In a few hours, we will be treated to a seventh game of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Stanley Cup Finals when the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues collide on Causeway Street.
Are you excited?
It feels like its been years since the Bruins last skated in a seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals, but it actually occurred eight years ago when the Bruins clinched the series with a convincing 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
The four-goal win over the Canucks is the Bruins’ lone game seven victory in franchise history. The Blues have never skated in a game seven, so the arrow should favor the Bruins, not the team from St. Louis, once the puck is dropped.
Game seven is not new to the Boston Celtics, who have won this particular contest seven times in franchise history, including the final game of the 1984 National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Final, which happened to occur on the same date as this evening’s series finale. Boston defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-102, to clinch the series – it was the last time a professional team in this city captured their league’s respective crown in the Bay State.
The Boston Red Sox have also competed in the seventh game of the World Series, but haven’t been as successful as the Bruins and Celtics. Since 1986, the Red Sox are 1-5 in the seventh game of a World Series, including 1912 when they lost to the New York Giants before clinching the championship one day later in the eighth game. Yes, some World Series needed eight games to decide a winner.
Boston’s lone seventh game win in a World Series occurred in 1903 when they were called the Boston Americans. They beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-3, before clinching the franchise’s initial championship one day later with a 3-0 victory.
Excluding 1903 and 1912, game seven has not been kind to the hometown ballclub as they lost the series in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986. Two of those series happened to be against the St. Louis Cardinals. But luckily, those series are in the past as Boston has beaten the Cardinals twice in the current century.
The New England Patriots have never experienced as a seventh game because the National Football League (NFL) is all about one-game playoff series, not three, five or seven. But if the Patriots played a seven-game series, I would pick New England to win.
Game seven is often a contest many sports fans remember. And I bet there will be some amazing moments (and memories) this evening between the Bruins and Blues that will be discussed for years to come.
I am excited – why not have a seventh game to decide this particular series? – but also nervous at the same time. I believe the Bruins can win this evening but also think the Blues could steal this one.
Boston has won six Stanley Cups. St. Louis has never won a Stanley Cup, so winning the series against the Bruins, who beat them in 1970, would certainly be satisfying for those decked out in Blue and Gold this evening.
We want the cup, we want a game seven victory, so here’s to hoping game seven will result in another win for a Boston winter team, which is accustomed to celebrating a championship once this contest concludes.
Days after securing a first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers, the Boston Celtics learned today that Sunday, April 28th will be the first day of their second-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee, which also secured a first-round sweep over the Detroit Pistons, will host the Celtics on Sunday, April 28th and Tuesday, April 30th in games one and two. Game one is scheduled to tip-off at 2 p.m., while no time has been announced for the second contest.
Boston will be the host for the third and fourth games, which will take place Friday, May 3rd and Monday, May 6th.
Game five (if necessary) will be held in Milwaukee, while Boston will be the site for game six (again, if needed).
Game seven will take place in Milwaukee – again if needed – but similar to game two, no times for games two through seven have been listed.
The winner of this second-round series will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of Philadelphia 76ers-Toronto Raptors. Both Philadelphia and Toronto needed five games, respectively, to secure first-round wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.
We’ll have more on the Celtics’ second-round series later this week on Noontime Sports, but make sure to stay connected with us on social media by following and liking us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.
In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North DakotaState punched tickets to the big dance.
The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.
Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.
The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.
LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.
LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.
UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.
Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.
Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern:Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.
Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.
This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.
The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.
Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops
The Boston Celtics scored its fifth-straight win last night, defeating the worst team in the N.B.A. – that would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston hosts Golden State on Saturday in what should be a good test for the Green and White, who think they belong with the league’s elite.
Lawson arrives in Boston, Massachusetts after a successful assistant coaching stint last winter with the Endicott College men’s basketball team. He helped coach Kevin Bettencourt and the Gulls to a 19-9 record, as well as a return trip to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship against Nichols College.
No stranger to New England basketball, Lawson played at Lexington High School before continuing his career at nearby Bentley University where he guided the Falcons to an impressive 101-27 record in four years, which included a number one and two national rankings, along with an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2007) and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance (2005).
Since graduating Bentley, Lawson has enjoyed a great deal of success in the basketball world, working for numerous programs at all three levels in the college world, while assisting the Boston Celtics during their 2008 NBA Championship run.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Lawson to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season with the Emmanuel men’s basketball team.
What interested you in becoming the program’s third head coach? And just to confirm, this is your first-time head coaching position, right?
When the job opened up, I was very excited to apply. Being from the Boston area, I knew a little bit about the history of Emmanuel’s academics and how it is has really exploded as an institution within the last decade. To me, it represented a college with great leadership and continuity. Combined with a tremendous location in the city of Boston – we are next to Fenway Park – I felt it could be a great opportunity for student-athletes academically, athletically and socially. Also, it certainly has always been a goal of mine throughout my coaching career to run my own program.
What did you know prior to accepting to the head coaching position about the Emmanuel men’s basketball program?
I knew the program was relatively new since the college went co-ed in 2001. The athletic administration structure and support was very evident and crucial for me (throughout the interview process). Also, the program enjoyed success in the early-to-mid 2000s, winning between 17-to-20 games each season. As I prepared for my interviews, I saw the roster was filled with some talented and young student-athletes, which will be returning this upcoming season. Throughout the interview process I also gained a lot of valuable information about the character of our returning players that are eager to be successful.
You were an integral part of Endicott College’s run to the CCC Championship last winter, so what were some things you learned from that experience, whih will help you in your new role with the Saints?
I got to work alongside three excellent coaches and close friends in Kevin Bettencourt, Luke Richards and Lance Greene. I have known all three coaches for quite some time – I grew up and played basketball with Kevin, competing on the same AAU team since seventh grade. All three coaches helped me gain an understanding of the D3 landscape, including what it takes to coach at this level to recruiting. I had only coached in Division 1 and 2 levels, so last year’s experience was really instrumental in gaining an understanding of D3 basketball, but also how to be successful at this level, too. The group of players I had a chance to coach at Endicott was a really special group that made my experience at Endicott a lot of fun.
It sounds cliche, but looking back to both your playing career (at Bentley) and other stops, both in college and with the Boston Celtics, who have been some of the coaches and people that have molded you into the coach you are today?
Like most coaches, I’ve been molded by every coach that I have played and worked for, beginning with my high school coach at Lexington, Bob Farias. Coach Farias had a legendary hall of fame career – he was the best motivator and developer of confidence that I have ever experienced.
Certainly the biggest influence has been my father, Jay Lawson. It is indescribable how much of an impact he has made on my coaching career, specifically in teaching and leading players.
I was fortunate to work for Jim Ferry for seven seasons – he is the former head coach at Duquesne, LIU Brooklyn, Adelphi and Plymouth State. The various opportunities he provided helped me become the coach I am today.
Jack Perri, who I worked with at LIU-Brooklyn – he would eventually become the team’s head coach and lead them to the NCAA Tournament. Jack was one of my assistant coaches when I played at Bentley and is someone I consider a true mentor.
I also spent a great season learning under Steve Evans at LeMoyne College. Steve had a lot of success at LeMoyne from a recruiting and coaching – he is one of the best teachers of the zone defense.
Finally, my season with the Boston Celtics was about as great first basketball coaching experience. Learning and watching from guys like Doc Rivers, Tom Thibodeau, Danny Ainge, Mike Longabardi and Ryan McDonough, as well as the players really helped shape my daily work ethic and approach.
Speaking of the Celtics, you were a member of the team’s 17th championship run, so how much do you think about that experience and being able to celebrate a title with a group that certainly seemed to buy-in from the get-go?
I was very fortunate to be a part of the Celtics organization during their 17th championship season. To say it was an unbelievable experience would probably be an understatement. One of the biggest things I took away from the experience was how important an unselfish mentality and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of the team is to a program’s success. Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen only cared about winning. They became totally invested in the team’s success right from the start when the team began its season training in Italy. And they had a great veteran bench presence combined with some young talent, as well. They also had a high level coaching staff and management team, but it all just came together at the right time and at the right point in their careers. It was really special.
Are you a Celtics fan or root for another team?
Yes, absolutely. I grew up here and have always been a Celtics fan.
What does a new coach need to do to get prepared for a new season with a new program? How will you use the next few weeks and months to make sure the team will be ready to go come mid-October?
Obviously there are a million things you need to accomplish when you take over a new program, but my focus this summer is all about building relationships, beginning with the current players in our program. Additionally, I look forward to meeting and building relationships on campus with other coaches, administrators, faculty and staff, too. I’m currently working on hiring the rest of our coaching staff for the upcoming season, while building and fostering recruiting relationships, as well. I am also working on completing and finalizing our game and practice schedule, while establishing our program’s identity.
Talk about building relationships with your players – how important is to begin those relationships now?
It’s huge (and) has definitely been a primary focus for me the last two weeks. I have been able to meet with about half the team in-person, while conversing multiple times by phone or text with others. We need to build that mutual trust and respect on both sides, and then we can get on the court.
What is your all-time favorite basketball (or sports) movie?
“Above the Rim” is definitely my favorite. I like others, as well, including “Blue Chips,” “Hoop Dreams” and more. “Above The Rim” was ahead of its time with Kyle Lee Watson, Tommy Shepard, Birdie, and a lot of great actors and characters.
Finally, when you were growing up, who was a player or two that you idled? What did you like about their game?
Like most people my age, I was a big Michael Jordan guy growing up. Also, Larry Bird, too. I loved their skill packages and competitiveness, as well as Bird’s passing ability, too.