NBA Playoffs Opening Acts – After one of the most exciting and entreating NBA seasons in history, the NBA showcased what might be the best ever playoffs as well. The post season opened with three stunning first game upsets (Grizzlies over Spurs, Hornets over Lakers and Hawks over Magic) to get things started. The stars showed up as Chris Paul went off for a ridiculous 33 points, 7 rebounds, 14 assists and 3 steals in the Hornets big victory of the Lakers. Chicago’s Derrick Rose continued his MVP campaign as he would not let the Bulls lose scoring 39 points and controlling the last part of the game with his unstoppable moves against Indiana. Not be outdone, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant poured in 41 points in the Thunder’s victory of the Denver Nuggets. The most disturbing big time performance has to go to Orlando’s Dwight Howard. The big man was in beast mode as he scored 46 points and collected 19 boards. There is no way that your best player puts up those kinds of numbers and his team still loses by double digits. Someone needs to put out an APB for the rest of Orlando’s starters not named Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson. Boston was down most of the game against the New York Knicks but was saved by Ray Allen as he hit the game winning 3-pointer in the waning moments of game 1 of this renewed rivalry. I can’t remember a better opening act to the NBA playoffs than this one. There wasn’t a bad game out of the bunch and it is just the beginning.
Predators take a 2-1 series lead over Ducks: Smashville came out in full support of its Nashville Predators as a raucous sell-out crowd of 17,113 flooded Bridgestone Arena to see the Preds defeat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4-3. The Preds capitalized on the suspension of Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan out shooting the Ducks 37-16. Mike Fisher gave the Preds the lead for good as he scored at the 10:21 mark in the third period. Nashville’s prime-time players showed up as Captain Shea Webber scored a goal (His seventh goal tying the Nashville’s Predators all-time mark), Martin Erat had a power-play goal and an assist. David Legwand and Jordin Tootoo also scored. Ryan Suter had two assists. The Predators could not let this opportunity pass as Anaheim’s second leader scorer Ryann was suspended for stomping defensemen Jonathon Blum’s foot in Friday’s game. The Predators look to take a commanding 3-1 lead this Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds have all the momentum and hopefully are on their way to winning their first ever playoff series.
Jimmie Johnson wins closest race ever at Talladega: It was a two man race the whole way and almost at the finish line. The five-time defending Sprint cup champ held on to the victory over Clint Bowyer by two-thousandths of a second with a little help from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Little E played good teammate and help catapult Johnson to victory. Saying Junior sacrificed is an understatement, as he carries a 101 race winless streak and also the burden of being the most popular Sprint cup driver. If I couldn't win the race,'' Junior said, "I wanted Jimmie to win the race, because I had worked with him all day and he is my teammate.'' This was the closet victory ever in a Sprint cup race as it tied Ricky Craven’s win at Darlington in 2003. Earnhardt Jr. would still end up in fourth place as the top eight drives were separated by a mere 0.145 seconds. Talladega will always be good for paint swapping as there were twenty-six leaders and the lead car changed a whopping 88 times, tying the record from last year’s race. Johnson made sure to give Earnhardt his due by giving him the checkered flag but initially Earnhardt was reluctant to accept. "He said it belonged to me, but I don't agree with that," Earnhardt said after his fourth-place finish. "I appreciate it. I'll get him to sign it and it'll be one checkered flag that ain't mine."