Playing in a small ballpark against a struggling pitching staff, the New York Yankees (custom New York Yankees championship rings) went with their most obvious strength to pound out another victory. Gleyber Torres hit two of New York's five home runs, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Wednesday night to secure their sixth straight series win. New York has homered 33 times in 11 games against Baltimore this season, including 10 by Torres and nine by Gary Sanchez. The Yankees are 6-0 at Camden Yards with an astounding 25 home runs. "We're going to hit the ball out of the ballpark," manager Aaron Boone said. "There's going to be games where we take advantage of some mistakes, and it's one of the ways we score runs. On a given night, when guys are locked in, that's something we're certainly capable of."
Torres homered leading off the third and fifth innings to help New York take a 7-2 lead. He has four multihomer games this season -- all against Baltimore. "The ballpark is for hitters," he said. Torres is the first player in major league history to hit 10 of his first 12 home runs in a season against the same team. "Anytime you have that much success in a short stretch against someone, you just kind of shake your head at it a little bit," Boone said. "It's unusual and rare." Sanchez , DJ LeMahieu and Thairo Estrada also connected for the Yankees, who lead the series 9-2 and will seek to complete a four-game sweep Thursday afternoon.
Baltimore (championship rings for sale) has lost five in a row to sink to 15-34, the worst record in the majors. CC Sabathia (3-1) allowed five runs and six hits, including two home runs, in five innings. Although his ERA climbed from 2.97 to 3.48, the lefty took advantage of New York's ample offensive display to win at Camden Yards for the first time in seven starts since June 2016. Sabathia will likely miss his next start as he receives a cortisone shot and other medical attention for knee inflammation. Boone says the six-time All-Star could end up on the IL. "It's like a shooting pain goes through every time that I land," Sabathia said. "So it makes it hard to finish my pitches." Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances.
The Yankees (mlb championship rings for sale) took charge in the second inning when Estrada and LeMahieu hit two-run homers off Dan Straily (1-4), who gave up two more long balls before being pulled after four ineffective innings. Asked to explain the success enjoyed by Torres and Sanchez, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said, "There's definitely a pitching plan. It's definitely not to throw the ball in the middle part of the plate. We just continue to do it. When you don't do it, you get them out." Torres hit Gabriel Ynoa's second pitch over the right field wall, the 105th home run yielded by Baltimore pitchers in 49 games. One night earlier, the Orioles broke the record held by the 2000 Kansas City Royals for quickest to allow 100 home runs (57 games). Richie Martin hit his first big league homer and Renato Nunez added a two-run shot in the Baltimore fifth to make it 7-5.
Orioles (custom Baltimore Orioles championship rings) first-year general manager Mike Elias has no choice but to be patient while the team struggles to be competitive at the outset of a major rebuilding project.
"There have been good things this year so far. The win-loss record is not one of those good things," Elias said Wednesday. "If we're able to add a couple of guys and have them stick and be pieces here, that would make this year a huge success. But look, we've got a big effort on our hands. This is the beginning of it. That doesn't mean we're not going to push harder to get better, but it's where we're at right now."
ADDING AN OUTFIELDER
The Orioles bolstered their outfield defense by acquiring Keon Broxton from the New York Mets on Wednesday for $500,000 in 2019-20 international signing bonus pool allotment.
"He has speed, excellent center field ability, he's got some raw power," Elias said.
The memories came flooding back to Jake Arrieta as the fans showered him with cheers when he stepped to the plate for the first time. His 4 1/2 seasons in Chicago (Chicago Cubs championship rings) included an NL Cy Young Award in 2015, a drought-busting World Series championship in 2016, two no-hitters and an All-Star selection. There were plenty of ovations, just none quite like this. Arrieta allowed one run over six innings in his return to Wrigley Field, J.T. Realmuto hit a solo homer in the 10th and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Monday. Realmuto connected with two outs against Kyle Ryan (0-1), driving a 1-2 fastball a few rows into the left-field seats to decide the opener of a four-game series between the NL East and Central leaders. But the night belonged to Arrieta. He got a warm welcome on a chilly evening during the pregame introductions and was greeted with a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the third inning. He responded by tipping his helmet toward the crowd while Yu Darvish stepped away from the mound.
"It felt great," Arrieta said. "Kind of something that I experienced pretty much from Day 1 here with the fan base. Cubs (championship rings) fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them. It means a lot. It really does. I'll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization and everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career." It was a fitting reception for a pitcher who played such a huge role in turning those "Lovable Losers" into drought-busting champions. Arrieta left to sign with Philadelphia before the 2018 season. But the mark he left in Chicago won't fade anytime soon. "I loved it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I absolutely loved it. Very happy that our fans -- which you would expect from our fans -- would acknowledge him like that. ... Jake deserved it. Absolutely."
Arrieta gave up eight hits in his first appearance at Wrigley Field since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2017 NL Championship Series. "It brings back a lot of memories of what we were able to do as a team, from beginning in `13 all the way through `17," Arrieta said. Hector Neris (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth. Adam Morgan struck out Jason Heyward leading off the 10th, and Juan Nicasio earned his first save since last June 28 when he got Daniel Descalso to ground into a double play after giving up a single to Albert Almora Jr.
Philadelphia (Philadelphia Phillies championship rings) scored three runs with two outs in the sixth against Darvish for a 3-1 lead. Realmuto hit an RBI single, and Cesar Hernandez followed with a two-run triple to right that ricocheted off the side wall and bounced over Heyward's head. The Cubs scored three in the eighth against Seranthony Dominguez. Descalso drove in two with a triple to left-center, then was rewarded home when the relay from shortstop Jean Segura ricocheted off his right foot and into Chicago's dugout. Philadelphia tied the game in the ninth against Brad Brach when Maikel Franco doubled and came home on a two-out bloop single to right by Segura. Darvish gave up three runs, four hits and three walks in six innings while striking out seven. Anthony Rizzo had three hits, including an RBI single.
Phillies (mlb championship rings): Manager Gabe Kapler said RHP Vince Velasquez (right forearm strain) threw on the side Monday and will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. ... RHP Victor Arano (right elbow inflammation) will seek a second opinion after experiencing discomfort following a recent bullpen session. Kapler said Tommy John surgery "doesn't seem like the concern right now."
Cubs: SS Javier Baez (jammed right heel) sat out his first game after starting the first 44. He was hurt fielding a grounder in the third inning and exited in the sixth. ... Closer Brandon Morrow has started throwing again after experiencing a setback in his recovery from offseason elbow surgery. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Morrow threw from 45 to 60 feet Monday in Arizona. The Cubs shut down Morrow's rehab last month after he didn't recover well from a bullpen session. ... Epstein also said reliever Pedro Strop (strained left hamstring) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Monday.
The Eastern Conference doesn't belong to Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (Milwaukee Bucks championship rings) -- yet. But they're two wins away, after Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 17 rebounds, Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench to add 17 points and the Bucks never trailed on the way to a 125-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night and a 2-0 lead in the East finals. "He plays so hard, he lays it all on the line, every time," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "It was a great start for us. I think everybody fed off of Giannis and how he started the game."
How he finished, too. Antetokounmpo scored 11 points in the fourth for the Bucks, who wound up with six players in double figures -- three of them reserves. Nikola Mirotic scored 15, Malcolm Brogdon had 14, George Hill 13 and Khris Middleton 12. "We really rely on each other ... especially the bench," Ilyasova said. "The starting five set the tone." Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points for Toronto, which gave up the game's first nine points, never led and trailed by double digits for the final 39 minutes. Kyle Lowry scored 15 and Norman Powell had 14 for the Raptors. "We didn't do much well tonight, obviously," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. Game 3 is Sunday in Toronto. "We get to go back home and protect our home court, like they did these last two games," Lowry said. "We've got a chance to go home, protect home court and do what we're supposed to do."
Milwaukee, an NBA-best 60-22 record during the regular season, became the 16th team to start a postseason with at least 10 victories in its first 11 games. Only three teams -- the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers, the 2001 Lakers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors -- opened the playoffs 11-0. The Bucks led by as many as 28, before Toronto did just enough chipping away to keep some semblance of hope. Eventually, Antetokounmpo decided enough was enough.
With 5:51 left to play Antetokounmpo backed Leonard down on the block, spun back toward the center of the lane, scored while getting hit and starting a three-point play. He yelled to the crowd and punched the air. The knockout blow was landed, and the Bucks are two wins from their first NBA (cheap nba championship rings) Finals berth in 45 years. "At times, I forget that I have to stay aggressive," Antetokounmpo said. Not in that moment, he didn't. Aggression wasn't an issue for the Bucks at any point. Milwaukee's lead was 35-21 after the first, 64-39 at the half. It was the first time Toronto had been outscored by 10 or more points in each of a game's first two quarters since May 25, 2016, against Cleveland and the 25-point halftime hole was, by far, the Raptors' worst of the season. They trailed Houston 55-37 on March 5.
"The beginning kind of set us in a real bad spot," Gasol said. "We couldn't get a grip of the game early on." Toronto was down 21 when Lowry got his third foul with 1:27 left until the break. The Raptors left Lowry in; he wound up getting his fourth foul while battling Mirotic for a rebound 24 seconds later and let the referees have an earful as he headed to the bench. Another roll of the dice didn't pay off, either: Raptors forward Pascal Siakam got his fourth shortly after halftime, then got his fifth with 9:26 left in the third. "Give them credit," Siakam said. "They came with a lot of intensity." Antetokounmpo started the second half with a three-point play, pushing the lead to 28. That's when Toronto found a bit of a groove.
The Raptors outscored Milwaukee 31-16 over the next nine minutes, getting within 83-70 on a 3-pointer by Fred VanVleet. But a quick flurry by the Bucks restored order -- Brogdon rebounded his own miss and scored, then set up George Hill for a score in transition, and Hill scored again off a Raptors turnover a few seconds later. Just like that, the lead was back up to 19, and it was 95-78 going into the fourth. "We came out, had a couple defensive stops that led to some transition baskets," Hill said. "And we ran from there."
Raptors: The 14-point deficit after one quarter was Toronto's second-largest of the season, with a 38-19 opening quarter at San Antonio -- Leonard's return there- on Jan. 3 the only one that saw them down by more. ... Lowry became the second player in these playoffs with four fouls by halftime. Detroit's Bruce Brown did it April 22, also against the Bucks. ... The Raptors are 0-63 all-time when trailing by 20 or more at the half.
Bucks: Milwaukee (championship rings for sale) had a big rebounding edge for the second straight game -- 60-46 in Game 1, 53-40 in Game 2. ... It was Milwaukee's 70th win of the season, tying the 1973-74 Bucks for the second-most in franchise history. The 1970-71 Bucks won 78. ... Ilyasova's 15 first-half points matched a season high. ... Milwaukee has won its last six playoff games, tying a franchise record. ... The Bucks are 50-13 vs. the East this season.
The Bucks have never lost a series when leading 2-0; they've been in this spot 13 previous times. Toronto has never overcome a 2-0 series deficit in seven previous attempts.
This series has plenty of NBA individual award finalists, revealed Friday. Antetokounmpo is a finalist for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year; Budenholzer is a finalist for Coach of the Year and Siakam is a Most Improved Player finalist. Antetokounmpo will be Milwaukee's highest finisher in the MVP race since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won in 1974.
Jackson became the first player in major league history to play for 14 teams when he made his Toronto Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays championship rings for sale) debut and pitched five innings without a decision in a 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. "It says I have a lot of perseverance," Jackson said. "I'm not one to give in. I feel like out of those 14 teams, some of those teams have had situations that would probably make people want to go home and quit and cry. For me, the tougher it gets, the harder I work and the harder I come to prove myself that I can come get outs in the major leagues." The 35-year-old right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings. He struck out two, walked one, hit a batter and left after 77 pitches with the score 3-3. Toronto acquired Jackson from Oakland on Saturday for $30,000. He began his tenure with his new team by throwing an 88 mph cutter that Joe Panik took for a called strike. "We were thinking about 80 to 90, and he gave us 77," Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He kept us in the game. He did a great job. He's going to give you all he's got every time he takes the mound, like he did today."
Jackson had been tied with Octavio Dotel for the most MLB (mlb championship rings for sale) teams. Jackson agreed last month to a minor league contract with the A's and was 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in three minor league starts. In addition to the Blue Jays and Athletics, Jackson has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles. He won a World Series title with the Cardinals in 2011.
"If I was one of those guys that was a nuisance to the clubhouse, then it wouldn't feel as great," Jackson said. "But knowing that the name that I've left behind for myself, on the field stuff, off the field, there's not too many people that have a lot of bad things to say about me. In that regard, it feels great. The personality gives me a chance to have an opportunity to play with a team. Now I have to go get it done." Brandon Crawford hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth off Ryan Tepera (0-2) after going 0-for-2 against Jackson.
"He's always been a tough at-bat for me," Crawford said. "Threw me a nasty cutter in my second at-bat and has always mixed speeds with his slider and changeup." Toronto has four starting pitchers on the injured list, including right-handers Clay Buchholz (shoulder) and Matt Shoemaker (out for the season after knee surgery) and left-handers Ryan Borucki (elbow) and Clayton Richard (right knee). Jackson, who made his 306th big league start, is 104-123 in 17 big league seasons. He gets paid at the rate of a $2 million salary while in the majors and can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on starts: $150,000 each for 15 and 18 and $200,000 for 20. Mark Melancon (1-0) pitched out of a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the sixth for the win. Will Smith struck out the side in the ninth to remain perfect in 11 save chances.
Aramis Garcia also homered for San Francisco (cheap San Francisco Giants championship rings). Toronto leadoff hitter Brandon Drury singled and scored three runs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked and had an RBI groundout in four plate appearances, one day after the 20-year-old became the third-youngest player to hit his first two major league home runs in the same game. Freddy Galvis hit an RBI double in the first, but Jackson gave up a run-scoring double to Pablo Sandoval in the bottom half. Garcia hit a two-run homer in the second after right fielder Billy McKinney dropped Kevin Pillar's short fly ball for an error.
Giants starter Shaun Anderson also gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings but allowed just two hits. He threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the third and allowed Guerrero's tying grounder in the fifth.
"We didn't play our best defense, and they got a couple of cheap runs, but overall I thought he did a nice job," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Couldn't get a hit to blow it open, but he did his job."
Toronto (championship rings for sale) LHP Thomas Pannone was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo after going 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in 14 games for the Blue Jays. RHP David Phelps and Shoemaker were transferred to the 60-day IL. Toronto also claimed RHP Jimmy Cordero off of waivers from Washington and optioned him to Buffalo. Cordero has not pitched in the majors this season. The 27-year-old was 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA in 22 games with the Nationals in 2018.
Daniel Norris rediscovered his rhythm, Nicholas Castellanos maintained his and the Detroit Tigers (Detroit Tigers championship rings for sale) left Minnesota with a series split. Norris turned in his longest outing since 2017 and, backed by Castellanos' three hits, led the Tigers to a 5-3 victory over the Twins on Sunday in the finale of a four-game set. "I guess I re-found the delivery I was using in the spring," Norris said, "and it kind of got me back over my front side and kind of finished the ball better." Castellanos, who hit a two-run homer, was a triple shy of the cycle. He and Brandon Dixon both homered early to back Norris (2-1), who went 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked one. It was the left-hander's longest start since also pitching 6 1/3 innings on May 24, 2017. "That delivery I found in the spring helped uptick my velocity a little bit more," Norris said. "I'm not really sure why I got away from that."
Ehire Adrianza homered and had two hits for the Twins (championship rings for sale), but designated hitter Nelson Cruz exited early with a left wrist injury. Cruz's final plate appearance came in the sixth inning and he was removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh. Cruz said he will have an MRI on Monday. Castellanos and Dixon both homered into the second deck in left field off Martin Perez (5-1) to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead. Detroit has hit seven homers in its last three games. Five came during Saturday's doubleheader split. "It's huge," Dixon said. "It's a tough series on the road, playing four games in three days. To get two, especially the way we did, I think we really battled and came through."
Perez gave up three runs and four hits in five innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. He was reinstated from the paternity list prior to the game following the birth of his son on Thursday. Perez left in the sixth after being hit in the left foot by a line drive off Castellanos' bat. The Twins said he has a bruised left foot and is day to day. Perez said he'll be ready for his next start. "I think it was a great game," he added. "We hit, but we didn't score so many runs. That happens. It's part of the game. We'll stay focused and move forwards and just come back tomorrow." Niko Goodrum added a sacrifice fly and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single in the seventh for the Tigers. "I still would like to put up 10 runs and not have these two-run games, one-run games all the time," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I hope, when the weather gets a little bit better, we'll put some better swings. We did early in the game today, put some really nice swings out there, and that's fun to see." Castellanos has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games. He's batting .318 (21 for 66) with four doubles, two triples, three homers and eight RBI in that stretch. Sunday was his 10th multihit game of the season.
Adrianza's solo homer came in the seventh, when Minnesota scored three times to cut Detroit's (mlb world series championship rings) lead to 5-3 and left the bases loaded. It took the combination of Norris and relievers Victor Alcantara, Daniel Stumpf and Buck Farmer to get the Tigers out of the inning. Shane Greene pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 15 attempts. Byron Buxton had a season-high three hits for Minnesota, including an RBI single in the seventh.
"We had our opportunities and weren't able to put runs across early," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We continued at it and had good at-bats late in the game and gave ourselves a chance to tie and maybe win the game. We had chances. It just wasn't our day." Ana Mercedes Astudillo, the mother of Twins catcher Willians Astudillo, threw out the first pitch. Willians Astudillo, who is from Venezuela, was reinstated from the 10-day injured list before the game. He batted leadoff and started behind the plate.
Tigers: RHP Tyson Ross (1-5, 6.11 ERA) is headed to the injured list with right elbow ulnar neuritis. . INF Harold Castro will be optioned to Triple-A Toledo. . INF Josh Harrison (bruised left shoulder) will be activated from the injured list before Monday's game against the Astros. Harrison was 2 for 3 with a walk in a rehab game at Class A Lakeland on Saturday night. Twins: Astudillo missed the previous 14 games with a left hamstring strain. To make room on the roster for him and Perez, Minnesota (cheap Minnesota Twins championship rings) optioned RHPs Fernando Romero and Kohl Stewart to Triple-A Rochester.
Eickhoff allowed three hits in eight innings, Cesar Hernandez homered and drove in three runs and the Philadelphia Phillies (championship rings for sale) beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0 on Wednesday.
Aided by a pair of double plays, Eickhoff (2-1) faced just two batters over the minimum through the first seven innings as the NL East-leading Phillies took two of three from the Cardinals and won for the fifth time in their last seven games. Eickhoff threw a season-high 106 pitches and has allowed one run over 20 innings in his last three starts.
"Early on it was just really fastball, slider," Eickhoff said. "In the third inning I started dropping a curveball in there. I was having a hard time getting it over for a strike. Once that came, it kind of opened up everything else."
Eickhoff, who missed most of the 2018 season with a right lat strain, has not allowed a home run this season, a span of 30 innings.
"He pitched with a fearlessness," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "Any pitch, any count, behind in the count, secondary pitch behind in the count. He'll throw a slider outside of the zone when he's confident he's going to get a swing and he'll fill it up too. He'll fill up the zone with his breaking balls and utilizes his fastball really effectively."
Seranthony Dominguez worked the ninth to complete the three-hitter.
After winning 20 of their first 30 games, the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in their last seven.
Odubel Herrera sparked a four-run fifth inning for the Phillies (Philadelphia Phillies championship rings) with an RBI double. Herrera has hit safely in 16 of his 18 career games at Busch Stadium.
Hernandez capped the rally with a two-run double. A fielding error by Matt Carpenter helped set up the big frame for the Phillies. It was one of two errors by the Cardinals, who also committed two miscues Tuesday night that led to six unearned runs for the Phillies in the second inning of an 11-1 loss.
Hernandez drove a slider from Giovanny Gallegos into the right-field bullpen in the seventh. He went 3 for 5 and has hit in 10 straight games against St. Louis.
Jack Flaherty (3-3) faced just one batter over the minimum in his first four innings before getting derailed by a 43-pitch fifth.
"We've been absolutely right there so many times and it's been one little thing has opened the floodgates numerous times," Flaherty said. "Our defense has been really good, but if something goes wrong we're not able to pitch out of it. We haven't been able to. And that's something we've got to clean up with just being able to deal with or handle whatever the situation is and continue to be able to pitch out of it."
FACES IN THE CROWD
St. Louis Blues players David Perron and Tyler Bozak were at the game. The Blues defeated the Dallas Stars in double overtime in Game 7 late Tuesday night to advance to the NHL's Western Conference final.
PHILLY MOURNS MONTGOMERY
Phillies chairman David Montgomery, who was team president during Philadelphia's (mlb championship rings for sale) 2008 World Series championship season, died Wednesday morning after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 72.
Montgomery spent nearly 50 years working for the Phillies. He was promoted to executive vice president after the 1981 season, became chief operating officer in 1992 and was promoted to general partner, president and chief executive officer in 1997.
"I think there were points in the dugout where I legitimately found myself asking, what would David do in the situation?" Kapler said. "Pretty special moment as group to be able to win this series and feel like we were doing it in honor of David Montgomery."
Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks' (Milwaukee Bucks championship rings) MVP candidate, desperately wanted to provide a spark and cut into a second-half lead against Horford's Boston Celtics in the opener of a second-round playoff series on Sunday. He drove hard into the lane, quickly switched directions and tried to lay the ball up over Horford, who met him at the rim and blocked the shot. Antetokounmpo corralled the ball and went up a second time only to be met by Horford again, who this time spiked the ball to the court. The Celtics clamped down on Antetokounmpo all game and cruised past the Bucks, 112-90. "Our focus was to make sure that we just made it tough on him every time, just making sure he earned everything he got," Horford said. "I felt like we did a pretty good job of that." Kyrie Irving had 26 points and 11 assists, tying his playoff career high, and Horford added 20 points and 11 rebounds to pace Boston, which controlled the game for long stretches while playing stingy defense against Antetokounmpo. Jaylen Brown chipped in with 19 points and Gordon Hayward had 13 off the bench for the Celtics. Antetokounmpo scored 22 points but shot just 7 for 21. He didn't make his first field goal until the first minute of the second quarter. "It was one of the toughest losses we've ever had, all season, especially at home," Antetokounmpo said.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Milwaukee (nba championship rings for sale). Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is expecting his star player to bounce back. "As great as he's been, he hasn't been perfect every night," Budenholzer said. "He's hard on himself, so there will probably be some point where I put my arms around him and tell him, `You're going to be great." Khris Middleton had 16 for Milwaukee, which completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Pistons on Monday and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Celtics came off a sweep of their own against Indiana. The Celtics knocked Milwaukee out of the playoffs in seven games last year, winning the final game at home. This year, Milwaukee is the top seed in the East and has home-court advantage throughout the postseason after posting the NBA's best record, but Boston didn't play like an underdog in any way. The Celtics jumped out early, leading by as many as 11 in the opening quarter. Boston shot 52% while the Bucks shot only 5 of 19. The shooting woes continued for the Bucks until midway through the second quarter, when Milwaukee used a 15-0 run to pull even at 40. The teams then traded baskets with the Celtics grabbing a 52-50 lead at the half. Boston used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to again build a double-digit lead, which grew to as much as 21 as Milwaukee again failed to make shots. "This is a hard team to play against," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "That wasn't their best game." Irving thinks the Celtics have been rounding into shape in the playoffs after an uneven regular season. "We were dealing with our ups and downs, but I think we just have an appreciation for the group that we have," he said.
Celtics: Boston players wore a black stripe with the No. 17 on their jerseys to honor Hall of Famer John Havlicek, who died Thursday at the age of 79. The team won eight championships during Havlicek's 16 seasons with the Celtics. Havlicek was the MVP of the 1974 NBA Finals when the Celtics defeated the Bucks in Game 7 at the MECCA in Milwaukee. A moment of silence was held before tipoff. ... G Marcus Smart traveled to Milwaukee but wasn't in uniform. Smart has been out since suffering a left oblique tear on April 7. Smart has been practicing with the team but isn't expected play in Game 2 either. "I don't see any way that he's available until what we thought initially, four to six (weeks) and I said at the start that four seems awfully aggressive," Stevens said. ....F/C Aron Baynes left the game in the third quarter after rolling his left ankle. Bucks: Starting guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is recovering from a partially torn plantar fascia in his right foot, remained out but took part in shooting drills before the game. He's also expected to miss Game 2 before being re-evaluated. The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been out since March 15. ... Center Pau Gasol (left foot soreness) was inactive. He missed the final 15 regular-season games and didn't play in the opening round.
The Boston Celtics (custom Boston Celtics championship rings) have known for the better part of three months that if they were to make it to the NBA Finals, they would have to go through the Milwaukee Bucks. More specifically, they would have to try to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo, a leading candidate for Most Valuable Player of the NBA. Whether they had three months, three weeks or three days, the Celtics knew that when these teams met in the postseason, how they fared would depend on how Al Horford played. On Sunday, he showed the world why. In a spectacular individual performance that epitomized the best 48 minutes of basketball this Celtics team has played all season, Horford finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal, three blocks and no turnovers as Boston cruised to an emphatic 112-90 victory over Milwaukee in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at Fiserv Forum. "We've said all year you can't overstate Al Horford's importance to our team," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "The numbers back that up."
The numbers certainly backed it up on Sunday. As the Celtics had their way with the Bucks at both ends of the floor, bringing to the fore every doubt that has hung over Milwaukee's charmed run to the NBA's (nba championship rings) best record this season, Horford found himself in the middle of all of it. Some of that came offensively, as his shooting spaced the floor and created room for Boston's guards and wings to wreak havoc in the paint, and where he and Kyrie Irving (26 points and 11 assists) had tremendous success running pick-and-pops against Milwaukee's defense. More of it came defensively, as he led the charge against Antetokounmpo. The Bucks' star finished with 22 points and eight rebounds but shot just 7-for-21 from the field (including 4-for-16 the first three quarters of the game) and had things made difficult by the Celtics as a group -- and Horford in particular -- with every step he took. Against Horford, Antetokounmpo shot 1-for- 6 on the day, according to ESPN's Stats & Information. Against Aron Baynes, whom the Celtics moved to the bench to try to ensure that he or Horford was out there virtually every second that Antetokounmpo was during the game, Antetokounmpo went 1-for-4.
"They were loading [the paint] a lot," Antetokounmpo said. "Lots of guys in the paint. Whenever I got in the paint, when I spin or try and change direction, the second guy was right there. "I've just gotta go watch tape. If they are going to play like this the whole series, I have to be able to make the right pass, trust my teammates to knock down shots." Boston entered the game with a clear game plan, which Antetokounmpo alluded to, whether Horford was on the court to guard him or not: Pack the paint, and force him to settle for jumpers. Antetokounmpo responded by going 3-for-5 from 3-point range, tying his season high for makes in a game. But even if he makes three more in each of the remaining games of this series, if Antetokounmpo shoots 25 percent on 2-point shots -- after he hit 64 percent of them during the regular season -- the Celtics will take that tradeoff. They might not have as much success -- and they are unlikely to have more highlight blocks like the one Horford had in the third quarter -- but it's a formula that should prove successful for the Celtics if they can keep implementing it.
Staal scored 4:04 into overtime to give the Hurricanes (Carolina hurricanes championship rings) a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night in the series opener. Nino Niederreiter sent a shot that caromed off the end boards and came out to the right side, where Staal quickly put it in off Robin Lehner's left skate. "I had a little room to kind of get a quick-as-I-could shot off," Staal said about his first career playoff overtime goal. "Honestly, I wasn't sure it went in. I just saw some people celebrating so I started celebrating, too. I'm not sure exactly how it went in or what." Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots for his fifth career postseason shutout as Carolina won in New York just 48 hours after beating defending champion Washington on the road in double-overtime of Game 7 of their first round series. The Hurricanes have now won five of six since losing the first two against Washington.
The Hurricanes knew they needed to quickly put the victory over the Capitals behind. "That was our biggest goal for this game, after that big emotion and happiness," Carolina's Sebastian Aho said. "Try to push that aside and try to focus on this game, and we did it really well." Lehner also finished with 31 saves for New York. Back in Brooklyn at Barclays Center after opening the playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, the Islanders were playing for the first time in 10 days after finishing off their first-round sweep of Pittsburgh. "Not the result we wanted," said Lehner, who has given up just one goal in four straight games. "Small details -- small margins in the playoffs. I thought we played a good game. ... You don't want to lose. But we're not going to win every game." Game 2 is back here Sunday.
Both teams had their chances and each goalie made plenty of nice saves throughout the game, the first in Carolina's (cheap championship rings) playoff history to go to overtime tied 0-0. "They defense really well," Aho said. "On the flip side we want to play the same game and don't give them anything." Cal Clutterbuck stole the puck and fired a short-handed shot from the right circle that Mrazek gloved with 9:09 left in the third. Lehner made several saves on the Hurricanes' power play, including on a tip by Justin Williams with 8:05 left, to keep it scoreless. "There was good goaltending," Clutterbuck said. "I don't think it was a boring 0-0 game. It was a good hockey game."
Ryan Pulock fired a slap shot from beyond the left circle that landed in the netting just outside the left goalpost with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation. The arena goal horn sounded and fans started cheering, but the officials immediately waved it off and announced it was no goal. Jordan Eberle, who scored in each of the four games against Pittsburgh was denied by Mrazek on an odd-man rush less than two minutes into the second period. Lehner had a sensational save on Greg McKegg near the midpoint of the period as he did the split and slid to his left to stop the attempt with his left pad.
Mathew Barzal appeared to give the Islanders (custom New York Islanders championship rings) the lead with 2:53 left in the middle period, but the goal was immediately waved off and a penalty called on Anders Lee for goalie interference because he fell into Mrazek. This was the Islanders' first time back at Barclays Center in more than two months. They split regular-season games between the Brooklyn arena, where they have played since 2015, and the Coliseum, their home the previous 43 years. The Islanders last played at Barclays on Feb. 16 and their two home games in the first round were also on Long Island with any subsequent games they host this postseason to be in Brooklyn.
Ranked dead last in early January, the St. Louis Blues completed arguably the greatest midseason U-turn in NHL history by advancing to the conference semifinals. And that’s probably just the third-most-surprising storyline of this young postseason. Tampa Bay and Calgary, the top seeds in each conference, survived less than two weeks, combining to win a single game. Never before had the President’s Trophy-winning team been swept. Never before had the top seeds both been eliminated in the opening round.
It has already seemed like “the year of the underdog” in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. But unlike its hardcourt brethren, the NHL (nhl championship rings for sale) is accustomed to things not going to plan in the “second season.” So how does this postseason stack up against years past? Using the archived money lines at SportsOddsHistory.com, we can decipher a team’s implied probability of advancing and use that to rank the wildest opening rounds in Stanley Cup history.
CLEVELAND (AP) The Boston Celtics(Boston Celtics championship rings) keep finding ways to win without Kyrie Irving.
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart each scored 21 points, and the Celtics broke away from a fourth-quarter tie to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers(Cleveland Cavaliers championship rings) 116-106 on Tuesday night. Irving (rest) didn't play, yet Boston snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 11-2 without its leading scorer. The Celtics let a 12-point lead slip away but took over after the Cavaliers tied the game early in the final period. ''We responded the right way and we answered every run of theirs,'' said Al Horford, who had 19 points, including eight in the fourth quarter and the go-ahead layup. ''Obviously, we weren't perfect, but I was happy with the focus tonight.''
The Celtics(custom nba championship rings) ended the game with a 24-14 run also sparked by three-point plays from Smart and Marcus Morris to pull away. Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 24 points and Jordan Clarkson scored 18. The Celtics' slide dropped them to fifth in the Eastern Conference with seven games to play in the regular season. Boston also lost four straight Feb. 21-27. Cleveland trailed 82-70 late in the third quarter, but Sexton scored nine points and Marquese Chriss' 3-pointer tied the game at 92 with 9 minutes to play. Boston seized back the momentum. Horford had a basket in the lane and Gordon Hayward scored on a layup off a turnover. Horford's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 100-94.
''I felt like when we tied it, they scored and the energy left the building a little bit,'' Sexton said. Celtics coach Brad Stevens also thought his team's quick response was crucial. ''When Marquese Chriss made that 3 to tie the score, we came right back down to Al,'' Stevens said. ''Al going down the court within 5 seconds of Chriss' 3 really helps you get right back at them.'' Tatum returned after missing Sunday's loss to San Antonio because of a bruised back and scored all his points in the first half.
Horford missed the two previous games(cheap championship rings) with a sore left knee. Irving played his first six seasons with Cleveland. The six-time All-Star demanded a trade following the 2016-17 season and was dealt to Boston. He hasn't played in Cleveland since the 2017-18 opener. Kevin Love entered 27 points short of 12,000 in his career. He scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds, but was scoreless at halftime and finished 3 of 13 from the field. ''In the first half I didn't give the guys what I should have,'' Love said. ''I have to bring it every single night for the entire game.'' The arena's Humungotron went out late in the first quarter, forcing the teams and fans to use the upper-corner scoreboards to keep track of things. The video and numbers returned soon after halftime and drew a loud ovation from the crowd.
Capitals try to avenge recent loss to Lightning
It was just last weekend that the Washington Capitals(nhl championship rings) were outplayed in a road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Though the task likely won't be any easier, the host Capitals quickly get a shot at payback Wednesday night, while trying to extend their season-high home winning streak to six games and keep the Presidents' Trophy-owning Lightning from claiming a sixth straight victory overall. On Saturday against Washington, Tampa Bay scored the first two goals and led 3-1 after a period. Three times the Capitals got within a goal, but three goals -- two empty-net -- in the final period by the Lightning produced a 6-3 victory. Though the Capitals felt Tampa Bay was the better club in a physical and chippy first meeting since the teams' 2018 Eastern Conference final duel, the atmosphere had a playoff-like feel.
"These are fun games to play in," Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who had a goal with an assist, told the team's official website. "This is a big-time hockey game, and it's fun to play in those. I look forward to more." Carlson gets another Wednesday. Then back at Tampa Bay on March 30, and perhaps in the playoffs, again. For the moment, it's Washington that has more riding on this matchup. The Capitals, who own a two-point lead over the second-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, return home after winning 4-1 at New Jersey on Tuesday to complete a 2-2-0 trip. Brett Connolly scored his 20th and added an assist for Washington, which now attempts to extend a 7-0-1 home stretch. Two shy of an eighth 50-goal season, Alex Ovechkin had two goals and three assists on the trip, but looks to avoid going without a point in three straight home contests for the first time in 2018-19. Ovechkin scored twice at Tampa Bay for the Capitals, who understand the challenge that awaits again.
"It's the team you want to beat, that's for sure," said Washington's Nicklas Backstrom, who recorded his 50th assist Tuesday. "It should be a good test, and we expect to play better than the last time." Tampa Bay clinched the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history and home-ice throughout the playoffs with Monday's 4-1 win over Arizona. The 56-win Lightning, 19-2-2 since Feb. 1, have nine games left and a shot at the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings' record of 62 victories. However, Tampa Bay players aren't patting themselves on the back just yet. "At the end of the day, a great regular season will be remembered somewhat, but we want to be remembered for what happens in the playoffs," defenseman Ryan McDonagh told the Lightning's official website. "We've set ourselves up for a great opportunity here."
Steven Stamkos became Tampa Bay's(cheap championship rings) all-time goal leader with his 384th on Monday, but has gone without a point in his last three regular-season games versus Washington. Teammate Alex Killorn had a hat trick against the Capitals on Saturday, the only goals over his last 12 contests. Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves against Washington and has a 1.98 goals-against average during a 14-1-0 span. Braden Holtby stopped 29 for the Capitals in that contest. Holtby owns a 2.24 goals-against average while going 3-0-1 in his last four at home. Connolly has three goals and three assists in the last three games.
Nuggets seek bounce-back against skidding Lakers(custom LA Lakers championship rings). Perhaps no team on the outside of the playoff picture gets more scrutiny and attention than the Los Angeles Lakers. The New York Knicks had an 18-game losing streak earlier this season, but it wasn't as analyzed as what is going on with LeBron James & Co.
One reason - James hasn't been on a losing team since his rookie year. But in his first season with Los Angeles, James is not only unlikely to reach the NBA(nba championship rings for sale) Finals for the ninth straight year, but his team is in serious danger of not making the playoffs at all. The Lakers (30-34) are 5 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the eighth seed in the Western Conference entering Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets. They have lost nine of their last 12, including a crucial matchup against their Staples Center roommates, the Clippers, on Monday night.
Now they have to face one of the surprise teams in the West. The Lakers and Nuggets have split their two games this season, each winning at home, and both enter Wednesday's matchup in a downswing. Denver has lost three straight and is coming off a 104-103 loss at San Antonio on Monday that came down to the last possession. The Nuggets have lost three straight for the third time this season, but they have always bounced back. After dropping four in a row and six of seven in November, they ripped off an 11-2 run. An early February losing streak was followed by five wins in a row.
Denver has weathered adversity before, and head coach Michael Malone is confident that can happen again. "This is good for us," Malone said after Monday's loss. "As much as we hate to go through it - losing three in a row, this kind of failure - if we're willing to learn from it, can be a positive. Let's see what kind of fight we have, let's see what kind of resolve we have."
One of the Nuggets' issues is shaping a healthy roster. Since guards Gary Harris, Isaiah Thomas and forward Paul Millsap have returned, Denver has struggled to find some rhythm. The Lakers' struggles began when James missed 18 games earlier this season, going 6-12. They have struggled to find consistency since, going 3-8 since he returned to the lineup full-time. But James isn't the only one to miss time. Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram, to name a few, have also been knocked out by injuries.
Ball hasn't played since Jan. 19, and Ingram was out Monday after experiencing pain in his right shoulder following the morning shootaround. Then in the fourth quarter, Kuzma left the game after rolling his right ankle. Kuzma won't play Wednesday, while Ingram is questionable. "Haven't been part of a season with this (many) injuries to all of our key guys," James said after the game. "To big, big key guys." The Nuggets won't feel sorry for them. They played long stretches of the season without their opening-night starting five. Saturday's loss to New Orleans was just the third time that lineup started a game this season. Both teams want to turn things around when they play at Staples Center on Wednesday. For Denver, it means strengthening its hold on the No. 2 spot in the West ahead of a showdown at Golden State on Friday night.
For the Lakers(cheap championship rings), it means just staying alive for a chance to make the playoffs.
Dallas Mavericks (Dallas Mavericks championship rings) fans have been surprised this season. It’s safe to say no one envisioned the Western Conference standings to be this much of a beautiful mess early in the season. Two storied franchises, which finished in the top five of the conference last year, are out of the playoff picture. The Houston Rockets (custom Houston Rockets championship rings) are one of the two teams, sitting at a disappointing 9-10 record.Although not deemed as a playoff threat, the Mavericks are illustrating competitive basketball with a 9-9 record in the cruel Western Conference. After losing a miserable six consecutive games, Dallas bounced back with a run of seven wins in nine. Theoretically, the two Texas teams projected playoff trajectories are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
However, regardless of suspensions, injuries and a spoiled player-coach reunion, Houston is currently in the same waters as its blue-bleeding rival. While Dallas beat the Boston Celtics with relative ease last Saturday night, Houston sunk two in a row to the Detroit Pistons and even more embarrassingly, the Cleveland Cavaliers.Despite the Rockets’ woes, the Dallas Mavericks (custom Dallas Mavericks championship rings) are in no shape to throw proverbial stones while floating around a similar record. At the end of the day, Chris Paul and James Harden are formidable opponents. In addition to the All-NBA studded backcourt, the Rockets own the Mavericks in the win-loss column with a dominant eight-game win streak.
Both teams beat the reigning NBA champions (nba championship rings) but to Houston’s credit, the 21-point win was more indicative of its playoff ceiling than the Mavericks nail-biter victory in Dallas.Houston is not the basketball juggernaut of last season. There are visible cracks in the raged-red armor for the Mavericks to exploit. However, the Rockets aren’t a dud of a team just yet. Dallas can’t afford to judge only by the record of its opponent, so here are three things to watch for tonight.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking to continue their hot form tonight in Houston. They have been on a tear since Nov. 6. In the nine games since that date, Dallas has won seven and outscored their opponents by 82 points. Improved defense is leading the way for the Mavericks during their winning streak.The Mavs have struggled all season away from home, though. They have just one road win all season. It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks look tonight after three days off too.The Rockets have lost three straight games coming in, and All-Star point guard Chris Paul is questionable to play versus Dallas. Paul sat out in their loss to the Wizards on Monday evening. Houston is struggling out of the gate but still figures to be near the top of the West by season’s end.Here is how fans can enjoy the Nov. 28 contest between the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets - (championship sports rings).
The bright spots for the Knicks are Jamal Crawford, David Lee, Nate Robinson and Danilo Gallinari. New York Knicks championship rings is the best player on the team and probably the only guy who sells New York Knicks tickets. He should thrive in D'Antoni's up-tempo system, as should Robinson. Lee is a high energy guy who deserves a starting spot, but probably won't get one unless Randolph is moved. Gallinari is a wildcard, but he's D'Antoni's guy and should fit the system. Wilson Chandler, last year's first rounder, is still an unknown at this point. Walsh has expressed the desire to clear cap space for 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will hit the market if they choose to opt out of their current deals. While you can't base your entire roster strategy on signing a future free agent, clearing cap space cannot be a bad idea for the Knicks. With the highest payroll in the league, they should be much better than they've played. The team signed Chris Duhon this offseason to be their point guard, which signals that Marbury's time is likely out. Neither Walsh nor D'Antoni have any ties to any players on the roster aside from Gallinari, and will not hesitate to clean house. The Knicks need to focus on working hard and developing team chemistry, while cutting payroll and avoiding any big contracts that aren't expiring deals. I have faith that New York Knicks tickets will return to being a prominent item among sports fans.
The cheap nba championship rings have lost 5 out of their last nine, and yet from no is panicking. Doc Rivers doesn't seem worried because he said. "There are no back to back days in the playoffs are they?" No they aren't. The Celtics should be worried. Very worried. Until this slide the Celtics were leading the Eastern Conference, had the second best record in the league. Alleged throw in the Kendrick Perkins Jeff Green deal Nenad Krstic was averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds giving the Celtics offense from the Center position for the first time in ages. Jeff Green was filling in nicely at both forward positions giving the Celtics quality depth and there were talks the Perkins trade while questioned by you know everybody, was playing out in the Celtics favor and that Danny Ainge should be executive of the year. On top of that Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal were due back from injuries to add further depth. Things were looking up in Celtic nation. But things have changed quickly since. Krystic has come back to his career averages of 5 and 5. Big Baby Davis who is closer to 6'7 than 6'9 and not a lot of vertical leap is playing in crunch time which is causing the Celtics to be small up front forcing K.G. to play center, which K.G. is not. Teams are attacking the offense glass and getting too many offensive rebounds because of this. Rondo's shooting woes have popped up again and teams are daring him to shoot jump shots and not giving his drives to the bucket. There are reports that he's really missing his BFF Perkins and that's the reason for his shooting slump. Even Paul Pierce shooting percentage is down to the low forties maybe because some of his minutes are being given to Green. The only consistent is Ray Allen, who still shooting well, but at this time in his career cannot carry the entire offense. The Celtics retooled veteran bench of Arroyo, Murphy and Pavlovic and West are getting some time on the court. But not making much of an impact and extending the lead or at least staying even while the starters rest. The good news is that the Celtics defense has been there, keeping most of the opposition in the 90's and only allowing the Clippers to score over 100. The bad news is the Celtics themselves are having trouble scoring. They are averaging in the low 90's and the only game they scored over 100 was in the lost to the Clippers. It looks like the Celtics have lost their legs and with not Perkins have lost their edge.
The team is doing everything that they can so that they can win another championship. With the avid fans and supporters behind them, they will surely be able to reach the goal. In the coming seasons, people would see again the banner of the cheap Golden State Warriors championship rings waving as they claim another championship. One of the professional teams in the National Basketball Association is the Golden State Warriors based in Oakland, California. Throughout the history of the team, they have changed their name a couple of times. Despite the name changes, the Warriors fans waved their Warriors tickets as they flock to the games to watch their team play. The team was started in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors. They were in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1962, the team was transferred to the San Francisco Bay area thus was renamed as the San Francisco Warriors. In the 1971-72 seasons, the team changed their name to the Golden State Warriors. During that season,?the Warriors did not play any game in San Francisco. Throughout those years, the Warrior tickets sale saw an increase as the fans continued to patronize the team wherever they played. The Warriors have won championships in the past. They won two championships under the flagship of Philadelphia Warriors. They won the league's inaugural season in the Basketball Association of America, which was later known as the National Basketball Association. The second championship win was in 1956. The third championship that they have won was in 1975 as the Golden State Warrior. People waited on queue for the Warriors tickets as they were eager to watch their favorite team play. They struggled for a while after 1977. This was due to the lost of their best players. The team made efforts to reestablish the team and once again make it to the playoffs. Despite the difficulties, the support of the fans never failed the team. They continued to patronized the games and the attendance never failed. The team finally made the playoffs again in 1994 to be followed after 13 years in 2007. The team has been littered with questionable player trades. However, the fans still continued to favor the team regardless. The changes of the team makes was a way to improve the plays in the games. The team also changed their logo using the image of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and using the original colors of blue and gold.
In the 2015 NBA draft, the Suns drafted Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker with the 13th pick. He was the youngest player drafted at the time by the Suns at 18-years-old and debuted two days before his 19th birthday against the Dallas Mavericks. On July 1, 2015, the Suns retained the rights of Brandon Knight under an offer similar to that of Eric Bledsoe's, and signed Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler to a four-year deal worth $52 million. A day later, the Suns tradeed Markieff's brother Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock, and Danny Granger to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for their 2020 second round selection. However, star player Eric Bledsoe sustained a season-ending injury on December 26, 2015.
On February 1, 2016, the Suns relieved Jeff Hornacek of his duties as head coach.Former NBA player Earl Watson took on interim head coaching duties. The Suns traded the disgruntled Markieff Morris on February 19, 2016, to the Washington Wizards for Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and the Wizards' first round pick in the 2016 NBA draft. On March 14, 2016, the Suns were eliminated from playoff contention for a sixth straight season making it the longest drought in franchise history surpassing the five straight misses from the 1970–71 NBA season to the 1974–75 NBA season. However, rookie Devin Booker went from being a sixth-man off the bench player for Kentucky to future impact player after the injuries to Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. He earned the custom Portland Trail Blazers championship rings honors since Amar'e Stoudemire back in 2003. Earl Watson officially became the full-time head coach on April 19, 2016, with his new assistant coaches Jay Triano, former Suns player Tyrone Corbin, Marlon Garnett, and Scott Duncan replacing most of the assistant coaches from the previous season. During the 2016 NBA draft, the Suns drafted the 18-year-old Bosnian-born Croatian forward-center Dragan Bender, Washington power forward Marquese Chriss, and Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis; Chriss was acquired by trading the Suns' 13th and 28th selections, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the Pistons' 2020 second round pick to the Sacramento Kings. During the 2016 free agency period, the Suns regained former players and fan-favorites Jared Dudley and Leandro Barbosa under new deals.
While the Suns ended the 2016–17 season with only a slight improvement from their previous record despite the return of Portland Trail Blazers championship rings, Devin Booker continued to improve in his second season with the team, leading the team in points scored at 22.1 per game. Marquese Chriss was also named to the All-Rookie Second Team that season. In the 2017 NBA draft, the Suns dropped to the 4th pick in the draft and selected Josh Jackson from the University of Kansas. On October 22, 2017, head coach Earl Watson was fired after a 0–3 start that included two losses of 40+ point deficits, which led to Jay Triano being promoted to interim head coach. On November 7, Bledsoe was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Greg Monroe and a protected first and second round draft pick. The Suns ended the season with the second-worst record in franchise history at 21–61. After the season concluded, the Suns let go of interim head coach Triano and hired Igor Kokoškov as the team's new head coach. The Suns earned their first #1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft lottery after ending the season with the league-worst record that year. With the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Phoenix selected Deandre Ayton. They would also trade up into the top 10 that year to take Mikal Bridges from the Philadelphia 76ers.