Apr. 28, 2017
"The Stack" 4-19-17
The Stack is back on this Wednesday and there is a team in the NBA that is in some serious trouble today while on the ice the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames look to stave off elimination and play another day. Let’s get right to the playoff reaction from Tuesday night in “the stack” for today, Wednesday, April 19th:
NBA Playoff reaction
The Boston Celtics are in big trouble. They lost again on homecourt getting blown out the by the Chicago Bulls 111-97. The Bulls were up 29-18 in the first quarter before the Celtics made a bit of a run, but they could not get closer than a couple of points before the Bulls started to pull away again. The Celtics just couldn’t get it very close and ultimately lost going away. All five Bulls starters scored double-figure points. They got 16 points off the bench from somebody named Paul Zipser. Where has this team been all year long? If they had played even close to the way they have played through two games thus far, they would not be the eight seed in the eastern conference. Isaiah Thomas only scored 20 points and he did not receive much help from the rest of his teammates. It would be premature to call this series over, but for all intents and purposes, the Celtics look done. This would be extremely disappointing, but their future is bright. Fans must remember that when they lose in five or six games.
The Toronto Raptors had a sense of desperation about them and in a back and forth game with the Milwaukee Bucks the Raptors pulled away with a little run in the fourth quarter to even the series up 1-1. The Raptors played with a little more desperation and it also helped that Kyle Lowry had a much better game with 22 points. The Raptors need to win a game in Milwaukee. They need to play with a sense of desperation. I don’t know if they can necessarily do that. They need to show me something in games three and four to show if they have a chance.
Like the Raptors, the Los Angeles Clippers played with more of a sense of desperation and it helped that the Utah Jazz were without the main reason they have been so good defensively this year in Rudy Gobert. The Clippers forced 13 turnovers and kept the Jazz in check while getting out to a strong start in the first quarter 29-18 and then cruising the rest of the way to a 99-91 victory. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 63 points. They are still going to have to win a game in Salt Lake City, but they are more than capable of doing that. This series is going to go at least six games if not the distance and seven games.
Night on the ice
The New York Rangers were 0-6 in their last six playoff home games. They broke out to a degree with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to even the series up 2-2. Jesper Fast got the Rangers on the board in the first period after Rick Nash had crashed into Canadiens goalie Carey Price and punched the puck into the net. The goal stood and the Rangers had a 1-0 lead. The Canadiens tied it late in the first period, but the Rangers regained the lead in the second period when Nash scored his second of the playoffs. It was a nice goal, but the move was even better to set up the goal. The Rangers didn’t make it easy on Henrik Lundqvist in the third period as the Canadiens kept applying the pressure, but he stood strong and the Rangers escaped with a 2-1 victory.
The Columbus Blue Jackets could have been the first team to be eliminated in this year’s playoffs. They live to fight another day though following their 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins who still lead the series 3-1. Once again the Blue Jackets found themselves with a 3-1 lead (they actually were up 3-0), but the Penguins to cut the deficit to one at 3-2 headed into the third period. William Karlsson scored 27 seconds into the third period to give the Blue Jackets some breathing room and after Pittsburgh responded the Blue Jackets answered to take a 5-3 lead. The Penguins pulled the goalie to try and get back in the game, but had seven guys on the ice which you can’t do yet somehow they still managed to pull within one when Jack Guentzel scored after the Penguins pulled the goalie again. They could not get the equalizer and the Blue Jackets escaped with a 5-4 win. That means they have bestowed the honor upon the Minnesota Wild to be the first team to be bounced in the playoffs. How nice of them.
Finally, the San Jose Sharks put a whooping on the Edmonton Oilers 7-0. They scored four goals in the second period and had way more energy than the Oilers who seemed happy and content to have won game three. The series is now tied 2-2. The Oilers will just burn this tape and move on to game five.
Wednesday’s playoff games
Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards 7 PM ET NBA TV (Wizards lead series 1-0)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets 8 PM ET TNT (Rockets lead series 1-0)
Portland Trailblazers @ Golden State Warriors 10:30 PM ET TNT (Warriors lead series 1-0)
Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7 PM ET NBCSN (Maple Leafs lead series 2-1)
Ottawa Senators @ Boston Bruins 7:30 PM ET USA (Senators lead series 2-1)
Minnesota Wild @ St. Louis Blues 9:30 PM ET NBCSN (Blues lead series 3-0)
Anaheim Ducks @ Calgary Flames 10 PM ET USA (Ducks lead series 3-0)
A few other quick headlines to get to now. Grayson Allen is coming back for his senior season at Duke. Wonder how many players he will trip next year. The memorabilia story surrounding New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning continues to be intriguing. Did Manning knowingly sign material as game worn when indeed it was not? That is fraud and he could face charges. Some people believe everything to be authentic. Others obviously don’t. I’ll try to post more about this as the story develops.
Finally there is no easy way to say this, but former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his jail cell early Wednesday morning hanging himself with a bed sheet in his prison cell in Massachusetts. He had just been acquitted last week in a murder case. More thoughts to come on this tomorrow hopefully. Thoughts go out to his family and former teammates. Criminals who do this sort of thing seem cowardly to me. I don’t know what was going on in Hernandez’s head, but the first word that comes to mind is cowardly. Right or wrong, that’s how I feel and we are all entitled to feel differently.
Coming up Thursday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus other headlines in sports.