What to watch for this week in sports

The sports world enters one of its most exciting parts of the year this week as several sports showcase their athletes in interesting parts of their respective seasons. European soccer, the NHL and the NBA all enter electric postseasons as Major League Baseball chugs along at its not-so-electric pace. As Tony Kornheiser tells his Pardon The Interruption partner-in-crime Mike Wilbon, allow me to “give the people something to watch”. European Soccer With a global audience over 1 billion people, and the best soccer clubs in Europe competing, the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League is one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. One game that is sure to be exciting is the second-leg match-up between two of Europe’s powerhouses, AC Milan and FC Barcelona. FC Barcelona won the first leg 1-0, putting AC Milan in a one-goal hole starting the final game. AC Milan has a lot to show this year after giving up a three-goal lead in the final game of last year’s tournament. As for FC Barcelona, they boast having Ronaldinho on their roster, last year’s European Footballer of the Year and the last two year’s FIFA World Player of the Year. Generally considered the best offensive player in the world, Ronaldinho will be challenged by AC Milan’s Paolo Maldini, one of the world’s best defenders. The game has everything a sports fan could want; high stakes, a fabled rivalry and mega-superstars. Tune in to ESPN2 at 2:30 on 4/26 to catch all the action. BaseballAt 7:05 on 4/27, New England’s favorite team, the Boston Red Sox will finish up a three-game series at AL Central division contenders, the Cleveland Indians. Both teams have started very fast, showing a lot of promise for their 2006 campaigns. The Indians have been forced to win games with offense because four of their pitchers have been sent to the DL, including their ace C.C. Sabathia. But Cleveland’s offense has responded, with 6 of their everyday players hitting .300 or above, diminishing the numerous pitching concerns.The opposite has been true thus far in Boston. Curt Schilling has rediscovered masterful abilities, starting 4-0 for the first time in his career, and Josh Beckett, who entered the season with injury concerns, has also been incredible, posting an early 3-0 record. With Manny Ramirez recently finding his power-stroke and David Ortiz constantly sending balls on one-way trips over the fence, offense isn’t a worry in Red Sox nation. Both teams are striving to lead very competitive divisions and with the massive amount of offensive power on both sides, this should be a fun one. Check out ESPN2 or NESN if it piques your interest. Basketball Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns will enter the Staples Center to face Kobe Bryant’s LA Lakers at 10:30 on 4/28 for a ticket to the second round of the NBA playoffs. With two of the top MVP candidates set for an all-out duel this series almost guarantees excitement. On the exterior this should seem like an easy match-up for the Suns. They are extremely efficient at scoring, especially from long-range, leading the league in scoring with 108.4 points per game. The offense moves ever-so-smoothly centered around Nash’s remarkable court-vision. But Kobe Bryant has been a man-possessed all season. Scoring over 35 points per game, Kobe accumulated 2832 points this season, setting the all-time franchise mark for the Lakers. Kobe may very possibly put the Lakers on his back for one more series and try to force his way into the second round. The Suns have a strong upper hand, but with Kobe on the court almost anything can happen. Everyone should tune in to ESPN just on the chance that Kobe goes absolutely wild and scores 60.