All times listed in EST.
Wednesday, April 13th
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors – 10:30PM ESPN
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 10:30PM ESPN2
Basketball fans face a tough dilemma Wednesday as the Golden State Warriors attempt to set the NBA’s season record for wins, surpassing a mark that has been held for almost as long as Kobe Bryant has played in the league.
It seems fitting then that one channel up the dial Kobe will be playing his last professional game and capping off the twentieth season of his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Unfortunately, it’s also been one of his worst to watch. His three pointers have clanged off the front of the rim with shocking frequency, and the Lakers have long been eliminated from playoff contention, rooted in the cellar of the Western Conference.
Golden State on the other hand will be playing for glory. A win will set a new record as improbable (and unbreakable) as DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Every Warriors game this season has been must-see, and tonight is no different, if simply to bear witness to the unthinkable.
On “the 2,” Utah’s Jazz will be playing for the right to lose in four straight games to those same Golden State Warriors next week in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Twenty years ago, I watched an amateur Kobe Bryant play in the McDonald’s High School Roundball Classic, so, here’s to hoping that the Jazz’s playoff intensity will inspire one last magical performance from Kobe as he exits stage left.
I recommend watching the Golden State game live, and flipping over to ESPN2 frequently. Yet, with a career as important as Bryant’s it seems necessary to savor his last appearance in the Purple and Gold. Set your DVR, and when you have a few free hours to feel nostalgic, watch the whole damn thing.
Thursday, April 14th
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings – 10:30PM CNBC (seriously)
For the first time in 46 years, no Canadian hockey team will compete for the Stanley Cup. However, the first round features a card stacked with some great inter-divisional rivalries, like Chicago and St. Louis in the West, and Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers in the East.
A bunch of these are happening on Wednesday, just before or across from the Warriors/Lakers games, but on Thursday, the San Jose Sharks will travel to Los Angeles to face the team that has knocked them out of their last two playoff appearances. On their way to winning the 2014 Stanley Cup, the Kings fought back from a three-game deficit against San Jose to take the first round win. It was an epic series, and it wouldn’t be surprising if these two in-state rivals turn in another classic in 2016. Start with Game 1 and check-in later next week, while you sample the rest of the field.