"The Stack" is here on this Friday with a few things to talk about. Tis the last blog post for three days as we will be taking a Memorial Day Holiday on Monday. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, May 25:
1. Heat move on to the eastern conference finals
It was a bit of a struggle early on, but Dwayne Wade and LeBron James were too much for the Indiana Pacers to stop as the Miami Heat beat the Pacers 105-93 to clinch the series 4-2. They advance to the eastern conference finals where they await the winner of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. The Pacers figured it out early. They had to have a post presence inside and they delivered. In fact, eleven of their twelve made baskets in the first quarter were in the paint. But gradually, for some unknown reason, the Pacers forgot about it and that's when Wade took over. He scored twenty points in the second quarter alone and 41 points for the game to go along with ten rebounds. This is the same guy who scored only five points and got in a shouting match with his head coach in game three. Remarkable. Utterly remarkable. James chipped in with 28 points, but this was clearly Wade's night. The Pacers fought hard, but in the end, the Heat were just too much and now they get a couple of days of extra rest while waiting for their opponent. The more rest they get, the more likely Chris Bosh can come back from his abdominal strain. That would be good news for the Heat, who look very difficult to beat right now. If it's the 76ers, they blow by them easily. The Celtics will be tougher and could beat them, but right now, the Heat look awfully sharp.
2. Celtics-76ers game seven duel looms, Rangers look to keep season alive vs. Devils
The New York Rangers season is on the line tonight as game six with the New Jersey Devils takes place tonight at 8:00 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network. The Rangers looked very bad at the beginning of game five, yet came back to tie the game up, only to watch the Devils come away with the win and a 3-2 lead. Henrik Lundqvist must play better in net for the Rangers and they have to come out with a greater sense of urgency than they did in game five. Right now, it appears the Devils have found their offensive mojo the past two games. Zach Parise is playing outstanding. The Rangers must find a way to slow him down and generate some early offense of their own. Because I want to see a game seven, I'll pick the Rangers to win tonight and force game seven which will be on Sunday at 8:00 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.
In the NBA's eastern conference, there will be a game seven in Boston Saturday night. The eight seed Philadelphia 76ers will do their best to pull off another huge upset over the veteran Boston Celtics. The Celtics have not looked good at times this series while the 76ers have looked better than expected. But when it comes to this game seven, the Celtics know how much is at stake. This is the last big hurrah for the big three and they don't want to be done after one more game. They want to take on the Heat. They'll win this game.
3. Misc. sports news
Mentioned yesterday that Shaquille O'Neal was going to interview with the Orlando Magic for their vacant GM position. And now, Shaq has withdrawn his name. Shaq says he loves his job at TNT a lot and wants to work many more years with the crew at TNT. This is a smart move by Shaq. Great players don't always make great front office personel. Shaq has a great gig going right now and I'm glad he is staying.
To the NFL now where New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is going to be playing it very close to playing the first game of the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys. That's because Nicks broke his right foot in OTA's yesterday. He is expected to miss twelve weeks which means he should be back in time for the first regular season game, but will he be in football shape. Thank goodness for the presence of Victor Cruz. The Giants should be ok and as long as Nicks isn't out longer and can get back to his old self in short order, the Giants will be fine.
Finally, the trainer of I'll Have Another, the horse with triple crown hopes Doug O'Neil has been suspended 45 days for illegal drugs given to horses he's trained. The ban won't start until July which means that he'll still be able to train I'll Have Another in preperation for the Belmont Stakes June 9th. Should I'll Have Another win the Belmont and become the first horse to win the triple crown since Affirmed back in 1978, there will surely be questions about whether or not the horse was clean. Here's hoping it will, because that would be devesatating given the rarity in horse racing and sports of the triple crown. All eyes will be on O'Neil and I'll Have Another for the next couple of weeks. And win or lose, the nay-sayers and doubters will either say he lost because he didn't have drugs or he won because of drugs, given no benefit or praise to the jockey or the trainer. It's sad, but almost inevitable.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 2012-13 schedule highlights
Last year was not a great year for the Jaguars. Rookie QB Blaine Gabbert didn't look overly impressive. Thank goodness for RB Maurice Jones-Drew. But it is a new year with a new coaching staff and a new owner, dedicated to making this team a winner and keeping them in Jacksonville. The Jaguars full schedule can be found here. And now here are some interesting notes from the Jaguars upcoming schedule:
- The Jagaurs will be done playing the entire NFC North by week 9.
- The Jaguars play the AFC East four straight weeks 13-16.
- The lone primetime game for the Jaguars this year comes at home versus Indianapolis, week 10 on the NFL Network at 8:20 PM ET.
- The Jaguars play both games against each the Colts and Texans before they face the Tennessee Titans once. Their first matchup with the Titans is week 12.
Tuesday's team: Kansas City Chiefs
Enjoy the long holiday weekend everybody. Have a Happy Memorial Day and remember to take a moment and remember the sacrifice the veterans today and before us have given for our country so that we may live the lives we all do.
Coming up Tuesday: NBA and NHL playoff thoughts plus other top stories
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.