2 Even, 1 Leavin’


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Morning,

The opening rounds of the NBA and NHL playoffs are beginning to form. There’s a new NBA title favorite, and road underdogs are hot in the NHL postseason, A happy helping of baseball and soccer highlights joined the party on Tuesday, too. What more could you ask for?

Letter Rip!


2 Even, 1 Leavin’

Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Suns (Clippers) & Cavaliers (Knicks) Win Game 2s to Even Series 1-1; Celtics Take Commanding 2-0 Lead Over Hawks

Two even and one leavin’! The 4-seed Cavs and Suns got one back on the Knicks and Clippers Tuesday night, respectively, and the Celtics are leaving the Hawks in the dust. Three more Game 2s are on the way tonight. Let’s rewind:

#2 Celtics def. #7 Hawks (119-106)

Jayson Tatum (29-10-6) and Derrick White (26-7-3) led another Celtics charge in Game 2 as Boston put Atlanta in a 2-0 hole. Dejounte Murray (29-6-6) hit seven 3s to lead Atlanta, but Trae Young (2-for-8, 3pt) was held in check for the second straight game. Boston’s defense appears to be too tough for the Hawks, and this first-round series is slipping away fast. BOS Leads Series (2-0)

#4 Cavaliers def. #5 Knicks (107-90)

A big answer from Cleveland! The Cavs exploded for a 34-17 advantage in the second quarter Tuesday night to bury the Knicks and even the series at one game apiece. New York struggled from deep (7-for-24) while Darius Garland (32-7-3) hit six 3s to ignite the Cavs. Caris LeVert (24 points) was big off the bench for the Cavs, and we’re heading back to the Garden all tied up. Series Tied (1-1)

#4 Suns def. #5 Clippers (123-109)

It looked for a moment like the Clippers might steal both games in the desert after they jumped ahead by 13 in the second quarter, but the Suns used a 23-10 run to end the half before winning the third quarter and pulling away in the fourth. Devin Booker (38 points) shot 14-for-22 from the floor (4-for-7, 3pt) for the best game of the NBA postseason thus far. Phoenix prevails and avoids a devastating playoff start. Series Tied (1-1)

Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 2: #7 Lakers at #2 Grizzlies (7:30 pm ET)

Gm 2: #8 Heat at #1 Bucks (9:00 pm ET)

Gm 2: #8 Timberwolves at #1 Nuggets (10:00 pm ET)

Additional Storylines

B/R: With Giannis Hurt & West Open, Celtics Emerge as New Title Favorites

CBS Sports: Booker, Suns Rise Past Clippers to Even Series

SI: Cavs Defense Clamps Down Against Knicks to Even Series



Release the Playoff Kraken

Photo: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Kraken Take Down Avalanche (3-1) to Claim Franchise’s 1st Playoff Victory; Rangers, Lightning, and Jets Roll Easy

Night 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs looks a lot different than Night 1. After an opening day with four games decided by five total goals, including three overtimes, last night’s slate featured four blowouts by all four lower seeds on the road. The Lightning, Rangers, and Jets had a lamp-lightning party against their opponents, and the Kraken — in the franchise’s first playoff appearance ever — won their first postseason game by upsetting the Avalanche. Here’s the Stanley Cup Playoff scoreboard:

Stanley Cup Playoff Highlights (Game 1s)

Kraken def. Avalanche (3-1)

Alex Wennberg Has 2 Points, Philipp Grubauer Makes 34 Saves

Jets def. Golden Knights (5-1)

Blake Wheeler Has 3 Points, Adam Lowry Scores 2 Goals

Lightning def. Maple Leafs (7-3)

Brayden Point Scores 2 Goals, Nikita Kucherov Has 3 Points

Rangers def. Devils (5-1)

Chris Kreider Scores 2 Goals, Adam Fox Has 4 Assists

Updated Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 2: Islanders at Hurricanes (7:00 pm ET)

Gm 2: Panthers at Bruins (7:30 pm ET)

Gm 2: Wild at Stars (9:30 pm ET)

Gm 2: Kings at Oilers (10:00 pm ET)

Additional Storylines

ESPN: Kraken Makes Playoff Debut With Win Over Defending Champion Avs

SportsNet: Playoff Takeaways: Rangers Special Teams Overwhelm Devils, Kraken Stun Avs Early



Champs Go Through

Photo: Antonio Villalba / Getty Images

Real Madrid Oust Chelsea (2-0, 4-1 Agg.) & Milan Hold Off Napoli (1-1, 2-1 Agg.) to Advance to UCL Semifinals

The UEFA Champions League has found two of its final four semifinalists after Tuesday’s Leg 2 knockouts. Milan held off Napoli with a 1-1 draw to secure a 2-1 advantage on aggregate. Olivier Giroud scored the security goal for Milan before they parked the bus. Napoli fired 23 shots and owned nearly 75 percent of possession, but it’s Milan who go through. Meanwhile, in Stamford Bridge, the defending champs blanked Chelsea (2-0) for the second straight match to earn a dominating 4-0 aggregate scoreline. Rodrygo tallied both goals for Los Blancos, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was downright magnificent for Real Madrid. The remaining two semifinal tickets get punched today with Inter and Man. City is the likely culprit.

Champions League Quarterfinals

Real Madrid def. Chelsea (2-0) | Real Madrid Advance (4-0)

Milan draw Napoli (1-1) | Milan Advance (2-1)

Today’s Schedule

Inter vs. Benfica (3:00 pm ET) | Inter Lead Agg. (2-0)

Bayern vs. Man. City (3:00 pm ET) | Man. City Lead Agg. (3-0)

Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Chelsea Bow Out of Champions League Against Real Madrid

The Athletic: How Rodrygo Fired Real Madrid Into Champions League Quarterfinals



MLB Quick-Hitters

Kershaw Gets Win 200More history for Clayton Kershaw! The Dodgers ace fanned nine batters over seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 shutout against the Mets on Tuesday to become the fourth active member of the 200-win club (Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Max Scherzer).

Braves Win 8th StraightThe Braves blasted the Padres (8-1) for their eighth straight win on Tuesday. Spencer Strider recorded his eighth straight game with 9 Ks (6 IP, 9 Ks, 1 Hit), and Matt Olsen hit a towering bomb for his 6th homer of the season.

Red Sox Walk-Off Pesky’s Pole: A wild finish to the Red Sox-Twins game saw Alex Verdugo smash a line-drive walk-off that tagged the wall at Pesky’s Pole in Fenway and required a review. Call confirmed. Red Sox win (5-4).



 Bargain Free Agents Still Available

In these last weeks before the 2023 NFL draft, free agents tend to drift into the background of league-wide conversations. Still, we might see a few players exit the open market prior to draft night. (B/R)

 Inside The Draymond Stomp

Draymond Green had his ankle grabbed, but retaliation hurt his team in Game 2. The Warriors can’t afford for their provocateur to fall for the sort of tricks he likes to employ, but it’d be a shame for his suspension to decide this series. (Sports Illustrated)

 Here Comes Fernando Tatis Jr.

The San Diego Padres enter this week with one more defeat than victory, but a rather important lineup reinforcement is on the way for them and eager fantasy managers. Fernando Tatis Jr. is about to return from his suspension, and the Padres are about to reload. (ESPN+)