It's Friday and the weekend is near. "The Stack" is here with our final post of the week. Lots of playoff action to talk about so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, May 4th:
1. Heat, Thunder take commanding leads of series
It was an ugly game at Madison Square Garden, particularly for the home team. Already without Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks looked downright awful against the Miami Heat, losing 87-70. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points, but never really carried the Knicks the way you would expect a superstar in the playoffs. He shot terribly, just seven of twenty-three. Meanwhile he counterpart LeBron James was very very good. He scored 32 points, including eight in a row to start the fourth quarter after sitting the majority of the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul. When you get him angry, he turns it up a knotch and he certainly did that last night. He was absolutely brilliant. The Knicks are done. Bring out the brooms. If the Knicks wanted to win a game, this was it. Now, the Heat should sweep them.
Speaking of home teams that didn't show up, what happened to the Dallas Mavericks? They were killed by the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-79 and the final score wasn't nearly as close as it would indicate. Every time the Mavericks would make a run, the Thunder responded with an even bigger run. After two close games in OKC, games the Mavericks very well could have won, the Thunder made a statement with last night's game, not just to the Mavericks, but to the league as well. That message was, "we're here, we're legit, watch out." Fans headed for the exits with the game not even three quarters done. The star for the Thunder was Kevin Durant who scored 31 points on 11-15 shooting, including four for six from beyond the arc. He was phenominal. The Mavericks need Dirk Nowitzki to start showing up. It was almost as though he didn't show up for game three. Just seventeen points? Come on Dirk. I think the Mavericks can still win a game or two in this series, but last night was a definite statement from the Thunder.
2. Devils take series lead over Flyers, Kings dominating Blues
The NHL playoffs saw yet another overtime game last night and the New Jersey Devils found themselves on the winning end, knocking off the Flyers 4-3 to take a 2-1 series lead. The game was back and forth, back and forth, with the Devils holding onto a 3-2 lead in the third period before Danny Briere was able to sneak one by Devils goalie Martin Brodeur to tie the game. In overtime, the Flyers had a couple of golden opportunities on the power play, but failed to come up with anything and that's when Zach Parise got a chance for the Devils. While he did not score, his effort lifted his Devils teammates and eventually caught the Flyers in a line change when Ilya Kovalchuk found Alexei Ponikarovsky who got a shot on goal and got his own rebound and put it in the net. The arena erupted and the home fans went wild over their teams win. Will the Devils keep this up? At this point, they have all of the momentum. But the Flyers are tough. They'll battle back in game four.
What can you say about the Los Angeles Kings? The eight seed in the west looks anything but an eight seed following their 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, the two seed in the west in case you were wondering or forgot. The Kings now hold a 3-0 series lead and have won seven out of a possible eight games in the postseason. They are looking very good. They get contribution from everybody and goalie Jonathan Quick continues to play lights out in net. It was the same way last night as the Blues got frustrated and the Kings were able to sneak a few goals past the Blues. Seems very unlikely the Blues will make a comeback in this series, but it's not an unlikely thought that the Kings could make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and even win it. That's how well they are playing right now.
3. Kentucky Derby preview
The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place tomorrow at Churchill Downs. It is the beginning of the run for the roses and a run to the triple crown. Will we see one this year? No horse has won the triple crown since Affirmed in 1974. Could this year's field field the next triple crown? Perhaps. Twenty horses are currently in the field. The current favorite at 4-1 odds is Bodemeister. He has drawn the sixth post. Gemologist is next at 6-1 at the 15th post. Will one of them win or will someone coming from long odds make Derby history? Optimizer, Rousing Sermon, Trinniberg, Done Talking and Liaison are all at 50-1 odds. It would be easy to pick the favorite, but I'll Have Another to win the 138th Kentucky Derby. It is an exciting weekend full of great races leading up to the grand-daddy of them all. Coverage is on NBC. Enjoy it. They say it's the fastest and most exciting two minutes in all of sports. They may be right.
4. Chicago Bears preview
Today's team on the 2012-13 team-by-team look takes us to the Windy City. The Bears were a disappointment last year after injuries to Matt Forte and Jay Cutler really hurt them. But there is optimism following an offseason that saw them trade for WR Brandon Marshall. The Bears full schedule can be found here. Here are some interesting notes on the Chicago Bears 2012-13 NFL schedule:
- The NFL apparently expects the Bears to be really good this year as they've given the Bears five nationally primetime games. Week 2 vs. Green Bay (NFL Network), Week 4 at Dallas (ESPN), Week 7 vs. Detroit (ESPN), Week 10 vs. Houston (NBC), and week 11 at San Francisco (ESPN).
- The Bears have a chance to make a run in the division late in the season. They end with four of their final six games against teams from the NFC North.
- Three of the final four games are on the road. Their playoff hopes may hinge on their success as road warriors.
- Their first two home games are against the Colts and Rams, teams with a combined record last year of 5-27. They should win both of those games.
- After their bye in week 7, five of the next seven games are at home. This is where the Bears may be able to make a run.
Monday's team schedule outlook: Cincinnati Bengals
A couple of other notes to pass along. Chris Bosh is a dad after his wife gave birth to a baby boy yesterday. His son's name is Jackson. Bosh scored nine points and grabbed ten rebounds...New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is done for the year after tearing his ACL fielding fly balls at practice on Thursday before the Yankees game with the Kansas City Royals. This injury may in fact be the end of Rivera as we know it. Tough break for him and the Yankees. We'll have to see how they respond...The late Junior Seau's death has been ruled a suicide by the San Diego County medical examiner...Finally, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs partially tore his Achilles tendon, but vows to play at least part of the season. We'll see about that. If he plays, you have to wondder how effective he'll be. Enjoy the weekend everybody.
Coming up Monday: NBA and NHL playoff recap plus other top stories from weekend.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.