The Stack is back after a graduation weekend and there was definitely a few things to keep tabs on in the world of sports so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, May 20:
Spurs top Grizzlies, Eastern Conference Finals set
We've known the NBA western conference final matchup for a little while now. Many experts seem to be predicting the Memphis Grizzlies would be representing the western conference in the NBA Finals, but the San Antonio Spurs have something to say about that. They pummeled the Grizzlies 105-83 to take a 1-0 series. This game was over pretty much for the start. The Spurs jumped out to a 31-14 first quarter lead and never looked back. Their bench was a large part of the reason they won this game as well, scoring 54 points. In some ways, it looks like their setting the clock back. Tony Parker played great. Kawhi Leonard is turning into a very good player. If Manu Ginobli can find his shot, the Spurs will be even more dangerous. I haven't even mentioned Tim Duncan yet. The Grizzlies just didn't seem ready for what was to come. Maybe they thought things were going to be easy. They were wrong to assume so. Memphis will regroup and they will respond. Fully expect them to come back and they can still win this series, but the Spurs will make this a series until the very end.
The eastern conference finals are finally set following the Indiana Pacers 106-99 win over the New York Knicks. Despite Carmelo Anthony's best efforts in scoring 39 points, the Knicks just didn't have enough. Indiana now faces the Miami Heat. The Pacers are a good defensive team and they can play with the best when they want to play. That's the problem though. They don't always seem interested. Unfortunately, it won't matter. They may win a game or two against the Heat, but that team is just too good. Miami will win this series, which tips off Wednesday.
NHL playoffs continue
The second round of the NHL playoffs are progressing and this second round isn't quite as exciting as the first round. The home team is 9-1 so far this round and that continued yesterday. The Boston Bruins took a 2-0 series lead with their 5-2 whooping over the New York Rangers. It was tied 2-2 midway through the second period before the Bruins scored the go-ahead goal on a 4-on-4 and never looked back. The Rangers will win a game in New York, maybe even both. They can still make this a series. But it will take a special effort the rest of the way by their offense to find a way to manufacture goals. So far this series, that has not been the case.
The other game last night was a little more exciting. Ok, a lot more exciting. The Ottawa Senators got back into their series with the Pittsburgh following a 2-1 double overtime victory. They trail the series 2-1. This was the longest game of the NHL postseason this year and Colin Greening ended it when he followed up on a rebound shot to put it past Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun. It would never have happened without the efforts of Daniel Alfredsson who scored the game-tying goal with less than 30 seconds left in the regulation...and he did it shorthanded! Both goalies played phenominal. Vokoun ended up making 46 saves, though he wish he had made 48. His counterpart Craig Anderson made 49 saves. Simply outstanding. The Senators need more heroic efforts like that from Anderson in net if they want to upset the Penguins. Don't think that is likely to happen.
Only one playoff game on the ice tonight...
Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings 7:30 PM ET NBCSN (Series tied 1-1)
Oxbow wins Preakness
So much for seeing the first horse racing triple crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Orb had that chance Saturday at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the favorite to win the race didn't win. He didn't place. He didn't even show. Orb finished a distant fourth, never seriously contending and Oxbow, a 15:1 odds on favorite, one of the longest shots in the field won the Preakness. It was a pretty exciting race if you weren't focused on Orb or cheering for Orb to win to keep the elusive triple crown dream alive. Itsmyluckyday placed and Mylute showed. The Belmont, while still a fun race to watch, suddenly got less important in terms of must-see TV. The ratings will definitely suffer.
A couple of players are having phenominal starts to their years out on the diamond. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore is 8-0 on the year following his performance in the team's 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Eight wins in nine starts. He is in the zone. Moore (23) is the youngest left-handed pitcher to start a year 8-0 since some guy named Babe Ruth in 1917. Maybe you've heard of the guy. Awfully impressive. The Rays need the rest of their pitching staff to pick it up so the Rays get back a top the AL East.
And what a night for Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. He belted out three homeruns last night in the Tigers 11-8 loss to the Texas Rangers. He's almost playing better than he did last year when he won the triple crown and won AL MVP honors. He's right on pace to win average and RBIs and is one off the lead for the home run lead. Watch out for Cabrera. Better yet, watch Cabrera. He is a very special player.
Coming up Tuesday: Reaction to top stories in sports