Is that the smell of spring in the air? Why, yes it is! And with this change in the season comes the return of Major League Baseball. With baseball back, the time for summer fun is almost here. And as an early preview of things heating up, just look to the NBA, who has a slate of HOT games this week between potential playoff foes.
(NBA) Houston at Chicago 8 pm NBATV
(NCAABB-Tourney Championship) No 2 Kansas vs No 1 Kentucky 9:23 pm CBS
-Kentucky's head coach John Calipari goes for his first National Championship win, hoping to shred the label of 'greatest to never win the big one' label he carries among college basketball coaches. Has any non player had as much pressure on him as Calipari?
(MLB) St. Louis at Miami 7 pm ESPN
-It's regular season baseball as the Cardinals start their 2012 journey against the team formerly known as Florida. Can the Cardinals continue the magic they showed last season or will they falter among the weight of changes and expectations?
(NBA) Oklahoma City at Miami 8 pm ESPN2
(NBA) LA Lakers at LA Clippers 10:30 pm ESPN
(Golf) The Masters, April 5th thru the 8th. ESPN/CBS
(MLB) Boston at Detroit 1 pm ESPN2
(MLB) Miami at Cincinnati 4 pm ESPN2
(NBA) New York at Orlando 7 pm TNT
-The Knicks and the Magic are developing a nice rivalry this season, one that could meet again in the playoffs. With both Chicago and Miami looking vulnerable, now’s the chance for another team to rise up and show the top two eastern dogs that it's more than a two team race.
(NBA) Boston at Chicago 9:30 pm TNT
(MLB) San Francisco at Arizona 7 pm ESPN2
(NBA) Detroit at Atlanta 7:30 pm NBATV
(MLB) Kansas City at LA Angels 10 pm ESPN2
(NBA) Houston at LA Lakers 10:30 pm NBATV
-The Lakers have had their fair share of problems this season with the breaking-in of a new coach and the eternal enemy--age--creeping around every corner. That being said, you can never count this team out of it as long as Kobe Bryant is on the floor.
(NBA) Orlando at Philadelphia 8 pm ESPN
-Orlando gets another solid test against a potential playoff foe as they face the 76ers in what will be a heated event. Philadelphia finds itself in a dogfight with Boston for the Atlantic crown. The true measure of this team will be found out in the final month as it looks to secure a top four seed.
(NBA) Denver at Golden State 10:30 pm ESPN
(NBA) Chicago at New York 1 pm abc
-Easter Sunday is topped off by another exciting game between potential playoff foes. Chicago has locked up a playoff spot and now is trying to keep it's 'number 1 in the East' status, while getting healthy. A win here will also further the confidence of these young Bulls, who may be the East's best shot at winning a championship.
(NBA) Philadelphia at Boston 6 pm NBATV
(MLB) Chicago White Sox at Texas 8 pm ESPN
(NBA) Houston at Sacramento 9pm NBATV
Follow James LeBeau on Twitter at @JLeBeau76
Follow CraveOnline on Facebook at facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.