NHL Playoff 1st Round Predictions (better late than never)

I think I’m coming down with a fever, and no I’m not sick. I have that playoff hockey fever thats going around. After a lockout shortened season, the playoffs have finally arrived, and I for one am excited. If you want to gear up for the NHL playoffs too, you are going to need to know when the games are. Here is a quick look at the schedule:

First Round

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1 Chicago BLACKHAWKS
8 Minnesota WILD

Game 1: at CHI, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 2: at CHI, Fri., May 3, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 3: at MIN, Sun., May 5, 3 p.m., NBC, CBC
Game 4: at MIN, Tue., May 7, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at CHI, Thu., May 9, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at MIN, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at CHI, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC*

2 Anaheim DUCKS
7 Detroit RED WINGS

Game 1: at ANA, Tue., April 30, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at ANA, Thu., May 2, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at DET, Sat., May 4, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at DET, Mon., May 6, 8 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at ANA, Wed., May 8, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at DET, Fri., May 10 TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at ANA, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

3 Vancouver CANUCKS
6 San Jose SHARKS

Game 1: at VAN, Wed., May 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at VAN, Fri., May 3, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 3: at SJ, Sun., May 5, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at SJ, Tue., May 7, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at VAN, Thu., May 9, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at SJ, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at VAN, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Saint Louis BLUES
5 Los Angeles KINGS

Game 1: at STL, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 2: at STL, Thu., May 2, 9:30 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 3: at LA, Sat., May 4, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 4: at LA, Mon., May 6, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at STL, Wed., May 8, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at LA, Fri., May 10, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at STL, Mon., May 13, TBD, CBC*

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1 Pittsburgh PENGUINS
8 New York ISLANDERS

Game 1: at PIT, Wed., May 1, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at PIT, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Sun., May 5, 12 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at PIT, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at PIT, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

2 Montreal CANADIENS
7 Ottawa SENATORS

Game 1: at MON, Thu., May 2, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at MON, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., CNBC. CBC, RDS
Game 3: at OTT, Sun., May 5, 7 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at OTT, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at MON, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at OTT, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at MON, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC, RDS*

3 Washington CAPITALS
6 New York RANGERS

Game 1: at WAS, Thu., May 2, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at WAS, Sat., May 4, 12:30 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Mon., May 6, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Wed., May 8, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at WAS, Fri., May 10, 7:30 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at WAS, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Boston BRUINS
5 Toronto MAPLE LEAFS

Game 1: at BOS, Wed., May 1, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at BOS, Sat., May 4, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: at TOR, Mon., May 6, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at TOR, Wed., May 8, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at BOS, Fri., May 10, 7 p.m. CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at TOR, Sun., May 12, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at BOS, Mon., May 13, CBC, RDS*

*If Necessary

Now that you know the schedule and the matchups, let’s breakdown each series and predict the winners. I’m going to start in the Western Conference. Why the Chicago Blackhawks are in the Western Conference I’ll never know, but they are, and they are clearly the best team in the NHL. You might remember them from their record breaking “winning” streak earlier in the season. They will handle the Minnesota Wild without a hiccup in the first round (4-0). As for the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Detroit Red Wings, I think we are going to hop in my time machine and go back about 10 years (ya know when the Red Wings were the best hockey team in the world). I see the Red Wings defense stifling the Ducks and winning a highly competitive series in 7 games. On we move to the Vancouver Canucks vs. the San Jose Sharks. This series is going to be a low scoring defensive affair. San Jose has the better defense, and they won the regular season series with the Canucks 3 games to none. Look for San Jose to continue their success and win this series in 6 games. Ah yes, the oh so difficult to predict 4 vs. 5 matchup. This year in the West we have the St. Louis Blues taking on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The kings swept the regular season series against the Blues(3-0). I think that the Kings will carry the momentum of their solid play late in the season to advance to the 2nd round. It should take 6 games for the Kings to oust the Blues.

Let’s take a road trip back to the East coast and take a look at the Eastern Conference matchups. The first look we will take is at the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the 8th seeded New York Islanders. Now I am an Islander fan, but even I can be objective; sometimes. The only way the Islanders remotely have a chance to win this series is if Sidney Crosby doesn’t play, and they beat up half of the Penguins starting line. Otherwise, they have little to no chance of advancing. I do believe that Sid the Kid is going to sit this round out, however it won’t be enough for the Islanders to move on. While the world will learn just how talented John Taveres is this week, he won’t be able to take the Penguinos down singlehandedly. Look for my Islanders to hang tough and lose this series in 6 HARD FOUGHT games. Lets Go Islanders!! (objectivity shmobjectivity). The second seeded Montrael Canadiens should handle the anemic offense of the Ottawa Senators in 5 games. Don’t look for any miracles in that series. I know I know, you want to see some upsets in the East too. Don’t worry they’re coming up right now. Let me preface this next series preview by saying that I strongly dislike the New York Rangers. However, they will take down the Washington Capitals in 6 games. You heard it here first. Lastly, the 4 vs. 5 matchup in the East should be equally as exciting as the 4/5 matchup in the West. All I have to say is, “Boston Strong Baby!” The Boston Bruins will do away with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 tough games.

Check back for 2nd round previews and predictions. Enjoy the NHL playoffs everyone!!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

One Liners Part II

“So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye”….Bye bye Mr. Tebow, it was absolutely no fun while it lasted (enjoy the Arena League).

I’m glad to see Dwight Howard has made strides toward maturity at the ripe old age of 27.

J.R. Smith should team up with Dwight to teach immature youth groups.

Trivia Question: Which takes longer, the NFL Draft or the first round of the NBA playoffs?

Well, the Milwaukee Bucks are good.

The Miami Heat are so good they are resting players during the playoffs!!

No, hell has not frozen over, the New York Islanders are IN the NHL playoffs.

UFC fans are happier than a kid on Christmas morning that Jon Jones put a whoopin’ on Chael Sonnen.

That last one makes me pretty happy too.

Jones’ new nickname has officially been changed to Jon ‘Broken Bones’ Jones.

Did you see his toe after his fight on Saturday?

That’s what you call a BROKEN toe.

If you haven’t seen it yet, click here and scroll down (WARNING, this picture is graphic and may not be suitable for everyone): http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1621382-ufc-159-results-heres-that-photo-of-jon-jones-broken-toe

How bout dem’ Yankees!

On a serious note: What a special moment it is for football players to be drafted into the NFL.

Especially for D.J. Hayden, with his miraculous recovery from life threatening surgery to NFL player in just 5 short months.

On another serious note: Congratulations to Jason Collins for becoming the first openly gay athlete in professional sports.

It was only a matter of time, and now maybe we’ll see a breakthrough for humanity in sports.

Seriously though, the Jets should start Mark Sanchez this season.

Or they can pickup Tim Tebow in free agency to be their running back (I hear he’s available now).

Apparently David Price is the only person on the planet that didn’t know that baseball umpires have potty mouths.

I’m about as excited for the NHL playoffs as I am for my grandma’s bridge game this Saturday.

I enjoyed Floyd Mayweather much better when he was in the hole.

Some one go tell him he’s not the best boxer ever, he’ll assault you, and then we won’t have to listen to him talk.

The Boston Celtics are old.

You know what would have been funny on draft day is if some one prank called Manti Te’o and told him he got drafted to the Lingerie Football League (I’m pretty sure he would have fallen for it).

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Can The New York Jets Do Anything Right?

WHAT?? The Jets did WHAT?!?!?! This has become a common response as a Jets fan lately. I will NEVER understand the New York Jets. They literally do the exact opposite of what they should be doing at all times. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the first round of the 2013 NFL draft took place on Thursday night. The Jets as usual made a debacle out of a pretty simple process. Let’s delve right in shall we? As bad as the Jets were last year, their strength was definitely their defense. Even without Darrelle Revis last season the Jets secondary was ranked 2nd in the NFL (in terms of passing yards given up). Plus, all the Jets do is draft defensive tackles that don’t amount to anything. However, this year I figured with a new general manager and the glaring need for offensive players, the Jets might actually draft with a purpose. They have more holes to fill offensively than any other team in the league, and with the 9th and 13th overall picks you could plug up some of those holes right away. So what did they do with their 2 first round picks??? They drafted 2 defensive players of course. What else did you expect? Usually when it comes to sports, I can put my thinking cap on and figure out why something happened. I, for the life of me can not figure out these draft picks made by the New York Jets. The only thing I can think of is that the Jets are actively trying to be a sideshow to stay in the news and remain profitable, but even that doesn’t make any sense. I honestly can’t comprehend the decisions made by this franchise. They are clearly in rebuilding mode, but I think everyone knows that except for them. Let me tell you what they should have done last night:

You have the 9th and 13th pick in a draft that is not filled with an abundance of superstars, especially offensively. Your only need defensively is either a linebacker or a defensive end that can really get after the quarterback. Offensively you are in need of a quarterback, a running back, at least one wide receiver, a tight end, and at least one offensive linemen. With the 9th pick they should have drafted either of the players who were selected 10th and 11th last night; Chance Warmack or D.J. Fluker. Both played at Alabama on what was the best offensive line in the nation last year. Both are NFL ready and can instantly provide protection for your quarterback and improve your run game. But no, instead the Jets draft a cornerback (who is coming off labrum surgery, oh no I’m sorry he’s coming off FIVE SURGERIES) to immediately replace Darrelle Revis. Good idea!! His name by the way is Dee Milliner. If healthy he can be pretty good, but cornerback is simply not the Jets primary concern. Then what transpired at the 13th pick can only be described as a train wreck in slow motion. Have I mentioned that the Jets need offensive players? No? Okay good. What they should have done is trade the 13th pick for 2 picks at the end of the first round or into the beginning of the second round. There weren’t any offensive skill players that you could have justified taking with the 13th pick. So, if they had traded down, they could have drafted any combination of a running back, a wide receiver, a tight end, or a quarterback. I simply don’t understand taking a defensive tackle for the third consecutive draft. And if you ask me I don’t think Sheldon Richardson is even the best player at his position from this draft. Do these drafts seem eerily familiar to you? Find theory below:

Ah Rex Ryan, how I hate thee. I don’t know if it’s true, but the consensus is that Ryan was the “mastermind” behind these picks. If that’s the case this infuriates me more than I can ever express in words. Rex Ryan isn’t going to be the coach after this coming season. So why in the world would he be allowed to handpick players for the Jets? Something stinks here, but I’m not sure what it is. For the Jets sake and for the sake of Jets fans everywhere, I hope they draft a slew of offensive players with the rest of their picks. If they don’t I might have to jump ship and find a new team to root for. I’m only half kidding because loyalty in sports is literally all you have as a fan. But let me tell you that as each day passes it is becoming exponentially harder to root for the Jets. Like, love, or hate the Jets draft choices so far? Tell me about it in the comment section below….

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Knicks Defense Stifles Celtics

The atmosphere inside the World’s Most Famous Arena Tuesday night was electrifying. The crowd was in the game from start to finish, and the Knicks were able to match the fans intensity. That intensity really showed itself on the defensive end. Let me just say that if the Knicks play defense the way they did in the 2nd half, they will give Miami a run for their money. This game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Celtics played efficiently on the offensive end and they applied solid pressure on the defensive end. The first quarter was back and forth until J.R. Smith took over. His pure athleticism coupled with his acrobatic shots put the Knicks on top heading to the 2nd quarter. Smith was able to score 5 points inside the final 7 seconds of the 1st quarter to leave the Knicks ahead by 6. His final shot at the buzzer was a step back 3-pointer from about 40 feet. The Garden erupted, and it looked like the Knicks were going to cruise to an easy victory. The Celtics, however, had other plans. The Celtics turned up their defense and started pushing the ball up the floor off of turnovers. With the pace of play being turned up a notch, this created open shots for Jason Terry. Terry finally found his range as he hit three consecutive three pointers and helped the Celtics grab a six point advantage heading into halftime. The 2nd half did not exactly go as well as the 1st for the Celtics. The 3rd quarter of Tuesday night’s game was an exact blueprint of what the Knicks need to do to win. The Knicks energy and defensive intensity was phenomenal. They forced numerous turnovers and their defensive pressure stifled the old men in green. Paul Pierce has always looked like he’s running in quicksand, but I think it’s safe to say he’s nearing the bottom of the hill. Kevin Garnett on the other hand never got anything going due to early foul trouble. This time it seemed that he was the one frustrated by his opposition (and Carmelo didn’t even have to say anything about his wife, hmm go figure). The Knicks defense was intense, it was swarming, it was physical, and best of all it sent a message to the rest of the league. The Knicks in 2 straight games have held the Celtics to 24 and 23 2nd half points; respectively. Thats insane! Now all they need to do is commit themselves completely to that hard nose style of play, and they’ll be all set. And let me branch off here for a second to spend a little time to give credit where credit is due. Kenyon Martin is the man! I love Kenyon Martin’s game (and if you don’t you need to have your head examined). My favorite part of any game is when a player drives down the middle of the lane thinking he has a free path to the basket for a dunk. Little does he know that Kenyon Martin is not just waiting, he’s salivating for such an opportunity. What comes next is the best part. Kenyon either takes the player down in a way that the player says to himself, “I better not try that again”, or he comes away with a monster block. Either way Kenyon Martin is sending this message: (which I approve) Don’t you bring that weak stuff up in here boy! (And then he screams at the crowd which is awesome!). And that right there is what you should love about Kenyon Martin and the dynamic he brings to this roster. Plus, his wry smile at the ref every time he commits a ‘foul’ is pretty amusing too. Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand. We know what Melo brings to the table, and we think we know what J.R. Smith brings as well. But what we don’t know is how consistently Raymond Felton can play with the aggressive nature we saw Tuesday night. Felton was by far the player of the game last night. I know I know, Melo had all those points, but without Felton’s contributions that game would have ended differently. So, if Chandler, Shumpert, and Martin bring the defense while Melo and Melo Jr. bring the offense, all we need is little Raymond Felton to penetrate the defense and either dish or attack the basket. With Felton as a viable 3rd offensive weapon the Knicks stand a serious chance in the Eastern Conference. All the Knicks need to do now is not have a let down like we’ve all grown accustom to. They can’t get comfortable with a 2 game lead (especially with those 2 wins coming at home). They need to stay focused as
they enter the hostile environment that will be the TD Garden in Boston. Even with the declining play from Boston’s stars, Boston is going to be the toughest place to play for the foreseeable future, trust me. The Knicks need to keep their defensive intensity up and win game 3. Then they’ll be in the drivers seat. You can catch game 3 of the New York Knicks vs. the Boston Celtics on Friday night @ 8:00 p.m. Tune into ESPN to catch all the action. Enjoy the rest of the series everybody.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Revis Island Is Relocated

Well it was only matter of time, but today the New York Jets parted ways with star cornerback Darrelle Revis. They traded Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 13th overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. For all the people who are sensible and understand the situation the Jets put themselves in, this was a move that HAD to be made. The Jets are at minimum 3 years away from competing (and that’s being very very nice). To be honest, they are more like 5 years away. With the rebuilding state that they’re in, you simply can’t tie up so much salary on one player. I know people will say, “but his contract has no guaranteed money in it so what’s the problem?” To that I say you would still be filling a roster spot with a 29 year old who is coming off a torn ACL and wants to be the highest paid player in the world. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do? Plus, what does Revis do whenever he doesn’t get what he wants? Yup you guessed it, he holds out until someone pays him what he feels he deserves. In the past he deserved the money he got, but you can’t convince me that he’ll undoubtedly return to the Darrelle Revis of 2010. Not everyone in the world is Adrian Peterson. If you still don’t get my point, let me keep hammering the round peg into the square hole. See, its kind of like Ichiro Suzuki playing for the Seattle Mariners for all those years (when they were terrible). It’s a waste of time for both parties. If you have to rebuild and fill 12 empty roster spots (a roster spot that includes a new QB), than you can’t occupy one of those spots with a player that won’t be playing at a high level once the rebuilding phase is complete. It’s not an attack on Revis’ game, it’s simply logic. Now, as for analyzing the trade itself, that’s another story. Darrelle Revis, even coming off ACL surgery, is worth more than the 13th pick in the NFL draft. The only problem is, thanks to the Jets organization that is the absolute best value they were going to get for him. If you recall an article I wrote entitled ‘The Unnatural Disaster that is The New York Jets’, I highlighted how poorly the Darrelle Revis situation was being handled. Months ago, the Jets leaked that they were shopping Revis. This news came out of nowhere and it wasn’t a good tactical move for anyone involved. What this slip up really did was devalue Revis. When a franchise says, “hey everyone, we WANT to trade one of our players!”, the rest of league says, “okay sounds good and thanks for the leverage”. You at that point have no bargaining chips whatsoever. You just have to wait and hopefully see if a team comes along that is actually interested in your player and has just enough to offer. And that my friends is exactly what happened. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had some money to throw around and they had a decent enough draft pick to interest the Jets in giving up Revis. It also didn’t hurt that the Bucs secondary was horrendous last season. Now Jets fans need to join me in realizing just how bad they are going to be for the foreseeable future (come to terms with it already you’ll feel better). Then all you can do is hope that Revis is never the same player he once was, and that the Jets 13th overall draft pick this year turns into the next Lawrence Taylor. Then you’ll join me in saying they made the absolute correct move today. However, knowing the Jets luck, Revis will probably win defensive player of the year for the next three years, and their two first round draft picks won’t even make the team this season (hahahaha). You’re only half laughing because you know it’s possible. Enjoy the NFL draft and enjoy a long loooooooong NFL season.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Everybody Ready For the Miami Heat To Start Trying??

Ready or not here come the NBA Playoffs. They will start today Saturday, April 20th at 3:00 p.m. when the Boston Celtics travel to New York to take on the Knicks. This is a very interesting series that carries many subplots on and off the court. As you all know, the city of Boston has gone through a heart wrenching week. While all are relieved that the persons responsible for the tragic bombings in Boston are dead or in custody, the city is still emotional right now. They also have a great sense of pride right now (as they should). The Boston Celtics would love to show their support to their great city and give it’s people something positive to cheer for. Beating the New York Knicks in the scheme of life means next to nothing, but it would even further unite the great people of their city. I personally feel for Boston. I think it is a great city filled with great people, and no one should have to experience what they have experienced over the past week. Again, sports are what they are, they are just games, but at times can mean so much more. New Yorkers know a little something about that. I feel that the Celtics team will give it their all and will take the Knicks to the limit in this playoff series. Now let’s talk about basketball for a minute. From a skill standpoint the Knicks are the better team with better players. However, if the Celtics are healthy and the Knicks are not, Melo and his boys might be in some trouble. The Celtics are a veteran squad who have playoff tested warriors. They know exactly what it takes to win. With all that being said, I still believe that Melo and the Knicks will be too much to handle for the Celtics. I believe this will be a hard fought series that will go the full 7 games. The home teams will stay undefeated throughout this series, and the Knicks will pull out a win at home in game 7. As for the rest of the playoffs, let me run down the schedule of games with each matchup and who I think will prevail:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MIAMI HEAT (1) VS. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (8)
Game 1 @Miami: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Miami: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3 @Milwaukee: April 25, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 4 @Milwaukee: April 28, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
*Game 5 @Miami: April 30
*Game 6 @Milwaukee: May 2
*Game 7 @Miami: May 4

NEW YORK KNICKS (2) VS. BOSTON CELTICS (7)
Game 1 @New York: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 @New York: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Boston: April 26, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Boston: April 28, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
*Game 5 @New York: May 1
*Game 6 @Boston: May 3
*Game 7 @New York: May 5

INDIANA PACERS (3) VS. ATLANTA HAWKS (6)
Game 1 @Indiana: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Indiana: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3 @Atlanta: April 27, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Atlanta: April 29
*Game 5 @Indiana: May 1
*Game 6 @Atlanta: May 3
*Game 7 @Indiana: May 5

BROOKLYN NETS (4) VS. CHICAGO BULLS (5)
Game 1 @Brooklyn: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Brooklyn: Monday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Chicago: April 25, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 4 @Chicago: April 27, 2 p.m., TNT
*Game 5 @Brooklyn: April 29
*Game 6 @Chicago: May 2
*Game 7 @Brooklyn: May 4

WESTERN CONFERENCE

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (1) VS. HOUSTON ROCKETS (8)
Game 1 @Oklahoma City: Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Oklahoma City: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Houston: April 27, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Houston: April 29
*Game 5 @Oklahoma City: May 1
*Game 6 @Houston: May 3
*Game 7 @Oklahoma City: May 5

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2) VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7)
Game 1 @San Antonio: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 @San Antonio: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Los Angeles: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Los Angeles: April 28, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @San Antonio: April 30,
*Game 6 @Los Angeles: May 2
*Game 7 @San Antonio: May 4

DENVER NUGGETS (3) VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (6)
Game 1 @Denver: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Denver: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Golden State: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ESPN2
Game 4 @Golden State: April 28, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @Denver: April 30
*Game 6 @Golden State: May 2
*Game 7 @Denver: May 4

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4) VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5)
Game 1 @Los Angeles: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Los Angeles: Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Memphis: April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 4 @Memphis: April 27, 4:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @Los Angeles: April 30
*Game 6 @Memphis: May 3
*Game 7 @Los Angeles: May 5

“*” = if necessary

I will start with the Eastern Conference, as I think this it is the easier conference to predict. The Heat will sweep the Bucks. If they don’t it means something went horribly wrong. As I stated earlier I believe the Knicks will beat the Celtics in 7 games. The Pacers will take out the Atlanta Hawks in 5 low scoring affairs. Now, the Nets vs the Bulls will certainly be a fun series to watch. You have the tough physical defense of Chicago going up against the tough physical offense of Brooklyn. While I like Chicago’s style of play, I think they are too banged up and Brooklyn’s roster will prove to be too much. I like the Nets in 7 grueling games.

Let’s move on to the Western Conference and see what’s going to happen. James harden had a great season. He will also have the privilege of facing his former team in the 1st round of the playoffs. Sorry James, you are going to get swept. If you go off for 45 at home in game 3 or 4 you may have the pleasure of losing in 5 games. Otherwise you’ll get a souvenir broom to bring home with you. Everyone is telling me how good of a matchup this is for the Lakers. To that I say HAHAHA. The Spurs will handle Dwight Howard and the Lakers without much of an issue. Yes, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol will play well, and two 7 footers are a lot to handle, but the Spurs are too good for the lakers. Period. I have the Spurs moving on in 5 games. The series that will be the most fun to watch is the Nuggets vs the Warriors. These are too fast paced high powered offenses that should try to outs ore each other. If you haven’t seen Stephen Curry play basketball yet, I have one word for you. Enjoy. However, Curry and David Lee can’t beat the Nuggets by themselves. Plus the Nuggets don’t exactly lose at home. I like the Nuggets in 6 games. Lastly, you have the best team in Los Angeles (the Clippers) taking on the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are big and physical and they play defense, but they can’t beat the Clippers in a 7 game series. Sorry Memphis, but you will be going home in 6 games. Better luck next year.

Check back next year when the 1st round is finally over and I’ll give you my predictions for the 2nd round. Cut down the number of teams in the playoffs and you’ll solve a lot of problems. You may take money out of someone’s pocket, but it would be the right thing to do for the sake of the game. Enjoy the games everybody, and for objectivity’s sake: Let’s Go Knicks!!!!

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Tragedy at the Boston Marathon

As everyone has heard by now, there were two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. The authorities are saying that these explosions were definitely bombs, and this is being treated as a terrorist attack. No one has come forward to accept responsibility for the attacks at this point in time. The news of these blasts has touched every corner of the world, and we as a nation need to unite and support the great city of Boston. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, just 3 hours after the blasts made it known publicly that Boston will have any help, support, and/or resources deemed necessary. It is very difficult to find the right words to say, and I don’t think there are the “right” words for a situation like this. As of now there are 3 confirmed deaths and at least 145 injured. The number of injured continues to climb due to the aftermath of the explosions. My heart aches for the victims of this senseless act, and I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to anyone affected by yesterday’s events. Yesterday was meant to be a beautiful day in Boston. The weather was picture perfect, the Red Sox played, the Marathon was being held, and the Bruins were set to play as well. Most notably, it was Patriots Day which is a day to commemorate the opening battle of the American Revolution. This is a day to be proud to be a Bostonian. Unfortunately, excitement and elation quickly turned to confusion and chaos. While it is horrible that this heinous act took place at the finish line of the marathon, the affected were lucky that there were already hundreds of firemen, police officers, and medical staff on hand for the race. No one knows how many more people would have suffered fatal injuries if there weren’t medical personnel on site already.

This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever written about as I have many emotions swirling around at the moment. I feel sad, helpless, confused, and angry all at the same time. I wish there was something I could do to help the innocent victims of this crime. I wish I could find the scum that committed these crimes and show them and the world that our country is not to be messed with. I wish I could comprehend the actions of these sick people. It’s simplistic to say, well there are bad people who do bad things. It is impossible to understand how a human being can get enjoyment out of harming and killing innocent people. It is impossible to understand! Our country needs to find the sons of bitches that committed these crimes and they need to be made an example of in front of the whole world. If terrorists and psychotic groups of people think it’s okay to attack us, we will show them what will be in store for them. And we need to heighten security everywhere. I know it is next to impossible to stop an event like yesterday’s from happening, but we need to be more aware of these dangers. We tightened security after 9/11, but it has softened over time. Even if it means being slightly inconvenienced, we need to take the extra time to ensure everyone’s safety in public venues.

While this is how I feel about terrorists, we don’t officially know who exactly is responsible for Monday’s bombings. What we do know is that the FBI is heading up the investigation, and I think they will get to the bottom of this. While we are all most likely feeling sad and angry, we must take a minute to recognize the positive in every situation. There are heroes to acknowledge in the wake of the bombings. While most people were running away from the danger, you had policemen, firemen, volunteers, and concerned citizens running toward the explosions in an attempt to help people. These are the people that deserve a round of applause. To put yourself in harms way to help strangers is courageous and should be celebrated, even if only for a minute. Once again, it is a tragedy that took place on Monday. No one should ever have to go through such a terrible event in their lives, but unfortunately there are people out there trying to harm the world. My heart goes out to all the people and their families and loved ones that have been affected by these events. We will stand up together as a nation and will overcome these events. You are not alone!