The Golden State Warriors are 27-17, presently in a lofty fifth position in the Western Conference. Besides being quite a surprise under second-year coach Mark Jackson, Golden State is a hit on two fronts with those betting NBA basketball, with the fourth-best ATS record at 25-18-1 and for those that prefer totals that go OVER, they are the second best choice at 26-17-1. The best attribute about the Warriors is mental toughness, since they are 12-5 SU and ATS off a loss.
While we agree Golden State is a splendid story this season, their scoring margin differential of only +1.0 points suggests they are overachieving (the Lakers for example are +1.4 with a 19-25 record), but help is on the way.
Center Andrew Bogut is back with Warriors and he can only make them better if he can stay healthy, which a monumental concern. Bogut has been out since having ankle surgery and his first game back he made an immediate impact. The former No.1 pick for Milwaukee had a tidy 24 minutes of play with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks and a steal. The Aussie was known for his offensive acumen at Utah in college, but in his years in the NBA, he became recognized by his peers as a very good defender, playing the pick-and-roll and post defense with equal aplomb, while blocking a fair share of shot attempts.
Once all the Golden State players are comfortable with the big man in the middle, the eight-best scoring offense has a chance to improve and almost certainly the 21st scoring defense will move towards the middle of the pack. With Memphis trying to trade Rudy Gay to save money, the Warriors could move up to the fourth spot in the West and wouldn’t this be something, for a franchise that has been to the playoffs once since 1994.
Time for a Boston to let go of the past?
We can only surmise the Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge already has a another cell phone ready as a back up since his present one is about to blowup, given recent developments. When Ray Allen was allowed to leave Boston, it was the first real sign Boston was no longer going to be a contender in the Eastern Conference. Their aging trio of superstars was not going to defeat Miami in a four times in a seven-game series come playoff time.
Ainge and coach Doc Rivers thought they would take one more shot at it this season and added role players to hopefully give them one more opportunity at chasing a ring. After six straight losses recently (0-6 ATS), Boston fell below .500 and had settled into the 8th slot in the East. While it was a tremendous win at home in double OT to beat Miami on Sunday, the more somber news was the loss of Rajon Rondo with an ACL tear.
The Celtics were already among the worst wagers in the NBA (16-25-3 ATS) and this will not help. Those drinking the kool-aid will point to the C’s 3-3 record this season when Rondo has not played or that the offense has more production per 100 possessions when he’s not on the floor, but is .500 really the benchmark of this storied franchise?
The time has come for Ainge to view the future. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are not going to win any more titles wearing the Celtics green and white unis. The trade deadline is Feb. 21 and their no reason not to make the best possible deals for these long in the tooth individuals and hopefully rebuild the next Boston team capable of winning championships. While it will be painful for fans, hanging on to past glory will only result in greater failure sooner than later.
Hey Dwight Howard – WTF!
The Los Angeles Lakers are like watching TruTV, a hodgepodge wrapped around a mishmash of disorder. Jerry Buss’s son has screwed up the Lakers even quicker than we anticipated. While Mike Brown was a mediocre hire, bringing in Mike D’Antoni with this roster made about as much sense as Chinese-themed sports bar restaurant.
This much we know, Kobe and Steve Nash are not a great fit, since both need the ball. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard do not fit the type of big man D’Antoni needs to run his offense and collectively, this group is slow afoot.
LA/1 is six games below .500 (19-25) and are even worse against the spread at 18-26. We have watched a few Lakers games lately to get a feel of what is going on and Kobe is playing well, the player formerly known as Ron Artest is playing his game and despite trade rumors, Gasol is moving up and the floor and providing energy if not superior results.
If a person’s eyes lead to their soul and body language explains what is person is thinking, than Howard is a dead man walking. In what could be a momentum changing game against Oklahoma City on Sunday, during the fourth quarter, Howard was the last player in position on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor on 12 consecutive trips (six each way). He essentially walked back and forth and twice Kobe was ready to start the offense, needed him to set a high screen and he was late and ineffective both times.
After being fed the ball in the later stages for a dunk, Howard’s attitude improved and he played at about 70 percent energy level the rest of the way.
While it is no fault of the former Magic star he is miscast in this scheme, effort is measured by desire. Howard views himself as Hakeem Olajuwon or Wilt Chamberlin, with the offense flowing through him, when in fact he’s more like Bill Russell, a defensive center who can rebound.
Right now if you took a poll of general managers in the NBA and they were to answer truthfully, the majority would take Joakim Noah at center over Howard, because they know what kind of effort and production they could expect. If Howard wants the ball and the respect he thinks he deserves, it’s time to start working for it.
NBA Betting News – Off a great week, 11th Hour Sports has built a solid lead as the top handicapper in professional basketball. Another high volume capper is Alleghenies Analysis, who is in second place at the monitor. This duo is just ahead of a trio who is tightly packed for spots 3-5. At No. 3 is Vegas Sports Informer, followed by always steady Ross Benjamin and completed by Tampa Sports.