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.