A weekend of hoops and hockey heaven
NBA: The NBA playoffs tip off Saturday afternoon with four series-opening matchups, three on ESPN. The No. 1-seeded Bulls look to take it to the eighth-seeded Pacers when they meet at the United Center (1 p.m., ESPN), the No. 4 Magic host the No. 5 Hawks in Orlando (7 p.m., ESPN) and the third-seeded Mavericks welcome the No. 6 Trail Blazers to Big D (9:30 p.m., ESPN). Over on ABC, the second-seeded Heat and the seventh-seeded 76ers meet in South Beach at 3:30 p.m.
The four remaining playoff matchups tip off Sunday. The top-seeded Spurs might be without Manu Ginobili when they open their series with a dangerous Grizzlies team at 1 p.m. on TNT. San Antonio and eighth-seeded Memphis split their four-game series this season. At 3:30 p.m. on ABC, the No. 2 Lakers welcome the No. 7 Hornets to the Staples Center, looking to make a statement after a dreadful end to their regular season. The No. 3 Celtics were 4-0 against the No. 6 Knicks this season; they'll try to run it to 5-0 with a win in their series opener at 7 p.m. on TNT. The last game of the weekend pits the fourth-seeded Thunder against the No. 5 Nuggets at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.
NHL: The quest for Lord Stanley continues with 11 playoff games over the next three days. The Penguins look to build off of Wednesday's 3-0 defeat of the Lightning when they meet again tonight at 7. Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis will be playing with a chip on his shoulder -- and a few chips on his teeth -- after a stick to the face in Game 1 had him visiting a dentist for two late-night root canals. It took all of regulation and more than 18 minutes of overtime for the No. 1 Capitals to put away the eighth-seeded Rangers on Wednesday. Tonight at 7:30, the Rangers will look to avenge the 2-1 loss by stealing one from the Caps on their home ice. Up in Vancouver, the Blackhawks will try to even the score with the Canucks (10 p.m., Versus), after getting shut out 2-0 in Game 1. And in the final game of the night, the No. 4 Ducks look to avenge their 4-1 loss to the No. 5 Predators in Game 1. A loss would send the Ducks into Nashville trailing two games to none. (10:30 p.m., TSN).
On Saturday the Red Wings will try to build on Thursday's 4-2 win over the Coyotes when the two meet again at 1 p.m. on NBC. The 'Yotes blew an early lead in Game 1, allowing Detroit to score four straight goals for the win. At 5 p.m. on TSN, the Sabres look for a second straight upset of the No.2 Flyers, who lost Thursday's series opener in Philly 1-0. The Bruins were the other higher seed to lose Thursday night, as they fell to the Canadiens 2-0 in front of a stunned Boston crowd. If they want to even the score, the Bruins will have to find a way to crack Habs goalie Carey Price, the No. 1 star of Game 1 with 31 saves, when the teams meet again at 7 p.m. on Versus. The Sharks made good on their home-ice advantage Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime win over the Kings. They'll look to go 2-0 in San Jose with another victory Saturday at 10 p.m.
And on Sunday puckheads can settle in for a day of Game 3s, the Capitals and Rangers (3 p.m. NBC), Ducks and Predators at (6 p.m. TSN) and Canucks and Blackhawks (8 p.m. Versus).
MLB: If you hate the excitement of the postseason, there's plenty of early season baseball going on this weekend -- 45 games to be exact. Take your pick and tell us about 'em on Monday -- we'll be too busy with playoff hoops and hockey to keep up.