‘Lotta Action — NBA Playoffs Schedule

Here is the complete schedule and national television for all first-round playoff series.

EASTERN CONFERENCE – FIRST ROUND

(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (8) Brooklyn Nets

Game 1 – Sun. April 19, Brooklyn at Atlanta, 5:30 PM, TNT
Game 2 – Wed . April 22, Brooklyn at Atlanta, 7:00 PM, NBA TV
Game 3 – Sat. April 25, Atlanta at Brooklyn, 3:00 PM, TNT
Game 4 – Mon. April 27, Atlanta at Brooklyn, TBD
Game 5 * – Wed. April 29, Brooklyn at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 *- Fri. May 1, Atlanta at Brooklyn, TBD
Game 7 *- Sun. May 3, Brooklyn at Atlanta, TBD

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (7) Boston Celtics

Game 1 – Sun. April 19, Boston at Cleveland, 3:00 PM, ABC/R
Game 2 – Tue. April 21, Boston at Cleveland, 7:00 PM, TNT
Game 3 – Thu. April 23, Cleveland at Boston, 7:00 PM, TNT
Game 4 – Sun. April 26, Cleveland at Boston, 1:00 PM, ABC
Game 5 * – Tue. April 28, Boston at Cleveland, TBD
Game 6 * – Thu. April 30, Cleveland at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * – Sat. May 2, Boston at Cleveland , TNT

(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks

Game 1 – Sat. April 18, Milwaukee at Chicago, 7:00 PM, ESPN
Game 2 – Mon. April 20, Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 PM, TNT
Game 3 – Thu. April 23, Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00 PM, NBA TV
Game 4 – Sat . April 25, Chicago at Milwaukee, 5:30 PM, TNT
Game 5 *- Mon. April 27, Milwaukee at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * – Thu. April 30, Chicago at Milwaukee, TBD
Game 7 * – Sat. May 2, Milwaukee at Chicago, TNT

(4) Toronto Raptors vs. (5) Washington Wizards

Game 1 – Sat. April 18, Washington at Toronto, 12:30 PM, ESPN
Game 2 – Tue. April 21, Washington at Toronto, 8:00 PM, NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri. April 24, Toronto at Washington, 8:00 PM, ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun. April 26, Toronto at Washington, 7:00 PM, TNT
Game 5 *- Wed. April 29, Washington at Toronto, TBD
Game 6 * – Fri. May 1 ,Toronto at Washington, TBD
Game 7 * – Sun. May 3, Washington at Toronto, TBD

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WESTERN CONFERENCE – FIRST ROUND

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) New Orleans Pelicans

Game 1 – Sat. April 18, New Orleans at Golden State, 3:30 PM, ABC/R
Game 2 – Mon. April 20, New Orleans at Golden State, 10:30 PM , TNT
Game 3 – Thu. April 23, Golden State at New Orleans, 9:30 PM, TNT
Game 4 – Sat. April 25, Golden State at New Orleans, 8:00 PM ,ESPN
Game 5 * – Tue. April 28, New Orleans at Golden State, TBD
Game 6 * – Fri. May 1, Golden State at New Orleans, TBD
Game 7 * – Sun. May 3, New Orleans at Golden State, TBD

(2) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks

Game 1 – Sat. April 18, Dallas at Houston, 9:30 PM, ESPN
Game 2 – Tue. April 21, Dallas at Houston, 9:30 PM, TNT
Game 3 – Fri. April 24, Houston at Dallas, 7:00 PM, ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. April 26, Houston at Dallas, 9:30 PM, TNT
Game 5 * – Tue. April 28, Dallas at Houston, TBD
Game 6 * – Thu. April 30, Houston at Dallas, TBD
Game 7 * – Sat. May 2, Dallas at Houston, TNT

(3) L.A. Clippers vs. (6) San Antonio Spurs

Game 1 – Sun. April 19, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 PM, TNT
Game 2 – Wed. April 22, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 PM, TNT
Game 3 – Fri. April 24, L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 9:30 PM, ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. April 26, L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 3:30 PM, ABC
Game 5 – * Tue. April 28, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers,TBD
Game 6 – * Thu. April 30, L.A. Clippers at San Antonio,TBD
Game 7 – * Sat. May 2, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, TNT

(4) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies

Game 1 – Sun. April 19, Portland at Memphis, 8:00 PM, TNT
Game 2 – Wed. April 22, Portland at Memphis, 8:00 PM, TNT
Game 3 – Sat. April 25, Memphis at Portland, 10:30 PM, ESPN
Game 4 – Mon. April 27, Memphis at Portland, 10:30 PM, TNT
Game 5 *- Wed. April 29, Portland at Memphis, TBD
Game 6 * – Fri. May 1, Memphis at Portland, TBD
Game 7 *- Sun. May 3, Portland at Memphis, TBD

* = if necessary
All times are Eastern
TBD – To Be Determined
R – ESPN Radio

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Lotta Sports — Special Request

Don’t miss out on voting for the ‪#‎SpursJump‬ Final Four – Winning video will jump on court with Coyote on April 12th! http://www.nba.com/spurs/spursjump ….Shameless plug for our own rioandreyes.com Ray’s nephew in the Newlywed Jump video. A VOTE for Newlywed Jump means a glowing, doting Uncle Ray!!

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‘Lotta Briefs — NCAA Championship Schedules and Scores

Click here for the scheduled games for the NCAA Basketball Tournament

Click here for the scores

Whoa Nelly!!!!  Everyone of my EIGHT  brackets are deadwood after the UAB upset over #3 seed Iowa State!!!  My question is …. is there anyone left with a winning bracket???

According to CBS — who has a bracket contest — 99% of those entered were eliminated — with the SMU and Baylor losses.

This picture pretty well sums things up and Round 2 is not even half over!!

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‘Lotta Happenings — Super Bowl Time!!

This column sponsored by Boynton Financial – twice winner of the prestigious Texas Monthly 5 Star award for wealth managers. Need help in planning and guidance for building your retirement nest egg? Just call Lotta Sports’ favorite pro golfer, president and CEO Frank Boynton, at the Kerrville office 830-370-1377 or George Fisher in the San Antonio location 210- 602-3891.

Just when I thought the beginning of 2015 couldn’t get any more exciting with Rick’s Buckeyes winning the National Championship, my NFL team won the AFC Championship — their ticket to the Super Bowl and I got a job!! I joined the Rio & Reyes Show, an internet radio broadcast out of San Antonio.

Unfortunately with the wonderful news of my New England Patriots going to the Super Bowl, came the doubt of their right to be there. DeflateGate would take the wind out of my sails and made me wonder if anyone with the Patriots organization was responsible for altering the approved footballs. Now I am the type who likes to understand both sides of a story before making judgment. (That’s probably why I was chosen for several juries and was foreperson of two.) Many of my friends were immediately jumping to conclusions about the “cheaters” and so ready to assume guilt before any evidence was presented. I kept the faith that the proper person (s) who did the act would be found and punished. And why assume that it was someone with the Patriots who did it? The Seahawks had just as much to benefit with this huge distraction for New England. Instead of having time to mentally prepare for the game, Coach Belichick and Tom Brady’s spare time off the field was dealing with repetitive DeflateGate questions by the paparazzi. Surprisingly, the NFL and the players from both teams as well others in football were not as obsessed with DeflateGate as the fans and the media.

The day of the Super Bowl, I went through my ritual of the lucky clothes I had been wearing each of their playoff games.   You laugh, but retracing my steps back to the first playoff game with Baltimore, as my nephew Bret can attest, any wrong piece can affect the game. It was only after I discovered I had the wrong hair band in my ponytail and changed it to the one I wore the last game they won, New England took the lead and kept it! I know…. it drives Rick crazy. Super Bowl coverage started at 10AM our time and the game wasn’t even until 5:30PM. On our island, I had everything imaginable for food grazing. The crock pots housed Rick’s sausage beer cheese and beanie weenies.   I even had a silver cake pan in the shape of a helmet full of Fuzzy’s chips with hot seasoning. There was nothing nutritious to be consumed in sight. After all, it was Super Bowl Sunday.

I have watched the Super Bowl every year since the first year at Los Angeles between the Packers and the Chiefs. Back when I was flying; I used to bid garbage the month of the playoffs and the big game just to have those games off. I was a football fanatic long before the internet site!! Of all the Super Bowls, this was probably one of the best — the final minutes of the game with more twists and turns than my favorite TV show, Castle.   With 2:02 left, Julian Edelman, with his superstitious full beard, caught the go-ahead touchdown and the Patriots were finally leading after being down by ten points. The kickoff was a touchback so there was no runback. Marshawn Lynch, who had been slowed down on previous possessions, exploded down the field for thirty-one yards!   Two incomplete passes followed by a short pass. 1:14 left. Wilson goes back to the left and throws to the right. Tom Brady and I watched in horror as Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse juggled the ball several times and fell on the one yard line! By now I was one foot from the TV as I went with the ball. “NO!! NO!! NO!!” I sit back down on the couch in disbelief as it appeared to be a repeat of the Super Bowl XLII loss against the NY Giants. The next play equaled “the shot heard round the world” in the Revolutionary War. Wilson did the unconventional (Pete Carroll’s middle name) and went back to pass….. on first and goal… and it is intercepted by Malcom Butler, a pretty much unknown cornerback for New England. He came out of no-where! Brady still had to get the ball out of the end zone and it got dicey until a Seahawk got flagged for encroachment. Patriots won 28-24.

Meanwhile, I was getting to talk about all this through my new job doing sports on internet radio. The start was challenging though for the first couple of weeks. Keep in mind — this was taking a person who rarely went to bed before 1:30AM and converting them to someone who had to get up by 6:00AM. I actually could have slept in longer, but I needed time to shower as the heat loosens my vocal cords, get the green tea caffeine flowing in my system and throw some make-up on. After all, although the public couldn’t see me, my co-workers could!   Unlike my monthly column, hours of preparation the night before each show was needed to ensure I had something to report. Next was the hardest part. I had to leave my nightly Spades games on the internet by 11PM to ensure I was asleep by midnight. It took me a couple of weeks to synchronize my life style, but all is well. I am even waking up before my two alarms and having so much fun every morning!! I just love a happy ending… don’t you?

 

 

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‘Lotta Happenings — National Championship Time

This column sponsored by Boynton Financial — twice winner of the prestigious Texas Monthly 5 Star award for wealth managers. Need help in planning and guidance for building your retirement nest egg? Just call Lotta Sports’ favorite pro golfer, president and CEO Frank Boynton, at the Kerrville office 830-370-1377 or George Fisher in the San Antonio location 210- 602-3891.

The New Year started with Rick’s Ohio State Buckeyes playing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship semi-finals. TCU and Baylor fans were very upset that those schools were snubbed by the committee who instead chose the “revered for TV ratings” Ohio State team. I was in awe by the Buckeyes resistance to so many obstacles getting to that game including losing two quarterbacks to injury during the regular season. Rick and I watched the game in amazement as not only did the Buckeyes beat Alabama 42-35; they did it in very convincing fashion halting a late surge by the Tide. The reality hit us fast — The Buckeyes would be coming to North Texas the following week! Meanwhile in Ohio, Rick’s brother-in-law Gary and nephew Bret worked on getting tickets to the first National Championship.

When North Texas puts on a sporting event, it’s usually an extravaganza and the National Championship was beyond expectations! ESPN set up camp at Sundance Square in Ft. Worth a week before and produced their shows live. Over in Dallas, the convention center had interactive displays, pep rallies, appearances/Q & A with the teams and autograph sessions by former collegiate stars. For this sports aficionado, I found myself like a kid in a candy store trying to decide what events to attend. Friday morning Rick was off so I asked him to take me to see the ESPN production. When we arrived, it was just like what we witnessed the night before watching it on TV. Fans in both school’s colors were jumping up and down waving crazy signs in hopes of catching the cameraman’s eye. Just a few yards away from the fans were the ESPN personalities on-the-air. Between segments, I wandered around to the side entrance. As luck would have it, the ESPN security guy Kinely Williams was approachable including let us pose with him for pictures. While we stood by the back entrance, former Dallas Cowboys Darren Woodson exited by us and former Heisman winner Desmond Howard was escorted in. After we returned to our post as the backdrop of the show, the cameraman cued us to wave and yell as he panned the crowd. Despite being dressed for the Artic, the bone-chilling temperatures shortened our time at the outdoor event. We had an adventure finding our way out of the city as the high buildings confused the navigational system. Poor Rick was stressing as he needed to be at work in less than two hours.

The following day Bret spent part of the day at the convention center touring the displays as well as seeing coach and player interviews. Meanwhile at home, I took a hiatus from college football to watch the NFL playoffs. The early game became one of the most disputable games in recent history. It was disbelief (and the end of the year) for the Cowboys when their winning touchdown was nullified by a rule in the NFL handbook. Next was my Patriots game and by then Bret had arrived. Little did he realize the magnitude of watching football with me and the potential for Oscar winning theatrics. Nothing was going right for my team. I was at a loss as I buried my head in my hands followed by a checklist of my lucky clothes. Bret quietly suggested that maybe it was my hair holder. AH!!!!!!!!!! It was! I ripped out the red band and twisted in my navy one. The Patriots made a comeback and never looked back. Bret, still in shock over my game-watching, left for Love Field to pick-up his dad.

On Sunday, after the NFL games and dinner out, Gary and Bret headed to Sundance Square for the ESPN broadcasts. Since Rick had to leave for work at 330am, we stayed home to watch it on TV. Suddenly, we spotted a close-up of Bret! A few segments later, we saw Gary with Bret peeking through his armpit! We turned in early as the next day was a full game day. After breakfast, Gary and Bret headed back to Sundance Square before heading to the game. After they left, it dawned on me I could take to the train to Ft. Worth. Less than an hour later, I was stepping down the stairs at Sundance Square. I had a momentary panic as I scanned the crowd of hundreds trying to find the guys. On the front row, I spotted a man in an oversized red ESPN cowboy hat leaning on the barrier. He turned — it was Gary! He and Bret squeezed me into their prime spot for the camera pans. After Gary and Bret headed off to the stadium, I mingled with other Ohio State fans. A gal named Connie was next to me doing the arm positions of O-H-I-O for cameraman Dana Sherman. “Come on, Carlotta!” she yelled. I laughed and explained I could barely master YMCA. OSU twins Kaci and Kelli Ferrelli introduced me to their dad Jeff who played for the Buckeyes in the 70s. Way too soon, it was back to the train with fans going to the game. Bev, seated next to me, played the Buckeyes fight song over her cell as the others chimed in. It was an awesome week culminating with fourth seeded Ohio State beating Oregon by a resounding 42-20! Was I there? No, but maybe next year…. it’s now on my bucket list…

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‘Lotta Happenings — The Connection

This is my January ‘Lotta Sports column published in Hill Country Happenings

This month, Rick and I will be married twenty-nine years. Rick found out from the get-go just what a sports enthusiast I was. How many guys can say that on their honeymoon in Honolulu, their new wife forfeited hours on the warm sands of Waikiki to watch Super Bowl XX? Yes, I was camped out in our hotel room watching a rather lopsided slaughter of my Patriots by the Chicago Bears. In between cursing at the likes of “Refrigerator” Perry, Walton Payton and Coach Mike Ditka on TV, I was also bantering with some Bears fans in the room above us via our balconies.

The first years of our marriage found me working baseball charters. I continued to amaze Rick with my knowledge not only of the players’ uniform numbers but their wives and kids’ names as well. It was fun getting to know Texas Rangers rookies like Bobby Witt, Kevin Brown, Ruben Sierra and Pudge Rodriguez as they started their professional careers. One night, Rick picked me up at the airport from working a charter. As we started to pull away from the curb, I shouted out to two of the players waiting for a cab. “Need a ride home?” To Rick’s surprise, Bobby Witt and Jeff Huson jumped in the back of the Jeep and within ten minutes, we were letting them off at their homes. Soon our ski vacations were substituted for trips to Rangers spring training in Port Charlotte and in the fall, trips to New England scheduled where we could watch the Major League Baseball playoffs although minus the struggling Rangers.

With our marriage also came a merging of favorite college and professional teams. Our Christmas trees were adorned with ornaments of many teams. It was common to find us watching the games on different TVs when our teams played each other and verbal attacks got too personal. However, if either one of our teams made the playoffs, the other was politically correct in supporting the spouse’s team. In 2009, we visited friends in Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers-Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Rick, a Browns fan, shocked us when he donned a Steelers shirt and actually rooted for them!

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Throughout the years, Rick has learned that he’s married to a “social butterfly” who talks to strangers and it’s usually about sports or being a flight attendant. Last month while we were in Ohio visiting Rick’s dad for an early Christmas, we had breakfast at Panera Bread every morning. The first morning, Bob’s table was already occupied so we sat facing another table in front of the fireplace. At the other table sat an attractive older woman in a sable brown outfit. As she interacted with the people at her table, she looked happy with life. I thought to myself, “I hope I’m like that in twenty years.” She and I caught each other’s eyes and exchanged smiles. Once in the car, I remarked about the woman. My father-in-law shared that she had been married to a professional baseball pitcher. I knew it!! I am always a magnet to sports. I call it “The Connection.” The following day, we returned to the restaurant. This time she was at a different table but with the same group. Bob’s usual table was available and her back was to me. As luck would have it, someone in her group stopped me enroute to the restroom to compliment me on my Santa sweater. Here was my chance to strike up a conversation about her husband. Instead I told her how I had admired her outfit the day before when they were seated in front of the fire. It was then the whole group chimed in that the table the previous day was their “usual” table and someone else had beaten them to it this day. We all laughed when I explained the same thing had happened to my father-in-law the previous day. Once in the restroom, I reprimanded myself for not asking about her husband. When I came out, she was at the coffee stand. “It’s now or never,” I told myself. After I stumbled through my explanation of knowing about her husband, we chatted several minutes just like old friends. Her name was Polly and her husband Dell Bethel, had pitched for the New York Giants in the early 50s. When I told her how I had worked several MLB team charters when at Delta, she smiled and said, “You have had an exciting life!” I shook my head and said that hers was probably a lot more exciting. She shared that they rode trains instead of planes back when Dell played. I yearned to talk to her more. As I reached for my purse to grab one of my cards, I discovered I didn’t have it. After a few seconds of internal panic, I spotted Rick in the entry way swinging the bag back and forth, and then shaking his head. Just another day of keeping up with his wife and her “connection” with people….Happy Anniversary Rick!

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‘Lotta Happenings — Exclusive with NASCAR’s Chris Buescher

On Friday of race week was my interview with rookie Nationwide driver Chris Buescher. I was set up to meet Chris at Fuzzy’s on the infield. Fuzzy’s was packed and it was a gorgeous day, so I opted for an outside picnic table. There was no doubt when he approached the fence around Fuzzy’s that it was him. Like a baseball pitcher having that distinctive solid arm, Chris had the race car driver build. His 22nd birthday was two days before so I greeted him with a Tootsie Pop and apologized for it not being a Bit-O-Honey (Chris’s sponsor). We sat up on the picnic table with the wind occasionally flapping the umbrella behind us.

I congratulated him on his win in August at Mid-Ohio, one of NASCAR’s few road course races. I love road racing as it’s not the norm of “Turn Left.” It truly tests a driver’s racing skills on hills, curves and straightaways. The race Chris won was particularly exciting as he was on fuel conversation the final laps of the race. I shared with him that I was on my feet the last five laps — standing just a couple of feet away from my TV monitor when the announcer said he was racing on fumes. Chris laughed. “Yes, driving changes when you’re shifting fuel on each turn and each hill. Coast and save!” The last three laps seemed to last forever with his fuel pressure light flashing and Chris expecting to run out of gas at any moment! On the last turn, he jiggled the Mustang just right and crossed the finish line ahead of Regan Smith and Brian Scott. His crew greeted him from atop a barricade and shared in the jubilance of the driver’s first Nationwide win. “So, do you like racing road courses?” I asked the rookie. He laughed and replied, “I do now!” What was even more meaningful to him that weekend was bonding with the kids from Children’s Hospital, the race’s sponsor. Chris was paired with Patient Champion Luke Benner, a six year-old diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The boy’s picture was displayed on Buescher’s car. I had predicted on Twitter for Chris to win that race. “You did?” he replied surprised. “Yes and I also picked Brendan to win the road course at Road America,” I shared. “So, how are you feeling about the Texas race?” he inquired. I smiled. With the Cup drivers participating, I felt a top 10 was a possibility. His hope was to do better than the Texas race in April where he was involved in an accident. I asked him if he had ever flipped over. He had but it was not in a stock car. One thing that fascinated me during our chat was when Chris explained how his driver’s seat is custom made to his body. It’s similar to how a cockpit is made in a fighter jet where the body is restrained and protected in case of impact. (However, the custom fit also has a disadvantage which was evidenced the following day when Elliott Sadler took ill before the race and the search was on for a driver with the same tall build as Sadler so they could replace him.)

When he’s not racing, Chris is consumed in his 1955 classic truck rebuild. It was evident he just loved wheels. He was already looking forward to attending an automotive show in Vegas and in his next life; he would come back as a race car driver. Unlike married-with-kids cousin James (also a racer), Chris is single but “in a relationship.” Although he didn’t share any details, I learned that she’s a Carolina Panthers fan and is trying to get Chris into following football. I couldn’t resist asking him about his cook when on the road — since it’s a friend of mine. “So, tell me… how is Eloy’s cooking?” I probed. “It has its moments…… but his French fries are on point!” he laughed.

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