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The Thunder apparently never learned how to deal with zombies

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Good morning. We have that and more in Tuesday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Let's basketball.

ZOMBIES FOR REAL: The Mavericks zombied their way into the playoffs, played like zombies in Game 1 and refused to die in Game 2. The result? A shocking road win in Oklahoma City thanks to clutch plays from, uh, Raymond Felton. Steven Adams very nearly won it at the buzzer, but his tip was a whisker too late. Kevin Durant had an atrocious night from the field, shooting 7-of-33. The fact that OKC was still a 10th of a second away from victory despite that seems like a minor miracle.


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ROARING BACK: The Raptors ended their seven-game playoff losing streak on the back of Jonas Valanciunas and a killer bench. Still some huge red flags here, though, as DeMarre Carroll doesn't look healthy and DeMar DeRozan shot just 5-of-18 with no free throws. This series is going to be mighty interesting. Toronto's bench might be the difference-maker.

NO STEPH, NO PROBLEM: The Warriors sat Stephen Curry for Game 2 out of an abundance of caution. Hey, the less Patrick Beverley Curry has to see, the better for us all. Golden State still won. Klay Thompson hung 34 on James Harden, but another Warrior got the best highlight on The Bearded Statue.


TOR 98IND 87
DAL 85, OKC 84
GSW 115HOU 106


Celtics at Hawks, 7 p.m. ET, TNT, ATL leads 1-0
Grizzlies at Spurs, 9:30 p.m., TNT, SAS leads 1-0

THE DYNAMIC DUO: I wrote about the allure of the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin combo, who match the dual scoring prowess of Russ-KD and the synergy of Draymond-CP3.

YEP: Zito Madu writes that the Cavaliers can beat anyone if Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving keep playing like they did in Game 1.

WELPVILLE: Yaron Weitzman explains why the Celtics are doomed without Avery Bradley.

TOO COLD: Andre Iguodala compares playing the Rockets in the playoffs to a practice scrimmage. Dang, man.

WELL, THIS IS RUDE: Charlie Villanueva tried to disrupt the pregame dance collab of Russell Westbrook and Cam Payne. It just made Westbrook dance harder.

WAIT WAIT WAIT: Jordan Clarkson leaped over a 5'10 Kendall Jenner at Coachella. Which leads to the question: Jordan Clarkson has entered the Kardashian-Jenner circle?! Add him to a list that includes Rashad McCants, Kris Humphries, Lamar Odom, maybe Chandler Parsons, and James Harden.

THE CLAW, AGAIN: Kawhi Leonard won a second straight Defensive Player of the Year award. He's the first non-center to go back-to-back since Rodman. As I always do, I enjoyed Jeff McDonald on Kawhi's increasingly crowded trophy case.

SURE? Jamal Crawford wins a third Sixth Man of the Year award. The award hadn't officially been announced as of newsletter time, but it will be interesting to see the vote breakdown. I bet it was close.

OKAY YES: Draymond Green is doing a playoff diary with Marc Spears and The Undefeated.

ALSO: Andrew Bogut with a strange videobomb on Draymond.

WEIRDEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE: Phil Jackson and Kurt Rambis are going to lead a mini-camp on the Triangle for the Knicks players this week. Are they trying to push Carmelo Anthony to light his no-trade clause on fire?

ANOTHER NEWSLETTER YOU NEED: Shea Serrano has a weekly illustrated NBA newsletter that is a) very different from this one, and b) arguably more necessary. Do it.

NOPE, REGGIE: Reggie Miller jokingly claimed that TNT could put together an analyst team that could beat the Grizzlies. I kinda hope Z-Bo, Vince Carter, and Tony Allen forfeit the Spurs series and show up in Atlanta to make Reggie eat his words.

Happy Tuesday. See you next time.