Thursday night will be one of those evenings when sports fans show their appreciation for the inventor of the “previous channel” button. Round One of the 2023 NFL Draft will be on ABC, while Game 6 of the First Round matchup between the No. 2 Boston Celtics and the No. 7 Atlanta Hawks (Boston leads 3-2) will be on TNT. And given the speculation around the uncertainty of this draft and the way that this series is going, both are a must-watch.
A multitude of questions will be answered this evening, as 31 football players will find out where they’ll be playing this season, while hoops fans will learn if they’re getting a Game 7 between the Celtics and Hawks on Saturday.
Draft week is always a “thing,” and this year was no different. It’s been reported that the Carolina Panthers know who they’re taking at No. 1, but we won’t find out until the name is called. And between the 38,500 mock drafts that have been created — along with Aaron Rodgers’ introductory press conference with the New York Jets on Wednesday — as usual, the league has found a way to stay in the news.
While the NFL will dominate the NBA in television ratings tonight, it doesn’t mean that the association hasn’t conquered social media and water cooler talk all week. Look, nothing beats the NFL, especially given that the draft is the last “real” thing on the league’s calendar until preseason games begin. But let’s not act like the NBA hasn’t been where the fun is.
Jimmy Butler lost his mind when he dropped 56 points on the Milwaukee Bucks in Miami — tying the fourth-best scoring performance ever in an NBA playoff game — as he led a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback to take a 3-1 lead in the series. That was followed by LeBron James scoring 22 points, grabbing 20 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists so that the seventh-seeded Lakers could take a 3-1 series lead over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
The Nuggets put the Timberwolves to bed, as Denver won that series 4-1. The Suns did the same to the Clippers as Devin Booker and Kevin Durant combined for 78 points. But the star of the night was Trae Young, as he ended up with 38 points, and 13 assists after scoring 16 in the fourth quarter before he sent the series back to Atlanta with a game-winning deep dagger.
New Yorkers are being their obnoxious and irrational selves because the Knicks beat the Cavs to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era. The Lakers ran out of gas against the Grizzlies, as that series is headed back to LA. And the overrated Sacramento Kings are one loss away from blowing a 2-0 lead to the Golden State Warriors because Mike Brown will always spoil a good thing. But, the talk of the night was Jimmy Butler — again. Miami’s leader converted on a horizontal layup at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, where the No. 8 Heat beat the No. 1 Bucks on their home floor to end the series in five.
The last three days in the NBA have been so wild that between the games, NFL Draft coverage, and Aaron Rodgers, many people ignored the fact that Ime Udoka — the man at the center of one of the biggest sports stories of the last year — had his introductory press conference in Houston as he’s back coaching in the NBA.
This week, the NBA proved that while the NFL’s Thursday night party might be bigger, their week-long festival has still been better. Following along with the draft on social media might be the way to go on Thursday, because you never know what Trae Young might do.