Jaylen Brown

Last night taught us to be on notice for the Pacers giving the Celtics a real series…

as well as Oneil Cruz connecting.

Boston Escapes Game 1 At Home

What Happened: In yesterday’s newsletter, we detailed how the Pacers weren’t being given much of a chance in their series against the Celtics. Indiana was on a surprise run that’s fun to follow before a regular season juggernaut such as Boston ends it before things get too “made-for-TV movie.”

In Game 1 last night, the Pacers had a golden opportunity to race out to a lead in the series away from home. But a string of poor decisions allowed Boston to tie the game with just 5.7 seconds left in regulation before going on to win in OT 133-128.

Why It Matters: The big question after last night’s series-opener is: did that game change anyone’s mind?

If you had the Cs earmarked for the NBA Finals, well, a win’s a win. The better team prevailed, even if it was ugly. And this seems to be the consensus, as Boston’s odds to advance moved from -1100 to -2000 despite the close call.

But for anyone who doesn’t trust the Celtics, or who thinks the Pacers are being underestimated, didn’t last night validate that line of thinking? Sure, Indy blew a golden opportunity last night. But this is a team that also lost Game 1s in its previous two series. Resiliency is not a quality it lacks for.

What a treat; an exciting first game that causes people on both sides to double down on their beliefs. This should be a fun one.

How We’re Feeling Today

Oneill Cruz

Stunned by some miles-per-hour data that was produced last night…and no, we aren’t talking Formula 1.

In the Giants-Pirates game last night, Pittsburgh shortstop Oneil Cruz smoked two balls that came off his bat at a speed over 120 MPH. You don’t need a PhD to know that is some serious heat.

To put that feat into context, entering play Tuesday, only 18 batted balls had been hit 120+ MPH since MLB introduced Statcast in 2015. Cruz did it twice in the same damn game.

Cruz’ 121.5 and 120.4 MPH-missiles stand as the hardest hit balls in MLB so far this season. If you can get out to PNC Park, there is some amazing young talent wearing black and gold. Just make sure you pay attention for screaming line drives hit into the stands…

The Look Ahead

Daniel Gafford

Daniel Gafford POINTS Are we getting the Daniel Gafford from the first round or the semifinals is the big question here. The Mavs center has started every game of the postseason so far; in six games against the Clippers, he averaged just 6.2 points a game, getting to double-digits just once. But versus the Thunder, Gafford upped his average to 11.0 points a contest, including a postseason-high of 16 in Game 1. Minnesota is the best defensive team in the NBA and has reigning Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert patrolling the paint, so Gafford with a 8.5-line is no sure thing. But with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving demanding a bulk of the T-Wolves’ attention, Gafford could be in line for some clean looks in Game 1 tonight.