The Sportstacular Weekend

May 28, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

It’s a holiday weekend full of sports. We’ve got a 3-pack of Game 3s in the NBA playoffs before we launch into preview mode for Memorial Day Weekend. From soccer’s European title to 1100 miles of racing and the start at Roland-Garros, there’s something for everyone in the days ahead.

Letter Rip!



The Sportsletter Team will be off on Memorial Day (Monday). We’ll return to your inbox on Tuesday morning to recap all the events of the next three days. Enjoy!



A 3-Pack of Game 3s

Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty Images

Bucks Push Heat to the Brink, Lakers & Nuggets Take 2-1 Leads


It’s the end of Week 1 in the NBA postseason, and we know one thing for certain — the Bucks are ballin’. Milwaukee bushwhacked Miami by 29 points in Game 3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. They’re the first team to take the first-round series into an elimination game. Elsewhere in the West, the Lakers and Nuggets took home-court advantage. Here’s how we wrap up the first week of NBA playoffs:


Gm 3: Bucks def. Heat (113-84)

The Bucks needed a game-winner from Khris Middleton to take Game 1 by two points, but this series has been a blowout ever since. A 34-point win in Game 2 was followed by a 29-point victory in Game 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (17-15-5) was able to rest early in this one, but Middleton tallied a game-high 22. It’s a trip to elimination station for the Heat. MIL Lead Series (3-0)


Gm 3: Lakers def. Suns (109-95)

The Lakers look scary again. L.A. won its second straight game to take a 2-1 series lead against the Suns thanks to a 34-11 night from Anthony Davis. LeBron James (21-9-6) continues to play facilitator. This one got away from the Suns in the second half. Both Devin Booker and Jae Crowder were ejected in the final minutes while the Lakers were all smiles. LAL Lead Series (2-1)


Gm 3: Nuggets def. Blazers (120-115)

The nightcap out West was, once again, a showdown between Nikola Jokic (36-11-5) and Damian Lillard (37 points, five 3s). Denver won Game 3 despite a furious comeback attempt by Portland in the waning seconds. The Nuggets — missing Jamal Murray and Will Barton — got a big lift from Austin Rivers (21 points) in a series-shifting win. DEN Lead Series (2-1)


Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 3: Knicks at Hawks (7:00 pm ET)

Series Tied (1-1)

Gm 3: Nets at Celtics (8:30 pm ET)

BKN Lead Series (2-0)

Gm 3: Clippers at Mavericks (9:30 pm ET)

DAL Lead Series (2-0)

Additional Storylines

B/R: AD & LeBron Power Lakers to 2-1 Series Lead Over Suns

ESPN: Ty Lue Says Game 3 Against Mavericks Will Show What Clippers Are Made Of



The Finale: Chelsea vs. Man. City

Photo: Alex Caparros / Getty Images

Champions League Final: Saturday (3:00 pm ET, CBS Sports)


It’s the big one on Saturday! Bragging rights in Europe are on the line in the UEFA Champions League finale between Manchester City and Chelsea. Not only is City looking to win the elusive treble — Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League — but they’re also searching for the first UCL title in club history. Chelsea have won the Champions League just once before (2011-12). Saturday’s match is just the third all-English final in 65 years of Champions League history, and it’s sure to be a spectacle.


The Year of City

Man. City took the title of Europe’s juggernaut from Bayern Munich in the last six months. They reeled off a ridiculous 28-match unbeaten streak that included an 11-1-0 record in Champions League play this season. They also outscored opponents 25-4 over those 12 games. City are the favorites (-114), but Chelsea (+360) are just a 0.5-goal underdog. The Blues would’ve been the Champions League favorites in most seasons — they had 8-3-1 record while outscoring opponents 22-4 in UCL competition.


It’s Pep Guardiola vs. Thomas Tuchel in a clash of English royalty for the European crown.

Additional Storylines

UEFA: Meet the Finalists: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

The Athletic: Manchester City vs. Chelsea — The Disruptors’ Champions League Final (Paywall)


INDY 500  🏁

Drivers, Start Your Engines

Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images

105th Indianapolis 500 Primer, Starting Grid & Betting Odds


One of our favorite Memorial Day Weekend traditions returns to its rightful place in the calendar this Sunday. Last year’s Indy 500 was pushed to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ will have some semblance of normalcy at the largest sports venue on planet Earth, but only 40 percent capacity (135,000 fans) will be allowed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The 105th Running: Scott Dixon is in pole position for this year’s race. He won it from the pole position way back in 2008, and he’s had major success in Indy despite not winning the 500 in 13 years. Helio Castroneves (2009) and Tony Kanaan (2013) are veteran past-winners in the top-3 starting rows. But watch out for Takuma Sato — the Japanese driver has won it twice in the last four years. Up-and-comers Colton Herta (21 years old) and Rinus VeeKay (20 years old) will also try to make an early-career statement win.


Starting Grid

Row 1: S. Dixon, C. Herta, R. VeeKay

Row 2: E. Carpenter, T. Kanaan, A. Palou

Row 3: R. Hunter-Reay, H. Castroneves, M. Ericsson


Full Starting Grid


Odds to Win: S. Dixon (+350), C. Herta (+700), P. O’Ward (+1000), J. Newgarden (+1400), A. Palou (+1400), A. Rossi (+1400), T. Kanaan (+1600), R. VeeKay (+1600), G. Rahal (+1800)


It’s 500 miles at 230-plus miles per hour to start Sunday. Then, race fans switch gears to NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Drivers… Start your engines!

Additional Storylines

Yahoo! Sports: Scott Dixon Looks to Add to His IndyCar Legacy

Sporting News: Indy 500 Fans, Laps, Drivers & Everything Else to Know About the 2021 Race



🏒 NHL: ‘Canes Close Out Preds in OT

The Carolina Hurricanes were one mistake away from needing a Game 7 against the Predators before Sebastian Aho delivered the overtime game-winner in Game 6 (4-3, OT). Aho scored twice in the contest, and the ‘Canes get the Lightning in Round 2.


⚾️ MLB: The Pirates Plunder-Blunder

Plenty of highlights in the major, but this epic meltdown by the Pittsburgh Pirates takes our must-see highlight of the night. Javier Baez hit what should have been a routine ground-out to 3rd, but his epic dance-off at first base earned the Cubs a run, and he found himself at second. C’mon, Pirates!


⛳️ PGA: Garcia & Spieth Atop Colonial

Round 1 of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club saw two familiar names at the top of the leaderboard. Sergio Garcia (-7) and Jordan Spieth (-7) both shot opening-round 63s to lead the field by two strokes.


BONUS: A’s Pitcher Chris Bassitt Fans 9 in 2-Hit, Complete Game Shutout Against Angels



🎾  French Open Draw Pits Big 3 Early

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all ended up in the same half of the French Open men’s field in the draw Thursday, meaning no more than one of them can reach the final and Roland-Garros. The Big Three top the leaderboard for Grand Slam men’s singles titles: Federer (20), Nadal (20) and Djokovic (18). (AP News)


⛳  Tiger Woods Rehab Discussion

Three months after sustaining serious leg injuries in a single-car crash outside Los Angeles, Tiger Woods finds himself in a familiar routine: rehab, rehab, rehab. “This has been an entirely different animal… This was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.” (Golf Digest)


🏈  Falcons Weighing Offers for Julio Jones

It’ll take a lot to land arguably the best receiver of the past decade: draft picks, cap space, and a path toward contention. Which NFL teams have what it takes to make an offer? Sources believe the team is constantly fielding calls and will pull the trigger on a deal early next week. (The Ringer)




The Must-Watch List

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! The next 72 hours bring a little something for everyone. The kings of European soccer get crowned before an epic Sunday of racing and the beginning of the French Open. All that and more from the NBA and NHL playoffs. Here’s what we’re watching:


Champions League Final

Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Sat. 3:00 pm)


The 105th Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Sun. 1:00 pm)


NASCAR Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sun. 6:00 pm)


French Open

Begins Sunday (May 30)


NBA Playoffs

Gm 3: Knicks at Hawks (Fri. 7:00 pm)

Gm 3: Nets at Celtics (Fri. 8:30 pm)

Gm 3: Clippers at Mavericks (Fri. 9:30 pm)

Gm 4: Bucks at Heat (Sat. 1:30 pm)

Gm 4: Nuggets at Blazers (Sat. 4:00 pm)

Gm 3: 76ers at Wizards (Sat. 7:00 pm)

Gm 3: Jazz at Grizzlies (Sat. 9:30 pm)

Gm 4: Knicks at Hawks (Sun. 1:00 pm)

Gm 4: Suns at Lakers (Sun. 3:30 pm)

Gm 4: Nets at Celtics (Sun. 7:00 pm)

Gm 4: Clippers at Mavericks (Sun. 9:30 pm)

Gm 4: 76ers at Wizards (Mon. 7:00 pm)

Gm 4: Jazz at Grizzlies (Mon. 9:30 pm)


NHL Playoffs
Gm 7: Wild at Golden Knights (Fri. 9:00 pm)

Gm 6: Maple Leafs at Canadiens (Sat. 7:30 pm)

Gm 1: Islanders at Bruins (Sat. 8:00 pm)

*Gm 7: Canadiens at Maple Leafs (Mon. TBD)

*If Necessary



Cubs—Reds Series

Dodgers—Giants Series

Braves—Mets Series

Full MLB Schedule


PGA Tour

Charles Schwab Challenge (All Weekend)


Other Sports Schedules





*All Times Eastern