Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Two
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


No Ja Morant, no problem... at least for one night. Behind a balanced, relentless effort on both ends, the Grizzlies beat the Lakers, 103-93, for a crucial Game 2 win that ties the series.

  • After scoring two points in Game 1, Xavier Tillman had 22 points and 13 rebounds -- both playoff career-highs -- and was a huge part of limiting Anthony Davis to 13 points on 4-14 shooting.
  • Overall, six Grizzlies scored in double figures.
  • The Grizzlies outscored the Lakers, 20-9, off turnovers.
  • The Lakers' 93 points were a season-low, and they shot just 41.2%, their worst since March 15.

I can't overstate how impressed I was with the Grizzlies. They led by as much as 20, and even when Los Angeles cut the deficit all the way down to six, the Grizzlies maintained their composure and never blinked. Tillman and Jaren Jackson Jr. (18 points, nine rebounds) were terrific defending the paint, and there was just enough perimeter scoring despite Morant's absence.

But more importantly, they did all the things they had to do without their biggest star: be locked in every possession, play terrific defense without fouling and avoid mistakes. This was a must-win, and Memphis won it.


No Giannis Antetokounmpo, no problem... at least for one night. The laser-focused Bucks came out on fire and never cooled off in a 138-122 rout of the Heat in which Milwaukee tied the NBA playoff record with 25 threes.

  • Brook Lopez scored a team-high 25 points, Jrue Holiday had 24 points and 11 assists, and Pat Connaughton, who did not even play in Game 1, had 22 points off six 3-pointers.
  • Six players scored at least 15 points, tied for most ever in a playoff game.
  • Milwaukee led by as much as 36 and set a franchise playoff record with 35 assists.
  • The 138 points are the most Miami has ever allowed in a playoff game.

Our Jack Maloney was on hand to watch the record-setting performance, and wrote that the Bucks' depth -- and championship caliber -- cannot be matched right now.

  • Maloney: "The Bucks' depth was displayed in Game 2, as was their experience and trust in one another. The core of this group has been through countless playoff battles together; they know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to up the urgency for games like this without losing their identity. "

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

Biggest storylines one week away from NFL Draft 🏈

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We're seven days away from the NFL Draft, and the biggest question -- who will be the No. 1 pick? -- finally seems settled: Panthers fans, meet Bryce Young (we think). That doesn't mean there aren't still questions In fact, Young's diminutive stature is Cody Benjamin's top potential storyline for the draft.

Still, the Texans are squarely in the spotlight at No. 2. Most people would assume it'll be a quarterback, but there's a new favorite -- from a different position -- according to Caesars Sportsbook. Our NFL insider Jonathan Jones released his mock draft, though, and has Houston taking Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Our Chris Trapasso has a full seven-round mock, and he also has Stroud to Houston (subscribe to Trapasso's draft newsletter right here).

The third pick belongs to the Cardinals, but it might not stay that way. Our Jordan Dajani took a look at five teams with the toughest draft decisions to make, including one potential trade-up candidate:

  • Dajani: "Tennessee Titans, No. 11 overall -- Tennessee has already reportedly explored trading up to No. 3 overall. Not only does this move make sense with Ryan Tannehill having just one more year remaining on his contract, but new Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort spent the past three seasons as the Titans' director of player personnel. There's familiarity between these two organizations, but the question is, do the Titans want to mortgage picks/future picks for that quarterback?"

Here are more of my other recent favorites from our NFL team:

49ers are fielding calls on Trey Lance, have talked with Vikings 🏈

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Just two years ago, the 49ers moved heaven and earth to trade up and take Trey LanceNow they're taking calls about sending him elsewhere.

That's right. Per reports, multiple teams have inquired about the 2021 No. 3 pick after the difficult start to his NFL career.

Saying things are messy in San Francisco is an understatement.

But even before this news, things were messy. Was Lance just going to be banished to backup duty? Is Purdy -- the 2022 Mr. Irrelevant -- the undoubted future? Will there be a quarterback battle? If there is, will Lance even be there for it?

This is just the latest "what if" surrounding 49ers quarterbacks, writes our Doug Clawson. Now, the question is, "What's next?" (Doug answers that, too).

UEFA Champions League semifinals set: Manchester City, Inter Milan advance ⚽

FC Bayern München v Manchester City: Quarterfinal Second Leg - UEFA Champions League
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In one semifinal is a team that's owned this competition against a team that's owned every competition except this one. In the other semifinal is a Milan derby. The UEFA Champions League semifinals are loaded.

Manchester City drew Bayern Munich 1-1 to advance 4-1 on aggregate to set up a date with eight-time champion Real Madrid, and Inter Milan drew Benfica 3-3 to win 5-3 on aggregate and face AC Milan.

  • Erling Haaland (who else?) opened the scoring for the Citizens to put things out of reach, though Joshua Kimmich's late goal ensured Bayern wasn't shut out completely. Here are player ratings.
  • Inter Milan-Benfica featured more goals but little drama. Inter led by as much as 3-1 on the afternoon and 5-1 on aggregate before a couple of late Benfica tallies. Nicolò Barella, Lautaro Martínez and Joaquin Correa all scored for the Nerazzurri.
  • This will be City's fourth semifinal -- and third in a row -- but they're still looking for their first title. Inter, meanwhile, is making its third semifinal appearance but first since 2010.

City's dominance -- they have scored 25 goals and allowed just three -- has them on top of James Benge's latest Power Rankings.

  • Benge: "Ok, hear me out. What about if you took the world's best striker, gave him an elite-tier supply line and then stuck the meanest defense you can muster at the back end of the pitch? That surely would be enough to see you crowned Europe's best side, no matter the confluence of ancient curses, questionable selection decisions and puzzling individual errors. We are about to find out."

What we're watching Thursday 📺

Twins at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. on MLB Network
🏒 We're watching the NHL playoffs. Here's how.
🏀 We're also watching the NBA playoffs. Here's how.