"The Stack" is back on this Thursday with another shorter blog, but we have a few things to talk about so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, May 24:
1. 76ers force a game seven
The Philadelphia 76ers made sure their season didn't end last night, defeating the Boston Celtics 82-75 to tie the series up 3-3. Game seven is Friday night. The 76ers starting five outplayed the Celtics starting five, kind of shocking considering that Boston has the stars that they do and they would have benefited by having a couple of days of extra rest in preparation to face presumably the Miami Heat. But no, the 76ers were the better team in this game. They've really played well this series, more so them playing well than the Celtics playing bad. The Celtics shot just over 33 percent from the floor. That will not get the job done. If they can win game seven, they can't have this type of effort and this poor of shooting and expect to beat the Heat. It just won't happen. The Celtics are an alarming 2-11 in close out games on the road since the "big three" came together. With those great players and a star in Rajon Rondo, that's a little stunning and alarming. Game seven should be a good one.
2. Devils strike first, hang on to beat Rangers
A night after a wild game five in the desert, a game that sent the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals, we had just about as crazy of a game at MSG between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. The Devils struck early, scoring first, second and third. Three goals in the first ten minutes of the game. A couple were soft goals given up by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. One was a goal that deflected off a Rangers player. The Rangers came out flat in this game, playing sloppy and with not energy. After the second Devils goal, Rangers head coach John Tortorella called a timeout trying to get his team to wake up. The Rangers responded. They dominated the rest of the period, with Brandon Prust scoring a goal to make the score 3-1 after the first. The Rangers dominated the second period scoring a goal 32 seconds in on a shot that came off Brandon Callahan's skate. It almost appeared that he kicked it in. Yet the Rangers could not score the rest of the period. They dominated the start of the third too, with Marion Gaborik getting credited for a goal that Devils goalie Martin Brodeur appeared to put in his own net. Yet the Rangers could not get anything more. They kept outplaying the Devils but couldn't get the lead. You figured sooner or later the Devils would catch a break. And they did when Ryan Carter took a pass from Brian Gionta and got one by Lundqvist. The Devils would add an empty-netter to win the game 5-3, giving them a 3-2 series lead. The Rangers are in a lot of trouble, but they can win in New Jersey to force a game seven. They just have to come out with more energy. Game seven is Friday night. It should be a very exciting game.
3. NFLPA sues NFL
The ever so contentious relationship between the NFL, its owner and the the player's association took another rocky turn Wednesday when the NFLPA filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the NFL colluded to establish "a secret $123 million salary cap" in 2010, the year that was supposed to be uncapped as designated by the NFL owners backing out of the existing CBA deal. If you read the various reports out there regarding this lawsuit, there seems to be a sense that there isn't a ton of merit to the NFLPA's suit and that they will probably lose the fight. Perhaps had the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins not gotten slapped with salary cap penalties in that uncapped year by the NFL for not obeying "the spirit of the rule", maybe this lawsuit wouldn't have happened. Regardless, this is a situation that bears watching to see where this lawsuit ends up.
4. NBA notes
The NBA has suspended two Heat players for their actions in game five against the Pacers. Udonis Haslem is suspended for one game for his fould on Tyler Hansbrough, when he hit Hansbrough acorss the face with his shoulder and both arms, appearing not to make a play on the ball. Hansbrough got a flagrant one that was later upgraded to a flagrant two, but will not be suspended. Dexter Pittman is suspended for three games for elbow to Lance Stephenson which was vicious and clear as to what Pittman was intending to do. These aren't the worst of suspensions for the Heat. They'll get by just fine. I expect the Heat to finish off the Pacers tonight, 8:00 PM ET. Especially if Danny Granger can't play for the Pacers.
Finally, Shaquille O'Neal has thrown his name into the rign for the Orlando Magic GM's job. Not sure if that is such a good idea. Shaq is very good on television and has never done any work in an NBA front office. No doubt he is very educated and would do his homework, but Shaq doesn't seem like GM material. The best players in sports don't always have that eye and the basketball mind to be in the front office. Look at Michael Jordan. The jury is still out on John Elway in Denver. Shaq, I'm sure you'd do fine doing whatever you want, but you're much better on TV.
Coming up Friday: Biggest stories in sports
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.