Welcome back from your weekend. Hope everyone made sure to wish their mom a Happy Mother's Day. "The Stack" is here with all of the big news from the weekend including the NBA and NHL playoff action. Let's get right to it and see what else made "the stack" for today, Monday, May 14:
1. Lakers, Clippers win game sevens to move on to second round
People in Los Angeles are going to be watching playoff basketball with a little more interest after both the Lakers and Clippers got game seven wins to advance to the western conference semi-finals. The Lakers struggled to put the Denver Nuggets away Saturday night, but had a strong fourth quarter to get by the Nuggets 96-87. After Kobe Bryant called out his teammates following their bad loss in game six in Denver, Pau Gasol responded. He had a double-double 23 points and 17 rebounds along with six assists and four blocks. He was awesome in the fourth quarter and helped put the game out of reach. That's the Gasol that the Lakers need to see night in and night out. If they get that contribution from him, the Lakers just may be able to get by their next opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it's going to be tough. The Thunder are very good and very well rested having not played for over a week. Will rust be a factor? For the record, Metta World Peace played in his first game since being suspended for elbowing OKC's James Harden. He had 15 points.
The Clippers are giving their fans reason to celebrate following their 82-72 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in game seven on the road. This was a rather sloppy game, but it was also very physical. Chris Paul had 19 points and nine rebounds and Blake Griffin had only eight points, but both were battling injuries. You would think that when the Clippers two best players are held to 27 points that that would bode well for the Grizzlies, but yesterday it did not. That's because the Clippers bench showed up and was the real difference in the game. They turned the game around in the fourth quarter, dominating it and building a lead the Grizzlies could not overcome. They outscored Memphis' bench 42-11. That is an astounding number, but the difference in a game seven win or a game seven loss. Fortunately for the Clippers, they were on the winning side and will advance to the second round for only the second time in a very long time. They'll play the well rested San Antonio Spurs. Good luck.
Also Sunday, the Miami Heat overcame a slow first half to beat the Indiana Pacers 95-86 to take a 1-0 series lead in their second round matchup. Only two players made the difference in this one: LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. They took over the game in the second half, scoring the majority of the Heat's points. James had 32 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Wade had 29 points. They were a salty 21 for 24 from the free throw line. At times in the second half, they were playing two on five basketball. Everyone knew that Wade or James was going to take the shot or drive the hoop and the Pacers couldn't stop them. That's probably how this series is going to go. Indiana's good, but they just don't have the firepower to compete with the Heat. This series should be over in five games.
Monday's NBA playoff games:
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics 7:00 PM ET (Celtics lead series 1-0)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder 9:30 PM ET
2. Kings, lead western conference finals 1-0, Rangers-Devils to start tonight
The Lakers and Clippers aren't the only ones sharing success at the Staples Center these days. The NHL's L.A. Kins are too, though this time they were on the road, where they beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 to take 1-0 lead in the western conference finals. The Kings never trailed though the Coyotes came back to tie the game a couple of times and had several golden opportunities to evenually take the lead, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stood too tall in net. Dwight King scored a couple of goals for the Kings, but it was Dustin Brown's goal early in the third that proved to be the game winner as he was able to get by his defender and get a slapshot past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. The Kings made life very difficult for the Coyotes and Smith, constantly peppering the Coyotes netminder with shot after shot. The Kings never had fewer than fourteen shots in one period. They were outstanding. They are now a ridiculous 9-1 in the postseason this year...and they're the eight seed. Hard to believe, but I like the Kings to win this series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Who will they face? Well the top seed in the east, the New York Rangers, will hit the ice tonight where they will take on the New Jersey Devils, the six seed in the east. Both teams have played very well so far to make it to this point and if anyone saw the Rangers game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, you know that that was the best game they've played all postseason. They are a very physical team, more physical than the Devils. And while Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and company have been great for the Devils, the Rangers will be ready to stop them. I like the Rangers in this series, winning 4-2. Game one is tonight at 8:00 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.
3. Notes from the diamond Sunday
Couple of interesting notes to pass along from Sunday's baseball action...
- Both the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds hit walk-off grand slams to win their respective games yesterday. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit the walk-off grand slam in the Marlins 8-4 win over the New York Mets yesterday and Cincinnati's Joey Votto hit the grand slam in the Reds 9-6 win over the Washington Nationals.
- Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison hit the game-winning single to get the Pirates past the Houston Astros 3-2 in twelve innings.
- The Kansas City Royals, scored six runs in the ninth and the last nine runs overall to beat the Chicago White Sox 9-1 yesterday. The Royals are now 9-7 on the road and just 4-13 at home.
- And Los Angeles Dodgers star CF Matt Kemp left Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies with a left hamstring injury. It is unknown at this point how long Kemp will be out. He leads the Dodgers with twelve homeruns. The Dodgers won the game 11-5.
4. Several champions crowned Sunday
There were several winners from races and tournaments over the weekend.
- In Nascar, Jimmie Johnson won at Darlington on Saturday, giving Hendrik Motorsports its 200th career Spring cup win.
- Matt Kuchar fended off several players, including a charge by Rickie Fowler, as he shot thirteen under (-13) and won the TPC.
- Finally, the global sport of the world, soccer or football to everyone else but the USA, crowned a new champion in the English Premeir League yesterday as Manchester City rallied late to knock off Queens Park Rangers 3-2 to win their first EPL title since 1968. Sergio Aguero scored with just over a minute of extra time remaining in the game. Quite the celebration for the team and their fans.
Coming up Tuesday: NBA and NHL playoff recap plus other top stories from sports.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.