👋 Good morning! Great day to be alive. Today's word count: 1,268 (<5 mins).
Photo: Photo by Kyle Terada - Pool/Getty Images
In the days leading up to the NBA Finals, humans didn't believe in the Raptors. 19 of 21 ESPN writers picked Golden State to win the series, and 73% of bettors thought they'd cover the one-point spread in Game 1.
The big picture: Through two games, no one can deny that the Raptors have more than held their own. Which begs the question: What did the computers know that we didn't?
The bottom line: Sure, that was a lightweight side-by-side comparison. And yes, the Warriors could very well still win in six, maybe even five games. But the Raptors always had a better chance than everyone thought. Everyone except the computers.
P.S. ... Warriors injury report:
"Baseball's mainstream counting stats are self-explanatory, tangible events that look exactly like they sound. Anyone can see a home run, a walk, an RBI," writes SI's Emma Baccellieri.
A brief history: The save was officially born in 1969, but there was plenty of drama preceding that, as teams and writers scrambled to measure the value of full-time relievers — a position that barely existed until the late 1930s.
Current definition: A pitcher earns a save if he preserves his team’s lead while doing one of the following:
Phoot: STR/AFP/Getty Images
China has invested heavily in soccer since President Xi Jinping, a huge fan, made it a national priority in 2015. First came the youth academies, then came the foreign coaches and now comes phase three: naturalizing foreign players.
Driving the news: 26-year-old Nico Yennaris, who grew up in London and played on the same Arsenal youth team as Harry Kane, just became the first foreign-born player to be called up to the Chinese national team.
Go deeper: President Xi's great Chinese soccer dream
Kinsley Washington's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh lifted UCLA past Oklahoma 5-4, as they swept the championship series 2-0.
By the numbers:
Federer wins: The 37-year-old beat No. 24 seed Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, setting up a blockbuster semifinal on Friday against — hold, let me find a photo of him from yesterday — OK, here we go:
Rafael Nadal! The master of clay himself also destroyed a depleted Kei Nishikori, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. ... Nadal is 5-0 against Federer at the French Open and 91-2 overall. 91-2!!! Good luck, Rog.
Americans in action: Americans Amanda Anisimova (above) and Madison Keys should have been playing quarterfinal matches as we speak, but rain has delayed the action. If they both win, they'll go head-to-head in the semis.
Two upsets: No. 26 seed Johanna Konta (above) upset No. 7 seed Sloane Stephens, 6-1, 6-4, and unseeded Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova knocked off No. 31 seed Petra Martic, 7-6(1), 7-5. They'll meet in the semifinal tomorrow.
Photo: John Ruthroff/AFP via Getty Images
25 years ago today, Patrick Ewing dominated the Pacers in a do-or-die Game 7 to catapult the Knicks to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1973.
The Kevin Durant-less Warriors are the first team since 1980 to win an NBA Finals game without their top regular-season scorer.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Whole Earth Peanut Butter via Getty Images
WashPost's Rick Maese writes:
"Michael Wardian has finished the Boston Marathon 18 times. He holds the world record for fastest 50-kilometer run on a treadmill. This year he raced 631 miles across Israel in barely 10 days' time.
"He's twice completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, and holds a world record for that, too. This year, when he got back to the United States, he decided to tack on three more marathons in three days, giving him yet another record: fastest completion of 10 marathons in 10 days."
"Oh, and he holds the fastest mark for running a marathon while dressed as Spider-Man. And also Elvis."
"Needless to say, Wardian, 45, is an accomplished distance runner who has no problem getting creative to scratch his competitive itch. Which is why he's in Wales this week. Preparing to race 60 horses."
Wait, what? Yup, Wardian is one of 650+ humans and 60+ horses racing against each other this Saturday in the annual Man Versus Horse Marathon.
This GIF has absolutely nothing to do with us giving away free iPad Pros, I just thought it was cool. Anyway, like I said, we're giving away free iPad Pros.
How it works: This week only, when you share Axios Sports using your unique referral link, both you and the person you referred will have a chance to win a new iPad Pro.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Patrick Chewing" Baker
Trivia answer: Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)