Zoom Call 

November 10, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

You made it, team. It\’s another big weekend ahead. Yesterday’s highlights included some epic performances on the hardwood and the ice. Another Thursday Night Football crime was committed. And we’re still waiting on the Michigan verdict.

But first, a very special thank you to our veterans! Veterans Day is officially celebrated tomorrow (11/11), but we wanted to take a moment to thank all of our readers who served. Our publisher has a quick note we hope you’ll read.

Letter Rip!


Zoom Call: The Racing Pacers

Photo: Dylan Buell / Getty Images

Giannis Antetokounmpo Goes for 54, But Bucks Can’t Keep Up With Indiana’s Record-Setting Pace

The talk of Thursday night’s social media feeds was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 54-point performance in Indiana. He eclipsed 40 points midway through the 3rd quarter. As impressive as it was — the highest-scoring game of the year through three weeks of NBA action — it wasn’t enough to keep up with Indy\’s frenetic speed. The Pacers beat the Bucks (126-124) thanks to a late 3 from Tyrese Haliburton (29 pts, 6 rebs, 10 asts), and Indiana is now 6-3 while riding a record start to the 2023-24 season.

Wrong Side of History: Antetokounmpo is the first player in NBA history to have 50+ points, 10+ rebounds, shoot 75% or better, and be on the losing end of a game. (ESPN Stats & Info)

Editor’s Note: In five years of writing The Sportsletter, I don’t think the Pacers have earned the focus in our NBA coverage more than once or twice. This is their second time grabbing the spotlight in the past week. And for good reason. I’m a little biased (I used to work in the building), but not enough to praise the squad if they don\’t deserve it. Here’s proof…

Zoom Call: The Racing Pacers

Through nine contests, Indiana is averaging 126.0 points per game — the exact number they hit to win on Thursday. For reference, the highest-scoring (team) season of all-time belongs to the 1981-82 Nuggets at 126.5 points per game. Indiana’s 126.0 ppg would be second-best all-time if the season ended today.

Assist This: Pacer Passing

The Pacers’ run-n-gun style is leading to an excess of fast-break opportunities, and that means more assists. Fast-break points usually result in quicker buckets off of a teammate\’s pass, as opposed to a half-court offense where someone goes 1-on-1. Indiana’s 30.7 assists per game would rank 3rd all-time behind only two Lakers squads from the \’80s (31.4 apg & 31.2 apg).

Indy’s fast-break engine is Tyrese Haliburton (11.6 apg, 1st in the NBA). Maybe it’s too early. Maybe they’ll get exposed. Or maybe, the Pacers have the perfect nickname for the fastest team ever.

Watch: Pacers Spoil Giannis’s 54-Point Night (126-124)

Other NBA Highlights

Hawks def. Magic (120-119)

Trae Young Scores 41, Dejounte Murray Hits Go-Ahead 3 to Win in Mexico City



Draft Kings: Bears Win in Crime-Time

Photo: Quinn Harris / Getty Images

Bears Beat Panthers (16-13) in Draft-Pick Game on Thursday Night Snooze-Ball

The latest Thursday Night Football game was yet another crime in primetime (on Amazon Prime). Last night’s battle of two hopeless teams — hopeless for at least for the 2023 season — came down to a defensive stop by the Bears that earned them a 16-13 win over the Panthers. Only two touchdowns were scored over 60 minutes, including one punt return TD for Carolina’s only offensive house call. Neither quarterback, Bryce Young or Tyson Bagent, cracked the end zone or the 200-yard mark. And by night’s end, I couldn’t find one statistical standout that earned a spot in our “top performers” category (maybe one, if I had to). The Bears defensive unit earned the win with three sacks.

Top Performers: None

(Maybe) RB D. Foreman (CHI): 23 touches, 92 yards, 1 TD

Jockeying for the Draft

The only real takeaway point from the TNF aftermath was the too-soon-to-call draft implications for Chicago. In case you forgot, the Bears actually own the Panthers’ 1st-round pick in next year’s draft as the result of Carolina trading up with Chicago for the No. 1 pick last April. So last night was a win-win for Chicago when it comes draft positioning. After the TNF result, the 2024 NFL Draft order has the Bears with two top-5 picks.

Current 2024 NFL Draft Order

1. Panthers (1-8) — Pick Traded to Bears

2. Cardinals (1-8)

3. Giants (2-7)

4. Patriots (2-7)

5. Bears (3-7)

One offensive touchdown. One special teams touchdown. Five field goals. A crime in primetime.

Watch: Bears Hold Off Panthers (16-13)

Read More

Yahoo! Sports: Bears Narrowly Defeat Panthers, Increase Odds of No. 1 Pick

B/R: Bryce Young Isn’t a Bust, But Panthers Must Find a Way to Spark Growth



 NHL: Coyle’s 3Gs Lift B’s

Charlie Coyle’s 2nd Hat Trick of the Season Sparks Bruins’ Win Over Islanders (5-2)

 NCAAW: Clark Still Clicking

Caitlin Clark Drops 44 Points as #3 Iowa Beats #8 Virginia Tech (80-76)

 CFB: #11 Louisville Rallies Late

Louisville Improves to 9-1 With 4Q Comeback Against Virginia (31-24)





The Weekend Must-Watch List

 NFL Week 10 (Sunday)

Browns at Ravens (1:00 pm, FOX)

49ers at Jaguars (1:00 pm, FOX)

Lions at Chargers (4:05 pm, CBS)

Jets at Raiders (8:20 pm, NBC)

Full NFL Schedule

 College Football (Saturday)

#3 Michigan at #10 Penn State (Noon, FOX)

#8 Alabama at Kentucky (Noon, ESPN)

Miami at #4 Florida State (3:30 pm, ABC)
#18 Utah at #5 Washington (3:30 pm, FOX)

#13 Tennessee at #14 Missouri (3:30 pm, CBS)

#9 Ole Miss at #2 Georgia (7:00 pm, ESPN)

Michigan State at #1 Ohio State (7:30 pm, NBC)

USC at #6 Oregon (10:30 pm, FOX)


Nets at Celtics (Fri. 7:30 pm, ESPN)
Lakers at Suns (Fri. 10:00 pm, ESPN)

Cavaliers at Warriors (Sat. 8:30 pm, NBATV)

Pacers at 76ers (Sun. 6:00 pm)

Mavericks at Pelicans (Sun. 7:00 pm)

Full NBA Schedule


Hurricanes at Panthers (Fri. 7:00 pm, ESPN+)

Bruins at Canadiens (Sat. 7:00 pm, NHLN)

Blues at Avalanche (Sat. 9:00 pm, ESPN+)

Full NHL Schedule


MLS: Seattle vs. Dallas (Fri. 10:00 pm) | Series Tied (1-1)

MLS: Houston vs. Salt Lake (Sat. 6:00 pm) | Series Tied (1-1)

MLS: Colombus vs. Atlanta (Sun. 7:00 pm) | Series Tied (1-1)

EPL: Chelsea vs. Man. City (Sun. 11:30 am)

 NCAA Basketball

M: #12 Arizona at #2 Duke (Fri. 7:00 pm, ESPN2)

W: #14 Maryland at #6 South Carolina (Sun. 1:00 pm, ABC)

W: #9 Indiana at #15 Stanford (Sun. 5:00 pm, ESPN)

 UFC 295

Prochazka vs. Perreira (Sat. 10:00 pm, ESPN+)

*All Times ET

Download The Sportsletter\’s Must-Watch Calendar