Hawks, Nets,Warriors, Grizzlies Hit The Hardwood This Weekend On ESPN, ABC

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has officially announced its broadcast schedule for its coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs this weekend.

Officials with the network announced Thursday that ESPN will carry Game Six of the First-Round Eastern Conference matchup between the Hawks and Nets Friday evening. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET on ESPN. Mike Breen will have the call for the game. He will be joined by analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson in the booth for additional commentary. Reporter Doris Burke will be courtside with additional news and insights on the game. Those not near a TV can still catch the game online via WatchESPN.

Following Friday’s Round One matchup between the Hawks and Nets, ABC will take over broadcast duties for the weekend, with a double-header beginning at 1pm ET. Depending on the outcome of Friday’s game between the Hawks and Nets, ABC will carry either Game Seven of the teams’ First-Round Eastern Conference series in Atlanta or Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Hawks and Wizards. This depends on whether or not the Hawks finish off the Nets Friday night in Brooklyn. At 3:30pm ET, ABC will carry the Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies in their Western Conference semifinal series. Along with its broadcast on ABC, the game will be simulcast on the radio via ESPN Radio and online via ESPN3. It all kicks off at 12:30pm ET with ABC’s weekly pre-game NBA broadcast of NBA Countdown. Sage Steel will anchor Sunday’s broadcast and will be joined by analysts Doug Collins and Jalen Rose at the desk.

All of the latest scores and news from the 2015 NBA Playoffs is available online now along with all of the latest news on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nba

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Networks Carrying Extensive NBA Playoffs Coverage This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Round one of the NBA Playoffs is officially under way. Both the Warriors and Bulls have taken 2 – 0 leads in their series against the Pelicans and Bucks respectively. The Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Hawks, Wizards, and Cavaliers each lead their series 1 – 0 over their respective opponents. And this weekend as the playoffs advance, fans will get their fill of playoff coverage thanks to the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will have extensive coverage of the playoffs this weekend beginning with a triple-header on ESPN and ESPN2. The Rockets and Mavericks kick off Friday’s triple-header coverage as they face off in Game Three of their series at 7pm ET on ESPN and WatchESPN. The Raptors and Wizards follow at 8pm ET on ESPN2 in Game Three of their Eastern Conference matchup. The Clippers and Spurs round out the night in San Antonio with tipoff scheduled for 9:30pm ET. That game will be broadcast on ESPN and WatchESPN.

The action doesn’t stop at Friday’s last buzzer. Things pick right back up Saturday night with a Western Conference double-header. First up Saturday night are the Warriors and Pelicans in Game Three of their Western Conference series at 8pm on ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio. Kevin Calabro will have the call for ESPN Radio’s broadcast. He will be joined by P.J. Carlesimo in the booth. The Grizzlies are on the road in the second of the night’s matchups as they face off against their Western Conference opponents the Portland Trailbazers. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 10:30pm ET on ESPN and WatchESPN.

ABC takes the reigns on the NBA Playoffs coverage as the weekend winds down with its own double-header presentation. First up in that schedule are the Cavs and Celtics in Game Four of their Eastern Conference series. Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm ET on ABC and ESPN3. ABC heads back out west for the second game of the day as the Spurs and Clippers face off in Game Four of their western Conference series. The game is scheduled for a 3:30pm ET start time on ABC and ESPN3. Before the first tipoff takes place Sunday, Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, and Doug Collins will have all of the latest news from around the league in the networks’ NBA pre-game show NBA Countdown at 12:30pm ET on ABC and ESPN3. The full schedule for this weekend’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN and the ESPN family of networks is listed below:

Date Time (ET) Show / Commentators Network (s)

Wed, Apr 22

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Brad Daugherty ESPN2, WatchESPN

Fri, Apr 24

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth ESPN2, WatchESPN

7 p.m. Game 3: Houston Rockets (2) at Dallas Mavericks (7) ESPN, WatchESPN

8 p.m. Game 3: Washington Wizards (5) at Toronto Raptors (4) ESPN2, WatchESPN

9:30 p.m. Game 3: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) ESPN, WatchESPN

Sat., Apr 25

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Bruce Bowen ESPN2, WatchESPN

8 p.m. Game 3: Golden State Warriors (1) at New Orleans Pelicans Cavaliers (8)

ESPN Radio: Kevin Calabro, P.J. Carlesimo ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Radio

10:30 p.m. Game 3: Memphis Grizzlies (5) at Portland Trail Blazers (4) ESPN, WatchESPN

Sun, Apr 26

12:30 p.m. NBA Countdown: Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC, ESPN3

1 p.m. Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers (2) at Boston Celtics (7) ABC, ESPN3

3:30 p.m. Game 4: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) ABC, ESPN3

Tue, Apr 28

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Brad Daugherty ESPN2, WatchESPN

All of the latest scores and news from around the league is available online now at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nba

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces MNF Pre-Season Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Spring is one of the greatest times of the year for sports fans. The NHL and NBA are both headed into their respective playoffs. MLB is just getting started. The auto racing world is in high gear. And in the world of football, many universities are planning their annual spring football scrimmages ahead of the annual NFL draft. It also means one other thing for sports fans. It means the annual announcement by ESPN of the network’s pre-season football coverage. And make that announcement is exactly what the worldwide leader in sports did Thursday.

ESPN announced Thursday that it has two games on tap for its 2015 Monday Night Football schedule. The first of those games is a matchup of the Browns and Bills on Thursday, August 20th in Cleveland. It will be the first chance for new Bills coach and former Jets coach Rex Ryan to put his team, which now features All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy, on display. On the other side of the ball, it is believed that Johnny Manziel will be fighting for his career as the Browns host the Bills in the AFC matchup.

The second matchup on ESPN’s Monday Night Football pre-season schedule will see Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, August 24th. The Bucs struggled mightily in the 2014- 2015 season and will have the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft as a result of those struggles.

The MNF broadcast team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will have the call for both games. They will be joined once again by sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Both games are schedule for an 8pm ET start time and will be preceded by an hour-long edition of ESPN’s weekly NFL pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch both games on television on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network. ESPN Deportes will also have coverage of every regular season MNF broadcast.

Along with coverage on television via ESPN and ESPN Deportes, every MNF broadcast can also be seen online through a number of outlets including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN. WatchESPN is available in more than 93 million households across the country to fans who get ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription.

More information on ESPN’s upcoming MNF broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

President Obama Making Special Call-In Appearance On The Herd This Morning

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

There’s big news for fans of ESPN Radio’s The Herd With Coin Cowherd today.

President Obama will be a special call-in guest on The Herd today.  Cowherd’s interview with President Obama is scheduled for 11am ET.  Along with talking about the Bulls and White Sox—Obama’s home town teams—Cowherd will also discuss the NFL’s conduct policy and NBA players holding their own protest by donning shirts reading, “I Can’t Breathe.”  The shirts are in reference to the recent case in which an NYPD officer was cleared of charges in the death of Eric Garner.  The interview will also include a discussion on the upcoming healthcare signup deadline.

This morning’s call-in appearance is not the first time that President Obama has joined Colin Cowherd.  He joined Colin back on March 20th to discuss his bracket for the 2014 March Madness tournament, college sports in general, and more.

The Herd With Colin Cowherd runs Monday – Friday from 10am – 1pm ET on ESPN Radio, the ESPN Radio app, espnradio.com, SiriusXM, iTunes Radio, Slacker, and TuneIn.  It is also simulcast on ESPNU.

More information on this morning’s show and upcoming broadcasts is available online at http://espn.go.com/espnradio/show?showId=theherd.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Daugherty, Others Staying With ESPN After 2014 NASCAR Season Ends

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN and NASCAR are parting ways at the end of the 2014 season. Despite this change, there’s good news for audiences and ESPN’s NASCAR broadcast team. ESPN announced this week that analyst and team owner Brad Daugherty will remain with the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN announced this week that Daugherty will join ESPN’s basketball broadcast team beginning Monday, December 1st. Daugherty is a former five-time NBA All-Star and college basketball standout. He will serve as an analyst on ESPN’s NBA Tonight, NBA Coast to Coast, and SportsCenter regularly. He will also make appearances on ESPNU’s ACC Sunday Night package along with other other programming across the ESPN family of networks.

Before joining ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasts, Daugherty served as a reporter for ESPN and ABC’s college basketball from 1999 – 2001. Prior to joining ESPN’s ranks, he also served as a game analyst for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs local broadcasts. His playing career included eight seasons as a member of the Cavaliers after being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 1986. He averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his career. His love for NASCAR showed throughout his career as he wore the number 43 in honor of “The King” Richard Petty. The Cavs retired his number in 1997.

Daugherty is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill at the age of 16 and graduated from the university in 1986. He was named an All-ACC player twice during his college career and a first-team All-American in his senior year at the university. He averaged 20.2 points and 9 rebounds per game during his senior year at UNC.

Daugherty’s is not the only move that ESPN has announced in regards to the network’s NASCAR broadcast team. Veteran racer and long-time ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven recently signed a new deal with ESPN that will see him remain with the network as a NASCAR analyst for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms. Nicole Briscoe, it was announced last month, will serve as an anchor on SportsCenter and will also take on additional assignments. And reporter Marty Smith will stay on board with ESPN, too. He will remain with ESPN as a Bureau Reporter for ESPN. Allen Bestwick, who has led ESPN’s NASCAR coverage each week, will remain with the network, too. He will stay on to call ESPN’s IndyCar races and to cover tennis and golf coverage. He will also anchor some programming on ESPN’s new SEC Network.

More information on ESPN’s on-air staff and all of the latest sports headlines from ESPN is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN To Broadcast NBA Draft For 12th Consecutive Year This Thursday

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The NBA season is over. But that doesn’t mean that the NBA is completely done for the season. Officials with ESPN have announced that the Worldwide Leader in Sports will have exclusive coverage of the league’s annual draft this year.

The 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm will be broadcast live this Thursday, June 26th on ESPN. It marks the twelfth consecutive year that ESPN has broadcasted the annual draft event. It also marks the second consecutive year that the draft has come live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Rece Davis will anchor the broadcast from ESPN’s main set. Davis will be joined by ESPN college basketball inside Jay Bilas and ESPN NBA analysts Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons.

Thursday’s live broadcast from the Barclays center will be preceded by ESPN’s NBA Draft Preview Show Wednesday, June 25th at 7pm on ESPN2. ESPNU will also broadcast the ESPNU Draft Special each day this week from 4 – 5 and the ESPNU Draft Recap at midnight Thursday after the draft.

Throughout Thursday’s broadcast of the 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, audiences will get extra in-depth analysis from ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla and ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn. Fran Fraschilla will offer insights on international prospects. Jeff Goodman, Heather Cox, Chris Broussard, Andy Katz and Jay Williams will each have reports and interviews. Marc Kestecher will anchor ESPN Radio’s simulcast of the 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. Analysts P.J. Carlesimo and Ryen Rusillo will offer extra commentary for the broadcast.

More information on Thursday’s coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm is available online at http://espn.go.com/nba and http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Broadchurch Outshines Almost All Other Crime Dramas In Its First Season

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Crime dramas are all the rage on American television. Each one of the “Big 4” has more than its fair share of gritty crime dramas. Even the cable networks are becoming overloaded with their own crime dramas. Even PBS has its own crime drama series in the forms of Endeavour and the newly resurrected series Inspector Lewis. Considering all of this, it goes without saying that fans of the crime drama genre have more than their share of shows from which to choose. The problem is that save for perhaps PBS’ Inspector Lewis and Endeavour, the majority of the crime dramas that fill the broadcast spectrum today are relatively formulaic. Now thankfully, eOne has offered American audiences a series unlike any other crime drama out there today, including those on PBS. And that is saying something. The series in question is Broadchurch. The series’ first season is available now on DVD. And this debut season of the British import is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, it is a serial. But the show’s writing more than makes up for that. That’s just the beginning of what makes this first season a hit. The use of original music at the right moments will keep viewers’ just as much on the edge of their seats from episode to episode. The same can be said of the acting on the part of the cast. This includes not just lead actors David Tennant (Dr. Who) and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz, Locke), but to the cast in whole. Their acting, along with the wisely used music and even smarter writing together make Broadchurch: The Complete First Season a truly surprising first impression from this British import. And it gives quite a bit of hope for the series in its second season. Audiences that give this season a chance will largely agree with that sentiment when they purchase or order the box set for themselves.

Broadchurch is not the first imported drama or even crime drama to make its way to America’s shores. The series, as a matter of fact, has been adapted for broadcast on the Fox network this fall. Before audiences even begin to watch that Americanized ripoff, they would do well to check out Season One of Broadchurch if only for the show’s writing. That is the most important factor to the success of this season. Any viewer that is the parent of a small child will agree that this season’s story hits hard because of its reality. It’s a sad reality that children die in this country (and other nations) every single day at the hands of rather sick individuals. That reality gives so much depth and believability to this season’s story. Fair warning, it’s difficult to watch and will make any parent want to hold their child even closer by the season’s final minutes. Even more so, any viewer that is left dry-eyed after watching this season’s story simply isn’t human. Even this critic will admit to tearing up quite a bit by that time.

The emotional depth and believability of the writing is just the starting point of what makes the first season of Broadchurch such a surprise of a series. Audiences will appreciate just as much the twists and turns that are included over the course of this season. They are just enough that they will keep viewers watching on the proverbial edge of their seats right to the season’s end. The twists don’t just include the characters, either. There are minute details on which the camera focuses at random points that keep viewers thrown off the track right up to the shocking season finale. The finale won’t be given away for the sake of those that have yet to see Season One. But it is most definitely unexpected, though sadly very much a reflection of life. To that extent, it makes this season’s story all the more gripping and worth the watch.

On an even deeper level, the writers responsible for bringing Broadchurch to life are to be applauded for the manner in which the series’ first season was constructed. Rather than have eight separate episodes, the writers used the model from Fox’s 24 in establishing each episode. Whereas each episode of 24 is one hour, each episode of Broadchurch’s first season is a continuation of the previous episode. So, all eight episodes of this season comprise just one storyline. And each episode has been written so well (unlike 24), that audiences won’t be left feeling like they need a program to figure out what’s going on. It’s the final touch to the series’ writing that makes the writing the cornerstone of this first season.

The writers behind Broadchurch are to be highly commended for the painstaking efforts put into making this series’ first season the gripping first impression that it proves to be in the end. Just as worthy of applause in Season One are those responsible for the show’s music. Yes, the music in this series plays just as important a role in its success as the writing. This is hardly common in most American television series. Audiences will note in the series’ first season that unlike so many other shows out there, it doesn’t rely on popular songs or music put in just to be there. The music incorporated in Broadchurch: Season One plays directly in to the series’ writing. The smart use of dynamics and overall placement from scene to scene within each episode heightens each episode’s emotional depth. Whether it be the season’s more pained moments as when Danny’s mother saw him lying dead on the beach, or even the more tense moments of the search for the killer, those charged with music placement went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one more factor that makes the debut season of this gripping British crime drama worlds better than its countless American counterparts.

The music and the writing behind the first season of Broadchurch are by themselves integral parts of the season’s overall success. Together they make Broadchurch a fully gripping and engrossing series in only its first season. There is still one more aspect of this first season that proves Broadchurch to be the standard by which so many other dramas should model themselves. That final factor is the acting on the part of the cast. That applies not just to lead actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman but to the entire cast. Each member of the show’s cast expertly interprets the show’s script, making it even more difficult to figure out who is the killer until said person is revealed in the season finale. On the other hand that expert acting also pulls in viewers on a deeply emotional level, too. That expert acting on both sides of the coin adds one more level of depth, thus making this season of Broadchurch even more gripping. That final factor, set alongside the season’s writing and music, makes the presentation whole and wholly of the best first impressions from any new series in recent history. It makes the first season of Broadchurch one that any fan of dramas must see at least once this year.

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Broadchurch-Season-1-David-Tennant/dp/B00HGE90Z4/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1403311459&sr=1-1&keywords=broadchurch+the+complete+first+season. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at entertainmentone.com/home. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.