Daily Sports: NBA Finals Tip-Off Highlights Thursday

The NBA Finals start tonight, with Game 1 of the San Antonio-Miami series being the highlight of the Thursday daily sports schedule. It’s a relatively late tip, 9 PM ET, and all Finals games will be shown on ABC. I like the Mike Breen-Jeff Van Gundy broadcast duo that has the games. They’re not Kenny The Jet and Sir Charles from TNT, but Breen is one of the best play-by-play men around and Van Gundy has mastered the art of being the angry coach on TV.

NHL action will also start at 9 PM ET, with Chicago looking to regain control of the Western Conference Finals in Game 4 at Los Angeles. Coverage will be on the NBC Sports Network.

If you’re looking for something to watch prior to this fairly late starts, you have to go outside the lines. MLB coverage is matinee stuff today, with Baltimore-Houston at 2 PM ET. I’m not sure why the Astros would ever be put on national TV, at least not this year. Maybe this game is being marketed as the Ed Reed Bowl, in honor of the longtime Ravens free safety, who shifted over to Houston in free agency this year.

But if there’s no MLB action in the present on today, you can look the future. The amateur draft gets rolling tonight and MLB Network has pick-by-pick coverage starting at 7 PM ET. And if it’s the past that’s your passion, get into the mood for the NBA Finals, with a couple replays of past Game 7s on ESPN Classic. Los Angeles Lakers fans can spend the day reliving better days, with showings of their Game 7 wins over the Pistons in 1988 and the Celtics in 2010.

TheSportsNotebook’s focus today will be hockey, with NHL analysis on the conference finals returning this afternoon. Yesterday, our NBA commentary previewed the Finals, and MLB coverage was updated earlier this week and has another installment coming soon.