Blazers-Nuggets briefly bumped to ESPN2, still a far cry from tape-delayed 1981 Finals

Believe it or not, this matchup spent most of the first quarter on ESPN2.

Believe it or not, this matchup spent most of the first quarter on ESPN2.
Image: Getty Images

The start of Trail Blazers-Nuggets was bumped to ESPN2 as Jose Ramírez and Josh Taylor fought for the undisputed junior welterweight title on ESPN, which is barely fathomable in 2021. Taylor won by unanimous decision, and ESPN switched over to the action in Denver with 6:40 left in the first quarter.

Programming conflicts happen, and it was only the first few minutes of the game, so this winds up being pretty laughable. But it’s also a good reminder of how far the NBA has come in 40 years, since some games in the 1981 Finals aired on CBS, on tape delay, at 11:30 Eastern — they’d even put a big “RECORDED EARLIER” graphic on the screen at times.

Brent Musburger’s whole “you are looking LIVE” shtick makes a lot more sense when put into the context that, well, you weren’t always looking live at the sports on TV.

Live on ESPN late Saturday night, but not tape delayed, Damian Lillard scored 34 points and Carmelo Anthony added 18 to lift Portland to a 123-109 victory in Game 1 of the first-round series.

Sue Bird is 40. She’s the same age as one of her Seattle teammates’ moms. But age really is just a number, and there’s no limit on Cardi B’s catchiness.

It’s also easy to dance when you’re on a team like the Storm, which moved to 3-1 with a 100-97 overtime win over the Dallas Wings, with Bird posting six points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Breanna Stewart became the fifth player in WNBA history with a 35-point (she scored 36), 10-rebound (she grabbed 11), 5-block game, taking over the early-season league scoring lead. Jewell Loyd scored 25 points with eight boards and six assists. The defending champs are still quite good.

Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving barely ever played together during the regular season. Doesn’t seem like a big problem. The Nets let the Celtics hang around for a while in Game 1, but put it away in the fourth quarter, and this does not look like it’s going to be a particularly good series.

I’m not about to pretend that I know anything about gymnastics. But sometimes you don’t have to know anything about a sport to know that what you’ve just seen is some otherworldly stuff.

And that’s every time Simone Biles is doing anything.

Every. Time.

Alabama beat Clemson to advance to Sunday’s NCAA softball regional final against… Clemson. And you thought football was the only sport where it’s always the Crimson Tide and Tigers.

The reason for the rematch is that the regionals are double-elimination, and Clemson beat Troy in a knockout game after the Tigers’ loss to the Tide.

Either way, Nick Saban is somewhere hearing “Alabama 6, Clemson 0” and wishing that his sport could get back to that kind of score, and that result specifically. And “Nick Saban is somewhere,” you know the correct answer is “Nick Saban is watching film,” because it’s May and he already had his one scheduled day off for the year.

The best softball of the day, though, came in the Utah high school championship.

Maybe Saban should watch that clip as he tries to replace Davonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle at wide receiver.

Atlético Madrid won the La Liga title, breaking a six-year streak of either Barcelona or Real Madrid finishing atop the Spanish soccer standings… since the last time Atlético Madrid won, in 2014.

Real and Barça still have combined to win 14 of the last 16 crowns in La Liga, with the last time the title landed outside Madrid or Barcelona being 2004, when Valencia doubled with the UEFA Cup.

After Saturday’s clinching win over Valladolid, Atlético fans partied in the streets of Madrid.

As a Sunderland fan, it’s just nice to see someone in red and white striped shirts be happy.

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