Today in Sports: 6/12/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game five of the NBA Finals. After losing their first game of the playoffs, the Warriors have a chance of winning the championship in front of their home crowd. Now up 3-1 in the series, the Cavaliers hope to have the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, just one year after having the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. Imagine if the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead” turned into “Warriors blew a 3-0 lead.” Although it’s unlikely, nothing is impossible for LeBron James. He’s the best player on the planet. The Warriors will try to force someone else to step up, something that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are capable of doing. This will either be the last game of the NBA season, or a horrifying reminder to the Warriors that a series isn’t over until it’s over.

Today in Sports: 6/8/17 Preview

NHL:

Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Predators in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals. With both teams winning two games, the Stanley Cup Finals has become a three game series. Since the home team has won each of the first four games, the Penguins will be favored to take a 3-2 series lead. The Predators will have to win at least one game in Pittsburgh to win the championship. That’s easier said than done, especially because of Pittsburgh’s championship pedigree. The winner of this game will be heavy favorites to win the championship. This game is extremely crucial for both teams.

Today in Sports: 6/7/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Warriors in game three of the NBA Finals. After losing the first two games on the road, the Cavaliers return home and need to use last year’s Finals as an example of what they need to do this year. The Cavaliers were blown out in the first two games of last year’s Finals before winning the championship. But this is a different year and a different Warriors team. Last year’s team may have broken the regular season record for victories, but they didn’t have Kevin Durant. This year’s Warriors look poised to win their second championship in three years. The Cavaliers will need to find a way to slow down Durant and get some quality production from their bench. Otherwise, they will get embarrassed once again. This is a must win game for the Cavaliers.

Today in Sports: 6/6/17 Preview

MLB:

Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers host the Nationals in game two of their three-game set. After losing the first game, the Dodgers will look to even the series. The Nationals will be starting Max Scherzer, who is having another impressive season. He is 6-3 with a stellar 2.56 ERA. The Dodgers will be countering with Brandon McCarthy. He’s also having a fantastic season. McCarthy is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA. Both teams have a lot of quality bats in their lineups, so this could be a pitcher’s duel or a shootout. Although the Dodgers are at home, the Nationals are slight favorites to win this game.

Today in Sports: 6/5/17 Preview

NHL:

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators: The Predators host the Penguins in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. Coming off of a dominating game three win, the Predators will look to hold serve at home and even the series at two games apiece. With Pittsburgh’s championship pedigree and overall talent, the Predators cannot afford to lose this game at home and give the Penguins a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Penguins will still be the favorites no matter what happens in this game, but will try to make things easier for themselves by winning this game. This is an extremely pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 6/4/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game two of the NBA Finals. After a dominating win in game one, the Warriors will attempt to take a 2-0 lead and keep home-court advantage in this series. The Cavaliers will be looking to even the series at one game apiece with an upset win in Oakland. LeBron James had a poor performance in game one, and will need to rebound and be the best player on the court if the Cavaliers are going to keep the game competitive and possibly steal a game on the road. They’ll also need to find a way of slowing down Kevin Durant, who was unstoppable in game one. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but it’s a pivotal game that could set the tone for the remainder of the series.

Today in Sports: 6/3/17 Preview

NHL:

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators: The Predators host the Penguins in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. After losing the first two games on the road, the Predators return home to play in front of their home fans. Nashville cannot afford to lose this game and fall behind 3-0 in the series. The Penguins are looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead to increase their chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champions. This is a pivotal game in the series for both teams.

Today in Sports: 6/2/17 Preview

MLB:

Houston Astros at Texas Rangers: The Rangers host the Astros in game one of their three-game set. The Astros will be starting Dallas Keuchel, who is having another stellar season. He has an 8-0 record with an amazing 1.81 ERA. He’s been the best pitcher on the best team in baseball. The Rangers will be countering with Yu Darvish. Although they’ve struggled as a team this year, Darvish is putting up another solid campaign in 2017. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.97 ERA. This should be a pitcher’s duel, but the Astros will be favored due to their offensive firepower.

Today in Sports: 6/1/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. This is the third consecutive year that these teams are meeting in the Finals, which hasn’t ever happened before in NBA history. The Warriors haven’t played in more than a week, and the Cavaliers haven’t played in exactly a week. Since both of these teams dominated in their prior playoff series, they’ve been used to the long layoffs before starting the next series. The key to this game will be how each team is affected by the long layoff. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/31/17 Preview

NHL:

Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Predators in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. After an exciting and controversial game one, the Penguins look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. The Predators want redemption after a controversial offsides call cost them a chance of going into overtime in game one. They’ll need to use that as motivation to try and even the series at one game apiece. Nashville started the game slow before finding their rhythm in the second and third periods of game one. They cannot afford to make that same mistake in game two. The Penguins went an NHL playoff record 37 minutes without a shot on goal. They’ll need to throw more pucks at the net in game two. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but the winner of this game will have the home ice advantage in the series.

Today in Sports: 5/30/17 Preview

MLB:

Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants: The Giants host the Nationals in the second game of their three-game set. The Nationals look to win the series after winning the first game by a score of 3-0. It will be interesting to see how both teams respond after the fight between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland. Strickland was upset about giving up two home runs to Harper a few years ago in the playoffs, so he threw the first pitch at Harper. It’s hard to blame Harper for defending himself after such a cowardice act. Hopefully the league comes down hard on Strickland for his selfish act. The Nationals are starting Gio Gonzalez, who has a 3-1 record and a 2.90 ERA. The Giants are countering with Jeff Samardzija, who has a 1-6 record and a 4.50 ERA. The Nationals are favorites to win this game.

Today in Sports: 5/29/17 Preview

NHL:

Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Predators in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams will be looking to get off to a fast start to give themselves an advantage in the series. The winner of game one will be heavy favorites to win it all. The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Because of their talent and championship pedigree, they are the favorites in this series. But Nashville is no slouch; Pittsburgh will have to continue playing at a high level to defeat the Predators. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/28/17 Preview

MLB:

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers host the Cubs in the final game of their three-game set. The Dodgers won the first two games of the series and will be looking to sweep the defending World Series champions. The Cubs will be starting Jon Lester, who has been one of the best pitchers of the last decade. He hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, but it’s likely only a matter of time before he finds his stride. The Dodgers are countering with future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. Like Lester, he has been one of the best pitchers of the last decade. This game should be a low-scoring pitcher’s duel.

Today in Sports: 5/27/17 Preview

MLB:

Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays host the Rangers in game two of their three-game set. The Blue Jays won the first game by a score of 7-6. The Rangers will be starting Yu Darvish, who will try to help end their four game losing streak. Darvish is 5-2 with a stellar 2.83 ERA. The Blue Jays will be countering with Marco Estrada. Estrada is 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA. With both of these starters pitching at a high level this season, the team that scores the first run will be heavy favorites to win the game.

Today in Sports: 5/26/17 Preview

MLB:

Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants: The Giants host the Braves in game one of their three-game set. The Giants are starting Matt Cain. He has a 3-2 record with a 4.91 ERA. Cain hasn’t been his usual self this year, but he still has the ability to dominate any opposing lineup. The Braves are countering with Jaime Garcia. He is 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA. Garcia will try to shake off his slow start to the season in this game. Both teams are underachieving this season, so it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.

Today in Sports: 5/25/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. With a 3-1 series lead, the Cavaliers have a chance of finishing the series and clinching their third straight trip to the NBA Finals. With star point guard Isaiah Thomas sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, the Cavaliers will be heavy favorites to win this game. If the Cavaliers do win the game, they’ll play the Warriors for the third straight year in the NBA Finals. This is a must-win game for the Celtics to keep their season alive.

NHL:

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host the Senators in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. There are no two words more exciting in sports than game seven. Although the Penguins are favorites to win the game, anything can happen in a game seven. This is what makes sports exciting. The winner of the game will face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/24/17 Preview

MLB:

Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox host the Rangers in the second game of their three-game set. Boston won the first game in the series by a score of 11-6. Chris Sale is starting for the Red Sox. He has a 4-2 record with a stellar 2.19 ERA. The Rangers are countering with Martin Perez. He has a 2-5 record with a solid 3.71 ERA. The Red Sox are favored in this game due to Chris Sale being on the mound. He’s one of the best pitchers in the American League.

St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers host the Cardinals in the second game of their three-game set. The Dodgers were victories in last night’s game after scoring a walk-off run in the 13th inning. Mike Leake is starting for the Cardinals. He has a 4-2 record with a stellar 2.03 ERA. The Dodgers are countering with Rich Hill. He has a 1-1 record with a stellar 2.77 ERA. The Dodgers are slight favorites in this game, which will likely be a pitcher’s duel.

Today in Sports: 5/23/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Celtics in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals. After dominating the first two games in Boston, the Cavaliers returned home for game three as heavy favorites to complete their third straight series sweep. The Celtics ruled out star Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the season, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers would easily win. However, the Celtics showed their resilience and defeated the Cavaliers on a game winning three-point shot by Avery Bradley. They were down by 21 points in the third quarter, but didn’t quit fighting. LeBron James had his worst playoff performance in years. He looked tentative the whole game. This should be a wake-up call for King James and company. They’ll be heavy favorites to win this game too, but cannot be complacent against the desperate Celtics. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 5/22/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are looking to sweep their third straight series. This will be Golden State’s third straight NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard is not expected to play, which is detrimental to San Antonio’s chances of extending the series. LaMarcus Aldridge will need to step up in Leonard’s absence, which is something that he’s been unable to do during the playoffs. The Warriors are heavy favorites to finish the sweep. This is a must-win game for the Spurs.

Today in Sports: 5/21/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Celtics in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. After two dominating performances in Boston, the Cavaliers return home to play in front of their home crowd. Boston’s star point guard Isaiah Thomas has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Boston’s chances of defeating the defending champions were already decimated when they got embarrassed in game two, but now it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers will be playing in their third straight NBA Finals. This game will give the Celtics an opportunity to show what they’re made of. They’ll have to find a way to slow down LeBron James. He’s had ten straight fantastic games, and seems to be using the playoffs as an opportunity to remind the world that he’s the best player in the NBA. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Today in Sports: 5/20/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game three of the Western Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, the Spurs need to win this game to keep their NBA Finals hopes alive. Kawhi Leonard will not play in this game, which seriously cripples the Spurs’ chances of defeating the heavily favored Warriors. The Spurs need LaMarcus Aldridge to step up in Leonard’s absence. Golden State hasn’t lost a game in the playoffs, and looks like a team on a mission to redeem themselves from last year’s collapse in the NBA Finals. In all likelihood, the Warriors are going to win and it won’t be close. Hopefully the Spurs can keep the game close, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Today in Sports: 5/19/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals. After getting dismantled in game one, the Celtics need to rebound and even the series. They cannot afford to lose the first two games at home in this series. They were able to win their first round series after losing the first two games at home, but this Cavaliers team is a lot more talented than the Chicago Bulls. LeBron James has increased his intensity during the postseason. He is showing everyone that he’s still the best player in the world. He’s been dominant in all nine games this postseason. Boston will need to find a way to limit his impact. This is a must-win game for the Celtics.

Today in Sports: 5/18/17 Preview

NHL:

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators: The Predators host the Ducks in game four of the Western Conference Finals. The Predators have a chance of taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. After losing the opening game in this series, the Ducks were able to even the series at one game apiece. The Ducks lost the third game of the series on Tuesday, and will need to bounce back once again and even the series if they want to avoid three consecutive must-win games. This isn’t a must-win game for the Ducks, but losing this game would seriously cripple their chances of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/17/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. After conceding the number one seed by resting their starters in the final games of the regular season, the Cavaliers have to go on the road to Boston to start this series. The Cavaliers cared more about resting their starters than owning home-court advantage over the Celtics. The last time these two teams played in Boston, the Cavaliers won in convincing fashion. The Cavaliers haven’t lost a game yet in the playoffs and are heavy favorites to win the series, but they’re facing their toughest challenge yet this season. The Celtics have been called the worst number one seed in NBA history by many NBA experts. They will definitely use this as motivation. The Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and have multiple wing defenders that they can put on LeBron James. If they want to win this series, they’ll have to find a way to limit King James’ impact. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/16/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game two of the Western Conference Finals. After a controversial game one, the Warriors look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs will be playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard because of an ankle injury that he re-aggravated in game one. Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard on a questionable play that many people (including myself) think was dirty and intentional. Given Pachulia’s history, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Warriors were being dominated before Leonard’s injury. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were fantastic in game one, and will have a better chance of dominating again without Leonard’s presence on defense. This should be an easy win for the Warriors.

Draft Lottery: The NBA Draft Lottery will determine the draft order for the 2017 NBA Draft. The Miles Files will have all of your NBA Draft needs covered.

Today in Sports: 5/15/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in game seven of this second round series. The home team has won the first six games of this series. Although the Celtics are favored to win this game, anything can happen in game seven. The Wizards’ bench has struggled throughout the playoffs, especially in the three games in Boston. John Wall has been the best player in the series, but he cannot win this game by himself. The Wizards need to keep the game close when their second unit is on the floor. The Celtics’ backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley has played at a high level in this series. If they are able to outplay the Wizards’ backcourt, they will win the series. The winner of this game will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Today in Sports: 5/14/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. After missing game six of their last series, Kawhi Leonard should be healthy enough to play in this game without any limitations. The Warriors swept their first two series, and are heavy favorites to advance to the NBA Finals. The Spurs have Gregg Popovich, arguably the best coach in NBA history. Although they have the coaching advantage, the Warriors have the personnel advantage. If the Spurs are going to win this series, they’ll need to steal a few games in Oakland. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.

Today in Sports: 5/13/17 Preview

NHL:

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins will host the Senators in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals in seven games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators defeated the Boston Bruins in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Ottawa needed six games in the second round to defeat the New York Rangers. This should be a competitive series between two championship contenders.

Today in Sports: 5/12/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards look to keep their season alive in this must-win home game. The home team has won the first five games of this series, which is a trend that the Wizards must continue if they want to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs. John Wall has been the best player in this series. He had his first poor playoff performance in game five, but has been dominant in every playoff home game. Wall will likely play at a high level in game six, but will need help from his teammates to force a game seven. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are the second and third best players on the Wizards. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs. When they have a good game, the Wizards are hard to beat. With Washington’s terrible bench consistently struggling, the starters will need to play at a high level. Isaiah Thomas has been the star for the Celtics this postseason. Thomas doesn’t have a sidekick that he can consistently depend on, but he has multiple role players that have stepped up at key moments throughout the playoffs. Avery Bradley played like a superstar in game five. Al Horford and Jae Crowder have played like stars during key moments of games. Boston’s depth has been a major key to their success. Thomas is the engine that keeps them going, but he has a lot more help than John Wall does. Although Boston will be favorites in game seven if Washington wins this game, the Celtics cannot get complacent. Both teams will be fighting for their playoff lives in this pivotal game six.

Today in Sports: 5/11/17 Preview

NBA:

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to keep their season alive at home in a must-win game against the Spurs. Facing a 3-2 series deficit, the Rockets need to win the last two games of the series to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. In overtime of game five, James Harden single-handedly cost the Rockets the game by forcing up terrible shots and having costly turnovers. Kawhi Leonard was too injured to play in overtime, and the Rockets still lost the game. Harden will have to play like an MVP candidate in the next two games. Kawhi Leonard is questionable for game six. He said that he would play after game five ended, but coach Popovich isn’t as sure. If Leonard isn’t able to play, the Rockets shouldn’t have any issues forcing a game seven.

Today in Sports: 5/10/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards in a pivotal game five. With the home team winning the first four games, the Celtics are favorites to win game five in Boston. But John Wall has been the best player in this series. In the two games that Washington won in this series, the other starters have helped Wall lead the Wizards to victory. The key to this game will be the other four starters on the Wizards. The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They don’t have an answer for John Wall, but they do have the talent to slow down Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The Wizards’ bench has been terrible all season, so it’ll be up to the starters to win this game. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic throughout the playoffs. The Celtics has one of the deepest benches in the league that should be able to feast on Washington’s putrid bench. Washington’s starters have outplayed Boston’s starters in this series, but they haven’t always been able to overcome the runs Boston goes on when both team’s second units are on the floor. With these contrasting styles of play, it’ll be interesting to see which team will step up and play at a higher level than usual. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Today in Sports: 5/9/17 Preview

NBA:

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets and Spurs will play a pivotal game five in San Antonio. With the series tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Golden State Warriors. Although the Spurs are the home team, the Rockets proved in game one that they can win on the road. With Tony Parker out for the remainder of the postseason, the Rockets have a good chance of pulling off another road victory. James Harden hasn’t been shooting as consistently as he did during the regular season. Kawhi Leonard has done a fantastic job on the defensive end making Harden take difficult and contested shots. The Rockets typically win when they are making three pointers. The Spurs will need to limit the amount of uncontested three point shots Houston takes if they want to hold serve at home.

Today in Sports: 5/8/17 Preview

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Warriors look to sweep the Jazz in Utah. The Jazz have dealt with injuries all season, and have missed their point guard George Hill in the last two games. He may return for this game, but it’s too late to make much of a difference. No team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games. It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz will pull off this feat against the heavily favored Warriors. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert have played at a high level during this series, but they haven’t gotten enough help from the Jazz’s role players to win any of the first three games. The Warriors haven’t been consistent in this series, but they have enough stars on their team to overcome these inconsistencies. This is a must-win game for the Jazz if they want to keep their season alive.

Today in Sports: 5/7/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to sweep the Raptors in Toronto. Raptors’ All-Star Kyle Lowry will miss this game with a left ankle sprain. Without Lowry, DeMar DeRozan will have to pick up the slack. He’s been inconsistent throughout these playoffs. The Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline to try and knock off Cleveland in the playoffs. So far this plan has backfired. Ibaka and Tucker are both free agents after the season, so they may have wasted their one opportunity. LeBron James has played at an extremely high level in all seven postseason games. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have been inconsistent, but have shown flashes of brilliance. They’ll need to be more consistent if they want to repeat as NBA champions. This is a must-win game for Toronto, but even they know the series is over.

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Wizards will attempt to hold serve at home and even the series at two games apiece. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards dominated the Celtics in game three to keep their chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals alive. They cannot afford to lose game four at home. Although it’s possible to win a series after falling behind 3-1 (Warriors blew a 3-1 lead!), the Wizards are not talented enough to pull off that feat. John Wall has been fantastic throughout the playoffs, and will need another fantastic performance to help even the series. Wall’s teammates have been inconsistent during the playoffs. They cannot afford another poor performance. Isaiah Thomas has elevated his game in these playoffs, which has been an amazing feat because of the tragic loss of his sister before game one of their first round series. Thomas and the Celtics have an opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. This is the most important game for the Wizards this season.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to rebound after a game three loss at home to even the series at two games apiece. After losing Tony Parker in game two, the Spurs pulled off a shocking upset in game three on the road. The Rockets have struggled from behind the three point line in the last two games. They’ll have to make these open shots if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals. After game one, coach Gregg Popovich decided to put Kawhi Leonard on James Harden. Leonard has done a fantastic job of limiting Harden’s impact. Harden has struggled with his shot in the last two games, but he’s had a tough time finding open looks. He’s getting to the hoop but is having trouble finishing over the Spurs’ bigs. Harden will need to do a better job of putting the ball in the hoop when he gets near the basket. His teammates will have to help him by knocking down open threes. The winner of this game will be favorites to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Today in Sports: 5/6/17 Preview

Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:

The most exciting two minutes in sports will be held at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875. It’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown. The Miles Files will have all of the Kentucky Derby analysis that you’ll ever want!

 

NBA:

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Jazz host the Warriors in a must-win game for Utah. Although they are at home, they’ll be underdogs against the NBA’s best team. The Jazz had flashes of brilliance in the first two games of the series, but they weren’t able to limit Golden State’s runs. There are multiple times in every game that the Warriors go on crazy runs full of three pointers and fast break dunks. Their high-octane offense is hard to stop, so it’ll be a challenge for Utah to slow them down. George Hill missed game two and should be returning for game three. They don’t have any chance of winning this game without him. The Warriors haven’t lost a game this postseason, so Utah will need multiple players to step up. Gordon Hayward is extremely talented, but he cannot win this game by himself. If the Warriors win this game, they’ll have a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Jazz need to play their best game of the season if they want to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Today in Sports: 5/5/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors: The Cavaliers look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in Toronto against the Raptors. This is a must-win game for the Raptors, not only to keep their season alive but to validate the moves they made at the trade deadline. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to help them defeat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both of these players are free agents after the season, so it’ll seem like a waste if they don’t give the Cavaliers a challenge. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan need to play at a high level. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the playoffs, which has been their Achilles heel. LeBron James has been fantastic all postseason on both ends of the floor. The Raptors will need to find a way to limit his impact if they want to win their first game in this series.

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets: Both the Rockets and Spurs are trying to take a 2-1 series lead in Houston. After losing the home-court advantage and point guard Tony Parker to a season-ending injury, the Spurs are facing adversity that they haven’t faced all season. They have veterans on their roster with championship experience, but that may not be enough to beat the Rockets. After dominating the Spurs from the three point line in game one, the Rockets were missing three point shots at a high rate in game two. The outcome of this game will depend on Houston’s ability to make three point shots. James Harden was fantastic in game one but struggled in game two. Kawhi Leonard struggled in game one but was fantastic in game two. The superstar that plays at a higher level in game three will likely lead his team to victory. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Today in Sports: 5/4/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Celtics look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Wizards. Since no NBA team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games, this is a must-win game for the Wizards. John Wall has been fantastic in the first two games, but he hasn’t gotten much help. He’ll need his backcourt mate Bradley Beal to be more consistent for the rest of this series if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Wizards have one of the worst benches in the NBA, so they’ll have to play above their talent level to defeat the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic all postseason, which has been extremely impressive to watch due to the difficult circumstances affecting his personal life. Thomas has gotten help from him teammates in ways that John Wall hasn’t, which is why the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead. The Wizards need to defend their home court to keep their chances alive of advancing the Eastern Conference Finals.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Jazz. Both teams had poor performances in game one, but the Warriors still won the game comfortably. The only chance that the Jazz have of winning against this stacked Warriors team is by playing at a high level during an off night for Golden State. If both teams play at a high level, the Warriors will win convincingly. If both teams struggle, the Warriors will win convincingly. The Jazz have the personnel to give the Warriors fits, but cannot win if Gordon Hayward has another poor performance. George Hill is arguably their most underrated player, and he won’t play because of a toe injury. This is a huge blow to the Jazz. They have enough problems trying to beat Golden State when healthy, so losing a key starter will make this a nearly impossible task. If they are able to even the series without Hill, they should be confident going into game three. If Utah struggles again, Golden State might put the game away in the first half.

Today in Sports: 5/3/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Raptors. Toronto’s trade deadline additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker were a direct response to the Cavaliers’ dominance in the Eastern Conference. To defeat the best, you need the personnel to defeat the best. Toronto was missing a rim protector and wing defender, and was able to add both in lopsided trades at the trade deadline. These two additions will not win the series for Toronto, but they can help them get over the hump if Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan play up to their potential. The “trash bros” backcourt often struggle in the playoffs, but cannot afford to take a single game off in this series if they are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James has been dominant in all five games this postseason, but needs his teammates to pick up the intensity on defense. The Cavaliers have enough offensive firepower to run through the Eastern Conference, but they’ve struggled to defend all season. Toronto will need to exploit their defensive lapses if they want to even the series at one game apiece. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but the winner will have the home-court advantage in this series.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs:  The Spurs look to rebound against the Rockets after an embarrassing defeat in the first game of this series. The Spurs were punched in the mouth early, and didn’t have the heart to respond. Their defensive effort was poor, and they seemed to give up in the second quarter. Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in NBA history, and he won’t let his team get away with another lethargic performance. The Rockets were moving the ball and finding open shooters all game, which is the way they need to play to defeat the Spurs. If their shots are falling, they’re nearly impossible to beat. San Antonio has the experience advantage, but they don’t have the personnel to matchup with the Rockets’ pick-and-roll action. Popovich will need to make adjustments including benching Pau Gasol and David Lee when they’re getting exposed defensively. The Spurs cannot afford to lose the first two games of this series in front of their home crowd.

Today in Sports: 5/2/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Wizards will look to rebound after losing game one of this series in Boston. After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics were unstoppable offensively in the final three quarters. Both teams have defensive stoppers on their roster, but nobody decided to play defense in the first game. Both teams will try to make adjustments to their defensive strategies, and the team that makes the better adjustments should win game two. Isaiah Thomas was unstoppable for the Celtics, so the Wizards will need to come up with a game plan to limit his impact. Thomas is undersized, so their plan should include being physical with him. The Wizards have one of the best starting units in the NBA, but they’re a very top-heavy team. They’ll need to get more contributions from their bench if they want to pull off this upset. Markieff Morris sprained his ankle in the first game, and may not be able to play in game two. If he does play, it’s safe to assume that his mobility will be limited. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will determine which team has the home-court advantage in this series.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Jazz and Warriors begin their second round playoff series in Oakland. After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the Warriors had time to rest heading into this series. Coach Steve Kerr is still sidelined indefinitely because of complications from his back surgery, but Mike Brown has done a stellar job in his absence. Superstar Kevin Durant was injured in their first round series, but he should be fully recovered by now. The Jazz needed seven games to eliminate the Clippers in their first round series. They have dealt with injuries all season, and unfortunately those injury problems have continued in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert missed multiple games with a knee injury, and still seems a bit limited in his movements. Derrick Favors stepped up admirably in his absence, but he’s dealing with nagging injuries too. Even if the Jazz are at full strength, they’ll be heavy underdogs in this series.

Today in Sports: 5/1/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Raptors and Cavaliers begin their second round series in Cleveland. After defeating the Bucks in six hard-fought games, the Raptors need to step up their game if they want to knock the king off his throne. LeBron James has been to the NBA Finals in each of the last six seasons. The Cavaliers had time to rest because of their short four game sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Although they will be the favorites in this series, they have shown a propensity for underachieving all season. The Raptors added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline in an attempt to get over their playoff woes and defeat the defending NBA champions. Tucker will be tasked with guarding LeBron James, which is something that he’s capable of doing at a higher level than most wing defenders. There isn’t a player in the NBA that can stop LeBron James, but Tucker has the ability to limit his impact. Since both teams have had highs and lows throughout the season, anything can happen in this series.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets and Spurs begin their second round series in San Antonio. The Rockets defeat Russell Westbrook (not the Oklahoma City Thunder) in five games in their first round playoff series. The Spurs needed six tough games to defeat the “Grit and Grind” Memphis Grizzlies in their first round playoff series. Although the Spurs are the higher seeded team, many experts are picking the Rockets to advance to the conference finals. These teams are evenly matched, so it should be an extremely competitive series. The Spurs have the advantage of having Gregg Popovich and a championship pedigree, whereas the Rockets have MVP candidate James Harden and the most electric offense in the NBA other than the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have the best defensive player in the NBA in Kawhi Leonard, and it will be interesting to see if coach Popovich matches him up against James Harden. As an NBA fan, I’m hoping that we get to see these teams compete for seven games.

Today in Sports: 4/30/17 Preview

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Celtics host the Wizards for game one of this second round playoff series. These two teams do not like each other, so it should be a physical series. After losing the first two games to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics found their stride and won the last four games of the series. The Wizards defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs in six physical games. The Celtics are the favorites to win the series, but the Wizards aren’t afraid of playing the role of the underdog. They know they have enough talent to defeat the Celtics if they play up to their potential. This series should be fun and extremely competitive.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will meet in Los Angeles for the right to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. This game epitomizes the best two words in sports: game seven. After losing game six at home, the Jazz are now the underdogs heading into this matchup. The Clippers are without Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs, but have relied on superstar Chris Paul in his absence. The winner of this game will face the Warriors on Tuesday in Golden State.

Today in Sports: 4/28/17 Preview

NFL:

The second and third rounds of the NFL Draft will be held in Philadelphia. The Miles Files will have all your draft needs covered.

 

NBA:

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks face the Wizards at home in a must-win game. With the Wizards up 3-2 in this series, the Hawks need to win to keep their season alive. The home team has won the first five games of the series, so the Hawks will be favorites in this game. John Wall has been the best player in the series, but hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates in the two road games in Atlanta. Neither bench has been consistent during this series, so I expect the team with the better bench contribution to win. If the Hawks win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Washington.

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics look to close out this series against the Bulls in Chicago. After losing the first two games of the series, the Celtics have won three straight games and look poised to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Bulls haven’t been the same team since Rajon Rondo got injured. The Bulls’ backup point guards have struggled in the last three games, which has put a lot of pressure on Jimmy Butler. Although Butler is the best player in the series, he hasn’t been able to will his team to victory singlehandedly. He’ll need help from Dwyane Wade and his teammates if they want to force a game seven. If the Bulls win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Boston.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Clippers look to keep their season alive in this must-win game against the Jazz. Not only is this game crucial for their season, but this could be the end of an era for this Clippers team if they lose this series. Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could leave in free agency after the season, which would end this Clippers team’s championship window. The Clippers haven’t been the same team since oft-injured Griffin was lost for the season, so they’ll have to rely on Chris Paul more than ever. The Jazz are the healthiest that they’ve been all season, so pulling off the upset will be a daunting task for the Clippers. If the Clippers win this game, these two teams will play game seven on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Today in Sports: 4/27/17 Preview

NFL:

The first round of the NFL Draft will be held in Philadelphia. The Miles Files will have all your draft needs covered.

 

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks need to win at home against the Raptors to keep their season alive. The Bucks have shown the ability to win in Milwaukee and Toronto against this Raptors team, and they’ll have to do both again if they want to win the series. The Bucks cannot afford to look ahead to game seven before winning game six. Khris Middleton has struggled in the last few games, and he cannot afford to struggle anymore. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the series, but he cannot defeat the Raptors by himself. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have played up to their potential in the last two games. If they can continue this hot streak, they’ll likely end the Bucks’ season in Milwaukee. This isn’t a must-win game for the Raptors, but they’d like to end the series and shift their focus to the defending champion Cavaliers. The Bucks will need a freakish performance from the Greek Freak to help keep their season alive.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies need to win at home against the Spurs to keep their season alive. With the first five games in the series going to the home team, the Grizzlies will be favorites to win this game. They need to win the next two games to win the series, but they cannot look ahead to game seven before winning game six. The Grizzlies need to get major contributions from stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Kawhi Leonard has been the best player all series, and will need another MVP-like performance if they want to end the series in Memphis. Although this game isn’t essential for the Spurs, they’d like to win and get some rest before the second round. The Grizzlies will need their home crowd to help them in this game like they did in games three and four. It’s crucial for both teams that they bring their A game.

Today in Sports: 4/26/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: After losing the last two games in Atlanta, the Wizards return home to face the Hawks in a pivotal game five. With the series being tied at two games apiece, the winner of this game will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Hawks have played up to their potential for two straight games, but haven’t shown the ability to dominate the Wizards on the road. John Wall has been the best player in the series through four games, but hasn’t gotten the help from his teammates on the road that he did at home. Now that they’ve returned home to Washington, Wall will need his teammates to play at a high level if they want to win this series. The Wizards cannot afford a slip up against a less talented Hawks team. Although this game isn’t the deciding game in the series, it is crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Celtics return home to Boston to face the Bulls in a pivotal game five. After losing the first two games at home, the desperate Celtics evened the series by winning back-to-back road games in Chicago. Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo missed games three and four with an injury, and likely won’t be able to return in this series. The Bulls struggled without their point guard in the last two games, and will need some sort of contribution from Rondo’s replacements. With the Celtics back in the driver’s seat, they cannot afford another home loss to this injured Bulls team. Although this game isn’t the deciding game in the series, the winner will be overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/25/17 Preview

NBA:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: The Rockets look to finish this series against the Thunder by winning game five at home. After losing three of the first four games of this series, the Thunder need to win three straight games to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Probable MVP Russell Westbrook has put up fantastic numbers all series, but he hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates. James Harden has also put up fantastic numbers, but he’s been able to rely on his teammates when his shot isn’t falling. The Rockets are heavy favorites to win this game and advance to the second round of the playoffs, but it seems like Russell Westbrook plays his best when his back is against the wall. This game will likely be won by whichever of the two MVP candidates that can make a greater impact for their team.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies and Spurs will play game five in San Antonio with both teams trying to take a commanding 3-2 lead in this series. After losing the first two games in San Antonio, few people thought the Grizzlies were going to even the series with two wins in Memphis. Although Kawhi Leonard almost singlehandedly won game four, the Grizzlies were able to survive in overtime. The Spurs are the more talented team and are still favored to win the series, but the Grizzlies have shown that they do not fear San Antonio. Even without Tony “first team all defense” Allen, the Grizzlies have played great team basketball. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will play game five in Los Angeles with both teams trying to take a commanding 3-2 lead in this series. These teams have been two of the unluckiest teams in the NBA with all the injuries that they’ve suffered, but both still have a good chance of advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The Clippers are playing without star Blake Griffin for the rest of the playoffs, but have a lot of experience over the last few years of playing without the oft-injured Griffin. Rudy Gobert returned from injury to play in game four, which helped the Jazz overcome the loss of Gordon Hayward to food poisoning. Hayward should be able to return for game five, and they’ll need him healthy to pull off the road win against this desperate Clippers team. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s crucial for both teams that they play at a high level in this pivotal game five.

Today in Sports: 4/24/17 Preview

NBA:

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors are playing a pivotal game five in Toronto which will break the 2-2 series tie and give one of these teams an overwhelming advantage to win the series. Although the Raptors are favored to win this game and the series, the Bucks proved they can win in Toronto when they won the first game of the series. The Raptors were outplayed in each of the first three games, but were able to steal game two despite a poor performance from their backcourt. Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have lived up to their “trash bros” nickname during the playoffs, but are still in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round. They both had their first great game of the series in game four, which happened to be the first game that Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled. This game will come down to the two stars for each team. If Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton dominate, the Bucks will win game five. If Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan dominate, the Raptors will win game five. The stars for both teams will be under enormous pressure to help their team win and become overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Wizards and Hawks will play a crucial game four in Atlanta that could possibly decide the series. If the Wizards win game four, they’ll take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington. In all likelihood, the Hawks won’t win the series if they lose this game. If the Hawks win game four, they’ll even the series at two games apiece. Either way, the Wizards will still be favored to advance to the second round. John Wall has been fantastic in all three games, but didn’t get any contribution from his teammates in game three. If the Hawks are able to shut down John Wall’s teammates again, they’ll have a great chance of winning this game. If Wall and his teammates are able to play their style of basketball, they Hawks will be in serious trouble. For all intents and purposes, this is a must-win game for the Atlanta Hawks.

Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Warriors look to complete the sweep of the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Warriors have dominated the series, even with superstar Kevin Durant missing games two and three. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been dominant in two of the three games, but it ultimately hasn’t mattered because they haven’t gotten any help from their teammates. Jusuf Nurkic tried to play in game three and was ineffective. He won’t play in game four and likely won’t return later in the series (if the Trail Blazers win this game). The Splash Bros have been dominant all series, and have gotten large contributions from their teammates to win all three games. Portland will try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games, but they probably won’t even win this game. This isn’t a must-win game for the Warriors, but they’d like to win and get some rest. Hopefully they’ll be able to get Durant and coach Steve Kerr back during the playoffs, but they probably won’t need either of them to advance past Portland to the second round.

Today in Sports: 4/23/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to pull off a four game sweep of the Pacers in Indiana. LeBron James and Paul George have been dominant throughout the series. George has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Pacers, but hasn’t gotten consistent help from his teammates. Although Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love haven’t been consistent, they’ve had enough flashes to help the Cavaliers win each of the first three games. The Pacers will try to become the first team in NBA history to win a seven game series after falling behind 3-0. They can’t win all four games at once, so they’ll have to start by winning this game at home.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder look to even the series at 2-2 at home against the Rockets. After an exciting game three, both teams have a chance to make their mark on the series in game four. The Thunder need to keep pace with the Rockets by winning their second straight home game. If they lose, the Rockets will take a commanding 3-1 series lead and look to finish off the Thunder in game five at home. This is a pivotal game for both teams.

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics will look to even the series at two games apiece with a road win against the Bulls. After losing the first two games at home, the Celtics rebounded with a dominating road win. The Bulls lost point guard Rajon Rondo to an injury suffered in game two, which was a major reason why they lost game three. Rondo will likely miss the rest of the series (and playoffs), so they’ll have to find a way to win without him. Jimmy Butler is the best player in this series, so he’ll have to put the Bulls on his back if they want to advance to the second round. The Celtics can regain the home-court advantage with a win, which will put them in the driver’s seat to move on to the second round. The winner of this game will be huge favorites to win the series.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Jazz look to even the series at two games apiece against the Clippers in Utah. These two teams can beat anyone when healthy, but both have suffered a key injury during this series. They’re both used to playing with adversity due to the plethora of injuries both teams suffered during the regular season. Jazz star Rudy Gobert got injured ten seconds into the first game of the series, and is questionable to return in game three. His injury looked worse than it was, but he still might not be able to return in this series. Clippers star Blake Griffin injured his toe and will miss the rest of the postseason. This is a huge blow to the Clippers, which they were able to overcome in game three because of the brilliance of Chris Paul. The winner of this game will likely win the series, so it’s extremely important for both teams that they play their best basketball.

Today in Sports: 4/22/17 Preview

NBA:

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: After a pathetic showing in game three, the Raptors will look to bounce back and even the series at two games apiece. The Raptors cannot afford to go down 3-1 in the series, even though they are the more talented team and have the potential to win three straight games against the Bucks. The problem with this Raptors team is their confidence. If they go down 3-1 in this series, they’ll have to win despite being a perennial playoff underachiever. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, which will end up being a huge waste if they don’t make it out of the first round (especially if both leave in free agency). The Bucks have outplayed the Raptors in all three games of this series. With this game being in front of their home crowd, they have a good chance of taking a commanding lead in this series. The winner of this game will be huge favorites to advance to the second round.

Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are playing the Wizards at home in a must-win game. After losing both games in Washington, the Hawks cannot afford to go down 3-0 in this series. They’ve been competitive in the first three quarters of both games, but have struggled to close in the fourth quarter. John Wall has been the best player on the floor in both games. The Hawks don’t have a player that can stop him, so they’ll have to collectively try to limit his impact. The Wizards have the much more talented starting lineup, so the Hawks will need their bench players to rise to the occasion if they want to stay competitive in this series

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: After a convincing win in game three, the Grizzlies can even the series at home against the Spurs. After game two, the Grizzlies’ coach was critical of the referees. Although they won game three, the Spurs still received more foul calls than the Grizzlies. But that didn’t matter, because coach David Fizdale got his point across. He wanted his team to realize that they shouldn’t change their game plan because of how the refs were calling the game. The Grizzlies are a tough and aggressive team, and they cannot afford to stray from that style of basketball because they aren’t getting calls. Fizdale moved Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, which ended up being a fantastic decision. Although this game is extremely important for the Grizzlies, the Spurs will still be the favorites to win the series no matter who wins this game.

Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers return home to Portland in this must-win game against the heavily favored Warriors. After an embarrassing loss in game two, the Trail Blazers’ star backcourt needs to bounce back and lead their team to victory. With Kevin Durant missing game two, the Trail Blazers had their best chance to steal a road game from the Warriors. The Warriors will be heavy favorites to advance no matter what happens in this game. Durant may miss this game too, which likely won’t end up mattering. Portland needs to win four straight games to make Damian Lillard’s “Trail Blazers in 6” prediction come true. If Lillard doesn’t have a stellar game tonight, the Warriors will take a commanding 3-0 lead in this series.

Today in Sports: 4/21/17 Preview

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: The Boston Celtics are fighting for their playoff lives in Chicago against the Bulls. Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo broke his thumb in game two, and will be out indefinitely. This is crushing news for the Bulls because Rondo was playing his best basketball in years. This means Michael Carter-Williams will be getting more minutes, which should be alarming to Bulls fans. The Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference this season, but few people thought they were the conference’s best team. They haven’t played like a number one seed during this series, but have a talent and health advantage going into this game. This is a must-win game for the Celtics to avoid going down 0-3 in this series.

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder travel to Houston to take on the Rockets in a must-win game. After a crippling loss in game two in which they blew a fourth quarter lead, the Thunder need to regroup and give their best effort in front of their home crowd. Westbrook put up amazing stats in game two, but he struggled shooting from the field. He’ll need to be more efficient in this game and help get his teammates involved. James Harden also struggled in game two, but he wasn’t trying to force things like Westbrook did in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City cannot afford to go down 0-3 in this series, so they’ll need to play better as a team and not allow Westbrook to try and play hero ball for 48 minutes.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz: The Clippers and Jazz will play game three with both teams trying to take a 2-1 series lead. Jazz center Rudy Gobert is still injured, so they’ll have to make adjustments to stop the Clippers from scoring at will in the paint. The Clippers weren’t able to make on-the-fly adjustments in game one, but smartened up before game two and decided to attack Utah’s weakness. Utah was able to win game one and keep game two close without Gobert on the road, so they should have enough firepower to win without him at home. If he was healthy, they probably would be up 2-0 in this series. Since Gobert might not return in this series, they’ll need to have role players step up in his absence. They’ve had a lot of injuries all year, so they are ready for this adversity. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/20/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers: The Cavaliers head to Indiana up 2-0 in the series to face the desperate Indiana Pacers. The Pacers were able to keep both games competitive before falling apart down the stretch. Cleveland is the much more talented team, but Indiana has proven that they can win if a few breaks go their way late in the fourth quarter. With their fans cheering them on, the Pacers need to win this game to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. Paul George has been fantastic in both games, but he needs help. Usually role players play better at home in the playoffs, so they might get a much needed boost from their bench. Myles Turner has emerged as the second best player on this team, and he’ll need to play like it after an abysmal game two. George was critical of both Turner and Lance Stephenson in the media. He claimed that it was to motivate his teammates. Both Turner and Stephenson will be counted on to give George support, which will be crucial if the Pacers want to get back in this series. This is a must-win game for the Pacers.

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: The winner of game three between the Raptors and Bucks will take a 2-1 lead in this series. After struggling in game one at home, the Raptors were able to even the series by hitting a few clutch shots late in the fourth quarter. The Bucks were playing catch-up all game, but had a chance to win late in the fourth quarter. Coach Jason Kidd played a few questionable lineups during the game that put the Bucks behind the eight ball. This was an inopportune time for his inexperience to rear its ugly head. The Raptors did a much better job of limiting superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in game two. He wasn’t able to get to the rim as easily as he did in game one, and he had trouble finishing due to the presence of Serge Ibaka. With Milwaukee stealing the home-court advantage from the Raptors, they’ll need to win these two games at home if they want to win the series. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies need to defeat the Spurs to avoid going down 3-0 in this series. If Memphis doesn’t win this game, they’ll have to try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games. “TAKE THAT FOR DATA!” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale was recently fined after criticizing the officials after game two. He was upset that Kawhi Leonard shot more free throws than his entire team. The NBA playoff officials have been so terrible for so many years that this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Right when Memphis was getting back into the game, the officials started making one-sided calls that helped the Spurs regain a double-digit lead. This was blatantly obvious to any non-biased observer. As a fan of basketball that loves playoff competition, I was furious. Now that Fizdale made his point, look for the refs to swing in the opposite direction and start making calls to benefit the Grizzlies. We all hope they start calling the game fair, but don’t get your hopes up. These are NBA playoff refs, and they take sucking at their jobs very seriously. I appreciate Fizdale standing up for his players and criticizing the terrible playoff referees, and his “take that for data” rant was so fantastic that I hope this motivates his team and the officials to do a great job for the Memphis fans.

Today in Sports: 4/19/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will play game two of this series in Washington before heading to Atlanta. The Wizards were able to win game one at home thanks to a dominating third quarter. The Wizards are the favorites in this series, and are the much more talented team. John Wall was the best player on the floor in game one, and should be able to dominate again against a Hawks team that doesn’t have an elite defender to slow him down. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but whatever team wins this game will have the advantage in the series before heading to Atlanta.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: After a dominating win in game one, the Rockets will try to keep the home-court advantage in this series before heading to Oklahoma City. The Thunder were completely outclassed in the first game. Russell Westbrook was outplayed by fellow MVP candidate James Harden, and the Rockets’ supporting cast outplayed the Thunder’s supporting cast. Westbrook is the star of the Thunder, and he doesn’t have much help surrounding him. He’ll need a herculean performance if they want to even the series before heading home to Oklahoma City.

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead before heading on the road to Portland. The Trail Blazers kept the game close through three quarters due to their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Trail Blazers’ stars were dominant all game, but they didn’t get any help from their supporting cast. The Warriors have a lot more depth than the Trail Blazers, and got contributions from everyone that stepped on the floor. Draymond Green was the best player in game one, dominating on both ends of the floor. Kevin Durant is probably going to miss this game, which will give the Trail Blazers a better chance of winning. But even without Durant, the Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA. With Durant’s injury, this becomes a must-win game for the Trail Blazers. If they cannot win this game, they don’t have a chance of winning any games in Golden State (and therefore can’t win the series because they don’t have the home-court advantage). The Trail Blazers need to even up this series otherwise they’ll make Damian Lillard’s prediction of winning in six games look like a bad joke.

Today in Sports: 4/18/17 Preview

NBA:

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors will play game two in Toronto after the Bucks pulled off the stunning upset in game one. This is a must-win game for the Raptors, who cannot afford to go down 2-0 in this series before it heads to Milwaukee. The Raptors didn’t have an answer for Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in game one, so they’ll need to make adjustments to limit his impact. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was terrible in game one (which has been a playoff theme for him), so he’ll need to find a way to put the ball in the basket. His backcourt teammate DeMar DeRozan put in a decent amount of points in the first game of this series, but they were mostly from the free throw line. This backcourt cannot play like the “trash bros” again in game two. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in this series, the Raptors are the more complete team and should be favored to even the series before heading to Milwaukee.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Bulls and Celtics will face each other for the second time in this series. The Bulls pulled off the upset in game one, which wasn’t all that surprising given the circumstances that surrounded the game. Celtics star point guard Isaiah Thomas played game one just one day after the tragic death of his younger sister. Thomas was visibly shaken up before the game, but he showed toughness by playing when many others would’ve sat out. He not only played, but he played at a high level. His teammates didn’t help him out enough, as they were outclassed by Jimmy Butler and the Bulls. Thomas is expected to play in game two, and they’ll need him in this must-win game. The Bulls are more talented than most eighth seeded teams, so the Celtics will need to bring their A game if they don’t want to head to Chicago down 2-0 in this series.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: This third game of the night also consists of a favored team playing at home in a must-win game. The Utah Jazz pulled off the upset with an “Iso” Joe Johnson buzzer beater to stun the fans in Los Angeles. The Jazz were able to rally after the loss of star center Rudy Gobert just ten seconds into the game. Gobert will not play in game two, and may miss the entire series (or longer if they advance). Losing Gobert is a huge loss, and should make the Clippers heavy favorites in a series that was evenly matched before the injury. The Clippers should make game plan adjustments that can attack the Jazz inside without Gobert’s presence. The Jazz have been dealing with injuries all year, so they’ll be ready for the adversity that this latest blow brings them. This should still be a competitive game, but the Clippers will have the upper hand. The Clippers need this victory, otherwise they’ll be down 2-0 in this series when it heads to Utah.

Today in Sports: 4/17/17 Preview

NBA:

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Pacers and Cavaliers will face each other in game two of this first round playoff matchup. After an exciting first game of the series that featured no defense, both teams will attempt to make it more difficult for their opponent to put the ball in the basket. Stars Paul George and LeBron James were both dominant in game one, and will have to shoulder the majority of the burden in the rest of the series. Paul George was upset about not getting the last shot in game one, which could fuel him going forward. These two teams know each other extremely well, which will make it interesting to see which team will make the necessary adjustments. This game isn’t a must-win for either team, but it would be extremely helpful if the Pacers can get one game before the series heads to Indiana.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies will try and bounce back after a humiliating loss in the first game of this series. The Grizzlies kept the game close early, but were outclassed in the last three quarters of the game. San Antonio is the much more talented team, especially with the injury to Memphis’ defensive star Tony Allen. The Grizzlies have enough talent and playoff experience to pull off the upset, but they’ll need to make a lot of adjustments if they want to even the series before heading home to Memphis.

Today in Sports: 4/16/17 Preview

NBA:

Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will meet in Washington for game one of this first round playoff series. The Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the last few weeks of the season, which could give them confidence heading into this series. The Wizards struggled a bit during the regular season’s last month, but are the more talented team in this matchup. The Wizards played their starters more than any team in the league, which could lead to them being worn out during this postseason run. Their bench is an issue, but teams typically play their bench fewer minutes in the playoffs. They definitely have the talent advantage over the Hawks, but Atlanta has enough firepower to keep the series close. Game one will be crucial in both teams’ efforts to advance to the second round.

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Trail Blazers and Warriors will meet in Golden State for game one of this first round playoff series. The Trail Blazers are one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs. They are led by the duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. This backcourt is as talented as any in the NBA. After the addition of center Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers started playing up to their potential. Nurkic suffered an injury and may miss the series, which could be detrimental to their chances of pulling off the upset over the heavily favored Warriors. Golden State didn’t win as many games as last season, but they are a much more talented team because of the addition of superstar Kevin Durant. Lillard predicted the Trail Blazers would win the series in six games, so he’ll need to help his team pull off the upset in game one if he wants to make his prediction come true.

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Bulls and Celtics will meet in Boston for game one of this first round playoff series. The Celtics were able to take the number one seed after the Cleveland Cavaliers stopped trying to win during the last few games of the season. The Celtics have a lot of talent on both sides of the floor. Isaiah Thomas has been one of the best players in the league all season, and could take over the series if Chicago isn’t able to limit his impact. The Bulls are one of the most confusing teams in the league. They have the best player in this series in Jimmy Butler, and have playoff veterans in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. The Bulls have the talent to beat the Celtics, but they’ve underachieved all season. This is an interesting 1-8 matchup, and it could be closer than most first round series that include the top seed.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: The Thunder and Rockets will meet in Houston for game one of this first round playoff series. This is a dream matchup for all fans of basketball. Not only are Russell Westbrook and James Harden competing for the MVP, but they’re facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. These two MVP candidates were once teammates, but they weren’t even the best player on that team. The Thunder have been led by Russell Westbrook’s historic season. The Rockets are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Coach Mike D’Antoni brought his fast-paced style of basketball to Houston, and it has been run to perfection due to James Harden’s ability to adapt. He was a shooting guard before this season, but Harden has changed his game to become a point guard in D’Antoni’s system. These two teams are led by superstars, but Houston is the favorite because they have more talent around their superstar. This series will be must-see TV.

Today in Sports: 4/15/17 Preview

NBA:

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Pacers and Cavaliers will meet in Cleveland for game one of this first round playoff series. LeBron James looks to lead the defending champion Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals. This would be LeBron’s seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals. The Indiana Pacers aren’t as good as they’ve been in past seasons, but they still have superstar Paul George leading the way. George is starting to look like the pre-injury Paul George again, which could give the Cavaliers trouble. LeBron’s teams have beaten the Pacers in multiple playoff series in the past, and shouldn’t have any problems beating this weaker Pacers team. The Cavaliers struggled towards the end of the regular season, so they’ll have to find their rhythm if they want to repeat as champions. This should make for an exciting series.

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors will meet in Toronto for game one of this first round playoff series. The Raptors are at full strength since the return of Kyle Lowry from his wrist injury. This Raptors team is more dangerous since the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. The Raptors traded for these players to help them during the postseason, so now we’ll see if these moves pay off. The Bucks have been a much better team since the return of Khris Middleton, even though Jabari Parker tore his ACL in the game Middleton returned. With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, the Bucks have enough firepower to challenge any team in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is the favorites in the series, but Milwaukee has enough talent to pull off the upset.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies and Spurs will meet in San Antonio for game one of this first round playoff series. The Grizzlies will likely be without Tony “first team all defense” Allen for the playoffs, so this might be a lopsided series. The Grizzlies still have a lot of playoff experience with Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph on the roster, even though their coach David Fizdale doesn’t have any playoff experience. This could be an issue going up against the great Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have a ton of playoff experience too, led by superstar MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. Both of these teams play a slower style of basketball, which could limit the number of possessions each team gets while keeping the games close. The Spurs are heavy favorites in this series, but they better not underestimate the Grizzlies with all of their playoff experience.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers: The Jazz and Clippers will meet in Los Angeles for game one of this first round playoff series. The Jazz and Clippers both underachieved this season largely due to the injuries both teams sustained. Now that both teams are relatively healthy, they should both be playing their best basketball at the most important time. The Jazz are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, but depth isn’t extremely important in the playoffs because starters usually get the bulk of the minutes. But the Jazz had to play a lot of their bench players in crucial minutes during the regular season because of the plethora of injuries their starters sustained. They received valuable experience that should help them during this playoff run. The Clippers also had to overcome a lot of injuries during the season. They were one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the first month of the season and then started to cool off when star players got injured. Now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are both healthy, the Clippers have enough firepower to beat any team in the Western Conference. This may be the most exciting and competitive first round series, so winning game one will be crucial for both teams.

Today in Sports: 4/14/17 Preview

NHL:

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens: The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens will face-off in the second game of this first round playoff series. After pulling off the upset on the road in game one, the Rangers will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead before returning home to New York. The Canadiens need to win this game at home. They were the better team during the regular season, and they’ll need to prove it tonight.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins: The Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Penguins look to win at home again like they did in the first game of the series. The Penguins were one of the best teams all season, and will look to keep the Blue Jackets from evening the series before heading to Columbus. Although it’s not essential for the Blue Jackets to win this game, it would be extremely helpful if they could even the series before heading back home.

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild will do battle in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Blues were able to pull off the upset on the road in the first game of this series. The Wild are the favorites to win the series, and will need to win this game to avoid going on the road down two games to none. This game isn’t crucial for the Blues, but it would make it extremely likely that they’d win the series if they can pull off another upset tonight.

San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers:  The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers will face-off in the second game of this first round playoff series. The Sharks were able to win the first game of the series in Edmonton, and will be looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series before heading back home to San Jose. The Oilers cannot afford to lose this game, so they’ll need to make adjustments after losing game one.

Today in Sports: 4/13/17 Preview

NBA:

With the NBA regular season concluding yesterday and the playoffs starting Saturday, we’ll have to suffer through two days without NBA basketball.

 

NHL:

Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals: The Maple Leafs and Capitals will do battle in the first game of their first round playoff matchup. The Washington Capitals are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and will be heavy favorites against the Maple Leafs. Toronto snuck into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference, but they have enough talent to make this series competitive.

Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks and Predators will face-off in the first game of their first round playoff series. As the top seed in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks look poised to make another postseason run. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, it seems like they should win the title again this year. The Predators are the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference. They’ll be heavy underdogs, but they should have enough firepower to win at least one game in the series.

Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks: The Flames and Ducks play tonight in the first game of their first round playoff series. Although both the Ducks and Flames had good regular seasons, the Ducks are the heavy favorites in this matchup. The Ducks are the more talented team and should win the series if they play up to their potential. Anaheim was one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month of the regular season, and should be able to use that momentum to propel themselves into a long postseason run.

Today in Sports: 4/12/17 Preview

NBA:

All non-playoff teams: Fans of non-playoff teams should watch their team’s season finale. This will be the last time to watch your team until next season.

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: Although this is an extremely important game for the Cavaliers, there is a good chance that they will rest their starters. The Cavaliers are in second place in the Eastern Conference and are just one game behind the Boston Celtics. They rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in their last game, which cost them the top seed in the playoffs. The Cavaliers seem to care more about resting their players than getting the top seed. The Cavaliers destroyed the Celtics in Boston the last time they played, so they might not be worried about beating the Celtics on the road in the playoffs. This strategy is extremely risky and may come back to bite them in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics: The Boston Celtics are currently one game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. With Milwaukee already locking up the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, there’s a good chance the Bucks will rest their starters including superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. This could help the Celtics clinch home-court advantage.

Washington Wizards at Miami Heat: This game is a must-win for the Miami Heat. They are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls, but they don’t own the tiebreaker. They are one game behind the seventh seeded Indiana Pacers, but in this case they own the tiebreaker over Indiana. If the Heat lose to the Wizards, their valiant effort to get back into postseason contention will be wasted. There are multiple scenarios that could lead to the Heat making the playoffs. If the Heat and Pacers win and Bulls lose, the Pacers and Heat will be the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.  If the Heat and Bulls win and Pacers lose, the Bulls and Heat will be the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively. If all three teams win, the Heat will stay in ninth place and will miss the playoffs. The Heat must win and hope either the Bulls or Pacers lose.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers: The Indiana Pacers control their own destiny. If the Pacers beat the Hawks, they will clinch the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Pacers lose, they could fall to eighth place if the Heat or Bulls win. The Pacers will miss the playoffs if they lose and both the Heat and Bulls win. If all three teams win or lose, the playoff standings will remain the same. The Hawks have already clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and may decide to sit their starters. This would be an enormous help for the Pacers. Indiana cannot focus on all the potential playoff scenarios, they just need to focus on themselves and beat the Hawks to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Today in Sports: 4/11/17 Preview

NBA:

Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks: This is an important game for the Atlanta Hawks. They are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a half game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks. They control their own destiny from here on out. If the Hawks win their final two games, they’ll be locked in as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Charlotte Hornets are a talented team that had playoff aspirations before the season started, but they failed to live up to the hype. Although they will not be playing in the postseason, they still have enough talent to knock off the Hawks.  This is a game the Hawks cannot afford to lose.

New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers AND Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings: Although all four of these teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, this is an important game for both the Suns and Lakers. Both teams have struggled this season and have shut down some key players in an attempt to improve their draft stocks. Although this should help them in their tanking efforts, the Lakers and Suns are both going into today’s game on a winning streak. The Lakers have won four straight games and the Suns have won two straight games. The Suns are currently 1.5 games behind (or ahead in the tanking standings) the Lakers with the game in Sacramento being their season finale. If the Lakers pick falls outside the top three, it will be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers should be doing everything possible to lose games and keep their pick, but have struggled to struggle as of late. They can’t even tank right, which should concern Lakers fans. Although the draft has a lottery system that tries to mitigate the effects of tanking, there’s no reason why the Lakers should try and win their last two games of the season.

Today in Sports: 4/10/17 Preview

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat:  The Cavaliers look to rebound after yesterday’s debacle in Atlanta. They are currently tied with the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference, but own the tiebreaker over Boston. The Miami Heat are tied with the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls but wouldn’t make the playoffs if they started today. Since the Bulls own the tiebreaker, the Heat will likely need to win their last two games to make the postseason. This is an extremely important game for both teams.

Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks: This is an important game for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hornets have already been eliminated from playoff contention, but are a talented team that many expected to make a postseason run before the season started. The Bucks cannot take these Hornets lightly. Milwaukee is currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They are one game behind the fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks and one game ahead of the seventh seeded Indiana Pacers.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers (TNT): The Houston Rockets have already locked up the third seed in the Western Conference and will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets may decide to sit their starters for their final two games. The Clippers do not have that luxury. Los Angeles is currently in fourth place in the Western Conference with two games remaining on their schedule. They are tied with the fifth seeded Utah Jazz, but own the tiebreaker over Utah. They will face each other in the first round of the playoffs, and these last two games will determine which team will get the home-court advantage.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Golden State Warriors have already locked up the number one seed in the Western Conference and will play the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. The Utah Jazz are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference with two games remaining on their schedule. They are tied with the fourth seeded Los Angeles Clippers, but do not own the tiebreaker. They’ll face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, but will have to end the season with the better record if they want home-court advantage in the first round.

Today in Sports: 4/9/17 Preview

The Masters:

Sunday’s final round at The Masters should be must-see TV. Will this finally be the major that puts Sergio Garcia over the hump? He’s been one of the world’s best golfers for years but hasn’t been able to shake the major curse. Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are hot on his heels after both posted back-to-back solid rounds. Sunday’s action should be full of high-pressure moments, and we’ll all be on the edge of our seats wondering who will crack under the pressure.

 

NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (NBATV): This Eastern Conference battle between the Cavaliers and Hawks has major playoff implications. The Cavaliers are currently in first place with a half game lead over the Boston Celtics. The Hawks are in fifth place with a half game lead over the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks. With both teams’ recent struggles, the Hawks and Cavaliers want to get some momentum heading into the postseason.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets: This game is extremely important for the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder already clinched the sixth seed in the Western Conference and will face the third seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Russell Westbrook is going for his record breaking 42nd triple-double this season against a Nuggets team that needs to win. The Nuggets are in ninth place in the Western Conference with three games left on their schedule. They are 1.5 games behind the eighth seeded Portland Trail Blazers. If the Nuggets lose this game, they can kiss their playoff dreams goodbye.

Today in Sports: 4/8/17 Preview

The Masters:

Third-round play at The Masters begins today with a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. Sergio Garcia is one of the leaders at -4 and is in search of his first career major. Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Phil Mickelson are all within striking distance.

 

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets: The Celtics will try to take advantage of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ baffling loss yesterday to an Atlanta Hawks team that was resting four starters. The Hornets haven’t lived up to expectations this year, but are plenty talented enough to knock off the Celtics as they try to move closer to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are one game behind Cleveland with both teams having three games remaining.

Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets (NBATV): The Bulls are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference going into today’s matchup with the NBA’s worst team. They are tied with the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers and are just one game ahead of the Miami Heat. With three games remaining, the Bulls are trying to get ahead of the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks so they can avoid facing either Boston or Cleveland in the first round. This is a game the Bulls cannot afford to lose.

Miami Heat at Washington Wizards: This season’s most surprising team has been the Washington Wizards. After a slow start to begin the season, John Wall and company have been one of the most consistent teams during the last few months. Currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards are just a half game behind the third seeded Toronto Raptors with three games remaining on their schedule. To a certain degree, the Miami Heat have also been one of the more surprising teams after a slow start to the season. With all the injuries that the Heat suffered this season, Erik Spoelstra deserves a ton of credit for helping his team back into the playoff race. The Heat are one game behind the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers in a very competitive Eastern Conference. This game has major playoff implications.

Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers: The Utah Jazz are one of the more underappreciated teams in the NBA this season. With all the injuries that they’ve suffered, the Jazz are in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, another talented team that has suffered crippling injuries throughout the season. The Jazz cannot get a top three seed and won’t fall below fifth, so they’ll face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. These last three games will determine which team will get home-court advantage. The Trail Blazers have disappointed this season but still have a chance to make the playoffs. They are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference with three games remaining. The Denver Nuggets are one game behind them, so this is a crucial game for the Trail Blazers.