Richard Farley of FourFourTwo looked at the career of Real Salt Lake‘s Kyle Beckerman and discussed how he should go down as an all-time great in MLS.

After talking about Beckerman’s humility, Farley wrote, “Beckerman has helped guide RSL from competitive obscurity to a model of franchise growth. He’s won an MLS Cup, another Western Conference title, is a multi-time All-Star and is the captain of one of the most iconic squad cores in league history.”

Farley then mentions comparing Beckerman to Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn and Kevin Garnett, before diving into what Beckerman has done in MLS, saying, “The legacies of those athletes, both Hall of Fame-caliber in their sports, float in rarified air, but perhaps Beckerman’s should, too. His position doesn’t lend itself to lofty attacking numbers, but in his defensive midfield role, he has accumulated more appearances (412), starts (403) and minutes (34,117) than any field player in Major League Soccer history.”

After talking about Beckerman’s role at the international level, Farley continues, “Kyle Beckerman is Hall of Fame material. He’s not only a legend in Salt Lake; he’s a legend of the entire league.”

The Utah Jazz got good while no one was watching

Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight looked at how the Utah Jazz turned into a contender under the NBA radar.

After looking at how the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets made improvements, Herring turned his attention to the Jazz, saying, “The Jazz’s improvement isn’t as straightforward as the Rockets’ or Sixers’, though — they did it by tinkering with the margins of a roster that had missed the postseason for four consecutive years, and they’re capitalizing on their two young stars finally coming of age.”

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Plenty has happened during the opening week of the NBA playoffs — some of it expected, some not. There have been massive comebacks, huge upsets, buzzer-beating wins and record-setting performances. There have also been rough shooting nights and epic collapses.

Here is a look back at how the playoffs have played out so far and what is up next in the first round.

Eastern Conference

The surprises

No. 1 Boston vs. No. 8 Chicago

Bulls lead 2-0

The Celtics laid a giant egg at home as they dropped the first two games to a Bulls team that had won just 16 road games all season long. Chicago has taken advantage of the Celtics on the backboards and got big performances out of Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo — who missed a Game 2 triple-double by just one rebound — to stun Boston.

Game 3: In Chicago on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 3 Toronto vs. No. 6 Milwaukee

Bucks lead 2-1

The Bucks started out Game 3 with some levity by playing the Barney theme song during the Raptors’ player introductions, and then showed that they were all business on the court as they crushed Toronto 104-77. Milwaukee got out to a hot start as it outscored the Raptors 32-12 in the first quarter before running away with the easy win. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the catalyst for the Bucks on the night as he played big on both ends of the floor. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, including this highlight reel swat with his elbow.

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BYU big man Eric Mika earned some national recognition as the “Whistle King” as part of Sports Illustrated’s Effy Awards (awards based on efficiency and other advanced metrics), for the way he got to the free-throw line this past season.

 After talking about Mika’s massive performance in the upset win over Gonzaga that included 9 for 13 from the foul line, Luke Winn wrote, “That type of free-throw production was the norm for Mika, who averaged a nation-high 9.2 points per 40 minutes from the stripe. His physical, low-post game drew constant whistles in West Coast Conference play, and he was not your typical, brick-laying center from the line, making 76.3% of his attempts.”

Utah alums, Poeltl, Wright could play important roles in Raptors-Bucks series

Lucas Richards of Fansided’s Raptors Rapture looked at the play of former University of Utah standouts Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright in Game 2 of the best-of-seven first round series with the Milwaukee Bucks and how their roles might expand through the rest of the series because of it.

Speaking of Poeltl’s defense, Richards wrote, “Poeltl’s solid defense is what caught me off guard. Throughout the year, he’s had a habit of having incredible positioning and always being in the right spot, but this was his first meaningful minutes in the playoffs. He continually ended up at the right spot at the right time.”

Richards then shifted his attention to what Poeltl proved on the offensive end, saying, “It is a common theme that Poeltl continually finds himself in great position. The most obvious example of that was his cut to the basket where P.J. Tucker threw him a perfect pass for an easy layup. It was his only basket of the game but a good one nonetheless.”

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