Another interesting day in the sports world is in the books as we look ahead to Friday and the weekend. The Daily Six Pack is a Monday through Friday recap of the top six stories in the sports world from the day before and a look at what we can expect for the day ahead. It centers on the stories of the most interest to you, with betting insight and analysis where appropriate. A Six Pack a day keeps the bookie away because you are armed with the information that you need to know to be successful.
Here are the top six stories for April 24:
Ice water is to Steph Curry as blood is to mere mortals. Steph Curry’s 40-point game and ridiculous three-pointer late in Game 3 propelled the Golden State Warriors to a 123-119 overtime triumph against the New Orleans Pelicans.
With two hands in his face and a high degree of difficulty, Curry buried this game-tying triple to send the game into overtime:
This Steph Curry shot tied the game & sent Golden State to overtime. Steph, welcome to the #SCtop10. VIDEO: http://t.co/4bCtK7gFFM
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 24, 2015
That’s just cold, man. This series is over. The Pelicans blew a 20-point lead entering the third quarter and that’s going to be the kiss of death for a young team. The focus will be on the Warriors and their impressive comeback, and deservedly so, but the Pelicans deserve a lot of credit for how they have played in this series. I’ve said throughout the season that the Pelicans have a lot of tenacity and they are on the cusp of being right there with the top teams in the Western Conference. This series has been pretty close, all things considered.
But, the Warriors are simply on another level. Had the Pelicans switched places with the Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers, it would be interesting to see what would have happened in those series. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA and they find ways to win. The Pelicans are one of the best #8 seeds we’ve seen in a while and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they’re a #5 or #6 seed next season after gaining this important experience.
Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs Update
The Boston Celtics threatened the Cleveland Cavs once again, but they couldn’t come away with the victory. The Cavs pulled away for a 103-95 win and they can complete the sweep on Sunday. Everything worked in harmony for the Cavs, even though Kyrie Irving had an off night. Kevin Love had 23 and 9, just missing his second double-double of the season. LeBron James had 31 and 11 in his latest NBA Playoffs masterpiece. J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson provided some good secondary scoring.
The Celtics couldn’t get distance shots to fall. They were just 5-of-19 from deep and the way to upset teams is to shoot the ball well. The Celtics outscored the Cavs 48-28 in the paint, so they did well in that regard, but it was the long-distance shot that failed them. We do have to wonder if the Cavs have flaws or if they aren’t fully invested in beating the Celtics. Boston has been close in the second half of every game in this series and they’re not a very good team. Are the Cavs taking a walk in the park or is this team seriously vulnerable? We’ll find out when they meet the Chicago Bulls in the next round.
Speaking of the Bulls, D-Rose dropped 34 to lead five Bulls in double figures in a 113-106 double overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks really deserved this game. They outrebounded the Bulls, committed four fewer turnovers and outscored the Bulls both on the fast break and in the paint. The problem was that Milwaukee was 14-of-25 at the free throw line and 6-of-19 from deep.
Like the Cavs, the Bulls may simply be putting forth just enough effort to win games and advance. The Cavs and Bulls knew that they were on a crash course in Round 2, and that’s going to be one hell of a series. The Bucks and Celtics are scrappy, but both teams are at a major talent deficiency. Time will tell if that’s the case, but both of these series are over.
NHL Playoffs Recap
Nobody went home for the summer last night as the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks both won their elimination games at home. The Predators did so in resounding fashion with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. It took a while, but the Predators finally solved Scott Darling. Darling gave up three goals in a 2:27 span early in the third period and Filip Forsberg added an empty netter with 11 seconds left to seal the deal and send the series back to the Windy City.
Mike Fisher deserves a ton of credit. The Predators top centerman, really the only guy on the team capable of shadowing Jonathan Toews, played even though he was supposed to miss the game. Fisher had an assist and a stat sheet with a little bit of everything in his 14:54 of ice time. His return was a big lift for the Predators, who are still without Shea Weber. As for the Blackhawks, playing with the safety net of another game at home seemed to be a factor in the third period.
The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off the biggest stunner of the night. Tampa Bay looked dead and buried more than halfway through the third period when Tyler Johnson scored right after a Detroit Red Wings penalty expired and the Lightning added the game-tying goal 1:17 later to make it a 2-2 game. Johnson’s second of the game sent the Lightning bench into a frenzy and the Bolts returned home with the series tied at 2-2. Now it’s a best-of-three with potentially two home games in Tampa. Nobody was better at home during the regular season than Tampa Bay. That’s a brutal loss for the Red Wings.
The Vancouver Canucks needed a big effort and they got it. Jonas Hiller was outstanding for the Flames with 41 saves on 43 shots, but Ryan Miller provided some stability in net for Vancouver and the Canucks advanced to Game 6 with a 2-1 win. The Canucks were the more desperate team from the outset and the young Flames will learn how to play in those situations. Game 6 is coming up on Saturday.
It’s that time again for another UFC PPV event. This time it’s UFC 186 in Montreal, PQ, Canada. There are co-main events for this card because a recent court case involving Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a positive outcome for Dana White and UFC fans. With that, Jackson is locked into his fight against Fabio Maldonado.
Initially, the main event was supposed to be a rematch of TJ Dillashaw and Renen Barao, but that has been pushed back to July. Kyoji Horiguchi will take a shot at the flyweight title against Demetrious Johnson.
For more on the fights and the UFC betting odds, check out our preview of the pay-per-view card.
Thursday Night Fights
Five players were ejected in the seventh inning of a donnybrook between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals on Thursday night. It all started when Yordano Ventura, who is developing quite a reputation, hit Jose Abreu with a pitch. An inning later, Chris Sale plunked Mike Moustakas and both benches were warned.
In the seventh, Adam Eaton hit a comebacker at Ventura and the melee ensued a few choice words later. Ventura also threw at Brett Lawrie last week after Lawrie’s late slide injured shortstop Alcides Escobar. The Royals certainly have an “us against the world” mentality and a chip on their shoulder in a lot of instances. It’ll be interesting to see if this is the end of it or not.
Both starting pitchers were ejected, but the game stayed under the total as Adam Burke suggested on his latest edition of The Bettor’s Box. Be sure to listen to it and find out what’s looking for this weekend.
NASCAR Heads to Richmond
After last week’s waterlogged Sprint Cup Series Race at Bristol, rain is in the forecast once again for Sunday’s race at Richmond International Speedway. Matt Kenseth is hoping to build off of his win at Bristol. Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were the only non-Chevy drivers to finish in the top 11 in last weekend’s race.
Joey Logano took the checkered flag at Richmond last season and led 46 of the 400 laps. Jeff Gordon finished second after leading 173 laps. 24 cars finished on the lead lap and all but four drivers managed to run at least 380 laps in the race.
Looking at the odds for this weekend, Kevin Harvick is the race favorite at 4/1. Jimmie Johnson is next in line at 6/1. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are both at 13/2, with Kurt Busch at 7/1. Every other driver has 10/1 or higher odds at Bovada.lv.
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