Good morning. Let's basketball.
LIFE IS IMPERMANENCE: Chris Paul broke his hand on Monday as the Clippers lost to the Blazers. CP3 is expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs. The injury occurred as CP3 swiped at the ball on a Gerald Henderson drive. As always, the lesson here is to never try. (Blake Griffin also re-aggravated his quad, which was the initial injury he suffered this season before breaking his hand punching a co-worker. Blake is 50/50 for Game 5.)
NEED TO CHEER UP? Watch Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook ether the Mavericks in their press conference after completing the gentleman's sweep. It includes KD calling Mark Cuban an idiot repeatedly and Westbrook cracking a phenomenal joke at Charlie Villanueva's expense.
Why were KD and Russ so salty? Well, Cuban said pregame Westbrook wasn't a superstar and Justin Anderson elbowed Russ in the head in garbage time. Russ put 36/9/12 on them in the finale. Bye, Mavericks.
MEANWHILE, IN THE EAST ... The basketball is actually compelling in the East this postseason. The Hornets won a barn burner over the Heat to tie up their series. Kemba Walker is really something. And look at Jeremy Lin hitting the MJ shrug.
HOLDING OUR BREATH: Steph Curry indeed has sprained his MCL. He will be re-evaluated in 14 days. That should mean missing at least a couple games of the second round, though with CP3's injury the first round appears as if it will linger on. Mike Prada and Zito Madu discuss the prognosis.
Meanwhile, the Spurs are your new title favorites, aren't they?
SCORES GALORE ...
MIA 85, CHA 89 (Series tied 2-2)
DAL 104, OKC 118 (OKC wins 4-1)
LAC 84, POR 98 (Series tied 2-2)
ON THE AIR TONIGHT ...
Pacers at Raptors, 6 p.m. ET (?!), TNT, Series tied 2-2
Celtics at Hawks, 8:30 p.m., TNT, Series tied 2-2
SMART SET: Paul Flannery on the productive chaos of Marcus Smart and Brad Stevens' tweaked new Celtics lineup.
STAN'S TEAM IS ALRIGHT: I wrote about the Pistons' bright future in the face of their sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers.
FADED: Chris Herring and Ben Cohen on how widely stolen the Dirk one-legged fadeaway is. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
BROOKING CHANGE: Zach Lowe on whether Scott Brooks can help the Wizards find an identity.
QUIET VICTORIES: Great New York Times story on Amanda Green, who works in basketball operations for the Thunder in a position that Sam Presti basically created for her because he wanted to hire her. The writer, Marc Tracy, notes that over team breakfasts she "discusses new Duke recruits with Singler, a fellow Blue Devil; home renovations with center Nick Collison; and the television series "Empire" with point guard Russell Westbrook."
THE MIDDLE CLASS: Mark Deeks on why the mid-level exception is now redundant.
NEAT: Really cool visualization of the odds of each team winning a particular draft pick in the lottery.
WAIT, WHAT? USA Basketball left Candace Parker, by most measures a top-5 women's player in the world, off of the Olympic team.
PHENOMENAL: A short Tribeca selection titled PORZINGOD. Watch it.
LIKE CLOCKWORK: Luke Walton is said to be the leading candidate for the Lakers' head coaching job. The Lakers are also looking at Ettore Messina.
REMEMBER THE NAME: Ricky O'Donnell profiles DeAndre Ayton, a gifted 7-footer who is the most beloved recruit in amateur basketball.
Happy Tuesday. See you next time.
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