The daily sports menu for Wednesday is star-driven, as LeBron James and Sidney Crosby go into action in the NBA & NHL playoffs and the man who’s been the American League’s best pitcher in the early part of the 2013 season gets the ball on ESPN.
LeBron and the Miami Heat open their Eastern Conference Finals series against Indiana tonight at 8:30 PM ET. TNT has the Eastern Finals, so that means the pregame hijinks of Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, something that should be DVR’d even if the game itself is not a priority. The West, televised on ABC/ESPN, is off until the weekend after San Antonio’s win last night gave them a 2-0 series lead over Memphis.
There is only game in the NHL playoffs, and it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins and Crosby facing a Game 4 test against Ottawa. The Pens lead this series 2-1, but they gave away Game 3 in the closing seconds. We’ve already seen the favorite in the other conference—the Chicago Blackhawks—get pushed up against it by the Detroit Red Wings. And there’s no reason think Ottawa will be an easy out for Pittsburgh—Senators goalie Craig Anderson was the best in the league during the regular season and the rule of life in the NHL playoffs is that the hot goalie rules all. The puck drops at 7:30 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.
Yesterday, TheSportsNotebook did its review of the American League All-Star ballot, and all the major awards. It was concluded that New York Yankees’ starter Hiroki Kuroda deserves to be the Cy Young frontrunner. Kuroda pitches tonight in Baltimore in a game ESPN will show at 7 PM ET. The first two games of this series have each gone into extra innings, with each team winning once.
Otherwise, it’s mostly matinee baseball that drives the TV schedule. MLB Network has Reds-Mets at 1:10 PM ET. And if you’re into college baseball at all, the conference tournaments are going this week. Regional networks are carrying these, and they generally have early starts—the SEC, with the top two teams in the country in LSU and Vanderbilt, start at 9:30 AM. I live in Big Ten Country, and the games today from Target Field in Minnesota start by noon.
Today at TheSportsNotebook, our MLB coverage continues with a look at the National League All-Star leaders. And if you haven’t had the chance, check out the NBA commentary and the accompanying conference finals preview, as Indiana and Miami get set to begin.