Livin' on a prayer

NBA: Atlanta looks to punch its ticket to the next round with a win over the Magic tonight. The Hawks, who lead the series 3-2, shot a series-worst 36 percent from the field in their ugly Game 5 loss. They'll need to do better if they want to avoid a Game 7 (7:30 p.m., NBA TV). ... Leading 3-2 in their best-of-seven series, the Lakers have a chance to put away pesky Chris Paul and the Hornets with a win tonight in New Orleans. The Hornets looked flustered in Tuesday's Game 5, committing 19 turnovers en route to a 106-90 defeat. Paul will likely need to replicate his transcendent performance in Game 1 to keep this series alive (8 p.m., TNT). ... The Mavs have been eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, so a win tonight over the Trail Blazers would help them get the monkey of their backs. A look at the Mavs' postseason play on the road might give Portland some confidence; Dallas has gone just 2-18 away from home since the start of the 2006 NBA Finals (10:30 p.m., TNT).

NFL: A handful of NFL hopefuls will learn their fate tonight in what will likely be the strangest draft in the history of the league -- when will players sign? Practice? Play? espnW's Jane McManus breaks down the top draft storylines here; keep checking back as espnW's team of Melissa Jacobs, Jared Zwerling and McManus offer live updates from Radio City Music Hall.

NHL: There's no time for the Canucks to celebrate their thrilling opening-round win over the Blackhawks -- they'll get right back out on the ice after two night's rest to start their series with the Predators. The Preds have had three days to recover from their quarterfinal series with the Ducks, while a tired Vancouver team might suffer a let-down after finally exorcising its demons against Chicago (9 p.m., Versus).

MLB: Mariners rookie pitcher Michael Pineda can set a franchise record for rookie wins in the month of April if he grabs his fourth win in today's series finale with the Tigers. A victory would be big for the team as well, as it looks to sweep the Tigers in the Motor City for the first time in nearly eight seasons (1:05 p.m.). ... The Mets hope to continue their surprising surge with a seventh-straight win tonight in Washington, D.C. Chris Capuano will try to lead his guys to a series sweep of the Nationals (7:05 p.m.). The Central Division-leading Indians can sweep the Royals and extend their home win streak to 10-straight games with a win tonight at Progressive (7:05 p.m.).

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