Hello everyone and welcome to today's "The Stack" with me, Nathan Stacken. We have lots to talk about today with all of the playoffs games in both the NBA and NHL. Plus, want to plug in tomorrow's blog which will be all about the 2011 NFL Draft which starts tomorrow at 8:00 ET on ESPN and the NFL Network. Let's get started now on five of the biggest stories going on in the world of sports:
1. Lakers cruise by Hornets, take 3-2 series lead.
After the first quarter in last night's game in which the New Orleans Hornets were up 32-23 over the Los Angeles Lakers, I said to some friends that the Lakers will make a run in the second quarter and never look back. Sure enough, the Lakers made a run in the second quarter and were up at halftime 54-51. They never looked back and cruised to a 106-90 win. All five Lakers scored in double figures. No team is going to beat the Lakers when they do that. I still give the Hornets a chance at winning game 6, but the Lakers will win this series.
2. Canucks, Flyers both win game 7's.
The best thing in sports is a playoff game 7. Except for overtime of a game 7, and that is what we had last night in Vancouver where the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 to advance to the Western Conference semifinals. Chicago stayed in the game thanks to goalie Jordan Crawford, but a turnover in overtime led to Alex Burrows' second goal of the game and lifted the Canucks past the Blackhawks and what could have been the worse loss in franchise history. Roberto Luongo was huge in net and seems to have regained his confidence back. Despite the troubles against the Blackhawks, I still think Vancouver is the team to beat in the west. Philadelphia had little trouble with Buffalo, beating the Sabres 5-2 to advance the eastern conference semifinals. The only thing that can hold the Flyers back is their merry-go-round at goalie. One guy needs to step his game up and be a leader otherwise Philly won't win many more games.
3. Canadiens force a game 7.
Again, playoff game 7's are great. And we have two more tonight on the ice thanks to the Montreal Canadiens who beat the Boston Bruins last night 2-1. In game 7's between these two teams, Montreal has had success, winning five of the seven matchups. This one though, the eighth one, is the most important right now. Boston has a lot of pressure on them, but I think they can win this one. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins will have their own game 7 in Pittsburgh tonight. I know Pittsburgh has the home ice, but it would be truly incredible if they win given that they don't have their two best offensive players (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) with them. I think Tampa Bay will win the game tonight.
4. Bulls clinch, Magic extend series.
The Chicago Bulls had an easy time with the Indiana Pacers last night, crushing the Pacers 116-89 to win the series 4-1 and advance in the NBA eastern conference semifinals. The Bulls struggles though in this series show that they might be a little too young to go all the way and win the NBA Championship this year, but next year may be their year. The Orlando Magic needed to win their game 5 last night to keep their season alive and this game wasn't even close as they laid a whooping on the Atlanta Hawks 101-76 last night in Orlando. I'll be honest, I didn't think this series was going to be close and Atlanta can close out the series on this series Thursday night. Orlando can put it all together and come back to win this series, but it is going to be tough. All they did was win a game last night on their home court that they should have won.
5. Should Tressel be fired?
I've been meaning to get to this for a couple of days now. The NCAA continues their investigation regarding Jim Tressel and his mess at Ohio State. They have said that the problem lies more with Tressel and not the football program or the athletic program itself. The NCAA will undoubtedly suspend Tressel longer than the self-imposed five games he and the university gave himself, but this whole lying thing should get him fired. I'm interested in hearing what any of you think about this. I know Ohio State is great for the NCAA and college football, but is that any reason to let this slide? If Dez Bryant can get suspended for the whole year for lying to the NCAA about meeting with Deion Sanders, shouldn't a coach with the stature of Jim Tressel get suspended for two years at the least or get fired?
That does it for me today. Check back tomorrow for the special 2011 NFL Draft preview post. It should be good. Until then, have a great day, and we'll see you back here tomorrow.