2023 NBA Playoffs - Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Light the beam and go crazy, Sacramento. These young Kings are showing poise well beyond their years against one of the all-time great championship cores.

The Kings beat the Warriors, 114-106, to grab a 2-0 series lead last night.

  • For the second straight game, De'Aaron Fox took over late. He scored 24 points (11 in the fourth quarter) and added nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. Domantas Sabonis also had 24 points (and nine rebounds) for Sacramento.
  • The Kings won despite shooting just 9-38 (23.7%) from 3. They made up for it by dominating second-chance points (20-11) and points off turnovers (25-9).

It's the first playoff run for many of these Kings players, but you'd never expect that from how they've played, writes our Colin Ward-Henninger.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

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Maybe we should have seen it coming. Maybe we shouldn't have expected the Warriors to flip a switch come the postseason and make several obvious flaws -- the abysmal road record, the lack of cohesion, the defensive flaws -- magically disappear.

But we probably didn't expect this: For the first time in the Stephen Curry era, the Warriors trail a series 2-0. The issues around the edges are leaking their way into the seams.

  • Draymond Green got ejected for stomping on Sabonis in the fourth quarter. Sabonis received a technical for grabbing Green's leg, but the stomp to Sabonis' chest/ribs was deemed ejection-worthy (rightly, in my opinion). Not everyone saw it that way.
  • Curry scored 28 points but went just 3-13 from deep, and Golden State's bench option, Jordan Poole, was nowhere to be found: four points on 1-7 shooting.
  • So far this series, the Warriors have outscored the Kings by 14 with Curry on the court and been outscored by 25 with him off it.

This one's far from over, but major adjustments must be made writes our Brad Botkin.

Not so honorable mentions

What Jalen Hurts' new deal means for the QB market 🏈


Breakout season? Check. Breaking the bank? Check... and then some.

Jalen Hurts agreed to a five-year, $255-million extension with the Eagles, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history on a per-year basis.

  • The deal includes over $179 million guaranteed and a no trade clause. The $51 million per year tops Aaron Rodgers' $50.27 million per year for largest in NFL history.
  • Hurts, 24, finished as MVP runner-up to Patrick Mahomes last season and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, where he accounted for four touchdowns in a 38-35 loss to Mahomes' Chiefs.
  • Including the playoffs, Hurts threw for 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions last season and added a quarterback-record 18 rushing touchdowns.

Just like so many situations recently, the Eagles handled Hurts' rise impressively. With him still on a rookie contract, they surrounded him with a terrific offensive line and added DeVonta Smith (via draft) and A.J. Brown (via trade) as weapons. Hurts proved he could take advantage and blossomed into a superstar. Now, the Eagles have repaid him in record-breaking fashion.

Our Cody Benjamin took a look at Hurts' journey -- from Alabama to Oklahoma to near-Heisman to historic payday and everything in between. The next step, the Eagles hope, will be a Super Bowl title, and with two more first-round picks and a strong returning group, expectations have never been higher in Philadelphia. Here's more:

Hurts joins Geno Smith and Daniel Jones as starting quarterbacks who have signed extensions this offseason, but Hurts' record-breaker is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Fellow 2019 draftees Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are in line for massive extensions this offseason, and Lamar Jackson, of course, is waiting for his first big payday.

Our Bryan DeArdo looked at how Hurts' contract impacts that trio of star signal callers.

Jaren Jackson Jr. wins DPOY, plus our expert picks for all NBA awards 🏀

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The NBA's award season has begun, and it did so in unsurprising fashion: Jaren Jackson Jr. is the Defensive Player of the Year.

  • Jackson led the league with a Grizzlies-record three blocks per game. He became the first player since Marcus Camby in 2007-08 to average at least three blocks and one steal.
  • At 23, Jackson is the second-youngest Defensive Player of the Year in NBA history, only behind 2008-09 Dwight Howard.
  • Jackson joins Marc Gasol (2013) as the only Grizzlies player to ever win the award.

Five of our eight NBA writers chose Jackson for Defensive Players of the Year, so our staff is one-for-one so far.

The award that's gotten the most discussion (to the point of exhaustion) is MVP, of course, with Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and Antetokounmpo as finalists. Here's how our experts picked that one:

  • Embiid (3)
  • Antetokounmpo (3)
  • Jokic (2)

You can see all of their picks for all of the major awards here. In other awards news, voting will look a little different next year, with the NBA adopting several thresholds requisite for players to earn individual honors.

Champions League preview: Can Chelsea, Napoli rally? ⚽

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We're hours away from narrowing the Champions League field again, and by this afternoon we'll have the first two semifinalists.

Here's what's on deck today, streaming on Paramount+:

  • Chelsea vs. Real Madrid | Real Madrid leads 2-0 | Preview
  • Napoli vs. AC Milan | AC Milan leads 1-0 | Preview

Given Chelsea's recent struggles, I wouldn't bet on the Blues to overcome their deficit, and our Tom Fornelli wouldn't either, he writes in his Corner Picks. The Italian duel presents a much more captivating matchup, even with Napoli down two key players.

It's a top player returning, though, that has our James Benge predicting they flip the script in the second leg;

  • Benge: "Why favor Napoli in this tightest of ties? Ultimately they will have the top talent on the pitch and can fairly assume that they will get a better version of Kvicha Kvaratskhelia with Victor Osimhen alongside him. ... Put Osimhen in the penalty area and Milan's options dry up. Send Kvaratskhelia down the byline and he can simply aim a cross to one of the most assertive forwards in the game. Show him inside and he might just bend one into the top corner. If Napoli can get into the final third as frequently this week as they did last, and if Osimhen is anywhere near the best version of himself, they might just have the edge in what is sure to be the most intriguing quarterfinal."

You can see James' bold predictions here and our expert picks here.

What we're watching Tuesday 📺

Chelsea vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
Napoli vs. AC Milan, 3 p.m. on Paramount+
🏀 We're watching the NBA playoffs. Here's how.
🏒 We're also watching the NHL playoffs. Here's how.
Mets at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. on TBS