For the N.B.A. Playoffs, Go West Young Fan

The top two seeds dropped their opener. Scores were in the 100s. The Grizzlies won their first playoff game since they beat the T. rexes . The Thunder’s Kevin Durant looks like a superstar again. The Lakers show signs of being the latest long-running soap opera to face cancellation.

Fortunately, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant did not respond to being dumped by No. 7 seed New Orleans by denigrating and insulting a large group of people. No,, he just denigrated and insulted Pau Gasol. While points out that this looked a lot like the Lakers’ late-season snooze stretching into the playoffs, The sees all kinds of bad signs for the future here, although his just thinks it makes things a whole lot more fun.

The Hornets got a blast from his more productive past from Chris Paul, , but more impressively, they in the game. And the funniest thing is, they were far from the least likely candidate to pull an upset, with the Grizzlies hogging that title. Having gone 0-12 in its previous attempts at playoff games, the team will certainly enjoy this turnaround, even if it’s for only one game over the top-seeded Spurs, . Shane Battier certainly , which not only included him hitting the game-winning shot but also his wife, Heidi, giving birth.

In the other side of that upset, the Spurs aren’t quite as adept at melodrama as the Lakers, but there is some dissatisfaction with Tony Parker coming up small in a big role, .

Oh, and the really funny thing about the West, was probably the Thunder’s 107-103 win over the Nuggets, with Durant scoring 41 points. Game scores in the 80s? That’s so Eastern Conference.

The N.H.L. is following a bit of the N.B.A.’s lead, with the compelling story line out West being the Vancouver Canucks looking very un-Canucklike in the first round, putting the defending champ, Chicago, on the brink of elimination. the Canucks as resilient, which means they are not folding like a cheap tent, and that is a real change, . That role has apparently been turned over to the Blackhawks, who are proving you cannot jettison 10 members of your championship team and expect a repeat, . Game 3 was the Blackhawks’ chance to show what they were made of, and the answer was, not enough, writes .

One dark cloud in the Canucks’ sunny universe was forward Raffi Torres celebrating his return from a four-game suspension for a flagrant head shot by throwing at Chicago’s Brent Seabrook. The Canucks whined about Torres serving a two-minute penalty, but The that he should be suspended again quickly and the Canucks should read up on what everybody knows now about concussions.

One head injury that has drawn attention sportswide is the one that has left the San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow fighting for his life. On Sunday his family about the ordeal and drawing strength from the reaction flowing his way. Perhaps fittingly, the Dodgers — whose stadium was the site of the brutal beating — are encountering more woe, with the owner from Fox to keep the franchise lights on.

In auto racing, at Talladega on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson’s by a margin of .002 seconds, but it came because Dale Earnhardt Jr. decided to extend his own winless streak to help his teammate.

Let’s hope he cheered himself up by watching the Western Conference playoffs.

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