Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Celtics shock Warriors with comeback for the ages in Game 1 | Top 25 NFL players 25 or younger in 2022

Happy Friday, everyone! Congrats on making it through another week.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE BOSTON CELTICS

Last night, the Warriors did what the Warriors do best: dominate the third quarter and look to be on the edge of a blowout win. Then the Celtics did what they do best: weather the storm, dig in on defense and get contributions from everyone on offense.

Boston closed Game 1 on a stunning 20-5 run to earn an impressive 120-108 win.

  • The Celtics outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter, tying the largest margin in any quarter in NBA Finals history.
  • Al Horford scored 26 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers — most ever by a player in his Finals debut. Jaylen Brown had 24 points, and Derrick White had 21.
  • Boston went 21-for-41 (51 percent) from three. It’s the second-most made 3-pointers ever in a Finals game.
  • Stephen Curry led the way for Golden State with 34 points, but only 13 came after the first quarter.

The Celtics’ fourth-quarter dominance was absolutely dazzling. Boston shot 15-for-22 overall and 9-for-12 on 3-pointers in the period. Golden State, of course, is known for its outstanding outside shooting thanks to Curry and Klay Thompson, but last night, the Celtics used the Warriors’ most dangerous weapon against them writes NBA reporter Colin Ward-Henninger.

  • Ward-Henninger: “The Celtics outscored Golden State, 40-16, in the final frame, made all the more overwhelming by the blistering 9-for-12 3-point shooting they rained down upon the Bay Area and its fans. At one point, they made seven consecutive 3-pointers, the last one by Al Horford giving his team a six-point lead which, given the imbalance of momentum at the time, seemed virtually insurmountable.”

Game 2 is set for Sunday night.

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

🎾 Coco Gauff makes history on way to French Open final

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What were you doing when you were 18? Graduating high school? Starting college? Finding a job?

Whatever it was, you probably weren’t doing what Coco Gauff is doing, and that’s heading to the French Open women’s final after beating Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1.

  • Gauff is the youngest woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova did it at 17 in 2004.
  • Gauff is also the youngest American woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Serena Williams did it at 17 in 1999.

  • It’s Gauff’s first career Grand Slam final.

Gauff’s run to the final has been extremely impressive, but she’ll need to take it to a new level in tomorrow’s final against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who has won 34 consecutive matches after cruising past Daria Kasatkina in her semifinal match 6-2, 6-1. 

⚾ Who could be on the move before the MLB Trade Deadline? 

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USATSI

Yesterday marked exactly two months until the MLB Trade Deadline, and it’s never too early to start thinking about who could find a new home between now and then. MLB reporter R.J. Anderson has 10 players who could be dealt, including a player who ranks top-10 in batting average this season.

  • Anderson: Andrew Benintendi‘s hit .337/.402/.431 (142 OPS+) so far with improved strikeout and walk rates… [He] has essentially blended parts of his past form — the contact-and-walks version that was good enough to start for a World Series champion — with the stereotypical Royals approach to batted balls. It’s working for him, and some team will likely take note and ensure they can plug him into the top of their lineup come August. Possible fits: Cardinals, Blue Jays, Braves

We have plenty of time between now and the deadline, but keep an eye on the guys on R.J.’s list as the summer — and the trade market — heats up.

🏀 Winners and losers from NBA Draft deadline, plus a new Top 25 And 1 

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USATSI

Wednesday night’s NBA Draft deadline featured plenty of drama and some clear winners and losers. One of the winners is Kansas, which got just about the best news it could in its quest to repeat: Jalen Wilson and Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar Jr. opted out of the draft.

  • Boone: “Kansas was likely never running back its entire title-winning roster – Ochai Agbaji is a lottery pick and Christian Braun was expected to stay in the draft, as he did… but it recovered about as well as expected. Wilson has NBA talent if he can improve as a shooter. McCullar Jr., too. They’ll be the old heads on a really interesting, and really talented, remade KU team. They won’t be the favorites to repeat as champs, but they’ll no doubt have the talent that makes them impossible to ignore on that front.

Perhaps no team was a bigger winner than Gonzaga, though. With Drew Timme, Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton all returning — plus the addition of Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smith — the Bulldogs jumped to No. 1 in college basketball expert Gary Parrish’s Top 25 And 1. Here’s the top five:

  • 1. Gonzaga (prev: 4)
  • 2. North Carolina (prev: 1)
  • 3. Houston (prev: 2)
  • 4. Kentucky (prev: 3)
  • 5. Arkansas (prev: 5)

You can check out the entire rankings here and all of the winners and losers here.

🏈 Top 25 NFL players 25 and under 

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“Best of” lists are always tough, especially when it comes to the best young players in the NFL. But someone has to do it, and in our case, that someone is NFL expert Cody Benjamin. Using past performance, future projection and positional value, Cody ranked the 25 best NFL players 25 years old or younger.

He got his top selection absolutely correct,in my opinion.

  • Benjamin: “The crown jewel of a loaded crop of ascending AFC QBs, Justin Herbert is the first player in NFL history to throw 30-plus TDs in each of his first two seasons. And he’s made it look incredibly easy. Funny enough, he hasn’t yet made the playoffs like Burrow or Jackson or even Murray. But he throws the ball better than all but maybe … Rodgers? Brady? If this is his starting point, imagine what his peak could be. L.A. fans should be very grateful to have such a big, joyful, laser-armed face of the franchise.”

Here’s the rest of the top five:

  • 2. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
  • 3. Bengals QB Joe Burrow
  • 4. 49ers DE Nick Bosa
  • 5. Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

It should be fun to watch the top three battle for years to come.

What we’re watching this weekend 

All weekend long: NWSL on Paramount+

Friday

🏒 NHL Eastern Conference Final Game 2: Lightning at Rangers, 8 p.m. on ESPN

🏀 WNBA Sun at Mercury, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Saturday

🎾 French Open women’s final, 9 a.m. on NBC

⚾ MLB Cardinals at Cubs or Angels at Phillies, 7:15 p.m. on FOX

🏒 NHL Western Conference Final Game 3: Avalanche at Oilers, 8 p.m. on TNT

Sunday

🎾 French Open men’s final, 9 a.m. on NBC

⚽ World Cup Qualifying: Wales vs Ukraine, Noon on ESPN2

🏒 NHL Eastern Conference Final Game 4: Rangers at Lightning, 3 p.m. on ESPN

⚽ International Friendly: United States vs Uruguay, 5 p.m. on FOX

🏀 NBA Finals Game 2: Celtics at Warriors, 8 p.m. on ABC

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