Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, May 12: Mavs defend home, Celtics bounce back

Dallas takes a 2-1 lead and the Celtics respond to a 24-point loss. Plus, get ready for today’s games and the Draft Lottery.

Starting 5

When you head into Game 3 on a mission …


What’s inside today’s edition? 

Mavs Up 2-1: P.J. Washington and 4th Quarter Kyrie help Dallas fend off OKC

C’s Bounce Back: Tatum and Brown combine for 61 as Boston wins in Cleveland

Knicks-Pacers: The importance of clutch play in this series of thrilling finishes

Nuggets-Wolves: How does Minnesota respond to its first loss of the Playoffs?

Draft Lottery & Combine: Who has the best odds of securing the top pick?


Last night’s scores & what to watch today.

Happy Mother’s Day to “the real MVPs” out there – this week marks 10 years since KD shouted out his mother during his iconic MVP acceptance speech.

Celebrate the day with flowers, maybe breakfast in bed, a pair of epic Game 4s and the annual Draft Lottery.

  • Draft Lottery (3 ET, ABC): Find out which teams will secure the top four picks in the 2024 NBA Draft
  • Knicks-Pacers (3:30 ET, ABC): Who will deliver the late-game heroics today after the first three games of this series have been decided in crunch time?
  • Nuggets-Wolves (8 ET, TNT): The road teams are 3-0 so far this series. Can Denver keep the trend going and tie the series 2-2 or can Minnesota take a 3-1 lead?


The Mavs started and finished the 4th quarter with a four-point lead. Kyrie Irving’s four buckets in four attempts helped them hold on in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. | Recap | Watch the Final 4:36

  • The Final Bucket: Up 3 with under a minute left, the Mavs cleared out the right side for Kyrie to isolate against Jalen Williams. Kyrie drove into the key and elevated just inside the free throw line as all five OKC defenders collapsed on him
  • But they were too late. Kyrie got to his spot. And released a lefty floater that danced on the rim before dropping to put Dallas up five with 39 seconds left. It’s Even Better in Slow Mo | And from Above
  • We’ve Seen This Before: Kyrie’s ability to finish with both hands is well documented. Here are 3 minutes of his best lefty finishes, including his buzzer-beating lefty hook to beat Denver in March

Irving scored eight of his 22 points in the 4th, which has been a common theme this postseason, as he ranks 3rd in 4th quarter scoring (8.1 pts on 53.2% shooting) among players still active in the Playoffs.

  • 🗣️ Kyrie on His 4Q Rise: “One of my coaches just came up to me and said I waited too long, so obviously I’ve got to be better on my end.”

Luka Doncic also finished with 22 points (along with 15 boards and five assists). P.J. Washington provided the biggest scoring punch, following up his Playoff career-high 29 in Game 3 with 27 points and five 3s to lead Dallas in Game 4. | Best of P.J., Luka and Kyrie

  • 🗣️ Luka on P.J.: “Amazing. Being aggressive, shooting with confidence, we believe in him.”
  • 🗣️ Luka when asked what hurt as he continues to play through nagging injuries: “Everything. I’m just battling out there.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, Playoff career-high 5 blk) led OKC, while Jalen Williams (16 pts, 8 ast) and Chet Holmgren (13 pts, 4 blk) combined for 29 in the loss.

  • 🗣️ Holmgren: “It’s extremely competitive. Both teams really want it. If you take the result out of it, it’s everything that you want to be going through in a basketball game.”


Two Jays Too Much: Jayson Tatum (33 pts, 13 reb, 6 ast) and Jaylen Brown (28 pts, 13-of-17 FG) combined for 61 points to lead Boston to a 106-93 win over the Cavs in Cleveland to take a 2-1 series lead. | Recap

  • Responding to a Loss: For the second straight series, Boston lost Game 2 at home and responded with a big win on the road (+20 over Miami, +13 over Cleveland)
  • 🗣️ Tatum: “Tonight was a great test, an opportunity for us to come out and respond, and play better and harder. There was a purpose behind every play. We did a good job communicating our actions.”
  • All Season Long: Between the regular season and Playoffs, Boston is now 16-4 following a loss. They’ve had only four back-to-back losses and never had a three-game losing streak this season

The Turning Point: After a back-and-forth 1st quarter, Cleveland stayed within single digits for most of the 2nd, trailing by nine at the half. Boston scored the first 14 points of the 3rd quarter to build a 20+ point lead and never looked back.

  • 🗣️ Donovan Mitchell: “When they get going, that’s who they are. We fought and we clawed back, but that start of the third quarter, that’s what did it.”
  • Derrick White made two of his three 3s during that 14-0 burst, while Jrue Holiday added another as part of an 18-point, five-assist night

Spida Stays Hot: Mitchell (33 pts, 7 3s) posted his sixth straight game with 28+ points, tying Jalen Brunson for the longest run of the 2024 Playoffs.

  • Evan Mobley (17 pts, 8 reb), Darius Garland (15) and Caris LeVert (15) combined for 47 as Cleveland was held to 93 points – their lowest-scoring game of the series
  • 🗣️ Brown: “We don’t come to Cleveland for the weather, so let’s go. There’s nothing complicated about it: Play defense and the rest will take care of itself. We could have done better, but we kept them under 100.”


Game 4: Knicks at Pacers | 3:30 ET, ABC | Knicks Lead 2-1

1. Clutch Time: This series has already added some thrilling finishes to this classic rivalry. All three games have come down to clutch time, with NY holding an eight-point edge (33-25).

  • The Knicks have played the most clutch games (8) of any team in this year’s Playoffs and have the top clutch scorer in Jalen Brunson (6.1 pts, min. 3 games played)
  • The Pacers have been led by Pascal Siakam (3.0 clutch pts), but it was Andrew Nembhard who delivered Indy’s biggest clutch bucket in Game 3

2. Tyrese’s Rise: After scoring just six points on six shots in Game 1, Tyrese Haliburton has been more aggressive and efficient the past two games – averaging 34.5 pts on 55.6% shooting with 6.5 3s at 48.1% while still dishing out eight dimes a game.

  • Historic Run? Haliburton has posted 34+ pts and 7+ ast in each of the last two games. Only three players have ever done that for three straight games: LeBron James (3x), Allen Iverson and Ja Morant

3. Defending Home: Home teams are 3-0 so far in this series. Can Indy keep that streak going tonight to take a 2-2 tie back to New York?

  • The Pacers are 4-0 at home in the Playoffs compared to 1-4 on the road. Indy is better on both sides of the ball at home – offense (8.4 pts per 100 poss) and defense (10.4 pts per 100 poss) – with their biggest improvement coming on defense
  • The Knicks are 2-2 on the road in the Playoffs and put themselves in position to win Game 3 in Indy before Nembhard’s clutch 3. A Knicks win tonight gives them a chance to close out the series at MSG in Game 5


Game 4: Nuggets at Wolves | 8 ET, TNT | Wolves Lead 2-1

1. Motivation: After going down 2-0 at home, Nuggets coach Michael Malone listened to the critics bashing his team, saying they had no chance in the series. Before Game 3, he made sure his players heard it as well.

  • 🗣️ Malone: “I had an edit made… of every talking head in this country saying that the series was over, the Nuggets are done, it’s a wrap… I knew that this would maybe strike a chord.”
  • What’s Malone’s Message Ahead of Game 4? “We got one. Now, the challenge is can we repeat the same performance and get another one against that same great team?”

2. Wolves Bounce Back? The Wolves finally tasted a Playoff defeat after a 6-0 start to the postseason. How will they respond to adversity? They lost consecutive games only four times all season and never suffered a three-game losing streak.

  • 🗣️ Mike Conley: “We’ve been good all year at, when we take an L, we learn from it and adjust really quick. Our guys take it personal, get angry and somehow flip a switch. Say it’s-not-going-to-happen-again type of attitude.”

3. Ant’s Defensive Mentality: In the latest episode of Chasing History – an all-access look at the 2024 Playoffs – Anthony Edwards discusses the importance of being a two-way player.

  • 🗣️ Edwards: “Most guys can score, but they can’t defend that well, so me being able to play both sides is my advantage.”
  • The Wolves are looking for a better defensive effort after giving up the most points (117) they have in any game this postseason


The 40th NBA Draft Lottery goes down today (3 ET, ABC) in Chicago to determine the top 14 picks in the June 26-27 Draft.

  • Which teams will participate in the lottery? The 14 teams that missed out on the NBA Playoffs are eligible for the Draft Lottery.

Which teams have the best odds to win? The final odds were determined after the regular season and tie breaks were settled between teams with identical regular season records.

  • Detroit: 14.0%
  • Washington: 14.0%
  • Charlotte: 13.3%
  • Portland: 13.2%
  • San Antonio: 10.5%
  • Toronto: 9.0% (This pick may be conveyed to San Antonio)
  • Memphis: 7.5%
  • Utah: 6.0% (This pick may be conveyed to Oklahoma City)
  • Brooklyn (to Houston): 4.5%
  • Atlanta: 3.0%
  • Chicago: 2.0%
  • Houston: 1.5% (This pick may be conveyed to Oklahoma City)
  • Sacramento: 0.8%
  • Golden State: 0.7% (This pick may be conveyed to Portland via Boston and Memphis)

Dive into the FAQ for more on how the lottery works and the all-time list of lottery winners.

The NBA Draft Combine also tips off today in Chicago with 78 of the top draft prospects invited to participate. Over the next week (May 12-19), the prospects will:

  • Interview with NBA teams
  • Participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages and shooting drills
  • Undergo measurements, such as height, weight and wingspan
  • Athletic testing, such as max vertical leap and sprint speed

In addition to the 78 invitees, a select number of standout players from this weekend’s 2024 NBA G League Elite Camp will be invited to join the Combine following that event.

Take a look back at the top moments from last year’s combine to get a taste of what’s to come this week.