This Weekend in Sports: French Open, NBA Playoffs and an MLB Showdown
The French Open heads into its second week, while the NBA playoffs near their final round. Here’s what’s scheduled this weekend in sports:
Friday, June 1
Roland Garos Stadium, Paris, France; various times; ESPN2 / ESPN3 / Tennis Channel- TV; Through Jun. 10
The 2012 French Open is through its first week of play at Paris’ Roland Garos Stadium. The biggest upset of the past week saw top-seeded Serena Williams fall to Virginie Razzano of France. Maria Sharapova is now among the favorites on the women’s side. in the men’s draw, Roger Federer won his first-round match over Adrian Ungur. The victory was his record-breaking 234th win at Grand Slam tournaments. The two-week event will crown its champions next weekend.
NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Game 3 — Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
TD Garden, Boston, MA; 8:30 p.m. (EDT); ESPN-TV
The Miami Heat hold a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals after rallying from a 15-point deficit to beat the Celtics, 115-111, in overtime on Wednesday night. Despite getting 44 points from Rajon Rondo, Boston didn’t have an answer for Miami’s LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, who scored 34 and 23 points, respectively. The Celtics hope to benefit from returning home as they attempt to get back into the series in front of a raucous Boston crowd.
The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale
The Pearl, Las Vegas, NV; 9 p.m. (EDT); FX – TV
Finalists from ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Live’ will be featured on a mixed martial arts card in Las Vegas this weekend, however the welterweight bout between former US Marine Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann is the headliner. Ellenberger (27-5) has heavy hands and can knock out anyone in his weight class. Kampmann (19-5) is a skilled grappler who seems to find ways to win. Other fights on the main card include the TUF: Live Lightweight Tournament Final – Michael Chiesa vs. Al Iaquinta, as well as Justin Lawrence vs. John Cofer. Several other bouts are scheduled, including Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles Oliveira and Max Holloway vs. Pat Schilling.
Saturday, June 2
New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park, Detroit, MI; 7:15 p.m. (EDT); FOX-TV
A rematch of teams that faced each other in 2011’s American League Division Series playoffs headlines the Fox baseball game of the week. Despite signing free agent Prince Fielder in the offseason, the Tigers have had a disappointing 2012 thus far, struggling to reach .500. The Yankees won six of their last 10 games heading into Thursday, but they are still dealing with inconsistent performances from the starting rotation. Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.96) gets the ball for New York, while Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.21) starts for Detroit.
NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Game 2 — Los Angeles Kings at New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ; 8 p.m. (EDT); NBC -TV
Anze Kopitar’s game-winning, breakaway goal on Martin Brodeur gave the Kings a 2-1 overtime victory on Wednesday and a 1-0 lead over the Devils in the NHL Stanley Cup finals. The win was the 11th consecutive road victory in the playoffs for Los Angeles, which is now 13-2 this post-season. Devils’ leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk and the rest of the New Jersey offense must get more pressure on Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick, who faced just 17 shots in Game 1.
NBA Western Conference Finals: Game 4 — San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK; 8:30 p.m. (EDT) TNT -TV
If Oklahoma City can’t get a win over San Antonio in Game 3 on Thursday night, the Spurs will be looking to sweep the NBA Western Conference finals on Saturday. San Antonio point guard Tony Parker had 34 points and eight assists on Tuesday to lead the Spurs to a 120-111 victory, their 20th consecutive win good for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook must help contain Parker, play more in control and incorporate fellow Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant in the offense.
Sunday, June 3
FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks
Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE; 6 p.m. (EDT); FOX – TV
The high-banked turns of the ‘Monster Mile’ at Dover await NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers this week. The FedEx 400 should test NASCAR’s best just a week after Kasey Kahne topped the field at the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. Both Greg Biffle, who has led the Sprint Cup standings for 10 straight weeks, and Denny Hamlin, who is currently third, seem to be finding ways to surge to the front of the pack every week. Matt Kenseth, currently second in Cup points, won this race in 2011.
NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Game 4 — Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
TD Garden, Boston, MA; 8:30 p.m. (EDT); ESPN-TV
If Miami can beat Boston on Friday, the Heat could complete the sweep with a win on Sunday night. Otherwise, Boston would be looking to even the series at 2-2 heading back to Florida. Celtics’ forward Paul Pierce has a knack for clutch shooting and big-game performances. Boston needs Pierce and Ray Allen to out shoot the Heat’s superstar duo of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. If Miami’s Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony contain the Boston front court, the Celtics may be looking at the end of an era that has given them two NBA Finals appearances and one championship.