Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Bosh Factor

Just as on draft night in 2003. Just as on "Redeem Team" in 2008. Now again, with free agency looming, 26-year old power forward Chris Bosh is taking another back seat to the King LeBron James and former NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade.

Some forget that Bosh was in the same draft class as LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, and Wade. The difference between his draft classmates and he? Bosh has been employed north of the border for the Toronto Raptors for the last seven seasons. Yes, I feel the need to remind you they are an NBA franchise playing in an NHL country. I digress. As free-agency hits this summer and Bosh is almost a lock to return to the United States, his landing spot might just be the most intriguing of all. I've gone ahead and broken it down appropriately.

We're dubbing it The Bosh Factor . . .

His list (rumored) consists of five NBA cities, including Toronto to save face for his current franchise as free agency doesn't begin till the start of July. After Toronto, Bosh has circled three of the four largest media markets in this country to make home. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Finally, Bosh adds Miami, a franchise which is always on television, most likely will have a new head coach with a few rings, and the ability to re-sign their superstar as well as adding Bosh. These are the scenarios which Bosh is most likely entertaining:

Scenario #1 - Return to Toronto. Highly unlikely, to be blunt. Bosh scores 24 points a night and pulls down almost 11 rebounds, and he's only 26. Entering the prime of his career, we've barely been able to see him on the same stage as a Dwight Howard, James, or Wade, the postseason. Not to mention, Bosh is a a fun kid who we're missing out on because of his location. The media knows that, his handlers know that, and he knows that. Toronto should begin work on a sign and trade, because they won't get anything in return if they let him walk for free.

Scenario #2 - Go to New York, convince LeBron James to as well. The Knicks and Bosh might not be a perfect fit, but with LeBron, it looks way more dangerous. The Knicks would be a playoff team next season, Bosh would put up fantastic numbers, and while LeBron may become the Prince of the City, Bosh would be his running mate. If Chris Bosh wants immediate exposure since his isolation to Toronto, the Knicks would be an amazing jump onto the front pages. For the Knicks, there is no Bosh without LeBron, he also wants to win right away.

Scenario #3 - Bosh, LBJ, & Rose. If Chris Bosh and LeBron James got in touch, assuming they haven't, a jump to the Windy City would create a "big three" for that puts Boston's to shame. James won 62-games in a regular season, reached the NBA Finals, all without players like Bosh and Bulls guard Derrick Rose. For Chris Bosh, imagine the looks and paint he'd dominate with LeBron James & Derrick Rose playing 1/2 and him on his own down low? You'd have three players in their prime playing for a owner who wants to raise banners, and you'd probably be having a say in who their coach was as well. When you think of this scenario, why would there be any other?

Scenario #4 - Bosh finds his way to L.A. If it's true and Pau is on his way out, or even better Andrew Bynum who can't stay healthy, Chris Bosh would be Kobe's ideal. For Bosh, you'd be hitting Hollywood, and we know you desperately want that attention to your game and your personality. If your Phil Jackson, taking that pay cut to watch possibly Pau, Kobe, & Chris Bosh? Well it seems a little better now. For Kobe, this is the player you want to play with, a player who doesn't know what it's like to be on a contender every season. Not to mention the Lakers are always going to spend to stay in contention. Anyone doubt Russell Westbrook arrives in L.A. at some point? Chris Bosh would love to find his way to L.A., the cards are in your hands Mr. Buss.

Scenario #5 - Wade, Bosh, & Rose Read Scenario #3 again, everywhere I put LeBron, you add Dwyane Wade. Wade is an explosive player who has been to the top of the mountain and won. For Wade, he's a Chicago kid, he fits. Pair him with players like Rose & Bosh, and we've already seen what he can do at that level. Playing with players who want to win is something Bosh isn't used to, and have you seen Dwyane Wade play? If even a small portion of that rubs off on Bosh, he'd be scary good, if he's not already. I keep coming up with the same question as this option pops in my head. Does anyone believe Wade is leaving? Is anyone still on that boat?

Scenario #6 - The Consensus Of the 14 people I asked, 11 landed on; Chris Bosh is headed to Miami. With Pat Riley looming over the Heat bench, Dwyane Wade's return to Miami, and the addition of Chris Bosh, the Heat are an instant smash in the East. Does a Pat Riley coached team with Chris Bosh look dangerous to anyone else? If LeBron's re-signing in Cleveland or final landing spot takes as long as we presume, Bosh & Wade may be forced to jump in much sooner than originally expected. Bosh would love to be in Miami, about as far from Toronto as you can get. That media exposure is more relevant, he's on television more often, and the postseason Chris Bosh could be born. Winner.

As the NBA Draft draws near, it's possible this story gets more interesting by the day, but being the only player that can really draw LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh holds a few cards at this table.

Get After It!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

John Wall Cometh

Let it be known from coast to coast, 1 & done Kentucky Wildcat John Wall is bound for the beltway. With the Washington Wizards securing the top overall selection in the June 24th NBA Draft, the consensus best player available is headed to the Wiz. Aside from the Wall's destination, what else have we learned after Thursday nights draft lottery selection show?

Cross New Jersey off LeBron's list. I didn't buy LeBron was jumping ship for Jay-Z. I didn't buy LeBron was jumping ship for a Russian billionaire owner. I didn't buy LeBron was passing on Madison Square Garden for an un-built arena in Brooklyn. And now? Losing out on the #1 pick when they had the best odds to land it, I don't buy LeBron is headed to Jersey at all. Here's the biggest problem with the Nets, they were a 12-win team last season. LeBron James is going into his eigth season and for the second consecutive season, he's been denied a ring when it looked as if he was in the driver's seat for it. LeBron makes nearly every team an instant contender, unfortunately the Nets are not every team. They have new ownership whose yet to takes lumps new owners do. They'll be adding a new coach who needs to have more control over the locker room. Popovich, Jackson, Rivers, and Riley all coaches who've recently won titles and had complete control over their locker room. Any of those coaches out there? The Nets are a work in progress, and LeBron James is not.

This is why Jazz win 50+ and reach the playoffs every year. I'll admit it, I didn't remember how the Jazz acquired a lottery pick in this upcoming draft. Then again, based on what Isaiah Thomas and the New York Knicks did in the 00's, I knew he must have had something to do with it. A little bit of research and this is what I found . . .

In 2004 Isaiah Thomas traded Howard Eisley, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, a 2004 draft pick, and a future protected draft pick to the Suns for Penny Hardaway and Stephon Marbury. Not long after that, the Jazz traded Keon Clark and Ben Handgloten to the Phoenix Suns for Tom Gugliotta and that Knicks first-round pick.

And there it is. The Jazz now have a top 10 selection the same season they won 53 regular season games followed by an upset of 4th seeded Denver team in the first round of the playoffs. From mock drafts selecting everyone from Patrick Patterson, the 6'8" Kentucky Wildcat, to Ekpe Udoh, the 6'10" Baylor junior, the Utah Jazz are going to add yet another young big man with a ton of upside. What Jerry Sloan and the Jazz brass are able to do year in and year out, who isn't impressed?

You won't talk me into Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins, won't do it. He wouldn't be in my top three, no way, no how. I'm just not as impressed as the masses are. He's an a kid who needs college to become more mature. You know what attitude having, rookie big men get in the NBA? Abused. Your playing against grown men as an 18-year old. Your banging with players who are just out there to disrupt your game. Think DeMarucs Cousins is ready right away to put up and shutup? I doubt it. You out physical a ton of college basketball players, in the NBA it's much harder. Ask Dwight Howard. A player who is built like a machine and at time still gets beat up in the paint. It's difficult to ignore the size and athleticism of DeMarucs Cousins, especially when your a lottery team who usually needs help in more than one place. With big men in the NBA, especially young big men, discipline to controlling your weight, hitting the gym, and playing defense is a huge necessity. At the end of the day is an immature 19-year old whose never been challenged ready to make that step? A player who argues with his coach on the sideline at the college level? I doubt it.

The Sixers did very well. The #2 pick, everyone but John Wall on the board, the Philadelphia 76ers went a long way at luring in a new head coach. The real victory however, would be landing Ohio State super guard Evan Turner. Turner was the player of the year at the college level this past season. Judging by the way scoring guards have made their impact on this postseason and postseasons of years past, Turner is exactly like them. A long guard who has progressed throughout his time in Ohio, Even Turner is preparing to make that leap at a much bigger level. For all the players criticized throughout their draft pick through, Evan Turner is pumped up with his hustle points and ability to make plays on both ends of the court. If the 76ers head into next season with Jrue Holiday and hopefully the acquired Evan Turner, they'll have a good young backcourt for years to come. Sixers fans, be proud.

With the draft just a little over a month away, a ton of players are going to be dressed up and down. Time to bunker down and get after the NBA Draft . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Veteran, Not Old

One has to begin to react to these Boston Celtics. After cleaning up the Cavaliers in what very easily could have been a 5-game series, then traveling to Orlando to steal home court in game one (1), at what point do we begin start to mutter the words Banner 18?

The proper game plan to neutralize Dwyane Wade in their first round series. A calculated blow to the coronation of King James in round two (2). Now with a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against not just a 59-win team but against the games elite center, are the Boston Celtics going to the proverbial well for one more shot at a ring?

You bet. Here's why . . .

As frustrating as Celtics center/forward and 14-year veteran Rasheed Wallace was during the 82-game regular season, since game 2 against Cleveland he's been brilliant. Since then the Celtics are 5-1, and you better believe there is a connection. 'Sheed is no longer the most indefensible player in the league as he was in Detroit's championship season back in 2004, but he is beginning to show signs of that chip on the shoulder player we knew and hated as a Piston! Wallace is using his fouls wisely, forcing bad free-throw shooting players like Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard to the charity stripe. Wallace is scoring off the bench, three double-digit games since that round 2, game 1 performance. Why has Celtics coach Doc Rivers increased his minutes? You figure it out. Wallace is coming off the bench and putting in work, buying into the defensive scheme that has made this Celtics defense great. When Rasheed made you age 10-15 years during the regular season by his irregular play, why would any of us have expected this output during the postseason? Well Rasheed told you he'd be judged by his play in the postseason and for Wallace, it's judgement day.

The everlasting commitment to defense. Through the first two rounds of the post season, against two of the leagues most dominating offensive players, the Boston Celtics are allowing just shy of 92 points per game. Against Dwyane Wade, the Celtics forced nearly six turnovers a game, doubling his regular season average. Against LeBron, the Celtics befuddled the global icon forcing him into bad shots and driving to the lane against five defenders. Now one game into the conference finals, their game plan is obvious: foul and frustrate Dwight Howard into ineffectiveness. Between Celtic big men, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Sheldon Williams, and the previously mentioned Rasheed Wallace (who said it himself in the postgame interview), they've got twenty-four fouls to use against Howard, and they'll use 'em all. Unlike the Hawks and Bobcats, the Celtics won't double-team Howard and give up the open three-point looks, they'll hack Howard till he's useless. There is a reason why the Celtics lead all playoff teams with forcing almost 17 turnovers a game. To boot, Boston has allowed more than 90 points in just 4 of their 12 postseason games. Seen this defense before? I have, in a title year. With their all-star power forward Kevin Garnett back in the middle of this defense . . .

About that All-Star. Kevin Garnett may not be the player he self admittedly once was, but he's still at times unstoppable. In these playoffs, Garnett has had 5 of 12 double-digit rebound games, but wait that's not all. Averaging almost two more rebounds in the postseason than he did in the regular season, Garnett's play all around is coming full circle. The four double-doubles in the postseason is by design. Taking the Celtics coaching staff just a few days to figure out, LeBron and the Cavaliers had no answer for the '95 fifth overall pick. Back-to-back games with 18 and 10 then the series clincher in which Garnett shredded the Cavs for 22 and 12. Garnett's legs aren't looking as tough as they used to be, but he's making his way up and down the court with relative ease. If the 2010 Boston Celtics are going to make a lasting impression on this postseason, they've got to do so through their defensive leader, Kevin Garnett.

These Celtics may have caught a Magic team with a little rust on a bit to much rest, but judging by the way they are attacking this postseason, they've made a believer out of me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's No Wonder

I like boxing, I love horse racing. However, just a day removed from the 135th Preakness Stakes, and several weeks removed from undefeated Floyd Mayweather's dominating performance against Shane Mosley, it's no wonder both the sport of kings and headlining fights have gone by the wayside.

Excited for the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown? Even with no thoroughbred going for the elusive achievement, you still might have been. An exciting Kentucky Derby which watched a fantastic jockey dominate on what has become his turf at Churchill Downs. An even more exciting finish at Pimlico yesterday evening, the former Derby favorite storms Maryland and wins in classic fashion. Belmont still had a shot to be very exciting and keep horse racing relevant for the next few weeks. Unfortunately for horse racing fans, both Kentucky winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky, won't show up in New York to race in The Belmont Stakes. Choosing to stay out and race in other events later this summer, nice try at keeping names the casual fan has learned over the last several weeks out of the headlines in the next few. You know what happens if the Celtics win against the Magic? They play for the championship, they don't go home and end on a winning note. This is why the casual fan has no idea who is racing in The Belmont, couldn't millions more be made if the casual fan was forced to pick one of the only horses they know about? Because of money in stud fees, and risk of an injury to a major money horse, nothing changes. Three different horses will have won each leg of the triple crown, great!?!?! Hmmmmm.

Floyd Mayweather lives up to the hype. Smashing Shane Mosley in what turned into a one-sided fight just after three rounds, Mayweather yet again put boxing on his back and got the common fan excited. Not only the hype, he lived up to his nickname, "Money." But let's not forget, while Mayweather may have just backed up an armored car to his house, Shane Mosley wasn't the boxer Mayweather was supposed to fight. Manny Pacquiao is that boxer. Unfortunately, now boxing fans will just wait for it to happen, with no exact end in sight because of a disagreement on drug testing? So there isn't a general rule when you have to drug test? No governing body can make them fight each other? For a sport which saw nearly 1.4 million pay-per view buys, bringing in close to $80 million dollars in the most recent Mayweather fight, no one can force a follow-up? I should remind you I'm not using the tired old line of "there are no heavyweights" I'm using "what's next?" argument. You wonder why fan bases can't be built? They like to know what happens next. Your team heading into the offseason, how do they rebuild? Your team wins a big playoff series, whose next? Not, so what happens now? What happens after three days of Sportscenter highlights? Hmmmm.

While they offer some of the most exciting moments in sports, a thundering punch, the roar of the crowd as the horse thunders to the finish line, the two "old school" favorites, are in fact just that. Old School. I hope the NFL and every other sport picks up on this trend, if it's only about money, it eventually turns the majority away.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

15 Pts (3-14 FG), 6 Reb, & 7 Ast

Read the header one more time. Good? Those are the numbers the Chosen One put up in his teams most important game this season. Happy with that Cleveland? I didn't think so. Get angry, keep booing, because unlike the rest of the world, LynchyRightNow thinks this is your best shot at keeping the games best.

As the 61-win Cavaliers head back to Boston down 3-2, staring elimination directly in the face, LeBron James has most likely never had a more restless 48 hours. The postseasons best point guard, Rajon Rondo, scored just 16 points, only 7 assists, and 2 rebounds, 16 less than in his mind numbing game 4 and still the Cavaliers were thumped by 32-points. If the Boston Celtics, the aged veterans who were supposed to do no more than exhaust the Cavs for the Orlando Magic, pull off the upset, is the King of Ohio out?

Let the blame game begin, and head coach Mike Brown, your first. How does LeBron James watch his head coach be out coached by Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy, and insert your head coach here time after time. The Cavaliers have yet to come up with a game plan to help Mo Williams who for all intents and purposes is getting beat down time after time in this series against Rajon Rondo. Think LeBron is frustrated Brown hasn't found a way to put a body on Rondo? James has got to wonder what changed in Brown's mind last night, for the first time in four games the Cavaliers head coach decided to insert Zydrunas Ilgauskas into the game, a player who routinely roughed up the Celtics in years past. A player who shoots on the perimeter and gets Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins away from the basket for LeBron to make plays. Has Brown not seen what the Cavaliers offense does with when Shaq is on the bench and Anderson Varejao is in the game? They run, they're athletic, they cause problems for the Celtics, oh and Varejao actually gets more boards than the overweight O'Neil. How can LeBron watch the Knicks bring in D'Antoni, Pat Riley loom over the Miami Heat bench, and the Chicago Bulls make room on their bench while Mike Brown continues to muddle the Cavalier offense? Think LeBron saying "We tried to do the things we wanted to do with the gameplan that was given to us but it just didn't work" means something? I do.

How about that cast of misfit frontrunners that seem to have put the hand cameras away for the postseason? Mo Williams, you'll be the player left in the wake when LeBron jettisons for the East Coast. Taken out behind the wood shed by Rajon Rondo. Shaquille O'Neal, retirement on your mind? Because the player I saw rumble down the court for 27 minutes last night and lower his shoulder traveling, hacking, and bowling his way to the charity stripe isn't smiling now. J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, Jamario Moon, and Anthony Parker, LeBron may welcome you onto the M.V.P. stage, but that's the closest your ever going to get at sniffing a teammate of his caliber after your no show playoffs. It's got to be driving LeBron James mad that Rondo, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, some of the best players in the game have players along side them who can pick up the slack on an off night, and he's got nothing. They love taking those sideline pictures sitting next to him, they love giving high fives when he's going off lighting up the scoreboard, but where are they when he's struggling? Who decided to pick up their game last night? And we wonder why King James never looked so disinterested in a basketball game.

Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry, your not getting off so easy. Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison are your answers? Let's start with Shaquille, because it's easy and I'm rearing to go. Shaquille O'Neal is bordering at least 350 lbs. at this point, at least. In his seventeenth year you thought he could keep up with Dwight Howard? Have you watched the Suns offense since O'Neal departed? Exactly. Shaquille has yet to step in and force Rondo to think twice about attacking the paint, and he certainly isn't fast enough to recover when the ball rotates from one block to the other. Here's the biggest problem though: Shaq slows the Cavaliers down, which plays right into the Celtics. They recover on defense, they don't have to worry about numbers, and can always send him to the free throw line killing momentum. As for Jamison, it's no wonder he cost the Cavaliers nothing to get him mid-season from Washington, because that's about exactly what he's worth. When the Cavaliers refused to move Jamison from covering Celtics forward Glen Davis, it got ugly. Davis treated Jamison like a 5th grader, backing him down inside and abusing him, and the Celtics knew it. Between Rondo and Tony Allen, the ball continued to find its way into Davis' hands to the tune of 15 points in just 21 minutes forcing his way to the free throw line. Already the Knicks are talking about bringing in Tony Parker, Chris Bosh, and or Joe Johnson. Danny Ferry, you brought in nothing for THE PLAYER to win with.

After his game 5 performance, injured or not, LeBron James is just as responsible for this team getting their doors blown off as Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. Just like Brown and general manager Danny Ferry, LeBron James is coming up short. Tim Legler on ESPN was the first to point it out, LeBron was not getting involved in the offense, he was staying on the outside, not attacking, not being the MVP we've all known his entire career. Fed up or not, Michael Jordan would not have let his team get blown out by 32-points, with or without Scottie Pippen. Jordan would have taken over that game and made you beat him rather than beating himself. How do we watch game 3, watch the hurting that LeBron put on the Celtics outscoring them on his own in the first quarter, then accept that performance as "his jump shot wasn't falling," he gave up, flat out. If LeBron James is going to become the greatest of all time, it isn't just by winning championships, it's by never letting performances like that take place.

If you were on the fence in Cleveland, there isn't anything going on positive right now. Booing these players is all that you've got, and if LeBron has played his last game as a Cavalier with the people of Ohio behind him, then the storm is about to begin, more than shook this time!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clevelands Shook

Can you hear that? It was a pin dropping at The Q. I'm ignoring the 15-0, 4th quarter run which nearly caused 100,000 coronaries east of the Ohio River. As the Boston Celtics tied their second round best of seven series on Monday night with a 104-86 victory over the top seeded Cavaliers one thing if for sure, Cleveland's Shook.

ElbowGATE in full swing, King James looking human, Rasheed Wallace looking like the artist formerly known as 'Sheed, and Rajon Rondo playing possessed, I'd say the perfect storm for Cavalier fans arrived on Monday night, and it could get worse.

I'll start with Rajon, because that is where it begins for the Celtics. Their 24-year old floor general averaged 10 assists and 14 points per game in four games against Cleveland in the regular season. In the first two games of this series, he's pushed those numbers to 15.5 assists and 20 points per game, including a franchise high 19 assists in game 2. The Cavaliers have no answer for Rondo. It isn't just his eye popping on-paper numbers that have you impressed, he takes it to the Cavaliers with reckless abandon. Slammed to the floor in game 1 by Shaquille O'Neal (7-1, 325) , Rondo gets right up. Hammered by Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) in game 2, Rondo is up. Rondo has the ability to get the Cavs bigs in foul trouble early and often by driving inside, this creates more than just open looks for players like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, it creates match up advantages all over the court. At some point in this series, the Cavaliers are going to have to rely on Delonte West and Mo Williams to lock Rondo down for more than a quarter, who are you putting your money on?

The length of this series swings the needle to the veteran Celtics, know that. If your a Cavalier, you want back on that court and you want the taste of that butt kicking out of your mouths. If your the Celtics, you want days of rest to get your legs back. Due to the NBA's ability to stretch this postseason from April through June, the Celtics get the edge. After two games in three days, the Celtics have a travel day followed by two consecutive off days, we'll see you on Friday night. Think Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rasheed Wallace could use a couple days to rest their combined 51 seasons of NBA miles on their legs? Now they'll be sleeping at home, an added bonus. Sure, the Celtics didn't have a great home record this season, but in the playoffs The Garden II is a different atmosphere. The Cavaliers can't be happy knowing they HAVE to steal one game and take back home court advantage or this run could get derailed quick. Giving these veteran players three games to win one, isn't something the Cavaliers would want to live through if they head back to Cleveland down 3-1. Losing last night gave the Celtics home court advantage, two days of satisfying rest, and the ability to crash the coronation. Not good King James, not good.

They're frustrating at times. When it comes to Rasheed Wallace, that's an understatement. Last night however, the Boston Celtics bench showed up. Rasheed shot well hitting seven of eight shots over 18 minutes off the bench. Tony Allen did his part on defense pulling down four defensive rebounds and recording two steals in 15 minutes. Glen Davis, well he was Glen Davis. Banging inside and forcing low percentage shots, that's what Big Baby did in his 13 off the pine. Give KG rest, hold onto leads, and stop J.J. Hickson, that's about all the Celtics 2nd team needs to accomplish and on Monday night, they did most of that. Tell me the game which the Celtics lose if Rasheed Wallace shoots like he did last night? Tell me the game the Celtics lose if Garnett can stay refreshed. Tell me the game the Celtics can lose when Tony Allen is playing great second team defense.

The Celtics have the Cavaliers stumbling heading into the third round of a seven round prize fight. If Cavaliers are shook now, the coronation may not take place in Ohio.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Turn Back The Clock

To a time where your dinner was on the table after work and your choice of whiskey in the freezer. Where a Derby Saturday, with a prize fight to follow, splashed with a dash of playoff hockey, would have meant a Super Bowl like atmosphere from coast to coast. Now it's all low calorie beers and discussing your feelings while lying on a couch. Be that as it may, Saturday was a day for your father's father, a day to turn back the clock, a day where a scotch on the rocks would have been the perfect happy ending. Saturday, we took it back and got after it.

The Bruins shake New England at its core. Call it a perfect storm for the Boston Bruins to re-stake their claim on the New England faithful. The Red Sox in an early season nose dive, Bill Belichick's unexciting draft selections, the Boston Celtics aging before our eyes, who benefits? The Bruins. Their first round Stanley Cup playoff performance against the Buffalo Sabres built up quite the lather in the Hub. And now they get a piece of Philly? With the Bruins watching cards fall into place throughout these playoffs, facing the 7th seed in round 2, a home ice advantage, the top seed knocked out, playoff hockey is back with a thunderous roar in New England. Yesterday was no joke. The B's watch a 2-goal lead evaporate in the third period before landing the first punch in this best of seven series. In his first game back from a treacherous concussion almost ending his season, Marc Savard rips a stunning game winner over Brian Boucher's right shoulder in overtime. Game over. If the Bruins can continue their hot streak, despite injuries, New England will take back a small piece of their hockey lore, from a time when Bobby Orr reigned supreme. The Bruins fans shake the building as the NHL reminds us of why playoff hockey is a whole new game. This isn't the regular season, we're all watching.

Calvin Borel rocks The Derby. Seconds after Borel rode Super Saver to a Kentucky Derby victory, the question came up: Why are we picking against anyone else? Missing were the big hats and colorful ties, 11 inches of Kentucky rain will do that to a Derby Saturday. As for super jockey Calvin Borel, the same jockey to ride both Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra to Triple Crown race wins last season, and Street Sense in the '07 Derby, he was in usual form. Holding Super Saver back before riding the rail all the way through the mud at Churchill Downs, Borel stormed into the history books and once again proved why he was a preeminent jockey. This was a race wide open, a race with plenty of question marks, a race that was fit for the old school. A rain soaked day before the clouds opened up just in time to see the ponies line up and beat up the track again. Like so many other sports, the stories present themselves every moment. Heading to Baltimore and The Preakness you have a triple crown threat with the greatest jockey in the business today. Pour yourself a mint julip!

Weathers the storm, remains unbeaten. Now I don't claim to be a prize fight fan. Then again, when your bearing witness to a fighter the caliber of Floyd Mayweather Junior, what other options do you have? 41-0, 25 Knockouts. Tuning up Shane Mosley post second round, Floyd Mayweather might just be calming the doubters and waking up the possibility of the fight which people want, Pacquiao v. Money. Floyd Mayweather Junior has the same doubters as every historically great athlete, sure he beat Mosley but what about Pacquiao. Like Barkley and Malone against Jordan, like pre-2009 Alex Rodriguez, of course like Patrick Ewing, people question who Mayweather has beaten. After last night, stop with the questions. Floyd Mayweather outsmarted and smashed Shane Mosley, whose next? Taunting, even mocking a man with 39 knockouts on his record. If Floyd Mayweather doesn't make you excited, who will?

A night of playoff hockey, a night of horse racing and prize fight boxing, and you tell me you can't get into this? The Preakness is in two weeks and if the Canadians and Bruins are playing for a shot at Lord Stanley, you bet your a** I'm all in.