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Spurs Go For Commanding Series Lead over Grizzlies

spursAfter beating the Memphis Grizzlies 105-83 on Sunday, the San Antonio Spurs try to take a commanding 2-0 series lead Tuesday night at home. Tony Parker scored 20 points and dished out nine assists for the Spurs, who received balanced scoring en route to the win.

Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points, Danny Green added 16 and Matt Bonner scored 12. Gary Neal had 11 more, and the Spurs were able to get the win despite just 6 points from Tim Duncan, who did pick up 10 rebounds.

As a team, the Spurs shot 53 percent from the field and an impressive 48 percent from three-point range. The Grizzlies shot just 43 percent from the field, but did hit 42 percent of their threes. None of their starters scored more than 15 points, though, as Quincy Pondexter lead the Grizzlies with 17 points off the bench.

The Grizzlies have some experience being in this position, though, having lost Game 1 in both of their first two playoff series. Both times they fought their way back in the series, beating the Clippers and Thunder en route to the Western Conference Finals. In fact, in the first round against he Clippers the Grizzlies fell behind 2-0 before rattling of four straight wins to advance. After falling in the opener to the Thunder, the Grizzlies again rattled off four straight to win the series and move on.

Meanwhile, the Spurs have experience being on the other side of a playoff series rally. Last year in the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs took a 2-0 series lead over the Thunder before losing four straight to be eliminated.

That’s not to say that a 2-0 series lead for the Spurs wouldn’t be huge, though, as they’re already the favorite after an impressive regular season. Even so, the Grizzlies don’t appear likely to pack it in if they struggle in Game 2, which should be hotly contested.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see exciting action in the Western Conference Finals from San Antonio. Get your tickets today!

Snoop Lion Reveals Pimping Past

snoop-dogSnoop Lion has been going through a lot of changes lately, changing his name from Snoop Dogg, and switching gears from rapping to reggae. Along with all the changes, he talks about one that he made back in 2003 — when he was a pimp.

Yes, back when Snoop was on the Playboy tour in 2003, it seems that he actually was a playboy. While traveling by bus he’d have another bus following behind, and filled with women that would be available to those who could pay the price, usually high-profile athletes.

“If I’m in a city where the Denver Broncos or the Denver Nuggets play, I get a couple of the players to come hang out, pick and choose, and whichever [girl] you like. A lot of athletes bought from me,” he told Rolling Stone magazine when speaking of his past.

But the biggest question that always comes to mind when the subject comes up is: how were the girls treated? And while Snoop says that he’s always “dreamed of being a pimp,” there were some things he did differently than most.

“I’d act like I’d take the money from the [girl], but I’d let her have it. It was never about the money; it was about the fascination of being a pimp. As a kid, I dreamed of being a pimp; I dreamed of having cars and clothes and [girls] to match.”

But forget about what the rest of us think. What did his wife, who was with him at the time, think about it?

“I love her to this day because she coulda shook out,” Snoop says. “But she stayed in my corner. So when I decided to let it go, she was still there.”

Penguins and Senators Open Playoff Series in Pittsburgh

at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.The Eastern Conference Semifinals open tonight in Pittsburgh as the Penguins host the Senators. Game two is slated for Friday in Pittsburgh, while the series shifts back to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Wednesday of next week.

If needed, Game 5 will be back in Pittsburgh Friday May 24, while Game 6 is in Ottawa on May 26 and a potential Game 7 would be in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, May 28.

The Penguins are the heavy favorite after finishing atop the Eastern Conference with 72 regular season points, well ahead of the Senators and their 56 points to earn the seventh seed.

The Penguins advanced past the Islanders in six games, with a 4-3 overtime win sealing the series. The Senators are rested, coming off a five game series win over the Canadiens. That series wrapped up last Thursday with a 6-1 win in Montreal.

Despite their favorite status, the Penguins aren’t without their weaknesses. Goaltending was a big issue against the Islanders, with starter Marc-Andre Fleury struggling to a 2-2 record with a 3.40 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Tomas Vokoun replaced him for the last two games of the series, going 2-0 with a 1.41 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. There’s no word yet on who will be between the pipes for Game 1 against the Senators.

The Senators have been one of the best defensive teams in the league, giving up just 104 regular season goals to finish second in the league. If goaltending is a question mark for the Penguins, it is anything but for the Senators. Craig Anderson went 4-1 in the opening round with a 1.80 goals against average and a .950 save percentage.

He’ll be hoping to shut down a high-powered Penguins attack featuring Sidney Crosby, who returned from a broken jaw to score three goals and six assists in five playoff games. Evgeni Malkin scored twice and dished out nine assists in six games, while Jarome Iginla scored two goals and seven assists. It was Pascal Dupuis leading the Penguins in the goal-scoring category with five goals and two assists.

Don’t miss out on an exciting series; get your tickets now!

Who Will Take Round 2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

round-2-stanley-cupWith the abysmal collapse of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday evening came the end of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even though the game between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals finished just minutes after it, the Rangers held that game at 5-0 for most of the time, finishing it long before the third period ever even started. But now that eight teams have been sent home and eight teams remain, who will make it out of Round 2 with their season still alive?

After a crushing defeat against the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1, the Ottawa Senators will move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2. Ottawa has never looked hotter, and has many of their injured players back on the bench. Pittsburgh on the other hand, is having trouble in the net, and that’s enough to lose you a playoffs series.

After Boston’s overtime victory against the Leafs on Monday night, they’ll start hosting the New York Rangers on Thursday for Round 2. Both of these teams went to a gruelling Game 7 in Round 1, but Boston is far more injured and tired.

Starting the round in the West will be the San Jose Sharks against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Both teams had phenomenal first rounds and this is a pick ’em series that could go either way, which will make it a great start to Round 2 in the West!

The Detroit Red Wings knocked out the Anaheim Ducks in Round 1 and will now face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago has had an outstanding season, but you can never discount a team that’s got what it takes to knock out the Ducks.

Did your team make it past Round 1? Who do you think will win Round 2, and who will take the upcoming conference title?

Woods, McIlroy Among Contenders in The Players Championship

players-champtionshipThis week brings with it the biggest non-major golf tournament of the year as the PGA Tour hits The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Most of the top players in the world will be in action, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, still the biggest three draws in golf.

TPC Sawgrass is best known for the famous island green on the 17th hole, which is a par-three with a treacherous shot over water that puts the pressure on down the stretch on Sunday. The course as a hole is a demanding layout that typically calls for precision, as Pete Dye designed a track full of pitfalls and what some players call unfair bounces on reasonably well hit shots.

The Players Championship offers the biggest purse in golf at nearly $10 million, which has drawn all of the top 30 players in the world. With the theater of the finishing holes and all of the best and brightest stars of the PGA Tour in attendance, it’s a great venue and event for fans to check out.

Tiger Woods attempts to win the event for just the second time in his career. For whatever reason, TPC Sawgrass hasn’t been a great course for Woods. His lone win came in 2001 when he was on top of the golf world by a wide margin and since, he’s only finished in the top 10 once.

Rory McIlroy more or less boycotted the event in 2011 and has admitted that the course doesn’t suit his eye, but will be in attendance this week hoping to change his own perceptions of TPC Sawgrass.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson will have to reign in his tee shots after a wild week at Quail Hollow in which spectacular putting kept him in the mix even as he took a tour of some wide-reaching parts of the golf course. That style is not likely to work at TPC Sawgrass, but as a former winner of The Players Championship, Mickelson knows that.

With the event upon us, don’t miss out on getting your tickets today.

Knicks Try to Battle Back Against Pacers

carmelo-anthony-knicksThe New York Knicks face the Indiana Pacers for Game Two of a best-of-seven series Tuesday at Madison Square Garden trailing 1-0 and having lost home court advantage.

If the Knicks want to battle back in the series, they’ll need to get Carmelo Anthony going. Their star has struggled in the post season thus far, despite averaging 28.9 points to his regular season number of 28.7 It’s taken Anthony nearly five extra shots per game to average essentially the same number of points, and his rebounds and assists are down as well.

Antony has shot just 32 percent from the field in his last four games and has been a bit banged up with a sore shoulder. In Game One, the Pacers outrebounded the Knicks by a 14 rebound margin and won 102-95.

So far this post season the Pacers have been led by Paul George’s 18.7 points per game, though it’s been a balanced attack with David West, George Hill and Roy Hibbert all averaging 14 points per game or more.

Behind Anthony, the Knicks are getting just over 17 points per game from Raymond Felton in the playoffs and 15.5 points from J.R. Smith.

The second game of the series will be huge for the Knicks, who do not want to see the series shift to Indiana at a 2-0 deficit. Thus, the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden for Game Two should be electric Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m., and the same can be said of Games Three and Four in Indiana.

Game Three will be Saturday at 8:00 p.m. EST and the tipoff time for Game 4 on Tuesday has not yet been set. Don’t wait any longer to get your tickets to some of the biggest games of the season. Games in New York should be a particularly tough ticket, as the Knicks haven’t been this deep in the playoffs since 2000, when they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pacers.

As such, excitement is high in the Big Apple and tickets are tough to find.

 

Nets Try to Send Series Back to Brooklyn When They Face Bulls in Chicago

brooklyn-nets-chicago-bullsThe Brooklyn Nets are in danger of being upset in their opening round playoff series, trailing the Chicago Bulls three games to two, and set to square off at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday night.

The Nets have already rallied back from a 3-1 series deficit thanks to a 110-91 win on Monday night. Brooklyn finished four games ahead of Chicago in the regular season, but so far a scrappy Bulls team has managed to stay on top.

The Nets will look for continued strong play from Brook Lopez, who is averaging nearly 24 points and 8 rebounds per game through the playoffs. Deron Williams has been strong as well, with nearly 21 points and 8 assists so far. Behind those two, Joe Johnson adds 16 points and a few rebounds per game. Andray Blatche and Gerald Wallace each score around 10 points a game for the playoffs.

The Bulls have been paced by 18 points and nearly 11 rebounds a game from Carlos Boozer, while Nate Robinson has averaged nearly 18 points with 3 assists. Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler round out the other players averaging double figures for the bulls thus far.

Shifting the series back to Brooklyn will be a tall task for the Nets, as the Bulls were 24-17 at home this year in the regular season, with more home victories in the playoffs.

The Nets may also have to deal with mounting frustration, as they were on fire down the stretch of the season, winning eight of their first 10 games this month before things got closer and started to slow down.

Don’t miss out on this absolutely critical game, as it will be on a big stage in one of the NBA’s greatest cities. If the Nets can get a win at the United Center, the pressure will be on both teams as Brooklyn’s Barclays Arena gets its first Game Seven. If not, the Bulls advance despite dealing with the absence of Derrick Rose all season long and in the playoffs.

Yankees Host Athletics in Showdown of Two of American League’s Best

robinson-canoThe New York Yankees are set to host the Oakland Athletics this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in what will be a matchup between two of the American League’s best teams.

At the time of this writing, the Yankees sit at 15-10, three games behind the Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The Athletics are 14-12, 2.5 games behind the Rangers for first place in the American League West. The two teams could very well wind up squaring off for a Wild Card spot come this post-season.

The Yankees are 9-5 at home and just 6-5 on the road, and in general they have been lead this year by Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.22 earned runs average and his opponents are hitting only .248. Kuroda is 3-1 with a 2.79 earned runs average as well.

When it comes to the lineup, Robinson Cano is carrying the day with a team-best .316 average, seven home runs and 17 runs driven in.

The Athletics are led by a much more lackluster rotation, with their bullpen impressing. Jerry Blevins is 1-0 with a 1.84 earned runs average, Sean Doolittle’s record is 1-0 with a 1.86 earned runs average and Ryan Cook is also at 1-0 with a 2.25 earned runs average.

Their hitting in particular is impressive though, when you consider that Jed Lowrie is hitting 3.44 with 14 runs driven in and three home runs. In addition, Seth Smith and Josh Donaldson are both hitting .319, while Coco Crisp is hitting .290 and has five home runs and 12 runs driven in.

The Athletics have gone just 7-7 at home and have actually performed a bit better on the road at 7-5, which is a rarity these days in major league baseball.  Nobody else has repeated that feat so far this year, while a few teams have come close the other way.

Only the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are also better on the road than at home this year.  So don’t miss out when these two powerhouses go at it in the Bronx, NY.

Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues Square Off in Playoffs

los-angeles-kings-st-louis-bluesThe sprint to the finish in the shortened NHL season is over, and the Blues are taking on the Kings in the fourth-seed versus fifth-seed matchup in the Western Conference, with the Blues coming in as the higher seed. This is a rematch from last year’s second round when the Kings swept the Blues and then went on to win the Stanley Cup.

St. Louis comes into the post-season on fire, including wins in 12 of their last 15 games, including their last six in a row at home. The Blues are led by the strong goaltending of Brian Elliott. The Ontario native is 14-8-1 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average.

In addition, the Blues have some scoring talent up front, led by Chris Stewart, who leads the team with 18 goals and 36 total points. David Backes is next in line with 28 total points, but only six goals total. Patrick Berglund has 17 goals and 8 assists this year in 48 games played.

The Kings were lead this year by Anze Kopitar’s 10 goals and 32 assists for 42 points, as well as the 33-point performances of Jeff Carter, who scored 26 goals and noticed seven assists, and Justin Williams who scored 11 goals and notched 22 assists.

In goal, the Kings are led by Jonathan Quick’s 18-13-4 record with a 2.45 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. Jonathan Bernier has been particularly strong as the backup, posting a 9-3-1 record with a 1.87 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. That means that even if the Kings see some shaky play in goal this post-season they know that they have someone to turn to, which is always relieving for a head coach.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see these two teams battle it out again after last year’s tense series. Playoff tickets always disappear in a big hurry, so make sure to come in and get yours picked out and purchased right away so that you do not miss out.

Wrigley Field to Get $500M Renovation

wrigley-fieldIt’s been an ongoing proposal between the Ricketts family – owners of the Chicago Cubs – and the city of Chicago. A renovation to Wrigley Field was needed, hopefully to revive a long-ailing baseball team, and to help bring in more profit for the team and its owners. How that renovation was going to be accomplished, what was going to be done, and who was going to pay for it were all up for debate. And now, the proposal has been finalized, the details have been ironed out, and a deal has been made.

The deal between the Chicago Cubs and the city allows Cubs chairman, Tom Ricketts, to start on a $500 million renovation to Wrigley Field that will keep the park open longer; and give it a much-needed facelift. One of the focal points of the deal is a 6,000 square foot video screen that will sit atop the bleachers at centerfield; as well as a 1,000 square foot sign in left field. Both of these are not to just provide for better spectator viewing, but also to allow the Cubs to advertise more and bring in more revenue. To the same end, the renovations will also allow Wrigley Field to host 40 night games there a year, instead of the current 30.

Not one tax dollar is being used to fund the project, and that was one of the biggest points of contention that held the project up.

Another was the rooftop patios that surround the field, and business owners that are angry about renovations that may block the view and therefore, hurt their business. They’ve even threatened to sue if that should happen; although the team has issued a statement saying that patios will be “largely preserved.”

Are you excited about the Wrigley Field renovations? Do you think it will help revive the Cubs?