After a day off to charge the batteries, "The Stack" is back with a few things to talk about. The playoffs in the NBA and NHL are slowly winding down which means we're heading towards the sslow part of the sports season. But we'll talk about that more when we get there. Now let's take a look at what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, May 16:
1. Pacers even series with Heat, Spurs dominate Clippers
What a surprise last night in Miami, where the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat 78-75 to even the series 1-1. The Pacers used a 28 point third quarter to forge ahead and lead by nine after three quarters. The 28 points the Pacers scored in the third were the most points the Heat have given up in a quarter all postseason. Yet in the fourth, the Heat rallied back and eventually took a one point lead, but the Pacers answered back. The Heat did have a couple of chances late to tie the game or take the lead. But LeBron James missed two freee throws with under a minute to go and Dwayne Wade missed a layup that could have tied the game. This is a rather stunning upset. I mean the Heat with only 75 points? Come on man. I believe it was ESPN last night that showed a great stat that in a one possession game with under one minute to go this season that James is ten for seventeen from the free throw line. That's 58.8%. That's awful. Mario Chalmers is six for seven. I think Wade is perfect. That is an alarming stat and shows that James struggles late in games from the foul line. Maybe there's too much pressure on him or he's putting too much pressure on himself. The Pacers have stolen homecourt advantage now. Will they win the series? I still don't think so and we shouldn't overreact to this loss. Every team loses a game here and there. But if the Heat lose game three and with Chris Bosh's status up in the air, it may be time to wonder if the Pacers will indeed bounce the Heat from the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs had an extended rest after sweeping the Jazz and watching the Los Angeles Clippers go seven games with the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Spurs showed no rust in their 108-92 beatdown of the Spurs. It's not that the Clippers played bad, because they did play a pretty good game. It was that the Spurs were not that much better. They made thirteen threes, tying the franchise playoff record. Both point guards struggled. Chris Paul went just three for thirteen from the field with six points, ten assists and five turnovers while the Spurs Tony Parker went one for nine from the floor with seven points, eleven assists and four turnovers. Expect both of these players to have better games in game two and the rest of the series. The health of Paul and Blake Griffin will continue to be the key factor in this series. Right now the Spurs are just playing so well. Look at Tim Duncan. He had 26 points last night. The ever-so-youthful Duncan played great last night. The Spurs will win this series rather easily, probably in five. They're just that much better right now.
Wednesday's NBA playoff games
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers 7:00 PM ET (series tied 1-1)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder 9:30 PM ET (OKC leads 1-0)
2. Kings take commanding 2-0 series lead in western conference finals
The Los Angeles Kings continued their impressive playoff run thanks to Jeff Carter's hat trick and Jonathan Quick's stellar play in net as the Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 on the road to take a 2-0 sesries lead. The Coyotes really lost their composure in this game with both Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal getting five minute boarding penalties and a game misconduct. Both hits left you worried that the Kings players involved in the hits wouldn't get up or at the very least have to leave the game. But this is hockey and this is the postseason and both players got up and played more in the game. What the Kings are doing right now is so impressive. They are the best team of the four left in the playoffs and they're the eight seed. Great goaltending, timely offense and good defense will get you far in the playoffs and that is what the Kings have. Not since the days of Barry Melrose roaming the bench for the Kings have they had this sort of success. Oh yeah, Wayne Gretzky was playing for them too. This series is pretty much over. The Kings are now 10-1 this postseason. Only four teams have ever done that in NHL postseason history of the four teams only one, the 1988 Edmonton Oilers (who actually have done this twice) won the Stanley Cup. The Kings will be looking to change that.
Wednesday's NHL playoff game:
New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers 8:00 PM ET NBC Sports Network
(Rangers lead series 1-0)
3. VCU heads to the A-10
Conference realignment continues in the NCAA as VCU announced they will leave the Colonial (CAA) for the Atlantic 10 for the 2013-14 season. No doubt the success the Rams have had the last two years, including their magical Final Four run back in 2011 helped drive their decision. Money helps too and the Rams will make more money by going to the A-10 than if they were to have stayed in the CAA. The A-10 has some pretty good basketball teams: Xavier, Temple, St. Bonaventure, etc. VCU will be able to compete with these guys and have plenty of success in the conference. They'll continue to build on the momentum of the last two years. Shaka Smart has done a great job with this program. This decision leaves George Mason in a precarious situation. Will they jump ship too? Or will they stay put? They are probably the best team in the conference now. Will they go for more money if they are offered? Probably. This is the problem with the NCAA and changing conferences. Now everyone is raiding other conferences. It's just plain wrong!
We'll get back to our team-by-team schedule look tomorrow with the Denver Broncos.
Also for Thursday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus other top stories in sports.
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.