Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday night's action

The numbers for Friday nights action:

Cleveland +3 @ New Jersey 181

Phoenix +3 @ San Antonio 200

Since the Cleveland game already started no point in giving any predictions there. But the lock of locks this weekend is PHOENIX over the Spurs. This series is destined to go 7. Take Phoenix, waive the spred. If you have any equity left in your house and can find someone
to give you cash at 830 on Friday night, DO IT.
This is the Led Pipe LOCK of the playoffs.

About Last Night....

I'll be perfectly honest - I'm on the verge of dis-owning the eastern conference altogether. My disinterest level is inching dangerously close to "Floyd Landis" and "Barbaro" territory. Now THAT'S something I never thought would even cross my mind. Between teams blantantly taking games off (IN THE SECOND ROUND!!!) and an overall poor quality of play - I'd almost rather not watch.

Think about the action out west - suspensions, ejections, near brawls, a half dozen outrageous fouls that come to mind without even thinking about it, and even some post-game tears after the FIRST round (cheer up, T-mac). Has anything even REMOTELY similar happened in the east? Baron Davis, Boozer, Nash, and several others have been playing like their lives depended on the outcome. Lebron, Vince, and Sheed seem like their playing in a Hoop-It-Up tournament.

The numbers for both teams last night were almost identical. Both teams took/made nearly the same amount of field goals and both shot 5-18 from the 3. Basically, the Pistons shot better from the line - and (big surprise) they turned it up in the 3rd quarter and never looked back.

It's just amazing that they did this exact same routine last year, and they LOST doing it. And to take it a step further - they should've lost to the Cavs had Cleveland been able to get a defensive rebound in the final minute of game 6.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday's Action

The numbers for Thursday's only game:

Detroit +1.5 @ Chicago 184

I want to tell you that the Bulls are going to win tonight. The Bulls beat the Pistons 3 times in the regular season and on the verge of being eliminated in game 4 seemed to figure out how to beat the Pistons again. Unfortunately, the DETROIT is the pick.

Underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings. Couple that with the fact that the Pistons have been great ATS on the road this year, 30-15, and anyone watching Game 4 and 5 could tell you the Pistons had no interest in either game. I would like to see the Bulls force a game 7 but sadly its not in the cards. We are heading straight to the scenario I saw playing out a few weeks ago, with the Pistons awaiting the winner of a Spurs/Utah series in the finals, and setting the NBA back 10 years. Far and away the most exciting event left in the NBA season is the lottery.

Because having just one bet in a night is clearly not enough, UNDER 184 is a virtual lock. The Pistons are going to play some lock down defense tonight after being run off the Court the last two games. Richard Hamilton over 23 points and assists (-130) is another good way to pass the time.

That Just Happened! : Wed. May 16, 2007

These playoffs are starting to remind me of one of those college all-day drinking affairs. Right out of the gate, every one's so excited that it can't help but be awesome. Funnels, games of Quarters, someone's getting laid by 11am. Then comes the pre-dinner crash, 70% of the people pass out, a good number of public indecency arrests, and two of your friends have one of those Mom and Dad fights that makes everyone at the party uncomfortable. That's where we are in the playoffs.

New Jersey Nets 82, Cleveland Cavaliers 72

I'm starting to have a hard time believing that this is going to be the series that proves anything about Lebron James, and I'm kind of getting tired of waiting for him to prove me wrong. A 35 year-old point guard is taking over games down the stretch when the 22 year-old phenom is supposed to be making his name. All that being said, I would rather be Yinka Dare than have my name be associated with the 4th quarter of this game. The Nets managed six (!$!@$#$!@$#!@$!!@#@!#!) points on one field goal (!#@(#$@(%!*$@(*$!@#) and still got the win in a 4th quarter that probably actually put more people to sleep than any in recent playoff history. There's little else of note in this game other than another solid J-Kidd performance and a Lebron knee injury that sets the stage for a "miraculous" performance whenever he decides to turn it on and end this series. UGH.

San Antonio Spurs 88, Phoenix Suns 85

Perhaps in a tribute to the fallen Warriors, the Suns went small, smaller, smallest last night against the Spurs. Using essentially a six-man rotation, not counting Pat Burke's three minutes, the Suns did almost everything they could to get the win that was rightfully theirs last night. The missing link was a no-show by Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa. I often refuse to buy into the idea of a Sixth Man being uncomfortable in any other position, but with the numbers Barbosa put up last night it's hard not to feel like he was off his game. Six fouls, four turnovers, and 3-12 shooting. Add to that a mildly unproductive (by his standards) game by Steve Nash and the Suns couldn't do the impossible in this one. Close-out game for the Spurs in San Antonio on Friday. Stoudemire and Nash no-show and the party's over; if they're feeling heroic, I break out my game 7 beer helmet.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Um.....yeah.....So About Last Night....

I'm a little late with my post-game thoughts. Mainly because I've been hitting "refresh" all day on deadspin and to find out who got suspended and for how long. The verdict seems split right down the middle on this one. Even the Inside the NBA crew had a hung jury. Shaq seemed deadset in the "do the crime do the time" camp, while Chuck took a more rational approach: since the rule is to prevent players from running off the bench to throw haymakers - Stoudamire and Diaw should get a pass. Chuck- not like you would ever care, but I got your back on this.

Hopefully Stern doesn't screw the Suns like he screwed the Knicks back in '97. I'm gonna start foaming at the mouth by bringing this up, but here goes:

The Knicks were up 3-1 in the Conference Semi's against the Heat. After that dipshit Riley told that even bigger dipshit PJ Brown to shot-put Charlie Ward into the 15th row - the Knicks ended up losing Ewing, LJ, Houston, and Starks for 1 game (no biggie - just 4 of the starting 5). And Stern - being the great guy that he is - instead of destroying the Knicks for ONE game. He decided to suspend 2 guys for game 6 and the other 2 for game 7 - just to make sure the Knicks lost BOTH games instead of just the 1. I'm still not over it. And neither will Suns fans if they lose Amare and Diaw for Game 6 and end up down 3-2 heading back to San Antonio.

Still one hell of a game 4 last night, though. I'd be happy to send everyone else home and let these 2 teams slug it out for another 2 series.

The first game last night wasn't bad either. Jkidd dropped ANOTHER triple double. But the ending looked like and anti-clutch convention. First Lebron showed off his skills in "bricking game clinching free throws". That WOULD have been the big story from this game had Vince not over-shadowed him. I mean- in all seriousness - Vince would've just bricked a fade away had he gotten the shot off. But conventional thinking would've said - anyone who can do THIS:

not to mention someone being guarded by Eric motherfucking Snow - would try taking it to the basket. Think about how much money that goof probably cost Vince. There's still a chance some retarded team gives him a max contract anyways. But had he made that basket and played big in OT? - it would have been a lock. At least you still got your diploma, Vince.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday's Picks

The numbers for Monday night:

Cleveland +4 @ New Jersey 186

Phoenix +3.5 @ San Antonio 202

Picks: NEW JERSEY, PHOENIX, and OVER Phoenix/San Antonio

Games start in a few minutes so I wanted to get the picks up in order to make everyone alot of money. If you are looking for non ball numbers Mets/Cubs Under 8 and Phillies -125 home against the Brewers. I could give you numbers to back all of this but its easier to just trust me and know I'm always right and always make money.

That Just Happened!: Sun May 13, 2007

Sorry about the lack of posts over the weekend but 2/3 of the Rack was in Staten Island at a close friend's engagement party. I'd like to use this space to congratulate Chris and Laura on the engagement, blah, blah, blah; but most importantly for seeing to it that no one died of alcohol poisoning. Although the pictures might make it seem otherwise. Here's some stuff I noticed as I laid on the couch chewing enough Advil to re-kill Barbaro.

Chicago Bulls 102, Detroit Pistons 87

Detroit finally managed to give one away completely, even if they had to shoot .373 from the field to get it done. They were aided slightly by the Bulls offense waking up from their nap, with Leon Doing putting in 25 points in a full 48 minutes (can't call Skiles a dummy on the one). It's still hard not to feel like the Pistons are trying to lose some of these games, like they don't want to be riding a winning streak into the Conference Finals. I mean why else would they not take my advice and give someone on the bench an air horn to fire off every time Rasheed Wallace touches the ball (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and Exhibit C). At the very least, it would be a good way to get their money's worth out of Nazr "DNP" Mohammed and Dale "The Janitor" Davis.

Utah Jazz 115, Golden State Warriors 101

One thing I've noticed in this series is every announcer's proclivity to talk about how deadly the combination of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams is and then tack on: "of course we're not talking about Malone and Stockton just yet." Thanks for cracking that egg of knowledge you saavy basketball minds. I'm not asking Reggie Miller to throw a veritble Kitchen Book of stats my way, but at least assume I'm smart enough to know that a 22 year-old black kid isn't John Stockton just yet. And how about giving them some credit for playing OUT OF THEIR MINDS? Deron Williams may not have dished 24 assists in a game yet, but his playoff averages 17.8ppg and 9.1apg are solid to say the least. Malone averaged 24.7ppg and 10.7reb in the playoffs, and so far this year Boozer has averages 24.7ppg and 12.1reb (how deliciously convienient for me). And these stats came in two hard-fought rounds against a legitimate defensive powerhouse and the hottest team in the NBA. Maybe it's time to give the boys some credit for being the centerpieces of the best Jazz team since Malone and Stockton left.

ps- WARRIORS, HIT YOUR FREE THROWS!!!!!!!))#)!#)@$(!#(%(!#%(

Thursday, May 10, 2007

About last night....

A total kick to the nuts for Warriors fans last night (and anyone that took the 3.5 and started shopping for new golf clubs after Matt Barnes hit the late jumper). But either way - it definitely hurts. I mean, shit- I'm just some schmuck that hopped on the bandwagon 4 weeks ago and I was screaming, pacing, and unable to speak after Baron Davis stepped out of bounds in the closing minute. A legit warriors fan must feel emotionally drained this morning.. and probably in pain after punching something last night.

Not to be a total dick about it - but why is Derek Fisher being treated as some kind of hero? First of all- I can't stand Fisher. I always thought - along with Rick Fox and Devean George - that he carried himself just a little TOO confident when Shaq and Kobe were racking up titles in LA. Like wise ass little kids that just happened to have 2 huge older brothers. ANYWAYS- he forced that big turnover in the 4th and hit a fairly big 3 in overtime. That's it. I'm glad his kid is ok, but does Dick Stockton have to say, "Derek Fisher is coming in the game.. LISTEN TO THIS CROWD!!!!" Like it was Willis fuckin Reed. Settle down, Dick.

We're gonna see just how powerful that home court advantage is for the Warriors. Hopefully it's strong enough to balance out the rebounding differential. Hard to believe Golden State was destroyed on the glass 60 to 32 and STILL had the game in their hands. And look for our man Stephen Jax to break out of his slump (2 for 15 from 3pt so far). And it also might not be a bad idea to slip AK47 a roofie before game 3. This morning on the basketball jones' podcast, j. skeets hit the nail on the head - Kirilenko is blocking shots like he's a goddamn pro-beach volleyball player.
Speaking of podcasts- did you hear Bill Simmons' podcast yet? Remember the "not that there's anything wrong with that" episode of Seinfeld? When George didn't want his voice recorded because he thought he sounded "all high and whiny." Well let's just say it's a shame Simmons doesn't have that same fear - cause he should.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wednesday's Action

The numbers for tonight's game:

Golden State +3.5 @ Utah 212.5

With only one game on tonight's schedule at least those on the east coast will be able to see more than the first quarter of a Warriors game. Take the warriors tonight. They cover the 3.5, probably win out right. There are numbers to back this up but they dont matter. Utah is allowing Golden State to play the game the way the Warriors want to. Game 1 was a let down game for the Warriors but I think they answer back tonight, especially if Utah now believes they can run.

Additionally, the over is 11-5 in the last 16 Utah games. If you are looking for prop bets, Deron Williams under 18.5 pays +115. Dont get me wrong, I love Williams just short of having a man crush on him, but he got everyon's attention with that 30 point performance on Monday. Everyone including Baron Davis. I dont see him putting up a big game tonight.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tonight's Action

New Jersey @ Cleveland

Much like everyone else, I was pretty confused to hear that the Cavs haven't lost in a full month. For a team that isn't that good- that's no small feat. But i think that comes to an end tonight. Game 1 sucked - the final score was 81-77 and don't confuse bad basketball with good defense. Because this was definitely not the latter.

This one is going 7. And tonight I'd be all over the points (4.5) with Jersey probably winning outright.

San Antonio @ Phoenix

It's almost impossible for me to look at this series logically. I'm in the Suns' corner 1,000% and my hatred for the Spurs is reaching heights unseen.

But if you're a betting man- it's pretty hard to take Nash and co. The Spurs are 7-2 ATS when playing AT Phoenix over the past 3 years. Those are tough numbers to ignore considering what a solid home court advantage the Suns have.

I'd grab the 5 and pray it's inside the number.

About Last Night....

Let's get the Bulls-Pistons talk out of the way. Clearly, this should've been called in the 3rd quarter to start the Warriors game at a reasonable hour. Thank god tonight's Suns-Spurs game is the last 10:30 start of the playoffs.

This Bulls team looks completely lost. It's like a beer league softball team trying to play the Mets. Aside from a couple plays by Ty Thomas (dunk, block, alley-oop all in a row late in the game) and a couple nice plays by C.Webb - this game was a total waste. The Bulls got out-rebounded 51 to 30 and they let the Pistons shoot wide open jumpers all night (53% from 3!!!!).

Wake me up when the Bulls are within single digits in the 4th quarter. Until then, TNT should show Seinfeld re-runs instead.

The G.State-Jazz game was a lot better than advertised. A lot of talk yesterday about Jerry Sloan trying to slow things down and stop the Warriors from.... well.... being the Warriors. This game was a fuckin track meet in the first half. Okur played very well last night, but you know he's begging for some more half court sets. Homeboy's gonna be gassed by game 3 if this style of play continues.

Here's why the Jazz won:

A) Boozer could not be stopped on the boards. The guy hauled in 20 rebounds including 10 on the offensive glass. The last one leading to a HUGE bucket that ended up winning the game.
B) Deron Williams played like a man. 31 pts on 11-21 shooting to go with 8 assists. Most of his assists were early, but he came up with some big shots in the 4th.
C) BD, J-Rich, and our man Stephen Jackson shot 4-15 from 3. This after a 13-25 performance against the Mavs in Game 6.

All in all - I still can't stand the Jazz OR their fans. And this is gonna be one hell of a series.

one more note - Reggie Miller sucks at announcing. He blatantly misspeaks and doesn't correct himself. Last night he used "delight" when he clearly meant to say "dismay" or some other adjective with a negative connotation, but he just glanced over it like no one would notice.

And after BDizzle got fouled on a 3 from the corner (after the ball had clearly left his hands) - Reggie made a point to say:

The shooter cannot be touched throughout the entire act of shooting.

We get it Reggie. You like when shooters get the foul call.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Second Round Preview: Cavs - Nets

Hard to believe it's the second round of the playoffs and Lebron is still yet to throw it in high gear. Tough to say that about a guy who pours in 27 ppg, but let's be serious - the Cavs only beat the Wizards by double digits once. That's pathetic for a 2 seed playing a team that's missing 48 ppg from its starting lineup.

Lebron cranked up that disgusting free throw percentage (81.2%), but I know I'm not the only one dying to see him take the line with the game hanging in the balance.

I see this one going at least 6, probably 7 with the Cavs pulling it out. Now that Dirk, T-mac, Wade, and Shaq are fishing - Do you really think Stern is letting King James pack his tackle box?

Although it blows my mind to think about a Conference Finals where Eric Snow is getting serious minutes. A friend of mine was more than willing to trade E. Snow for a pair of throw back jerseys - and that was over 4 years ago.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Second Round Preview: Bulls - Pistons

The big talk about this series seems to be about "matchups". Deng-Prince, Hinrich-Billups, and Gordon-Hamilton are the 3 most notable. But I'm actually intrigued to see C. Webb on defense against Ben Wallace. C. Webb is like a fuckin cat on defense these days.

Certainly going to be a rude awakening for the Bulls in this series. They moonwalked past the Heat in round 1 which means they'll go from playing a team with the worst perimeter defense to a team with clearly one of the best.

I'm interested to see the impact of Big Ben in this series. The fact that he used to play for the Pistons doesn't mean shit to me. But after the Bulls got waxed in game 6 of the first round last year - and Shaq poured in 30 and 20 for the first time in EASILY a half decade- the Bulls felt pressured to use the spare cash from the Eddy Curry trade to get a guy more capable of stopping Shaq. Well, they probably could've used CHRIS Wallace at center (the Notorious B.I.G for all you non-rap fans out there. But if you're reading a basketball blog then I imagine you have a pretty good grip on the 'ol rap scene) So yeah - Biggie could've played center it wouldn't have changed a a goddamn thing in round 1.

But it'll be kinda funny if the absence of Ben Wallace's defense and rebounding for the Pistons is actually overshadowed by the slight boost in their offense - now that they can play 5 capable scorers at once.

The pick: Pistons in 7.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday's Picks

The numbers for Friday's only game:

Toronto +7.5 @ New Jersey 188

Tonight I can only quote Tony Kornheiser and say"Goodnight Canada" because the Raptors are DONE. I was rooting for these guys to make a move this year as CB4 and Tj Ford are fun to watch, but sadly they have been exposed. The Raptors are not a terrible team, they definitely have potential and will probably be back next year. But New Jersey is just too much for the Raps and tonight its all over for them.

I expect Vince Carter to "step up" tonight. You know where the game is in hand and there is no pressure, so everything he puts up goes in. I love it when he pulls this. All I want to do is strangle him because I know if the score is tied in the last seconds hes clanging from 15 feet and costing you big time money in a 5 team parlay. Umm, not this has ever happened to me... God, I hate him.

Anyway, Raps are 1-8 ATS in the last 9, New Jersey is 8-1 ATS in their last 9, and the home team is 11-2-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings. This spells disaster for the Raptors. I realise 7.5 is alot to give but this is simply Vegas begging you to take Toronto. Don't do it! Take New Jersey, give the 7.5 and get ready for FREE MONEY.

Check out Kissing Suzy Kolber for a great take on the Sports Guy or any Celtic fan as far as I am concerned...

Stats Never Lie...

Golden State was 4-0 when Stephen Jackson finished the game, and 0-2 when Jackson was ejected.

There Could Be A Letdown From Here....

I'm not even just talking about the remainder of the playoffs, I could be talking about the rest of my basketball watching life. Tonight's game was a legitimate epic; at least until midway through the third period when it became clear that Dallas had become completely demoralized and just wanted to get home and watch a rodeo and pass out, or whatever they do down there. Then it just became fun.

Before the playoffs started, I had picked the Mavericks to win, in a rout actually. But like many of my hopes and dreams, I had thrown that pick into the trash about 12 minutes into the actual process. I can't remember any situation where I have seen a team so thoroughly taken to pieces. Sure, this Golden state team may have not been a realistic #8 seed, but they won 25 (25!!!) less games this regular season than Dallas. Within minutes of the start of this series, this Dallas team looked completely lost. They had no answer for the Warriors' ... well for the Warriors' anything.

The real great thing about this upset is that there's no end in sight. The Dallas Mavericks handled most of the teams in the NBA for most of the regular season, what's to say that the team that took them to pieces can't do the same to the rest of the Western Conference? A big part of what has been done by the Warriors here is a another step towards the parity that makes sports like NCAA basketball and the NFL so great. The Warriors have a chance to do something big here, take out either the #4 or #5 seed, and try to put on a show in the Western Conference finals. It's not likely, but according to me and the experts over at, neither was this. Cue ELO's "Showdown" and let's hope the Warriors don't Munson this one.

By the way, I don't know if you noticed who had 33 points tonight, but, you know...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thursday's Picks

Frequently our friend, Mr. "Try and make it stick", the Teflon Don will take a look at various numbers and match-ups that have absolutely nothing to do with the illegal, shady, and often knife-fight filled world of back alley gambling.

The numbers for Thursday's games:

Houston +4.5 @ Utah 184

Dallas -3 @ Golden State 209

I want to put on the table that I have no allegiance to Houston, though I picked them in 4 of the 5 games of this series. But tonight, HOUSTON has to be the pick and this is the scenario that necessitates it.

If Utah wins this series and IF Golden State wins tonight, these two square off in the second round. If Golden State doesn't win another game they are still a playoff success. Lets say Golden State comes out and has a big let down, then the Western Conference Finals we have been waiting for all year might be Utah and San Antonio, with the Pistons waiting in the Finals for the winner. This scenario would put the NBA back at least 15 years. I think about this scenario in the same way I think about putting a needle in my eye.

I can not allow this to happen. If Houston wins, while its not the run and gun we hoped for at least we have the star power of McGrady and Yao. Utah and San Antonio play in the Western Conference Finals and the NBA world will implode and life with basketball as a legitimate sports may be over. HOUSTON has to be the pick for all our sakes. Take Houston to win and waive the points, even if you lose, at least you will wake up tomorrow knowing you had no part in the possible demise of the NBA. (I realize that Houston could still win game 7, but this is too important to leave up to a game 7).

On a side note, can we please have no more shots of Stan Van Gundy and Jerry Sloan in HD. My God are they frightful. If my kid (there is probably one out there somewhere) wanted to get into coaching I would show him clips of these two as a scared straight video. When TNT goes to shots of the sideline they need to blur out the two coaches faces like they do on Dateline for people who's identity needs to be kept secret.

The second game is the one everyone is waiting for. Before game 5 of the series, I was going to write (had I been able to use a computer) that it would be a great time to buy Dallas to win the series. I figured teams get down 3-1 more often then we think, only to turn it on and leave the lower seed wondering what just happened after game 7. Just last year the Suns were down 3-1 to the Lakers before winning in 7. Then of course the Mavs went out and won the game. Not only that they stole it from Golden State. So Mavs have to be the pick.

Umm, not so fast there Corso. GOLDEN STATE is taking the series tonight. We have seen this same scenario play out in MLB two years ago with the Cardinals as heavy favorites against the Astros. Everyone is getting warmed up for a Game 7 in Dallas only the Warriors are going to end things tonight. How have teams fared up 3-2 in a series? They are 174-30 all time and 14-2 in the preliminary round. Take Golden State and waive the points.

Picks: HOUSTON and GOLDEN STATE... waive both spreads, and for a real return parlay the two (Houston +170 and Golden State +120).

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tonight's Schedule: 5/2

I had originally planned to start my post with a rant about last night's Mavs/Warriors game. Since I've been home all day with Bronchitis (nothing short of my own personal hell), I've gotten to hear everyone's opinion on Dirk's "clutch performance" - even got Patrick McCenroe's take (apparently Cold Pizza picks a different random person to suffer through an argument with Skip Bayless until they eventually hang themselves). Honestly, the boys over at 100% Inury Rate broke it down better than I could - plus they're legit Warriors fans and I just snuck onto the bandwagon a couple weeks ago. But I'll add a couple thoughts:

- This is a perfect example of the "Sportscenter Syndrome" or a "Box Score Fan". Sure it LOOKS like Dirk took the game over MJ-style with 12 points inside the 3 minute mark. But the truth is - Dirk was an absolute GHOST in the 2nd and 3rd quarters - and even the 4th quarter up until those 2 3's. It wasn't as if Dirk commanded the ball on the block and imposed his will on Golden State. At no point did you get the feeling, "wow- Dirk is just NOT losing this game. He's carrying this team kicking and screaming back to Oakland if he has to."

Let's preview tonight's action:

Denver @ San Antonio

I totally agree with the Don - one of these games will be a blowout, one will be relatively close, but both series are definitely getting wrapped up tonight. Don't be surprised to see 2 blowouts, though. We had the privilege of seeing 2 gems last night - I have a feeling we won't be so lucky tonight.

Here's the deal - Denver is 1-6 (both SU and ATS) the last 3 years when trailing in a playoff series. Also keep in mind that George Karl has a 3-11 playoff record with the Nuggets (for his career, he's 14 games UNDER .500 in the postseason). And he hasn't escaped the first round since he coached that 50 win Bucks team.

I think the Spurs are completely in their heads and the Nuggets have their fishing gear packed.

Lakers @ Suns

If you honestly have the stones to lay some serious cash on the Lakers in this game - my hat is off to you. Because I don't think there's any chance in hell of this thing going back to LA. That would probably require Kwame Brown to duplicate his game 3 performance - which is damn near impossible.

That being said - beware of the "last gasp" game. Kobe's not the type to go quietly - look for the Lakers to go down, but go down swinging.

Wednesday's Picks

The numbers for Wednesday night:

Denver +8 @ San Antonio 189

Los Angeles +10.5 @ Phoenix 210

These two series are over and the only thing left to figure out is who will cover. The way I see it either Denver or Los Angeles wont show up tonight and the other will fight hard but lose. Now if you could only figure out which is which you would be rich.

Oh right, that's where I come in.

Well lets look at the rosters. Denver is filled with guys that when its going well play really hard. When its not looking good, Nene's knees hurt, Iverson is worrying about his shoelace color, and Carmello is definitely not snitching. Worse they are playing the ultimate take care of business team in San Antonio. I don't see any fight in the Denver roster and no final score would shock me, be it 111-63 or 234-12. Bottom line Denver is not going to cover the 8. Under 189 is probably a good bet as well. I just checked the flight schedule and there is a 10:10 flight back to Denver I'm sure they will be itching to catch. If they don't take the court in the second half don't say I didn't warn you.

In the other series, the Lakers have Kobe who I guarantee score 45 or more (I realize there are smaller limbs to climb out on). The rest of the team follows Kobe's lead and keep it close through 3 1/2 quarters but cant close down the stretch. Take the Lakers, though beware I hate betting teams that have no chance at actually winning the game and the Lakers are 1-7 ATS with two days rest.


I Guess You'll See This In the Morning

It's borderline depressing the Dallas - Golden State series is taking place in the Western Conference. These games are probably the best advertising and promotion that the NBA has had since Lebron James was a senior in high school, and no one is seeing them except NBA superfans and people who don't have to be awake before 11am (fortunately I belong to both camps). I hate to get all high and mighty on the NBA; hell we've got young, up and coming NBA blogger Bill Simmons for that, but this game ended at 12:45am on Wednesday and it was probably the earliest finish of the series. And the NBA may end up regretting this...

The league has worked many angles in the last decade to recruit fans who have never watched basketball/bring back fans who have stopped watching. Let's look at some of them, the target audience, and the end result:

  • WNBA(female viewers): The WNBA has maintained a rather strong fan base... for the WNBA. I don't know that any WNBA fan would think about the NBA itself, other than to proclaim the superiority of the fundamentals-based game in the WNBA. I can't imagine any way that the NBA has benefited from the WNBA, especially given the massive amount of face time and marketing the NBA has had forced on it.
  • The Rookie Superstar(young kids, those looking for the "next Jordan"): The big example here would be Lebron James' appearance on the NBA scene as a junior in high school. Although, many basketball purists and internet columnists who are bummed their teams are in the lottery would have you believe that the Oden/Durant situation is one of national interest. The very audience targeted here becomes the problem. By trying to entice the people who want the next Jordan, criticism is invited. These are the fans who won't buy tickets to see their local team because they don't have one of the ten legitimate Superstars in the league.
  • NBDL(stat geeks, guys who follow minor league baseball): This move was aimed towards people who already follow the game of basketball at an extremely dedicated level. At best, it keeps these people seriously involved. At worst, you end up watching an NBDL game.
  • The Dress Code/Age Requirement(cranky white people): Give it up, these people are watching the NFL, where any semblance of personality or showmanship will likely earn someone a vertebrae-crushing gang tackle. All these rules have done is heightened the non-viewers' reaction to any incident. Look at it this way, whose public tantrum-throwing kid looks worse? The parent who drags them out by the hand and grounds them at home; or the strung-out parent that starts screaming louder and more obnoxiously than the kid? David Stern is looking more and more like a mother of three at Six Flags every day.
The one push that has worked has been the International explosion of the past few years. It has made for better basketball, and gotten fans from every country to look to the NBA as the preeminent league in the world. Niche fans across the world keep up with the league's every move; shit, even an upstart, independent blog like this manages to get views in Spain, Australia, and Hungary(We love you Budapest!). Stern's got the globe locked up, but can't figure out how he's going to attract the people who don't watch the NBA in the US.

The games, stupid. The games. I read this week that even good basketball is conducive to the highlight package; alley-oop, hard foul, game winning shot, box score. The idea that any sports fan would prefer that to the entire second half tonight is absurd. Tonight, one of the most exciting basketball games I have ever watched unfolded in the late-evening/early-morning hours. The second half was a flurry of back and forth threes, drives, and a lot more threes. If you show this game to ten people who haven't watched a game all year, nine of them would probably watch the rest of the playoffs.

But until David Stern manages to trim the excess of the playoffs, these games will remain unseen. My solution? Contract the league and schedule, put six teams per conference in the post-season, five-game first round. Completely unrealistic and excessive, but it would guarantee parity, quality, and excitement in the playoffs. This series arrived by the grace of god. No eight seed has ever been this well prepared for the top team in the league. It will likely never happen again. But with a lighter playoff schedule the public would be able to watch nightly, prime-time match ups, and the likelihood of catching a game like tonight's would increase tenfold. The more people that see it, the more people that enjoy it. Who knows, this might not make any sense since it's 3am now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tonight's Schedule: 5/1

New Jersey @ Toronto

This appears to be the last stand for the Raptors. When you think about it - how crazy is it that after tonight, the Eastern Conference 1st round could finish 16 to 1. That's INSANELY lop-sided. The pistons and cavs series were predictable sweeps, but no one thought the Raptors and Heat would get run out of town.

Coming into tonight, Toronto is 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8. On the flip side, the Nets are 7-0-1 ATS. Pretty big difference.

Sam Mitchell is gonna need to come up with a much different gameplan than he had for game 4. That game looked like 2 guys playing NBA Live except that only 1 of the guys knew how the controller worked.

Speaking of Sam Mitchell - doesn't he look just like that dude from "The Wire"? It's uncanny.

Golden State @ Dallas

This is CLEARLY the game of the night. If you're not completely obsessed with this series - then you just don't like basketball. That's all there is to it.

This game begins and ends with Dirk. He's doing his best to make a complete mockery of his eventual '06-'07 MVP award. He absolutely dominated the Western Conference playoffs last year. In fact, he averaged 27 pts and almost 12 boards throughout the postseason last year. Even shot almost 50% from the field. This year? He's yet to crack 23 pts OR 10 rebounds. And he's barely shooting 40% from the field. Not to mention- I'm sick of his body language. I mentioned this the other day - ever play Madden (or any video game for that matter) and start completely destroying the other person? Except that person can't stop complaining about the buttons not working? BUT I WAS HITTING THE PASS BUTTON!!! stuff like that. Well, that's exactly how Dirk looks when tries a fadeaway while double-teamed and he ends up hitting the side of the backboard.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday's Picks

The numbers for Monday's games:

Cleveland -6 @ Washington 190.5

Utah +6 @ Houston 184

San Antonio -2 @ Denver 191.5

First things first, you might as well parlay any bet made tonight with Cleveland to win. The Wizards have no desire to get on a plane and fly to Cleveland. They got a great game from Jamison on in Game 3 and still lost, so expect the whole team to pack it in and get ready for the fishing trip.

That said, two important games follow Cleveland/Washington tonight. Utah/Houston has been the home series and looks to be turning into the 7 game series everyone expected. As in game 1 and 2, I like Houston to win and cover. I expect Utah spent all the energy tying up the series and not be able to hang with Houston late. One important number, Utah is 2-11 ATS in the last 13 road games.

In the late game, Denver faces a virtual must win. Like everyone else, I want Denver to win this game, make this a series and ultimately unseat the Spurs. Unfortunately I just don't see it happening. The Spurs are a strong bet at -2, although I'll put one caveat on this pick. Iverson was always good for 1 monster game in the playoffs as a Sixer. I can see George Karl calling AI into his office, taking any handcuffs he might have had off of Iverson and hoping he can win one on his own tonight. One other note about tonight's game, Under is 22-7-1 in the last 30 meetings.

Thus the picks for tonight are CLEVELAND to win parlayed with everything, HOUSTON, and SAN ANTONIO. Id also look into Iverson OVER 28 points and assists (-150), as I expect a big game. Lock it in right now and get ready to make it RAIN.

That Just Happened! : Weekend Wrap-Up

Eastern Conference
Florida was hit by Hurricane Legitimate East Teams this weekend, with the Pistons and Bulls finishing off sweeps of the Magic and Heat. The Cavs put the Wizards on the ropes, beating them despite 38 points from Antawn Jamison. Sorry Wizards fans, that's about as good as it's going to get. If you've been watching the Playoffs at all, none of this should be too surprising. From the gate it looked as if all these teams were going to walk away with these series, and getting them done with quickly bodes well for some good match-ups next round.

Meanwhile, I haven't seen momentum swings like the Nets-Raptors series since I dated a schizophrenic in college (attn Psych majors: a clinic for college cheerleaders is a million dollar idea). On Sunday, the Nets gave the Raptors the business, 102-81. Now are they going to stick with the Nets we saw on Sunday and wrap this one up, or are they going to go flat again when they get back to Toronto. If my experience in college holds true they'll probably ignore me until I start talking to another girl, then try to stick their hand down my pants in the middle of a party.

Western Conference
The Nuggets' defense continues to fall apart after a promising start to the series and now that San Antonio seems to have woken up on the defensive end, the Nuggets' look completely out of sync. Things look to be heading in the same direction with the Houston Rockets. In this match-up of big time defenses who guessed that Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams were going to be out pacing McGrady and Yao. If Houston's defense can regain composure they can pull this series together. On the other hand, if the Nuggets don't get a monster game out of Iverson and Anthony in game 4, the Spurs will close them out quick.

With the Suns getting right back on track and out-pacing the Lakers, the only big story out of the West came late on Sunday night.

Being from the New York area, I can only dream (and I mean that literally, there's no chance) of what it would be like to be in the shoes of a Golden State Warriors fan. Just in case you've been watching with the volume down, go over to 100% Injury Rate or Golden State of Mind to understand the absolute insanity going on in the Bay Area right now. It's completely contagious too; I was yelling on the couch, the announcers were screaming to be heard, and everyone on the Warriors was screaming because... well, because a lot of those guys are pretty crazy. With Golden State looking like the only basketball Cinderella story this year (college or pros), I'm just going to put on some quiet shoes and see if I can tiptoe my way onto the bandwagon without anyone noticing I'm late. I mean there's gotta be some way for me to get on, what with the blog name and all.
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Today's Schedule: 4/28

Detroit @ Orlando & Cleveland @ Washington

Let's cut right to the chase (cut to the chase? what are you, Joe Hollywood?)... These series are both completely terrible. I find it hard to believe that anyone outside of the teams' home cities are even watching. Actually, I think it's safe to assume that all the Magic and Wiz fans have completely given up. The curse of Le Bullets continues.

They'll both be sweeps. Let's leave it at that.

San Antonio @ Denver

After those lame appetizers are over with - we actually get some real basketball. Here's what I think about this series - I just can't see the Spurs losing. Dallas? yeah, I could see that considering their history. But Duncan and the boys? It's not on my radar. This has the feel of a big brother/little brother matchup. Sure, the big brother has aged a bit. He's been in college a few years throwin' down funnels and taking bong hits till 5am every weekend. But when he comes home for the summer - he can still handle the little brother one on one in the driveway. I hate giving "experience" that much credit. More often than not I think the talking heads on tv like to use that term instead of actually analyzing a given matchup (that's you, kornheiser).

Still- I'd love to see Melo and Iverson put Popovich on the ropes.

Houston @ Utah

Bottomline here - someone besides Tmac and Yao have to score. ANYONE! That game the other night was mindbogglingly (clearly not an actual word) terrible. It set "bench scoring" back about 35 years. I don't even know what that sentence means, but the rockets did it.

This series has "7 games" written all over it. That monkey on Tmac's back ain't getting any smaller.

Friday, April 27, 2007

That Just Happened! : Thur. April 26, 2007

You'll have to pardon the recaps today, I've been sleep deprived all week and I'll have to do my best to sum up my thoughts as I laid on the couch watching the games.

Detroit Pistons 93, Orlando Magic 77
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... wow, Dwight Shrute sure has been showing up a lot bigger than Dwight Howard the past couple weeks... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Utah Jazz 81, Houston Rockets 67
ZZZZZZZZ... Wait, FOUR people on the Rockets scored???? How long have I been asleep? Did they do away with the shot clock again???? This next game better be the best goddamn game I've ever seen.

LA Lakers 95, Phoenix Suns 89
You got lucky NBA, real lucky. In all seriousness, Kobe turns in the best individual performance of the playoffs with 45 pts, 6reb, and 6ast. He shot 15-26 from the field, 2-3 from behind the line, and a perfect 13-13 free throws. The other big story was Kwame Brown waking up from a much longer nap than the one I took earlier and the Lakers finally showing up as a team to take care of the intangibles. The Lakers' commitment to playing hustle defense and rebounding managed to hold the Suns to 75 field goal attempts (compared to 92 in the previous blowout). This is the mysterious "dictating the pace" against the Suns that we hear so much about, even allowing them to shoot .480 from the field isn't devastating when you can limit their shots.
Henry at TrueHoop has an interesting look at a Lakers conspiracy theory that could rain on some parades however.

Best Of:

Police Academy: Kobe Bryant - 45pts, 6reb, 6ast. Gets the honor for not only turning in a great line, but for whatever he said that woke up the rest of the stiffs on his team.

Super Troopers: Kwame Brown - 19pts (8-14 shooting), 6reb, 2blk. Mainly for not rolling over for the rest of the playoffs after he hurt his ankle.

Car 54, Where Are You?: The five guys on the Houston Rockets who couldn't score one point. 5 men, 76 combined minutes, 0 points?? Really? Five guys personally just took the Rockets from legit contenders to possible victims of a first-round comeback.

Sam Cassell Quote of the Night: (on Kobe)"He's no Jordan, but he's definitely not Harold Miner!"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursdays Picks

The numbers for Thursday:

Detroit -2.5 @ Orlando o/u 183

Houston +4 @ Utah o/u 187.5

Phoenix -4 @ Los Angeles o/u 211

I have to say I am not wild about any of tonight's games but here are my picks for all three games.

Detroit -2.5 @ Orlando o/u 183 Pick: Orlando

Houston +4 @ Utah 0/u 187.5 Pick: Utah

Phoenix -4 @ Los Angeles o/u 211 Pick: Phoenix

For a detailed explanation of these picks see below where Der wrote essentially the exact same thing I would argue about all 3 games.

Tonight's Schedule

Not gonna lie... last night was a bit disappointing. But we did get the pleasure of seeing our man Stephen J. get ejected. Call me crazy... but the moment immediately after Jackson got ejected was definitely one of the more strangely riveting 3 minutes I've seen in a while. We all know what he's capable of. And when he gets that look in his eye?? holy shit- look out. I couldnt help but be somewhat frightened in my own living room - kinda like when tyson used to enter the ring.

let's get to tonight's card, shall we:

Detroit @ Orlando

Is anyone actually excited about this series? Frankly, I'm shocked that the Pistons are only laying 2.5 in this one. They were 28-13 ATS this year on the road, and were the only team with more straight-up wins AWAY from home than they had AT home.
But since the Pistons haven't busted out the brooms since season 1 of the Simpsons (1990 - holy fuck, I feel old) that probably means that the magic will steal a game before this thing is over.

Houston @ Utah

This game is dangerous. It seems unlikely that this series is headed toward a sweep, and if Utah is gonna make it interesting - this would the time to put a notch on the 'ol win column.
Here's the numbers: Utah was 31-10 at home this year, but a pretty dismal 18-22 ATS. And if you're looking at RECENT trends, the Jazz closed the season 4-19 ATS (translation: that'd be a shit load of baseball cards to sign if Pete Rose was coaching this team).
Honestly, I see this game going inside the number (Houston +4.5), with the Jazz coming through with the W.

Phoenix @ Los Angeles

If you think the Lakers even have a CHANCE to win this game, then you're out of your goddamn mind. I don't even think Barbosa had his shot altered or challenged the entire time he was in the game. Phil Jackson looks like he's completely given up now that he knows he doesn't have the horses. Kobe has openly decided to tell everyone how terrible his team is:

"It's not like we have the best talent in the league, so we really have to pride
ourselves on playing hard all the time"
Frankly, I'm shocked the line is only 4. Unless the suns decide to take a night off for some reason, expect another blowout.

That Just Happened!: Wed. April 26, 2007

Pardon the late update, I was up all night arguing with the people from the Blood Bank. I've had it with these banks with their charges and hidden fees. From now on I'm just going to keep my blood in MY freezer, with MY MONEY!

Cleveland Cavaliers 109, Washington Wizards 102
Just what you'd imagine from this series. The big tease on Sportscenter for this game was the Wizards pulling within three points in the final minute. I have to imagine that even miserable Cleveland fans weren't pessimistic about that one. Lebron puts up big numbers (27pts, 8reb,7ast) and Drew Gooden shows some promise with 24 and 14. If these numbers for Gooden and Big Z are here to stay for the playoffs, and not just the series against the Wizards, this Cavs team could be enjoying a BIG upgrade, just when it counts.

San Antonio Spurs 97, Denver Nuggets 88
You can stop checking the backs of milk cartons for the Spurs' Big Three. All three made it to double digits in scoring last night and just looked back to normal in general. The Spurs controlled the game as the Nuggets had a poor shooting night all around at .386 from the field and .765 (compared to the Spurs .913) from the charity stripe. Not that it would have really helped, but George Karl had a legitimate beef when he wondered in the post-game press conference how Iverson could have taken 25 shots and not gotten to the line once. Probably a moot point with the way the Spurs were took it to the Nuggets, but it is questionable.

Dallas Mavericks 112, Golden State Warriors 99
On a lot of sports shows last night and this morning, people seemed to be saying that Golden State was closer than it looked when Baron Davis did everything he could to make sure he got kicked out of the game last night. Sorry, I just don't see it. The Warriors hung around for most of the first half, but just had the look that they were in the process of getting out-paced down the stretch. Dallas' starters showed up this game, shooting better and cutting down on turnovers. Golden State's starters tallied 17 personal fouls, 4 technicals, 2 ejections and 21 turnovers. You do the math. Of course this could be Don Nelson, knowing they didn't have a chance at taking two in Dallas, deciding to work Golden State fans into a frenzy by getting emotions all riled up. In which case, let me be the first to call him a genius.

The Best Of:

Zach Morris: Tim Duncan - 22pts, 7reb, 5ast, 5blk. Big game for a lot of people's pick for Champs, and their star player gets the job done, and then some.

A.C. Slater: Dirk Nowitzki - 23pts, 7reb, 2blk. Finding his shot again, going 7 for 15, hopefully getting his game straight for the rest of the playoffs.

Mr. Belding: Matt Barnes - 21min, 2pts, 6fouls. He was a spark for Golden State in game 1, now he's back to looking like, well, Matt Barnes. Could redeem himself by going with the Clubber Lang mohawk for Game 3.
Chuck's Quote of the Night: "Kenny, get Rosie O'Donnel on the phone, see if she wants Ernie's job"


I have no words about what I am about to link you to. Nothing can explain it, nothing can describe it. All I know is that I'm lucky I recently had to begin "preparing" for a drug
test, because if I had been under the influence of anything when I had watched this there is no doubt that my head would have exploded instantly. Ready? Seriously, prepare yourself. Think Weird Al meets the NBA (maybe throw FreeDarko in there to explain the pics).

Here's the link (completely safe for work, but good luck explaining it to anyone who asks). Have your sound on, click the "experience" link. You click on the picture to move to the next song. Technically only the first four are about basketball players, but I found that to be more than enough NBA content to warrant a post.

PS - The Yao Ming one is the obvious crown jewel of their catalog.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday's Picks

The numbers for Wednesday:

Denver +8 @ San Antonio o/u 194

Washington +12 @ Cleveland o/u 186

Golden State +9.5 @ Dallas o/u 210

Hopefully everyone has been riding the wave since the site has been giving away free money starting on Saturday. Though correct, the Raps pick yesterday was a little closer than I expected. So I was hoping to find a game today that would be a little less stressful. And after looking at the numbers, Ill be honest, I didn't find it. I'm telling you right now this pick is not for the faint of heart so if you are planning on calmly watching the game and never worrying about your money, put it on the Orioles tonight (no seriously, I got inside information, just trust me, its free money).

The pick for tonight is a team lead by gun toting, free shooting Stephen Jackson. That's right, GOLDEN STATE is going to cover the 9.5, lock it in right now.

Look, I know this pick violates every rule possible. On the road, rebound game, Stephen Jackson plays for the team, I realize none of this adds up. But here are some numbers for you. The Warriors are 18-5 ATS in the last 23 games, and 8-1 ATS in the last 9 road games. These guys are not scared of playing on the road... probably because they live in Oakland, but that's not the point.
Dallas, on the other hand, is 4-9 ATS in the last 13 and 2-7 ATS in the last 9 as favorites and 2-7 ATS at home. And here is the real kicker, Golden State is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 at Dallas. 10-1!! Are you kidding, I cant pick against that. So go with Golden State, I promise it wont be pretty, but at the end of the night, when you get two extra dances from the girls at the club, instead of from the girl with the lazy eye that works under the bridge on Rt9, it will all be worth it.

If you are bored waiting for the late game to start, I'd suggest the under in Denver/San Antonio parlayed with the Cavs -12. Dont hold me to it, but its probably what Ill do to kill some time, waiting for Golden State to cover.

Tonight's Schedule

Denver @ San Antonio & Golden State @ Dallas.

I'm lumping these 2 games together because they've both become mirror images of each other. Not only that, but we're probably looking at exhibits 1 and 1a of the most exciting series in the opening round.

So, why are they so similar? Well, aside from the whole "former head coach/assistant combo forced to due battle" thing like in the Cable Guy, I see a striking amount of similarities.

  • All star, 1st Team All-nba, MVP-caliber 7 footers flopping in game 1? check and check.

  • The less successful regular season team seemed to mysteriously dictate the matchups and pace? check and check.

  • Between roster moves, suspensions, and injuries the underdog team never quite jelled until the regular season's homestretch, and thus, are far more dangerous than their records make them appear? you guessed it, Frank Stallone... check and check.

Here's an earth-shattering statement: Duncan and Dirk have to play better. They were 7/17 and 4/16 from the field, respectively in game 1. Your best player has to do a lot better than that, plain and simple.

The matchups -

Look for Dallas to listen to the critics tonight. Chuck nailed it by halftime: in no way should a 67 win team be the one adjusting to the 42 win team. I have a feeling we'll see a lot more of the Diop/Dampier combo up front. And that could end up being a clinic in offensive rebounding.

Also look for the Spurs to exploit the Nene/Camby combo by using a smaller lineup. In game 1, they always had Duncan up front with someone from the Horry/Oberto/Elson contingent. Don't be surprised if Pop spreads the floor with Parker-Ginobili-Finley-and Bowen to go with Duncan. Which means they'll probably go zone on defense and force Denver to hit 3's (ya know, because they were 28th in the league this year in that department).

Hollinger had a great article today about the season ending winning streaks for the Nuggs and Warriors. In a nutshell:

If you look at the games where each team was at full strength for meaningful
games (and removing the 3-10 stretch where Melo and AI first started playing
together) you're left with a 15-4 record for Denver, and a 13-4 record for
G.State. Not only that, but some mind boggling, suns-esq offensive

Washington @ Cleveland

Let's be honest: the wizards suck. I'm watching the other 2 games, and I'll settle for Lebron highlights on sportscenter.

That Just Happened! : Tuesday April 24, 2007

Between finals, work, and doing these updates everyday, I'm getting dangerously close to Winnebago Man(NSFW) territory.

Toronto Raptors 89, New Jersey Nets 83
Anthony Parker led the Dinos in points with 26, but Chris Bosh(25 and 13) took over the game in that intangible way that a superstar has to during the playoffs. Time and again when the Raptors needed a bucket to stifle a Nets run, Bosh was there to bull his way to the hoop, get the bucket and the foul, and make his free throws. Looks like he may have finally realized that no one on the Nets front line can hang with him. On the other side of the ball, Jason Kidd managed 7 assists, even with his two finishers Carter and Jefferson going a combined 12-40. Maybe Vince didn't even want to give the Toronto fans a show??? As far as predicitons for the rest of the series go, I think Henry from TrueHoop says it best: "Honestly, I have no idea. Sure is fun to watch, though."

Chicago Bulls 107, Miami Heat 89
Ben Gordon kept the Bulls on track for most of the game before Barkley's boy Leon Doing turned it on and put this game out of reach. In the post-game press conference, Pat Riley compared Deng to Cedric Ceballos(???), then wet himeself and got beat up by a fellow inmate. The Heat didn't play a particulary bad game offensively, I'm sure they would love to get 11pts each from Posey, Walker, and Kapono every night. But on defense, they gave up way to many easy looks and couldn't match up on Deng. This led to the Bulls shooting .551 from the floor and a blistering .647 from three. It'll be inteteresting to see where this series goes when they get back to Miami. Personally, I've got no faith in them.

Phoenix Suns 126, LA Lakers 98
If Anchorman had come out last weekend, I would definitely drop the "That really escalated quickly" joke right here. The Suns played their game in the way they do sometimes, almost literally scoring at will. TNT's Doug collins put it best when he noted that it really looked like the Suns were playing 6 on 5 against the Lakers. If the Lakers are going to let the Suns play their style of basketball AND let them shoot .543 they might be lucky that Phoenix only put up 126. If you didn't see this game, there is very little that can describe how easy it was for the Suns to score; if there wasn't a man wide open in the corner for three, Nash would set up a quick pick and roll with the nearest player and get an easy dish for a lay-up. That simple. A complete blow out and the Lakers look to be in big trouble.

The Best Of (South Park Edition)

Eric Cartman: Gotta give it to Leon Doing once again. 26pts, 5 reb, 6ast, 2blk, 1stl. Yea, Riley was right, thats definitely a Ceballos-like line.

Randy Marsh: Chris Bosh played 45 minutes, got 25 and 13, and controlled the game for the Raptors in big spots.

Kyle's Mom: Eddie Jones. If you're going to be a defensive liability, at least try to get some offense. Went 1-3 in 17 minutes. Look for Ira Winderman's head to explode if he gets the start in game 3.

Chuck's Quote of the Night: "Kwame Brown dropped more pases this weekend than T.O."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday's Picks

Frequently our friend, Mr. "Try and make it stick", the Teflon Don will take a look at various numbers and match-ups that have absolutely nothing to do with the illegal, shady, and often knife-fight filled world of back alley gambling.

Tuesdays Numbers

New Jersey +5 @ Toronto o/u 194

Chicago -4 @ Miami o/u 184

Los Angeles +9 @ Phoenix o/u 207

Here is the problem with the state of the NBA today. Through an entire regular season, we still have no idea if the Raptors are good or just the product of a crummy division. There really is no shred of evidence about how they will react after being punched in the nose in Game 1.

Saturday, Vince Carter was terrible and still the game really was never in doubt following a Nets run in the second quarter. Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson put on a show and demonstrated few signs that they would be slowing down tonight. And the Raptors ultimately looked like a team surprised to be playing in a game that meant something.

Well with that said the Raptors are still giving 5 points. Take a look at the Chicago/Miami series. The line has swung 8 points following the Bulls win in Game 1. The Raptors have actually gone up a half point. This tells me one thing, the Nets are a bad bet.

Thus the pick for Today is TORONTO. I know its difficult to trust canadians with your money. You don't know what kind of return you will get and all that, but trust ME its the right thing to do. Honestly if you can't trust The Don, who can you trust.

One other note about tonight's game. Raptors fans are rabid. I don't know if its because they are thrilled to be watching a sporting event and be warm at the same time, but whatever the reason they love the Raptors. Which is saying something when you consider how bad they have been over the past few years. I think they will play a big role in tonight's game, not wanting to see the Raps headed to the Meadowlands down 2.

In addition to Toronto, I'll throw out the Los Angeles/Phoenix over of 207. I know they came up 40 points short of the over on Saturday. I also know the Lakers are dedicated to playing D as it is there only hope. However, the the two teams could not miss more open shots than they did on Sunday. Its not possible. Look at the shot chart. I like the over, and while I'm not throwing my leadpipe lock on it, Id encourage taking some of yesterdays winnings and turning them over. If you are really feeling wild, I wouldn't argue with you if you told me about a 4 pt teaser of Suns/Over.

Tonight's Schedule

New Jersey @ Toronto

The Vince Carter Revenge Series rolls on tonight.
The numbers for game 1 were pretty similar for both teams, just like they were for the regular season. A 4th quarter surge by the Raptors wasn't quite good enough to over come the deficit built up in the middle 2 quarters. You could certainly argue a need to control Richard Jefferson a little better, but let's be honest - with apologies to CB4, Chris Bosh - Jason Kidd proved he was the best player on the floor. He shot a miserable 3 for 11 from the field, but still managed to torment the Raptors for 10 boards and 15 dimes.

Bosh and the boys were 32-9 this year as favorites, whereas Kidd and co. were 11-27 as underdogs. Look for another close game, most likely inside the number. But there's no way we're headed back to Sopranos' country with the Nets up 2.

Miami @ Chicago

Analyzing stats for the Heat is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but you never get anywhere. Between all the old people, injuries, and guys needing time off you can't take any number seriously.

The biggest matchup here is Luol Deng (or as Chuck and Kenny said last night, Leon Doing). Conventional wisdom says that Riley will have an adjustment to handle the versatile guard/forward, but I'm just not seeing it. James Posey should be the guy, but he's still not 100% after that arm/shoulder injury. Eddie Jones is CLEARLY not the guy. Did you see his stat line from Saturday? He pulled Chris Dudleys across the board. He had more fouls than points, field goals, assists, rebounds, steals, AND blocks. Considering he played 24 minutes, that's borderline impossible.
Not suprising, the Heat were 12-4 this year on 2 days rest. And Shaq appears to have used the refs to manufacture some motivation. Honestly, I'd be very nervous to go against the Heat in this game.

Lakers @ Suns

Going into the playoffs, I thought this series was the only lock to be a sweep. And nothing has changed. Kobe didn't waste ANY time going to his one-man-army routine. So it's probably safe to say that Kwame, Smush, and co. are ready to start making vacation plans.

Phoenix is 10-1 at home against the Lake-show the past 3 years. Although the Lakers managed to cover the number in 6 of those 11 games. But the Lakers are 2-13 against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season. This team is headed no where.
I can't guess what version of Kobe we'll get tonight. But I can guarantee it won't matter.

That Just Happened! : Monday April 23, 2007

Any chance the NBA gives me a break and lets me catch The Office on Thursday? It's looking real good. I already missed the Sopranos and my chances of catching the Gauntlet tomorrow are looking slim.(/Simmons content)

Detroit Pistons 98, Orlando Magic 90
This might go down in history as the most impossible playoff series to give a shit about. The Magic played decent, the Pistons played a little better, everyone knew it would go like this, no one's surprised. I feel like in some ways this has to be a little troubling for Orlando; would you rather be the Lakers with a superstar who's proven he can get his in the playoffs, or Orlando whose role players are starting to get it done while your #1 guy disappears on you? But, at the same time, if Howard throws down one of his 23 & 24 games the Magic can still steal one. The Detroit starters look to be in playoff form as everyone got to double-digits. Like i said, it would really help me if these guys could wrap this thing up so I could catch some prime-time TV.

Houston Rockets 98, Utah Jazz 90
Strange game here in that it looked good for both the winner and the loser. I mean, Kirilenko only played 2 more minutes than game 1 but still managed to notch 5 times the personal fouls!! If AK-47 had turned his game around at all, the Jazz could have felt optimistic as Deron Williams had another solid game, and Boozer showed up big time with 41, 12, and 6. Instead even Magic Johnson caught enough of the game, in between handfuls of cream cheese off the catering table, to know the Jazz are dead in the water. McGrady and Yao both had solid games and you've gotta wonder what a second round match-up would look like with the Rockets skating past the Jazz and the Mavericks having to struggle to get past the Warriors.
The Best Of (all-loser edition)
The Nerf Big Bad Bow: Carlos Boozer - 41pts, 12reb, 6ast. Did his job while the rest of his team fell apart all around him. Oh well.

The Nerf .38 Special: Hedo Turkoglu - Shooting the lights out(18-27 for the series) and giving out some HARD fouls. If you're going to lose, at least let the other team know you're there.

Nerf Rocket Kit: AK-47(back to back) - 18min, 0pts, 5fouls. At least he got his 2 blocks. Always a good sign when your coach refuses to talk about you in the post-game. You're screwed, Commie.

Kenny Smith Quote of the Night: "The Heat need to find an answer for Leon Doing!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tonight's Schedule

Orlando @ Detroit

The darko revenge series returns....

The tale of the tape for game 1 is pretty cut and dry. Despite shooting a mind-blowing 58.1% from the field (including a combined 13 of 19 from the Turkoglu/Darko contingent) the Magic managed to screw themselves by shooting all their free throws blindfolded. Actually, that's a lie but it sure seemed like it.

Now, it's easy to look back and say that if only the Magic had been "kinda" bad from the line instead of "completely shit the bed" bad, they would've won. But frankly, I'm just not buying it. Detroit seems content to play this series just well enough to win. And that's basically how they've approached the whole season at home. Despite having the best record in the east they were ranked 5th in home wins (only 1 more than 8th seeded Orlando). And not only that, 'Sheed and the boys were a dismal 16-26 against the spread at the Palace. Not really sure if there's a precedent for this, but this team made their mark on the road. BIG TIME.

So look for this game to be close, but never actually in question.

Utah @ Houston

Utah continues their quest to take AK47 from 1st Team NBA All-UNDERrated to the MVP of the all overpaid team. The guy's on the hook for $17.8 million in the 2010-2011 season. Somebody might want to give the guy a pep talk. Or maybe just put him in the right position. Wrong position or not, this situation still baffles me to no end. One minute he's putting up insane stat lines of 12 blocks and 7 steals. Now his box score is nothing but 1's and 0's.

The bigger problem for Utah in game 1 was the play of Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer. A comined 17 points on 6 of 31 shooting is definitely not gonna get it done. Say what you want about Van Gundy teams and their defense, but it certainly isn't THAT good.

Since 1996, Jerry Sloan teams are 5-17 when trailing a playoff series. Those numbers don't lie.