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Happy Thursday, everybody. Hope you're doing well.

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...

THE BOSTON CELTICS

For the third time this series, the Celtics took the Warriors' best punch in the third quarter. For the second time in those three games, they responded with championship-level toughness and resilience. Boston outscored Golden State 23-11 in the fourth quarter to win 116-100 and take a 2-1 NBA Finals series lead.

Simply put, the Celtics' physical advantages overwhelmed the Warriors, notes NBA reporter Colin Ward-Henninger.

  • Ward-Henninger: "More than anything, the Celtics just beat the Warriors up. It makes you wonder how Golden State, whose key players are in their 30s, will hold up if the series continues against a mostly young, athletic Celtics team that, as Marcus Smart said, takes pride in its physicality."

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

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THE PGA TOUR

Less than a week after saying he's not "in a place in my career where [he] can risk" joining LIV Golf, Bryson DeChambeau is doing exactly that. The 2020 U.S. Open champion will likely make his debut on the Saudi Arabia-backed tour in its second event, scheduled for Portland, Oregon starting June 30. According to reports, Patrick Reed is going to make the jump as well.

It's no surprise that these decisions came just one day after the USGA announced that all qualified golfers can play in next week's US Open, regardless of tour affiliation. While the USGA didn't say this will be its long-term stance, it likely means the other three majors will take a similar position, at least for the time being. The PGA Tour, on the other hand, has vaguely stated that players will face discipline.

For now, though, it's another win for LIV writes golf expert Kyle Porter.

  • Porter: "This is another coup for LIV Golf, which has landed more notable names in its infancy than anyone thought it might. It's also a problem for the PGA Tour, which has been fairly quiet up to this point on specific disciplinary action for players who jump ship for the rival league. One PGA Tour player I spoke with expects a harsh statement from the Tour over the next day or two, and I believe it will come as soon as balls are in the air on Thursday in London and players are officially playing in the event."

While Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy spoke out against the league, it's not hard to see the appeal from the players' perspectives: huge paydays, a more relaxed schedule and the ability to play in majors? Several players already admitted their apathy toward the sportswashing nature of the league, and that should have been, in theory, a big hurdle. That's not to say there still aren't big questions. There are, including...

  • Will the OWGR award points to LIV events? Majors use OWGR standings to determine fields; if LIV players can't qualify for majors that way, it would make LIV much less attractive.
  • Will players miss the fanfare and familiarity of the PGA Tour?
  • What will the PGA Tour's official stance be?

For now, we'll have to wait for answers as the world of professional golf changes before our eyes.

Cooper Kupp gets huge extension from Rams 🏈

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One day after guaranteeing Aaron Donald will be a Ram for the foreseeable future, Los Angeles did the same with Cooper Kupp. The record-setting wide receiver agreed to a three-year, $80-million extension that ties him to the team through 2026.

  • The extension includes $75 million guaranteed, most ever for a wide receiver.
  • Overall, Kupp's contract is worth $110 million over the next five years. The $22 million per year is sixth-highest among wide receivers currently.
  • Last year, Kupp became just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to win the receiving "triple crown" -- most receptions, most receiving yards and most receiving touchdowns. The others? Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005).

When the Super Bowl was on the line last season, it was Kupp delivering the go-ahead touchdown catch and then Donald disrupting Joe Burrow on the game-clinching play. The Rams hope that by ensuring those two are locked in long-term, they can continue to deliver similar results for years to come.

Baker Mayfield excused from Browns' mandatory minicamp 🏈

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It's unclear who the Browns' starter will be to open the season, but it certainly doesn't look like it will be Baker Mayfield. The Browns excused the 2018 No. 1 overall pick from mandatory minicamp, which starts next week.

  • Mayfield requested a trade in mid-March, and, while he's still on Cleveland's roster, he doesn't appear to be part of the plan going forward.
  • The Browns are unwilling to cut Mayfield, because they're on the hook for paying him nearly $19 million this season whether he plays or not.
  • There's uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson, who is now facing 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct (see yesterday's newsletter for more details regarding that).
  • The remaining quarterbacks on Cleveland's roster are Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs, both acquired this offseason.

Because his absence is excused, Mayfield won't face the fines he normally would for not attending this portion of the offseason workout program. The Browns, though, have put themselves in a quarterback quandary: They have no control over if/when Watson will be available -- or even when a decision will be made -- and are now actively keeping Mayfield away from the team in a no-win situation.

Pro comparisons for top 2022 NBA Draft prospects 🏀

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The NBA Draft is exactly two weeks away, and with the NBA Finals on an off day, it's a great chance to get to know the draft-eligible players a little better. Lucky for you, draft expert Kyle Boone has NBA comparisons for each of his top 10 prospects.

Boone's top prospect is Purdue product Jaden Ivey, and Boone compares him to one of the league's brightest young stars.

  • Boone: "Pro comp: Ja Morant (minus the passing vision) -- The explosive athletic ability is more or less where the comparison between Ivey and Morant end. Morant's a far superior passer and playmaker. He is a better decision-maker. His handle is tighter and crisper. This much is not in dispute. The way Ivey pressures the rim is, however, reminiscent of a young Morant. With his speed he can blow by defenders -- screen or no screen. Once he turns the turbo on he can just flat breeze by whoever is in front of him."

Meanwhile, Auburn's Jabari Smith is the heavy favorite to go first overall, according to Caesars Sportsbook, and while he comes in fourth in Boone's rankings, he certainly checks enough boxes to be the top choice.

  • Boone: "Pro comp: Michael Porter Jr. -- [Smith] shot 42% from 3-point range and was in the 94th percentile among all college players as a spot-up shooter, according to Synergy data. They both have much more to their games than spot-up shooters -- Smith, for instance, has a ton of defensive potential -- but their sharpshooting and positional size are two of the very best prospect-wise the last few years."

You can check out the full list here.

What we're watching Thursday 📺

🥎 Women's College World Series: No. 1 Oklahoma vs Texas, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2
🏒 Eastern Conference Final Game 5: Lightning at Rangers, 8 p.m. on ESPN