2023 NBA Playoffs- Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Often, the playoffs -- regardless of sport -- are great because of the names you know. The greats, the GOATs, the icons, the stars. One-name players. LeBron. Steph. AD. Klay.

But sometimes, it's the names you don't know. The role players, the rotation guys, the bench mob, the journeymen. On Monday, it was Lonnie Walker IVWalker scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers stormed past the Warriors, 104-101, to take a 3-1 series lead.

  • It was the most fourth-quarter points by a Lakers bench player in the playoffs since Kobe Bryant in 1997. Here's our Sam Quinn on Walker's heroics.
  • Walker made as many fourth-quarter field goals (six) as the Warriors did.
  • For what it's worth, those one-name guys were pretty good, too: LeBron James had 27 points, and Anthony Davis had 23 points, 15 rebounds and several key defensive stands.
  • Stephen Curry had his third career playoff triple-double -- 31 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds -- but missed two potential go-ahead shots and had a turnover all in the final 30 seconds.

More on this one -- specifically GSW -- in a second.


So far in this series, the Heat have been everything the Knicks normally are -- tough, sound and well-rounded -- but better. That was never more apparent than in Miami's 109-101 Game 4 win that gave the Heat a 3-1 series lead.

  • Miami out-rebounded New York 44-35 and outscored New York 17-7 on second-chance points. In the fourth quarter alone, Miami shot just 6-22 but used seven offensive rebounds to prevent any potential Knicks rally.
  • Jimmy Butler had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Bam Adebayo contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds, Max Strus added 16 points and Kyle Lowry pitched in 15.
  • Miami has never blown a 3-1 series lead (14-0). New York, on the other hand, has never overcome a 3-1 series deficit (0-14).

Three-and-a-half weeks ago, the Heat were one quarter away from crashing out of the play-in. Now, they're one game away from their third conference final in four seasons.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


I am not going to write off the Golden State Warriors. I refuse to. I've seen too much greatness from their current core -- as recently as in Round 1 in these playoffs! -- to say it's over.

But the Warriors -- the team and the dynasty -- are in trouble if they can't rally, opines our Bill Reiter.

  • Reiter: "...the Warriors looked the way they have off and on this season and this postseason: A version of their excellence, sure, of what we remember -- only tired at the edges, weary in stretches they once dominated, and wanting when it mattered most. The idea of two aged prizefighters duking it out one last time can be a tired cliche. But it also feels more and more like an apt analogy for this series. And it is the Warriors who are coming out battered, bruised and bloodied."

How can the Warriors turn things around? Our Brad Botkin believes that coach Steve Kerr needs to swallow his pride and do something he does not like to do:

  • Botkin: "Kerr hates, literally hates, to run pick-and-roll with the greatest pick-and-roll player in history. And whatever. That's fine. There's plenty to be said for Golden State's off-ball movement and commitment to diverse and inclusive offense. But there's a time and place to ditch the cute stuff and get down to brass tacks. Put the ball in Curry's hands. Quit making this out to be so complicated."

Not so honorable mentions

UEFA Champions League semifinal preview: Real Madrid host Manchester City ⚽

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The team that's historically dominated this competition vs. the team that's experienced heartbreak after heartbreak in it. The current champions vs. the current best team and best player in the world. Real Madrid vs. Manchester City is an absolute dream matchup, with their semifinal beginning this afternoon and available to watch on CBS and Paramount+.

The question for Madrid, eight times the Champions League victors, is the question everyone has been trying (and failing) to solve: Can they slow down Erling Haaland?

Haaland unsurprisingly comes in No. 1 on our top 50 remaining Champions League players, and teammate Kevin De Bruyne is second. Madrid will be without Eder Militao, which doesn't help matters. Our Chuck Booth has the keys to limiting Haaland, though it's easier said than done. Haaland has 51 goals in 46 matches this season.

As such, expect plenty of scoring today, our pal Tom Fornelli says in his Corner Picks.

  • Fornelli: "City are rolling right now and should win, but Real Madrid are Real Madrid, and this is the Champions League. They've pulled bigger rabbits out of smaller hats. Instead, the better play is the over. Man City's attack is relentless, and my concerns about Madrid's defending are legitimate. But if any team can find the back of the net against this Man City squad and take the play to it, it's Real Madrid. I expect Madrid looks to sit deep and counterattack early, but Man City take a lead and cause them to open up. Then things will get wild. The Pick: Over 2.5 (-135)"

Here's more:

Blackhawks win NHL draft lottery, Connor Bedard sweepstakes 🏒

2023 NHL Draft Lottery
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Get familiar with Chicago, Connor Bedard. After winning the NHL Draft lottery, the Blackhawks are likely his next home.

Chicago, which entered the night with a 11.5% chance to win the lottery, leapfrogged the Ducks (18.5%) and Blue Jackets (13.5%) to earn the top pick and the chance to select Bedard, who by all accounts is the biggest generational talent to enter the draft in years. More on him in a bit.

Here's the top five of next month's draft.

  • 1. Blackhawks
  • 2. Ducks
  • 3. Blue Jackets
  • 4. Sharks
  • 5. Canadiens

You can see full lottery results here.

Just how good is the 17-year-old Bedard? Well, he started playing in the Western Hockey League at 15 years old and led the league in scoring this season. Only three players have had more World Junior Championship points than Bedard's 36, and two of them -- Peter Forsberg and Pavel Bure -- are in the Hall of Fame. Seems pretty good to me.

Bob Huggins uses homophobic slur twice on radio show appearance

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at West Virginia

West Virginia men's basketball head coach Bob Huggins used a homophobic slur to refer to Xavier fans during a radio appearance Monday. Shortly after being asked if he had pursued any Musketeers players in the transfer portal, Huggins referred to Xavier fans as, "those f---, those Catholic f---."

  • Huggins, who coached at Cincinnati -- Xavier's crosstown rival -- from 1989-2005, has been at West Virginia since 2007. His 935 career wins are third in D-I history.
  • Huggins issued a lengthy statement, apologizing to several parties and saying he "will fully accept any [consequences] coming my way."

The ball is now in the court of West Virginia officials, writes our Gary Parrish.

  • Parrish: "Will Huggins be suspended? Terminated? Or will his status as a legend in the sport of college basketball, and an icon in the state of West Virginia, allow him to continue his highly decorated, but also controversial, head-coaching career that dates to 1980? ... I'll stop short of making a prediction -- but, yeah, it's totally reasonable to assume this might really be it, that Bob Huggins might soon join the list of coaches who lost their high-profile jobs not for losing too many games, but for doing or saying something away from the court that you simply cannot say or do."

Iowa State, Iowa latest athletic programs investigating betting scandals

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Iowa State

Last week, it was Alabama embroiled in a betting scandal, resulting in the firing of baseball coach Brad Bohannon. This week, it's 
both Iowa State and Iowa.

What we're watching Tuesday 📺

Real Madrid vs. Manchester City, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
🏒 Hurricanes at Devils, 7 p.m. on ESPN
Red Sox at Braves, 7:20 p.m. on TBS
🏀 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Stars at Kraken, 9: 30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Suns at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on TNT