Lakers and Rangers survive, Lebron 3X MVP, Johnson at Darlington + Free Plays, Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boston survives 76ers, Grizz/Clippers Game Seven today

The Lakers led the Denver Nuggets by 16 in the third quarter and it looked like the Lake Show was on cruise control. Not so fast. The Nuggets roared back to take a four point lead of their own and the game was tied at 78-78 with just 6:51 to go. From their, the Lakers put the hammer down against the undersized and outmanned Nuggets pulling away to a 96-87 win. The Laker bench and starters other than Kobe Bryant had monster games including LA’s two bigs. Andrew Bynum and Pao Gasol combined for 39 points and 35 rebounds while Steve Blake chipped in with five three-pointers. Metta World Peace returned from suspension with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Ty Lawson and Al Harrington had 24 for a game Denver team. The Lakers on move on to face Oklahoma City on Monday, the Thunder will have had eight days off.

Rajon Rondo had his eight career playoff triple-double and used his speed to dribble out the final 3.4 seconds of the game as the Boston Celtics held on to nip Philadelphia 92-91 in Game One of their Eastern Conference semifinal. Rondo had 13/12/17 including 6/5/4 in the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett had 29 points and 11 rebounds for Beantown. Andre Iguodala led Philly with 19/6/6 while Evan Turner added 16/10/6. Game Two will be Monday at TD Arena.

Indiana and Miami start their Eastern Conference semifinal today in South Beach at 3:30 PM EST. The Heat are eight point favorites with the total being bet down from 189 1/2 to 187 1/2. Miami won the season series 3-1 avgg 101.5 ppg. Miami has won 12 straight home playoff games against NBA East opponents. On Saturday, Lebron James won his third MVP in four years and made some interesting comments at the news conference. Check it out.

Kings/Coyotes open NHL conference finals today

If the Rangers are going to win their first Stanley Cup, they are going to have to do it with great defense, timely scoring, and unbelievable goaltending from Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist. New York beat Washington 2-1 in the seventh and deciding game of their Eastern Conference semi advancing to meet the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. It was the 13th straight game where the Broadway Blues produced three or less goals. It was the 14 straight game that the Rangers have allowed their opponents three or less goals. The Rangers are now a perfect 5-0 in Game Sevens at Madison Square Garden. Game One against New Jersey is on Monday at 8:05 PM EST Monday.

The Kings and Coyotes open their NHL Western Conference final tonight in Phoenix. The Kings are -115 road favorite with a total of 4 1/2, the over -120. The series features two of the hottest goalies in the playoff. Los Angeles’ Jonathon Quick allowed just 14 goals in the Kings demolition of 1-2 seeds Vancouver and St Louis. The Coyotes netminder Mike Smith allowed just one goal in the final eight periods of the Desert Dogs semifinal series win over Nashville. Goals will be at a premium here. The puck drops at 8:05 PM EST.

Angels beat Rangers, Hamilton homers again

Josh Hamilton continued his raging start with his 18th home run in 34 games but the Angels rode a two-run blast from Mark Trumbo to a 4-2 win over the Rangers. The home run was Hamilton’s ninth home run in his last six games. Hamilton, who hit two homers Friday night after a four-homer game Tuesday in Baltimore, leads the majors with a .402 batting average, 18 homers and 41 RBI. Could we be looking at our first Triple Crown winner since Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown in 1967 ??? Yaz hit 326 with 44 home runs and 121 runs batted in. Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown the year before.

Team Hendricks gets elusive 200th win as Johnson takes Darlington

After almost four hours and 366 laps, it came down to a green-white-checker finish at the Bojangle’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Not knowing if he’d have enough gas to finish, Jimmie Johnson was fastest off the mark at the restart and cruised to his 56th career win. It was also the long waited 200th win for Hendrick racing. Denny Hamlin finished second with Tony Stewart third. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Amrose, and Joey Lagano rounded out the tope ten.

In the standings, Greg Biffle leads with 411 points, two better than Matt Kenseth. Dale Earnhardt Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Johnson complete the top five.

Na leads Players after three rounds

Kevin Na has a one-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedre, Florida. Matt Kuchar will join Na in the final pairing. Rickie Fowler, Ben Curtis, and Zach Johnson are all with five shots. A developing story could be Na’s official warning for slow play. A second warning would bring a one-shot penalty that could affect the outcome of the tournament. Na is notorious for his slow play and is fighting a mental block where he finds it impossible to get comfortable getting set over his ball.

Free Plays

(NBA) LA Clippers/Memphis over 177

(NHL) Kings/Coyotes under 4.5 +120

(MLB) San Diego (Suppan)/Phialdelphia (Hamels) under 7.5 -120

(MLB) St Louis (Lynn) -145 over Atlanta (Hanson)