🏀 Lonnie Walker: King of the IV
Plus, some underrated playoff performers.
Happy hump day, Enjoyers! Summer is on its way, high stakes hoops are on daily, and league parity has never been better: what more could you ask for?
Oh, you want NBA news and updates from the last couple days? Don’t worry, we can help with that.
The Philly Special: The Sixers storm into Boston to take the series lead 💪
An Unlikely Hero: Lonnie Walker IV saves the day for LA 👑
Don’t Sleep on Them!: Taking a look at some underrated playoff performers 😴
But first, some playoff trivia: ⬇️
Who has the highest winning percentage in playoff history? (minimum 150 games)
Find the answer at the bottom of the newsletter!
Elevate your playoff watch parties with our go-to sixth man—Jarritos! Whether you’re a Knicks die-hard or a Lakers stan, indulge yourself in their naturally delicious (no high fructose corn syrup) fruit flavors like Mandarin, Pineapple, and Watermelon.
With Jarritos, it’s only pure enjoyment. And those timeless glass bottles? They'll keep your beverage as cold as a James Harden step back three 🥶
Last Night’s Latest
Sixers take control of series with comprehensive 115-103 win over Celtics
Joel Embiid (33 PTS, 4 BLK) isn't just playing on a sprained knee, he's THRIVING with it.
Whether he was teaming up with Tyrese Maxey (30 PTS, 6 3PM) and James Harden (17 PTS, 10 AST) to wreak havoc in the pick-and-roll or patrolling the paint and swatting shots out of the sky, the reigning MVP was a torrential force on both ends. Just look at the effort on this chase down block. It should be illegal for a big man to move that fast!
WHAT A CHASE DOWN BLOCK BY EMBIID
— ENJ🏀Y (@EnjoyBBall)
May 10, 2023
Add in a hyper-efficient double-double from Tobias Harris (16 PTS, 11 REB) and an unexpected postseason renaissance from Danuel House (10 PTS, 5 REB), and you have the recipe for one of the biggest playoff wins of The Process era.
As for Boston, it was a bad performance at an even worse time. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 36 pts, but the efficiency just wasn't there and the Celtics’ free-flowing offense struggled to find any sort of rhythm. When the highlight of the game is a Payton Pritchard garbage time cook sesh, it probably wasn't your night.
Denver blows doors off Phoenix 118-102 to get back on track
They aren’t a boy band (yet), but the Nuggets were truly ‘N SYNC last night.
As usual, everything revolved around a certain Serbian center at the heart of it all. Nikola Jokic (29 PTS, 13 REB, 12 AST) must have flipped the ‘don’t miss’ switch in his brain at halftime, because he hit all but one shot after the break while orchestrating an electric Denver offense.
He certainly wasn’t alone. Michael Porter Jr. (19 PTS, 5 3PM) had a scorching first quarter that helped Denver open up an early lead and Bruce Brown (25 PTS, 9-10 FT) poured in points while (unsuccessfully) practicing his secret agent skills. But it was Christian Braun who brought the house down with the play of the night.
Christian Braun turning defense into offense! 🔨
— NBA TV (@NBATV)
May 10, 2023
As for the Suns, they’ll need to find a way to win without Devin Booker going Super Saiyan if they want to make the Conference Finals. A good place to start would be getting Kevin Durant more involved in the offense outside of iso sets. Back in Phoenix on Thursday, they’ll get one more chance to right the ship before it’s too late.
Monday Night Notes
Lakers win 104-101 to take commanding 3-1 lead over Warriors
We couldn’t tell whether we were watching Air Bud or the Lakers’ game, because Lonnie Walker IV has that DAWG in him. After playing less than 15 minutes total in the Memphis series, Walker became one of the most unlikely playoff heroes we’ve seen in a longggg time, scoring all 15 of his points in the 4th to close out a monumental win for LA. When you’re doing stuff that hasn’t been done since Kobe, you must be doing something right.
Lonnie helped completely flip the script on what was supposed to be a bounce-back night for Golden State. The decision to start Gary Payton II (15 PTS, 7-9 FG) seemed to be a stroke of genius from Steve Kerr, and Steph Curry (31 PTS, 10 REB, 14 AST) was making everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) happen, even channeling his inner Magic Johnson at one point.
But Walker’s heroics and some much-needed shot making from Austin Reaves (21 PTS, 4 AST) helped the Lakers erase a 12-point second half deficit, setting up a 1v1 showdown between Curry and Anthony Davis with everything on the line. 👇
ANTHONY DAVIS’S GENERATIONAL DEFENSE ON STEPH CURRY 🔒
— Lakers Lead 3-1 (@LakersLead)
May 9, 2023
How this man doesn’t have a DPOY is beyond us.
Bam and Butler lead the charge as Heat take down Knicks 109-101
The Heat live by two sets of B’s: Buckets and Boards, and Bam and Butler.
Bam Adebayo (23 PTS, 13 REB) has struggled with periods of passivity in the playoffs before, but you couldn’t tell from his infectious energy on Monday. Bam practically packed up a U-Haul and moved his entire house into the paint, throwing down multiple monster dunks while helping Miami keep a vice grip on the glass.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a playoff win in Miami without a Jimmy Butler (27 PTS, 10 AST) masterclass. Jimmy Buckets led the Heat in scoring, consistently taking advantage of the extra defensive attention he’s been getting to find open looks for teammates. He even had time to generously send Quentin Grimes all the way back to New York! How nice :)
WHAT A BLOCK BY JIMMY BUTLER 😳
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT)
May 9, 2023
A Jalen Brunson (32 PTS, 11 AST) gem and another stellar RJ Barrett (24 PTS, 3 3PM) outing weren’t enough to save the Knicks from digging themselves into a 3-1 hole. They have one last chance at MSG tonight to save their season.
All-Rookie teams leave few surprises
The All-Rookie teams were just released and the results seem… surprisingly reasonable? Take a look:
The complete voting results for the 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Rookie Team:
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR)
May 8, 2023
For how uncomplicated this year’s field was, there is still one debate we want your input on. The first four First Team spots were locked in, but do you agree with Bennedict Mathurin over Jaden Ivey? Ivey came alive down the stretch with some elite playmaking and solid shooting, while Mathurin proved himself as a consistently talented scorer with true 20+ ppg potential. Let us know. 👇
Who would you have on All-Rookie first team?
Don't forget to drop a reply with your reasoning!
While the rookie voting was fairly straight forward, All-Defensive nominations were the exact opposite. This is one of those years where a lot of guys were deserving, and it showed: just look at how many great clamp artists received votes! Here was the final tally:
In the end, we had a great mix of familiar faces and first-timers. Dillon Brooks even got some love after a tough couple of weeks! But there were just as many top-tier defenders who didn’t make the cut. Who do you think deserved a nod but didn’t get it?
Who was the most egregious all-defense snub?
And let us know who'd you replace 👀
Playoff Sleepers 😴
A big part of Enjoying basketball is appreciating hoopers who don’t dominate the headlines. Their numbers might not jump off the page, but here is one player from each remaining playoff team who’s made a serious impact behind the scenes.
Los Angeles - Rui Hachimura (12.1 PTS, 58/57/83 splits)
He may have cooled off slightly, but perhaps nobody on the Lakers roster was more impactful over the first three games of the Memphis series than Rui. His elite shooting off the bench helped LA take a commanding 2-1 series lead over the Grizzlies that they never relinquished.
Golden State - Moses Moody (5.2 PTS, 2.2 REBS, 52.9% 3P)
Moody has dealt with inconsistent minutes all season, but that hasn’t stopped the sophomore from stepping up when called upon. Intelligent cuts, timely threes, and stifling defense—Moody does a little bit of everything to elevate the Warriors bench.
New York - RJ Barrett (19.4 PTS, 4.4 REB, 3.1 AST)
Okay, RJ isn’t exactly a sleeper, but his playoff jump definitely deserves recognition. He caught a lot of flak for his up and down play during the regular season, but the former top three pick has leveled out in the playoffs to provide cool consistent buckets.
You know who I'm proud of?
That's the tweet.
— 𝗡𝗶𝗰к Fαn 😕 😐 🤫 (@quietknicksfan)
May 9, 2023
Miami - Kevin Love (8.7 PTS, 6.9 REB, 2.1 3PM)
Old man KLove still has some juice left! Love made multiple threes in seven of Miami’s nine playoff games so far, and he has been a key factor on the boards as well as a great veteran locker room leader.
Boston - Derrick White (14.8 PTS, 52/43/94 splits)
Fresh off his first All-Defensive team nomination, we don’t need to tell you that Derrick White is that guy. In fact, we’ll just let JJ Redick do it for us.
Philadelphia - De’Anthony Melton (9.5 PTS, 1.4 STLS, 46.2% 3P)
Harden wasn’t the only chef in the kitchen during Philly’s huge Game 1 win over Boston. Melton hit a playoff career-high five treys to provide some much needed offensive support, and his reliable shooting and feisty defense didn’t stopped then.
Denver - Christian Braun (2.6 PTS, 2.4 REB, 47.4% FG)
The counting stats aren’t eye-popping, but you have to respect Braun for being the last rookie still playing meaningful minutes this year.
He’s taken on some tough defensive assignments (including KD!) and held his own, all while making the exact type of hustle plays that win playoff games. Could he be the first player in decades to win back-to-back NCAA and NBA titles? 👀
Phoenix - Jock Landale (5.0 PTS, 2.0 OREB, 58.8% FG)
After getting 4 DNPs in five games against the Clippers, it didn’t seem like Landale was going to factor into the Suns’ playoff plans. But with Deandre Ayton struggling and the series slipping out of reach, the Suns turned to the big Aussie… and he absolutely delivered. Landale served as a strong presence on the glass and a reliable interior scorer in the Suns’ back-to-back home wins.
What We’re Enjoying
A Star Among Us: Cam Whitmore's Star Potential - Stephen Gillaspie (No Ceilings)
Harden finds his rhythm thanks to a gospel song(?) and his ‘good luck charm’ - Paul Hudrick (Liberty Ballers)
F65 by IDK: Maryland-based rapper IDK came through with the HEAT on his latest project. With Formula One samples, Jazz-inspired instrumentals, and a great mix of hard-hitting bangers and introspective ballads, F65 is arguably IDK’s most cohesive album to date.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the chances you deserve, whether it’s in sports, school, work, or just life in general, all you can do is stay ready. You never know when that golden opportunity might come. Be like Lonnie — seize the day!
Until next time,
Trivia Answer: Today’s trivia answer is Dennis Rodman! The Worm went 116-53 in the playoffs over his career, which is good for a 68.6% win rate.
Before you go…
Happy birthday to Enjoyers of basketball Andres, Zayd, Brad, and Robert! We appreciate the support 🙏. If you want a birthday shoutout, fill out our survey below—it’ll help us improve the newsletter.
In your best Mike Breen impression, what did you think of today's newsletter?