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Lakers Broadway Blow Out

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

We went 1-3 after taking only the second day off in two months. That’s the equivalent of losing after a bye week. It wasn’t pretty, but these matters never are. Poker taught me to be more zen and not fret on the past beats, rather focus on the now and worry about trying to win the next game.

Thursday NBA Sweat: 3-team teaser: Atlanta, Knicks, Spurs

That zen-like approach is what we’re doing to get back on track. I can do it. Kobe can’t.

Kobe struggled with maintaining a serene-like attitude during the Lakers early-season implosion. He lost his shit one night in the second week of the season and like Godzilla trampling and scorching Tokyo, Kobe couldn’t control his laser eyes and he zapped coach Brown. The Lakers management, caught up in their own reality show-like turmoil (hire Phil/pass on Phil), brought in Mike D’Antoni, the same coach who Melo ran out of New York City. 

D’Anotni’s replacement in NYC, Mike Woodson, is a perfect fit for the Knicks because Woody preaches a little more defense, yet runs a watered-down version of D’Antoni’s spread offense. I still think the Knicks run too many ISOs for Melo, but according to @Haralabob… 26% ISOs for Melo this season compared to 35% from last year. To put that in non-stat geek terms… one out of every three times down the floor, the Knicks stand around with their dicks in their hands watching Melo go 1-on-1, but now Melo is only doing it one of out four times, which means the rest of the team gets a chance to touch the ball 75% of the time.

The Lakers are not even close to running a wispy apparition of D’Antoni’s offense. The majority of their sets is Kobe on an ISO or Kobe chucking a three, while occasionally they work the ball gets down low to Dwight Howard, or MWP (formerly known as Ron Artest) chucks a brick from the top of the key. That free-flowing spacious penetrate-and-kick offense by D’Antoni seems like a hopeless utopia. Everyone and their grandmother knows that the Lakers lack the man power to run the offense (MWP isn’t a good enough of a long-range shooter), but most importantly, Kobe is similar to Melo in that they don’t like being held back by an offensive philosophy created by a genius with a cop mustache.

Melo grew up in Brooklyn then moved to Queensbridge. He played street ball, where’s there no time to dwell on philosophical matters…like a spread offense, because on the pavement in the real world full of ball hogs, it’s “shoot now or forever hold your peace.” As soon as you got your hands on the rock, you put your head down and go to the hole, or you pull up and rain a jumper. It’s a death wish for any coach trying hold back a thoroughbreds like Melo and Kobe who would can easily score 50 on any given night.

Cleveland beat up the Lakers the other night. No defense. Stale offense. Drowning in quicksand and playing without two key players (Gasol and Nash). Ugly abounds. Losing the Cleveland? That’s low…. very low… like lying in urine on skid row low… like injecting-bath-salts-into-your-neck-low.

The Lakers clown-show featuring its Swiss-made, Olé-flavored, transition defense took center stage in NYC at the world’s most famous arena… Madison Square Garden. When I was a kid, MSG was where I went to watch different sporting events like WWF wrestling, USSR’s Red Army hockey team, the circus, and the Globetrotters. Later as a teenager, I’d see the Grateful Dead and Phish perform in the same place where Clyde and Pearl captivated an entire city.

The Lakers this year are not feared like the Russian hockey teams of the 1980s. They resemble a rag-tag troupe of jaded clowns hoping not to embarrass themselves in front of the glitzy NYC crowd. 

The Lakers are struggling in an horrid season I expected the Knicks to have. The two teams swapped places… the Knicks are at tops of their division and fighting for the top spot in the East, while the Lakers are struggling to get .500 and claw their way into the #8 playoff seed.

The Knicks might be an old team and live/die by the three, but the Lakers are banged up and in disarray. Kobe looks like he has amnesia when he’s on defense and cement in his sneakers. Melo blew by not one, but three Lakers…

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Melo vs. Kobe. TNT suits must have had hard-ons all day think about the potential matchup between the NBA’s top two scorers.

Melo and Kobe went right at it in the opening minutes. It started off like all Lakers games… Dwight got 2 quick fouls, Kobe hogged the ball and everyone stood around and watched, while he quickly padded his stats. If Kobe’s back wasn’t spazzing out, he woulda dropped 50 in another Lakers loss.

Melo unleashed one trey. Then another. And anther. The Knicks jumped out to a double digit lead and never looked back. Melo’s damage? 22 points in the 1Q. The game was still young and Charles Barkley was already calling for Kobe-zilla to shoot laser beams out of his eyes and zap D’Antoni.

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Melo is fun to watch, and the MVP chants that echoed around MSG were warranted. Melo posted MVP-like numbers and without him, the Knicks would be slugging it out in the Eastern basement with the likes of the Wiz and the Bobkittens.

Melo went down in the 3Q with a sprained ankle, but the Knicks had a big gun in JR Smith to go to, but it was Ray Felton who stepped up and hit a few big shots to thwart a late 4Q rally by the Lakers. That’s how bad it got for the Lakers… the Knicks lose their best player and they still can’t come back.

Man, we’ve been fading the Wiz all year… but with the Lakers going into Washington, we might considering backing the Wiz and fading the Lakers.

Anyway… the Knicks won outright and filled in the first leg of a three-team teaser. Atlanta easily won and whooped the Bobkittens. It was up to the Spurs to beat Portland by -2.5. Simple. Three points. Spurs were down most of the game and trailed by double digits in the 4Q. The Spurs got withing 6 with 3 minutes to go. If they couldn’t win outright, I needed an overtime for a shot at covering. For a second night in a row, Spurs choke in crunch time and lose a game against a team they should have beaten the crap out of.

Teaser dunzo.

Wednesday NBA Sweat: Golden St. +8.5, Spurs -3, Memphis -6, Clippers -8

Rough Wednesday night. You figured we would have been in peak form after taking Tuesday off, but we stumbled right off the bat. Our only victory was Golden St +8.5 in Miami. The way Miami has been playing (lackadaisical) they should have been -3 or under. GSW getting big points in that spot was a gift. GSW won at the buzzer and we easily covered.

The other three games were turds. The Bobkittens lost to the Clippers, but beat the damn spread. The Spurs lost outright to Utah after getting hosed down the stretch by the refs. And our darlings the Memphis Griz went ass-cold in PHX and “couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.”

Thursday NFL Sweat: Cincy -4

We had one NFL game. Thursday Night Futility. Philadelphia versus Cincinnati. LOL-Eagles/Bungles. My girlfriend is tied for first in my pick’em pools. She referred to this game as “Cats vs. Birds”, which is cute and adorable, but I wonder if there’s some sort of statistical analysis to determine if cat-like teams (Lions, Bungles, Panthers, Jags) are getting whooped by bird-like teams (Seachickens, Falcons, Cards)?

We got Cincy -4 when the line opened on Sunday night. I felt better knowing the line jumped to -6.5 and inched toward a touchdown. I couldn’t get enough courage to walk up to the counter and lay -7 on Cincy on the road, then again, they were playing against the miserable Eagles. Andy Reid is a dead man walking and their best player (LeSean McCoy)  is out again with a concussion.

I didn’t watch any of the game with the Knicks/Lakers on. I switched on the NFL channel at halftime only to see Cincy’s Ginja QB fumble not once but twice! Cincy blew a 10-0 lead on those fumbles and Philly took advantage of both turnovers. Cincy held onto the ball the rest of the game, forced five total turnovers, and blew out a demoralized Philly squad in the second half. Not even close.

Cincy -4 was a lock. Good way to start Week 15 going into another weird weekend.

Filed under Knicks Melo Kobe Lakers NBA NFL Bobkittens

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The Swings, JR Smith, and the Busto Abyss

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

The Swings come and go. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. The golden rule to investing is to maximize your winnings when you’re riding the wave of a hot streak, but more importantly to minimize the losses when you’re running cold.

1-3 isn’t the end of the world, but we’re disappointed with that outcome over the last two days. Game selection has been poor considering we had two full night of games to choose from. We’ve be actively trying to cherry pick one or two games instead of playing 4 or 5 (which I’d really like to do). It’s a classic struggle between volume and a “less is more” approach.

Tuesday NBA Sweat: Miami -10 and OVER 180 IND/CHI

Wednesday NBA Sweat: Mavs +8.5 and Golden State +1

Tuesday was miserable. Horrible. Disgusting. I had to turn off the Miami/Wiz game because the world champions’ Big 3 were getting spanked by the worst team in the NBA made up of no-names and rooks. Sure, the sun shines on a blind dog’s ass every once in a while, but that performance from Miami was redonkulous. Cobra Commander (aka David Stern) should fine Miami for a piss-poor showing against the Wiz. So disappointing on all accounts.

We did something I never expected to do… lay 10 points in an NBA game on the road. The Heat were supposed to win by 15 according to HAL420 and the pubic were all over them, yet the Heat lost by 5 to the lowly Wiz because Jordan Crawford tore them a new asshole.

So much for fading the Wiz. The Wiz won their second game of the season and improved to 2-6 at home this year.

And the Miami Heat? They’re new nicknames are the “Miami PIIs” which is short for Phoning It In.

The Indiana/Chicago game featured lowest totals (180) I’ve seen all season. Why did the bookies set the line so low? Because both teams struggle to score points. HAL420 was confident in its total would be significantly higher. Man, HAL420 must’ve been high when he spit out a higher total. That game was 20-18 in the 1Q. Both teams combined for 34 points in the 2Q. The Bulls only scored 18 in the 3Q and only passed 20-points in a quarter once all game when the scored 21 in the 4Q.

Both teams pathetically to score like a bunch of pathetic horny geeks from a Judd Apatow stoner-comedy.

Yeah, I turned the Bulls/Indy game off in the early 3Q. We flushed two fat turds on Tuesday.

Basketball was depressing on Tuesday, so the highlight by default was Killing Them Softly. I caught a matinee viewing and I was one of three other viewers, which is shocking because this was at Century City. The theatre is massive stadium style seating and featured reserve seating. Ha! I had to choose a seat before hand even though only three seats were taken.

Anyway, Brad Pitt was a bad ass mob fixer and James Gandolfini shined as an alkie over-the-hill hit man in this heist-gone-wrong film set in New Orleans in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis just before the election. Killing Them Softly was an indictment on the decline of America as it sunk to its worst low because it’s become a corporation horribly run by corrupt suits.

I wish I could pay my rent by writing for a living, but this is America, a country that shits on its talented artisans and sucks out every ounce of creative blood out of their bodies. Alas, I can barely support myself as a writer anymore so I have to hustle to pay my bills by wagering on sports. So when you go 0-2 in a night, it’s tough to sleep knowing you made a couple of rookie, rube mistakes.

Wednesday came along and I couldn’t have been happier. Wednesday was the dawn of a new day. With 11 games on the slate, we had to win at least one, right?

The Knicks were playing the Bobkittens. My new rule is to avoid fading the Bobkittens when they play at home, so we passed on that game. It was kind of exciting because it came down to the last possession. The Bobkittens blew another 4Q lead and let the Knicks steal a win. With Melo out with a freak injury that required stitches, it was JR Smith who stepped up and took the big shot in crunch time.

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JR Smith… all net. Knicks won and did not cover, so we picked the right time to avoid this game.

We faded Detroit and went with Golden State Warriors, our favorite bail out team. The line at +1 which seemed like a steal.  Golden State exploded for 39 points in the 3Q when Klay Thompson put on a shooting clinic. The GSW led by 20 for most of the second half, but they promptly blew the lead in the 4Q. They let the Piss-stains sneak back into the game. Detroit tallied 36 points in the 4Q, but their spectacular comeback fell short in the last minute of the game. We finally won a game and ended our brief skid.

Then things got ugly. The Clippers jumped out to an early lead against Dallas and that’s all she wrote. We lost by 20 and we didn’t even have a chance to backdoor a cover of +8.5.

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Blake Griffin and company put on an old-school dunk-a-thon. They wiped out the Mavs and it wasn’t even close. That loss brought us down to 1-1 for the day, or 1-3 in the last two days.

We should snap out of this funk as soon as possible, but there’s only two NBA games on Thursday. We’ll probably pass on both (although UNDER in Dallas/PHX looks enticing) but definitely watch the Miami/Knicks game. Luckily, we have a Thursday night football game to give us a gambling fix. Otherwise, things might get really depraved and we’d bet on a few college hoops games, when we’re in observation mode and not actively trying to get involved just yet.

Patience and disciple are both sons of bitches, but both will prevent us from going broke as quickly as we could slide into the darkness of the busto abyss.

Filed under NBA Knicks

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Melo Elbows

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

We only bet one game. The Knicks.

Some of our crew liked the Lakers playing Brooklyn in L.A., but I was dead set on the Knicks. I bet them -6 on the overnight line. The spread opened at 5.5 and moved to 6.5 in the morning and then late afternoon word got out that #1 pick and rookie stud the Unibrow was going to sit out with sore ankle and the line moved to 7 and then 7.5.

It wasn’t much of a game. New Orleans held on for the 1Q and then the Knicks tried to pull away in the 2Q. At one point, they tried to get a little rough and Melo got a little “playground” on everyone by flailing a few elbows.

In the second half, the Knicks pulled away courtesy of efficient three point shooting. The Knicks drilled 14 treys and Ray Felton dropped five. Melo put up 29 points and Felton/J.R. Smith combined for 30. For NOLA, We didn’t get to see the Unibrow, but rookie Austin Rivers (Doc’s offspring) played somewhat impressive.

The Knicks are now 8-1 and they won by 22 points. I was worried about covering 6! Melo made it look easy. I mean, are the Knicks really this good? Probably not. But hey, they’re a shit-ton better than I expected. I thought they’d struggle to stay above .500 and win 45 games. Most impressive? The Knicks did this without Amare.

We’re now 31-22-2 in the NBA.

*****

Two weird incidents in the sporting world which I found out through Twitter…. 1) Macho Comacho was shot in Puerto Rico and rumors swirled that he had died, and 2) some kid named “Jack Taylor” dropped 138 points for Grinnell (it’s in Iowa) against some Bible College.

Macho was one of those fighters I only knew about because back int he 80 it seemed like he was fighting some random palooka every month in some bloody battle. Anyway, seems like something weird happened in Puerto Rico… a drive-by shooting of sorts… and Macho was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The 138 story reeked… it seemed fake… like one of those wacky internet hoaxes like  landing through The Shining. Anyway, even the kid’s name sounded fake… Jack Taylor. Didn’t his dad play catcher for the Indians… twice?

Once ESPN started reported the 138 points, it must’ve be legit, right? I tried to watch some of the game “on demand” but it looks like the school’s server was overloaded by other curious folks who also stumbled upon the peculiar story. I eventually got it to load and watched some of the game. It was super sloppy at times and Taylor scored a ton of points but he missed a ton of three-pointers too.

Supposedly, Grinnell runs a crazy offense called “The System” in which they hoist up a three-point shot as soon as they get the ball over the court. They also run a relentless full press court and give up a ton of fast breaks, but they prefer a rapid-fast pace because they’ll gladly give up 2 because they will get 3 right back. By looking at the box score, everyone on Grinnell logs minutes. It’s almost like a hockey team that runs out line shifts of five new players every forty-five seconds. It would have been fun to play on a run-like-an-antelope team like Grinnell. We ran the “flex” in high school and it wasn’t as sexy as this insane turbo-speedy-run-and-gun corn-fed white-boy offense from Iowa.

Filed under NBA Knicks