"The Stack" is back on this Tuesday with a few different items to talk about today so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday June 5th:
1. Thunder edge Spurs to take 3-2 series lead
For the first time this series, in either conference finals series for that matter, the road team won a game and now the Oklahoma City Thunder are one win away from the NBA Finals following their 108-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder could not buy a basket at the start of the game. Over three minutes into the game, the Thunder didn't have a point. But they got going in the second quarter, extending their lead to fourteen points at one point. The Spurs battled back in the third quarter and grabbed a four point lead. Apparently that upset the Thunder, because they came back with a vengence. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and company stormed back and took a lead they would not relinquish. The Spurs fought back, getting within two points at 103-101 before James Harden, the biggest weapon coming off the bench in the NBA, nailed a three pointer with the shot clock winding down with just under thirty seconds to play to pretty much seal the deal. The Spurs wasted Manu Ginobli's brilliant game with 34 points. When the Thunder lost the first two games of this series, it didn't look good. The more veteran Spurs looked like their experience would win out over the youthful talent of the Thunder. Now it looks like the energy of the young Thunder is wearing out the old Spurs. The Thunder's big three looks really good right now. They may just have enough to not only beat the Spurs, but the Heat too.
Speaking of the Heat, game five with the Boston Celtics is tonight at 8:30 PM ET.
2. Kings one win away from the Stanley Cup
The Los Angeles Kings perhaps 48-hours from making franchise history following their 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils in game three. This game was completely dominated by the Kings. Alec Martinez scored the first goal of the game in the second period and Anze Kopitar added a second one in the period. With a 2-0 lead, the Kings lead was insurmountable. The difference in this game was each team's power play. The Devils were a woeful 0 for 6 including wasting a five-on-three power play and a four minute double minor penalty to Jeff Carter. The Kings meanwhile, six for seventy-seven on the power play entering the game were a perfect two for two on the power play with both goals coming in the third period to put the game away. The Devils kept missing golden opportunities to get one by Jonathan Quick. They just haven't capitalized at all in this series. There is no hope that they win this series. They may be able to win game four, but even at this point that remains in doubt given with how they've played so in this series. It's a shame this series has to end this way because the NHL playoffs as a whole have been fantastic. Game four is Wednesday night at 8:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.
3. NFL, referees break off talks on new deal
Talks have broken down between the NFL and the NFLRA, the referees association, and NFL referees are now locked out. For the second consecutive year, the NFL finds themselves needing to negotiate a new deal that will benefit football and not upset fans. Though there will be no work stoppage with this lockout, the NFL's failure to agree to a new deal with the referees, the best officials the game has, is a little concerning. The NFLRA has already lashed out saying that the NFL didn't negotiate in good faith with a federal mediator last week and that they never gave serious thought into the NFLRA's last proposal. The referees apparently are asking for a smaller raise than they did the last time a new deal happened, in 2006 I believe. With all of the money the NFL continues to make and with the NFL's "commitment" to player's safety, why wouldn't you would want to make sure the best officials with the most knowledge and experience are on the field? It makes no sense. You hope a new deal can be reached before the season starts, but there sounds like a lot of animosity between the two sides. The NFL has begun the task of finding replacement referees. I'm available if you need someone NFL. I'm a big NFL fan and it wouldn't take long to figure out all of the rules. I'll make sure to call the game correctly and focus on players safety. I'll be waiting for your phone call NFL. I expect to hear back from you. If I don't, I hope that means you're getting a new deal done with the refs.
4. New Orleans Saints 2012-13 NFL schedule highlights
Has it been an eventful offseason for the New Orleans Saints for all the wrong reasons? I haven't heard. Yes with the whole bounty program and Drew Brees continual contract negotiations stuck in the mud, the Saints offseason isn't exactly going as planned. And with their head coach suspended for the whole year, the GM for eight games and their interim head coach suspended for part of the season, the Saints season will be an interesting one. The Saints full schedule can be found here. Now here's some interesting notes on their upcoming schedule:
- Remember that epic divisional game between the Saints and 49ers last year? They meet again this year in New Orleans Week 12 4:15 PM ET.
- There is a stretch of six games in seven weeks (weeks 8-14) where the Saints have only one noon game. Every other game is in primetime or a late afternoon game.
- Fireworks will fly when the Saints travel to Green Bay week 4 to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
- Two of the four games against the AFC West will be on NBC (week 5 vs. San Diego 8:20 PM ET and week 8 @ Denver 8:20 PM ET)
- The Saints are once again made for primetime as they have four nationally televised games this year (week 5 vs. San Diego, week 8 @ Denver, week 9 vs. Philadelphia 8:30 PM ET ESPN and week 13 @ Atlanta 8:20 PM ET NFL Network)
Wednesday's team: New York Giants
A couple of other notes to pass along. Tim Tebow will participate in Mark Sanchez's"Jets West" camp out in California. Sanchez has been holding the camp for a couple of years now and it's a time to work out with his wide receivers and even players from other teams. Tebow wants to get better and he wants to develop more chemistry with his Jets teammates. He also wants Sanchez's job. This is one way to get close to doing that...Maria Sharapova is getting closer to winning a French Open. With both Li Na and number one Victoria Azarenka suffering upsets, this is now Sharapova's tournament to lose.
Coming up Wednesday: Playoff reaction plus other top sports stories
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.