The Friday night schedule for TV daily sports looks an awful lot like Wednesday’s—it’s a day to focus on the stars, with LeBron James and Sidney Crosby getting the attention, and the Yankees playing a big AL East game.
TNT carries Game 2 of the Heat-Pacers series in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, with a tip time of 8:30 PM ET. After Miami’s 103-102 overtime win in the opener, I’ve heard conflicting opinions on whether Indiana has to win tonight. I think they do—yes, I think the Pacers could win two in a row on their home floor and even the series back up, but if an upset is to happen I think it’s much more likely Indiana gets a road win the series’ opening stanza, then in Game 5 or Game 7.
Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley will be in their usual pregame spots for this game, and both looked prescient in Game 1, particularly Smith, who said the series would go seven games and I don’t think I ever heard him conclusively say Miami would win. In other words, both analysts gave the Pacers a much better chance than they’re getting in the mainstream media and that was played out on the court in Game 1.
Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins had an offensive explosion on the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 on Wednesday, scoring four goals in the third period and taking command of this NHL Eastern Conference semi-final, going up three games to one. Crosby and the boys are back in the ‘Burgh tonight with a chance to close out the series.
Baseball will be on the MLB Network and the New York Yankees, after losing two of three in Baltimore earlier this week, now go to Tampa Bay for a 7 PM ET start. Other parts of the country will see two more East Coast teams go at it, as it’s the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals from the nation’s capital. Both teams are struggling to get untracked and swimming a little above or below the .500 mark, trying to make sure the Atlanta Braves don’t get too far out in front.
Here at TheSportsNotebook, we’ll have updated NHL analysis coming up today, with a complete review of all four second-round playoff series. NBA commentary gets a fresh installment tomorrow once both conference finals have two games on the board. And there’s been a lot of MLB coverage this week, from All-Star selections this week for both the American League and National League, plus features on the Braves and Cleveland Indians.