Good morning. Sincere apologies for the technological failure that killed Thursday's newsletter. Onward. Let's basketball.
ONE MAGICAL NIGHT: Three Thursday games produce three magical results.
The Spurs avenged their Finals loss to the Heat by crushing Miami at home. The Heat trailed by eight entering the fourth, and San Antonio just ended it right there by continuing to rack up the points. Meanwhile, TNT trolled Gregg Popovich for his lack of charm.
Gerald Green was the latest to embarrass OKC's defense in the second half of the season, dropping 41 en route to a big Suns home win against the Thunder. This potential first-round preview was dramatic: Phoenix trailed by 16 in the mid-third and by two with four minutes left. The Suns went on a 6-0 run to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Suns!
THE DINOS ARE BACK: The Raptors will celebrate turning 20 next season by using those hilarious basketballing dinosaur jerseys. I expect this is be heavily influential in Toronto's offseason free agent pitches.
TALKING DRAFT: The Drive & Kick Podcast welcomed Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress, who revealed a bit too much has been made of the quality of this year's derby. He had a lot more thoughts, too.
FORD BOMB: Speaking of the draft, Chad Ford's updated mock came out this week. Two Jayhawks going in the first two picks.
ANTE UP: More amazing Giannis Antetokounmpo stories. One features the Greek Freak wiring all his cash home, forgetting to keep some cab fare and getting a lift from a stranger while attempting to run to the arena for shootaround.
Another revolves around how cheap he is as a rookie, carrying home buffet boxes and saving Caron Butler's sneakers from the landfill. Meanwhile, Amos Barshad talks about the layers in which Giannis is seen as a savior.
Xs AND OOOHS: Doug Eberhardt on how the best set plays are created.
RISE OF THE D-LEAGUE: I rounded up the chatter about the D-League as NCAA killer and gave my view of how the NBA could make it work. We'll see what happens.
NEAT: Cool stats on Kyle Korver's now-dead three-pointer streak.
I'M A BEAL-LIEVER: Holly MacKenzie talks to Bradley Beal about the NBA transition.
BIG UPS TO BIG AL: In appreciation of Al Jefferson.
TIN FOIL: Marc Stein has a pretty brilliant theory as to why Mike Woodson hasn't been fired yet.
'AQUAMAN, AHHH!': Kevin Harlan was trying to make fun of Craig Sager's hideous suit but instead creeped everyone out.
Happy Friday. See you next time.