Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NBA playoffs: Western Conference semifinals Game 1: Lakers vs. Dallas, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
Whatever Matt Barnes T-shirt doesn’t kill you will only make his wallet stronger. There’s a $30 T-shirt out there that takes up to four weeks for shipping even if you order now, but this “Matt Barnes Will Kill You … If Ron Harper Doesn’t First” silkscreen by Elusion Clothing, a company that Barnes is co-owner, is a keeper. It came out just a day after Barnes was suspended for his ejection in the Lakers’ 28-point win over the Dallas Mavericks in late March. Barnes stuck himself into a heated confrontation between teammate Steve Blake and the Mavs’ Jason Terry at Staples Center. The next day, Terry went on ESPN Radio and called Barnes “as soft as Charmin toilet paper.” The former UCLA standout responded via Twitter: “NO ONES worried bout wat Jason Terry is talkn bout everyone remembers the 07 season . . . PUNK’EM” Aint (expletive) changed homey.. So enough w/the small talk.” Barnes’ 2007 reference was to how he, and Golden State, eliminated the Mavericks from the playoffs. Any new retorts on Barnes’ part will likely come out sometime soon. But he’s got all week to figure it out. These two franchises used to meet quite frequently in the 1980s, but not since ’88 when the Lakers won a seven-game Western Conference final over Dallas, have they had this much on the line. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr call Game 1 and Game 2 on Wednesday at Staples Center (7:30 p.m., TNT), with Games 3 and 4 in Dallas on Friday (6:30 p.m., ESPN) and Sunday (12:30 p.m., Channel 7).
MLB: Dodgers vs. Chicago, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
Clayton Kershaw’s see-saw season springs back into action as he faces the Cubs for the first time this season, having missed the recent series in Wrigley Field when the Dodgers took two out of three from Chicago. Since his 2-1 Opening Day victory over San Francisco, Kershaw has followed each victory with a loss, leading up to his 4-2 defeat at Florida when he lasted just 5 1/3 innings. He’s first in the NL in innings pitched and strikeouts, but also sixth in walks given up. As Andre Ethier shoots to continue his 27-game hitting streak, the series continues Tuesday night (7 p.m., Channel 9, Chad Billingsley vs. Ryan Dempster) and throwback Wednesday afternoon (12:10 p.m., Prime, Ted Lilly vs. Carlos Zambrano).
MLB: Angels at Boston, 4:10 p.m., FSW:
The Angels lost almost every possible way to the Red Sox while being swept in four games last week in Anaheim — once in extra innings, once by one run, a shutout where they only got two hits, and a shutout where they left eight runners on base. Each time, they looked handcuffed by Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey. In these four games, those same four Red Sox starters are lined up against them again, continuing on to Tuesday and Wednesday (4:10 p.m., FSW) and Thursday (10:35 a.m., FSW). Jered Weaver, held out of Sunday’s scheduled start because of a stomach virus, may start for the Angels tonight instead.
NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference semifinals Game 2: Boston at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m., Versus:
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, missing from the playoffs a year ago, had 31 saves in in a 7-3 win over the Flyers in Game 1. “He was very comfortable from the start,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “But that is just Tim getting better and better as these playoffs move forward.” The series moves to Boston for Game 3 (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Versus) and Game 4 (Friday, 5 p.m., Versus) and then to Philadelphia for Game 5 (Sunday, noon, Channel 4).
NBA playoffs: Eastern Conference semifinals Game 2: Boston at Miami, 4 p.m., TNT:
King James Jones? His 25 off the bench in the Heat’s Game 1 win over the Celtics had to wake some people up in Boston. And nice to see Paul Pierce doing all he can to break up the monotony of the playoffs by getting tossed. Sweet veteran move. After a healthy break to build up more off-court chatter, the scene shifts to Boston for Game 3 (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7).
NBA playoffs: Western Conference semifinals Game 2: Memphis at Oklahoma City, 6:30 p.m., TNT:
Here’s an interesting take: What if the tipping point for how these Grizzlies became a playoff-bound organization was a couple of years ago when they got rid of Pau Gasol and replaced him in the middle with his brother, Marc, after that supposed one-sided late-season trade with the Lakers? San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said at the time that the trade should have been investigated because of how much the Lakers benefitted. Pair that up with how the Clippers threw away Zach Randolph, and he landed in Memphis in 2009. After a 13-point win in Game 1, the Grizzlies continued to be a bear to deal with, behind Gasol and Randolph. After this one, Memphis will be hosting Game 3 when it shifts to that improbable site on Saturday (ESPN, 2 p.m.)
NHL playoffs: Western Conference semifinals Game 3: Vancouver at Nashville, 6 p.m., Versus:
Nearly as crazy as the NBA having a playoff game during May in Tennessee is an NHL playoff game taking place in the state right now, too. Carrie Underwood plans to get carried away after the Predators snatched away an OT win in Game 2. The Duck-killerrs have tied a series that continues with Game 4 Thursday at Nashville (5:30 p.m., Versus) and Game 5 on Saturday back in Vancouver (5 p.m., Versus).
NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference semifinals, Game 3: Washington at Tampa Bay, 3:30 p.m., Versus:
The Caps’ power play has been a lightning rod for criticism — zero-for-11 so far in this series against the Lightning. And after an OT loss Sunday night, they’re down, zero games to two. Moving it all to Florida could be worse. We’re back at it after this one with Game 4 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday (4 p.m.), then, if needed, Game 5 is Saturday at Washington (9:30 a.m., Channel 4).
NHL playoffs: Western Conference semifinals, Game 3: San Jose at Detroit, 5 p.m., Versus:
The Red Wings have lost six of their last seven series when falling behind 2-0, with the only win coming in the first round against Vancouver in 2002. The Sharks could find a way to let them back in. This series stays in Detroit for Game 4 (Friday, 4 p.m., Versus) and goes back to San Jose for Game 5 (Sunday, 5 p.m., Versus).
Golf: PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship at Charlotte, N.C., first round, Golf Channel, noon:
Tiger Woods sends his regrets. This was scheduled to be his next appearance, but a “Grade 1 mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee, and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon while hitting a difficult and awkward second shot from the pine straw under the Eisenhower tree left of the fairway at No. 17 during the third round of the Masters” has him incapacitated. That, and the fact maybe Rory McIlroy returns to defend his title – an event where he shot a 62 in the final round to win over Phil Mickelson. The tournament continues Thursday on Golf Channel and the weekend on CBS.
MLB: Dodgers at New York Mets, 4 p.m., Prime:
Mets reliever Frankie Rodriguez has managed to save about a half-dozen games for a team struggling to stay out of last place in the NL East. That’s how it goes when the staff ERA is north of 4.50. The series goes to Saturday (4:10 p.m., Channel 9) and Sunday (10 a.m., Channel 9).
MLB: Angels vs. Cleveland, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
A recent “power ranking” posted on the MLB Network had these Indians atop the heap — ahead of Colorado, Florida, the New York Yankees and Texas — not just because of their number of wins at the time, but also factoring in things like run differential and strength of schedule. Powerful stuff, but it must say something for the Angels to have taken two out of three from Cleveland just last April 11-13, including a 2-0 shutout by Dan Haren. Why would the Indians come back to Anaheim so soon? The series continues Saturday (6 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).
MLS: Galaxy vs. N.Y. Red Bulls, 8 p.m., ESPN2:
The Galaxy can lose well enough with a wedding-weary David Beckham. He coulda used a Red Bull in Sunday’s loss to Dallas.
MLS: Chivas USA at Real Salt Lake, 1 p.m.:
Back to back wins over San Jose and New England put the Goats (2-2-3) back on the radar.
Horse racing: Kentucky Derby, 1-to-4 p.m., Channel 4:
As dialed in as we try to be on who’s generating the most buzz heading into the marquee thoroughbred event of the year, we’d have never stopped to assume that Dialed In, one of the few colts who has some momentum and hasn’t been injured, could be the favorite based on the process of elimination. Dialed In beat Shackleford by a head in the Florida Derby on April 3 and trainer Nick Zito says he’s been on target.
“This horse is very rippled,” said Zito, who has two Kentucky Derby winners, las week. “This horse is very ready. I can guarantee this horse is not going to be short. I can’t guarantee anything else, but I’ll tell you he won’t be short.” You mean there’s a chance that at this age, they could actually stop growing and start shrinking? Breeder’s Cup Juvenile champ Uncle Mo is another one to keep an eye on, as is Mucho Macho Man, Master of Hounds and Nehro. So say others who are far more dialed in. Coverage during the week includes the Derby Draw (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Versus) and the Kentucky Oaks (Friday, 2 p.m., Versus).
Boxing: Manny Pacquiao vs. Sugar Shane Mosley, 6-to-11:30 p.m., pay-per-view ($54.95):
It’s a far cry from Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr., but an incredible price-hiked simulation. Pomona-native Mosley (46-6-1) lost a 12-round decision to Mayweather last May, but this is who Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) gets in the latest defense of his World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
What would you pay to see Pacquiao pound the face of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.O” host Daniel Tosh? The comedian showed up at the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood recently and, after signing a waiver, asked Pacquiao to participate in a skit with him and Joe Rogan. Reports are that Tosh left “stunned and battered, despite Pacman’s reluctance to throw his hardest punches. … Pacquiao was playful at the outset — but Tosh and his crew reportedly begged for more. …A final blow left Tosh sprawled on the canvas.” Said Rogan: “If Mike Tyson did that, you really would have gotten hurt. You’re lucky Pacquiao’s nice.” The skit will air sometime later this month on Tosh’s show. Meanwhile, the “Fight Camp 360″ documentary leading into this event airs Saturday at 11 a.m. on Channel 2.
College volleyball: Men’s NCAA championship, at Penn State: 4 p.m., ESPN2:
UC Santa Barbara (17-14) upset USC (23-3) to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title, but the Trojans still make the Final Four of the NCAA championship and gain a No. 1 seed as an at-large team. USC and No. 4 UCSB meet again in the semifinals (Thursday, 4 p.m., ESPN2), with the winner going to the championship game against either Penn State (24-6) or Ohio State (24-6).
NBA playoffs: Eastern Conference semifinals Game 4: Chicago at Atlanta, 5 p.m., TNT:
Let’s assume these Bulls are in close-out mode, having played at home for Game 1 (Monday, 5 p.m, TNT) and Game 2 (Wednesday, 5 p.m., TNT) and then in Atlanta for Game 3 (Friday, 4 p.m., ESPN). Of the eight remaining teams in the NBA playoffs, the Hawks have been given the longest shot at winning the NBA title — 50-1 by Bodog.com..