It takes a long time to get to the basketball and hockey postseasons, but they are well worth the wait. As usual, the NHL is amazingly unpredictable, with crazy comebacks, great goaltending and outstanding overtimes. This year, the NBA has joined the fun, with fantastic finishes, standout superstars and unbelievable upsets. And this is just the first round (which might last a month the way the NBA spreads its games out).
- Another LeChoke job. Yes, I know, Miami will win its series against Philly. But blowing a sweep by coughing up a six-point lead with 95 seconds left was atrocious, just like LeBron’s final drive to the basket. For a team that plays on South Beach, the Heat have no clue how to close the deal.
- Five on one is a fair fight. The Lakers are the two-time defending champs and the best team in the league. But the Hornets have Chris Paul. His 33 points and 14 assists in a Game 1 win was good. His triple double (27 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds) in a Game 4 win was better. Just imagine what he could do if he had a superstar or two playing with him.
- Caps and their fans get the last laugh. After losing Game 3, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said Madison Square Garden wasn’t that loud. When the Rangers took a 3-0 lead in Game 4, the crowd taunted him with the chant, “Can you hear us?” Those fans were silent after the Caps roared back to win, 4-3, in double overtime. I’m not sure if Washington fans were right when they cheered, “We are louder,” during the series clincher, but they will get to yell for at least another round.
- A goal to remember, but a series to forget. In case you missed it, Bobby Ryan scored one of the best playoff goals you’ll ever see to put the Ducks ahead of the Predators in the third period of Game 5. Unfortunately for Anaheim, they gave up the tying goal with 36 seconds left, lost in overtime and then lost the series to Nashville in six games. I bet the Ducks video yearbook will end with Ryan’s goal.
- It’s happening again. With their win Sunday, the Blackhawks have evened their series against the Canucks after losing the first three games. If Chicago wins Game 7 to complete the comeback, not only will it become just the fourth NHL team to do so, it will have knocked Vancouver out of the playoffs for the third straight year. I wouldn’t want to be a Canucks fan right now.
- Can we contract the commissioner? Bud Selig plans to expand the MLB playoffs. Does he think 162 games aren’t enough to determine which teams are worthy? Or is it just another money grab by the man who oversaw the steroids era? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.
THERE IT IS!