Good morning! Tuesday was a great day to be an NBA fan in Florida.
The Heat and Magic had their wins last night, albeit in very different ways. Miami mounted a comeback to beat Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Orlando’s win came via ping pong balls when it won the draft lottery. Now the Magic will have their choice of the top prospects at the draft in June.
Keep reading for more on Miami’s comeback, a preview of the start of the Western Conference Finals, what the lottery order means for the teams picking up top and an update on the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Butler’s Playoff Run Continues
The shorthanded Celtics held an eight-point lead at halftime over the Heat. Without Al Horford or Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, Boston built up a lead on the road against Miami. It all came crashing down in the third quarter, though.
The Heat outscored the Celtics by 25 in the third quarter to take the lead, and they never gave it back. Miami emerged from Game 1 victorious, 118-107, and Jimmy Butler finished with a game-high 41 points, his third 40-point game of the postseason. Jayson Tatum had 29 points to counter Butler’s outburst, and Jaylen Brown came on in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for Boston.
The conference finals begin tonight when the Mavericks meet the Warriors in San Francisco in the West. Dallas is fresh off its Game 7 win against Phoenix over the weekend, while Golden State had more rest after polishing off Memphis in six games. The Warriors, the favorites to win the Finals, are heavily favored to win the series, but they’ll have to go through Luka Dončić to get back to the NBA Finals.
Click here to find the SI Crossover staff’s expert predictions for the two conference finals series and where the SI Betting team thinks there’s value in the championship futures market.
Magic Win Draft Lottery
Orlando will select first overall in June’s draft after winning Tuesday’s draft lottery, its reward for going 22-60 this season.
Below is the full order:
- Trail Blazers
The Magic had a 14% chance of getting the top pick, tied with the Thunder, Rockets and Pistons for the best odds to have their choice of the top players in the 2022 draft. The last time Orlando picked No. 1 was in 2004 when the franchise selected Dwight Howard, a six-time All-Star with the team.
The top players in this year’s draft are all lengthy forwards and centers. Orlando drafts Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the first pick in Jeremy Woo’s updated draft projection. Smith is also the top player on Woo’s big board.
For behind-the-scenes stories from draft night, read Chris Mannix.
Second Round NHL Series Begin
The second round of the playoffs got underway Tuesday night.
The Panthers lost at home to their in-state opponent, the Lightning, 4-1. And in Colorado, the Avalanche defeated the Blues in overtime, 3-2. The Hockey News has curated all of the most important storylines for today’s games: Game 1 of Rangers-Hurricanes and Oilers-Flames.
Click here for second-round betting odds for each series, conference and the Stanley Cup. After taking an early series lead, the Avalanche is a clear favorite at +170. And for series-by-series breakdowns and predictions, click here.
In Other News
There’s a New No. 1 in the MLB Power Rankings: The Yankees have the best record in baseball and they snatched the top spot from the Dodgers in Week 5 of SI’s rankings. See where L.A. fell to and how the other 28 teams fall in line.
PGA Championship Betting Preview: Scottie Scheffler enters this weekend’s tournament as the betting favorite (+1100). Should you back him or look for value elsewhere? Shawn Childs has the answers.
Preakness Stakes 147 Betting Profiles: Epicenter is the favorite once again after coming up short at the Kentucky Derby. See the odds, records and more for the rest of the field ahead of Saturday’s race.
Fantasy Running Back Sleepers: Matt De Lima argues that there’s value in drafting a pair of rookie rushers and a player who missed all of 2021 with an injury. See which three players at a key position can outperform their average draft position.
Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you again on Friday.