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The NBA Finals, presented by the Nets

Fri, May 31st, 2024

The Opening Tip

  • Luka Doncic went off last night

  • ESPN is embarrassing itself 

  • Snoop Dogg appreciates great trash talk

NBA Finals Game 1

1. Shout out to the Brooklyn Nets

The Mavericks are going to the NBA Finals. Many people are saying they are the shadow favorites to beat the Celtics. One person is putting down the biggest emotional hedge of his life on the Mavericks to avoid being a completely broken and sad man by mid-June. Some people are even saying that person is who’s writing this newsletter, right now.

ANYWAYS, one immediately interesting thing about this NBA Finals is that it simply would not be possible without the liaising of the Brooklyn Nets.

This entire Celtics run was fueled by that draft night trade in 2013. Refresher:

July 12, 2013: 

  • Nets get: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, D.J. White

  • Celtics get: 2014 first round pick (James Young), 2016 first round pick (Jaylen Brown), 2017 first round swap (Jayson Tatum), 2018 first round pick (Collin Sexton), which was used by the Celtics to acquire Kyrie Irving from Cleveland, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace

And the Mavs wouldn’t be here without last year’s pre-deadline deal, which was mocked at the time but has since blossomed into a few spare parts for a prime superstar.

February 6, 2023:

  • Mavs get: Kyrie Irving, Markieff Morris

  • Nets get: Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a second round pick in 2027 and a first round pick in 2029

This all seems pretty simple: If you want to be a contender, call up Nets GM Sean Marks and tell him how brilliant he is for landing Kyrie and Kevin Durant in free agency (he really likes that), then start talking shop.

It’s what the Mavs and Celtics did (although with a different front office), and it’s what the Rockets -- who are picking No. 3 in this draft thanks to Brooklyn -- did, too.

2. Daily GIF: Logo 3

Luka outscored the Wolves, 20-19, in the first quarter of last night’s Game 5. It was over from there.

3. Trivia

Who holds the record for most assists in one NBA game?

• Magic Johnson

• Steve Nash

• Mark Jackson

• Scott Skiles

Guess, click and see if you're right.

4. Is ESPN OK?

It’s been a particularly shameless week for the talking dickheads at ESPN. To recap:

  • Kendrick Perkins got mad at the Celtics for not sweeping the Pacers, then got corrected, then got even more mad at the Celtics. 

  • Stephen A. Smith got himself all lathered up, then yelled at Kawhi Leonard for wanting to play in the Olympics while calling him the ‘worst superstar in the history of sports.’

But nothing beats this pea-brained segment on ‘Get Up,’ which featured Mike Greenberg wondering why Jayson Tatum wasn’t happy for Jaylen Brown after winning ECF MVP. The panel nodded along while a clip of Tatum smiling and clapping for Brown played.

[READ: How ESPN ditched journalism and followed Skip Bayless to the bottom: A Tim Tebow story]

Quick hits

  • Last night, Luka gave us an all-time moment: Asking a fan ‘who’s crying motherfucker?’ which spurned this reaction from Snoop Dogg. 

  • Also, why can’t Luka have one little victory beer? 

  • Last night could have been Inside the NBA’s final edition. 

  • Anthony Edwards got the Chris Paul Suns-Mavs Game 7 treatment last night. 

  • Dereck Lively didn’t miss a shot in the Western Conference Finals. 

  • The Good Brother Isaiah Hartenstein is about to get paid, it appears. 

  • Dennis Schröder is now a professional soccer player.


  • A first look at a Celtics-Mavs NBA Finals [The Ringer]

  • The Mavericks have met the moment [Defector]

  • Why the Boston Celtics' fallback isn't actually their history-making offense [ESPN]

That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 387th edition of The Grip.