Weekly Nickel 5-21-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Due to rain, we are getting some bonus tennis today. Can Novak Djokovic (pictured above) handle Nadal on the clay in Rome?

By Josh Kramer

Saturday was not the best of days for the city of  Los Angeles to say the least.  As I have said before, people will soon stop calling Los Angeles “Lob City,” and start calling it “Heartbreak City,” if they haven’t already.   On Saturday, both of their basketball teams blew double-digit point leads. At least they have the Dodgers and the Kings. The NBA and NHL playoffs have been outstanding and the best part is there is still plenty to go.  In addition, I’ll Have Another would love “another” win at the Belmont to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.  Last week was great, but this week should be even better.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Bonus tennis.  What could be better?  Due to massive amounts of rainfall, the Rome Masters final showdown between the world’s top two players (Djokovic/Nadal) was postponed today.  I by no means am complaining.  The clay-court season has been a bundle of fun as usual as we get ready to head down the home stretch. Roland Garros is just six days away.  Get excited.

4.  For the first time in a very long time, I am going to give the IndyCar Series some love.  I think that statement right there makes it obvious as to what event is set to take place this weekend.  Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the place to be this weekend, as the world’s best gear up for the 96th edition of the Indianapolis 500.  I do not normally include racing in the Weekly Nickel.  Come Sunday at 11AM though, if you are not fortunate enough to be able to attend the event live, make sure to tune in to ABC.

3.  The Angels, Red Sox, and Phillies continue to play woeful baseball.  Who really saw this coming?  In addition, Josh Hamilton continues to play like the modern-day version of Babe Ruth, yet he still has not locked in a contract extension.  And how about Justin Verlander?  The guy is simply phenomenal.  My attention is focused on a showdown in Atlanta though.

Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves:  Who currently sits atop the AL East?  I will give you a hint.  It is not Philadelphia or Miami.  Quite the opposite actually with the Phillies and Marlins occupying the 4th and 5th spots.  Atlanta is 1.5 games ahead of the very young and exciting Washington Nationals.  Both of these teams are no fluke.  Atlanta currently boasts the top ranked offense in the National League, while the Nationals are tops in the NL in terms of ERA.  Currently, Atlanta is playing great baseball.  Washington still has not shown the ability to win consistently on the road, and it will show this weekend.  Expect the Braves to take two of three, only conceding the game in which they face young flamethrower Stephen Strasburg.

2.  Try stopping the Los Angeles Kings.  I dare you.  Okay, maybe they showed that they are not invincable yesterday, but there terrific trio of Brown, Kopitar, and Quick will be playing for Lord Stanley soon.  There is a reason why only three teams have ever climbed out of a 3-0 hole to come back and win a series.  Do not expect number four in the Kings/Coyotes series.  Also, who else is not throughly entertained by John Tortorella?  Guy is never satisfied.  Do not be surprised if the Hudson River Rivalry goes seven games just like it did 18 years ago.

1.  Los Angeles is defeated.  Saturday sucked the air out of both of LA’s finest.  Miami finally saved face in the second half and are right back in the series after a remarkable effort from their two superstars, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.  Boston and Philadelphia appear headed for seven despite Kevin Garnett rediscovering the Fountain of Youth.  The conference semifinals have been far more entertaining in the East than in the West.  Expect that dynamic to change come conference finals time.  OKC and San Antonio could be a series for the ages.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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