🏀 The Celtics Stay Alive

Plus, remembering the career of Carmelo Anthony

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Today’s Lineup

Staying Alive: Boston force a Game Five behind Tatum’s masterpiece

Could The King Leave his Throne? LeBron gets Cryptic following Lakers loss

Bon Voyage Melo: Saying Goodbye to a Basketball Legend

But before we get started — check out today’s trivia! 👇

Since 2010, who has the most playoff points without ever making an All-Star team?

Find the answer at the bottom of the newsletter!

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Conference Finals Corner

Boston stay alive with clutch 112-95 win in Miami

Down 3-0 is certainly an ignominious position to be in. But, in a way, it’s where teams are truly tested. Will you roll over in the face of the overwhelming tide of history, or fight back regardless?

Okay, enough being dramatic, because the Celtics absolutely COOKED down the stretch in this one despite a tough start. Jimmy Butler, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin made things happen early for the Heat, getting to the line at will to help Miami build a nine-point lead early in the third quarter.

This could have been the moment Boston decided to pack it in and call it a year. Instead, Jayson Tatum led the charge with a furious 18-0 Celtics run, and they never looked back from there. No matter how this series ends up, these are the types of games that leave an impression. He dropped 25 second-half points, consistently set up teammates who were red-hot from long range, and generally controlled the game in a way we haven’t seen from him yet in this series.

It’s a long way back from here, but the Celtics will definitely start turning some heads if they snag a win back in Boston. 👀

Oh, and quick shout-out to Grant Williams for this block on Butler, we see the improvement!

Nuggets take down Lakers 113-111 to complete series sweep

As Kevin Durant would say, these are the type of games that add MAJOR legacy points.

Early on, it seemed like LeBron James was going to add to his total in a big way. A playoff career-high 31 first-half points, multiple big threes (some intentional, some not), and just general all-around excellent play had the Lakers soaring up 15 at the half. It was just enough to get that little thought in the back of your head: "Could they actually come all the way back?”

Well, Nikola Jokic and Co. swiftly answered that question. No, no, they couldn’t. Led by a third-quarter double-double from the Joker and some sharp shooting from Aaron Gordon, the Nuggets came out of the break with a vengeance. Then, in a dogfight in the fourth, it was Denver who did the little things they needed to hold on for the W.

Two plays you need to remember from this one. First, Jokic used his black magic to make one of the most diabolical three-pointers we’ve ever seen. A one-legged three launched from behind his head like he was doing a medieval trebuchet impression? Let’s be serious now. Then, up by two in the closing seconds, Gordon and Jamal Murray combined to paint a defensive masterpiece, stopping LeBron from sending it to OT. For the first in Nuggets history, welcome to the finals!

LeBron’s Next Step

Maybe it was just the emotions of getting swept or seeing his longtime friend and fellow 2003 NBA draftee Carmelo Anthony retire earlier that day, but we got a much more contemplative version of LeBron James during Monday’s post-game press conference. And it ended with some words that we don’t think any of us expected to hear.

"Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about."

That hits like a ton of bricks. For many of us, a LeBron-dominated league has been the only thing we’ve ever known, and it’s never seemed closer to the end than it does now.

But, of course, that statement is definitely up for interpretation. We know that James has always been adamant about playing with his son Bronny and walking away from the game now would obviously make that impossible. Maybe he needs a year off before joining his son wherever he’s drafted, or maybe, he’s just a 20-year vet coming off of an absolutely exhausting season who needs a few weeks vacation to get right.

Whatever the case may be, we hope to see you back Bron. 🙏

What do you think LeBron does next year?

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#STAYME70 Forever

Carmelo Anthony is a true basketball artist.

From his silky smooth shooting form that we’ve all tried to replicate in the driveway at least once or twice to midrange footwork so elite that at times it seemed like he needed only an inch of space to operate, the way Carmelo played the game was undeniably beautiful.

Whether it’s his national title at Syracuse or his legendary duels with Kobe in the 2009 playoffs, we can go on and on about his greatest moments. But, a day after his retirement, we’ve picked three moments that made Melo — Melo.

An Olympic Effort

Anyone who watched Melo over the years knows that he was undoubtedly at his best when gold medals were on the line.

Surrounded by loads of star talent, including Kobe, KD, and LeBron, Anthony adapted his playstyle to perfection on those Olympic squads, becoming one of the deadliest spot-up shooters the game has ever seen once every four summers.

He’s the second all-time leading scorer in US Olympic history, but it’s his ridiculous performance vs. Nigeria that will live on in our minds the longest. 37 points, 10 threes, 14 minutes. Simply insane output.

Oops. All Jumpers!

It takes a special type of scorer to drop 50 in an NBA game, but it takes a truly different breed to do it all without attempting even a single shot in the paint.

But that’s exactly what Melo did back in 2013 against the Heat. With LeBron and DWade on the bench, Anthony knocked down shot after shot on a dazzling array of catch-and-shoot threes and delicate midrange post work, all without ever attacking the basket. 🤯

The ‘Bang’ Heard Around the World

Mike Breen has delivered his iconic line hundreds of times over his 31 years as an NBA broadcaster, but it never hit as good as this.

On Easter Sunday 2012, soon-to-be MVP Derrick Rose and the 43-13 Chicago Bulls came into MSG expecting an easy win. The Knicks were hovering around .500, and without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, nobody expected them to pick up the W against the hottest team in basketball.

This game was Melo at his most confident. With the clock ticking down in regulation and New York down three, Anthony slowed down, sized up his man, and delivered one of the coldest, most audacious, bombs in hoops history. Crazy enough on its own, right? Well, in the same situation in OT, down two, he did it again. Exact same spot, exact same shot, cash.

Thank you for all the memories Melo, the game is better because you were in it. 💙🏀

Frozen Moments

  • LeBron reflects on Melo’s retirement

  • Christian Braun gets framed for smacking Jokic

  • Dwight Howard continues his Taiwan recruiting tirade

What We’re Enjoying

Carmelo Anthony Is at Peace With His Retirement - Chris Herring (Sports Illustrated)

Goodbye and Good Riddance 5th Anniversary Edition: The late Juice WRLD was one of the most talented artists to ever come out of Chicago, and his incredible first album remains an emo rap staple to this day. Five years later, the 5th-anniversary edition gives us new two new posthumous tracks from the Windy City rapper. Forever a legend. 🕊

Signing Off

And that’s all the time we have today! This week, try and uplift the people around you (and yes, that includes yourself). Everyone’s got a dream or a project they’re working on; sometimes, all they need to succeed is that little extra bit of support.

Until next time,

Trivia Answer: The answer to today’s trivia is Serge Ibaka! He’s scored over 1500 points in the playoffs without ever being named an All-Star.

Before you go…

A HUGE birthday shoutout to Enjoyers Ethan, Matthew, and Ashton! Thanks for helping us spread positivity through basketball 🙂 If you want your birthday in the newsletter, help us out and fill out the survey below. We promise it only takes a sec.

In your best Mike Breen impression, what did you think of today's newsletter?

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