Tag Archives: western conference finals

Will Spencer Hawes be the X-Factor for Lob City

Every year in the NBA we get to see some players who start off the LA Clippers Ticketsseason as underrated, non – factor players and end up being significant pieces of their respective teams. The Los Angeles Clippers are hoping that Spencer Hawes will emerge as one next season. Lob City brought in the versatile 28 – year old forward to upgrade their weak backup front line. Will Hawes be the X-Factor for the Los Angeles

Clippers next season? And can he make the difference during the playoffs?

spencer hawes la clippersThe certain fact is that Spencer Hawes is not a typical player. He made his presence felt last season both when he was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers and after he got traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite his 7’1” height he is a very versatile player and a great shooter. In fact, Hawes averaged 44.8 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc after he joined the Cavs. The 2013 – 2014 season was a breakaway for him.

Now, Hawes will be assigned with the task of providing some productivity when Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are catching a breather. And chances are he responds to the call in a perfect way. After all, Hawes was very productive last season and his performance is only getting better, as he is entering his prime.

Although he has little postseason experience, the versatile forward is now mature enough and he can be a factor for Lob City during the playoffs next season. Doc Rivers’s team is looking to seriously contend for the NBA Championship. And it will need all its weapons lined up when the time comes. As a matter of fact, Spencer Hawes may end up being the most underrated player of the team next season.

The Los Angeles Clippers were that close to making to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history last season. They were really powerful, they had lots of strengths but also a few holes in their team. One of their most significant weaknesses was the lack of quality backup big men. Glen Davis was just not at his best last season, Ryan Hollis was never reliable and the rest of the big men just couldn’t vitally help the team.

The addition of Spencer Hawes came to address that exact need. InClippers Blake Griffin Chris Paul order for Lob City to seriously contend for the Larry O’Brien trophy next season, it will need to fix all those little holes it has in its roster. Now, with Hawes on the bench, Doc Rivers will have yet another reliable option to use. Hawes is a player who can make the difference on both ends of the floor, thanks to his size and his shooting abilities. Chris M.

The Los Angeles Clippers will enter the 2014 – 2015 season with significantly more chances to make it to the top this time. And Spencer Hawes may end up being the X-Factor for Lob City.

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Kings Vs Rangers Stanley Cup Preview

Kings Vs Rangers Tickets

KINGS VS RANGERS

After defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in one of the entertaining Western Conference Finals in years, the Los Angeles Kings have advanced to their second Stanley Cup Finals in three seasons. The Kings will face the New York Rangers, who upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and then defeated Montreal to reach their first Stanley Cup Final in twenty years. By virtue of a better regular season record the Kings will have home ice advantage, hosting the opening game at STAPLES Center on Wednesday night. Here are some key factors to watch in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals:

The Doughty Factor: While Ryan McDonaugh of the Rangers has put himself in the conversation of the top defenders in hockey, the most dominant defenseman in this year’s playoffs is Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. Doughty was the top defenseman in this year’s Sochi Olympic Games, winning a gold medal for Canada, and he’ll have an opportunity to pull off the Gold Medal/Stanley Cup title if the Kings can defeat the Rangers. Doughty is a leading candidate for this year’s Conn Smythe Award as the top playoff performer. A true two-way star, Doughty can dominate a game both offensively and defensively. Like all great players, he’s known for scoring big goals at critical times. In 21 postseason games, Doughty has 16 points. Doughty has formed a winning combination with second-year player Jake Muzzin.

King Henrik: It’s unusual for Jonathan Quick to be seen as the lesser goalie in a playoff series, but that’s the case in this year’s finals. While Quick has played well overall in this year’s playoffs, he’s had his ups and downs at times, including several stretches of rough play versus the Blackhawks. While Quick’s overall numbers don’t compare to his epic stats in the Kings 2012 title run, he’s helped the team go 7-0 in elimination games this playoffs. Quick opposite number, Henrik Lundqvist, has added to his legend with an outstanding playoff performance thus far. In twenty games this postseason Lundqvist has a 2.03 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. Like he has his entire career, Lundqvist has been a dominant force in net. The Kings will have the firepower advantage in the series, but Lundqvist can be the great equalizer, with the ability to steal games. If Quick can match the Rangers goalie shot for shot the Kings will be in good shape.

Kings Vs Rangers Tickets

KINGS VS RANGERS

Home Ice Advantage: The Kings will have the rare luxury of home ice advantage versus the Rangers, something they didn’t have during their 2012 run or during this year’s run. While they haven’t been dominant at STAPLES Center at times, witness two losses versus Anaheim in the second round and a loss to Chicago in game six, the Kings will have the advantage of a boisterous home crowd to set the tone. The Kings home ice advantage may offset the additional amount of rest the Rangers have after eliminating Montreal in six games. When New York visits the STAPLES Center on Wednesday they will have had three extra rest. Of course additional rest doesn’t necessarily translate to quick starts. If Los Angeles can start quick and win two at home they’ll be in a good position to shorten the series with a win in New York in game three.

Marian Gaborik: While the rest of the Kings team struggled at times in the opening round versus San Jose and the first few games versus Anaheim, the Kings were receiving a dominant performance from veteran Marian Gaborik who they acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline. Gaborik spent a handful of years in New York as a Ranger before he was dealt to Columbus as part of the Rick Nash trade. The finals will give Gaborik a chance to win his first cup, while exacting some revenge on his former team. Gaborik has formed a dynamic partnership with Anze Kopitar this postseason. Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Gaborik are three of the top four scorers in this years postseason, indicative of just how dominant the Kings offense has been at times.

So who wins? The Kings have shown an extraordinary amount of mental toughness in overcoming deficits to win all three series, with game seven victories on the road in all three games. Offensively they’ve had an extra gear this postseason, becoming a truly dynamic offense. Los Angeles has an advantage over the Rangers in every facet of the game other than goaltending. While Henrik Lundqvist has an advantage in goal, Jonathan Quick can dominate games when playing up to his potential. The Rangers have made a nice run, but it’s been in the weaker Eastern Conference. Their victory over Montreal in the Eastern finals was helped greatly by the Carey Price injury. The Kings are simply the better team.

Kings in 5.

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Kings take game four against Blackhawks

LA Kings Vs Blackhawks

KINGS 5 HAWKS 2

After another dominating victory the Los Angeles Kings are now on the brink of another visit to the Stanley Cup Finals, their second in three seasons. Behind a three-goal first period barrage the Kings jumped on top of the Chicago Blackhawks early and never looked back, winning 5-2. For nearly two seasons the Blackhawks, and goalie Corey Crawford, had the Kings number defensively. In three straight impressive victories the Kings have turned it all around, scoring fifteen goals in the past three games for a commanding lead. With the series returning to Chicago for a game five, the Kings will now have three opportunities to eliminate Chicago.

Monday’s win was another impressive display off both offensive and defensive hockey. The Kings, known for their defense, have become the top scoring team in the playoffs, while still playing efficient and effective defense behind a veteran unit of blue-liners and goaltender Jonathan Quick. Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown all scored in a six-minute stretch of the first period, giving Los Angeles a 3-0 lead and eventual victory. Drew Doughty and Tanner Pearson would also add score in the second and third periods as the Kings preserved their three goal lead. After largely getting the balance of their offense from the Kopitar and Gaborik line in the opening round against the San Jose Sharks, the Kings have become a balanced offensive juggernaut versus Chicago, with offense coming from nearly every line and the defense. Los Angeles now has eight players with double figures in points this postseason. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in the victory.

The Kings offensive barrage is particularly surprising since they were the lowest scoring team to make the postseason. After trailing 2-0 late in game two in Chicago, the Kings have scored 13 goals in just over 100 minutes of hockey, a dominating performance that has the Chicago Blackhawks looking for answers. In accomplishing this offensive outburst the Kings now may have the mental edge on Crawford, a player who’s consistently stymied them in recent seasons. Crawford stopped just sixteen shots in the loss.

Blackhawks Vs LA Kings

CRAWFORD

The Blackhawks will now have to fight their way back from a 3-1 deficit, something they accomplished last season versus the Detroit Red Wings. Coming from behind two games will be a tall task versus a confident Kings team. Last year’s Blackhawks and Red Wings matchup was an opening round one versus eight affair, not a Western Conference Finals. In order to beat the Kings the Blackhawks will need to find some confidence on defense, something that has seemingly evaporated as they’ve been outscored 15-7 over the last three games. Chicago will also need offense from Patrick Kane, who’s managed just one point in the series. Kane’s struggles have been mirrored by Bryan Bickell, a hero in last year’s postseason who had a sub-standard regular season and has struggled this series, with only a goal on Monday night.

Game five is Wednesday night in Chicago at the United Center.

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213 749 0057

BY: Chris M.

Preview LA Kings Vs Blackhawks Western Conference Finals

Kings Vs Blackhawks Tickets

KINGS Vs HAWKS

In the first two rounds of the playoffs the Los Angeles Kings have successfully fended off six elimination games. After trailing 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the opening round the Kings roared back two win four straight, including the clincher on Sharks home ice. In round two the Kings overcame a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks, again clinching on the road. In defeating the Ducks the Kings once again proved their resiliency and championship pedigree. The defeat of Anaheim sets up a rematch of last season’s Western Conference finals with the Chicago Blackhawks. A year ago the Blackhawks defeated the Kings 4-1 on the way to their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons. The Kings and Blackhawks together have won three of the last four NHL titles. With Boston and Pittsburgh eliminated in the Easter Conference, the winner of the Western Conference will be the heavy favorite to take home the cup.

Here are five things to watch in the upcoming Kings and Blackhawks matchup:

Kings Vs Blackhawks

CRAWFORD Vs QUICK

The Battle between the Pipes: Good goaltending wins Stanley Cups and both the Kings and Blackhawks have elite goaltenders in Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford, the winning goalies on each of the last two Stanley Cup winners. Jonathan Quick has been dominant at times this postseason but he’s also struggled at times. Los Angeles will need the dominant Quick throughout the series. He’s one of the rare goaltenders that can steal a postseason game. If he can avoid a rough stretch, like in the opening round versus San Jose, the Kings will be in good shape.

Recent History: Chicago has won nine of the past eleven meetings between the two clubs, including the 4-1 defeat in last year’s playoffs. The Blackhawks also dominated this year’s season series, going 3-0-1 versus Los Angeles this year. History is clearly not on the side of the Kings, but it wasn’t on their side when they came back versus the Sharks in the opening round. Chicago will enter the Western Conference final on four days rest while the Kings will have just a day of rest. The lack of rest may be a benefit for the Kings who having the confidence of a dominant victory over the Ducks in game seven.

The Gaborik Factor: Marian Gaborik has added an extra element to the Kings attack this season, with nine goals thus far in the playoffs. He’s built a dynamic partnership with Anze Kopitar. Gaborik and Kopitar are the two leading scorers this NHL postseason, with a total of 34 points between them. In a postseason where Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have struggled to score goals, the Kopitar and Gaborik have given them a dynamic additional element.

LA Kings Staples Center

STAPLES CENTER

Defend home ice: The Kings have shown the ability to win on the road in the playoffs, winning five combined road games in the opening two rounds. Unfortunately they’ve also shown a propensity to not win on home ice. Los Angeles is 5-3 away from STAPLES Center, but just 3-3 at STAPLES Center, including two losses at home versus Anaheim in the second round. To defeat the Blackhawks the Kings will have to steal a game at United Center, while defending their home ice. The key is coming out with the urgency they’ve shown in road elimination games versus San Jose and Anaheim.

Production from the Kings Youth: Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli are two impressive young players who’ve made a great impact during the postseason. Like Gaborik, Pearson and Toffoli give the Kings some added speed and quickness. The Western Conference finals versus Chicago are a big spot for a young player to perform in. If the Kings young talented forwards can produce they might be a big factor in the Kings success.

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Kings Hawks

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This is an on going contest for the Kings Vs Blackhawks Western Conference Finals playoff games. The contest starts today May 17th and goes through till the end of the series. You can enter once per day via twitter of google+ only.

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BY: Chris M.

Kings and Blackhawks on Collision Course?

Los Angeles Kings Tickets

LA KINGS

Combined the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings have won three of the last four Stanley Cups. After they both started slow in the opening round of this year’s playoffs, the Blackhawks and Kings have now won a combined 11 straight playoff games. Chicago holds a 2-0 lead on the Minnesota Wild, winning the first two games by a combined 9-3 score. Los Angeles has their hands full versus the top seeded Anaheim Ducks, but after an exciting come from behind victory in the opening game the Kings now have home ice advantage. Both teams are peaking at the right time. Are they on a collision course for the Western Conference finals?

From a Blackhawks standpoint the inevitable answer is yes. Chicago should have no difficulty dispatching the Wild and likely getting several days of rest in the process. Minnesota has a talented core group, but they are severely overmatched at the most important position in professional sports, goaltender. With Corey Crawford in net the Hawks have a massive advantage over Minnesota and Ilya Bryzgalov. After playing without captain Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane at the end of the regular season the Blackhawks are healthy again.

LA Kings Vs Blackhawks

KINGS VS HAWKS

The Los Angeles Kings road to the Western Conference finals won’t be that easy. The Anaheim Ducks have two elite players in Hart Trophy Candidate Ryan Getzlaf and former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry. Anaheim has a deep and talented deep with an ideal combination of youth and experience. Los Angeles came back to win game one at the Honda Center, but the Ducks and Kings series has the feel of a classic NHL postseason matchup, one destined to go seven games. The fact that the two teams are just thirty miles apart adds an extra element to the intensity of the series. Monday’s game is an absolute must-win for the Ducks, who simply cannot afford to fall behind 2-0 versus a team with a goaltender as talented as Jonathan Quick.

If the Kings do advance, and provided Minnesota doesn’t pull a comeback, the Kings and Blackhawks will meet in the Western Conference finals once again. Last season the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings lost a five game series to Chicago, who would go on to beat Boston to win their second cup in four seasons. The Kings offense went stagnant in last year’s matchup, scoring just eleven goals in the five game series. The Kings have bolstered their offense this season, through the evolution of some young players as well as the big acquisition of Marian Gaborik.

LA Kings Blackhawks Tickets

KINGS HAWKS

So who wins? Chicago is playing their best hockey of the season, with a healthy roster and outstanding goaltender play from Corey Crawford. The Kings, after a brutal start to the San Jose series, have been tremendous over the last week and a half. If the two teams do meet the series will come down to the inevitable defense and goaltending, as well as the Kings ability to slow and contain Patrick Kane. The evolution of Drew Doughty has given the Kings offense a new element, as has the acquisition of a healthy Marian Gaborik. The two goals Gaborik scored to win game one versus the Ducks is a prime example of what the former Wild and Rangers superstar gives the Kings that they didn’t have when they met the Blackhawks last season. This year’s Blackhawks team hasn’t been as nearly impressive as last year’s. Chicago has dominated Minnesota on the scoreboard, but the actual games have been much tighter. Sunday’s game was very similar to Friday’s, where Chicago went through long stretches of unimpressive play. In a tight series the team with the best goaltender arguably has the advantage, and Los Angeles has the best goaltender.
Kings prevail.

Los Angeles Kings Tickets

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Barry's Tickets

BARRY’S TICKETS

Barry’s Tickets is located just minutes from Staples Center!
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 9am – 9pm, for pickups.
213 749 0057

BY: Chris M.