In the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, it will be the fourth seed Portland Trail Blazers (54-28) against the fifth seed Houston Rockets (53-29). The Rockets took the season series two games to one. Their one loss was a 101-99 OT contest. When they beat Portland, they did it by four and then by 14 points.
Sports Betting Section
MADDUX'S WINNING PICKS
MADDUX'S LIVE ODDS
The first seed in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers (66- 16), meet the eighth seed Detroit Pistons (39-43) in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs. In the four-game season series, the Cavs won three of four. The Cavaliers won seven of their last ten, while the Pistons, who finished the season under .500, lost three straight and were four and six in their final 10 games.
In the Eastern Conference, the second seed Boston Celtics (62-20) take on the seventh seed Chicago Bulls (41-41). In their three-game regular-season series, the Celtics were victorious twice. There is concern as Boston lost to Chicago in the final match-up by a score of 121-127. But Boston has been on a roll, winning eight of their last 10, while Chicago has gone 7-3 over the last 10 games.
I woke up this morning to Breaking News alerts on the two major sports news sites I normally ready, and each one was a different story. One was wildly exciting, and the other was a confirmation of a gut feeling:
The NHL playoffs get underway tonight. As a Canadian I am legally obligated to be a hockey fan, so this is always a bit of an exciting time of year. I don’t think that there is a championship any harder for a team to win than the Stanley Cup. This should be a very good playoff tournament as well – there are several teams that are legitimate contenders in each conference, and no clear, runaway favorite. That being said, I don’t think that the first round is particularly interesting this year. Actually, it’s a bit dull. In my mind seven of the eight higher seeds are legitimate favorites to should be able to come out ahead if they play their game, and the eighth, New Jersey, can as well as long as they play up to their potential. Here’s a quick look at each series:
The NFL schedule was released tonight. I know that the league is masterful at making their league the story year around, but this seems to have been more of an event this year than I remember it being in the past. There’s only so much intrigue that can come from the schedule since you can figure out who is playing who every year with just a bit of work if you want to. Still, the timing of games and the location can make them somewhat interesting. Here’s a look at six games that stick out for me at first glance:
Week 1 – Chicago at Green Bay – All eyes will be on Jay Cutler. He cost a fortune, and there will be little patience from fans waiting to see him play like it.
Kevin Garnett is being held out of action until the playoffs. The official story is that there is no point in playing him in two totally meaningless games, but I’m not buying it. Wouldn’t you want to have a chance to test your knee and your fitness before the games got intense? Wouldn’t you want to ease back into action gradually? I sense that there is more to this story than we are hearing, and that makes me a bit uneasy.
You don’t know me, and you really have no reason whatsoever to listen to me, but I’m going to offer you some advice anyway. I hope you will listen to it because you know I am right – stay in school! You have another year of eligibility, and I beg you, implore you, and several other synonyms, to use it. Don’t just do this for me, though. Do it for yourself. Here are eight good reasons:
The Kentucky Derby is just three weeks away. After the last two prep races are run today all the horses will have run their last pre -Derby race, and we will start to get a good sense of what the field is going to look like. These last two prep races – the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas – don’t contain the biggest Derby threats (with one possible exception), but they have several very interesting runners that could definitely factor into the Derby picture. Here’s a look:
Sports are supposed to be fun and light and happy – a diversion. Because of that, every time something like the death of Angels’ pitcher Nick Adenhart happens it is particularly jarring – unsettling. If you missed out, here’s the basic story. Adenhart , 22, was a young starting pitcher making his way up through the Angels’ system. He had pitched three games last year, but had spent most of the season in the minors. He stuck with the big team out of spring training, and injuries with the team saw him placed, at least temporarily, quite far forward in the rotation. He was a young pitcher who had yet to find any consistency, but he had tons and tons of potential – top of the rotation potential. Wednesday night he made his season debut in Anaheim’s third game. He was very good, throwing six shutout innings, and improving as his pitch count climbed. Unfortunately, the bullpen totally let him down, allowing three runs in each of the last two innings to lose the game. Later that night, Adenhart was one of three people killed in a hit and run accident.