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Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Week in Sports: May 24, 2012

It's getting to be the end of May.  That means that the NBA and the NHL are getting into the late rounds of their playoffs.  Auto racing has big events on the schedule.  And we are in the heart of horse racing's run to the Triple Crown.  There is a lot going on, so let's get to it.

The Week That Was:  

(Maxwell Kruger-US PRESSWIRE)
The Preakness Stakes:  It's hard to match the drama of the Kentucky Derby due to the pageantry and color that surrounds the event.  This year, we also got a great race.  But, as great as the Derby was, the 137th running of the Preakness was even better.  I'll Have Another came from behind once again to beat Bodemeister at the wire.

NHL:  In the West, the 8th seeded Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Phoenix Coyotes in just five games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Meanwhile, a blood feud is underway between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference.  The Rangers got off to a good start by taking a 2-1 lead in the series.  But, the Devils won Game 4 at home to tie the series.  Then the Devils won Game 5 in New York.  So, the Devils have a 3-2 advantage in the series with Game 6 set to be played on Friday night in New Jersey.

NBA:  The story of the NBA playoffs mirrors what's going on in the NHL.  The victorious teams in the West advanced easily while the series in the East are knock-down, drag-out affairs.  The Spurs swept the upstart Clippers.  The games between the Thunder and the Lakers were mostly tight games.  But, the Thunder only needed five of those games to advance to the conference finals.  But, in the Eastern Conference, things are still very much up for grabs.  The 76ers faced elimination against the Celtics in Game 6.  But the Sixers played hard and won the game at home to force a decisive Game 7 in Boston on Friday.  The Indiana Pacers looked like they had the Miami Heat in some trouble partway into Game 4.  The Pacers had a 2-1 advantage in the series and had a good lead in the first half at home in Game 4.  Then the Heat flexed their muscles.  The Heat were able to pull out a victory in Game 4.  They followed that up with a blowout win in Miami in Game 5.  The Heat and Pacers are playing Game 6 in Indiana as I type.

The Week Ahead:

Auto Racing:  Memorial Day weekend is here.  That means it is time for the greatest weekend in American motor sports.  The greatest spectacle in racing will take place on Sunday at the Indianapolis 500.  Coverage of that race starts at 11:00 a.m. on ABC.  The green flag is scheduled for just after noon.  Later in the day, the racing action moves to Charlotte, North Carolina for NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.  This is one of the premier events on the NASCAR schedule.  It is the longest race of the season and takes place on NASCAR's home track.  The race begins in the daytime and ends under the lights.  Coverage starts at 5:30 on FOX.

NBA:  The Conference Finals will be starting up in the East and the West.  The times, dates and teams are still TBD in the East.  But, the Western Conference Finals will start on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.  The clash between the Spurs and the Thunder has great story lines and should give us great play.  San Antonio and Oklahoma City are two of the best run franchises in all of sports.  The Thunder are in many ways a next-generation version of the Spurs.  But, the Spurs are healthy and undefeated so far in this year's playoffs.

NHL:  The Rangers and the Devils still have business to finish in the Eastern Conference.  Game 6 will take place Friday in New Jersey at 8:00 p.m.  If necessary, Game 7 will be played on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.  Both of those games will be aired on NBC Sports Network.  The winner of that series will face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The finals will start on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m.  The Stanley Cup Finals will be broadcast on NBC ... the real NBC.

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