Today in the Daily Sports Roundup: The Celts and Cavs meet on the hardwood, the Sprint Cup Series hits Richmond, and the Kentucky Derby runs for the roses.
Tipping off on the hardwood . . .
The second round of the NBA playoffs gets going on Saturday with Boston at Cleveland in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series. The Cavaliers advanced past the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs with a 96-94 home win on Tuesday night. LeBron James picked up 19 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland in that contest, but a strained right elbow could end up hindering the superstar forward on Saturday afternoon. The Celtics knocked off the Heat in five games in the first round of the playoffs, finishing that series with a 96-86 home win on Tuesday night. Ray Allen led all Boston scorers by pouring in 24 points in that Game 5 win.
Meeting up on the diamond . . .
The American League schedule for Saturday has the White Sox at the Yankees, Oakland at Toronto, Texas at Seattle, Kansas City at Tampa Bay, Minnesota at Cleveland, Boston at Baltimore, and the Angels at Detroit. Scott Kazmir (2-1, 7.20 ERA) is slated to take on Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 6.97 ERA) in that last matchup. Lefthander Kazmir picked up the victory in his last trip to the mound against the Yankees despite a shaky outing – four earned runs over 5 1-3 innings of work. Righthander Bonderman took a no-decision against the Rangers in his most recent start, surrendering four earned runs over his 5 2-3 innings of work.
Over in the National League on Saturday it’ll be Arizona at the Cubs, Cincinnati at St. Louis, Houston at Atlanta, Colorado at San Francisco, Washington at Florida, Milwaukee at San Diego, Pittsburgh at the Dodgers, and the Mets at Philadelphia. The Mets’ Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69 ERA) will be sent out against the Phillies’ Roy Halladay (4-1, 1.80 ERA) in that last game. Righthander Pelfrey tossed five scoreless innings against the Braves last time out, and he hasn’t given up a run since April 9. Righthander Halladay is coming off his first loss of the season, giving up five runs over seven innings versus the Giants on Monday.
Taking a trip around the rink . . .
The NHL gets its final two second-round series underway on Saturday, with Philadelphia at Boston in an Eastern Conference semifinal, and Vancouver at Chicago in a Western Conference semifinal. The Flyers blanked the Devils 3-0 in their last game last Thursday to close out their first-round set, picking up the series win as the underdog. The Bruins also pulled off an upset in the first round, bouncing the Sabres with a 4-3 win on Monday. The Canucks managed to get past the Kings in their Western quarterfinal, while the Hawks dispatched the Predators. Chicago knocked Vancouver out of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year.
Roaring around the track . . .
The drivers of the Sprint Cup Series have a race under the lights on Saturday as they take to the track in the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Jimmie Johnson is listed as the 5/1 favorite to take the checkered flag at Richmond on Saturday, with Denny Hamlin (who won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond back in September) following him on that odds list at 6/1. Kyle Busch is the defending champion at the event, and he sits at 8/1 odds to visit Victory Lane on Saturday night. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin round out the top tier of contenders for the race; they’re both listed at 9/1.
Rounding out the Roundup . . .
Finally, the 2010 Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday at Churchill Downs, with Lookin at Lucky set as the 7/2 favorite despite drawing the rail position. Sidney’s Candy, next on that odds list at 6/1, will start on the outside at post 20. Awesome Act (post 16) is third on the chart at 9/1 odds, with Icebox (post 2) at 10/1, and Devil May Care (post 11) at 12/1. Super Saver (post 4) is set at 14/1 odds for Saturday, with each of American Lion (post 7), Mission Impazible (post 14), and Dublin (post 17) at 16/1. Noble’s Promise (post 3) rounds out the top picks at 18/1. The biggest longshot for the Derby is Backtalk (post 18), listed at 50/1 odds.