This You Gotta See: NBA playoffs, Indy 500 and a Cubs-White Sox series that trumps all else
There’s no time for lamentation in this “sprint” everyone in baseball keeps talking about. Besides, what is a Cubs-Sox series in the midst of a spirit-battering 2020 if not a gift? We’ll take it.
The NBA playoffs are here, even though the Bulls aren’t part of the fun. The Stanley Cup playoffs are rolling on, though, sadly, the Blackhawks haven’t done much rolling with them.
The Sky are in full swing and the Fire are about to get going again, and how about those Bears? No, really, has anybody seen them? Their training camp — with the first padded practice on Monday — has been all but invisible.
But the story of the week is what’s happening at Wrigley Field toward the end of it, and that’s the Cubs and the White Sox meeting — let’s hope — for the first three games of the six scheduled between the teams in this (again, let’s hope) 60-game major league season.
“It’s exciting, right?” Cubs manager David Ross said last month as he perused the schedule and looked ahead to the renewal of the crosstown rivalry.
Exciting, for sure, though perhaps not as much so as it would’ve been had the Sox held up their end of the bargain through the first third of the campaign. Instead, dealing with injuries and inconsistency across the board, they’re still trying to get their bearings. Even the Cubs, off to a terrific start, entered the week having failed to win a series — this one against the Brewers — for the first time.
But there’s no time for lamentation in this “sprint” everyone in baseball keeps talking about, and, besides, what is a Cubs-Sox series in the midst of a spirit-battering 2020 if not a gift? We’ll take it, won’t we? We’d be crazy not to.
Here’s what’s happening:
Jazz at Nuggets, Game 1 (12:30 p.m., ESPN)
Who better to usher in the NBA playoffs than the Jazz, who kind of ushered in — wrong place, wrong time, wrong behavior by big man Rudy Gobert — the coronavirus-driven shutdown of sports? Gobert vs. Denver’s Nikola Jokic is a clash of All-Star centers we can get behind.
Blues at Canucks, Game 4 (9:30 p.m., NBCSN)
The defending Stanley Cup champions are scrambling for their playoff lives, staring potentially bitter disappointment in the gnarled teeth. In other words, the Blues have reverted back to being the Blues again.
Sky vs. Aces (8 p.m., ESPN2)
The last time these teams met, in the season opener, the Sky scored the final 11 points — capped by an Allie Quigley three for their first lead of the second half — to win 88-86. Is Aces star Angel McCoughtry all-in on revenge? Or will her team double down on defeat? Sorry, obligatory Las Vegas humor.
Blackhawks at Golden Knights, Game 5 (9:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Is it just us, or is there something incredibly annoying about Knights goalie Robin Lehner when the former Hawk stands there all fat and happy after he has allowed fewer pucks to fly into the net than Corey Crawford? Yes, that goes for Marc-Andre Fleury, too.
Cardinals at Cubs (1:20 p.m., MSN)
Hey, look, another doubleheader. Thanks to the Cardinals’ COVID-19 issues costing them games at Busch Stadium, they’re actually the home team in the nightcap. Indeed, folks, it’s all the excitement of a road game for the Cubs without the boredom of being in St. Louis.
Heat at Pacers, Game 2 (noon, ESPN)
Miami’s Jimmy Butler — yes, we’re still hanging on like grim death to our association with him — has a title on his mind. Indiana forward T.J. Warren, though, has been a bubble revelation. Who’s the man in this 4-vs.-5 series, anyway?
Fire at Crew (6:30 p.m., Ch. 9)
The next phase of the Fire’s regular season — featuring three true road matches, and three at Soldier Field — begins with a visit to Columbus. Will the momentum the league built with its comeback tournament in Florida continue?
Golden Knights at Blackhawks, Game 6 (TBD, if necessary)
We can dream the series goes this far, can’t we?
White Sox at Cubs (7:15 p.m., MSN, NBCSCH)
Three of the last five Crosstown Cup series ended in ties; the Cubs won the other two. Based on how these teams have played in 2020, the Cubs would seem to be clear favorites heading into the weekend — but that’s why they play the games, people.
Lakers at Trail Blazers, Game 3 (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7)
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were paired in L.A. to raise a trophy — period — but this is no ordinary 1-vs.-8 series. Portland has Damian Lillard capable of shooting down anybody, an always-lathered-up wingman in CJ McCollumn and, oh, yeah, Carmelo Anthony last-gasping for a heroic turn. Anything’s possible here.
Blackhawks at Golden Knights, Game 7 (TBD, if necessary)
Look, we admitted we were dreaming, didn’t we?
Indy 500 (noon, Ch. 5)
Can we still call it “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in good conscience if hundreds of thousands of fans aren’t milling about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to drink it in? No matter, it’s 200 laps, 500 miles and a bottle of milk for the hopefully-not-lactose-intolerant winner. If you’re betting at home, consider that the last four drivers to take the checkered flag in this event did so for the first time.
White Sox at Cubs (1:20 p.m., MSN, NBCSCH)
Not that this rivalry has gone stale, but it isn’t quite at the level of rancor that it was in 2006 when Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski met the business end of Cubs catcher Michael Barrett’s right fist. Maybe Willson Contreras or Yasmani Grandal will be considerate enough to heave a hook at the other?