Daily Sports: Thursday’s Battle In South Beach

The biggest game of the NBA season to date is the focal point of Thursday’s daily sports. It’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers tied two games apiece. Tip time is at 8:30 PM ET on TNT.

It’s not breaking new ground to say that Indiana has to win this game. The odds of taking a Game 7 on the road in the NBA—especially against the league’s signature star—are imposing, and the Pacers best chance comes with winning tonight and then going back home on Saturday night and clinching. It’s a formula the Boston Celtics almost pulled off last year, when Paul Pierce’s late three-pointer helped the Celts steal Game 5. But then LeBron pulled out his 45—literally, in terms of 45 points in the Garden, won Game 6 and Miami prevailed.

This is why, though the game is obviously important to Miami, it’s not literally must win. They’ve proven they can get a must-win game on the road. That’s why I won’t go so far as to say this game decides the series, but if you were a fan who was observing this series skeptically, wondering if Indiana could make a go of it, tonight would be the time to start tuning in.

Baseball coverage will be at 7 PM ET on MLB Network, with the Mets-Yankees from the Bronx. If you find New York announcers obnoxious, don’t worry—this game won’t be a local feed, but will be the actual MLB team of Bob Costas and Jim Kaat on the call.

The best feature on the TV schedule is on ESPNU at 8:30 PM ET, and it’s about the life and career of Bo Jackson. He was a Heisman Trophy winner, a two-sport star with the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Raiders, and went on to become a legend by being made into an absolutely unstoppable player in the Tecmo Bowl video game. I’m curious as to what aspects of Bo’s career will be emphasized. ESPNU’s focus is college sports, so perhaps this will be heavy on his time at Auburn.

If you’re wondering what’s on the main ESPN tonight, it’s a national spelling bee. No joke. Nothing against those kids who earned their way onto the national stage, but….wow.

TheSportsNotebook will have NHL analysis coming up, as we look at how the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks survived their Game 7 battles over the last two nights. Yesterday’s NBA commentary took an overview of the Miami-Indiana series, and MLB coverage earlier this week provided a one-sentence soundbite summarizing every team at the Memorial Day checkpoint.