Last Week's Winnings (June 17): 1-0, +$400 2007-08 Season Winnings (as of June 17): 104-88-8, 54.2% (+$1,485)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 (1-0, +$400)
Los Angeles Lakers (71-31) at Boston Celtics (81-26) Line: Celtics by 4.
Looks like David Stern didn't fix Game 5. I guess he knew he had breathing room with the Celtics playing two more games in Boston. Something tells me he's going to "do something" about the Celtics winning this contest - as if Boston's irregular long rims weren't enough.
In all seriousness (though I am super serial about the rims), the Lakers were playing for their lives and barely beat Boston in Game 5. I can't see them winning.
Boston Celtics (80-25) at Los Angeles Lakers (70-30) Line: Lakers by 7.5.
I give up. I was so hot at the end of the year and the beginning of the playoffs. Now I can't get anything right because the referees are fixing these games. I refused to watch Game 3 after the ugly display they put on Sunday night. Thirty-eight free throws to 10? Allowing Boston to use rims with longer connectors? What is that!? It's obvious David Stern is getting paid off for the Celtics to win, so I'm siding with them from now on.
Boston Celtics (80-24) at Los Angeles Lakers (69-30) Line: Lakers by 9.5.
If I were the Lakers, I'd file a grievance with the NBA. This is ridiculous. Can the referees make it more obvious that they favor Boston? How do the Celtics have 30 more free throws than the Lakers? Sure, the Lakers fouled the Celtics, but it's not like the Boston players didn't foul Kobe and company. Two free throws in two-and-a-half quarters? This is a joke.
To make matters worse, if you look at Boston's rims, the part that connects the rim to the backboard is longer than it is in any other arena. That's why Boston has been so dominant at home and part of the reason why opposing players have trouble shooting there. This is coming from a former University of Miami basketball player whom I talked to this weekend. I looked at it during the telecast, and I saw that he was right. Pay attention to it next time.
I watched the game with my dad, and we both decided not to watch the final quarter. I was disgruntled. My dad yelled, "David Stern is a crook!"
Seriously though, I thought Stern addressing the Tim Donaghy situation would clean up the shady officiating. These zebras should just announce that they're siding with one team before the game begins. That way we can all be prepared for their crookedness. I have to wonder how much Stern "made" from Game 2.
At any rate, this is a must-win for the Lakers. I know the line is high, but don't let that turn you off. This is a blowout. No rim benefits for Boston tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers (69-29) at Boston Celtics (79-24) Line: Lakers by 1.
Wow, Lakers are favored? Why does that seem wrong? The Celtics won Game 1 and have made a believer out of the casual fan. Not me. Three things did the Lakers in on Thursday. First, Kobe Bryant played poorly. That's not happening twice. Second, it seemed like all of Los Angeles' shots rimmed out. Nothing was dropping. The Celtics won't get so lucky on Sunday night. And finally, Boston fed off the emotion when Paul Pierce limped out of the locker room and nailed two threes right away.
The Lakers are the better team, and they know they can't go down 0-2. If the crappy Pistons can win in Boston, I think the Lakers can get the job done.
Los Angeles Lakers (69-28) at Boston Celtics (78-24) Line: Lakers +120; Celtics by 2.5.
I figure the Lakers are going to win a game in Boston, so if you take their money line both times, you're bound to win at least a bit of money. And if the Lakers get this contest, we'll simply take the Celtics in Game 2 for an easy cover.
Boston Celtics (77-24) at Detroit Pistons (69-29) Line: Pistons by 5.5.
I hate Sasha Vujacic so much... That... it... it... flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, heaving... breath - , heaving breaths. Heaving breath...
That's a reference from Clue, for those of you who are lost. If you don't know why I hate Sasha Vujacic, he hit a "meaningless" three as time expired to extend Los Angeles' lead from five to eight, turning a Spurs cover into a push. In case you missed it, Michael Finley gave the New Mr. Douche Bag a death stare as he walked off the court. I wonder how much money Mr. Finley lost.
Ugh. I'm disgusted. Celtics blow a 17-point lead Wednesday, Spurs blow a 17-point lead yesterday. Someone please shoot me.
At any rate, I think this is a blowout. I still believe Boston will win this series, but this is too much of a must-win for the Pistons.
Detroit Pistons (69-28) at Boston Celtics (76-24) Line: Celtics by 5.5.
As you could tell, I wasn't confident with my pick last night. I felt as though Kobe Bryant could go off, and that's exactly what he did. Despite not going to the free throw line, he was a field goal shy of a 30-point performance. The Spurs weren't playing with the sort of desperation they had in Game 3, and Los Angeles' athleticism and talent just won out.
At any rate, I watched Around the Horn today. Tim Cowlishaw and Jay Mariotti both opined that the Pistons had control in this series. Well, I don't get where they're coming from. Detroit had to win Game 4, and it barely got by the Celtics. The Pistons' offense is junk. Boston could have easily claimed that must-win for Detroit. Now the Celtics have to win tonight, and something tells me this is going to flow a lot like Game 3 did.
Los Angeles Lakers (67-28) at San Antonio Spurs (65-32) Line: Spurs by 4.
I don't have a strong feeling about this game. If the Lakers were to win one game in this series, it's this one. This contest isn't as much of a must-win for the Spurs as Game 3 was, and that's why the spread is -4 instead of -5.5 like it was on Sunday. If Kobe Bryant goes off, I'm not sure if San Antonio can do anything. Then again, the Spurs play so well at home and visiting squads haven't fared well this postseason. I'll have a much stronger opinion tomorrow.
Boston Celtics (76-23) at Detroit Pistons (68-28) Line: Pistons by 6.
Everything makes sense now that we've gotten it straightened out. The Celtics can't win on the road - when they don't need to. Turns out they're even lazier than the lethargic Pistons. Good job, guys. Detroit can't lose this game, or else this series is over.
Boston Celtics (75-23) at Detroit Pistons (68-27) Line: Pistons by 5.
Feels good to be back in the winning column. Well, I didn't know whether or not the Pistons could win in Boston (though I didn't think so when I thought Chauncey Billups was about 50 percent) but I know the Celtics can't succeed in Auburn Hills. They couldn't even win in Atlanta. That's pathetic.
San Antonio Spurs (64-31) at Los Angeles Lakers (66-27) Line: Lakers by 6.5.
It's not often I lose more than two NBA games in a row, let alone four. I have to get out of this slump. Of course it doesn't help that I take the Pistons and lose because Chauncey Billups can't move, and then I fade them and watch Billups play really well. Ugh.
The Lakers played poorly in Game 1. The defense wasn't there, they were rusty, Derek Fisher had no assists and Kobe Bryant was a non-factor in the first half. And yet they won. I love their chances here. The Spurs just blew a 20-point lead. How are they going to rebound from that?
Detroit Pistons (67-27) at Boston Celtics (75-22) Line: Celtics by 4.
Thanks for not showing up till the fourth quarter, Lakers. Actually, let this be a lesson learned - the two teams in the conference finals who had rest both covered. I'll keep that in mind for next year.
Let's hope I can snap out of my three-game losing streak. I like the Celtics tonight. Under normal circumstances, I'd say the Pistons were the better team and had a shot, but they have no chance with a hobbled Chauncey Billups.
San Antonio Spurs (64-30) at Los Angeles Lakers (65-27) Line: Lakers by 7.
I was way off on my Pistons-Celtics pick. That's obvious. But I believe I had the right premise - I still think Detroit's the better team; I just underestimated Chauncey Billups' injury. He's not even close to 100 percent. I can't see the Pistons winning in Boston at all this series with Billups running at half strength.
But wait, that's for tomorrow. I was shocked when I saw the Lakers as a 7-point favorite. That looks like a lot of value going with the Spurs, but my thinking is if San Antonio couldn't win in New Orleans, how are they going to win in front of great stars like Jack Nicholson, Will Smith and Pauley Shore?
Detroit Pistons (67-26) at Boston Celtics (74-22) Line: Celtics by 4.5.
I have to vent about something. First of all, Reggie Miller is the worst announcer in all of sports. I'll get to him in detail another time, but one thing that he said yesterday was that the Hornets needed to go for a "quick two" toward the end of the game. Let me just say that I hate that strategy. It never works. Why? Because there's no such thing as a "quick two." It's not a given that the team will be able to get a layup. The Hornets attempted a pair of "quick twos" last night and failed on both attempts. You go for the three - not the "guaranteed" deuce.
The Celtics could be the worst No. 1 seed in the NBA (last year's Dallas squad not included) since the Sonics team that fell to the Nuggets. Ray Allen has seriously aged 50 years in the past three weeks. Unlike the one-man Cavaliers and the horrific Hawks, the Pistons will be able to win on the road. They'll easily dispatch the tired Celtics in one of these first two games.
San Antonio Spurs (63-30) at New Orleans Hornets (63-30) Line: Hornets by 4.
It really surprised me that this line was -4. I thought people would be betting on the Spurs. It even shocked me more that about 63 percent of the public is on the host. The line has risen from -2 to -4 to match the money.
I've been on the home team every game this series except Game 4. The Spurs have the experience, but they're not as athletic as the Hornets, and cannot keep up with them in New Orleans, where they seem to feed off the crowd like no other squad in the NBA. I like the idea of going with the best player on the court in a decisive Game 7, and that would happen to be Chris Paul; not Tim Duncan.
Cleveland Cavaliers (52-42) at Boston Celtics (73-22) Line: Celtics by 8.
I've picked the Cavs in every game this series, so you know where I'm going. It's just that if they hit their free throws in Game 5, they would have won. I know, I know... if my grandmom had three wheels, she'd be a tricycle. Still, I like the idea of going with the best player on the court in a crucial Game 7.
Boston Celtics (73-21) at Cleveland Cavaliers (51-42) Line: Cavaliers by 2.5.
Yo, Cavaliers! How about hitting some free throws? The Cavs missed like 20 free throws in Game 5, a contest that was decided by seven. Oh well, they'll have their chance in Game 7 because the Celtics suck on the road. Seriously, Boston just might be the worst No. 1 seed in NBA history.
Los Angeles Lakers (64-27) at Utah Jazz (60-33) Line: Jazz by 4.
I know every home team wins this year and the Jazz are invincible at Salt Lake. Yadda yadda yadda... Well, I'm not taking the host. If anyone can win in Utah, it's the Lakers. And you could even argue that they would have won Game 4 if Kobe Bryant hadn't gotten hurt, which completely limited him in overtime. This is not a large play by any means.
New Orleans Hornets (63-29) at San Antonio Spurs (62-30) Line: Spurs by 7.5.
Interesting how both home teams won, yet failed to cover last night. Thanks, refs. At any rate, I'd lay -10 tonight if that were the line. No way this one stays close. The Hornets are too young to win on the road and the Spurs are desperate.
Cleveland Cavaliers (51-41) at Boston Celtics (72-21) Line: Celtics by 8.5.
I thought I was going to be sick at the end of that Pistons-Magic game. Why the heck did Keith Bogans find it necessary to drive in for a spread-covering with no time left on the clock? Why didn't the officials ever call the Magic for being out of bounds in the final few minutes? Why didn't the refs call that foul on Jameer Nelson as time was expiring? Mark my words - we will soon find out that game was fixed. In the meantime, I will now refer to Keith Bogans as "Keith Douche Bag."
As for this game, I'm standing by my initial prediction that Cleveland will win in six. For those of you scoring at home, that means the Cavs have to win tonight.
Orlando Magic (57-34) at Detroit Pistons (66-26) Line: Pistons by 6.
I thought about making the Magic a play because the Pistons are lazy and Orlando would be desperate. But then I heard that several Magic players were talking trash, claiming they were the better team. That definitely got Rasheed Wallace's attention, so I expect an all-out thrashing tonight.
San Antonio Spurs (62-29) at New Orleans Hornets (62-29) Line: Hornets by 3.
I'm shocked the Hornets got "blowed out" in Game 4. I can't see that happening again. They just play so well at home. They seem too athletic for the Spurs, but can't seem to put it together on the road.
Los Angeles Lakers (63-26) at Utah Jazz (59-32) Line: Jazz by 3.
The Lakers didn't need to win Game 3. In fact, I was suprised they came so close. It was do-or-die for the Jazz. Now Utah's got Kobe Bryant's full attention. I know the Jazz have lost only four home games this year, but it looks like the Lakers are the top team in the league. If they can't win in Salt Lake City, no one can.
New Orleans Hornets (62-28) at San Antonio Spurs (61-29) Line: Spurs by 6.
The Hornets really surprised me when they played extremely well against the Spurs. I feel as though Game 3 was San Antonio's last hurrah. They expended so much energy, they won't have anything left for Chris Paul this evening.
Boston Celtics (72-19) at Cleveland Cavaliers (49-41) Line: Cavaliers by 1.5.
If LeBron James were a marginal player, I'd chalk this up as a Tracy McGrady-like choke job. But he's one of the two best players in the NBA. I don't expect his slump to continue, especially at home. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks out and Cleveland wins the next four in this series.
Los Angeles Lakers (63-25) at Utah Jazz (58-32) Line: Jazz by 4.5.
Just because the Lakers are up 2-0 doesn't mean I think this is going to be a sweep. I said this would be a 5- or 6-game series right from the start, so why would I change my mind? I didn't think the Jazz could win in Los Angeles, but they should be able to claim at least one game at home.
Prediction: Jazz 109, Lakers 99 Jazz -4.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Thursday, May 8, 2008 (1-1, +$70)
Cleveland Cavaliers (49-40) at Boston Celtics (71-19) Line: Celtics by 8.5.
Maybe I'm crazy, but the Cavaliers are the better team. If someone didn't turtle wax Cleveland's rim, the visitor would have a 1-0 lead in this series.
Orlando Magic (56-32) at Detroit Pistons (64-25) Line: Pistons by 6.
After struggling for two of their first three playoff games, the Pistons seem to finally have gotten their act together. I think the only reason they lost to the Sixers was because they were lazy. Well, they respect Dwight Howard and the Magic, so they'll continue to be on their best behavior tonight.
Utah Jazz (58-30) at Los Angeles Lakers (61-25) Line: Lakers by 7.5.
I like the Jazz - I want to see them win so Jerry Sloan finally gets a ring. But I have the Lakers winning this series in six for a reason - they're just way more athletic than Utah. And I don't have much faith in the Jazz on the road. This one stays close until the middle of the third quarter.
Orlando Magic (56-31) at Detroit Pistons (63-25) Line: Pistons by 6.5.
A rant on the Washington Bullets: What a bunch of punks. I want David Stern to step up and ban this team from the playoffs next year no matter what happens. I can't believe they were teed off about that Darius Sunglass guy getting suspended, whoever he is. He should have been banned for at least five games. You don't intentionally try to injure the best player in the sport and get away with it. Have fun watching the rest on the postseason at home, losers.
I thought about taking the Magic here because the Pistons are lazy, but I think they know Orlando is a worthy team, unlike the mediocre Sixers. The Magic lost to the Raptors in the first round, so I have to believe they'll have major problems in Detroit.