Happy Monday, all! We have a lot to catch up on.

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Last week, our NBA expert Jasmyn Wimbish ranked Celtics-Nets as the best first-round matchup in the NBA playoffs. In Game 1 yesterday, it lived up to that ranking. Jayson Tatum put in a spinning layup as time expired as Boston topped Brooklyn, 115-114.

The Nets were able to climb out of a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter thanks in large part to Irving's heroics, but the final three possessions were a Brown layup, a terrific defensive stand from Boston and then Tatum's game-winner. It was the Celtics at their best, exactly when they needed it, writes our NBA guru James Herbert:

  • Herbert: "On these crucial possessions, all of the Celtics' best traits were on display. They fielded a lineup with no weak links defensively -- Smart, White, Brown, Tatum and Horford -- and all of them needed to communicate, improvise, stay poised and be unselfish. Horford said he was proud of the team's composure, and Smart described the outcome as 'fulfilling' because they had shown resilience."

It kind of felt like the Celtics needed this one given that they were at home, they had the rest advantage and Durant struggled. Mission accomplished.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

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All Luka Doncic could do during the Mavericks' 99-93 loss to the Jazz on Saturday was watch. Unfortunately for Dallas, it's trending the same way for Game 2 tonight.

  • Doncic is "unlikely" to play as he is still dealing with a left calf strain.
  • He suffered the injury in the final game of the regular season.
  • If you recall, that game didn't even end up mattering in the final standings.

Doncic's backups weren't up to the task Saturday, and they'll need to change things up tonight, writes our NBA expert Sam Quinn.

  • Quinn: "If the Mavericks keep trying to play Luka ball without Luka, they're going to lose. Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson cannot come close to matching what he does. If the Mavs are going to make this thing competitive until their best player comes back, they are going to have to find a way to make their offense a bit more egalitarian."


The Mavericks are not the only team dealing with significant injuries. Raptors star rookie Scottie Barnes (ankle) is doubtful for tonight's Game 2 against the 76ers.

  • Joel Embiid stepped on Barnes' foot in the fourth quarter during Game 1 Saturday.
  • At the time, Barnes had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
  • Barnes was one of three rookies in the last 10 years to average 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. The other two are Doncic and Ben Simmons, both of whom won Rookie of the Year.

To make matters worse, Thaddeus Young (left thumb hyperextension) and Gary Trent Jr. (not-COVID illness) are also doubtful.

Warriors stars get help from Jordan Poole to win Game 1 over Nuggets 🏀

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If anyone wrote off the Warriors following their up-and-down final few weeks of the regular season, Game 1 showed you why that was unwise. Golden State dominated Denver, 123-107, in a well-rounded effort.

  • Stephen Curry returned after missing a month with a foot injury and scored 16 points off the bench.
  • Klay Thompson had 19, and Draymond Green did a bit of everything with 12 points, six rebounds, nine assists and three blocks.
  • But it was a new face, Jordan Poole, who led the way with 30 points.

The Warriors built a dynasty on the backs of Curry, Thompson and Green. In the future, they're hoping guys like Poole (among other youngsters) will help continue that dynasty. Right now, the two eras are working toward a title together, writes our Colin Ward-Henninger.

  • Ward-Henninger: "Let's start with the old. Curry, Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney played in the same game for the first time since the 2019 Finals, nearly three years ago. The quintet has more titles than an 18th-century British noble, and all of their skills and quirks were on display in the Game 1 win. ... Poole passed his test with flying colors, as he's done since last postseason's play-in games, and credited his reliable veterans for smoothing the transition to playoff basketball."

From 2014-15 to 2018-19, the Warriors made five straight Finals and won three. Then they missed the playoffs two straight seasons, allowing them to restock on young talent -- and hope their veterans could eventually get the band back together for more postseason forays. One game in, they're on track.

Jordan Spieth wins RBC Heritage in playoff 🏌

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Jordan Spieth is back in the winner's circle for the first time in more than a year after beating Patrick Cantlay on the first playoff hole to claim the RBC Heritage. It's the second straight season Spieth won on Easter Sunday -- he also took home the Valero Texas Open on the holiday last year.

Spieth had struggled mightily with his putter and, entering yesterday, trailed 54-hole leader Harold Varner III by three strokes. But Spieth eagled two of his first five holes en route to shooting a 66, and on the first playoff hole, he hit a magnificent sand shot to mere inches to save par. When Cantlay missed his lengthy par attempt, Spieth had claimed his 13th career PGA Tour victory. This win could springboard Spieth going forward, writes our golf insider Kyle Porter.

  • Porter: "There's so much at stake with the season just half over and his tee-to-green game (where he was tops in the field in two of the last three events) seemingly sorted out. He still has three major championships on deck, including that high-stakes PGA as well as the Old Course at St. Andrews where he finished a stroke out of a playoff back in 2015. When you throw in the major after that one, there's even more intrigue. After two straight wins on Easter, next year's holiday falls on a weekend that might interest the three-time major champion: Masters Sunday."

Roki Sasaki nearly throws another perfect game ⚾


One week ago, Roki Sasaki threw the first perfect game in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league since 1992. In his very next start, this past weekend, he nearly did it again. The 20-year-old phenom threw eight perfect innings on 102 pitches before being pulled to protect his arm. He had thrown 105 in his perfect game.

The numbers behind his last two starts are simply astounding, notes our MLB expert Mike Axisa.

  • Axisa: "Sasaki has gone 51 up, 51 down with 33 strikeouts in his last two starts. He has retired 52 consecutive batters overall, setting a new record for Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. The MLB record is 46 consecutive batters retired by righty Yusmeiro Petit with the San Francisco Giants in 2014."

Our R.J. Anderson wrote a scouting report on Sasaki and answered my biggest question: When will Sasaki come to MLB? The answer may surprise you.

What we're watching Monday 📺

We're watching the NBA playoffs. Here's how you can, too.