The Edmonton Oil Kings are one win away from returning to the Western Hockey League’s Championship Final. On Sunday, the Oil Kings will play the Calgary Hitmen at the Scotiabank Saddledome in game six of the Eastern Conference Final, leading the series 3-2.
On Friday night in Edmonton, the Oil Kings had a similar start in game five of the series to what they had in game four. Complete dominance. The Oil Kings scored three first period goals en route to a 5-1 victory. Game six can be seen on Sunday afternoon on Shaw at 4:00 p.m.
The 2013 NBA Playoffs opened on Saturday with the favourites winning all eight matchups.
In fact, many of the games weren’t even close. The best game of the weekend was Saturday in Denver, where the Nuggets got a late basket from veteran guard Andre Miller en route to a 97-95 win over Golden State. However even though the Warriors played the Nuggets tight, it is going to be tough for them to be competitive in the series because one of their key players, David Lee, who led the NBA in double doubles this season, severely injured his hip and will be out for the playoffs.
It was also a great weekend for role players on the favourites. Former Toronto Raptor Matthew Bonner recorded 10 points in San Antonio’s 91-79 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, while tattoo artist Kenyon Martin scored 10 key points for New York in their 85-78 win over Boston.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder won with ease.
It looks more and more like the Edmonton Oilers will not make the postseason in 2013. However, there is a still a mathematical chance after their impressive 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
The Oilers played a complete hockey game Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Jordan Eberle scored one goal and two assists, while Justin Schultz and Magnus Paajarvi had multi-point games.
The Oilers are now eight points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets with five games to go in the season. The next game on their schedule will be Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks (Sportsnet, 6:00 p.m.). It is basically simple. Their remaining five games, of which four are at home, are mandatory for the Oilers to win.
It’s wildcard weekend in the National Football League with four entertaining games. The one I think everyone is excited about the most will take place Sunday afternoon as the Washington Redskins take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC (FOX, 2:30 p.m.).
This is also a battle of two rookie quarterbacks with Russell Wilson of Seattle taking on Washington’s RG3. A lot of people are surprised Seattle is a three point favourite. I’m not, based on how well the Seahawks have played throughout December. However, don’t forget the Seahawks had a losing record on the road this season, and are much more comfortable in the Pacific Northwest.
Here are the other events I’ll be watching:
Saturday–World Junior Hockey Championship Final–Sweden vs. United States–TSN–6:00 a.m.–The 2013 Championship Final has two strong Calgary connections. The top American player, John Gaudreau, forward from Boston College, is a draft pick of the Calgary Flames (4th round in 2011) and one of Sweden’s top snipers is Victor Rask of the Calgary Hitmen. The American defense as a collective unit is exceptional. Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba and Jake McCabe have been excellent in the medal round in wins over the Czech Republic and Canada.
The 2012-13 NBA season starts Tuesday. Yes, I know the Los Angeles Lakers now have Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Miami Heat have Ray Allen and the Toronto Raptors have Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields, but I think it is time to look at other significant off-season moves in the offseason.
The Dallas Mavericks have changed their roster significantly, and got younger in the process. In are German center Chris Kaman (from New Orleans), shooting guard O.J. Mayo (from Memphis) and point guard Darren Collison (from Indiana). All three averaged in double digits in scoring. Out meanwhile are Jason Kidd (New York) and Jason Terry (Boston).
Another team that has a completely different look are the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are gambling on Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko from Utah (11.7 ppg) and Brandon Roy from Portland who is coming out of retirement at the age of 28.
The Miami Heat are very close to winning their their second NBA title in franchise history.
On Tuesday night in Miami, the Heat got a double double from LeBron James (26 points, 12 assists) in a 104-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers also came up huge for Miami with 25 points each.
The real story from game four is the status of James, who was experiencing cramps late in the contest and had to sit out for some key minutes. When he was on the court however, he was dominant. James delivered a key three pointer to break a 94-94 tie with 2:50 left. The Heat would not relinquish the lead after that.
In other NBA news, the Charlotte Bobcats have hired Mike Dunlap as their head coach. He most recently worked as an assistant coach at St. John’s University and has previous NBA experience as an assistant coach in Denver.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat has been named the Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association.
On Saturday, the announcement was made official.
James was third in scoring with 27.1 points per game, and second in overall points with 1683. My pick was Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant meanwhile had 1850 points, almost 200 more points than James.
My other arguments for Durant is that Oklahoma City (47-19) had a better record than Miami (46-20), play in a stronger conference and if you take Durant out of the lineup the Thunder are nothing. If you take James out of Miami’s lineup, they still have Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
In other NBA news, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets 96-87 last night. Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points after playing poorly in game six. The Lakers now play the Thunder in the second round. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers play the Memphis Grizzlies this morning.
The only upset on paper in the first round was Philadelphia’s series win over Chicago. But I saw that coming as soon as Jalen Rose tore his ACL in game one.
Three game sevens (and possibly a fourth) will dominate my sports viewing this weekend.
In the NHL, there is a game seven in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. This will be a battle of Alexander Ovechkin versus Henrik Lundqvist. Despite limited ice time, Ovechkin leads the Capitals in scoring with nine points, but will have to get by Hart Trophy nominee Lundqvist to move on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in his career. The game can be seen on CBC tonight at 5:30pm.
In the NBA, there are two game sevens, both involving the Los Angeles teams. Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers host the Denver Nuggets in game seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinal tonight (TSN2, 8:30pm). Questions are surrounding the health of Lakers star Kobe Bryant who played with the stomach flu in game six on Thursday. Afterwards, he was not happy with Pau Gasol for his lack of effort and had no problem telling him so.
Then tomorrow the Memphis Grizzlies host the Los Angeles Clippers (ABC, 11am) in game seven of another Western Conference Semi-Final. Like the Nuggets, the Grizzlies were once down 3-1 in the series but have clawed their way back to force a game seven. Last night in Los Angeles, the Grizzlies won game six 90-88 on Marc Gasol’s 23 points.
The Masters will obviously headline my television viewing this weekend with the very first major of the PGA Season. Currently Peter Hanson of Sweden (-5) leads U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, Ben Crane of the United States and day one leader Lee Westwood of England by a stroke.
Other players in contention are Major winners Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and Paul Lawrie.
The television coverage for the tournament is Friday at 1pm on TSN, Saturday at 1:30pm on CBS, and Sunday at noon on CBS.
Here are the other events I’ll be watching this weekend:
Friday–NLL–Rochester Knighthawks @ Calgary Roughnecks–7pm–I’m heading down to the Scotiabank Saddledome this evening to see the Roughnecks in National Lacrosse League action. At 10-3, the Roughnecks are tied for first place in the West Division with the Colorado Mammoth. The Roughnecks lead the NLL with 180 goals scored, are led by former Knighthawk Shawn Evans, who leads the team in scoring with 58 points.
The Boston Celtics have got off to a slow start this season, but might have turned things around Thursday night in Orlando with an unbelievable comeback for the ages.
With 3:11 left in the second quarter, the Celtics trailed the Orlando Magic by a score of 52-25, and then made a remarkable comeback, outscoring Orlando 27-8 in the fourth quarter alone en route to a 91-83 victory.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 8-9 on the season and the Magic fell to 12-6.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 24 points and 10 assists. It has been interesting because Pierce has been the Celtic most talked about in trade rumors as of late as rumors swarm that Celtics management will break up their big three.
The greatest comeback in NBA history came by the Utah Jazz against the Denver Nuggets on November 27, 1996. The Jazz were down by 36 points in the third quarter before coming back to win 107-103.
The Toronto Raptors may not look back at the 2012 NBA season with fond memories. They are currently 6-13, and the likelihood of them making a run at contending for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is small.
But over the last two nights, they have shown some great signs of greatness, resiliency and maturity for a young team learning how to win. For the first time in 14 games they won in Phoenix and then, for the first time in 14 games, they won in Utah.
On Tuesday night, Andrea Bargnani scored 36 points as the Raptors came back from a 14 point deficit to beat the Suns 99-96. The Raptors snapped an eight game losing streak and Bargnani returned for the first time in seven games after injuring his calf.
On Wednesday night, the Raptors beat the Jazz in double overtime by a score of 111-106. Linas Kleiza scored 25 points and Jose Calderon came up huge with two key three-pointers. But with the win, came a huge blow as it appeared that Bargnani reinjured his calf.
Toronto continues their western road trip Friday in Denver.
When it comes to sports and the internet, sometimes the only thing better than an amazing [insert sport here] highlight is a goofy video!
It’s not always pro athletes trying to be funny either – sometimes it’s a terrible blooper or an ugly fall, occasionally a team mascot might be involved and other times, a popular “trend” may pop up where you least expect it.
Take the act of “Tebowing,” for example.
Ever since quarterback Tim Tebow took over in Denver, “Tebowing” has become an incredibly popular thing to do. The Broncos pivot is deeply religious, you see, and he routinely takes a knee to throw up a prayer, unmoved by anything that is happening around him.
When I say it’s become a popular thing to do, I’m not kidding! The internet is now full of “Tebowers,” and that trend has even made it to semi-pro and pro hockey. My pal Adam Chorneyko threw down a “Tebow” after potting a goal for the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles back in November, and it happened again this week in the NHL:
I mentioned earlier that sometimes mascots get in on the action – check out this video featuring Rocky the Mountain Lion of the Denver Nuggets. (VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP!) (more…)
Grizzlies Top Three– Zach Randolph 20.1 PPG, 12.2 RPG; Mike Conley 13.7 PPG, 6.5 APG; Marc Gasol 11.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG.
Analysis: The Spurs come into the series as the hands on favourite, having won four NBA titles since 1999. The fact that 2011 is an odd year as well will help San Antonio because their four previous Championships came in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Gregg Popovich is as good of a coach as any in the entire NBA and has maximized the performance out of his players. The question in San Antonio is the health of Manu Ginobili, who injured his elbow in a meaningless game last night in Phoenix and is doubtful for Game One. This will be the fourth playoff appearance in franchise history for Memphis since moving from Vancouver in 2001. They have yet to win a playoff game, going 0-12 in the process. The X factor in the series is Randolph. The tenth year power forward has a criminal past dating back to his days in Portland, but seems to have everything under control now. Still the Spurs have the three best players and will win in six.
It’s All-Star weekend in the NBA, which to me means just one thing: The Dunk Contest!
I’m the same way when it comes to any All-Star weekend; in hockey I like the Skills Competition best, I’m a fan of baseball’s Home Run Derby and when it comes to the NBA, count me in for the Dunks!
After winning the title in each of the last two years, Boston’s Nate Robinson has decided to sit this one out. Instead, it’ll be Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (who lost a tight decision last year), Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, Washington’s JaVale McGee and Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers. (more…)