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The ESPN Daily: The Finals countdown

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IT'S FINALS TIME

The two different NBA Finals ... With Stephen Curry and without Kevin Durant, the Warriors are 31-1. That's the version the Raptors will have to overcome at the start of the NBA Finals. A KD return could change the equation, but which version is truly the greater challenge for Toronto? Zach Lowe runs the numbers and makes his call. Read More

Who ya got? ... You've seen the expert predictions and read the case for a Warriors sweep and a Raptors seven-game saga. You've got everything you need to make your pick for what's bound to be an exciting and contentious NBA Finals -- and we want to hear it. Read More

The pressure is on ... Just like the rest of us, elite NBA athletes feel it physically and emotionally. When Steph Curry is in a tense situation, his breathing quickens and pulse accelerates, a result of his body's adrenal glands going into full-on emergency mode. How, then, does he make clutch shots over and over again? Jackie MacMullan has the science behind superstars' ability to perform when the stakes are at their highest. Read More


THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

The Rockets' revamp? Daryl Morey is in a selling mood. The Houston Rockets' GM made his entire roster and future draft picks available as trade bait. While the possibility of James Harden leaving the team is low, everyone from Chris Paul to Clint Capela could be part of a future deal. Read More

A 125-year-old tradition ... Most of the bats in this summer's Cricket World Cup are made by a single, family-owned company that has existed for more than a century. Not much has changed at J.S. Willow & Sons since 1894, and the bats are a result of a process that starts 20 years before they're delivered to batters. Read More

A week in Bryceland ... So far, the Bryce Harper era has brought an awful lot of fans to the yard -- roughly 10,000 more per game than last year. But will Harper's effect on the field match his salary? We spent a week on the road with the Phillies to find out. Check it out with ESPN+. Read More


THINGS TO WATCH

play
1:35

How Drake inserted himself into the drama of the NBA playoffs

Raptors ambassador and overzealous superfan Drake has made himself part of the NBA playoff drama.

OVERHEARD

"Sure, when things start to go wrong, a lot of fingers get pointed. But they'll figure it out."
-- Adam Silver, on the Lakers, via Get Up! Read More


REMEMBER WHEN?

On this date in 1935, the great Babe Ruth, playing for the Boston Braves, grounded out in the top of the first inning of a doubleheader against the Phillies. After the final out of the bottom half of that inning, he exited the field via the center-field fence ... and never again appeared in a Major League Baseball game.


WHAT'S ON TONIGHT?

Scripps National Spelling Bee finals, opening portion (10 a.m. ET, ESPN2), closing portion (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): It comes down to this for the most perspicacious young spellers in the nation. Big shout out to official pronouncer and 1980 champion Jacques Bailly, who has mastered the art of answering nervous young spellers' questions with care and fairness, and who always has the best "please use this word in a sentence" examples.

Warriors at Raptors (9 p.m. ET, ABC): It all starts tonight in Toronto. While most of our experts are picking the Warriors, let's not discount how valuable a Game 1 win at home could be for Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors. It'd likely change the entire tenor of the series and put the Warriors on their heels.