The Lakers are so lucky

Good morning. We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery is in the books. After months of fretting, the L.A. Lakers kept their pick by winning No. 2 overall in the ping pong derby. That 5-game win streak at the end of the season actually saved them from falling to No. 4 and losing both their 2017 and 2019 picks. The Basketball Gods work in mysterious ways! Check out Rob Pelinka’s reaction to finding out the Lakers survived.

Boston won No. 1 overall, and is widely expected to either pick Markelle Fultz or flip the pick for a superstar like Paul George or Jimmy Butler. Sacramento won No. 3 overall, but the Sixers yelled out PICK SWAP as per custom and moved into that slot. (Sixers franchise owner Joshua Harris thanked Sam Hinkie afterward, a year and change after pushing Sam Hinkie out of town.) The Suns will pick No. 4 and the Kings will pick No. 5.

Here are the full lottery results, and here’s Ricky O’Donnell’s snap mock draft with Fultz No. 1 and Lonzo Ball No. 2 to the Lakers. Ball to L.A. seems like destiny, so much so that the D’Angelo Russell rumor mill is in overdrive already.

Philadelphia really knows how to have fun with the lottery. You almost never want to see them in the playoffs again. Joel Embiid stole the show at the lottery itself, packing a Shirley Temple, beef with Magic Johnson, and a huge range of facial expressions.

Relive the lottery with our live blog. And get ready: the NBA Draft is only five weeks away.

With Kawhi Leonard out, the Warriors beat the Spurs 136-100. The less is said about this game, the better. Golden State is now up 2-0 heading back to San Antonio (where hopefully Kawhi can play, for the sake of watchability if nothing else) and 10-0 in the playoffs.

One bright spot from Game 2: Doris Burke kneecapped Gregg Popovich again! She made him smile … on television … while his team was getting destroyed.

The Celtics and Cavaliers begin their series Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT. One team has been chilling for a week and change. The other played Monday. Will it matter?

We are not going to dignify Bruce Bown, the dirtiest player of his generation, calling out Zaza Pachulia with comment. Okay, maybe one comment: SERIOUSLY?!

NEW (err, old?) PISTONS LOGO.

Kelsey Plum is a gem.

Kevin Durant spent Monday opening two new courts in his hometown in Maryland.

Sports ball stamps.

This Dave McMenamin makes me want to own a VersaClimber badly.

Against Brad Stevens’ hideous huevos rancheros recipe.

Warm fuzzy time: J.R. Smith bought flowers for every mom in the NICU on Mother’s Day.

And finally: Alonzo Mourning is still shaking his head, 20 years later.

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