PHEW! Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija dominated into the ninth inning today against the Washington Nationals. Cubs won 4-3 in the Easter Sunday special. Those Old Styles went down real smooth at Wrigley Field today, “here here” to the first win of the Theo Epstein era.
I have to admit, today’s Bulls-Knicks game was hard to watch. There was some good, Derrick Rose returned to the Bulls lineup after missing 12 consecutive games due to a groin injury, he proved he was ready to make an impact, but he also has some work to do. No matter how many endurance drills you practice off the court, nothing is quite the same as the real deal. There was some bad, Carmelo Anthony had his best game as a Knick, 43 points and seven rebounds. He hit two clutch 3-point shots, one at the end of regulation and the other with 8.2 seconds left in overtime putting the Knicks up 100-99.
Rose looked really rusty and timid in the first quarter, he only had seven points. He must have found some confidence in the locker room at halftime because he had 14 points in the third quarter. He looked a bit more like himself in OT, but couldn’t make a tough floater for the winning shot. Rose played 39 minutes, had 29 points, six rebounds, four assists, and eight turnovers. The main problem with Rose’s return was the turnovers, we all expected rustiness, but no one wants to give the ball to the opposing team.
The Bulls currently have the best record in the NBA, but after today’s loss they fell to 43-14. Coach Tom Thibodeau will continue to push his team to the number one seed, his starting lineup has only started 11 full games together this season and they lost for the third time in four games. Hopefully Tuesday night’s rematch at the United Center will bode better for the Bulls, but I am definitely not looking forward to another 8:30 p.m. start – it’s way past my bedtime.
The Chicago Blackhawks will be heading to the desert to play their first-round of this year’s NHL playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes. Because the Coyotes won the Pacific Division (even though the Hawks had WAY more points, more regulation and overtime wins) they get home ice advantage.
The Phoenix-Chicago matchup is missing the “story-lines” of recent first round opponents, there isn’t animosity that oozes from every Vancouver game, they don’t have one of Chicago’s past goalies tearing it up in the net like San Jose, and there isn’t any deep rooted historic rivalry that lives with the Detroit Red Wings. Perhaps the Blackhawks and Coyotes can create their owns subplot this series – everyone loves a juicy rivalry.
With Blackhawks’ Captain Jonathan Toews status still questionable, and after sitting so many games he will be a little rusty on the ice, Chicago will be looking to another star, Patrick Kane, to keep up his play. He has truly stepped up his game at the end of the regular season with the loss of Toews. Kane may not have a “C” on his jersey, but that boy can score.
Phoenix will host Games 1 and 2 Thursday and Saturday. Unfortunately, the Pacific Time zone is not in Chicago’s favor as both games have 9 p.m. central time starts (damn west coast). The Blackhawks will host Games 3 and 4 at the United Center on April 17 and April 19. Game 3 is slated for an 8 p.m. start and Game 4 for 7 p.m. Game 5 will head back in Glendale on April 21. Game 6, if necessary, is April 23 in Chicago; Game 7, if necessary, is April 25 in Glendale.
Get your Blackhawks gear ready, it’s Stanley Cup playoff time!