• The Grip
  • Posts
  • The best weekend of the year

The best weekend of the year

Fri, April 19th, 2024

The Opening Tip

  • The best sports weekend of the year is here

  • A remarkable performance from Trae Young

  • The WNBA draft five x’d its year-over-year ratings

Play-in Tournament

1. Running thoughts on the six settled playoff series

2 Nuggets vs. 7 Lakers  (G1: Saturday, ESPN, 8:30 PM ET)

This one is fascinating. There are so many questions, like: How will the Lakers/LeBron PR machine turn this impending ass-beating into a positive legacy moment for their lord and savior?

The most competitive sweep in NBA history will be tough to follow!

3 Timberwolves vs. 6 Phoenix (G1: Saturday, ESPN, 3:30 PM ET)

Not sure there’s ever been more of a crossroads first-round matchup. 

  • The Suns went mega all-in this summer; losing in the first round would be grounds for a pivot. 

  • The Wolves, in the midst of the ‘two clowns fighting meme’ with their current ownership and their one-time future ownership, are projected to have the most expensive payroll next year. Even if they win this series, an expensive contract (KAT) is probably getting traded. 

4 Clippers vs. 5 Mavericks (G1: Sunday, ABC, 3:30 PM ET)

This first round matchup was predestined, and so was the will-he-won’t-he back-and-forth regarding Kawhi Leonard. He’s currently questionable for Game 1.

2 Knicks vs. 7 76ers (G1: Saturday, ESPN, 6 PM ET)

Genuinely: We love an old-fashioned i-95 matchup. The uniforms, the name-brands, the (other) Garden -- the one without the banners in it. It’s great. This will be a hell of a series.

Snarkily: People are surprised this is the first Knicks-76ers playoff matchup since 1989. When you consider the Knicks have sucked for that entire time -- except the 1990s, when the 76ers sucked -- this is not so shocking.

3 Bucks vs. 6 Pacers (G1: Sunday, TNT, 7 PM ET)

Giannis might miss the entire series, which is reflected in the series price (Indy -130). That’s a bummer because injuries suck, but also because it will give Doc Rivers cover for the awful job he’s done since back-stabbing taking over for Adrian Griffin.

4 Cavaliers vs. 5 Magic (YOU: AREN’T, GONNA, WATCH)

Check back here in 7-15 days and we’ll tell you who won.

[READ: The 13 biggest questions of the first round]

2. Daily GIF: The last temptation of Trae Young

If this is the end for Trae Young in Atlanta, as has been rumored, unsuccessful foul-baiting, angry teammates, and terrible defense in a play-in L is a fitting way to go.

3. Trivia

Celtics-Lakers (12 times) is the most common matchup in NBA Finals history. Which two teams are second?



• Lakers-Knicks

• Lakers-76ers

Guess, click and see if you're right.

4. WNBA draft TV ratings by year, 2016-2024

Five x-ing your year-over-year TV ratings is not usually within the realm of possibility, but Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and other worthy side characters from this past NCAA Tournament make that much of a difference in women’s basketball.

Quick hits

  • Jimmy Butler, Zion and Giannis all have serious injuries; Jimmy and Zion won’t play tonight, and Giannis might not be back for a month. 

  • A low-key telling quote by Steph Curry about Andrew Wiggins. 

  • Jimmy Butler’s agent screaming about unethical NBA reporting with Butler’s emo picture as the backdrop is the unintentionally funniest NBA moment of the week. 

  • Jeff Teague is the best NBA podcaster, part 100. 

  • Kendrick Perkins voted Brandin Podziemski second-team All-Defense. 

  • Free idea to the NBA: Bring back eloquent pregame monologues and get rid of six idiots crammed into a tiny desk shoehorning Lakers and Warriors conversations.

Reads + Pods

  • The twisted irony of the Jontay Porter scandal [The Ringer]

  • Break up the Warriors, Steph Curry included [SF Gate]

  • NBA’s exclusive TV rights negotiating window with ESPN, Warner expected to pass without a deal [CNBC]

  • Caitlin Clark’s mythical pay cut is the hill Darren Rovell will die on [Awful Announcing]

That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 376th edition of The Grip.