While the NBA's Eastern Conference teams are still battling it out to see who will play in their conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder made quick work in their second round series, setting the stage for a Spurs-Thunder Western Conference Finals match-up.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that these are the two teams in the west left standing, as they were the two best teams in the regular season and by far the two best in the postseason. The Spurs have yet to lose in these playoffs, sweeping both of their series, and they have now won a combined 18 games in a row behind veterans Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. The Thunder are playing in their second straight Western Conference Finals, losing last year to the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. The team features scoring champion Kevin Durant as well as Sixth Man of the Year Award winner James Harden.
When in comes to sports, fans know that the regular season is just the warm-up for the playoffs, where everything gets ratcheted up to a new level. No where will that be more apparent than in Los Angeles this weekend when the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings all host home playoff games.
From May 17 through May 20, Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles will be the epicenter of sports with six postseason games taking place in that span. Normally, playoff competition in L.A. is reserved for the Lakers who have 16 championships to their name, compared to zero from the Kings and Clippers. This season has been different, though, with the Clippers and Kings shedding the losing mentality that has hounded them for years.
It's almost April, which will hopefully bring some spring weather (without the relapses into winter that filled up March here in CT). April will also bring some pretty great live events, plus April Fools Day, National Welding Month and National Karaoke Week (my favorite!). Check out the preview of April live events below!
Coachella: For the first time, the festival will span two weekends, starting April 13 and going through April 22. Top headliners include Radiohead, David Guetta, Florence and the Machine, Gotye, and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
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Nickelback: Nickelback is teaming up with Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days for their latest tour, which kicks off April 10 in Moline, IL.
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Crosby, Stills and Nash: The trio is back again with a US tour starting April 17, continuing all the way through September.
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For college basketball die-hards like me, there is no event quite like the NCAA Men's Final Four.
This year's event takes place in New Orleans and will feature some of the top programs in the country. One of the most intriguing match-ups in recent Final Four memory will be the Kentucky-Louisville game where there is no love lost between the in-state rivals and their head coaches. Nearly 1/3 of all Final Four tickets sold on the TicketNetwork Exchange have been purchased by customers from the Bluegrass State—more than any other state.
The other game, between Ohio State and Kansas, will also be a must-see, featuring two of the top players in the country.
Before you watch the games this weekend, check out our Final Four preview below:
Kentucky – This is the second consecutive Final Four for the Wildcats; they lost last year to eventual National Champion UConn Huskies. Just like last year, UK is the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament and give the school its first championship since 1998 and head coach John Calipari's first title.
Who would have thought that over a 12-month span we would see not one but TWO cultural phenomenons in Tim Tebow and now Jeremy Lin? Unlike Tebow, though, Lin literally came out of nowhere. No hype. No huge fan following. And if it weren't for a few injuries and a team with nothing to lose, Lin probably still wouldn't have had his chance to play. Now, Lin has taken over the NBA and popular culture as a whole in just a few short weeks.
Since Linsanity began on February 4, sales for Knicks games at Madison Square Garden have exploded on TicketNetwork.com. A little over 41% of all Knicks tickets purchased this season have come since Lin made his debut.
There are multiple factors that have made Jeremy Lin such a fan favorite. First of all, nearly all sports fans, and even non-sports fans, love to root for the underdog. Lin was never given the chance to succeed in the NBA, having been cut by two teams in the last 12 months, and now he is a guy that is dominating players twice his size.