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Friday, May 6, 2011
May madness

By Sarah Spain

What a weekend for sports -- and hat enthusiasts -- as the NHL and NBA playoffs heat up and the Kentucky Derby takes off. Mix some mint juleps and get rally caps ready for the Flyers, Red Wings, Celtics and Lakers. And if the sun is shining, why not take Mom to the ballpark for Mother's Day

NBA: The Hawks stole Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Bulls, and now Chicago will look to return the favor as the series heads to Atlanta. The Bulls tied things up at 1-1 with a win on Wednesday night, but they never could put much distance between themselves and the Hawks, leaving Atlanta confident heading into tonight's Game 3 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). The teams meet again Sunday (8 p.m., TNT). ... The Mavericks can take a 3-0 series lead with a win over the Lakers tonight in Dallas. Just three teams in NBA history have won a series after losing the first two games at home, and no team has come back from being down 0-3. Must-wins, by definition, are elimination games, but this is about as close as it gets to a Lakers must-win in a Game 3 (9:30 p.m., ESPN). Game 4 is Sunday (3:30 p.m., ABC). ... On Saturday, the Grizzlies look to use home-court advantage to take control of their series with the Thunder. After falling in Game 1, Kevin Durant and company evened things with a win on Tuesday. They'll try to keep the momentum swinging their way despite a four-day break between games (5 p.m., ESPN). ... Saturday night the Celtics try to get back into their series with the Heat, who won the first two games down in South Beach. They say a series doesn't start until a team wins a game on the road; Boston is hoping to prove that theory right by holding serve on their home court (8 p.m., ABC).

NHL: The Red Wings will try to become the fourth team in league history to fight back from down 3-0 and win a series. The Flyers did it last year, giving Detroit fans an inkling of hope heading into tonight's Game 4 with the Sharks. San Jose, of course, is hoping to deliver the knockout blow tonight, as they continue to shrug off their reputation as postseason chokers (7 p.m.,Versus). Speaking of those Flyers, they've put themselves in an unenviable position for a second straight postseason, once again falling behind 3-0 in their series with the Bruins. Imagine the heartbreak in Boston if this year's Bruins repeat last year's collapse. A win in Game 4 tonight would not only advance the Bruins to the Eastern Conference finals, it would also erase some of the hurt from last year's historic fall (8 p.m., Versus). Both series will continue, if necessary, on Sunday. Bruins/Flyers would be at 3 p.m. on NBC, Red Wings/Sharks would be at 8 p.m. on Versus. ... On Saturday, the Canucks can eliminate the Predators with a win on their home ice in Vancouver. Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs; a win would send Luongo and company into the Western Conference finals (8 p.m., Versus).

Horse Racing: One of the favorites, Uncle Mo, has been scratched, but the 137th Kentucky Derby will go on Saturday (6:24 p.m., NBC).

MLB: It's just the first weekend of May and the best team in the AL, the Indians, are already 11 games up on the worst team, the White Sox. Teams in the NL are starting to spread out too, as the league-leading Phillies are 9 1/2 games ahead of the Astros and the Padres. With 45 games on the docket this weekend, there's sure to be more movement in the world of baseball.