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Happy Friday, everyone! Another week down.

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Simply put, when the Celtics play like they did last night, they are a nightmare to face. Boston dominated in every facet en route to a 127-102 win over the Heat, tying the series at 1-1.

  • Marcus Smart returned from a foot injury with a near triple-double: 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
  • Jayson Tatum (27 points) and Jaylen Brown (24 points) also passed the 20-point threshold.
  • The Celtics made 20 of their 40 threes after going 11-for-34 in Game 1.
  • Jimmy Butler had 29 points, but no other Heat player scored more than 14.

The returns of Smart and Al Horford showed just how important both players are. With them in the lineup, Boston can switch basically everything defensively and rarely allow a mismatch. Smart, after all, was the Defensive Player of the Year, and Horford's presence allows Boston to play two bigs (along with Robert Williams III) and not lose anything on either end of the court.

While Boston's stifling defense was back in full force, its offense was rolling along at a high clip as well, torching a Miami defense that is no slouch itself. After Game 1, I said that the Heat were deeper, but that wouldn't be the case when Smart and Horford returned. Luckily for Boston, they returned quickly, and with a vengeance.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...



This college football offseason has had plenty of drama, but Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have taken it to another level. Here's what happened:

The Aggies and Crimson Tide play each other on Oct. 8, and this spat has added fuel to the fire, not only for that matchup, but for the SEC as a whole, writes our college football reporter Barrett Sallee.

  • Sallee: "College football is beautifully dysfunctional in every way possible. That's what makes it the greatest sport on Earth. The spat between Saban and Fisher proves it. Maybe Texas A&M will capitalize on its recruiting class and support system. Even if it doesn't, it's clear that -- in an era in which 12 other SEC teams are largely overlooked -- Saban views Texas A&M as a legitimate threat. Imagine what will happen if and when other teams follow the Aggies' model."

Meanwhile, our college football insider Dennis Dodd says this feud has exposed the underbelly of college football recruiting and could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Not so honorable mention

Rory McIlroy surges, Tiger Woods struggles on Day 1 of PGA Championship 🏌

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The first day of the PGA Championship is in the books, and there's a familiar name at the top: Rory McIlroy at five-under 65.

  • McIlroy, starting on the 10th hole, went out in a scorching 31 with four birdies.
  • On his second nine (the front nine), McIlroy shot 34, punctuated by a birdie on the ninth hole, his last of the day.
  • McIlroy hit 10 of his 14 drives 325 yards or more.

McIlroy hasn't won a major since 2014 -- largely thanks to lots of underwhelming opening rounds -- but he couldn't have asked for a better start to his quest for career major number five, writes golf guru Kyle Porter.

  • Porter: "In all four of his major wins -- 2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 PGA -- McIlroy either had the lead or was within one of it after Round 1. In three of those events, he opened with 66 or better. This is the first time since Valhalla in 2014 that he's shot 66 or better in the first round. Additionally, five of the seven major winners at Southern Hills have gone wire to wire. In other words, everything is coming up McIlroy after one round at Southern Hills..."

Be sure to check out Kyle's Round 1 takeaways as well. On the other end of the spectrum, Tiger Woods, playing alongside McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, limped home -- both literally and figuratively -- with a four-over 74. Woods opened his round with a birdie and was two-under through five holes, but things fell apart from there, and now he's in danger of missing the cut, notes our Kyle Boone.

  • Boone: "The short game -- particularly on approach and on the greens -- were ironically Woods' saving grace that keyed his fast start. But as the day wore on, his impreciseness in that facet bit him continuously as he fought to stay in it. His bogey on No. 15 came after flying the green from a number he'd typically hit to within a few feet of the pin. Ditto for his approach at 18. ... He'll need to play much better in Round 2 [today] to even be in the mix this weekend."

Here's the top of the leaderboard through one day:

  • 1. Rory McIlroy (-5)
  • T2. Will Zalatoris (-4)
  • T2. Tom Hoge (-4)
  • T4. Matt Kuchar (-3)
  • T4. Justin Thomas (-3)
  • T4. Abraham Ancer (-3)

Here are tee times and how to watch for today.

Expert picks for the Preakness Stakes 🏇

2021 Preakness Stakes 146

The 147th Preakness Stakes is tomorrow, and while Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike won't be running, it should be another thriller, headlined by pre-race favorite Epicenter, who finished second at the Derby.

SportsLine horse racing expert Jody Demling has correctly predicted nine of the last 17 Preakness winners, and you can check out his pick here. Fellow SportsLine expert Michelle Wu -- who would have made you some money on Rich Strike if you listened to her at the Derby -- has also made her pick.

What we're watching this weekend 📺

And also...


🏀 Mystics at Dream, 7:30 p.m. on Twitter


🏀 Mercury at Aces, 3 p.m. on ABC
Padres at Giants, 4:05 p.m. on FS1
🏇 Preakness Stakes, 7:01 p.m. on NBC
Athletics at Angels, 9:07 p.m. on FS1


NWSL on Paramount+
Sassuolo vs AC Milan, 11:30 a.m. on Paramount+
Inter Milan vs Sampdoria, 11:30 a.m. on Paramount+
🏀 Sky at Mystics, 3 p.m. on ABC
White Sox at Yankees, 7 p.m. on ESPN