It's the last day of May already. Can you believe that? The Stack had some internet/computer issues yesterday but we are back today to talk about the Pacers-Heat game from last night and more.
First though, want to take a moment to say what a game Wednesday night in the NHL between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. There is almost nothing better in sports than a game 7 in the NHL playoffs in my opinion and I do believe that game 7 overtime hockey is the best thing in sports. It's so nervewracking and on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement. Simply amazing. The Detroit Red Wings played their hearts out in the third period and some would argue they should have won the game. Others would say the game never should have gone to overtime if the refs hadn't wiped out that goal by calling offsetting penalties. The overtime goal by Chicago came off of a Detroit turnover and the
Blackhawks capped the 3-1 series hole they were in with a fantastic 2-1 overtime win and a 4-3 series win. Just like the Bruins seized momentum in their next series against the Rangers following their game 7 comeback win over the Maple Leafs, you wonder if the Blackhawks will breeze by the Kings. Not if Jonathan Quick has anything to say about it. More on the NHL playoffs later. Now let's get right to "the stack" for today, Friday, May 31:
Heat take 3-2 series lead over Pacers
It took a half for the Heat to get going. And when they got going, there was nothing Indiana could do to stop them. Thanks to a passionate yet profanity laced speech by LeBron James to his teammates before they took the court for the start of the third quarter, Miami overcame a four-point halftime deficit to beat Indiana 90-79 and take a 3-2 series lead. The team that wins game five when the series is tied 2-2 wins the series over 80 percent of the time. If Miami can build off their second half performance and play inspired without needing a speech from LeBron, they should win game six in Indiana Saturday night. For the Pacers, it would have really helped if their backcourt had shown up and played. The starters (George Hill and Lance Stephenson) combined for five points. Five little points. That can't happen in either of the last two games of the series assuming Indiana wins game six. Roy Hibbert only had six rebounds. He needs to be more of a beast on the glass. But when James like he did last night with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, the Heat are tough to beat. We'll see how it all shakes down Saturday night in Indianapolis.
NHL conference finals to start
The puck drops on each the eastern and western conference finals in the NHL Saturday night. In the west, the Chicago Blackhawks fresh off their impressive comeback series win over the Detroit Red Wings welcome to town the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings (5 PM ET NBCSN). The Kings are undefeated at home, but have won just once on the road this postseason. They've been led though by Jonathan Quick in net. He has once again played terrific. They need him to be better than even in this series if they want to beat the Blackhawks. Both teams are very defensive minded and play great with a lead. That will be the key in this series. Whoever can score first will put a clamp down on the other team's offensive and will have the edge. Quick is the better goaltender, but the Blackhawks have the better offense...and home ice which may decide this series. Home ice was the deciding factor when the Kings beat the Sharks as well as who scored the first goal. I picked the Kings at the beginning of the playoffs and while I don't have a ton of confidence in them, I'll stay with them and say they beat the Blackhawks in six.
The eastern conference finals are just as entertaining. The Boston Bruins rode the wave of momentum from their first round win in pummeling the Rangers 4-1. The Pittsburgh Penguins likewise beat up on the Ottawa Senators 4-1. The Penguins are the best offensive team remaining in the postseason. What will slow them down is their goaltending. That's what will prevent them from winning the Stanley Cup. They haven't seen someone like Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara though. He is a brute on the ice and will likely slow the Penguins up-tempo attack. In the end though, he can only slow it down, he can't stop it completely. That's why the Penguins win this series. Game one is Saturday night at 8 PM ET on NBC.
Whoever comes out of the east and the west, we are in line for a fantastic Stanley Cup Final matchup. Tune in and watch the best in the game do their thing. Going to be some great hockey night after night.
Finally, there are some words that need to be said about Ohio State President Gordon Gee and his comments he made regarding Notre Dame and the SEC at a meeting a few months back. Those we'll save for Monday, but Mr. Gee is an idiot and does not represent his university well at all. He doesn't think before he speaks and it comes back to bite him time and time again. More on Monday.
Coming up Monday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus thoughts on Gee and other top stories from the weekend.