The Stack is here on this Friday ready for the weekend to begin. But before that, we have a few things to talk about so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, June 8:
1. Heat force game seven
Facing elimination can bring out the best in athletes. LeBron James certainly showed that last night with a dazzling display in the Miami Heat's 98-79 thrashing of the Boston Celtics last night in Boston. The series is now tied 3-3. James had 45 points 15 rebounds and five assists. He was sensational. He hit ten of his first eleven shots from the floor and controlled the game for the Heat. The Celtics could not stop him. James was dialed in. Boston didn't show up last night, but today should be less about them and more about James' performance. He carried the Heat last night. For as many times when James isn't clutch, last night showed otherwise. Having said that, the series is now tied with one game deciding who will make it to the NBA Finals to face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Will James have a repeat performance? Fair or not, people will now expect James to have another great game Saturday night and lead the Heat to victory. Celtics fans probably feel that James got his good game out of the way and will struggle Saturday night. Certainly the Celtics will show up and not play as bad as they did in game six. This is a complete toss up as far as I'm concerned with who will win game seven, but at this point, with how the Heat played in game six, you have to pick them. I have a feeling Monday we'll be talking about James again, good or bad.
2. Belmont preview
For the first time in since Affirmed in 1978, we may have a horse that wins the triple crown. That will happend Saturday if I'll Have Another wins the Belmont. There's a pretty good chance that could happen. The field is considerably weaker than the Kentucky Derby. Derby favorite Bodemeister is not running, the horse that would have given I'll Have Another its stiffest competition. Union Rags and Dullahan are both right up there in terms of two horses that will give I'll Have Another a run for his money. The trick is going to be the weather. Saturday's weather has 82 degrees and PM thunderstorms according to weather.com. At race time, there is a 40 percent chance for thunderstorms. The condition of the track changes everything. In the first two races of the triple crown, I'll Have Another got off to a slow start and stormed back down the final stretch to win both races. A wet and slippery track diminishes the chances of that happening so I'll Have Another needs to get off to a fast start Saturday. It would give embattled trainer Doug O'Neill a crowning acheivement. Only problem is that some people may not believe that I'll Have Another truly won the triple crown thinking that O'Neill drugged him. Let's hope it doesn't come to that and we can celebrate his triple crown status should I'll Have Another win Saturday. And that's who I'll take. Why not? He proved me wrong at the Preakness. It would be great to see this horse win the triple crown. Coverage begins on NBC at 4:30 PM ET.
3. NFL quick hits
The New Orleans Saints have offered quarterback Drew Brees a new contract proposal after weeks of no news or offers. Don't know yet if Brees will take the deal and I haven't seen terms of the proposal, but this is at least jumpstarts the process of getting Brees under contract after weeks of talks being stuck in the mud. Brees will sign a new deal soon. It just may not be this one. But hey, it's a start...The Ochocinco era in New England is done. The Patriots released the 34-year old receiver Thursday after what can only be described as a disappointing year with the team. I mean 15 catches, 276 yards and one touchdown?! Not what Bill Belichick envisioned when he brought Ochocinco in. Will Ochocinco latch on with another team? Only if a team gets ravaged by injuries at the position. The Patriots tried to trade Ochocinco, but failed to get a buyer so they released him. Tough seeing him hook up with another team. The end of his career is very much a possibility...Finally Brian Banks, who was exonerated from kidnapping and rape charges after ten years in prison thanks to the alleged accuser saying she made up her story, has been given a tryout from the Seattle Seahawks. Banks will join the team in their minicamp next week. This is such a great story. Here's hoping for the best from Banks and that he can make the team and go to training camp.
4. Oakland Raiders 2012-13 NFL schedule highlights
There is a new regime in Oakland. Reggie McKenzie leads the front office now. The late Al Davis is watching from above. Former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is now the head coach. Things may be looking up in Oakland. Another year with Carson Palmer, a healthy Darren McFadden and this team may do some things. Their full schedule can be found here. And here are some interesting notes on the Raiders upcoming schedule:
- The Raiders open the season on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers (10:15 PM ET ESPN). This is the second time in three years in three in the last five I believe that the Raiders will play in the second game of the MNF doubleheader.
- Carson Palmer faces his old team, the Cincinnat Bengals week 12 in Cincinnati.
- The Raiders get three straight home games weeks 13-15, but finish the year with back-to-back road games.
- Trips out east are always a concern for west coast teams because of the early start. The Raiders have five early start games. None back-to-back.
- The Raiders only other primetime game comes week 14 vs. Denver 8:20 PM ET NFL Network
Monday's team: Philadelphia Eagles
Enjoy the great sports action this weekend. Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils is Saturday night at 8:00 PM ET on NBC. We may be talking about a new Stanley Cup champion Monday morning. There's game seven of the NBA's eastern conference finals like we mentioned. Plus the Belmont Stakes and everything else going on. It's going to be a good weekend to watch some sports.
Coming up Monday: Reaction to biggest sports stories from the weekend
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.