Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


A little over a month ago, the Miami Heat needed an NBA Play-In Tournament victory over the Chicago Bulls to merely make the playoffs. Now, they're a win away from the NBA Finals.

Miami annihilated the Boston Celtics, 128-102, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a balanced attack that saw six players score in double figures on Sunday. Jimmy -- ahem, Himmy -- Butler led the way for Miami with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.

The second-team All-NBA selection has exceeded all expectations since joining the Heat in 2019, but the run he's authoring this year is arguably his greatest work yet. 

  • Butler has Miami on the verge of its second Finals appearance in the last four years (had his late 3-point miss in Game 7 of last year's conference finals against Boston went the other way, it'd likely be three appearances).
  • Miami shut down Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown again, as Tatum scored 14 on 6-for-18 from the field while Brown went 6-for-17 for 12 points. Tatum and Brown were a combined 1-14 from 3-point range with Tatum accounting for the lone make. 
  • Gabe Vincent was the hot shooter for Miami, as the UC Santa Barbara product scored a team-high 29 points on 11-for-14 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. 

While many have knocked the Heat for having "shooting luck" this postseason, our Brad Botkin believes the success of role players such as Vincent is by design.

  • Botkin: "This is not shooting luck. Miami is generating great drive-and-kick looks. They are relocating and beating the Celtics down the floor in transition. Gabe Vincent scoring 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including 6 of 9 from deep, feels like an outlier, and it is. But Miami's process created those good looks, and the rhythm they've been steadily gaining throughout these playoffs is contagious. Give them the credit for that." 

Miami will now aim to eliminate Boston in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Honorable mentions

Brooks Koepka triumphs at PGA Championship for first major win since 2019 ⛳

2023 PGA Championship - Final Round
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It took four years, but Brooks Koepka has finally won another major. Koepka (-9) captured victory in the PGA Championship for his fifth career major win and first since 2019, edging out Scottie Sheffler and Viktor Hovland by two strokes to do so. 

Koepka's win signifies he's back to his old self after struggling through knee injuries the past few years. It also put him in great historical company:

  • With three Wanamaker Trophies now under his belt, Koepka joins Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the PGA Championship at least three times. Only Koepka, Woods, Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen have three PGA wins and at least two U.S. Open victories
  • Koepka is one of only 20 golfers to win five majors, as his PGA victory tied him with Seve Ballesteros, James Braid, Phil Mickelson, Byron Nelson, John H. Taylor and Peter Thomson. 
  • After finishing -8 for a second-place finish at The Masters in April, Koepka has now placed in the top two in each of the first two majors this season

After the big win, Koepka reflected on his arduous journey back to the winner's circle and what it means for him to be in the same conversation as legends like Woods and Nicklaus. 

  • Koepka: "I look back on where we were two years ago, everything that's gone on, I'm just so happy right now that I'm kind of at a loss for words. To be with those group of names is absolutely incredible, something, I'll be honest, I'm not even sure if I dreamed of it as a kid winning this many." 

Koepka will now vie for his sixth major win, a result that would have him tied for 12th all-time, at the U.S. Open in June. Lastly, Koepka is not the only one who had a great weekend in Rochester. So did Michael Block.

Golden Knights steal OT victory to take 2-0 series lead over Stars 🏒

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Two
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The Dallas Stars were well on their way to a series-evening victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, leading the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 with three minutes left in regulation and a dominant Jake Oettinger in the net.

But Vegas fought to the final horn and forced overtime where they eventually won, 3-2, overtime win. They'll head to Dallas with a 2-0 series lead as a result. Jonathan Marchessault scored the equalizing goal at 17:38 of the third period, and Chandler Stephenson won it for Vegas with a score of his own just over a minute into OT. 

  • The Golden Knights have now won two consecutive overtime games over the Stars, making them 3-0 in OT this postseason while Dallas is 0-4 in such games.  Both of Vegas' overtime wins this series came via goals in the first two minutes, as Brett Howden scored his at 1:35 of OT in Game 1. 
  • Dating back to last round against the Oilers, Vegas has four consecutive comeback victories, tying the Stanley Cup Playoffs record. 
  • All four conference final games have gone to overtime, the first such instance in Stanley Cup Playoffs history. 

The Western Conference Final will now shift to Dallas, where the Stars are 5-2 this postseason, for Games 3 and 4. 

WNBA returns: Defending champ Aces look even better, plus Brittney Griner is back 🏀

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The 2023 WNBA season has finally tipped off, and the Las Vegas Aces proved they're still the team to beat in their first game as defending champions. Las Vegas -- playing without coach Becky Hammon, who's serving a two-game suspension for allegedly bullying former Aces player Dearica Hamby over her pregnancy -- throttled the Seattle Storm 105-64 in the most lopsided season-opener in WNBA history. 

But the Aces' brilliance was far from the only storyline to come out of opening weekend. Here's a refresher on what went down:

  • Mercury star Brittney Griner -- who missed the entire 2022 season while detained in Russia on drug charges -- played her first game in 579 days. She shook off the rust rather easily by recording 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks in a loss to the Los Angeles Sparks. Vice President Kamala Harris paid Griner and the Mercury a visit before the season-opener, and Griner received a standing ovation in her first home game since 2021 on Sunday.   
  • Two-time MVP Candace Parker made her Aces debut and passed Sylvia Fowles for ninth on the WNBA's all-time scoring list, recording 12 points to go along with four assists, five rebounds and three blocks. 
  • Aliyah Boston, the former South Carolina star and No. 1 overall pick of the Indiana Fever, tallied 15 points and nine rebounds in her first WNBA game, but she fouled out in a 70-61 loss to the Connecticut Sun
  • The New York Liberty's newly formed superteam showed they still need time to coalesce in the season-opener, as they fell to the Mystics 80-64 with prized offseason additions Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones combing for a mere 17 points on 5-for-16 from the field. 

Stewart more than made up for her struggles in Game 1 by putting together a remarkable performance against the Fever on Sunday. The former MVP scored 45 points, exactly half of her team's game total, and missed only six of her 21 shots in a 17-point victory. 

What we're watching Monday 📺

⚽ Leicester City at Newcastle United, 3 p.m. on USA Network
🏒 Hurricanes at Panthers, 8 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Nuggets at Lakers, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN