PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – AUGUST 31
By Leo Haggerty

PLAYOFFS ARE HEATING UP

The quest for both the O’Brien Trophy and the Stanley Cup are in high gear. Here’s a quick review of who’s moving on In the bubble and who’s going home.

In the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat have moved to the semifinals. The Heat upset the Bucks and took Game 1 by a count of 115-104.

On the other side of the bracket, the Boston Celtics are taking on the Toronto Raptors. The Celtics, also the lower seed, were victorious in the opening contest of their best-of-seven series by a score of 112-94.

The Western Conference is a little more open. The Los Angeles Lakers have advanced to the second round.   LA will face the winner of the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder series that’s tied at three games each.

The other Los Angeles franchise, the Clippers, have also moved to the semifinal round. The Clippers will oppose the Utah Jazz-Denver Nuggets survivor that is heading to a Game 7 matchup.

Moving to the National Hockey League, the situation is a bit farther along.  They are now playing with the winner going to the conference finals.

In the East, the Tampa Bay Lightning have secured a spot in the conference championship series.  The Bolts will oppose the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers-New York Islanders series with the Isles holding a 3-1 advantage.

In the West, none of the series have been decided.  The Dallas Stars are up 3-2 on the Colorado Avalanche in one semifinal. In the other, the Las Vegas Golden Knights hold a 3-1 advantage over the Vancouver Canucks.

Look for the intensity level to go up as each of the playoffs move closer to the championship finals. That means great action and competition from a fan’s perspective and that’s a good thing.

Meet you at the TV. Enjoy.