Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Tyrese Maxey, 76ers stun Knicks to stay alive; Mike Trout suffers another injury

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🏀 Good morning to everyone, but especially …

TYRESE MAXEY AND THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

With everything looking lost and with another early playoff exit looming, potentially leading into an offseason that could shake the organization to its core, Tyrese Maxey turned in a performance for the ages. The 76ers‘ scintillating guard willed his team to a stunning 112-106 overtime victory over the host Knicks that moves the series back to Philadelphia with New York leading 3-2.

Maxey scored 46 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter — with seven of those coming in the final 26 seconds of regulation — plus five in overtime, to provide the latest twist to an absolutely wild series.

  • Things looked all but over when Deuce McBride hit a jumper with under 30 seconds left in regulation to put the hosts up six.
  • But Maxey came right back, getting Mitchell Robinson to bite on a pump fake and somehow making a 3-pointer through the foul. He made the free throw to cut the deficit to two.
  • Josh Hart made one of two free throws on the other end, and Maxey nailed a straightaway 3 from near halfcourt to tie it. Nic Batum then blocked Jalen Brunson to force overtime.
  • In the extra session, New York took a quick five-point lead, but Maxey nailed a 3, Joel Embiid finally got going, and Philadelphia rallied.

Maxey did it all, earning praise from LeBron James, Patrick Mahomes and others. He made seven 3-pointers, used his blinding speed to get to the bucket and hit tough mid-range jumpers. He, quite simply, put the team on his back. Embiid shot just 7 for 19 and committed nine turnovers, a shell of himself due to injury and exhaustion (though he finished with a 19-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist triple-double).

The 46 points tied Wilt Chamberlain for most in an elimination game in franchise history. It was Maxey to the max, and it was mesmerizing, James Hebert writes.

  • Herbert: “After the game, Kevin Johnson, Philadelphia’s head athletic trainer, talked to Maxey about the similarities between his fourth-quarter magic and Reggie Miller’s classic, eight-points-in-nine seconds heroics at MSG in 1995. ‘I gotta go back and watch it a little bit more,’ the 23-year-old who saved the Sixers’ season said. ‘That was a long time ago.’
    In the same stairwell in which delirious fans had chanted ‘LET’S GO KNICKS!’ as they exited the arena eight days prior, there was stunned silence on Tuesday. Then one voice asked, rhetorically, the question that was on everybody’s mind: ‘What the f— just happened?'”

It’s a brutal loss for the Knicks, who saw the pendulum of incredible late-game rallies emphatically swing the other way after they pulled out their own miracle in Game 2. The Robinson foul was inexcusable; not fouling before Maxey’s equalizer was head-scratching. Now, they’ll have to either win on the road in Game 6 or face a potentially grueling Game 7, and they’ll have to do it without Bojan Bogdanovic, who is having season-ending foot surgery.

Elsewhere, Evan Mobley had a couple of huge baskets and a game-saving block as the Cavaliers took a 3-2 series lead with a 104-103 win over the Magic, and the short-handed Bucks stayed alive with a 115-92 Game 5 win over the Pacers.

👍 Honorable mentions

😔 And not such a good morning for …

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MIKE TROUT AND THE LOS ANGELES ANGELS

For the fourth straight year, Mike Trout‘s season has been derailed by injury. The Angels‘ superstar will undergo surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee. It’s not season-ending, but it will likely cost him multiple months, and he was visibly emotional discussing the injury.

Trout, 32, is slashing .220/.325/.541, so the average isn’t great, but the power very much is: He was the first player in MLB to reach double-digit home runs this season. He also has six stolen bases, the same as his total from 2020-23 combined.

This the sixth season of his 12-year, $426.5 million extension — the Angels owe him $35.45 million per year through 2030 — but he has spent much of that dealing with injuries:

  • 2021: Missed 126 games (calf strain)
  • 2022: Missed 43 games (back inflammation)
  • 2023: Missed 80 games (broken hamate)

He has played in fewer than half of the Angels’ games during that span, and that trend will continue this year.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🤕 Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss time with calf injury

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Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly expected to miss “a minimum of several games” with a calf strain he suffered in Game 4 against the Heat. He’s been ruled out for tonight’s Game 5 in Boston.

  • The exact injury — a soleus strain — is the same injury Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered April 9. He has not returned yet.
  • Porzingis suffered the injury in a similar way, too: a non-contact instance that looked really bad initially.
  • The Celtics lead the series 3-1 and can likely take their time with Porzingis’ return.

Still, the fact that “soleus strain” has entered the NBA lexicon and already claimed one of the league’s superstars for over three weeks will worry Celtics fans, even if Boston should be fine this series and the next without Porzingis. 

  • Porzingis has been outstanding this season, shooting a career-high 52%, led by a career-high 61% from inside the arc. He had never been above 56% previously.
  • His abilities to stretch the floor, finish at the rim (he had a career-high 88 dunks this season) and create his own shot fit perfectly and help make Boston’s offensive machine go.
  • Without Porzingis, Boston will rely more on Al Horford, Luke Kornet and potentially Xavier Tillman Jr.

⚽ UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid draw; previewing Dortmund-PSG

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The stage was set for the stars to shine, and they very much delivered. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid drew 2-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal, setting the stage for a thrilling return leg in Madrid next week.

Both teams had to make a comeback. Vini Jr. opened the scoring in the 24th minute off a perfect pass from Toni Kroos, but the hosts turned things shortly after halftime via Leroy Sané‘s rocket and Harry Kane‘s penalty kick. Vini Jr. finished his brace in the 83rd minute with a penalty kick.

The Real Madrid-Champions League match is one made in heaven, and that was on display again, Jonathan Johnson writes.

  • Johnson: “First and foremost, Real have a collective mentality that few clubs — if any — can get anywhere close to. True, Bayern would normally be considered one of those given their status as one of the European elite worthy of being in the same select band but there are levels to this and the playbook was written and bound in Madrid before Carlo Ancelotti’s time in the Spanish capital. This Real side is the product of years of success which has bred an almost divine right to Champions League success which has rubbed off on each and every single player.”

Bayern’s roller coaster game, meanwhile, was emblematic of their season, James Benge writes.

Today, PSG visits Borussia Dortmund (preview here). In our expert picks, Jonathan says …

  • Johnson: Dortmund 1-2 PSG — Over their two meetings so far this season, PSG lead 3-1 thanks to their 2-0 home win back in the first round of group games. Another 1-1 draw would do for the French champions here but Luis Enrique will want more and Les Parisiens are generally good on the road. Recall that PSG overcame Dortmund en route to the UCL final in 2020 …”

Here are Tom Fornelli’s Corner Picks, and here’s how Enrique got PSG here.

📺 What we’re watching Wednesday

Borussia Dortmund vs. PSG, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
🏀 Game 5: Heat at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Game 5: Golden Knights at Stars, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Game 5: Mavericks at Clippers, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Game 5: Kings at Oilers, 10 p.m. on ESPN

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