By Jeremy Blumberg
Outplayed: In the first two games of the Western Conference Semi-finals, the defending champions are facing an 0-2 deficit to the playoff maligned Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped Games 1 and 2 on their home court and their situation does not get better as they travel to Dallas for Game 3 tonight. While this is the first playoff meeting between these two teams since 1988, the Mavericks have quickly taken a firm control on this series and the Lakers must avoid an embarrassing sweep. Dallas came back from a 16 point deficit in Game 1 and their surge continued on in Game 2. Dallas may have been expected to win one game, maybe two in this series, but no one, outside of Dallas, thought that they would give the Lakers this much trouble. While Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are scratching their head for answers, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki are on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since their championship run back in 2005-2006.
White Stinks: The Chicago White Sox by far have been the most disappointing team of the 2011 season. They have lost 17 of their last 21 games. Not only do they hold the worst record in baseball, they were no-hit by Francisco Liriano, a pitcher who has never pitched a complete game. Matters cannot get much worse for the Sox as they are one of the most offensively challenged teams in the league. Captain Paul Konerko has been off to a hot start, but outside of him, there has been no consistent offensive power. John Danks, the pitcher with the most wins on the team last year, is off to an 0-5 start despite a 3.22 ERA. If this team does not start winning, manager Ozzie Guillen will quickly be shown the door.
Swept Away: The Washington Capitals have been eliminated from the playoffs once again, this time by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The outstanding player, Alex Ovechkin, is quickly being recognized as the Dan Marino of the NHL: a great player who may never win a championship. The Lightning deserves credit for sweeping the Capitals, but Washington always has high hopes in the postseason. Every year, they are Stanley Cup playoff favorites, but they never seem to break through in the postseason. While the losses are not all Ovechkin’s fault, how long will he have to wait to drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup? This team loses so much in the playoffs that the he may never be a champion in the NHL.
Feeling the Heat: The Boston Celtics find themselves in an unfamiliar 0-2 deficit in the NBA postseason to the Miami Heat. The defending Eastern Conference champs won the regular season series 3-1, but have struggled mightily against Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. The series returns to Boston tomorrow and the Celtics will have a chance to redeem themselves. This is a must win game for them because no team in NBA playoff history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series. Boston is too old of a team to pull off that feat so to win the next two games on their home court will make their chances of advancing much easier. They have playoff experience on their side, but without wins, that means nothing. Boston cannot afford to lose another game, otherwise their season may be over.
Predators Hunted: The Nashville Predators find themselves in unfamiliar territory: the second round of the NHL playoffs. The team has never made it this far in franchise history and they are in danger of being eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks. The Preds lost last night to Vancouver and are down 3-1 in the series. This team does not take losing well and their players show constant whining about it after the game. The Canucks don’t care for their sob stories so if Nashville decides to play hockey instead of complaining, they can further extend their historic playoff run. If they lose their next game, they will be eliminated from the playoffs so they must play 110% in Vancouver for Game 5.