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Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category
By Ron Jumper
The NBA playoffs are going strong and, while it seems like they will never end, don’t worry it will some day…I hope. I love the NBA, more so than ANYONE I know. I’m as pure an NBA fan as their is, but this Lakers-Suns series having a week in between games is a little much. I figured it would at least start Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. None the less, here are some thoughts on the playoffs as of right now.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost in embarrassing fashion last night at home to the Boston Celtics. It reminded me why I just can’t stand Mike Brown. While most of the critics are pointing the finger at LeBron, I would shift much more blame Brown’s way. In my opinion, it was classic Mike Brown in that he did very little and did it poorly.
I’ll start with defense first, Rajon Rondo had a great game 4 and, in an effort to slow down him, the Cavs changed up their defensive assignments and tried LeBron on Rondo. It worked in slowing down Rondo but it allowed Paul Pierce to get going. Pierce, who had been averaging just 11.8 ppg through 4 games, had a breakout 21-point performance. Rondo is a play-maker and distributor, something he is going to look to do no matter who is guarding him. On the other side, if you let a great scorer like Pierce get going, it adds to how Boston can hurt you.
On the offensive end, this is really elementary to basketball purists but the Cavs want to put LeBron free throw line-extended and run pick & rolls. However, Kevin Garnet is such an athletic big man and tenacious defender that he is able to hedge hard so that LeBron has to give the ball up. Because the Cavs don’t have big men that can knock down shots, it is easy for Boston to drop off and help because there is no fear of whoever KG or Kendrick Perkins is guarding beating them with a jumpshot. Also, in the process, it keeps the lane cluttered and congested, making it hard for James to get into the lane and wreak havoc like he is accustomed to.
Moving over to the West, I will give credit to how well the Suns have been playing but that is where it ends. The Suns have a lot of what I consider B+ guys, that look great against inferior competition but struggle against the big boys. Namely, Jason Richardson and Channing Frye. Look at their stats against the Lakers vs. their regular season averages:
vs. Lakers: 8.8 ppg, 31% FG, 14% 3FG
Regular Season: 15.7 ppg, 47% FG, 39% 3FG
vs. Lakers: 8.7 ppg, 33% FG, 22% 3FG
Regular Season: 11.2 ppg, 45% FG, 44% 3 FG
Those numbers are pretty alarming if you are a Suns fan, as the Lakers have been able to impose their will, as they went 3-1 straight up against the Suns in the regular season. I like how the Suns have been playing, but I have to give the edge to the Lakers here.
By Ron Jumper
**Check back here to get daily NBA playoff picks
Tuesday April 20, 2010:
Monday April 19, 2010:
So far so good, I’m liking 3 strong plays tonight. Enjoy!
Bulls/Cavs Under 191.5
Jazz/Nuggets Over 212
So it is time for one of the more profitable stretches of the year: the NBA Playoffs. Granted, I’ll have gray hair by the end of the first round, but at least I’ll be cashing tickets, right? Even for the diehards like myself, by the time the NBA Finals roll around I’m near the point of exhaustion and have lost any “pure” interest in watching the games. How does the NBA expect the casual fan to care about the playoffs for basically 2 months? Bowl season, the NFL playoffs, and March Madness are all closer to three weeks and the NBA has to go and make it a marathon. Most casual fans watch virtually none of the regular season and then gradually start tuning in as the playoffs get going. Why is that? Because it doesn’t matter until then and there is just no incentive to watch otherwise unless you play fantasy basketball or have a little action going on the game. Which leads me to…
NBA Series Picks:
Miami Heat (+160) win vs. Boston Celtics
The Heat are 9-1 in their last 10 and are red hot. On the other side, the Celtics are 3-7 coming into this series. More than that, just looking at the Celtics, they don’t have it this year. The team is just off, the Rasheed Wallace signing didn’t work and they’ve had some injuries, all the while having some underlying uncertainty as to what lies ahead in the future for this franchise. They won’t say it publicly, but they know they just don’t have it in them to make a deep playoff run this year. I think the story a week from now will be just how flat and uninspired the Celtics looked in their first round exit.
Utah Jazz (+170) win vs. Denver Nuggets
For this series, the numbers don’t really show it and it is hard to explain it other than just what my “eye test” tells me but the Nuggets are not quite hitting on all cylinders. They have struggled against the better teams and it is unsettling how bad they have been on the road (19-22). The Jazz are a little banged up but AK47 is always injured and his absence will have no impact on this series at all. I like the Jazz in a minor upset here.
Dallas Mavericks (-170) win vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Mavs have not gotten a lot of national attention, but they’ve been playing great basketball since the All-Star break (only 7 losses). I really like the depth and fire power on this roster, as Caron Butler is a nice second scoring option and they finally have depth at the center position with both Haywood and Dampier inside. Jason Terry gives the second unit a lot of fire power and Jason Kidd is playing like he found the fountain of youth. As for the Spurs, I think cruising through most of the regular season and trying to turn it on late has caught up with them. It is just asking a lot to make a playoff run as a 7 seed, even for the veteran Spurs.
**Note: These are the reasonable series lines I’d get in on the action, I think we all agree the Cavs, Magic, Lakers, Hawks, and Suns are going to advance but who wants to lay -600 or more?