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April 20, 2017

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By Times Sports Columnist After a grueling 82 game marathon of a regular sea- son, the N-BA playoffs are finally here. I'll start in the Eastern conference, with the Boston Celtics against the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics lead the se- ries 1-0, and should make quick work of the over- matched Bulls. The Celt- ics are also playing with heavy hearts, after Boston guard Isaiah Thomas lost his sister in an automobile accident over the weekend. If any team is a lock to rally, and sweep their op- ponent, it is the Celtics. In Cleveland, the Cavaliers are once again the favor- ites to make it all the way to the Finals. And, based offof their 2-0 lead in their series with the Pacers, the Cavaliers are on the fast track to round 2. The Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks make up what should be the best matchup of the first round. Both of these teams are middle of the pack playoff squads, and should play each other extremely close all series. In fact, this is probably the only series that will go a full 7 games. Rounding out the Eastern conference, the upstart Milwaukee Bucks are in a dogfight with the almost as young Toronto Raptors. The Raptors burst onto the scene last year, reach- ing the conference finals, before ultimately fall- ing to the Cavaliers. This year, the Bucks might be the team that surprises everyone, and ends up in the conference finals. Ironically, the Bucks are playing those Raptors, and while the Raptors are the heavy favorite, the Bucks shocked everyone, John Dudek taking game 1 in Toronto. This should be a fun series moving forward. Over in the Western conference, the scene is a lot more muddled. The de- fending conference cham- pion Warriors are facing a solid Portland team, that would challenge for con- ference championship if they were in the East. The Blazers played them close in the opening game of the series, but that is about is far as they are going to go. The Warriors are as close as a lock to run the table as any team in the league. After blowing a 3-1 lead in last season's finals, they are on a mission. Oh yeah, they also added one of the best players in the world in Kevin Durant during this past offseason. Heading into the marquee matchup of round 1, I thought that the Oklahoma City Thun- der and Houston Rockets would be a highly contest- ed type of series. Instead the Rockets blew out the Thunder in pretty con- vincing fashion. It looks like the Russell Westbrook PURCHASE PHS SPORTS PHOTOS ! If you would like to purchase some great action photos of Ponchatoula Athletics by John Beadle Visit: PonchyPhoto.com The Ponchatoula Trees The Independence Times Published by The Ponchatoula Times L.LC. Established October 1, 1981 Print Edition Published Thursday of every week at 170 North Seventh Street Internet Edition posted Friday of every week www.ponchatoula.com/ptimes Post Office Box 743--Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 SUBSCRIPTIONS $25 a Year In Tangipahoa Parish $30 a Year Outside Tangipahoa Parish ($5 Discount for Seniors) Gift subscriptions offered at same rates -- 24 Hour Telephone Line-- Subscriptions and News Tips 9851386.2877 INTERNET EDITION http : / Iwww ponchatoula comlptimesl E.MAIL editor@ponchatoula corn timesofindependence@gmail corn UlS. Periodicals Postal Permit No. 666730 Postmaster, address correspondence and changes of address orders to: PO Box 743, Ponchatoula, LA 7045*0743 Bryan T, acMahon -- Publisher Bryan T. McMahon - Editor Joel Ray-- Sports Editor Deirdre M~ahon Sanchez -- Houston Bureau Chief Bliss McMahon -- Chicago Bureau Chief Mark McUahon -- Detroit Bureau Chief Brendan McMahon - New Orleans Bureau Chief Tlmos Columniatl and Photographers Ole Hardhide The Alligator, John Dudek, Uncle Sam, John Johnson, John Beadle Parker Laynason (Law),Jim Perrin (History), Prof. Dr. Randolph Howes M.D. PhD (Health) Tlmos On Wh/ola Columnlata Bryan T, McMahon NEWS RELEASES & ADVERTISING e-mall (preferred) edttor@ponchatoula,com edl~|ponchatoula.com P.O, Box 743, Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 We accept VIS/VMestercard OFFICIAL JOURNAL City of Ponchatoula, Town of Independence, South Tangipahoa Port Commission, Ponchatoula Area Recreation District, Medisonville Wooden Boat Festival MEMBER Louisiana Press Association HONORS Louisiana Press Association Freedom of Information Award, 1st Place Investigative Reporting, 1st ptace Editorial Writing, Gibbs Adams Award for investigative Reporting, 1= Place Best Headline (Brooks O'Connor) Brown Pelican Award for Environmental Reporting OFFICE HOURS Please call for Appointment (985) 386-2877 extravaganza is going to come to end, much earlier than Thunder fans were hoping it to. The likely MVP of the regular sea- son, Westbrook averaged a "triple double" during the regular season. It looks like that Herculean effort has finally caught up with him and the Thunder. I don't want to waste any space, or time on the San Antonio Spurs series with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs are already up 2-0, and we know how this story ends. Finally, the Utah Jazz and the Los An- geles Clippers round out the first batch of games. The Jazz stole game 1, in Los Angeles, on a buzzer beater, and now have the home court advantage in this series. It looks like it could be another early exit for former New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul, and his Clippers teammates. It might be time to blow this team up and just start over. Whew, and we are just in the 1st round. Stay tuned. Tulane has By JOEL RAY Times Sports Editor The Tulane Green Wave baseball team went 4-0 for the week, defeating Nicholls State and sweep- ing the University of Con- necticut (UConn). The Green Wave played the NichoUs State Colo- nels at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans on Tues- day, defeating them 9-3. Tulane hit four home runs and took an early lead. Tulane's Hunter Wil- liams hit a solo home run in the first inning, and Grant Brown hit a two- run home run in the sec- ond inning. Later, after the Colonels tied the game at 3-3, Jarrett DeHart and Hunter Hope hit back-to- back solo home runs that gave the Green Wave a 5-3 lead after three innings. The Greenies added three runs in the sixth in- ning to increase their lead to 8-3. The Green Wave went on to add one more run in the eighth inning for the 9-3 final score. The Green Wave then played a three-game weekend series against American Athletic Con- ference opponent UConn. The UConn Huskies en- tered the series leading the American with a per- fect 6-0 conference record, they left New Orleans with a 6-3 conference record af- ter the Green Wave won all three games to sweep the series. The Green Wave and Huskies played game one of the series Thursday night. Tulane won the game 8-3. The key inning was the third where the Greenies scored seven of their eight runs. Tulane starting pitcher Sam Bjorngjeld gave up eight hits but only one run because the hits were spread out over the 6.0 in- nings he pitched, the lon- gest outing of his career. The next day, Tulane clinched the series by win- ning game two 3-1 behind stellar pitching from start- er Corey Merrill. Merrill struck out six batters and allowed just one run in 7.0 innings. Relief pitcher Christian Colletti earned his fourth save by pitching two scoreless innings and only giving up one infield hit. Tulane won game three of the series 6-5 in 12 in- nings to earn a series sweep. With the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 12th inning Tulane's Jar- rett DeHart walked, Kody Hoese bunted him over to second base. Hunter Hope was intentionally walked. Grant Brown hit a single that drove home DeHart for the winning run and THE TIMES, APRIL 20, 2017 PAGE 9 the series sweep. At this point in the sea- son Tulane's overall win- loss record is 18-18. The Greenies are 7-2 in the American Athletic Confer- ence and lead the Ameri- can with the best record. The Green Wave hit the road this weekend for a three-game series against the Houston Cougars, a conference opponent. The Green Wave's next played in Baton Rouge. The April 25th game at Turchin Stadium is sched- uled for 6:30 p.m. but might be moved back to 7 p.m. for television. All Tulane baseball games are broadcast live on WRBH 88.3 FM. Fans can follow Green Wave baseball online at Face- book, Twitter and Insta- gram. Live game stats are at TulaneGreenWave.com. home game is Tuesday, - ..... April 25th against the Times Sports Editor LSU Fighting Tigers. Tu-Joel Ray is a member o/ lane beat LSU 7-6 earlier the Louisiana Sports Writ- this year when the teamsers Association. 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Stop by md che~ us out ~1 items bek~v 81so sold 14 Hamburger Patties 11/2 Rack Medium BBQ Pork Ribs ~SlO.O0: ]4 Chicken Legs [3 Pork Chops plbs T~gi Smoked Sausage 15lbs Tungi Green Onion Smoked Sausage 151bs Tangi Fresh Green Onion Sausage ]51bs Tangs Frvsh Cajun Sausage ~hicken Nugget Box Spetial $20.00 bs of Chicken Nuggets [ 12 count - Hashbrown [21b Smoked Bs~on LSlb Box Brcalffast Patties New 2rid Iocaiiun coming seen: 910 SW Railroad Avenue Hammond, LA Times Internet Edition --www. mnchatoula.com~ )times E-MaSh editor@[:, mchatoula.com or timesofinde :)endence@gmail.com