Celtics lead NBA Finals 2-0; Alcaraz, Swiatek win French Open


                        Celtics lead NBA Finals 2-0; Alcaraz, Swiatek win French Open
By: CBS Sports Posted On: June 10, 2024 View: 8

2024 NBA Finals - Game Two
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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.


Heads up: We're expecting a Dan Hurley decision between going to the Lakers or staying at UConn today, so keep it locked to CBS Sports today.

???? Good morning to everyone, but especially to ...

THE BOSTON CELTICS

The Celtics are two games away from "Banner 18," and they won Game 2 with a performance that was far from their best, slugging out a 105-98 victory over the Mavericks Sunday night.

For the second straight game, Boston showed that while it has a record-breaking offense, its versatile, smart and well-constructed defense can save the day. And when its biggest stars aren't shining, an outstanding super team-caliber supporting cast can carry the load.

  • Jrue Holiday was magnificent with 26 points (on 11-for-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds. He got it done on both ends and, critically, in clutch time. Derrick White (18 points, team-high four 3-pointers) had a huge block with under a minute left. Boston won despite shooting just 10 for 39 (25.6%) from 3 and Jayson Tatum scoring just 18 points on 6-for-22 shooting.
  • But with their driving and passing, Tatum (12 assists) and Jaylen Brown (21 points, seven assists) are proving impossible for Dallas to guard, James Herbert writes.

Over the weekend, Jason Kidd raised some eyebrows by saying Brown is Boston's best player. But through two games, it doesn't matter who Boston's "best" player is, Bill Reiter writes.

  • Reiter: "Whereas like most NBA teams that win, or almost win, a title, the Mavs need their starpower to shine -- both their stars. 
    But Boston is built differently. One of five or six guys can beat you. That seems to be what Kidd missed when he tried to stir things up. He's not up against two superstars. He's up against five of them, depending on the night, the moment, the specific need."

In a similar vein, we're nearing "Who should be Finals MVP?" time, and Colin Ward-Henninger says it should be general manager Brad Stevens. Hard to argue there.

As for the Mavericks, it's pretty simple. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have to be otherworldly. Doncic was darn close to perfect -- 32 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and one (inadvertent) heated exchange with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck -- but still shouldered the blame for the loss.

Irving, though, was worlds away ... again ... with 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Dallas needs him to be better. A lot better, Brad Botkin writes. Dallas simply doesn't have the top-tier depth to keep up otherwise.

???? Honorable mentions

???? And not such a good morning for ...

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CAITLIN CLARK

The biggest name in women's college basketball isn't heading to the Olympics: Caitlin Clark won't join Team USA in Paris. Here's who (reportedly) will:

  • Guards: Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum, Jewell Loyd
  • Forwards: A'ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Kahleah Copper, Napheesa Collier, Alyssa Thomas
  • Center: Brittney Griner

Clark has had a bumpy start to her WNBA career, but there would certainly be advantages to bringing her to Paris given her popularity alone. But basketball is not a popularity contest. Plus, as Jack Maloney writes, "Considering the depth of talent and the limited spots, Team USA's Olympic squad is arguably the hardest basketball team to make in the world."

As a result, while Clark might be the biggest "name" snubbed from the roster, she's not even the biggest snub on a long list of them, Jack writes.

  • Maloney: "Arike Ogunbowale -- [She] has never made the final roster for the World Cup or Olympics. That didn't change this year, and she is arguably the biggest snub of all. Through the first three weeks of the season, she's second in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game, and is averaging career-highs with five assists and 3.1 steals per game."

Clark, to her credit, took her omission in stride and drew motivation from it, Fever coach Christie Sides said.

???? Not so honorable mentions

???? Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek win French Open singles titles

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The smile had turned into a scowl, the confidence into contentiousness. He had gone from nearly being one set away from winning to one set away from losing, his back against the wall, his opponent rejuvenated.

And then came Carlos Alcaraz in full force, emphatically showing that it is indeed his era -- and it's just the beginning. The 21-year-old superstar roared back for a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Alexander Zverev to capture his third Grand Slam and his first French Open.

Alcaraz struggled in the second set and unraveled in the third, which he led 5-2 before losing five straight games, complaining about the court conditions along the way. But he recovered in impressive fashion both mentally and physically (he took a medical timeout for his thigh) and improved to an astonishing 11-1 in five-setters.

Symbolically, it's worth noting Alcaraz's title comes in the same event Novak Djokovic withdrew from due to a torn meniscus, and Rafael Nadal lost in the first round of perhaps his final French Open. While we'll never count out Djokovic, and there are plenty of 20-somethings who can push Alcaraz to the brink, the Spanish sensation is well-positioned to be atop the sport for a long time.

Iga Swiatek, 23, meanwhile, is very much already there after completing her Roland Garros three-peat with a 6-2, 6-1 domination of Jasmine Paolini. Swiatek became the ...

  • Youngest woman in the Open Era to win five Grand Slams
  • Youngest woman in the Open Era to win four French Opens
  • First woman to win a single Grand Slam three consecutive times since Serena Williams (2012-14 US Open)
  • First woman to win three straight French Opens since Justine Henin (2005-07)

⛳ Scottie Scheffler wins the Memorial as U.S. Open looms

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Below the supernaturally serene surface, there's an intensely competitive fire burning inside Scottie Scheffler, and we saw it once again this weekend. The World No. 1 nailed a knee-knocking par putt from just inside 5 feet to win the Memorial by one stroke over Collin Morikawa, celebrating with a big fist pump as the ball dropped into the cup.

Scheffler was far from his best Sunday when the course played brutally difficult -- only six of the 52 players broke par. Scheffler's two-over 74 was actually his worst score this season. But he came up with huge par-saving up-and-downs on 16 and 18 to capture his fifth win of the season. He's the first player with five wins in a season before the U.S. Open since Tom Watson in 1980.

He has also made over $24 million in prize money this season, a PGA Tour record with still nearly three months left in the season.

But what truly made this win special is that it was Scheffler's first as a father. His wife and son were there to greet him greenside after the win.

Next up for Scheffler and the players trying to catch him (good luck with that) is the U.S. Open. We'll have plenty of preview content coming your way this week!

???? Sergei Bobrovsky stymies Oilers in Stanley Cup Final opener

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The unstoppable force was stopped, thanks to a truly immovable object. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves -- several of the spectacular variety -- as the Panthers beat the Oilers3-0, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers only put 18 shots on goal, but they were opportunistic with them: Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues both beat Stuart Skinner, and Eetu Luostarinen added an empty-netter.

Bobrovsky was huge throughout the night, but especially on the power play, where Edmonton's normally excellent unit went 0-for-3. It's the first time the Oilers have been held scoreless this postseason.

???? What we're watching Monday

Orioles at Rays, 6:50 p.m. on FS1
???? Fever at Sun, 7 p.m. on NBA TV
???? Stanley Cup Final -- Game 2: Oilers at Panthers, 8 p.m. on ABC

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