Houston Rockets Top Games of 2015

HoustonRockets2014The Houston Rockets will begin their season Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.  Houston is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2013-14 campaign that saw them post a regular season record of 54-28, but they failed to successfully navigate the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, dropping four of six games to the Portland Trail Blazers.  It was a brutally painful end to the season as their four losses in the series were by a combined margin of defeat of a mere thirteen points.  Two of the losses came in overtime and Game 6 was decided by a three point winner at the buzzer by Damian Lillard.

Now, Houston looks to build off their phenomenal regular season of last year and continue their winning ways here in 2014-15.  Fans are eager to see the team in action, especially when they are visited by other title contenders.  Below is a breakdown of the five most in-demand games for Rockets tickets this season, based on average ticket price of the secondary market.

March 1, 2015 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers | Average Ticket Price = $468 | Get-In Ticket Price = $61

The most in-demand game is against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 1st of the New Year.  LeBron James and company will be making their only pit stop to Houston then and Cavs vs. Rockets tickets are a remarkable $468 on average on the secondary market.

January 15, 2015 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder | Average Ticket Price = $290 | Get-In Ticket Price = $42

The Thunder are always a big road draw, thanks to superstar Kevin Durant, and 2014-15 is no exception as Rockets vs. OKC Thunder tickets have an average price of $290, second highest on the Rockets schedule.  This year may prove to be a little different, however, as Durant is currently sidelined with a foot injury.  Early estimates have the star forward returning sometime around late December, so he should be back for this mid-January tilt.  If Durant is still injured and won’t suit up, expect ticket prices to drop significantly.

February 25, 2015 vs. Los Angeles Clippers | Average Ticket Price = $259 | Get-In Ticket Price = $29

The Los Angeles Clippers are very similar to Houston in that they have enough talent to reach the NBA Finals, but have fallen well short of that in previous seasons.  Both Houston and LA appeared to be significant players last season, but neither team made it to the Western Conference Finals and now both squads are looking to prove to the world that they have the talent to advance deeper in the postseason.  This game will be a proving ground for both these teams and one will have the upper hand and an impressive victory on the resume.

February 27, 2015 vs. Brooklyn Nets | Average Ticket Price = $255| Get-In Ticket Price = $18

Just two days following the Clippers game, the Brooklyn Nets make their only visit to Houston on February 27th.  The Nets are coming off of a second round playoff exit last season and lost their biggest free agent acquisition from two offseasons ago – Paul Pierce – as well as head coach Jason Kidd.  Expectations are relatively low for Brooklyn, though they certainly have enough talent to compete in the Eastern Conference this season.

April 10, 2015 vs. San Antonio Spurs | Average Ticket Price = $252 | Get-In Ticket Price = $33

The Spurs round out the top five most in-demand games for Houston this season as they make their final visit to the Toyota Center on April 10th.  The defending champs remain the team to beat in the Western Conference and Houston can make some noise as a potential title contender with a win just a few weeks before postseason play begins.

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World Series Ticket Prices Soar

MadisonBumgarnerAfter dropping Game 3 of the World Series to the Kansas City Royals, the San Francisco Giants did what they had to do by winning their final two home games of the series.  The Giants now lead the series 3-2 and will head back to KC needing just one win to win their third World Series in five years. Nonetheless, the Royals still maintain a certain level of confidence as they still hold homefield advantage and can win the final two games of the series at Kauffman Stadium to take the series.

The prospects of potentially losing the series in Game 6 has not deterred the market for Royals tickets, however, as the average ticket price on the secondary market is currently $878.  The cheapest ticket can be found for as low as $265.

World Series tickets for Game 7 are significantly more expensive, currently at an average price of $1,560 and the get-in price at $598.  There has been just one World Series in the past eleven Fall Classics to go to 7 games and that was in 2011 when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers.  In that series, the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium for Game 6 trailing 3-2 and had a remarkable comeback victory over the Rangers, tying the game from two runs behind in both the ninth and tenth innings before winning it in the 11th.  Royals’ fans are certainly hoping for a similar outcome this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Luckily for the Royals, they won’t have to see too much more of Madison Bumgarner this series, if they see him at all.  Bumgarner threw a complete game shutout Sunday evening, yielding just four hits and walking none while striking out eight batters.  Kansas City’s James Shields pitched admirably, giving up just two runs over six innings, but could not match Bumgarner pitch for pitch.  San Francisco’s ace is now 4-1 in the postseason with a 1.13 ERA and 0.67 WHIP.  He’s given up just one earned run in 16 innings pitched this World Series and is the early favorite for the World Series MVP award if the Giants can prevail.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy stated he will consider pitching Bumgarner in relief, most likely not to occur in Game 6 but potentially a deciding Game 7.  His line from this World Series eerily mimics Randy Johnson’s infamous run during the 2001 World Series when his Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees.  Johnson pitched a seven inning victory and a complete game shutout in his first two appearances of the series, before retiring four batters in relief of Curt Schilling in Game 7.

San Francisco will be sending Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson to the mound these next two games, the two Giants pitchers with losses in the series.  If San Francisco drops Game 6 and Hudson gets in to trouble early in Game 7, it will be interesting to see how early Bochy pulls the trigger and goes to the bullpen.  Who will be the first arm in relief is up in the air, but it certainly appears Bumgarner could be the one selected.

If that’s the case, the Royals will need to find a way to hit the big lefty if they want to win their first World Series since 1985.

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San Jose Sharks Top Games of 2014

Sharks2014The San Jose Sharks enter the 2014-15 season with a bit of an identity crisis. Last year’s team finished with 111 points, cruising to a second place finish in the Pacific Division.  Their 51 wins was second in the division to only the Anaheim Ducks and they had just 22 losses, two more than Anaheim. Everything was looking up as the Sharks entered the first round of the playoffs with a matchup against bitter rivals Los Angeles.  And after the first three games, the Sharks had a commanding 3-0 lead over the Kings with a total of 17 goals scored against LA’s right goals score.

The rest of that series is history as Los Angeles rebounded from that 3-0 deficit to win the series and eventually go on to win the Stanley Cup.  The Sharks goal scorers disappeared, scoring just two goals in the final three games of the series and getting outscored 18-5 in the final four games of the season.

San Jose was obviously shell-shocked and entered the offseason trying to figure out how such a calamity could occur.  It was arguably the worst post-season defeat in the history of the NHL and fans were calling for the heads from the owner all the way down to last player on the roster.

Ultimately, the team made few changes during the offseason, preferring to look at the big picture.  For 85 games, the Sharks were one of the two or three best teams in the Western Conference and it was only until the last four games of the year that the wheels came apart.  So San Jose stood pat and made only minor tweaks to the roster, rather than wholesale changes.  Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat were both let go and several small contracts were handed out to players to fill out the minors.

So the 2014-15 season Sharks look much like last year’s rendition.  Antti Niemi will be in net with Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Logan Couture leading the team.  Initial results have been impressive with the Sharks partially avenging their postseason loss with a 4-0 spanking of the Kings on opening night.  Their home opener against the Jets was equally as impressive, a 3-0 victory with backup goaltender Alex Stalock pitching the shutout.

Sharks fans still feel the pain from last year’s defeat, but they came out in force to the home opener and demand for Sharks tickets continues to remain high. Currently, the average price on the secondary market for Sharks tickets this season is $136.  The two most expensive games of the year occur on January 31st and March 14th when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.  Sharks vs. Blackhawks tickets have an average ticket price of $191 for the March meeting and $183 for the last day of January. Another pricey outing would be January 10th when the defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers visit the west coast.  Sharks vs. NY Rangers tickets have an average ticket price of $164, but are available for as low as $51 on TicketCity.

So not much has changed for San Jose, but the team needs to discover who they are and rid themselves of recent memory.  If they can do that, there’s a strong chance they will enter the playoffs, once again, as one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.

 

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