Dwight Howard done, Devils and Caps square, Granderson three homers

D12 to have back surgery, Heat beat Bulls, Knicks and Mavs clinch, Bucks and Rockets toast

Dwight Howard’s long strange odyssey thorough the 2011-2012 NBA season end today as D12 undergoes season ending surgery for a herniated disk in his back. Howard will miss the NBA playoffs and will not be part of the US Olympic team this year in London. Howard expects to be 100% by the start of next year’s NBA regular season.

Despite the distractions of impending free agency and a tumultuous relationship with head coach Stan Van Gundy, Howard was on his away to one of the finest statistical seasons of his career, averaging 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds – a league-leading mark and a new career high. He also blocked 2.1 shots per game, added a career-highs with 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. However, for the first time in his career, he dealt with serious injuries, has he will end up having missed 12 games total; the most games Howard has missed with injuries prior to this season had been four.

The Miami Heat kept their hopes alive for a No.1 seed in the East with an 83-72 win over the Bulls in South Beach. Lebron James had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Miami. Dwayne Wade chipped in with 18 points for the Heat. Derrick Rose sat out again for the Bulls, Chris Bosh nursed various injuries and was a DNP for Miami. Chicago leads the Heat by 1.5 games for best record in the East with three games to play. Miami has a game in hand.

Milwaukee and Houston about played themselves out of the playoffs with Thursday night losses. The Bucks lost 118-109 at Indiana and now trail Philadelphia by three full games with four games to play. The Knicks clinched a playoff spot by virtue of the Milwaukee loss. The Houston Rockets lost their sixth straight game, blowing a 51-43 halftime lead at New Orleans falling 105-99 in overtime. Dallas had it’s playoff ticket punched with the Rocket loss and now Houston trails Phoenix and Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The Minnesota T-Wolves got off to a fast start in Detroit to hold off the Pistons 91-80 at Auburn Hills. Minnesota snapped an 11-game losing streak this year and a 27-game losing streak in the month of April. It was the Wolves first win in the month of April since April 18, 2009. Phoenix kept their playoff hopes alive with a 93-90 win over the Clippers.

Blues and Coyotes win to go 3-1, Caps and Devils level things at 2-2

St Louis and Phoenix took commanding 3-1 leads in their series while Washington and New Jersey leveled matters in their on the four game Thursday night hockey card. In Chicago, Mikkel Boedker notched his second overtime winner in 48 hours as the Coyotes took down the Blackhawks 3-2. Brian Elliot stopped 23 of 24 shot as the Blues stopped San Jose 2-1 at the Shark Tank. Both teams can clinch with home wins Saturday night. Road teams went 2-2 last night and are 21-11 for the playoffs.

In New Jersey, Martin Brodeur recorded his 100th playoff win and his 24th career playoff shutout in the Devils 4-0 whitewash of the Panthers. Brodeur passes Patrick Roy to become the NHL’s all-time playoff shutout leader. The series resumes Saturday tied 2-2. An Alexander Semin power-play goal in the second was all the Washington Capital needed to skate post Boston 2-1. Rookie goalie Braden Holtby continues to impress with 43 saves.

Just two games on tonight’s NHL playoff shedule. Despite losing eight of their last nine meetings on home ice to the Flyers, the Pittsburg Penguins are -190 favorites in their Game V with Philadelphia. For the first time that we can remember, the posted total is a whopping seven flat with the over still -120. The teams have combined for 46 goal in the first four games of the series. Philadelphia leads the series 3-1. In the late game, Nashville is a -130 favorite to close out Detroit in Music City. The total is five flat with the over -130.

Granderson homers in first three at bats, 5 for 5 in Yank win over the Twins

The Grandy man can, the Grandy man can !!! Longtime Yankee announcer John Sterling was a busy man on Thursday in the Bronx Bombers 7-6 win over the Twins. Curtis Granderson homered in his first three at bats and went 5-for-5 with 4 RBIs to split the series. The Twins have not won a series in Yankee Stadium since 2001 and are just 6-14 vs the Pinstripes over the last three years.

Luck WILL be first pick of the NFL draft

The Colts have announced that they will take Andrew luck with Thursday’s first pick in the NFL draft. Robert Griffin III will undoubtedly go second to the Redskins and then it is a crap shoot as teams try to move up and trade down. SP3 will post it’s own mock draft either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Sportsbetting3 Potpurri

Griner will bypass the Olympics

Citing a family illness and school obligations, Brittney Griner will forgo for the 2012 London Olympics

“‘Because of a family illness and my school schedule during the summer, I have told USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director, Carol Callan, that I will be unable to participate this summer.’ Griner said in a statement released by the school. ‘I am disappointed that I will be unable to participate, but I want to stay involved in USA Basketball and hope to again have the opportunity to represent my country in future international competition.’”

Griner would have been the first college player to make the woman’s team since 1998. The US team has captured four consecutive gold medals and, in 2008, won all of its games by at least 15 points. With WNBA standouts Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Tina Charles, Seimone Augustus, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird already committed, Team USA would appear to be a slam dunk to repeat.

Fenway Park celebrates 100th anniversary today

A 16mm tribute to 100 years at Fenway Park

Free Plays

(NBA) Memphis -13.5 over Charlotte

(NHL) Nashville -129 over Detroit

(MLB) St Louis (Lynn) -123 over Pittsburg (Morton)

(MLB) San Francisco (Zito) +122 over NY Met (Niese)