Ashton_Grewal's Blog

Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 09:24 AM

Westbrook got 12th-man respect from refs in Game 4

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Game 4 for many reasons.

James Harden had no confidence on the court, Derek Fisher didn’t pass the ball on a 5-on-3 fast break, and Russell Westbrook fouled Mario Chalmers when he shouldn’t have.

But we wouldn’t be talking about any of those things if Westbrook got a fair shake from Mike Callahan, Scott Foster and Bill Kennedy.

Westbrook took 32 shots last night and had just three free throws to show for his trouble. The All-Star point guard had 14 shots in the paint but two of his three shots came off a foul on a pull up jumper.

Just look at the guy’s shot chart from last night. How does he not go to the line at least 10 times?

Full disclosure: I hate the Heat and I will be significantly happier this summer if the Thunder win three in a row and take the series.

Posted Sunday, April 15, 2012 02:36 PM

Best NBA futures bet? Take the West at plus money

The Miami Heat are looking so hot these days but they’re still the favorite to win the NBA title. That’s not surprising. If you want to fade the Heat on the futures board, the best way to do it might be to take the Western Conference to win the title at plus-money.

Outside of Miami, the Chicago Bulls are the only serious (sorry Boston fans) championship contenders from the East. The West’s field, however, includes the Lakers, Spurs, Thunder, Mavericks and Thunder – five teams that are good enough to win it all. and a few other books have the West at +115 to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Remember the last three champs (Mavs and Lakers twice) have come from the West, the Thunder are the second overall fave and the Grizz might be the hottest team in the league.

Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012 10:08 AM

J-Kidd says Mavs aren't getting calls from refs

The Dallas Mavericks are 1-5 SU and ATS over their last six games and part of the reason for the skid, according to point guard Jason Kidd, is a lack of respect from the referees.

"We don't get the benefit of the whistle," Kidd told ESPN Dallas after losing 95-91 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I don't think we're looked upon as champions, but that's a whole other story. Dirk should live at the line if they would call it the way it's supposed to be. But he doesn't."

The Mavs were up by four with 2:44 to go in the fourth quarter but didn't score another point the rest of the way. The Thunder scored eight, five of which came at the charity strip. OKC 23 more free-throw attempts than Dallas, overall in the game.

I don't know. Sounds like Kidd is reaching. The Thunder like to shoot long jumpers as much as the Mavs but Westbrook, Durant and Harden all attack the rim too. Dirk doesn't. When he gets close, he still prefers to take that fall-away jumper off his back foot. The shot doesn't get blocked but it doesn't draw a lot of contact either.

The other thing that was weird was Kidd talking about being looked upon as champions by the refs. I've heard of star calls but never championship calls. Am I being naive here?

Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:42 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger's best movies

I was flicking through the channels the other day waiting for the early NBA games to start while avoiding hopping on the treadmill when I stumped onto one of my favorite childhood movies from the 80s: Commando.

It was really the first movie that I remember recording on television and watching 50 to 75 times. It had action and “Who's the Boss” star Alyssa Milano, but most of all it had Arnold Schwarzenegger kicking ass and taking names.

I threw out to my follwers on Twitter if the flick deserved to be mentioned among the best of the decade. I was of course laughed at but it got me thinking - maybe Commando, as awesome as it was for me from age 7 to 10, might not even make my all-time Arnold Top 5 movie list.

I must not be the only one watching classic Schwarzenegger films because TMZ is leading me to believe Maria Shriver isn't ready to say "hasta la vista, baby" to her hubby even though he plowed and impregnated that ugly nanny.

OK, back on topic. Here are my Top 5 favorite Arnold movies:

No. 1 - Predator

There's no questioning this flick's place in history. It's the perfect combination of sci-fi and action jammed into 107 minutes.

It's wonderfully cast with Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Jesse "The Body" Ventura playing strong supporting roles behind Schwarz’s lead character Dutch.

The movie's success spawned a series of disappointing sequels and branch offs, the worst of which was the sequel starring Danny Glover - who a... [More]

Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011 12:19 PM

Andrew Luck’s best NFL landing spot

It could be argued that Andrew Luck, Stanford’s quarterback and the Heisman trophy favorite, is making more headlines in the NFL than college football right now.

Luck is the best quarterback prospect John Elway and it’s assumed he’s the automatic first overall pick unless you’re on some high-quality hallucinogens.
The “Suck for Luck” campaign has been well documented. After Week 7 we’ve still got three winless teams and two one-win teams.

But now we’re hearing whispers that Luck might pull a move made famous by another one-time Cardinal quarterback, John Elway, and put into practice most recently by Peyton Manning’s little brother Eli.

The “I ain’t going to your shit-bag team so don’t bother drafting me” move.

That got me thinking. Which team(s) is on the prodigy’s no-go list?

Off the three teams still seeking win No. 1, the Rams appear to be the least likely to draft Luck. Sam Bradford was drafted first overall just a year and a half ago.

That leaves the Dolphins and Colts left of the winless bunch, two franchises that don’t share much in common other than their embarrassing win-loss records this season.

Indianapolis is maybe the most stable franchise in the league. Bill Polian has been the GM since ’98, they still run Tom Moore’s offense and Tony Dungy’s defense even though both coaches left the franchise. And of course they still have Peyton.

Miami, on the other hand, has gone through coaches and fron... [More]

Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 09:46 AM

When rooting against the team you bet makes sense

Like the idiot that I am, I took the Jets late in the week which meant I got Gang Green at +7.5 instead of +9.5. The Patriots were up 27-21 late in the fourth quarter and picking up first downs at will on the ground.

New England was already in comfortable field goal range (ball inside the 20) when it came down to a 3rd and 2 with under two minutes to play. The Jets only had one timeout left so if the Pats picked up the 1st down they could just run out the clock.

But New York stuffed BenJarvis-Green Ellis’ run up the gut – the only time it did all second half – called a timeout and New England kicked a field goal to make it 30-21.

Well, I sure-as shit knew Dirty Sanchez wasn’t going to take the Jets down the field for a score with no clock stoppages and less than 1:30 left. My cover was gone and it was all because the team I bet on did something good.

I thought this was an abnormal situation, rooting against your underdog bet from fighting it out until the very end, when just laying down and accepting defeat would cover the spread.

Help me mourn my loss by sharing some similar spots you’ve found yourselves in, in the past.

Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011 09:27 PM

Things I don’t understand from NFL Week 3

I write an NFL picks column every week and pretend to know what I’m talking about. Then I watch the games and… well… let’s just say it’s a humbling experience.

So I’ve decided to write a blog every Sunday night sharing some of things that have me more confused than Donovan McNabb in a two-minute offense.

How the Falcons could be help to fewer than 14 points in two of three games

I mean, am I just guilty of looking at Atlanta’s offense through my Madden ’12 eyes? I see Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez line up and I think touchdowns. Either the Dirty Birds’ playmakers aren’t as good as I thought they were or the playing calling is south of sub-par.

How the Eagles can always stink in short yardage

I don’t have the numbers in front of me – and if you can find them you win a used coffee cup in it for you – but Philly has to be last in the league in conversions on 3rd and short. Big play down field? No problem for Andy Reid’s offense. Need two yards on 3rd down? Talk to somebody else.

What happens to Minnesota at half time?

Like is it something in the Gatorade or something? In three games Minnesota has been outscored  67-6 after the second quarter. The weirder part? The Vikings are outscoring opponents 54-7 in the first half.

How Philip Rivers can only get 4.44 fantasy points against KC?

Didn’t watch the game. I just know that if I lose in fantasy this week, it’ll be on Rivers. So think about t... [More]

Posted Sunday, September 11, 2011 08:31 AM

Late NFL Week 1 line moves

I'm seeing some late movement on some of today's NFL games. Here's a quick scan of the lines worth watching.

Philadelphia Eagles at St. Louis Rams (+5.5 to +4)

Looks like the "Dream Team" isn't getting the public support everyone thought they would right off the bat. The Rams are no slouches but an oddsmaker told me a few weeks ago that he wouldn't be surprised if this line got bet up to Eagles -7.

Instead the spread is dropping with a few Rams +3.5s out there.

My lean: Buying a half point to get the Eagles at -3 sounds like a good play.

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals (-7 to -6.5)

Only a half point move here but it's a big one because it's coming off that touchdown spread. A move off the key number makes me love the Cards even more. They're my and Covers Expert David Malinsky's survivor pool pick this week.

Lean: Load up on Arizona. I've got a feeling they're going to blow out the Panthers.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets (-4 to -6)

I see this as an overreaction to the injuries in the Cowboys' secondary. I think this would be a bigger deal if Dallas were facing Tom Brady. Mark Sanchez doesn't have any DBs shaking in their cleats.

My lean: Already liked the Boys at +5 and I'll put another unit on them at +6.... [More]

Posted Thursday, September 01, 2011 11:00 AM

Why no love for NFL Week 4 preseason?

For those of you looking for more editorial coverage of the final week of the NFL preseason, let me try to answer that request in this blog.

Here at, we try our best to supply information that will help average Joe’s and sharp bettors too. We aim to dish the goods on who’s hurt, why this line is going up, how the weather could drop that total and which games are getting hit hardest by wiseguys.

Essentially, we’re trying to do all the prep work so that you could hop onto  five minutes before kickoff and safely make an educated bet four minutes later.

That’s our goal.

We can’t do that in Week 4 of the preseason. How can I breakdown the Broncos-Cardinals game tonight, when Denver coach John Fox won’t even tell us who’s going to quarterback his team?

You’ve got coaches trying to make decisions on the lowest guys on the totem pole of their rosters, backup players afraid of getting hurt and bookmakers putting $100 to $500 limit bets. That’s what this week is all about.

We’ve done our best to supply our readers with as much helpful editorial content for the kickoff of the college football season. It doesn’t mean we’re hating on the NFL. Our coverage was balls to the wall on NFL preseason and future betting last month and it’ll only get better next week as we inch closer to Thursday’s season opener.

But for now, let’s go big on the college kiddies and ignore the NFL scrimmages tonight.... [More]

Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2011 12:44 PM

What’s a fair tip to give a blackjack dealer?

Movie star Vince Vaughn seems like a likeable guy. He’s funny, kind of chunky and likes sports. He’s even going to be in a movie about sports betting (Lay The Favorite).

So it’s easy for an average Joe like me to get duped into seeing a movie like Couples Retreat. Fail.

Well, I’ve got some ammunition next time the Mrs. Grewal wants to take me to some Vaughn-led, rom-com disaster.

The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Norm Clarke reports that Vaughn won $30,000 at the Mandalay Bay on blackjack this past weekend, and tipped the dealer…wait for it.... $25.

Yikes. For those of you breaking out the calculator app on your phones, I’ll save you the trouble. That’s 0.08 percent of his $30,000 winnings.   

Is that insulating or do we need to know more facts? Like did Vaughn just put down $10,000 and tripled it in two hands? Does that warrant a big tip for the dealer… two hands?

I’m not a big tipper. I’m a cheap guy, but I don’t want people to spit in my food or piss in my drinks so I succumb to the social norm and tip 15 percent whether my service was good or bad. I shouldn’t say that, sometimes I’ll tip 20 percent but that’s only if someone gets me a couple refills without me asking.

But 15 percent of $30,000… that’s $4,500. It might be hard for me to part with that many chips but then again, my net worth isn’t $35,000,000 like Vaughn’s is, according to Ben Maller.

Not knowing all the circumstances, I think I’d tip the dea... [More]

Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 10:16 AM

Just like NFL teams, bettors have some cram work to do

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve moved past worrying about whether the NFL season is in doubt or not. It’s pretty clear a new collective bargaining will be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the week.

But the lockout has screwed up the timing normally involved in my offseason capping procedure. Because I have waaaaay too much time on my hands and because I love the NFL, I normally have team ratings wrapped up by this point of the summer.

But the freeze on player movement and lack of communication between rookies and their new coaches have me pretty confused about which teams are in better shape than others heading into training camp.

We aren’t going to be able to ignore preseason football this August my friends. Those games are going to be must-see TV for NFL bettors who don’t want to fail the exam once the regular season rolls around.

It’ll probably be the first time watching NFL football has ever seemed like work, but it’s a small price to pay. I think there’s a really good opportunity for attentive bettors to gauge which teams will be over and underrated in the first couple weeks of the season.

Here’s a good link to get your pro football brain juices flowing again. 

Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 11:52 AM

How do you deal with the slowest day of the sports betting year?

This is the worst day of the year on the sports calendar. What the hell am I supposed to bet on, office coin flips?
Did you see the contests section today? It’s a perfectly illustrates how bare the cupboard is compulsive sports gamblers like myself today.

I feel a mean panic attack coming, like Bill Paxton in the movie Aliens. Game over man! Game over!

I guess I could get a jump start on my three-ball bets for the British Open, or I could take a look at what’s going on in the WNBA. But I need some help. I need survivor bettors. You know like Jedi degenerates who lived through more All-Star breaks than me.

Tell me what you plan on doing today. Are you betting your balls off today or sitting on the sidelines?

Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011 01:01 PM

Is Corey Perry the worst Hart Trophy winner ever?

Did you hear the news? Corey Perry won the Hart Trophy – also known as the NHL’s most valuable player award – last night in Vegas.

Never heard of Perry before? You’re not alone. The Anaheim Duck winger had a great season, finishing with the league lead in goals and 98 points.

Does he deserve recognition for his brilliant play? Absolutely. A nice handshake and a pat on the back ought to do the trick. The Hart Trophy though? Come on, that's absurd.

You wanna know why? Because there’s about 10 other players I’d take on my team before him. I’m serious. If we’re just listing off best players in the league, how many names do we call out before we even think about Corey Perry?

Eight, maybe, nine guys?

I understand there’s a difference between the most valuable player and the most outstanding player. But doesn't it rub anyone else the wrong way that Corey Perry has as many Hart Trophies as Sidney Crosby? Like, isn’t that just effed up?  

Think of it this way. Let's say tomorrow, the NHL decides to throw a party for all the Hart Trophy winners. Wayne Gretzky is shooting the shit with Bobby Orr next to a grand piano, Mario Lemieux is at the bar trying to convince former teammate Jaromir Jagr to rejoin the Penguins, Mark Messier is at the coat check explaining to Eric Lindros how to skate with your head up and Gordie Howe is on the patio having a smoke and telling Peter Forsberg about the his first career hat trick.

And then, Corey ... [More]

Posted Sunday, April 24, 2011 08:52 AM

The Magic will be real bad, real soon

LeBron's "Decision" left a bad taste in all our mouths. Fans didn't like seeing players conspire to join forces but you can't blame the two-time MVP from wanting to play GM.

Danny Ferry could never put the right pieces around James in Cleveland, so why wouldn't he just say, "Screw it, I'll do this myself."

Well, get ready to see the Orlando Magic look as bad as the Cleveland Cavaliers very soon.

John Hollinger and a bunch of other statheads think Dwight Howard is the league's most valuable player. I didn't believe it until I started watching Orlando's playoff series against the Hawks.

No superstar as a worst supporting cast than Howard. GM Otis Smith has surrounding the league's best center with a cast of streak shooters who are allergic to playing defense.

I couldn't believe it when I read Forbes Magazine's report that the Magic had the second highest payroll ($89 million) in the NBA and fifth largest in team sports. Smith has assembled the worst roster - outside of Howard - that money can buy.

The Magic might come back to win the series against the Hawks - BetJamaica has them at -240 despite being down 2-1 - but there's no way they're going to be able to beat Chicago and then either Boston or Miami.

That's why certain Howard is going to opt out of his contract at the end of next season and join another superstar for a chance at a ring.... [More]

Posted Monday, March 28, 2011 10:16 AM

Why VCU’s Final Four run is bad for college basketball

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams have made Jim Boehiem a very happy man.

The head coach of Syracuse was the most vocal supporter of expanding the tournament to 96 teams. And after VCU’s Jamie Skeen.improbable run to the Final Four, Boehiem’s dream may come true and it’ll be a nightmare for college basketball fans.

That’s why VCU is on my shit list today.

I know what you guys are thinking: What an asshole. This guy probably rooted against Hickory High, Rudy and the Jamaican bobsled team, too.

Hear me out though. The Rams are playing better than any other team in the tournament and I’m not trying to rain their parade. I'm not railing against mid major programs either. I'd be just as upset if USC or Clemson was making this crazy run instead.

The success of VCU is the all the firepower Boehiem and other expansion advocates need to destroy the perfect bracket sheet and water down the best tournament in sports.

What do you guys think? Am I way off here?  Does anyone else want to see a 96-team tournament in light of VCU’s Final Four run?

Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:42 PM

Is Chris Webber the biggest waste of talent ever?

Just watching all those old Chris Webber highlights from his Michigan days. Here’s a guy who’s 6-10, can jump out of the gym and passes and dribbles better than most wing players.

That’s why, despite all his success in the NBA, I gotta consider his pro career a disappointment.

I don’t think I’ve seen a complete and polished player at the college level in the last 20 years. I never saw Len Bias play, but Chris Webber had all the skills and athleticism that give college coaches like John Calipari 24-hour erections.

Some people are going to put guys that never panned out in the Association ahead of Webber on this but I think that’s a mistake.

Think of it this way: C-Webb was so talented that GM’s never gave up on this guy despite the marijuana charges, despite the shoulder injuries and despite his sour attitude (Golden State and Washington).

Sure he became an All-Star and even an All-NBA third teamer, but that’s small potatoes for Webber. I’m just think that for the first 10 years of his pro career, 90 percent of the time Webber took the floor that he was the most talented player on the hardwood.

Look, we know Chris is a prideful guy. Remember when he verbally choke slammed David Kahn when the T-Wolves GM compared him to Darko Milicic? Skip to the two-minute mark.

I just can’t help but look back at Webber’s career and think “what if”?

What do you guys think? Am I way off base here?

Find the best basketball odd... [More]

Posted Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:08 AM

What exactly does Richard Hamilton want?

How do you solve a problem like Richard Hamilton? The grumpy veteran continues to mope on the bench in Detroit all because of his own actions and decisions.

He, according to reports, belittled his coach, John Kuester, twice in front of the rest of the Pistons team. That's why he's buried on the pine.

So, Detroit management, hoping to rid themselves of the distraction, put together a trade that would have sent Rip to Cleveland. The Cavaliers would have immediately bought out the former All-Star's contract, giving Hamilton the chance to sign with a contender for the rest of the season.

But Hamilton didn't like the conditions of the buyout - thought he wasn't going to see enough cash. So, instead of playing a contributing role for a championship caliber team (Chicago probably), Hamilton is left whining and trying to sabotage Kuester with mutinous ploys.

I don't get it. I mean, who does Rip have to blame other than himself? He had his chance to skip town and he blew it and now he's organizing no-shows at practice because he's pissed with how things turned out?

Someone's going to have to explain the logic to me.

The Pistons fell to the Sixers with a limited bench on Friday but bounced back with a win against the Jazz as 5-point home dogs. I think the best way to play this team is to back the over. Detroit's players aren't interested in playing defense which is why its opponents have reach the century mark in seven of its last eight games.... [More]

Posted Monday, February 21, 2011 01:20 PM

How do you bet teams missing star players?

You can't win in the NBA without star players. You need a guy or two who can carry your offense at times and get to the free throw line when your offense is. So how do you bet a team when its missing its best player?

We’ve got a piece in the No. 1 today about which players are worth the most to the line and some people are questioning whether these ballers are worth as much as our panel says.

It’s a fair question and something I find pretty interesting. I’ve talked to oddsmakers and cappers a bunch of times about this topic and I always learn something new.

Here are two things to keep in mind:

Oddsmakers set these lines with the public in mind. I know, I know. Not breaking any news here but sometimes we forget how much public perception plays into the art of making a line. If the majority of people jump at the chance to fade the Lakers when Kobe Bryant’s not playing, the bookies have to alter the line to the point that backing the Kobe-less Lakers becomes more attractive.

Another thing you want to watch for whenever a star player goes down is how that team plays in the first game or two. A couple different oddsmakers have told me that teams missing their best players will rally in the first instance or so and overachieve. Over time the void begins to be felt and those teams really start to struggle.

Best example of this is the Cleveland Cavaliers with and without LeBron James.

Many expected the Cavaliers to really struggle at... [More]

Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 08:26 AM

Why do I bet soccer?

I should know better than to bet on a sport I fell in love with because of a video game. Something tells me the fact that I know Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an 85 rating on FIFA 11 won’t help me cap a Champions League match between Milan and Spurs.

But that didn’t stop me from backing the Serie A leaders to top Totty yesterday.

I built my sportsbook account up through the NFL playoffs and followed it up with some shrewd NBA plays here and there and then I blow a quarter of my winnings on two soccer games yesterday.
I’ve got no self restrain. That’s why I hit the vending machine every day at work and that’s why I bet Champions League football.

I should just stick to betting the sports I know best but I know I won’t. Arsenal and Barcelona play this afternoon and I’ll be watching, which means I’m going to have to bet it. I can’t remember the last time I watched a game without any action on it. I mean, what’s the point?

Anyway, help me save my account and give me a winning play for Arsenal-Barcelona tonight.

I’m open to any suggestions.

Posted Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:45 AM

Are the Sacramento Kings flashes in the pan or ATS gold mine?

So the Sacramento Kings won consecutive games over the weekend for the first time since Games 3 and 4 of the season. The most of NBA fans were shocked to see Sac-Town top the Lakers at the Staples Center and then end the Hornets' 10-game winning streak the following night, but sharp bettors saw this coming.

The Kings are a bad team - we all know that. But they've been playing hard and covering the number in the process. Sacramento is 9-4 against the spread over its last 13 games but the club faces a daunting schedule over the first three weeks of February.

They've got a five-game home stand on deck with the Celtics, Spurs, Jazz, Mavs and Thunder coming to town. My guess is that the Kings' luck will run out on their court. They've been one of the worst home cover teams all season. It's like they need those extra points oddsmakers give them when they're on the road.

I say fade 'em at home and back 'em on the road. What do you guys think? 

Bet the NBA at

Posted Sunday, November 28, 2010 10:26 AM

Is LeBron James trying to get Heat coach Erik Spoelstra fired?

He wouldn’t be the first NBA superstar to pull this maneuver. Magic Johnson did it to Paul Westhead and Jason Kidd did it to Bryon Scott - and they didn't have a proven NBA head coaching legend waiting in the wings like LeBron does in Miami.

Pat Riley, the Heat's team president and former bench boss, is a five-time NBA champion as a head coach and he’s one of the main guys who convinced James to take his talents to South Beach.

The defending, two-time league MVP obviously isn’t a big fan of Spoelstra’s. Check out this rude little bump during last night’s loss to the Mavericks.

James also called out his new coach after the Heat’s loss to the Celtics back on Veterans’ Day.

“For myself, 44 minutes is too much,” LeBron told reporters after the game. “I think Coach Spo knows that.”

James and the Heat are 1-4 straight up over their last five games and are just 1-11 against the spread in their last 12 games.

So what’s the over/under games Spoelstra has left as the Heat’s head coach? I’d make the line around 5.5 and I’d take the under.

Wager on the NBA at
... [More]

Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 03:53 PM

Steve Nash still among NBA’s most valuable players

He’s a 36-year-old point guard who can’t play a lick of defense but he’s still arguably the league’s most valuable players.

Don’t believe me?

Then you obviously didn’t see the Suns in action Wednesday night against the Heat and Thursday against the Magic.

Nash played against the Heat but his groin was clearly bothering him. He sat out against the Magic and it's not clear when he'll be back.

It doesn’t matter who's on the Suns roster. Their offense doesn't function without Nash on the floor. Phoenix lives and dies with the 3-pointer and it doesn't get off good looks without Nash opening things up.

Backup point guard Goran Dragic is a great at getting to the paint and he was huge coming off the bench for Phoenix last year in the playoffs. But he’s a scoring guard and isn’t great at getting his teammates involved.

Nash won’t play tonight against the Bobcats (BetJamaica has Charlotte as a 1-point home dog) and is doubtful for Monday’s game against the Rockets. I know those are two bad teams, but I’m going to be fading Phoenix in both spots.

Other injury notes

Multiple oddsmakers have told me that an NBA team missing its star player usually puts out a maximum effort in the first game. After that game things tend to balance out and the absence of the start player really gets felt.

I saw a perfect example of that Friday night. The Celtics played like crap and the Thunder, missing Kevin Durant (and Jeff Green) made the... [More]

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 01:16 PM

Where does Pau Gasol rank among Laker big men?

You want to know why the Los Angeles Lakers are creeping up on the Celtics’ record for most NBA championships? Two words: Pau Gasol.

The Purple and Gold have been to three Finals and won two of them in the 2.5 seasons Pau has been a Laker. The guy is averaging a career-high 23.4 points to go along with 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

It’s impossible not to appreciate the bad bearded man’s skills when you watch him play. He shoots, passes and dribbles like a point guard and his hands are softer than the world's finest quilted toilet paper.

The Lakers Fox Sports crew put up a poll during a game against the T-Wolves asking who the greatest Los Angeles big man of all-time is: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, Shaquille O’Neal or Pau Gasol.

After getting over the initial shock that Vlade Divac, Elden Campbell and Travis Knight all were not included in this poll, I debated over how high Gasol would be on this list.

Here’s how I’d rank ‘em.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He was there for 14 years and helped the Lakers win five titles. He was the best player in at least three of those Finals wins too. Longevity is the reason this guy stays at the top of this list.

2. Shaquille O’Neal

La-La land owned the best years of Shaq’s dominating career. No one could guard the Big Fella unless they fouled him and that’s why every contending team in the West at that time had to have three centers (18 fouls) on the roster.<... [More]

Posted Wednesday, November 03, 2010 12:15 AM

Al Horford or Joakim Noah: Whom would you rather have?

The Atlanta Hawks just locked up their All-Star big man Al Horford. Five years, $60 million. It’s the same deal that former Florida Gator teammate Joakim Noah signed with the Chicago Bulls over the summer.

So, this begs the question – which guy would you rather have on your team?

Bet on the NBA at

Most draft analysts thought Noah would have been the first overall pick in the 2006 draft if he’d left Florida. But the eccentric center returned for another year and championship with the Gators and scouts soon decided that Horford was the better prospect.

Noah was scooped up by the Bulls with the ninth pick while the Hawks jumped on Horford with the third pick. Joakim didn’t show much polish in his rookie season while Horford made a late charge for Rookie of the Year almost stealing the honor from some guy named Durant.

But the gap has closed since. Horford’s offensive post game has been slow to develop. Still, Big Al is in ESPN stat guru John Hollinger’s top 11 in PER (player efficiency rating) while Noah is just outside the top 80.

But Noah’s ridiculous rebounding rate and interior defending have made him one of the league’s most indispensable players. Remember, the Bulls wouldn’t give up Noah for any trade for Carmelo Anthony.

My money’s on Noah, if only because of his superior dancing skills.

So what do you guys think? Which big man do you want ballin' on your club? ... [More]

Posted Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:17 PM

Why does Kurt Rambis hate Kevin Love so much?

Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis promised that fourth quarter benching of Kevin Love in last week’s game against the Kings was a one-time deal. But there was the T-Wolves’ franchise player with his butt on the bench in the third quarter against the Heat.

Less than four minutes into the second half, Rambis pulled Love in favor of Anthony Tolliver. Love didn’t play the rest of the quarter and, not surprisingly, Minnesota’s offense went to the pine with him.

The Wolves ended up losing 129-97 and failed to cover as 16.5-point dogs at
So why does Rambis hate his talented big man so much? Because Love is everything that Rambis wasn’t as a player: offensively gifted and defensively limited.

Rambis was a dirty work kind of guy during his playing career. His game wasn’t pretty but he worked his butt off and that’s why he prefers Tolliver. He sees himself in the fourth-year man out of Missouri.

Memo to Rambis: Effort can only get you so far. You need guys that can fill the hoop, and Love is one of those guys. Tolliver isn’t. You think Pat Riley would have benched James Worthy in favor Rambis because Worthy was late on a defensive rotation?

So Love has been pulled for long stretches in two games so far and the Wolves’ record in those games against the spread is… what for it… 0-2. What a surprise.

Continue to fade Minny. This team is a mess and is being run by a coach who’s absolutely clueless. Kind of remin... [More]

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