Stars and Cavs survive thrilling Game 7s, plus the best jokes from Tom Brady’s roast

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Good morning! I hope you win a photo finish today.

Game 7, Pal: The catharsis of two Game 7s

There is no better sporting moment than a Game 7, even if it’s only in the first round of the playoffs. It boasts every tantalizing bit of a winner-take-all game, plus the depth of a long series beforehand. I wish I could bottle it. 

We had two magnificent Game 7s yesterday, one in NHL, one in the NBA: 

  • In Dallas, the Stars officially overcame that 2-0 hole to win Game 7 against the defending champion Golden Knights, 2-1, in a game that came down to the final seconds. Dallas entered the postseason as a Stanley Cup favorite, instantly looked like toast and now moves on to face the Avalanche. Stars coach Peter DeBoer is 8-0 in Game 7s.
  • In Cleveland, the Cavaliers really did look done for nearly three quarters, with that 2-0 series lead continuing to evaporate before the home crowd’s eyes. Then Donovan Mitchell decided he’d had enough. He scored 24 of his 39 points in the second half of the Cavs’ 106-94 win, which saved the team from elimination and staved off some hard offseason questions for at least one more round. Next up: Boston. Good luck! 

Elsewhere: The New York Rangers continued a magical postseason with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their second-round series. The Rangers entered this tilt as favorites according to the data, and the vibes agree.

Roasts? The unexpected tenacity of Tom Brady’s roast

It was not that long ago when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft were operating the NFL’s most successful dynasty. These days, Brady is trying to become a media star, Belichick can’t find a coaching job and Kraft just oversaw a rock-bottom turn for the once-proud Patriots. 

You could feel that tension last night in Netflix’s live roast of Tom Brady, which was not the milquetoast affair this writer expected. A few jokes I wanted to highlight: 

  • Belichick: “People have said it — Tom and I butted heads a lot. And in a way that was true. But it was hard to butt heads with Tom — because he was so far up Alex Guerrero’s ass.” Yowza.
  • Kraft: “Like many family reunions, there’s some people here I’m desperately trying to avoid — Coach Belichick, good to see you.”
  • Brady had a few great quips, including that the NFL could’ve saved the $20 million it spent investigating Deflategate because “I would’ve just told you I f—king did it.” Also, he says he’s interested in buying the Raiders because “I’m tired of owning just the Colts and the Bills.” 

Read our full summary of the roast here, including the strange moment when Brady nearly went full Will Smith on a comedian.

News to Know

Another photo finish
Over in NASCAR, Kyle Larson beat Chris Buescher by .001 seconds in last night’s race at the Kansas Speedway, which marks the second straight day in which we’ve had a photo finish at a big race. It is the closest finish in 76 years of big-league stock car history. Afterward, Larson told the Kentucky Derby to hold his beer. More, please.

A new F1 winner
Big day for racing here in the Pulse: Lando Norris, the fan favorite notably not named Max Verstappen, won the Miami Grand Prix yesterday, the first F1 win of Norris’ career. It’s just the fifth time in the last 29 races that Verstappen has not won. As Luke Smith wrote from Miami, it’s a big step for “Lando No Wins.”

More news

Oh, No: Bye, ball

Before we start, I would like to apologize to Giants shortstop Nick Ahmed, who probably doesn’t deserve this. But his attempted throw on a routine ground ball in a 5-4 loss to the Phillies yesterday is too good to ignore:

Ahmed clearly tripped, which made the ball cartoonishly airmail first base. I am still laughing at this a day later. Some say the ball is still traveling.

Watch This Game

NHL: Bruins at Panthers
8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Congrats to Boston for escaping a first-round Game 7 this year. Up next: the team that beat them last year in the first round, except the Panthers are now a better team and have home ice advantage. 

NBA: Timberwolves at Nuggets
10 p.m. ET on TNT
This is the easiest sell. I am still raptly watching the Minnesota Timberwolves — a franchise that, prior to this season, crumbled under every instance of playoff pressure for almost their entire history — become an unstoppable force. Can they go up 2-0 on the defending champs on the road? As Sam Amick wrote this weekend, the Timberwolves were literally built for this. And yes, Anthony Edwards is looking like MJ these days

Get tickets to games like these here.

Pulse Picks

This year, Victor Wembanyama somehow exceeded his astronomical preseason hype. But, as Mike Malone details, this is just Chapter 1. Wemby has Gregg Popovich talking like he’s seen the messiah. Make time for this today

Crazy but true: The Clippers’ championship window is officially shut, as Law Murray wrote. 

Dan Pompei has a lovely yet heartbreaking story on Hall of Famer Steve McMichael, told through the eyes of the friends and family who visit him. McMichael suffers from ALS, and despite the limiting effects of the disease, he still manages to leave lasting impacts

I loved this story from Saturday about Shohei Ohtani buying Dodgers manager Dave Roberts a toy car after breaking one of Roberts’ records. 

The Detroit Tigers have found an ace in Tarik Skubal. This guy is must-watch TV. 

Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal wonders if Miami’s return package for Luis Arráez will make sense in the end

Most-clicked in the newsletter yesterday: Kentucky Derby results. Still can’t believe that finish. 

Most-read on the website yesterday: Yankees superstar Aaron Judge got ejected Saturday for the first time in his career, though he claims he’s “said a lot worse.”

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(Photo: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)

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