Monday morning. Your alarm goes off for the first time in two days, you head back to the office and spend the first few hours of the workday planning how you’ll survive until closing time on Friday. Luckily, Poker Central and Death Wish Coffee have you covered. The world’s strongest coffee gives you a “Morning Perk,” recapping the weekend sports action on Monday and then the best from across the internet on Friday.

I know we aren’t supposed to talk about playoffs, Jim Mora made that very clear, but since both the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League are into their respective post-seasons, the NBA and NHL have our undivided attention for the next two months. While Daniel Negreanu’s first-round NHL picks may not have fared that well, the action was enough to make up for some incorrect predictions and if the first weekend was an indication, we are in for an two very exciting post-season stretches.

LeBron James picked his own route to the NBA Finals and while he likely has the easiest road of any Eastern Conference team, the Indiana Pacers showed they are going to give King James everything they have in the opening round. Indiana missed a potential buzzer-beater to lose by 1 and were paced by Paul George and newly signed Lance Stephenson. The Cavaliers were led by James, who looks to be peaking at the right time, after putting up an absurd line in Game 1.

While Indiana missed a chance to steal Game 1 at the death, the Utah Jazz did not. Joe Johnson saw a floater bounce around and then fall after the buzzer to beat the Clippers in Game 1. Result, kind of surprising. The fact that Joe Johnson has the most game-winning buzzer-beaters in the last ten NBA seasons, very surprising.   

Hockey players are supposed to be tough but there is tough and then there is Zach Werenski tough. The Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman took a puck to the face, which had blood dripping all over the ice as the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated a game-tying goal, quickly got stitched up and then returned to the game. The Blue Jackets may have lost but hockey players again win respect from the rest of the sports world, as an injury like Werenski’s likely would keep most athletes on the disabled list for a lot longer than a few minutes.

The Boston Celtic’s Isiah Thomas didn’t sustain an injury and return to a game to prove his toughness but did compete in the C’s first-round playoff game just a day after his sister lost her life in an automobile accident. Thomas was emotional before and during the game and then went off. IT put up 33 points but it wasn’t enough for the top-seeded Celtics to win Game 1, as the Bulls stole a game in Boston. Nevertheless, the sports world came together to support the Celtics and Thomas, who then went out and proved, again, that he is one of the best young players in the league. 

One of the coolest traditions in American sports, which brings everyone together, is Jackie Robinson Day. Every year, on the anniversary of Robinson’s Major League Baseball debut in 1947, every player on every team wears the number 42 to honor Robinson. This year, Robinson’s own Los Angeles Dodgers continued to remember Robinson’s legacy with the unveiling of a statue at Dodgers Stadium. 70 years later, baseball is still honoring a player and day that changed the sport forever and that is very cool. 

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