Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One
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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Have Los Angeles Lakers fans gotten their heart rate under control by now? The Lakers survived a fourth-quarter surge from the Golden State Warriors to win Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, 117-112.

Despite hitting just 24% of their three-point attempts, the Lakers managed to steal Game 1 on the road. In order to do that, they needed a superhuman effort, so Anthony Davis went into the phone booth for a wardrobe change.

  • Davis was the first Laker since Shaq -- in 2004 -- to record 30 points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game.
  • Defensively, Davis made life difficult for the Warriors with four blocks, which was a game high.

LeBron James contributed 22 points and 11 rebounds to the Lakers' gutsy effort, and D'Angelo Russell hit a couple big shots while totaling 19 points.

Things got more than a little hairy for the Lakers when the Warriors went on a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to tie the game. With the Chase Center at a fever pitch, Russell ended the drought by making a tough layup with 1:24 left, and the Lakers didn't relinquish that lead.

Game 2 is set for Thursday, and the Lakers have placed the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Warriors.


The New York Knicks needed a little resilience and a lot of Hart, but they were able to even the series against the Miami Heat with a 111-105 win in Game 2. Josh Hart played inspired basketball down the stretch, and he had Madison Square Garden rocking.

New York trailed Miami, 77-76, at the start of the fourth quarter. Then the game turned into The Hart Show for the final 12 minutes. Hart scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 rebounds. He was one assist away from a triple-double

With 1:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Knicks were leading 101-100 when Hart got the ball in the corner. With no defenders in the same zip code, Hart buried a three-pointer to give New York a four-point lead. Jalen Brunson matched Hart with 10 fourth-quarter points, and he led all scorers with 30 points in the game.

Our Jasmyn Wimbish broke down Brunson's stellar Game 2 performance:

  • Wimbish: "Right now we're talking about Brunson leading his team to a crucial playoff win, while becoming the first Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony in 2013 to drop 30 points in a playoff game at Madison Square Garden. That's more of a reflection on how poorly the Knicks have been since Anthony was hooping at the Garden, but it's an impressive feat nonetheless."

If there is anything to nitpick about the Knicks' performance, it's that they barely escaped with a win while Jimmy Butler was sidelined with an injury, but fans will have plenty of time to worry about that between now and Saturday. For now, enjoy the win and exceptional performances from Hart and Brunson.

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

76ers' Joel Embiid wins his first NBA MVP award 🏀

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In each of the past two years, Joel Embiid earned the title of NBA MVP runner-up. You can officially drop the "runner-up." On Tuesday night, the NBA announced that Embiid won the 2022-23 MVP award. After finishing second to the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic in 2021 and 2022, Embiid earned 73 of a possible 100 first-place votes to win the award this year.

In pursuit of his first MVP award, Embiid took his game to yet another level this season. Embiid flat out torched the NBA while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

  • Led the NBA with 33.1 points per game
  • Shot a career high 54.8% from the field
  • Tied his career high with 4.2 assists per game
  • Added 10.2 rebounds per night

If you're trying to win the MVP, those numbers will usually do the trick. Over the last couple of years, Jokic and Embiid have developed a bit of a rivalry as the latter chased the former in MVP voting. Will that continue even though Embiid has finally overtaken Jokic? Let's hope so.

Now that Embiid has broken through for the first MVP nod of his career, he is looking to add an NBA championship to his trophy case in the same season. Unfortunately for the 76ers, Embiid is battling a knee sprain, and he is expected to miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Celtics  Even without Embiid, the Sixers took Game 1 in Boston on Monday night. Now just imagine what they could do with the NBA MVP in the lineup.

Ranking each 2023 NFL Draft class, plus best UDFA signings 🏈

Claire Komarek, CBS Sports

The NFL Draft is over, but the analysis has only just begun. Which teams got good value, and which teams nearly pulled a muscle while reaching? That's what our own Ryan Wilson examined while ranking every team's 2023 draft class. The process involved comparing where each player got drafted to their CBS Sports grade.

After a strong weekend for GM Joe Schoen, the New York Giants landed at No. 3 on the list. They got some unexpected value - and a whole lot of speed when Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt fell into the third round.

  • Wilson: "Jalin Hyatt got some first-round buzz in the fall, when he was regularly torching SEC defenses, so it's something of a surprise that he lasted until Round 3. He'll need to learn the entire route tree and get stronger, but he has track speed -- and the much needed size -- to become a legit deep threat for Daniel Jones."

The Giants have to be pleased with their haul, but they aren't alone. The entire top five is as follows:

  • 1. Steelers
  • 2. Colts
  • 3. Giants
  • 4. 49ers
  • 5. Packers

On the other end of the spectrum, it was a tough weekend in The Lone Star State. The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans were among the teams that made a habit of selecting players well ahead of their CBS Sports draft grade. But the good news for teams at or near the bottom of the ranking is that there is another way to bolster their rookie class. The frenzy of undrafted free agent signings has finally started to die down, and there were some diamonds in the rough.

Our Chris Trapasso ranked the top eight UDFA signings, led by Arkansas WR Matt Landers. Give it a few years, and these players might make other teams look foolish for not taking a chance on them in the 2023 draft.

Kraken survive Joe Pavelski's four-goal effort 🏒

Seattle Kraken v Dallas Stars - Game One
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Can Joe Pavelski get some help?! In his first game back from injury, Pavelski scored four goals for the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their second-round series against the Seattle Kraken.

Sounds like something out of a Hollywood script, right? Well... not so much, because the Kraken won in overtime, 5-4.  After a high-scoring first period, Seattle held a 4-2 lead, and Pavelski had already lit the lamp twice.

  • There was no scoring at all in the second period, but Pavelski managed to engineer a third-period comeback with a hat trick goal, plus a fourth for good measure.
  • The Kraken were able to regain their composure prior to overtime, and Yanni Gourde whacked a bouncing puck over the shoulder of Jake Oettinger to win the game with 12:17 gone in the extra frame.
  • That was the seventh game-winning goal of Gourde's postseason career, bolstering his already sterling playoff reputation.

This script was a familiar one for Seattle. While the Stars got all their goals from one player, the Kraken relied on their depth and strong penalty kill.

  • Five different players scored for the Kraken in Game 1
  • The Stars' red hot power play was shutout on two opportunities

What we're watching Wednesday 📺

🏒Devils at Hurricanes, 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
🏀76ers at Celtics, 8:00 p.m. on TNT