The Stack is here on this Tuesday to talk playoffs and some of the other top stories from the weekend I didn't get to yesterday so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, May 7:
Bulls upset Heat, Spurs rally to stun Warriors
Coming into the series, pretty much everyone gave the Chicago Bulls zero chance of beating the Miami Heat and most people didn't think the Bulls would even win a game. After game one though, those thoughts may be changing. The Bulls shocked the basketball world with their 93-86 win over the Heat in Miami. On a night where LeBron James was honored for his fourth MVP, the Bulls, without Derrick Rose and Loul Deng, played very tough and hustled after every loose ball and it paid off. Nate Robinson continues to shine in these playoffs. He scored 27 points. Amazing. And Jimmy Butler. Who? Dude scored 21 points and added fourteen rebounds. He played extremely well. The Heat overall did not. They missed a lot of shots in this game. So for those who are going to go to the extreme and say the Bulls have a shot to win this series, I'm here to pump the breaks. They have a three percent chance of winning this series. The Heat will not play that poorly again this series or shoot as bad as they did (under forty percent). Still, very impressive win for the Bulls who very well may make this a series.
Spurs comeback, beat Warriors in double OT
The Golden State Warriors had a double digit lead going into the fourth quarter. Steph Curry was playing lights out. They had a sixteen point lead with four minutes to go and all the Spurs did was go on an 18-2 run to force overtime. Extremely impressive. Then Manu Ginobli hit the shot of the game with seconds to go in double overtime to give the Spurs a 129-127 lead which would be the final score. Ginobli stunk for much of the game. He had made only four shots prior to that point and had taken nineteen. But he came up clutch and the Spurs stunned the Golden State Warriors who have to feel sick after this game. They had this game in the bag. How can you let the Spurs back in the game? Inexcusable. The Warriors are more than capable of winning this series, I think they proved that for how they played in most of game one. Curry was sensational scoring 44 points and dishing out eleven assists. But maybe he needs a little more rest because he didn't make a shot in the fourth quarter. Had the Warriors won game one, I think they would have won this series. They still can, but they must put this game in the back of their minds and come out and play lights out in game two. What a game!
Tonight's NBA playoff schedule is as follows...
Indiana Pacers @ New York Knicks 7:00 PM ET TNT (Pacers lead series 1-0)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder 9:30 PM ET TNT (Thunder lead series 1-0)
NHL playoffs continue to be good
For the most part, the first round of the NHL playoffs have been really really good except for the Vancouver Canucks-San Jose Sharks series. Last night was no exception. Apart from the Boston Bruins beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 and being a buzzkill at the party that hockey fans in Toronto have been dying for, the other three games were one goal games.
The New York Rangers got back into their series with the Washington Capitals following their 4-3 win to cut the series lead in half 2-1. The Capitals got the first goal, but the Rangers answered with the next two and then it went back and forth where each team would answer the other team's goal. The Rangers held a 4-3 lead and then had to hold off the Capitals who were on the power play for the final two minutes, but hung on to preserve the win. What a game. Perhaps the Rangers aren't done in this series after all.
The Detroit Red Wings bounced back nicely after their 4-0 debacle in game 3 against the Anaheim Ducks. A goal by Pavel Datsyuk that broke the water bottle holder in the third period tied the game up 2-2 and then in overtime a mad scrum in the Ducks crease left Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller on his back and allowed Damien Brunner to put in the game-winning goal for the Red Wings lifting them to a 3-2 win and evening the series up 2-2. Still think the Ducks will previal in this series, but the Red Wings are showing some fight. Both times in this series the game has gone the overtime the Red Wings have won. Perhaps the Ducks should try and avoid OT.
And in L.A., a goal scoring spree broke out between the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. Seven goals total had been scored in the first three games combined. The two teams matched that in game four. The Blues jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Kings fans had to have been nervous considering the Kings have really struggled to put the puck in the net in the series. No issue for the Kings though as they scored two in the same period to tie the game up 2-2 after one. Traling 3-2 in the third, the Kings scored two goals barely over a minute apart to jump ahead 4-3 and hang on for the victory. Each team has won both of their games on home ice. Advantage Blues that means. This series has been good so far and expect it to stay that way.
Tonight's NHL playoff action includes...
Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators 7 PM ET CNBC (Senators leads series 2-1)
Pittsburgh Penguins @ NY Islanders 7 PM ET NBCSN (Penguins lead series 2-1)
Chicago Blackhawks @ Minnesota Wild 9:30 PM ET NBCSN (Blackhawks lead series 2-1)
Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks 10 PM ET CNBC (Sharks lead series 3-0)
Orb wins Kentucky Derby
Don't think that the pony express just showed up at my doorstep with news that Orb won the Kentucky Derby. I watched it and on the slop filled track, it was a pretty entertaining race. Orb was a 6-1 favorite at race time and came from the middle of the pack to win. Whether or not the wet track made a huge impact is up for debate. Regardless, Orb was a favorite going into the race so for him to win somewhat screams potential that he can win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Let's hope so. We haven't seen a triple crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Be great to see one once again.
LeBron wins fourth MVP award
In an announcement that could be seen months ahead of time, Miami Heat small forward LeBron James was named NBA MVP for the fourth time over the weekend. The news hardly comes as a shock. James was clearly the best player all year. He was great on the defensive end and was consistently recording double-doubles and getting close to triple doubles almost on a nightly basis. He is the most physically gifted player in the NBA. No doubt in my mind that he was the obvious choice for MVP. He was almost unanimously named MVP receiving all but one first place vote. That other first place vote went to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. It's true that Anthony was special this year, but James was head and shoulders above the rest of the class. Kevin Durant and Chris Paul also deserved consideration, but this was James' award to lose. Now if only he could get another handful of NBA championships to go with his MVPs. He's getting there. Despite the Heat's loss to the Bulls last night, the Heat are still clear favorites to win the NBA championship and perhaps next year too...and the year after that....and the year after that...
A couple of big stories hit the NFL wires from over the weekend and yesterday. First, the Florida House killed any chance of a bill going forward renovations to the Miami Dolphins' stadium that would have been voted on by the people of Miami Dade county. Hopes of getting future Super Bowls are essentially gone without renovations to the stadium and the team's future in South Florida is up in the air. Their CEO said as much. Not that owner Stephen Ross will move the team, but he may sell the team to someone who has their eyes on L.A. After giving the Miami Marlins tons of money for a new stadium, Miami residents may not be so inclined to give the Dolphins money, but at least let them vote on it. The Florida legislature did not do any favors to the Dolphins or to South Florida. Other pro teams were hurt too, but the Dolphins were hurt especially. Their long term status in South Florida is definitely on shaky ground.
The other big story that hit yesterday was the Minnesota Vikings releasing punter Chris Kluwe after nine years with the team. It seems odd that releasing a punter would cause such headlines, but Kluwe is a special case. He made headlines for his stance on gay marriage and has been outspoken on several other big issues. Last year during the season, he wore a patch saying that Ray Guy should be the first punter elected to the pro football hall of fame. Such outspokeness can often lead to a player getting the boot from a team and while that may have affected Kluwe to a degree, I don't believe it was the main reason he was released. The Vikings drafted punter Jeff Locke from UCLA (ironically where Kluwe was from) in the fifth round of the draft. They saw what they liked in the rookie minicamp last weekend and released Kluwe to save a few million. The Vikings did the same thing last year when they drafted kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round and released veteran Ryan Longwell. That worked out pretty well for them. The Vikings obviously feel like Locke will do a good job and it's not like Kluwe's onfield production was great. He was average when you take all punters in the NFL into consideration so while his talking off the field may have played a part, I don't believe it's as significant as others are making it out to be.
Coming up Wednesday: Tuesday NBA and NHL playoff reaction