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Start your engines — and charge your electronic devices — to get revved up for a sports-packed Memorial Day weekend.
This time of the year is a motorsports enthusiast’s dream, with the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s grueling Coca-Coca 600 and a picturesque Formula 1 race in Monaco. The French Open also starts Sunday, the Stanley Cup Final begins Monday, and we’ll learn who will join the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Keep a phone or a tablet — or better yet, both — nearby, and hang on to this guide to the weekend’s big sports events.
NBA Eastern Conference finals: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors
The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year, making them only the second franchise in NBA history — and just the sixth team in the four major North American sports — to accomplish that feat. The Boston Celtics hold the NBA record with 10 consecutive NBA Finals appearances, from 1957 to 1966.
© FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images Rafael
Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic last week to win the Italian Open for his first title of the year.
So, who will the Warriors — in the midst of nine days of rest — face? Use this time to scout their potential opponent in either the Raptors, powered by Kawhi Leonard, or the Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Toronto leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 and could close it out in Game 6 at home.
The NBA Finals start Thursday in either Milwaukee or Toronto.
Watch it: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Toronto. Game 7, if necessary, is Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Milwaukee. Both games are on TNT. International viewers, check your local listings.
It’s been a fascinating year so far, in which no one player in men’s or women’s singles has dominated the sport. That includes the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal. It wasn’t until last week, at the Italian Open Rome that he won his lone title on the dirt this season — and it’s his only title this year.
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Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 35 points to lead the Raptors to a 105-99 win against Milwaukee in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But timing may be everything, as Nadal heads into Roland Garros, potentially with momentum as he seeks a record 12th French Open title. He’ll have challengers in Novak Djokovic, who is seeking to hold all four major titles simultaneously for the second time in his career, as well as Dominic Thiem, who defeated Nadal last month en route to winning the Barcelona Open.
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A view of the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
Oh, and by the way, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.
Simona Halep is the reigning women’s champion, and she’ll be one of the favorites. Other contenders to watch include Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens, Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams.
Watch it: First-round action begins Sunday at 5 a.m. ET on the Tennis Channel. International viewers, check your local listings.
Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix
This may be the most stunning venue for a road race — and it’s one of the most famous. From movie stars to royalty, you don’t have to look too hard to spot a celebrity at this event in Monte Carlo.
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After a chaotic Stanley Cup playoff season, the teams left are the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.
Fans can get close to the action, and cameras are inches from the cars. While drivers may not hit top speeds, the narrow width of the track and close proximity to the walls make this a great challenge. And the scenery is gorgeous, with the principality above the circuit and luxury yachts lining the harbor.
Daniel Ricciardo won this race last year, when he was with Red Bull. The favorites are the two drivers who basically have split the first five races of the season: Lewis Hamilton, who is first in the standings with three wins and two second-place finishes, and his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who has two wins and has been runner-up three times.
Watch it: Qualifying is Saturday at 8:55 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The race is Sunday at 9:05 a.m. ET on ESPN. International viewers, check your local listings.
Known as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, 33 drivers will take to the oval for 200 laps, and tradition holds that the winner celebrates with a bottle of cold milk.
Will Power won the race in 2018. Other former Indy 500 champions in the lineup are Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. Castroneves is seeking a fourth Indy 500 victory, which would be tied for the most with A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991).
Nine women have competed in the Indy 500, including Pippa Mann, who is back on the starting grid for a seventh time.
Watch it: Sunday at 12:45 p.m. ET on NBC. International viewers, check your local listings.
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600
Wrap up this big day of racing with the longest race of them all. The 60th running of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 — as in 600 miles — is under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch won the race last year. Jimmie Johnson — who back in April ran the Boston Marathon in 3:09:07 — has won this particular test of endurance four times. He has eight wins at this track, the most of any driver.
Watch it: Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on Fox. International viewers, check your local listings.
Stanley Cup Final, Game 1: St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins
Fans of Boston teams haven’t experienced championship success since — wait for it — February 3, when the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
But their nightmare — we’re allowed to have fun with this, right? — may soon be over, as what’s been a wildly unpredictable Stanley Cup playoffs culminates with this final best-of-seven series beginning in Boston. The Bruins last won the Cup in 2011. They last reached the final in 2013, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Meanwhile, the Blues’ journey from worst to first — in the same season! — is nearly complete. St. Louis had the worst record in the league on January 2. Now, the Blues are in the final for the first time since 1970. The team they lost to back then? Boston. The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup.
Watch it: Game 1 is Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. International viewers, check your local listings.