Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, MLB, and NHL Preview

by Big Al Staff

The NBA Eastern Conference finals get back to business on Wednesday after a three-day break that afforded time for the Western Conference finals to get caught up with two games played since the Celtics and Heat last played.

Boston avoided a disastrous 0-3 start in this series on Saturday by defeating Miami by a 117-106 score as a 3.5-point favorite. That victory gave them the opportunity to even this series at 2-2 in Game 4.

The Celtics saw the return of Gordon Hayward in Game 3 and he made an immediate impact for the team after recovering from an ankle injury. Hayward was able to play more than 30 minutes on Saturday which helped Stevens to shorten his bench that had been getting outplayed by the Miami second unit.

Miami has still won ten of their last twelve games in the playoffs. Jimmy Butler has taken a step back in this series by averaging only 17.0 points per game which is behind the 22.0 points per game that Bam Adebayo is averaging along with Goran Dragic with his 21.7 PPG average in this series. After suffering their first loss in the Eastern Conference finals, this could be the game that Butler attempts to put his team on his shoulders.

BookMaker lists the Celtics as a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 210. ESPN has the broadcast for this game with the tip occurring just after 8:30 PM ET.

The Stanley Cup finals return to the ice on Wednesday with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay/Dallas series. The Lightning responded to their upset loss on Saturday by defeating the Stars by a 3-2 score on Monday. Tampa Bay scored two power-play goals in the first period and held a 3–0 lead going into the second period before Dallas started chipping away at the lead but could not score a tying-third goal.

The Lightning hopes this will be the game where Steven Stamkos makes his postseason debut. Stamkos has not played since suffering a lower-body injury on February 25th. Tampa Bay was hoping he would be able to take the ice on Monday but he was deemed not quite ready. Dallas has a significant injury of their own with Blake Comeau questionable after absorbing a hard hit in Game 3. Comeau plays an important role in the Stars’ checking line as well as their power play kill unit. With forward Radek Faksa already out, rising Comeau in Game 4 would deplete Dallas’ forechecking game.

BookMaker has Tampa Bay installed as a money-line favorite priced at -155 with the total set at 5. The NBC Sports Network has the broadcast starting at 8 PM ET.

MLB has a full slate of fifteen games scheduled for Wednesday. The lone afternoon game starts at 4:10 PM ET with the Los Angeles Angels traveling to San Diego to play the Padres.

ESPN2 has a national broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals traveling to Kansas City to play the Kansas City Royals. Carlos Martinez takes the mound for the Cardinals with the Royals countering with Danny Duffy. BookMaker has St. Louis as the money-line favorite at a -124 price with the over/under set at 8.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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