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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Western Conference finals tip tonight

By Amanda Rykoff

NBA: The Western Conference finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder tips tonight in Dallas with the NBA version of the Red River Rivalry (9 p.m., ESPN). While the Mavs haven't played since they finished a sweep of the Lakers on May 8, the Thunder wrapped up a thrilling seven-game series against the Grizzlies on Sunday. Since the 1996 playoffs, 10 teams have had a layoff of at least eight days between series. Those teams are 5-5 in Game 1 after the break. Dallas won two of the teams' three regular-season meetings, but they haven't played since Jan. 6 and Dirk Nowitzki missed the Thunder's lone victory. For more, check out our Five things to watch in the Western Conference finals. Tune in to ESPN a bit early, at 8:30 p.m., for the 2011 NBA draft lottery.

NHL: The Tampa Bay Lightning stole home ice with a 5-2 thrashing of the Boston Bruins in Game 1, their eighth straight postseason win. The Bruins have now lost nine straight Eastern Conference finals games and need goaltender Tim Thomas to return to form if they hope to salvage tonight's Game 2 (8 p.m., Versus). In conference finals since the lockout of 2004-05, teams winning Game 2 are 10-0 in the series. The Bruins were without forward Patrice Bergeron (concussion) in Game 1 and have not announced when (or if) he will return to game action, though he did practice with the team Monday.

MLB: Every team is in action tonight, so check your local listings. Of note, the Giants and Rockies each send pitchers with no-hitters on their resumes to the mound (3:10 p.m., Jonathan Sanchez vs. Ubaldo Jimenez). The Rockies have lost all six of Jimenez's starts this season. ... The struggling Yankees (six straight losses) face one of the hottest pitchers in the Rays' James Shields, who has made six straight starts of seven-plus innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer (6:40 p.m., Ivan Nova vs. Shields). ... Roy Oswalt returns to the rotation for the Phillies against the Cardinals and 5-0 starter Jaime Garcia (8:15 p.m).

Information from ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.