It is the last day of May and "The Stack" is here with a few topics to talk about to end the month with. A lot going on out there in the sports world so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, May 31:
1. Kopitar's overtime goal gives Kings 1-0 SCF lead
The puck dropped on the opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals last night and if enough people stayed to watch, they saw a great third period and overtime period. And in the overtime period Anze Kopitar got the puck on a breakaway, made a nifty deke move on New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and scored to give the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win and a 1-0 series lead. The Devils had outplayed the Kings in overtime to that point. They had multiple chances to get one by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and failed to do so. At some point you figured the Kings would get a chance. For all of the excitement in overtime though, the first two periods were rather boring. Each team only had five shots in the first period. Five shots! They both appeared to be a little rusty and hesitant after the long layoff. The second period wasn't much more exciting and through two periods of play the Kings had outshot the Devils 14-8. Ouch. But the score was tied 1-1. Way more action and scoring opportunities in the third period with both goalies making some big saves and each team missing on several golden opportunities to break the tie, but neither could. And that led to Kopitar's game-winning goal for the Kings in overtime. Don't expect another game like we did last night in terms of the low shots. It appeared each team was feeling one another out. This will be an exciting series. Game two is Saturday night 8:00 PM ET on NBC.
2. Heat overcome deficit, knock off Celtics in OT
The Boston Celtics had the Miami Heat right where they wanted them. Trailing by double digits in the second half and frustrating the Heat. Rajon Rondo was turning in a sensational game. But the Heat turned up the heat in the third quarter, scoring 35 points and taking a six point lead into the fourth quarter where once again the Celtics battled back to take a 94-89 lead with under four minutes to play. LeBron James then said ok, my turn. He went hard to the hoop, getting fouled multiple times and helping the lead the charge for the Heat to tie the game and eventually take the lead. James had 34 points, including going eighteen for twenty-four from the foul line. Though the Celtics forced overtime, you had a feeling that if they were going to win this game, they should have won it in regulation. And that's exactly right as the Celtics lost 115-111 to the Heat in overtime, giving the Heat a 2-0 series lead. Dwayne Wade chipped in with 23 points. The Celtics had their chance to perhaps make this series ineteresting and put Miami in a difficult spot and failed to do so. Mentioned earlier that Rondo had a sensational game. Well that sensational game included 44 points, ten assists and eight rebounds. The Celtics could not win thanks to that effort. Not much hope for them in this series then. Game three is Friday night in Boston.
Thursday's NBA playoff game
San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder 9:00 PM ET TNT (Spurs lead series 2-0)
3. Hornets win the NBA lottery
Conspiracy theories are flying through the roof following the New Orleans Hornets big win in the NBA lottery last night. The team got the number one pick, taking it away from the Charlotte Bobcats who just happened to have the worst record winning percentage wise last year in NBA history. And plenty of people are questioning if it's legit. After all, the NBA did own the Hornets last year until New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the team, securing them in New Orleans. Would the NBA possibly have done something to rig the draft as a thank-you to Benson for buying the team and keeping them there. It's worth wondering but no, the NBA couldn't. Why would they risk that? If it were to somehow be proven that the NBA fixes the lottery, this would be the biggest sports scandal in history!! No joke. Bigger than the Black Sox scandal in 1918. Bigger than Pete Rose betting on baseball. Bigger than steroids and PEDs. A league fixing the lottery. It affects franchises for years, in turn affecting how much money they make. The NBA would never recover from such a scandal. But after last night, there may be reason to wonder if something is actually going on behind the scenes.
4. Misc. sports notes from Wednesday
Plenty of things generated big sports headlines yesterday. Here are a few of the biggest:
- Venus Williams apparently didn't want to play in the French Open either. She was beaten in the second round by Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-3. Not a good tournament for the Williams family. Is this the last we've seen of their brilliance? Do they not care about the game anymore?
- Brazil's soccer team beat the USA 4-1 in a friendly last night in Dallas. Wasn't Jurgen Klinsmann supposed to make the US better at soccer? Instead, we won't be in the Olympics and they lost badly 4-1 in a friendly. Doesn't look good.
- The Seattle Mariners scored 21 runs against the Texas Rangers last night. They won the game 21-8. For a while there, it looked like a football score with the Seahawks beating up on the Cowboys. The Mariners scored eight runs in each the second and third innings. Now watch them score a combined twenty-one runs over their next seven games.
- The NFL will not be canceling the Pro Bowl...yet. They have decided that the 2013 Pro Bowl is still on and will be played in Hawaii. Apparently the players have made a promise to the league to make the game more competitive. They say that now. We'll see if that actually happens come the Pro Bowl next year.
- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been voted the 50th best player in the NFL by his peers. He didn't play last year! Yet, the players know just how valuable he is and how he can change the fortunes of a franchise. I think Manning deserved to be on that list.
- Finally, Detroit Red Wings great Nicklas Lidstrom will anounce his retirement today at the age of 42. Lidstrom was a terrific defenseman for the Red Wings, playing twenty years in the NHL. He will be missed, but someone will take his spot for the Red Wings and do just fine. The Red Wings always seem to be able to find players that will step up and make an impact.
5. Miami Dolphins 2012-13 schedule highlights
This year's Hard Knocks team struggled last year. They started out what 0-7, failed to put butts in the seats and all around failed to put together a good year. With new coach Joe Philbin and a new quarterback of the future in Ryan Tannehill, is the future any brighter for the Miami Dolphins? Maybe. Their full schedule can be found here. Now here are some interesting notes on the upcoming Dolphins season:
- The Dolphins play the New York Jets twice before seeing either the Bills or the Patriots. They play the Jets in week 3 at home and week 8 in New York.
- The Dolphins are used to primetime games, but they only have one this year week 11 @ Buffalo 8:20 PM ET NFL Network.
- The Dolphins have a stretch where they play four of five on the road (weeks 4-9, bye week 7) and a stretch with four of five at home weeks 12-16.
- Two of the Dolphins final five games are against the New England Patriots.
Friday's team: Minnesota Vikings
Coming up Friday: NBA playoff reaction plus other top stories from the sports world
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.