Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 05:17 PM
Kobe Bryant is too old and worn down.
The Celtics have no center.
If the Spurs can't beat the Grizzlies, how are they going to beat anyone good?
The choking Heat?
There will be no NBA champion this year, because no team is capable of winning it all. Dominant players are either too old (Bryant, Duncan, Pierce, Nowitzki) or too immature (James) to carry their teams the way the stars of yesterday did.
If Dwight Howard has trouble with the Hawks, what would happen if he had to face James? And if James has alligator arms at the end of every game, what happens in a 7-game series when 3 or 4 games come down to the final possession?
Like a vacant boxing title, maybe the NBA will not have a champion. Old teams melt down in June, and young teams like the Thunder wilt under the pressure. No champion.
Maybe the Celtics are a little bit better than we thought, but with New York at 40 percent efficiency we still don't know if Boston's sweep showed it has enough fuel to make a long playoff run.
In LA, Bryant is yelling at Pau Gasol again, and that's never a bad thing. But the Mamba has issues of his own, and you wonder if those guys can keep it going for another two months.
Maybe the Heat will figure out how to actually beat a good team instead of strutting around after beating up on kindergartners. If they win it all, half the country will go on the LeaBron James diet as everyo... [More]
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 01:04 PM
As Bill Parcells used to say, "You are what you are."
In Zach Randolph's case anyway, let's hope the Tuna was wrong.
Randolph, who was a beast on Sunday as the Memphis Grizzlies stunned everyone (including themselves) with a win over the Spurs in San Antonio. That SA probably would have won had Manu Ginobili played is beside the point. Memphis now has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and can wreak havoc with another victory in Game 2.
And all Randolph did was go for 25 and 14, outplaying Tim Duncan and enabling to the Grizz to win their first playoff game ever. After the game Randolph was rewarded with a fat contract extension.
Good for him. He's bounced around the league for the last decade, and any success he's enjoyed on the court has been balanced off by off-the-court alcohol and drug problems. He's also punched a few people in the mouth along the way.
But so far this season Randolph has stayed out of trouble, and it's paid off. If he can continue to dominate in this series, Memphis might have a chance to turn the Western Conference playoffs on their head.
Bet the NBA Playoffs at BetJamaica.com.
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:09 AM
Like many other new blackjack players, I figured counting cards wouldn’t be all that hard. Plus one for every 2-6, minus one for every ace, 10 or face card. Ignore 7-8-9. What could be easier? I practiced for maybe a month, could even count down a deck pretty quickly, and figured I’d be an advantage player eventually.
However, I didn’t expect it to be as boring as it was, and I completely ignored the fact that my ability to keep an accurate count diminished after I had more than two beers. So after a while I abandoned card counting, figuring that trips to Vegas and Foxwoods were a lot more enjoyable when there are fun people at the table, the dealer has a decent personality and you can wolf down as many free Heinekens as you want.
Maybe because of my modest wagers ($10-15 start) or maybe because I just wasn’t good at it, or maybe because I wouldn’t play unless I could sit at third base, but my counting sessions in Vegas drew scrutiny only a few times – once at Barbary Coast (now it’s Bill’s Gambling Hall) and the once at the Gold Coast. Both times unsmiling pit bosses honed in on me, even though I wasn't even at the green chip level.
I was thinking of those suits the other day when I read that new regulations going into effect at casinos in Atlantic City might result in the elimination of pit bosses. The Division of Gaming Enforcem... [More]
Posted Saturday, April 09, 2011 01:14 PM
Here in the Boston area, the stunning retirement of Manny Ramirez is getting surprisingly little media play.
Maybe everyone is worried about the Red Sox' slow start, but I'm thinking that maybe low-keying Manny's drug-induced retirement helps everyone continue to avoid an uncomfortable reckoning -- namely, that Boston's only World Series titles since 1918 are tainted.
Ramirez was balls to the wall in the 2004 Series, going 7-for-17 with a home run. He won the Series MVP as the Sox offed the Cardinals in four straight games, ending an 86-year drought and finally shutting up Yankee fans 250 miles to the south and west.
Manny wasn't as effective three years later when Boston crushed Colorado in four straight, possibly because he was exhausted after hitting .409 (with 9 walks) and driving in 10 runs against the Indians in the ALCS.
David Ortiz, as close to a BFF as Manny had in the Sox locker room, wouldn't say much when he got the news that Ramirez was quitting rather than face a 100-game suspension, saying only, "It's sad, man."
Understandable, since Ortiz has unresolved drug issues of his own after being named as one of the players on the infamous 2003 list. Before he was outed, Ortiz said that players caught juicing should be suspended for an entire season. After his name surfaced, he said, "I'm not talking about that anymore," then a few days later pulled out the vitamins-and-supplments excuse. With a... [More]
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2011 11:05 AM
There is no shortage of conservative political hypocrites who tell other people to live virtuous lives while doing just the opposite in their own.
My personal favorite was Bill Bennett, who had the equivalent of a basketball double-double:
While the drug czar under the first President Bush, Bennett told kids to stay away from weed. Fine, but Bennett had no problem hiding the fact that he was a heavy smoker, and that cigarettes are far more deadly than marijuana will ever be. And Bennett, who has fancied himself as a relentless moral crusader, was more than a little embarrassed when it was learned that he had lost some $8 million (some of which he no doubt earned telling people how to live their lives) at slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
David Williams of Kentucky will never challenge Bennett for the Phony of the Decade award, but he has carved himself a nice little niche. Seems Williams, who happens to be the Senate President in Kentucky, is the leading opponent to efforts to bring casino gambling to the state. That was all fine and dandy until last week, when it was noted in divorce records that some of the money that Williams is paid by the citizens of Kentucky was being lost at out-of-state casinos.
Williams now says casinos have “unbridled greed,” a curious statement gi... [More]
Posted Tuesday, April 05, 2011 12:16 PM
It's now painfully obvious that if there's an ultimate winner in the NFL labor battle, it won't be the players.
They have, in fact, already lost the first skirmish -- the battle for public opinion. If it wasn't the Aqib Talib shooting that did it, it was Dez Bryant and Bling-gate. If it wasn't Bryant, it was the Mike Vrabel casino issue.
When Vrabel, perceived as one of the good guys, gets charged with theft at a casino, you know these guys have way too much time on their hands, and too few time management skills.
The union -- or whatever it calls itself now since decertification -- may win in court and make the owners' undies a little tight, but then what? In the end they will come back to play football, for no other reason than they are football players. As Bill Parcells used to say -- "It's football season, and in football season football players play football."
Bet NFL futures at BetJamaica.com.
Posted Friday, April 01, 2011 01:07 PM
The international community often smiles and shakes its head when the United States can’t figure out whether to have one law covering gambling issues, or 50. The concept of states rights – fiercely protected in the South, in particular – creates a lot of stops and starts. What’s legal in one state can be illegal in another, just a quarter-mile down the road.
States rights came to the forefront this week when Illinois lawmakers took a step toward overturning a 2008 law which prohibited smoking in businesses, including casinos, in the state. Seems that casinos in neighboring states allow smoking, and Illinois nicotine addicts were taking their gambling money to neighboring states.
The lead sponsor of the bill says that the state has lost $800 million in casino tax revenue and that the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Ill., has been forced to lay off workers. Allowing a smoky haze to return above blackjack tables and slot machines would go a long way toward evening the playing field, according to Rep. Dan Burke of Chicago.
The pink-lung crowd points out that the opening casinos in neighboring states has thinned out Illlinois’ take, smoking or n... [More]