Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: I’ll take Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the season, I polled a bunch of players about who they believed was the most underrated player in the league. One Central Division opponent initially identified Scheifele, then voided his answer. “I would say Scheifele,” he said. “But I think everyone in the league knows he’s been good for some time.” I firmly believe Scheifele would have entered the crowded MVP race this season had he not missed a chunk of time because of injury. Anytime I watch a Jets game, he stands out. The 25-year-old center already has four goals in his first five games these playoffs. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he maintains that pace.
Sachin Chandan, ESPN the Magazine researcher: My MVP for the Predators-Jets series is Filip Forsberg because the Predators will count on his scoring to win this series.
“It’s going to be crazy. It’s do or die at this point,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “The crowd in Boston is rowdy, just like they are here. It’s going to be a great game. There are no secrets between teams. It comes down to who has more will.”
Only four players remain from Boston’s 2016-17 team that won a Game 7 against the Washington Wizards in the conference semifinals. Third-year guard Terry Rozier even made special mention of last year’s unexpected hero in Kelly Olynyk (now with Miami). The Celtics are hoping another hero will emerge from their young roster.
“I’m getting there, for sure,” Curry said after practice. “I’ve done a lot in the last two weeks, especially on my feet moving, getting back to movements that I expect to do in the games and try to build that tolerance and intensity. My knee feels pretty good. I don’t have any pain with doing the things that I’ve been doing.”
“That’s my plan — to show the type of person I am now,” Allen told Mortensen. “Whatever team picks me, they are going to get that from me. I will set the record straight for any team, any teammate, the media, and I think once they meet me and they’re around me, see how I act and how I think, that it’s not going to be a problem at all.”
One of the NFL’s most outspoken players, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, doesn’t sound concerned about the Tweets. “He was a kid,” Sherman told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “If you gave most of us a platform early in high school, I’m sure our immaturity would have shown as his did.”
“It’s unique in the sense he was (young) when he Tweeted it but it’s still not acceptable at all,” free agent linebacker Arthur Moats told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Moats is an eight-year veteran who played last season with Pittsburgh. “I think guys would definitely have a talk with him to make sure he knew not to say it anymore,” he said. “The biggest thing is making sure he knows not to say it ever again.”
“Everything just clicked,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.