relief for his first save. … The game took three hours 39 minutes to play. … The Blue Jays will send ace Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.00 ERA) to the mound on Thursday. The Yankees will also start a left-hander in Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.12). … The Blue Jays will close out their regular season with a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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Lightning’s Stamkos returns, scores in Game 3 of Cup Final vs. Stars – Sportsnet.ca

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Steven Stamkos is back.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is playing his first NHL game since February as he returns to the ice for Game 3 of the team’s Stanley Cup Final matchup with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

And in his third shift of the game, Stamkos buried a goal over the blocker of Stars goalie Anton Khudobin. Stamkos took a pass in the neutral zone from Victor Hedman, glided into the Stars’ zone and sniped a shot past Khudobin to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Stamkos had yet to suit up in the 2020 post-season, suffering an injury before the Lightning reconvened from the season pause to begin training. The centreman’s last game came on Feb. 25 — amid a 15-game, 22-point scoring streak — after having core muscle surgery. 210 days have passed since then. The 30-year-old finished the campaign with 66 points across 57 games.

The Cup Final is level at one game apiece after the Lightning’s 3-2 win over the Stars on Monday.

Watch Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN NOW.

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