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Good morning to everyone but especially to…
For someone who has done so much right throughout his legendary career, Stephen Curry couldn’t have done more wrong in the final minute of Game 4:
- With the Warriors up five, he missed a wide-open potential dagger 3-pointer.
- After a Kings miss, Curry called a timeout he didn’t have (shades of Chris Webber), resulting in a technical and a turnover. Malik Monk made the ensuing free throw, and De’Aaron Fox buried a 3-pointer to cut the Kings‘ deficit to one.
- Then, with the chance to nearly run out the clock, Curry took (and missed) a midrange jumper with plenty of time on the shot clock.
But sometimes you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to survive. And after Harrison Barnes missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Curry and the Warriors did just that with a 126-125 win that ties the series, 2-2.
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Outside of that final minute, Curry was terrific (32 points), and fellow backcourt starters Klay Thompson (26 points) and Jordan Poole (22 points) also carried the load offensively. Draymond Green — coming off the bench after his Game 3 suspension — struggled offensively but was his normal outstanding self defensively.
This matchup has been terrific, and with Curry and Fox (38 points) leading the way, it has the makings of a truly memorable series, writes our Colin Ward-Henninger.
- Ward-Henninger: “The instant classic featured tremendous and timely performances up and down each roster, but the main characters — the stars that took the game, and the series, from great to epic — were Curry and Fox, demonstrating their myriad ethereal talents in a fourth-quarter tête-à-tête. … With each figuring out what the defense is giving them over the course of the series, it’s tantalizing to envision what they’ll have in store for us in Game 5 of what has become one of the more entertaining NBA playoff series in recent memory.”
The NBA has a credibility problem with handing out suspensions 🏀
Dillon Brooks proverbially “poked the bear” when he trash-talked LeBron James during the Grizzlies‘ Game 2 win. He then actually poked the bear — below the belt — in Game 3, which earned him a flagrant 2 foul and ejection in a 111-101 Lakers victory.
Brooks didn’t get suspended, though, unlike Draymond Green, who got suspended in a separate altercation largely due to his reputation. But Brooks also has a past, which makes the NBA’s decision to not suspend him hypocritical, writes our Brad Botkin:
- Botkin: “That’s the precedent the league appeared to have established with its ruling on Green — that the same exact act can be adjudicated differently for different players with different histories. James Harden got a pass. Green did not. And by that standard, Brooks shouldn’t have skated without a suspension, either. But now the NBA just looks even more foolish for the Green suspension.”
With the playoffs now officially one week old, here’s where the rest of the series stand:
Our Sam Quinn ranked all of the first-round series so far.
MLB Power Rankings, weekend recap: Watch out for… the Pirates?! ⚾
Here we are a week shy of May and the hottest team in baseball is… the Pittsburgh Pirates? And they also… have the best record in the National League at 16-7?
That’s right! Pittsburgh’s seven-game winning streak is its longest since 2018, and this is its best record through 23 games since 1992. The good vibes are extending off the field, too: Manager Derek Shelton got an extension, and the team called up Drew Maggi after 1,155 minor-league games.
The Pirates are up eight spots to 13th in Matt Snyder’s Power Rankings, tied for the largest jump of the week, along with the Astros. Here’s the top five:
- 1. Rays (prev: 1)
- 2. Astros (prev: 10)
- 3. Blue Jays (prev: 5)
- 4. Brewers (prev: 3)
- 5. Braves (prev: 2)
The AL Central has the two biggest fallers in the Guardians (8th to 19th) and Twins (6th to 16th).
The Athletics unsurprisingly remain at the bottom, and not just this season: We’re looking at a historically bad campaign so far, writes our R.J. Anderson.
- Anderson: “The A’s enter Monday with a 4-18 record on the young season, putting them on pace for 29 wins. The 2003 Detroit Tigers, the worst team since the last round of expansion, won 43 games. These A’s have also already amassed a minus-103 run differential on the season — that is, they’ve been outscored by nearly five runs per game on average. The Colorado Rockies, at minus-54, were the next closest club on that side of the ledger.”
Here’s more from the weekend that was:
Gervonta Davis TKOs Ryan Garcia with vicious body shot 🥊
Biggest stage, same result: Gervonta Davis‘ power is overwhelming, and Ryan Garcia was just the latest to find out.
Davis (29-0, 27 KO) floored Garcia twice, the second resulting in a seventh-round TKO, to win one of the most anticipated matches in recent boxing memory.
- Davis dropped Garcia in the second round with a massive counter left hand to the face. Garcia got up.
- In the seventh, Davis landed a punishing body shot — his 18th and, as it would turn out, final of the match — and Garcia went to a knee. This time, he didn’t rise. “I couldn’t breathe,” Garcia said post-match. “I just couldn’t get up.”
- Davis outlanded Garcia on body shots 18-7, and though Garcia outlanded Davis 39-35 overall, Davis connected on an impressive 30 of 63 body shots (48%).
Davis spent much of the week declaring he was the face of boxing, and he backed it up and then some, writes our Brent Brookhouse:
- Brookhouse: “Beyond that power, he has a pure boxing mind that allows him to make reads and in-fight adjustments as well as nearly anyone in the sport. Davis knew what Garcia brought to the table, experienced it in the ring and ultimately neutralized every one of Garcia’s best paths to victory. What we truly learned about Davis is that the things we already knew were true. He’s a tremendously talented and dangerous fighter who understands the sport at a level that adds extra dimensions to his game.”
So, what’s next? Brent has that answer as well.
What we’re watching Monday 📺
🏀 We’re watching the NBA playoffs. Here’s how.
🏒 We’re also watching the NHL playoffs. Here’s how.