Posts By: Bob Dunkel

Dallas, Part 1

Dallas Keuchel’s strong finish last year gave the Astros hope they had found an ace for their staff.  The young left-hander picked right up where he left off in the season-opener as he outpitched reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in a 2-0 victory over Cleveland.  Today, Keuchel will take the mound in the rubber game of the Astros series… Read more »

LA Story

Just a month ago it seemed out of the question that the LA Clippers could overtake Memphis for the No. 2 slot in the playoffs.  But an NBA-best 11-1 run since then has put Doc Rivers’ team on the Grizzlies’ doorstep.  Tonight, the two teams will meet at the Staples Center with postseason positioning on the line.  To get our… Read more »

Stale Brew

Pittsburgh’s win over Milwaukee last night left the Brewers (0-4) as the last winless team in the National League.  One more loss would give Milwaukee its longest losing streak to start a season since going 0-6 in 2003.  The Brewers will see if they can avoid that pitfall today when they host the Pirates in the second game of their… Read more »

Flame Up

The Calgary Flames ended a five-year playoff drought when they beat Los Angeles on Thursday night to clinch a postseason spot.  In doing so, the Flames also helped Winnipeg advance to the postseason for this first time since the Atlanta Thrashers made it in 2006-07.  Today, the two teams will meet with Calgary looking to finish a series sweep over… Read more »

Bud Light

One of the bright spots in the Orioles season last year was the pitching of Bud Norris.  The right-hander went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA during the regular season then finished the campaign with a 1-0 record and 3.38 ERA in two postseason starts.  Today, Norris will get the start in the Orioles home-opener as the Birds host Toronto. To… Read more »

Strategy Sessions

Wizards coach Randy Wittman decided to give John Wall a rest in their most recent game and replaced the All-Star with Ramon Sessions. The move worked beautifully as Wall got some much-needed R&R, while Sessions contributed 19 points and 7 assists in a 119-90 rout of the Sixers.  Tonight, the Wizards will head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets… Read more »

Desperation Time

The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins are both limping toward the playoffs. The Isles are 3-7-2 over their last 12 games, including a 5-4 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday that saw the Flyers score the game-winner with 2.1 second left in regulation. The Penguins have been even worse with a 3-9-2 stretch over the last month, including a 4-3… Read more »

Wild Card

The fortunes of the Minnesota Wild changed significantly when they obtained goalie Devan Dubnyk from Arizona on January 14.  The Wild have gone a league-best 27-8-3 since the transaction with Dubnyk starting every game while compiling a 1.73 GAA and five shutouts. Tonight, the Wild will head to Nashville to face a Predators team that has struggled with a 2-5-3… Read more »

Justin Time

To help fill the void created when Jon Lester was traded away, the Red Sox brought back Justin Masterson and inserted him into the starting rotation.  They’re looking for an improvement over his numbers last year, which included career worsts in ERA (5.88) and WHIP (1.63).  Masterson will get his first start today as the Red Sox wrap up an… Read more »

Hands Of Klay

The Golden State Warriors suffered rare back-to-back defeats to finish their recent road trip. They haven’t lost three straight in almost 17 months and will look to avoid that pitfall tonight as they return home to Oracle Arena to face the Portland Trail Blazers. A key will be getting Klay Thompson going again after the All-Star totaled just 13 points on… Read more »

Net Gain

The Brooklyn Nets have moved up to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings with a late-season surge that has seen them win seven of their last eight.  The only blemish over that period was a 131-99 trouncing at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks last Saturday.  Those two teams will meet again tonight as the Nets host Atlanta… Read more »

Capital Idea

The Boston Bruins are making a strong push toward the postseason thanks to a current five-game winning streak.  But they’ll face a stiff challenge today on the road against a Washington Capitals team that hasn’t allowed a Bruins goal in the two previous matchups this season.  To get our pick for this game and the full NHL schedule, click on… Read more »

Belt Tightening

The San Francisco Giants were already dealing with the loss of Pablo Sandoval (free agency), Hunter Pence (DL) and Matt Cain (DL) when first baseman Brandon Belt was added to the list yesterday (strained groin).  With Belt likely out of the lineup today, the Giants will close out their series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.  To get our pick for… Read more »

Pelican Brief

The New Orleans Pelicans are making a mad dash in an attempt to secure a playoff spot in the Western Conference.  The Pelicans have won four of their last five to pull within one-half game of the Thunder for the eighth and final spot.  But those victories came against also-rans Sacramento (twice), Minnesota and the Lakers.  Tonight, New Orleans will… Read more »

Cruz Control

The Seattle Mariners made a big splash in the off-season by signing Nelson Cruz off a 40-HR season last year in Baltimore.  Adding Cruz should give Seattle some offensive pop to go with a solid pitching staff led by Felix Hernandez.  That combo was good for a 4-1 win in the season-opener yesterday against the Angels.  Today, Seattle will see… Read more »

Point To Be Made

The New York Islanders are one point away from clinching a playoff spot as they head to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers tonight.  But while Philadelphia is out of the running, they still appear dangerous with a pair of wins over the Penguins and another over the Blackhawks in their last five outings.  To get our pick for this… Read more »

Short Of Perfect

Tonight was supposed to be a coronation of the perfect season for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Instead, Wisconsin upset the order of things by knocking off the Wildcats in the national semifinal.  That set up a championship game tonight between Bo Ryan’s Badgers (36-3) and Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils (34-4).  While the intrigue of an unbeaten season is no longer… Read more »

Giant Undertaking

For the third time in the last five seasons, the San Francisco Giants will enter opening day as the defending champions.  Tonight, the Giants start the season in Arizona and will send Madison Bumgarner to the mound.  When we last saw Bumgarner, he was saving Game 7 of the World Series and putting a cap on one of the most… Read more »

Kings Crossing

The Los Angeles Kings are at a playoff crossroads.  The defending champions currently hold the second wild-card spot by virtue of a tie-breaker with Winnipeg and are just a point behind Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division and an automatic bid.  But a slip up tonight in Vancouver could prove costly.  To get our pick for this game… Read more »

Dealing With The Cards

Hopes are running high in Chicago that this could finally be the year that the Cubs win it all.  A slew of young talent and the addition of free agent jewel Jon Lester have Cub fans dreaming of a fruitful October.  But to get there, they’ll have to go through St. Louis and the reigning division champion Cardinals.  The two… Read more »

Central Theme

The Cleveland Cavaliers can all but wrap up the Central Division as they host the Chicago Bulls this afternoon.  The Cavaliers lead the Bulls by three games in the division race with six to play.  Home court has been especially kind to the Cavs as they’ve won 17 straight at Quicken Loans Arena.  To get our pick for this game and… Read more »

Egg Roll

The Philadelphia Flyers may not be good enough to make the playoffs this year, but don’t tell the Pittsburgh Penguins that.  The Flyers have been on a roll against their Keystone rivals, taking the last seven contests in the series.  Today, the two teams will meet in Philadelphia for an Easter matinee.  To get our pick for this game and… Read more »

Perfect Foil

Kentucky’s seeming invincibility took a hit last weekend when the Wildcats struggled against Notre Dame in the regional final.  But the Wildcats survived to keep their perfect 38-0 record intact and are two games away from being the first team since Indiana in 1976 to go undefeated.  Standing in their way tonight is Wisconsin and the NCAA Player of the Year, Frank Kaminsky.  It’s… Read more »

Cutting Down The Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are fighting to make the playoffs, but if there is one team that would like to see them fail, it’s the Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks own the Nets first-round draft pick next year as part of the 2012 Joe Johnson trade and have a shot at a top three lottery selection if Brooklyn doesn’t make the postseason…. Read more »

Jacket Weather

While the Columbus Blue Jackets have been eliminated from playoff contention, they’ve been one of the hottest at the end of the regular season.  The Jackets have won eight straight, including six over teams in playoff contention.  Today, Columbus will go for a franchise record ninth straight win as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.  To get pick for this game… Read more »

Russell Athletic

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook continues to make a strong push for MVP honors as he recorded his eighth triple-double since the All-Star break on Wednesday night in Dallas.  But that wasn’t enough to get the Thunder past the Mavericks in a 135-131 shootout loss.  Tonight, Westrbook and OKC will see if they can do a little better job on the defensive end… Read more »

Four On The Floor

College basketball’s Final  Four is set and there is no surprise in the three No. 1 seeds that made it: Kentucky, Duke and Wisconsin.  But the party-crasher at this year’s festivities is No. 7 seed Michigan State, which has once again been masterfully guided to its seventh Final Four in 15 years by coach Tom Izzo.  To get our picks for… Read more »

Black And Blues

The St. Louis Blues clinched a postseason slot last night with their 4-1 win over Calgary and have a chance to pull even with idle Nashville atop the Central Division tonight as they head to Dallas to take on the Stars.  But St. Louis will likely be without its top two scorers in Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen, who are both… Read more »

Heat Of The Night

It’s a reunion of sorts as the Miami Heat heads to Cleveland tonight to face old teammate LeBron James and the Cavaliers.  Adding to the drama is the fact that these two teams are on course to meet in the first round of the playoffs.  The last time the two teams met on March 16, Miami came out on top,… Read more »

NIT Picking

Stanford and Miami tip it off tonight at Madison Square Garden in the finals of the NIT.  The Cardinal advanced with a 67-60 win over Old Dominion during which guard Chasson Randle became Stanford’s all-time leading scorer.  He’ll face a Hurricanes’ backcourt that is short-handed because of injuries, but found a way to pull out a 60-57 win over Temple… Read more »

No Lack Of Effort

Vancouver has started its four-game road trip through the Central Division with back-to-back wins over St. Louis and Nashville thanks in large part to the solid play of goalie Eddie Lack, who has a 1.94 GAA in his last five road games (4-0-1 record).  Lack & Company head to Chicago tonight to face a Blackhawks team that has bounced back… Read more »

Least Of The East

The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers are a combined 18 games under .500, yet are still very much in playoff contention as they meet tonight at TD Garden.  Despite losing five of their last eight, the Celtics are just a 1/2 game behind the Nets for the eighth spot in the playoff chase.  The Pacers are 1 1/2 games behind… Read more »

Earl Of Loyola

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers rode a 16-point performance from Earl Peterson to take the opener in the CBI Tournament, 65-58, over Louisiana-Monroe on Monday night.  Game Two of the best of three series moves down to Louisiana tonight as the Warhawks try to even things up and force a deciding Game Three on Friday night.  To get our pick for this game… Read more »

March Of The Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in pursuit of home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and come into tonight’s contest against Philadelphia tied with the Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division.  But the Penguins face a challenge in stopping the Flyers’ high-scoring pair of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek without key defensemen Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff,… Read more »

Seed Planted

The Golden State Warriors locked up the top seed in the Western Conference and set a franchise record with their 60th win on Saturday over Milwaukee, 108-95.  The Warriors come in riding a nine-game winning streak tonight as they take on the LA Clippers at the STAPLES Center.  Doc Rivers’ team has been on a roll as well since the… Read more »

Aces Wild

The Evansville Purple Aces advanced to tonight’s CBI semifinal after defeating Louisiana-Lafayette on the road, 89-82, behind D.J. Balentine’s game-high 35 points.  They’ll get to host the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, who edged their Ohio Valley rival Eastern Kentucky, 70-69, to advance.  To get our pick for this game and all of tonight’s NCAA hoops action, click on the Basketball icon above.

Panthers On The Prowl

The Florida Panthers are still in the playoff hunt and have a chance to pick up some ground tonight as they take on the Bruins in Boston.  Boston currently holds the final wild card spot in the East and is four points ahead of the Panthers.  But Florida has been energized by the addition of Jaromir Jagr, who has 12… Read more »

Memphis Blues

The Memphis Grizzlies have looked nothing like the team that is expected to compete for the Western Conference crown this year.  The Grizzlies have lost three straight to Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio by a combined 59 points, while failing to score at least 90 points in any of them.  They’ll try to avoid their season-worst fourth straight defeat… Read more »

Rambling Men

Loyola-Chicago’s first time in the CBI Tournament has been a memorable one as the Ramblers have advanced all the way to the finals.  Loyola-Chicago got there after beating Seattle in the semis, 63-48, behind a combined 30 points from guards Devon Turk and Earl Peterson.  Tonight, the Ramblers will open up the best two-out-of-three championship series at home against the… Read more »

Looking Sharp

The Chicago Blackhawks stumbled in back-to-back losses to lower-rated Philadelphia and Columbus, and seemed on their way to their third straight defeat last night in Winnipeg.  Trailing by a goal midway through the third period, the Blackhawks picked up some much-needed momentum when Patrick Sharp knotted it up with his fourth goal in eight games.  Chicago went on to win… Read more »

Few Good Men

Gonzaga shocked the college basketball world back in 1999 when the Zags made the Elite 8.  But in the subsequent years, coach Mark Few was unable to get his team that far again despite regular returns to the tourney.  Instead, the Bulldogs became known as upset fodder such as two years ago when they lost in the second round despite… Read more »

What’s Up, Doc

During Doc Rivers nine-year stint as the Celtics coach, Boston was a perennial playoff contender and won it all in 2008.  Those days are long gone, but the Celtics are trying to claw their way back into the playoff picture under coach Brad Stevens.  Boston is in a five-team struggle for the final two playoff spots in the East and… Read more »

Desolate Isles

The New York Islanders were seemingly on cruise control into the postseason back in early March when they sat atop the Metropolitan Division and were just two points behind Montreal for the top seed in the East.  But a 1-6-1 stretch during which the offense has managed only 11 non-shootout goals has coach Jack Capuano scratching his head.  Today, the… Read more »

Elite Company

If the pressure of a perfect season is getting to Kentucky, it sure didn’t show in its Sweet 16 matchup with West Virginia.  The Wildcats jumped out to an 18-2 lead and finished by doubling-up the Mountaineers in a 78-39 thrashing.  Next in line for the Wildcats in the Elite 8 is Notre Dame, which established itself as a giant-killer… Read more »

Healthy Choice

The Portland Trail Blazers got a little more healthy last night as they welcomed back Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman from the injured list in an 87-81 victory at Phoenix.  The Blazers get to return home tonight to face a Denver team that has lost seven straight in the season series.  To get our pick for this game and the full NBA… Read more »

Call Of The Wild

The Minnesota Wild helped out Los Angeles last night with a 4-2 win over Calgary that kept the Kings a point ahead of the Flames for third place in the Pacific Division.  Today, the Kings will try to build on that lead as they head to Minnesota.  The Wild come in with a four-game winning streak, but have lost the… Read more »

Buddy System

Lon Kruger has his Oklahoma Sooners on its deepest run in the NCAAs since the Blake Griffin-led team made it to the Elite 8 in 2009.  Like Griffin, these Sooners rely heavily on Big 12 player of the year, Buddy Hield, who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.  Tonight, Hield and the Sooners will take on a… Read more »

Suns Ablaze

The Portland Trail Blazers are firmly in the playoff picture; the Phoenix Suns are not.  Phoenix trails Oklahoma City by three games for the final postseason slot as the Suns host the Blazers tonight.  Both teams are banged up with the Suns missing Brandon Knight (ankle) for the last seven games, while the Blazers were without LaMarcus Aldridge (hand), Nicolas Batum… Read more »

Stars Align

The Dallas Stars are making a strong push to advance into the postseason thanks to some solid goaltending from Kari Lehtonen, who is 8-1-0 with a 2.07 GAA since the beginning of March.  That stretch has moved the Stars to within striking distance of Winnipeg for the last wild-card slot in the Western Conference.  Tonight, Dallas will go for its… Read more »

Marshall Plan

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall deploys a suffocating defense that can make life miserable for the opposing team.  Just ask in-state rival Kansas, which succumbed to the pressure in a 78-65 Shockers’ victory in the Round of 32.  Tonight, Marshall and his Shockers will see if they can slow down the free-flowing offense of Notre Dame, which needed overtime to… Read more »