Leading Off

From race cars to tennis balls, it’s a big weekend for sports fans

For sports fans, there are plenty of things to watch every weekend, with Memorial Day weekend bigger than most. Here are five best bets:

1. Motor sports: Sunday is huge, even for casual fans who tune in one day a year. Much like the Kentucky Derby, it seems almost everyone watches the Indy 500 (9 a.m., Ch. 10) and has a favorite memory or two (A.J. Foyt becoming a four-time winner in 1977, Helio Castroneves repeating in 2002). For racing fans, the day starts at 5 a.m. with the Monaco Grand Prix (Ch. 3) and wraps up with the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 (3 p.m., FOX).

2. NBA playoffs: The big day is Saturday, with the Warriors at Houston for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals (6 p.m., ESPN). The teams play again Monday, same arena, same time, same channel. In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland LeBrons meet Atlanta on Friday and Sunday (5:30 p.m., TNT). We’re thinking Warriors-Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

3. River Cats: If you want to get off the couch or out of the sports bar, it’s expected to be a great weekend for baseball. The River Cats continue their homestand at Raley Field with games against Memphis on Friday (7:05 p.m.), Saturday (7:05 p.m.) and Sunday (1:05 p.m.) before hosting Nashville on Monday (1:05 p.m.). The Sounds are the A’s new Triple-A affiliate, so there will be plenty of familiar players.

4. High school baseball: The Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North championship game is Friday at 4 p.m. at Sacramento City College, with a second game at 7 p.m. if needed. Sac City also will host three title games Monday: Division IV, Lincoln vs. Placer, noon; Division III, River Valley vs. Yuba City, 3 p.m.; and Division II, Roseville vs. Vanden, 6 p.m.

5. Tennis: The French Open starts Sunday (2 a.m., ESPN2; 10 a.m., Ch. 3). Defending champion Rafael Nadal’s reign – nine titles, including five in a row – could end, with Novak Djokovic considered the favorite.

Tom Couzens: (916) 321-1097, @tomcouzens


  • WHAT TO WATCH: NBA playoffs, Cleveland at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., TNT. The Cavaliers look to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “Conductor on commuter train ‘please don’t forget briefcases, backpacks, 6-packs and 12-packs’ Gotta love day baseball. Go #SFGiants #BeatLA” – @ProfessorVC
  • ON THIS DATE: On May 22, 1975, Artis Gilmore had 28 points and 31 rebounds to lead Kentucky to a 110-105 victory over Indiana for the ABA title.