🏀 Jokic gave Phoenix déjà vu...
Plus, the Celtics even the series
Over the past couple days, three teams on the brink of elimination managed to stay alive… but one didn’t 👀. Let’s break it all down on this fine Friday!
Celtics, Knicks, and Warriors be like…
Mile High Spirits 🏔️: Denver blew out Phoenix behind Jokic’s triple-double to advance to WCF!
The Best of the Best 💯: All-NBA Teams were announced yesterday…
The W in Toronto 🍁: Enjoy Basketball’s resident WNBA expert Crina Mustafa breaks down this weekend’s international preseason matchup.
But first, some trivia. Here’s a tricky one:
Three of these players have both an NBA championship and an NCAA championship, while one of them only has one. Who is it?
Vote here and find the answer at the bottom of the newsletter!
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Here’s our board for tonight. We got Brunson scoring in bunches cause he’ll probably play all 48 minutes… again… plus LeBron hitting two or fewer threes and Jimmy being a defensive menace back home in Miami:
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Last Night’s Action
Celtics scrape out 95-86 win in Philly to force Game 7
Jayson Tatum, you are the definition of remaining confident! JT had an abysmal first three quarters, shooting 1-13 for 3 points 😬. But in the last few razor-tight minutes, he splashed his way to 16 4th-quarter points and stole the game to force a Game 7 back up in Bean Town.
BACK TO BACK 3S FROM JAYSON TATUM 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/GaNNI6QBR0
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics)
May 12, 2023
Joel Embiid (26 points) was Godzilla last night for Philly. We know AD is getting hyped as the best defender in the playoffs now, and rightly so, but The Process was doing unspeakable things to Celtics layup attempts 👀
In a game in which no All-Star was offensively stellar on either side, Boston’s guards catapulted them over the top. Marcus Smart (22 points, 7 assists) lived up to his last name and organized the offense intelligently. Off the bench, 6MOY Malcolm Brogdon (16 points) gave the C’s some superb shot making to stave off the pesky Sixers in a clutch W.
Nuggets smash Suns by 25 to advance to conference finals
The Suns got blown out on their home court by a foreign superstar in a Round 2 elimination game. Are we back in 2022? Nope, this was last night. Nikola Jokic and the rest of Denver’s offense exploded for 81 first half points, cruised to a landslide 125-100 victory in Phoenix, and cemented their place in the Western Conference Finals!
The Joker was ridiculously good, notching a 32-point triple-double that shredded the Suns defense. He became just the 3rd player to rack up 200+ points, 60+ assists and 60+ rebounds in a playoff series, joining LeBron James and Oscar Robertson. Never heard of those guys, but they must be good.
Outside of the 2X MVP, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21 pts) continues to be one of the best role players in the NBA. Meanwhile, the star-studded Suns fizzled out as Devin Booker had just 12 points to conclude his otherwise electric postseason run. It was Tank Commander Cam Payne who looked like the real All-Star, scoring 31 points on 12-16 from the field.
Is Phoenix forever condemned to a fate of getting bounced in Round 2 by foreign stars? Will Domantas Sabonis beat them in Round 2 next year? Boban in 2025?
Wednesday Night Notes
Knicks beat Heat 112-103, bring series to 3-2
Go New York, go New York, go!! After a tight first half with their backs against the wall, the Knicks rallied to win a back-and-forth game. After a 1-7 start, Julius Randle finished with 24 points on 7-13 FG. Let’s also take a moment to give credit to RJ Barrett (26 points), who was getting dragged through the dirt by the media at times this season. Star-J has arrived! 💫
Coach Thibs is known for running his players into the ground, and Wednesday night was the perfect example as Jalen Brunson (38 pts) played all 48 minutes. But do you know who else played all 48? Quentin Grimes! After getting just ten minutes in Game 1, the young 3-and-D threat brought high energy all night, including a sequence in which he got hurt, got back up, and stripped Jimmy Butler in isolation. Clearly, he’s willing to give it his all for the team:
TILL THE GAS TANK HIT “E”
— Quentin Grimes (@qdotgrimes)
May 11, 2023
Erik Spoelstra brought out the Hack-a-Mitchell Robinson plan in the 4th quarter, but the 48% free throw shooter drilled three of four at the line. Still, the Heat showed resilience and turned a 19-point deficit into a 1 point game. Bam Adebayo had a pair of BAM JAMS, including a thunderous putback on Isaiah Hartenstein. And with 19 points, this is the FIRST TIME this postseason where Jimmy Butler was held under 25 points. Wild stuff from the esteemed Mr. Buckets.
Warriors beat Lakers 121-106 to stay alive, force game six
Main take away from this game: THE TIKTOK CORGI IS STILL RIGHT! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, here. Seriously, how does he know??
Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Basketball. Wardell Stephen Curry is good at it. So good, in fact, that he poured in 27 points and 8 assists in the Warriors’ win.
Curry slideeeee 🌊
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27)
May 11, 2023
When Steve Kerr put the 6’2” Gary Payton II into the starting lineup instead of the 6’9” offensive rebounding machine known as Kevon Looney, we were suspicious. But it’s totally worked! Andrew Wiggins also had a career defensive performance on LeBron and company. Not to mention, we’re officially buying into the idea of “Elimination Game Draymond.” Love him or hate him, when Draymond Green (20 points) has his back against the wall and keeps his feet to himself, the man balls out.
Anthony Davis left the game with a head injury and was even put in a wheelchair—scary stuff. Fortunately, he’s probable to play in Game 6 🙏.
🚨The last regular season awards just dropped!🚨 All three All-NBA Teams were announced on Thursday. We love to see the young gun Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make First Team, although Donovan Mitchell seemed pissed that he got relegated to Second Team.
And the Third Team? 40% Sacramento. Check it out:
The 2023 All NBA Teams are OFFICIAL 🏆 https://t.co/k3mw8ZR6IR
— ENJ🏀Y (@EnjoyBBall)
May 10, 2023
No one was waiting for the announcement more than Jaylen Brown, as his Second Team selection means he’s now eligible for a supermax contract 🤑. Bobby Marks broke down the details on Twitter, but TLDR: the Celtics may have to pay him and Jayson Tatum a combined $120 million annually 💰.
Who was snubbed from the All-NBA teams?
Around the W with Crina
Enjoyers, the WNBA season is near!! We know some of you might not be as familiar with the W, so we’ll be bringing you content every week to get you up to date with the most important storylines, teams, and players of the league.
The regular season begins May 19, but before that we have some preseason action highlighted by a game between the Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx in Toronto! The match, to be played on May 13th, is the first WNBA game ever to be played up North (it could be the start of league expansion… 👀)
Where do you think the W should expand?
Here are two players to know from both teams that’ll be playing. You can catch the game on WNBA League Pass or Bally Sports North in the US (TSN and Sportsnet in Canada).
Kahleah Copper: The 2021 Finals MVP, Copper is probably one of the most creative scorers you’ll ever watch! She can drive to the basket, shoot from beyond the arc, and break defenders’ ankles. If you’re looking for a bona fide team leader, she's the one.
Marina Mabrey: Any college basketball fans in here?! Mabrey has seamlessly translated her game from Notre Dame to the W. She finds herself in Chicago after playing for the Dallas Wings alongside star Arike Ogunbowale last year. Mabrey is a sharpshooter who is used to playing with a talented three-level scorer, so having Copper by her side will be fantastic for her game.
Napheesa Collier: As Lynx legend Sylvia Fowles retired last season, Collier is the young piece that this Minnesota team needs to build around.
Diamond Miller: The Lynx drafted Miller with the second overall pick in the WNBA draft this year, and she’s already gotten a ton of praise from Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.
(Honorable mentions go to Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton, the Lynx’s two resident Canadians! Those two, plus Seattle’s Kia Nurse and Atlanta’s Laeticia Amihere, are the only Canadians in the WNBA.)
Jaylen Brown has a special demand for Celtics fans…
Nikola Jokic has some interesting vacation plans before the WCF starts…
Shockingly, James Harden has only done this twice all season…
What We’re Enjoying
ARTICLE: Nikola Jokic Creates Space on Offense. Jamal Murray Fills It. – Rob Mahoney (The Ringer)
VIDEO: The trailer for Oppenheimer just dropped and it seems epic. Even just looking at the roster, there’s no way this movie isn’t a banger. Christopher Nolan from The Dark Night? Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders? Matt Damon from… Boston? It just has to be good!
Go Enjoy the weekend! There’s a chance we get three Game 7s in the coming days *knock on wood* so that automatically makes it a W!
Trivia Answer: The answer is Ray Allen! The all-time great shooter won rings with the Celtics and Heat, but never earned one for the Huskies.
Before you go…
Happy birthday to Alexandre, Joshua, Will, Max, Griffin, Marc, Caleb and Victor! Y’all are Enjoy BBall SUPERSTARS.
PS: if you want a birthday wish, you should take our survey below:
In your best Mike Breen impression, what did you think of today's newsletter?