After appearing in 27 games last year, the Yankees are expecting big things from Judge this year.
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Bellator 173 didn’t disappoint.
The big winners on the night are Liam McGeary and James Gallagher, who both finished their opponent in front of the Irish fans in Belfast in dominant fashion even if McGeary’s win came in a strange way via a doctor’s stoppage in Round 2.
McGeary won the fight but may have been disappointed by the stoppage. He was really beginning to get into a rhythm before the doctor called the bout. It appeared his opponent, Brett McDermott, was having trouble seeing after getting tagged with a brutal knee to the forehead.
The promotion needed a good card tonight after the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione main event collapsed at Bellator 172, so hopefully the company can move on and try to regain the momentum it had at the beginning of the new year.
There were five total fights on the main card in Belfast, and here’s how it went down:
Bellator 173 Main Card Results
- Liam McGeary def. Brett McDermott by TKO (doctor’s stoppage). Round 2, 1:06
- James Gallagher def. Kirill Medvedovsky by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:53
- Iony Razafiarison def. Sinead Kavanagh by unanimous decision
- Alex Lohore def. Colin Fletcher by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 2:42
- Shay Walsh def. James McErleane by unanimous decision
Walsh outlasts McErleane
In the first fight of the main card, Shay Walsh was able to narrowly defeat James McErleane in a tough battle in the bantamweight division.
For Walsh, it was a big victory over a tough opponent that should push him up the rankings even though he wasn’t able to secure the finish. He won over all three judges 29-28 in a tight contest though it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the fight went in favor of McErleane.
As all fighters know by now, it’s best to just finish the fight and not leave it up to the judges.
Lohore chokes out Fletcher
Alex Lohore was lucky to survive the first round, but he pulled himself together and was able to submit Colin Fletcher in the second round.
Lohore took Fletcher down 25 seconds in, and Fletcher worked hard on a D’Arce choke only to see Lohore escape. Fletcher then caught a Lohore kick, and after backing him up, leveled him with a massive right hand that sent Lohore to the canvas.
It looked like the fight was going to be stopped since Lohore went limp, but somehow, Lohore was able to regain consciousness and survived the round. In the second, Lohore got the mount and worked Fletcher’s head and body until Fletcher gave his back, which allowed Lohore to lock in a rear-naked choke and force the tap.
It was one hell of a debut for Lohore, and he may have gained a strong following with such a resilient, entertaining performance.
Razafiarison takes care of Kavanagh
Not many people expected Sinead Kavanagh to lose on home turf, but Iony Razafiarison was the better fighter Friday night.
Things started well for Kavanagh as she scored a knockdown in the opening minutes of the fight, but that was the only real moment that Kavanagh had the edge. Razafiarison took Kavanagh down with relative ease throughout the bout even though there times when she didn’t do much but lay on top of Kavanagh.
Having said that, Razafiarison did show some brutal ground-and-pound at times.
If Kavanagh was able to land a few more punches and show some type of activity, things might’ve turned out differently for her.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t ready for this type of grueling, frustrating fight.
Gallagher can’t be stopped
The reign of James Gallagher continues, and he just can’t stop choking out his opposition.
Gallagher had little trouble against Kirill Medvedovsky as he was able to take down Medvedovsky in the opening minutes of Round 1 and immediately get his back.
Once Gallagher gets your back, you’re going to sleep.
The Irishman has been on a tear to begin his young professional career. The 20-year old SBG product is now 5-0 as he moves up the featherweight rankings. And speaking of moving up the rankings, Gallagher knew exactly what to say after his victory and showed no mercy in calling out his future opponent.
Is A.J. McKee up next for the young Irishman? Fight fans certainly hope so.
Westbrook (kind of) did it!
In the last 82 regular season games that Russell Westbrook has played, he is officially averaging a triple-double. Dating back to Feb. 24, 2016, Westbrook’s averages are 28.3 points, 10.5 assists, 10.0 rebounds.
The dynamic MVP candidate is also still averaging a triple-double for this season — in 57 games played, he’s at 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists. However, this is the first time that we’ve been able to add the end of Westbrook’s season last year — the final 25 games — to his tally this season. Add it all together, and it’s a triple-double.
At this point, Westbrook seems more likely than not to become the second player ever to average a triple-double for the season, following Oscar Robertson back in the 1961-62 season. However, even if he does fall slightly short, we know that he was able to do it for at least an 82-game stretch, albeit with an offseason in the middle.
Westbrook pushed himself over the mark with 17 points, 18 rebounds and 17 assists against the Lakers on Friday. The rebounds, in particular, he needed to achieve this particular statistical feat — the 18 gave him exactly 820 over his last 82 games.
For just this season, Westbrook’s currently more in danger of losing the 10 assists per game average, given he’s only averaging 10.1 assists per game. However, the Thunder‘s trade deadline addition of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott could change that. McDermott instantly becomes the best shooter on the team while Gibson is a very effective scorer in multiple ways who should benefit greatly from Westbrook.
Ultimately, no one will remember this 82-game sample like they will if Westbrook does or doesn’t average it over a year. Still, it’s worth marveling briefly at how incredible this feat really is for Westbrook.
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Toronto outscored Boston 33-20 in the fourth on the way to a 107-97 victory at Air Canada Centre. It was the Raptors’ third win in four tries against the Celtics this season, which could prove critical down the stretch as they battle with each other, the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks for the Nos. 2-5 seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry because of a sore wrist, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, so DeMar DeRozan picked up the slack with 43 points and earned MVP chants from the crowd in the process.
He moved Toronto to 34-24 and spearheaded the offensive attack:
Boston fell to 37-21, and Thomas could never shake free from the Raptors’ defenders even though he leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring, per NBA.com. He scored just four in the final frame on his way to 20 total points, as newcomer P.J. Tucker, Cory Joseph and the other perimeter defenders contained his explosiveness.
Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe said, “It’s been a really tough night for Isaiah Thomas. Raptors have swarmed him.”
Tucker wasn’t the only trade acquisition to make an impact, as Serge Ibaka scored 15 points as a secondary scorer.
Bill Simmons of The Ringer juxtaposed Toronto’s trade additions with Boston’s decision to stand pat before Thursday’s deadline:
While they ultimately found their footing late in the game, the Raptors looked lost early on offense without Lowry and finished the first quarter with 18 points and four turnovers. DeRozan scored 10 early points but took 10 of Toronto’s first 20 shots in the give-me-the-ball-without-Lowry-and-watch offense.
Boston countered with 29 first-quarter points and multiple easy looks, and Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star noted the newcomer wasn’t a cure-all for the league’s 16th-best defensive rating, per NBA.com:
The Raptors’ Lowry-less dysfunction continued early in the second with challenged outside looks and disjointed offense, and Boston built its biggest lead at 43-27 following Thomas’ four-point play and Jonas Jerebko’s three.
Toronto pulled within single digits with Thomas on the bench, but the 5’9″ guard returned and showed the chip on his shoulder by getting in DeMarre Carroll’s face after the forward knocked him over in transition.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report posed a timely question:
The physicality continued when Thomas hit DeRozan high for a flagrant foul, which spurned a 7-0 Toronto run. Boston held a 55-45 halftime lead once the dust settled.
The Raptors’ momentum didn’t go extinct during intermission, and they started the third quarter with a commanding 23-8 run, highlighted by Ibaka‘s three to take the lead and DeRozan‘s and-1. The early struggles were nowhere to be found, as the offense appeared much more fluid with DeRozan generating better looks.
However, Boston closed the third with a 7-0 run to take a 77-74 lead after Marcus Smart’s three.
Brian Robb of 98.5 The Sports Hub praised the two-way player’s efforts:
That, in theory, set the stage for Thomas as Mr. Fourth Quarter, but the Raptors defense stifled him, forcing turnovers and contested looks for the guard and his teammates.
Toronto’s defense kept it close and allowed DeRozan to show off his own fourth-quarter scoring, slicing through the lane multiple times during an 18-6 run.
Robb noted Boston’s leader didn’t look like himself:
DeRozan on the other hand did, and his long two with a minute remaining proved to be the most important basket of the game and put the Raptors up five. He wasn’t without help down the stretch, as Carroll’s three gave Toronto the lead for good with less than four minutes remaining, and the overall team defense overwhelmed Thomas down the stretch.
The Celtics never climbed within one possession after DeRozan‘s jumper, and Toronto earned a critical tiebreaker.
The Celtics face the Detroit Pistons on the road Sunday for what could be a close matchup considering Detroit outscored Boston by a combined one point in the first three matchups this season.
The Raptors are home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday after already beating them on the road earlier this season.
Air Bud would be proud.
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(Dramatic pawse for effect)
— Laura Keeney (@LauraKeeney) February 25, 2017
LOOK AT THEM GO.
THE AGILITY! THE ACCELERATION! THE TECHNIQUE!
I haven’t seen this much athleticism on the court since Air Bud was lacing ‘em up.
This is so fetch.
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