One day til the weekend. Yes, it's Friday, and "The Stack" is here with plenty of playoff reaction and a preview of the Preakness tomorrow. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, May 18:
1. Pacers trounce Heat, Spurs thump Clippers
Is is time to panic yet in Miami? It certainly may be after the Miami Heat were destroyed in the second half by the Indiana Pacers, losing 94-75. LeBron James did all he could in the first half, scoring sixteen of his twenty-two in the first half, but ran out of gas in the second half, because quite frankly, no one else showed up. Dwayne Wade had a terrible game, scoring just five points on two of thirteen shooting. He also had five turnovers. No one on the bench contributed. Mario Chalmers had 25 points which has to make some Heat fans optimistic. Bottom line, the Heat are just playing terrible basketball right now. The Pacers are being very physical with them, contesting every shot and making life miserable for the Heat. Roy Hibbert had 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Pacers. He was sensational. There will be the LeBron haters out there (Skip Bayless, cough, cough) that will probably blame LeBron for not doing more, but the fact of the matter is that the Heat as a team are playing bad basketball right now. The Pacers very well could win the series. After all, they are up 2-1 right now. Not saying I believe that yet, but they are definitely in position to do so right now. They have all of the momentum and the pressure is all on the Heat. Is it fair to say that Chris Bosh is the glue that hold the Heat together? At this point, it's fair to say yes.
The team that very few like, but is the best team in basketball at the moment won again last night. Yes, the San Antonio Spurs crushed the Los Angeles Clippers 105-88 to take a 2-0 series lead. The Spurs were once again hot from three, making ten long distance shots. Tony Parker rebounded from a bad game one with 22 points. The Clippers just couldn't keep pace after halftime. The Spurs just took it too them. It helps when you have seven fewer turnovers than your opponent. The Clippers will probably win one game in L.A., but the Spurs will win this series, no question about it. They are 6-0 this postseason at the moment. And no one wants to admit it, but they are the best team in basketball right now. They won't get a ton of people to watch them, but the Spurs are the best and most complete team in the postseason right now.
Friday's NBA playoff games:
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers 8:00 PM ET (Celtics lead series 2-1)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers 10:30 PM ET (Thunder lead series 2-0)
2. Kings one win away from Stanley Cup Finals
The Los Angeles Kings continue to amaze following their 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. They've now taken a 3-0 series lead and are 11-1 this postseason. Jonathan Quick gave up a rare soft goal for the Kings, but a breakaway goal by Anze Kopitar in the second tied the game up. Then in the third, with a power play looming for the Kings and the Coyotes desperately trying to control the puck and stop play, Dwight King shot a laser that got by Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and gave the Kings a 2-1 lead, a lead they wouldn't give up. This series is over. The Kings are playing so good right now and the Coyotes have no answers for them. With the Lakers and the Clippers in deep holes in the NBA playoffs, the Kings may get the much needed attention they deserve in the Stanley Cup Finals. They are the best team remaining in the playoffs. With Quick in net, they have an outstanding chance to win it all this year. An eight seed winning Lord Stanley's Cup? Don't be surprised when it happens.
3. Preakness takes place Saturday
Every year, we ask "will this be the year we see a triple crown in horse racing?" And every year after the Kentucky Derby, the winner gets praised and mounds of pressure heap up on the horse and the jockey to become horse racing's next triple crown winner. Well I'll Have Another has that pressure when the Preakness Stakes get underway tomorrow at Pimlico in Maryland. Unfortunately for horse racing enthusiasts and the sports world in general, I don't think we'll see it happen this year. I'll Have Another just doesn't have what it takes to be that triple crown winner. Though he is second behind Bodemeister at 5-2 odds, I don't see this horse winning tomorrow. For some reason, I have a hunch the favorite will win tomorrow. I'll take Bodemeister to win the Preakness, but it would be awesome to see I'll Have Another win it and give us the hope that we'll see the first triple crown winner since what, 1978?
4. NFL news and notes
A few items of interest to pass along from the NFL from Thursday include...
- New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying he made false statements about Vilma's involvement with the bounty program. I don't buy this. Vilma knew full well what was going on and if he wanted to talk to Goodell about this, he would have done it sooner when Goodell asked to speak to him. This is just another way to lengthen out the process. Take your suspsension and be done.
- Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is a new rich man after signing a five year deal worth $45 millions, with over $20 million guaranteed. McCoy led the league in rushing touchdowns last year with seventeen. He is a rising star in the NFL and at the running back position. He deserved the raise. The Eagles have a stud running back for a few years to come.
- Finally, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker says contract talks with the Patriots are getting "worse." Why the Patriots wouldn't want to extend the contract of one of their most versatile weapons is beyond me. It's like Drew Brees and the Saints. Welker has said he'll sign his one year franchise tender for $9.5 million, but he wants a new deal and he deserves one.
5. Green Bay Packers 2012-13 schedule notes
The Green Bay Packers were the best team in the NFL last year. A 15-1 regular seasoan record, homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, what could be better? Well the New York Giants put a stop to Green Bay's season in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Packers are back looking for revenge. Aaron Rodgers and company have a chip on their shoulders. The full Packers schedule can be found here. And now here are some interesting notes on the upcoming Packers schedule:
- The Packers have two home games in the first five days of the season, two more before some teams will even have one. They're home to San Francisco week 1 and home to Chicago week 2 (8:20 PM ET NFL Network).
- The Pack will seek revenge on the Giants this year, making a trip to the New Meadowlands week 12 (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
- They'll face former Packers quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Matt Hasselbeck in weeks 3 and 16 (@ Seattle, VS Tennessee) respectively,
- As usual, the NFL loves the Packers on national TV. They have five appearances in primetime. Weeks 2 and 12 you already know. The others include week 3 @ Seattle 8:30 PM ET ESPN, week 6 at Houston 8:20 PM ET NBC, and week 14 vs. Detroit 8:20 PM ET NBC.
Monday's team: Houston Texans
Enjoy the great sports weekend ahead of you. With NBA and NHL playoffs, the Preakness and baseball, there will never be a dull moment.
Coming up Monday: Recap of the weekend's biggest stories
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.