🎉 Happy Friday! If the Rockets beat the KD-less Warriors at home tonight (9pm ET), we will be treated to three Game 7s on Sunday thanks to the Blazers and Sixers both winning last night. Would be epic.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Following a two-week trial, jurors on Wednesday returned guilty verdicts on just three of the 10 charges faced by Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, two of the main defendants in the college basketball bribery scandal.
Why it matters: This was the final major trial as part of the FBI's wide-ranging investigation — an underwhelming conclusion to a case that the U.S. Attorney's Office said would "expose the dark underbelly of college basketball."
What happened: Four Power 5 assistant coaches, two former Adidas employees, one wannabe agent, one financial adviser and one former NBA referee were convicted.
The bottom line: On Sept. 26, 2017, the FBI announced with great fanfare that it had made numerous arrests as part of a massive investigation that promised to shake college basketball to its core.
What's next: The feds got what they wanted — convictions, which is the only score that matters to them. Now, it's up to the NCAA to go after the big names.
Searching for every edge, modern analytics drive sports to hyper-optimize their strategies.
Breaking down the revolutions:
PHILADELPHIA — A fan holds up a sign after the Sixers' 112-101 win over the Raptors to force a Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday.
PORTLAND — Nuggets coach Mike Malone exits the floor after his team's 119-108 loss to the Trail Blazers. Game 7 will be in Denver on Sunday.
BOSTON — The Hurricanes gave up five goals in their entire second-round series against the Islanders. It took just one game for the Bruins to score that many, with Boston taking Game 1 by the score of 5-2.
The first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship goes down in Houston this weekend, with semifinals and finals across five game titles: Street Fighter V, Overwatch, StarCraft II, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
NFL players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Le'Veon Bell have received some flack for skipping out on their team's voluntary offseason workouts.
Former NFL QB Chris Simms explains (via NBC Sports):
The bottom line: "I just want people to back off the player a little bit to understand the full scope of the situation," said Simms.
Who says hockey players can't jump? Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
49 years ago today, Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to sweep the St. Louis Blues and win the Bruins' first title since 1941.
Answer at the bottom.
Climate change is warming the ocean and, in turn, transforming wave conditions. Surfers are on the front lines of these changes, and they're "pretty conflicted about what lies ahead," writes the WashPost's Rick Maese.
The bottom line, according to big-wave surfing pioneer Laird Hamilton:
"The ocean feels a little sick right now. We know it'll create bigger surf than we've ever had, but it could also create longer periods of no surf [and] make waves come from weird directions that don't hit reefs the same way. Overall, I don't think it’s great — not great for mankind and not great for surfers either."
Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
🏆 Lacrosse: The men's and women's lacrosse tournaments get going this weekend, and the NYT has a great piece on how the sport's rapid growth has pushed it far beyond the East Coast — stiffening the competition and sweeping aside traditional powers.
⚾️ MLB: Rangers slugger Joey Gallo hit 100 home runs faster than anyone in AL history (377 games). But get this: He only has 93 career singles(!!!), making him the first player in history to reach 100 homers quicker than 100 singles. For context, Jean Segura hit 136 singles last season.
🏈 NFL: The Seahawks released legend Doug Baldwin yesterday, marking the end of an era in Seattle ... and the Dolphins signed Xavien Howard to a five-year, $75.5 million extension, making him the highest-paid CB in the league.
⚽️ Soccer: The Europa League final (Arsenal vs. Chelsea) and the Champions League final (Liverpool vs. Tottenham) will both be All-England affairs. So far, 2019 is the year of the Premier League.
⚾️ MLB: If you were sitting in the stands and you caught Albert Pujols' 2,000th RBI, would you keep it or give it back? Great story out of Detroit.
It sounds like Aaron Rodgers could be making a cameo appearance in "Game of Thrones" this weekend. Though he won't be playing himself, of course, it got me thinking about athletes who have in the past.
Got one to add? Post it in the thread.
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Wait, Bryce Harper has a brother in the minors?" Baker
Trivia answer: Clyde Drexler