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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Weekend Run-down: Mother's Day Edition

Mother’s Day weekend is usually one of the better sporting weekends on the calendar and this year was no different. A stunning sweep and meltdown by the two-time defending champs in LA, the run for the roses in Louisville and those pesky Predators highlight a power packed weekend.

NBA: L.A. goes down swinging, but not in the good way – The Lakers came into the NBA in full anticipation of championship number 16 and giving there hall of fame coach Phil Jackson a proper send off. None of that will come to fruition now after being dismantled by Dallas in a four game sweep. The Mavericks controlled in every conceivable way. Sunday’s 122-86 defeat was the most shocking defeat of all. The pride and glory that champions are suppose to play with never showed for L.A. The game was basically over by halftime as Dallas torched the Lakers defense for a playoff record with 20 3-pointers, shooting 63 percent from behind the arc and 60 percent from the field (44 of 73) overall. I personally was waiting on a vintage Kobe performance but he finished with just 17 points on 7 of 18 shooting and was merely a spectator to the end of the Lakers dynasty. The game got chippy at the end as both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum lost their cool and were ejected for physical plays. Bynum will surely hear from the Commish for his clothesline take down of J.J Barea. This couldn’t have been the way Phil Jackson envisioned his last game playing out but he seemed gracious in defeat. Said Jackson "In all my hopes and aspirations, this is the final game that I'll coach," he said. "It's been a wonderful run."

Memphis take 2-1 lead over Oklahoma City: The underdog Grizzlies scratch and clawed their way back from a 16-point deficit to comeback and defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder. Zach Randolph led the way for Memphis as he scored 21 points and snagged 21 rebounds. The game looked like a lost cause for the Grizzlies as they uncharacteristically out of sync on offense and couldn’t stop Russell Westbrook on defense. Point Guard Mike Conley realized the danger zone that Memphis was falling into. “I think once we looked up at the clock and saw how many points we were down, a little bit of desperation hit,” Conley said. He and the rest of Grizzlies finally got their act together in the 4th quarter as they went a 13-2 run and outscored Oklahoma City 23-10 in the fourth quarter. O.J. Mayo had 18 points off the bench. Conley also scored 18, Marc Gasol had 16 and Tony Allen had 10. The game would go into overtime as neither team was able to connect on shots before regulation expired. It was all Memphis in overtime as they built a 92-86 lead and never looked back as they finished off the Thunder from the free throw line from there. This was an overall great victory for the Grizzlies as they now pull within two victories of making their first ever appearance in the Western conference finals. Good luck Grizzlies.

NHL: Predators won’t go down without fight – The Nashville Predator faced their first elimination game and came away with the 4-3 victory of top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. Joel Ward and David Legwand were the stars of the game as they both scored two goals. Ward, who especially has come in strong in these playoffs, scored his goals less than five minutes apart early in the third period as the Preds were able to extend the series and give the Smashville faithful at least one more home game. Pekka Rinne had 31 saves and to go along with the heroics of Ward, who also has six points in three games, has already set franchise records with seven goals and 12 points in the playoffs. Ryan Kessler of Vancouver continued his hot play as he scored twice after having his tooth knocked out and had to receive stitches to his face after he was struck by a deflected puck. The Canucks are just 1-4 in potential series clinching games this year. Head Coach Barry Trotz was in no mood to concede anything as he stated “We’re a resilient group. One of the themes we’ve had since Day One in Nashville is let’s not make any excuses for anything, and we don’t.” Game 6 will be played today at the Bridgestone arena. Make sure to come out and support the Preds for what could be possibly the last home game of the year. A boisterous home crowd could definitely swing the game in Preds direction.

137th Kentucky Derby – In what was called the most open Derby field possibly ever, a 30-1 long shot proved it to be true as Animal Kingdom took the annual run for the roses at Churchill downs. Animal Kingdom pulled off the stunner as he pulled past Nehro at the 1/8th pole to cross the finish line 2 3/4 lengths ahead. Animal Kingdom made history as he became the first ever derby winner to never have raced on dirt before the Kentucky Derby. The morning favorite Dialed in never was much of a factor as he finished eighth. I’m surprised,” Irwin said immediately after the win. “I know a lot of history and I just didn’t see it happening. When it did, it was surprising and overwhelming, really.”, said winning jockey Barry Irwin. The next leg in the Triple Crown is the Preakness held May 21 at Pimlico race course in Baltimore.

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