Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011 08:28 AM
He's the gift that keeps on giving, even if he doesn't always pay for his gifts.
He's Dez Bryant, and right now he's the best weapon NFL owners have in their contract battle with the players. The league should hire Bryant to make a statement a day, just to keep him front and center as the perceived rep of the players.
Bryant is facing lawsuits that he has not yet paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry and other items, and that he has not yet taken care of financial obligations that he started ringing up while he was in college.
It's anyone's guess why any reputable business woiuld extend credit to someone who wears his pants down around his knees, but that's between the jewelers and the wide receiver.
Except for Jerry Jones, who cuts very large checks to Bryant's bank account, owners must be smirking as NFL fans everywhere lump the unappreciattive, arrogant and entitled Bryant with other NFL players. Not hard to choose sides in that one, no matter how smarmy the Robert Krafts can be.
Though the lockout's merits will be decided in a courtroom early in April, the PR battle has laready been decided. Dez Bryant has made sure of that.
Bet on the NFL Draft at BetJamaica.com.
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:35 AM
As the Celtics fade down the stretch, is it time to start fading the Celtics?
In Boston's last 12 games it has covered only four times, and the lack of any kind of a halfcourt offense has played a major role in eight consecutive games going under.
There's plenty to be concerned about as the Celtics start a four-game road swing (Minnesota, Indiana, San Antonio, Atlanta) Sunday.
1. Boston is 2 full games behind white-hot Chicago for the best record in the East.
2. Unless the Celtics right the ship pretty soon, they could even lose the 2 seed to Miami -- thought to be an impossibility before the Celts lost 6 of their last 10 against primarily mediocre competition.
3. No one has the slightest clue if Shaquille O'Neal will ever come back. The team is talking about late this week, but two other due dates have come and gone already, and now Shaq is getting cortisone shot into his injured foot.
Truth be told, Boston has been only a mediocre cover team since cleaning house (52-28-2 ATS) in their 2008 championship season.
Celtic loyalists will no doubt point out that Boston struggled down the stretch of the regular season last year, going .500 over the final 54 games before getting to The Finals.
But anyone with even one good eye can tell that there's something missing this time around, and the team needs to get its ducks lined up before the playoffs get under way.
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 10:16 AM
Good news from Atlantic City has been few and far between since the economy went in the dumpster in 2008 and nearby Pennsylvania woke up, smelled the coffee and started to ramp up its casino presence.
But as AC ever so slowly makes efforts to stop the bleeding, workers at the Trump Marina got their first good news in a long time when soon-to-be- new owner -- Houston-based Landry's Inc. -- told employees that contrary to word they had received from Trump, most would retain their jobs under the new ownership.
Landry's bought Trump Marina (one of The Donald's 3 AC properties) recently for the bargain-basement price of $38 mil, and immediately announced plans to rebrand the property in the Golden Nugget style of its other Nevada casinos, in Vegas and Laughlin. It's not known if the property will shut down during renovations.
The Marina had the fewer emplyees (1,100) than any of the 11 AC hotel-casinos, and Landry's pomises that they'll receive comparable bennies. This no doubt went down a little easier than an earlier notification from the outgoing Trump people that any and all employees could lose their jobs in the changeover.
Landry's now says that that Trump was merely fulfilling a legal obligation, and that most workers will be safe to continue the herculian work of trying to lure tourists back to the Jersey shore.
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 11:48 AM
So Carmelo Anthony, who basically shot his way out of town in Denver, gets what he wanted -- the Big Show in New York -- to feed his ego. Now he says that it might be next year before the Knicks are able to click with their new lineup. As if that didn't want to make New Yorkers throw up their morning Cheerios, Anthony and the Knicks basically reinforced his statement by blowing a big lead and losing to the Celtics on Monday night.
Fact is, New York is only 7-9 since bringing Anthony on board. The loss to Boston was the 6th loss in the last 7 games, and the Knicks were on the bad side of the cover in all 6 defeats. NY bettors are starving.
The Knicks were guaranteed a playoff spot before Anthony and Chauncey Billups arrived, and the recent skid hasn't changed things all that much. New York figures to be either the 6th or 7th seed in the East, and will probably draw either Boston or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.
Maybe Anthony wasn't just trying to provide himself with some cover in case of a playoff flameout. Whatever. But the signs right now in New York are not good, and any team that can lose a total of four games in eight days to the likes of Indiana (twice), Milwaukee and Detroit has some major repair work to do before the playoffs start.
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:01 AM
Bill Spooner took one for the team.
Spooner is that NBA ref who got his undies in a bunch when a sports writer reported that Spooner told Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis that he would in essence invent a call against the Rockets to even things up for a missed call against Minnesota.
Seems fair enough, and anyone who has watched more than one NBA knows that it goes on all the time.
Problem is, NBA refs aren't supposed to admit it. They're trained to make the call as they see fit, and let the consequences be damned. If one team gets a bad call, suck it up and play on. Do it? Fine. Wink, but don't blab about it.
As any referee will tell you, the rulebook is written in black and white, but things get gray in a hurry once you put the whistle in your mouth and the game starts. Bad calls are made all the time. And one of the ways NBA refs can sand down the edges on bad calls is by calling one the other way.
Coaches understand what's going, or they catch on real fast. Cleveland coach Mike Brown learned the hard way -- in 2009 he was fined 25k for claiming that ref Joe Crawford called a makeup foul on LeBron James after blowing a call against Indiana's Danny Granger earlier. You can just imagine Brown muttering about refs never calling Michael Jordan for a makeup foul.
Spooner says he is suing for damage done to his reputation, but chances are pretty good that one of his bosses will sit down and have a long t... [More]
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011 09:35 AM
When Gov. Christie vetoed New Jersey legislation that would have enabled on-line gambling through portals that would have been located in the 11 Atlantic City casinos, it was widely reported that the leading opponent to the proposal was gambling giant Caesars, ostensibly so the waters would not be muddied if and when a national gaming law is passed.
But don't get the impression that Caesars is sleeping on on-line wagering. Regulators in Nevada have signed off on a new working relationship between Caesars and the Israel-based and Gibraltar-licensed 888 Holdings, which reportedly moves the arrangement one step closer (the Nevada Gaming Commission still has to approve it) to becoming the first deal between a state-licensed operator and a non-U.S. gaming firm.
The move allows Caesars to increase its profile internationally and saves money by using 888's hardware and software. 888 was attractive because of its sophisticated anti-theft and anti-fraud software.
It's not Caesar's only foray into on-line gaming. The company recently announced plans to start Internet sites in Italy and France.
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011 09:40 AM
It's a safe bet that DeMaurice Smith will never be considered one of the great negotiators of all-time, but the odds are still long (50/1 on one site) that there will be no Super Bowl this coming season.
However, since the only result of mediation has been a three-week stoppage in talks, maybe the only answer is binding arbitration. Find someone with no dog in the fight to look at the issues, make a ruling that's fair to both sides, and everyone can then proceed to the draft and those exciting OTAs.
Unfortunately, the great negotiators who could put a deal together are all dead:
***King Solomon (he of split-the-baby fame) reportedly had hundreds of wives and concubines, and certainly would have gotten the endorsement of Antonio Cromartie. But he's been in his grave for about 30 centuries.
***Henry Clay was the known as the Great Compromiser on slavery issues in the pre-Civil War Era, but since the NFL is predominantly African-American, it's doubtful the rank and file would want him.
***Richard Holbrooke, who died in 2010, brokered peace in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. But as a well-respected State Dept. official the only footballs he dealt with were of the political kind.
But since neither side seems to trust the other in the NFL, it's doubtful that they could agree on a third party anyway. So we wait for someone -- anyone -- to break the logjam.
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 02:46 PM
One good thing may have come out of the hit that Boston’s Zdeno Chara put on Montreal’s Max Pacioretty a few nights ago – it just might prod the National Hockey League into having a conversation with itself about just what kind of a sport it wants to be.
Conventional thinking goes like this:
1. Lacking a lucrative league-wide TV contract, the NHL needs fans in the seats to pay the bills.
2. Fans will not come to games in large-enough numbers if fighting is deleted from the game. Therefore,
3. Fighting will continue in the regular season.
4. No one will fight in the playoffs, because winning is more important than in the regular season.
That’s the NHL business model, and has been the business model for half a century. If you want to play pansy hockey, go to Europe. The NHL is for men.
That Pacioretty is not looking at spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair is just divine intervention. And Chara, who blasted Pacioretty into the boards in Montreal while they were both chasing the puck a few nights ago, is, for his part, chastened and appears upset about it.
The hit, which came almost exactly a year after Boston’s Marc Savard had his career derailed by Pittsburgh Matt Cooke with a cheap-shot hit and didn’t draw a suspension or fine for Chara, may have had its roots in the Feb. 9 Boston-Montreal game in which the Bruins came out swinging and won, 8-6, in a game that is credited with sparking a 7-game winning streak.[More]
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:12 PM
With Harry Reid front and center as Senate majority leader, Nevada’s other senator, Republican John Ensign, seemed happy to operate under the radar screen. Actually, Ensign also operated quite frequently under the sheets, with the wife of a member of his staff, and that ultimately has led to the news last week that Ensign is calling it quits when his term is up.
Ensign has been called the country’s first casino baby, because his father Mike was a big shot for years in Vegas, and was chairman of the Mandalay Resort Group. Mike has always helped John along the way, and even ponied up some money to the family of the woman that his son was sleeping with, just to help make things go away.
The results, as they say, were mixed. John Ensign avoided charges but the Senate ethics committee has been giving him grief, and the Nevada Republican Party was hardly looking forward to hitching its wagon to another adulterer in 2012. Polls showed Ensign would have had a tough time just making it out of the Republican primary alive.
As can be expected from someone who grew up in Las Vegas in a casino family, Ensign was generally supportive of the gambling industry, and it didn’t hurt that gambling interests were among his biggest financial supporters. ... [More]
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2011 07:52 PM
It's all about winning, LeBron James said last summer when he dumped the 61-win Cleveland Cavaliers, because his supporting cast wasn't good enough to get him a title, in favor of the trophy-wife Miami Heat, who are on pace to win 55 games.
Miami has now lost four in a row, and the only ones who seem broken up about it are the Heat players thsmelves. At least that's what they're saying. Even laid-back Chris Bosh, who was put out earlier this year when the coach wanted work and he and his boys wanted to chill, said after the game that losing was getting a bit tiresome.
Coach Erik Spoelstra says that the team is so upset right now that some of the players were crying in the locker room after Sunday's loss to the Bulls. I guess it's just baseball where there's no crying.
This is on LaBron and Dwyane right now. They created the business model. The Big Three play Leona Helmsley and everyone else in a Heat uni are the chambermaids. Now what? Maybe Mike Bibby can start taking the final shots in close games.
Playoffs start in less than a month, which in south Florida is an eternity. Please of time to get things right before they have to stop chillin' and get to work.
Bet the NBA at BetJamaica.com
Posted Thursday, March 03, 2011 06:54 PM
A peek at the Western Conference playoff scene with about 20 games left:
1. San Antonio Spurs - Ginobili is healthy, Parker’s personal life has affected his play, Duncan is still solid, Popovich still coaches circles around everyone else. No. 1 seed throughout, and they can spend the rest of the year resting for the playoffs.
2/3 Los Angeles Lakers/Dallas Mavericks - Instead of “Can you beat the Celtics or the Heat?”, the question for the Lakers is now is “Can you get out of the West?” Dallas has a 3-game edge in the loss column and could snag the No. 2 seed, but at any rate it looks like these two teams are on a second-round collision course.
4. Oklahoma City - The Thunder have a tentative hold on the 4 seed and will need to win their division, and with the Nuggets resurgent and Durant limping around, that’s no sure thing. OKC should be able to hold on, though.
5/6/7 Memphis/New Orleans/Portland - The Grizz and Hornets have tough schedules, but the Blazers have by far the toughest. Portland spend all of next week in the Southeat with games at Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta over a 6-day span.
8. Utah/Houston - The Jazz will be trying to make a playoff run as they remake their team without Deron Williams, and that won’t be easy. The Rockets played themselves back into the playoff picture with a recent 5-game win streak, then stumbled against the Clippers.
Posted Wednesday, March 02, 2011 02:46 PM
After decades of hand-wringing and kvetching, the International Olympic Committee may be coming to the same conclusion that much of the rest of the world has already reached: No matter how much you stamp your feet, people are going to gamble. And if it is illegal to gamble, they are going to gamble illegally. So why not make it legal?
In a move startling for an organization not known for its progressive nature, the IOC now says that it will consider teaming with countries and on-line sportsbooks to make betting on Olympic sports safe, legal and regulated. If that has a familiar ring to it, that’s the same catch-phrase that advocates of legalized gambling having been using for years.
Officially, the IOC is concerned about match-fixing, and says that illegal wagering on games creates a slippery slope that leads to competition not being on the up and up. Meeting this week in Switzerland, the IOC has created a task force to see what it can do about illegal betting and match-fixing. And the new committee is expected to have licensed betting operators on it.
But before we pat the old guys on the back, we should point out that the IOC isn’t 100 percent altruistic in its desire to root out betting corruption. IOC President Jacques Rogge gingerly points out that if wagering on the Olympics becomes legal, it is only logical that sports organizers and federations (in this case, obviously, the IOC itself) deserve to get their fair share of any profits. Rogge may be f... [More]