Today in the Daily Sports Roundup: The Sharks try to finish off the Red Wings, the Magic host the Hawks, and the PGA Tour takes to the links at TPC Sawgrass.
Tipping off on the hardwood . . .
There's just one contest on the NBA's playoff schedule for Thursday, with Atlanta at Orlando in the second game of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Magic blew out the Hawks in Game 1 of the series on Tuesday night, getting 21 points and 12 rebounds from Dwight Howard in the 114-71 home win. Vince Carter was good for 20 points for Orlando in the lopsided decision, while Jameer Nelson poured in 19 points on the night. Josh Smith had a team-high 14 points in the loss for the Hawks, while Joe Johnson was held to just 10 points in the game.
Meeting up on the diamond . . .
On the five-game American League schedule for Thursday it'll be Kansas City at Texas, Baltimore at Minnesota, Toronto at the White Sox, Tampa Bay at Seattle, and the Angels at Boston. Scott Kazmir (2-1, 5.57 ERA) will take on Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 11.57 ERA) in that Angels/BoSox matchup. Lefthander Kazmir was stuck with a no-decision despite a strong start last time out, holding the Tigers to one earned run on five hits over his six innings of work. Righthander Matsuzaka took the loss in his season debut last time out, as he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits over just 4 2-3 innings versus the Orioles, fanning four.
In the National League on Thursday it'll be the Cubs at Pittsburgh, Atlanta at Washington, San Francisco at Florida, Arizona at Houston, Milwaukee at the Dodgers, and St. Louis at Philadelphia. The Cardinals' Kyle Lohse (0-1, 5.28 ERA) will take on the Phillies' Roy Halladay (5-1, 1.47 ERA). Righthander Lohse picked up a no-decision against the Reds last time out, allowing one earned run on five hits over his seven innings of work. Righthander Halladay blanked the Mets in his last trip to the mound, going the distance while giving up just three hits and fanning six. Halladay has allowed two or fewer runs in five of six starts.
Taking a trip around the rink . . .
There are two more games on the NHL's playoff schedule for Thursday, with San Jose at Detroit and Pittsburgh at Montreal. The Sharks pushed the Red Wings to the brink of elimination with a 4-3 overtime road win in Game 3 on Tuesday night. Patrick Marleau scored the winner in the extra frame in that contest for the Sharks, who had been trailing 3-1 after two periods of play. The Penguins took a 2-1 lead in their conference semifinal series with the Canadiens by picking up a 2-0 road win in Game 3 on Tuesday night. Evgeni Malkin had the winner early in the third period in that game, while Pascal Dupuis provided an empty-net marker.
Rounding out the Roundup . . .
Finally, the PGA Tour begins one of its marquee events on Thursday as the world's top golfers tee off at THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Tiger Woods sits as the 5/1 Vegas favorite to get the win at TPC Sawgrass despite the fact that he missed the cut at last week's event, the Quail Hollow Championship. Phil Mickelson is next on the current odds list at 8/1, followed by both Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy at 18/1 - McIlroy surged in the final round to win the Quail Hollow Championship. Lee Westwood and Ernie Els are both listed at 20/1, and defending champ Henrik Stenson is at 40/1.