Another stellar nightof playoff action...at least on the ice. The Stack is here to talk about all of the playoff action from last night so let's get right to it and see what's in "the stack" for today, Thursday, May 9:
Heat embarrass Bulls, Warriors even series with Spurs
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played another close game last night...until three minutes left in the second quarter. That's when the Heat put the pedal to the metal and the Bulls had no chance. A four point game turned into a fourteen point halftime lead and the Heat continued to pile it on in the third quarter as the lead grew to twenty, twenty-five, thirty points. Eventually the Miami Heat wound up winning 115-78, completely embarrassing a depleted Bulls team. This was very chippy and slow paced due to all of the whistles. For the game, there were 51 fouls, nine technicals, two ejections (both Bulls) and one flagrant foul. The refs had to try and get control of the game and for the most part they did, but I have a feeling that this will continue and that's not good for the Bulls. They have to play smart and they have to play disciplined. They did neither of that last night.
De ja vu all over again for the Golden State Warriors? Not this time my friend. The Warriors built another big lead and this time hung on after the San Antonio Spurs made another run to knock off the Spurs 100-91 and even the series up 1-1. Unlike in game one when Steph Curry played lights out, last night it was fellow backcourt mate Klay Thompson who was on fire. He scored 34 points, 29 of those coming in the first half! What?! He played outstanding. When either Thompson or Curry are as hot as they've been, the Warriors are going to be tough to beat in a series. I don't see them stopping anytime soon and I think they'll beat the Spurs. Curry did add 22 points. The Warriors won for the first time in San Antonio since 1997, ending a thirty game losing streak. The Warriors have become the darlings of the NBA playoffs. And with the Warriors win, all four conference semi-finals are even 1-1, the first time in NBA playoff history that that has happened. That is tough to believe, but it's true. Just don't expect all of the series to continue to be this close.
Another stellar night on the ice
In my opinion, there is almost nothing more exciting in sports than playoff hockey. It is sudden death. Last night, three of the four playoff games went to overtime. In Toronto, David Krejci scored the game-winning goal which just so happened to give him a hat trick and lift the Boston Bruins over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. The Maple Leafs came out guns-a-blazing and jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. It looked like they were going to even the series up 2-2. Give credit to the savvy, veteran Bruins squad who never flinched or got nervous. They battled back and eventually won the game in OT to take a 3-1 series lead. They're looking really tough in the eastern conference and will be a threat to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In New York, we do have a tied series after the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 to tie the series 2-2. This was the only non-overtime game of the night. The Rangers built a 2-0 lead and saw the Capitals tie it up, but the Rangers responded by scoring the first two goals of the third period and holding off a furious rally by the Capitals. So far, home ice has held up which means advantage Capitals. Game five is going to tell us a lot.
The Los Angeles Kings have won the last three games in their series with the St. Louis Blues following their 3-2 overtime win last night. The Blues tied the game up with forty-five seconds remaining in the game and it looked like they had siezed momentum in the game, but in overtime, the Kings held strong and Slava Voynov (love saying that name) scored eight minutes in to give the Kings the win and a 3-2 series lead. All five games have been decided by one goal so there is no doubt that the Blues can go into L.A. and win a must-win game six. It's going to be interesting.
And in the final game of the night, the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks needed more than sixty minutes to decide their game and in overtime, the Ducks found a way to win a little less than two minutes into the extra session. Nick Bonino scored to give the Ducks a 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead. The Red Wings twice led by one goal only to see the Ducks score late in each the first and the second period. In the end, the Ducks just have more talent than the Red Wings, but Detroit still has a shot. Game six will be fun.
Three more NHL playoff games tonight...
Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens 7 PM ET CNBC (Senators lead series 3-1)
NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins 7 PM ET NBCSN (Series tied 2-2)
Minnesota Wild @ Chicago Blackhawks 9:30 PM ET NBCSN (Blackhawks lead series 3-1)
And the San Francisco 49ers have a sponsor for the stadium, announcing a twenty-year deal worth $220 million with Levi's. The new stadium name is Levi's Stadium. Considering that the company has a history with 49ers panning for gold back in the 1800s, this makes perfect sense. They'll get a lot of publicity too when the 49ers are awarded a Super Bowl.
Coming up Friday: NHL playoff reaction plus other top stories in sports