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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deal or No Deal

Anyone who had been paying attention to the NBA or even just watched some type of sports news network this season knows about Dwight Howard's trade demands. As long time friends and co-authors of this blog Clark and I (Smitty) tend to view and see things in the sports world very similar at times. However, we did just recently get in to a debate this weekend over what should happen with Dwight Howard. Before we go any further I must disclose that I am an Orlando Magic fan and my PIC (partner in crime) is a die hard Bulls fan. What you are about to read is our opinions on what should happen with Dwight, and you might be surprised what side of the fence we fall on.


The argument to deal Dwight comes from the most unlikely of people.... Smitty (ME). As a Magic fan I was beyond excited when we drafted Dwight Howard back in 2004. This was going to be the second coming of Shaq, we could groom him and put the right pieces around him and we would have a championship team in no time. To Orlando's defense they almost did have that back in 2008-2009 season when they lost in the finals to the Lakers. If Orlando had won that series who knows if we would even be having this conversation. but the fact is we are having this conversation. I only have one argument for trading Dwight and frankly I only need one argument for trading him....SHAQ!
Orlando has been througt this before and if you don't learn from your past mistakes then you are doomed to repeat them. This is what I fear will happen if Orlando lets Dwight go in to Free Agency (FA) as an unrestricted free agent. The same thing happened with Shaq in 1996. Orlando let Shaq enter free agency and they were not able to resign him. The Lakers were and what did he do for them? Only help them win 3 titles! Oh and did I mention that they were consecutive 2000, 2001, & 2002! What did Orlando get from letting him walk ......NOTHING!!!!
This is a simple decision for Orlando. Dwight doesn't want to be there and has given no indication that he will even consider staying if they let him "test" the market. TRADE DWIGHT.  Earlier this year New Jersey was offering Brook Lopez and two 1st round picks. Orlando if you can get a similar offer take it and walk away from a player who has given you a lot but has given no reason to think he would stay if you let him walk. It will hurt now but it is better than getting nothing for the future.



Alot of what my partner says, I agree with.  It would be awful for the Magic to lose Dwight Howard for nothing.  You never want to let a player of his magnitude just walk for nothing, especially when they allowed it to happen when they had Shaq.  There are a lot of similarities in the situation, yet there are some differences.  The biggest to me is that these are 2 different men.  I don't see them as being all that similar as human beings.  Sure they both have similar games, yeah they both are called "Superman" and yes, they both have the kind of personalities you gravitate to.  But still, I see Dwight as being a little more wholesome, more of a feeling type of guy.  Not someone that calls himself "Diesel" and puts out awful movies and rap albums.  I truly think, once Dwight took some of the emotion out of it from this past off season, he truly would rather win in Orlando and not somewhere else.  I'm not disputing he needs more help, that much is clear.  But I don’t feel Dwight wants to leave Orlando and I think team executives sense that, which is why they don't trade him at the deadline.

There are many reasons for Dwight to stay which work in the Magic's favor.
Here are a few:

1)  Loyalty:  Because Dwight is the guy I think he is, I think this means something to him.  He saw how much grief Lebron took when he left.  Howard doesn't want to be that guy because of the type of person he is.  This is his team and what better way to solidify your place in history then winning with the Magic.  Plus, doesn't it seem like just as many times as Dwight says he wants out, he says he wants to stay?  He's CLEARLY conflicted.  I think he can be won over because of that and loyalty plays a big role in my eyes.

2)  Money:  Because of the NBA's structure, Orlando can offer him the most cash than any other team.  Not only that, there is no state income tax in Florida which should save him 7% of the already bigger deal than any other team can offer him.  As we all know, money talks.

3)  Location:  It’s bright sunny Orlando.  Yeah, LA is nice.....but with the pollution and everything, no thanks, Orlando a much nicer city.  You got beaches, nightlife, and a wonderful city.  Think about this, based on location alone.............which NBA city would you most like to play in?  If you just said Brooklyn, you’re nuts, or from Brooklyn.

4)  Potential Teams
LA Lakers - The Lakers already have Bynum.  He is probably the 2nd best C in the league after Howard.  Does an upgrade from the #2 center to #1 center really make the difference?  To me, Howard isn't any closer to winning landing in LA.  Plus, does he really want the Shaq comparisons all his life?
Dallas Mavericks - This would be a nice fit for Dwight.  Cuban never has been shy about bringing anyone in to help the team win.  Be ideal spot for Howard but Dallas has nothing to offer Orlando when it comes to moving Dwight.  Even if you go there, Dirk's years are limited and that championship window may be small. Howard better hope Cuban can find him another star to play with.
New Jersey Nets - Sure, Lopez and some draft picks would help.  It’s probably better than anything the Lakers or Mavericks can offer.  But, you get dealt to NJ this year; you're not making the playoffs.

So that’s why Dwight might consider staying in Orlando. 

Here are some reasons Orlando might just wait this thing out.

1)  No Appealing Offers:  If there is one thing you can say certainly when you attempt to trade a superstar is you will NEVER get equal value back.  It just doesn't happen.  If anything offered was that good, wouldn't he of been dealt by now?  I don't think Brook Lopez and some 1st round draft picks is that good an offer even though it might be the "best" one out there.  How do you build a championship team?  Do you do it through the draft?  I don’t think so.  Forget draft picks, you need great "known quality" NBA players to be a champion.  This happens via trade (taking advantage of a team's situation like Orlando is in) or FA signings.  Draft picks are hit or miss.  Let’s look at the last 10 NBA Champs.
2000 - 2002:  LA Lakers - Yep, they got Shaq from Orlando, a FA signing
2003:  Spurs - Well, Duncan, Parker, Ginobli........they were all Spurs draft picks.  I'll give credit where credit is due.  However, I'm gonna say that type of situation is more of the exception rather than the norm.
2004:  Detroit Pistons:  Billups signed in 2002 with this team, and that championship season they dealt for Rasheed Wallace at the deadline.  He had a lot to do with them winning the title.
2005:  Spurs - Same story here, I will give them credit.
2006:  Miami Heat - Shaq strikes again, this time via trade however.  ZO & Payton signed as FAs.  Walker, Jayson Williams, & Posey brought in via trade just before the season started.  Wade however was drafted.
2007:  Spurs:  I'm not going to repeat myself.
2008:  Boston Celtics - Celtics drafted Pierce but were not good until KG & Allen were brought on board.  KG was traded for because, like Orlando, KG was threatening to leave Minnesota anyways.  Allen was brought in essentially the same way.  And Rondo was drafted, yet not the Rondo he is now with his 10ppg & 5apg that season.
2009-10:  LA Lakers - Yeah they drafted Kobe.  But when did he really start to win?  Oh, earlier when they signed Shaq as a FA and this time around....oh, when they ripped off Memphis and got Pau Gasol via trade.  Gasol's first full season with LA and they win the title.  The year before they got him at the deadline only to lose to the Celtics in the finals, who had just put together Garnett & Allen with Pierce.
2011:  Dallas Mavericks:  Yeah, they drafted Dirk.  But Dirk wasn't winning on his own.  They didn't become a champion until they acquired Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Jason Terry via trade in the years leading up to the title.
2012:  ????? ???? - Yeah, those question marks spell out a team’s city and name.  I won’t say who it is but there was a team a few summers ago that acquired Lebron and Bosh as unrestricted FAs that went to the finals last year and lost to the Mavericks team I talked about above.  They just might be best team in the league this year.

My point is, I don't think draft picks are necessarily going to get you to the promise land.  In my opinion, make a splash and get some good players via trade or free agency.  So, after that rant, why is it again that the Magic might just wait this thing out?

2)  Free Up Cap Space:  You roll the dice on Dwight this summer and try to sign him knowing all of the above.  If you don’t sign him, well, you have $20million to try to spend wisely to build your team back up.

3)  You’re a better team if you can retain him:  You know your team will be better if you can retain him rather than trade him.  Why not give your team that chance this offseason?

4)  No one knows Dwight like Orlando:  You drafted the kid out of High School before he was 20 years old.  No one knows him like the Magic do.  They also know his family very well.  Maybe this summer they can throw a bunch of money at him and tug at his heart strings to stay in Orlando.  If you trade him, that has no shot at happening.

Also, read this on attempting to acquire Steve Nash. 

For the record, that would be a great acquisition for Orlando.  Nash almost made Gortat look like an All-star and Amare hasn't been the same since he left Nash.  Also, Nash is 12million expiring.  So, if Dwight chooses to leave in the summer, you'd lose Nash too and free up close to 32million for free agents to rebuild.

So, to recap.......I say NO DEAL.  Do not trade Howard.  Make a move for a playoff run like a Steve Nash and ride this situation out.  Take your chances that you can resign him due to many factors and if you can't, use the 20million that summer to improve your roster through trades and free agency.  Do you look like a fool if he leaves?.....Yeah, maybe so.  But Shaq still gets booooo-ed when he goes to Orlando (he did at All-Star Weekend).....Let the fans do the same to Dwight.

- Clark -

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

In the wake of Ryan Braun's positive test for PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs), we all had to have had visions of Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire, A-Rod and the list goes on. All of these men were superstars of the game and Sosa and McGwire were given credit for bringing baseball back in to the spotlight! Who could forget the homerun race of '98. I was glued to every minute of every game those two played. 

 Then it happened! It being the Mitchell Report. Fingering players that have been linked to PED's. There was the infamous meeting on Capital Hill which some players took a stance. Palmeiro and his finger wag and McGwire who was not there to talk about the past. 

But as McGwire would say "I'm not here to talk about the past." I am however here to talk about the present. Ryan Braun was tested on October 1st of 2011 during the playoffs.  A few weeks later Braun was informed of his positive test with a 20:1 ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. These are two hormones that should be roughly equal when testing and anything above 4:1 is considered to be a positive test in the eyes of MLB. Braun had 5 times the legal amount in his system. 

Braun trying to restore his reputation challenged these findings and has won his appeal of the process on a 2-1 vote. VINDICATION!.... Not So Fast My Friends (Lee Corso voice). If you look deeper in to how Braun won this appeal you will find out that he did not challenge the "science" he really didn't even challenge the findings of the sample. Instead he challenged that the sample taken was not handled according to MLB collection protocol and even questioned if the sample was his. I do however find it interesting that Braun did offer a DNA sample to determine if the sample was his, but as I have been reading more and more about this situation I have found out that Braun's camp later backed down from this offer. What really happened behind the scenes will most likely remain a mystery to us in the general public. Therefore we are left with a He said He said (MLB v Braun). This is a great video from ESPN Outside The Lines explaining information from both sides. 

While I'm sure Braun and his camp believe this a victory, and to an extent it is, it really doesn't prove anything other than the procedure for handling of samples was not properly followed. This is the equivalent of challenging a DUI by saying "I may or may not have been drunk, but they were holding the breathalyzer wrong when they did it." Fact of the matter is you were still drunk and that you will be let off due to a technicality because of the way things were handled (For those of you wondering if that is a valid way to get out of a DUI, it is not!).  The science and testing methods were not argued in this case, there was no accusation of tampering and all tampering seals were intact, and the only thing that was argued was if it was correct for the collector to store the sample at his home until he was able to deliver it for shipping on Monday. 


Ryan although you have won your appeal and will be playing baseball for 50 more games than anticipated this year. You are still far from proving your innocence! You will be under the microscope all year and if you ever have another positive test again you might as well go and find Roger Clemens and make friends because you won't be allowed into the club with all of the players who either did not take PED's or just owned up to it. Ryan you were one of the "Good Guys" now you are on the defense and with the way Baseball has been over the past 12+ years you can't blame us. We want answers and your appeal provided none that will satisfy a pubic that wants to see sports played in their purest form with the purest of players. I suggest you start making the song above your anthem for this year because in the eye of the public and MLB you are "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" 


Research gained for this blog post was found at  


Saturday, February 25, 2012

All-Star Weekend and 2nd Half Predictions

With the NBA almost at its mid way point, I wanna take a chance and give my mid season awards and a few predictions going forward. 

Before we get into that, I must say, I'm looking forward to All-Star Weekend. I mean, ok, I usually am anyways. I'm one of the few that still love to watch the NBA as a whole. But I just really like what the NBA has done with the festivities surround the game itself. Well, one thing I didn't like that came away from it last year was that annoying Blake Griffin commercial for Kia where he jumps over the Optima for the slam. Not even that impressed. I mean, I can't jump over a car but as athletic as that guy is, that wasn't even a challenge. Shit, I drive a Kia Optima (pictured left) and that commercial irritates me! The other thing, they have once again ditched the H.O.R.S.E. competition. That's one of the few games you watch where we as basketball fans can actually go play ourselves. I'm not gonna be in a dunk contest, I don't have any red-white-blue money balls for a 3PT shootout. But I got a ball and a hoop and a buddy and we can play horse any day of the week. But I really do enjoy the other events as a whole. 

Shooting Stars challenge is fun to watch. Get those old timers out there representing their old teams. Heaving up half court shots. I'm entertained at least but once again, I'm a basketball junkie. The Skills Challenge is also something that is just different, which makes it fun to watch. Its a great way for the NBA to get some of their young PGs some exposure and to see how they match up with the leagues elite vets. Who wouldn't want to watch that? Ok, it might just be me again. 

Dunk contest has gotten stale. I think the NBA has realized that. They can't get stars to participate, like Lebron who was called out by my partner Smitty, and the judges just suck. They'll throw up a 10 for anything. Some of the best dunkers in the competition in recent years (Igudola & JR Smith) didn't even win the competition. Well, at least Nate Robinson isn't in it again. If I gotta watch him use some big guy to "jump over" to dunk again, I just might lose it. 

Then, its the 3PT Shootout. This event is slowly becoming my favorite event to watch. Its the event with the most pure scoring format. No judges, no props, no fan voting.......just plain and simple, who can get hot under the bright lights and hit the most shots from long range. My only gripe, and if you know me at all you can probably guess it, NO KYLE KORVER! Bias Bulls fan?? I think not and this is why. The guy is an elite 3pt shooter. That's what he is known around the league for, and that's his thing. The man is a sharpshooter. He is 13th this season in 3PT made. That doesn't sound too impressive. However, he has done it on roughly 20mpg. The guys ahead of him are all around 28+ mpg other then Matt Bonner who has also been snubbed. He is also shooting 41% from down town. He's a career 43% shooter from out there and his last year in Utah, he led the league at near 50% and that couldn't even get him into the competition. Check out this chart below to see how Korver matches up with the contestants in the contest for this year based on 3-pointers made, 3-point percentage & minutes per game. 

Ryan Anderson        95 44% 31
Mario Chalmers       67 47% 28
Joe Johnson            57 34% 35
Anthony Morrow     68 41% 29
Kevin Love              49 35% 40
James Jones            21 42% 10
Kyle Korver           58 41% 22

So, you could easily replace Love or Johnson with Korver. Johnson is even injured I'm pretty sure to the point where he was replaced by Rondo in the All-Star game itself. Jones will be in to defend his title. You could even make an argument to replace Morrow with Korver. And you don't put the same guys in it every year. Thats dumb and its why you dont see Ray Allen in it year in and year out. But that's the other plus for Korver, to my knowledge, he has never participated before. I'm just waiting for Kyle Korver to get a little respect and recognition as one of the leagues elite 3-point shooters, which he is. 

Ok, I'm done ranting. One more thing though, I LOVE what they did with the Rookie/Sophomore game. This game, though entertaining, was getting stale as well. How to shake it up? Inject 2 of the best basketball personalities out there, Shaq & Sir Charles. Yep, that will do it. 

What was this post suppose to be about again? Ahh yes, mid season awards and 2nd half predictions. 

First, my mid-season Awards:

Coach of the Year: Frank Vogel, IND - He has led his Pacer squad to the third record in the east behind Miami and Chicago. They are a team no one is talking about but they do have one of the league's best defenses with an improving offense. This team began to show signs of this last year in their 8 vs 1 battle with the Bulls. It has continued into this season. And to me, the coach that can do the more with less is the best coach in my eyes.

Most Improved Player: Ryan Anderson, ORL - This guy, with roughly the same amount of minutes he received last season, has just been a monster. He is on teams' scouting reports this season and for good reason. To this year from last he has a +5.5ppg, +1.7rpg, while making improvements in steals and assists while lessening his turnovers. He is also making 3 3-pointers a game and shooting nearly 45% from outside. He runs away with this award.

Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving, CLE - Well, the Cavs got it right. They took him #1 overall and he's been the most impressive rookie. Not really that close. He has the scoring, passing, and even rebounds well for a PG. Turnovers a little high but you'd expect that with a rookie. He shoots an insanely high percentage on the year at 47%. Thats a good indicator he takes smart shots. Cleveland has a bright future, as long as they can keep Irving happy.

 Sixth Man of the Year: James Harden, OKC - This one isn't even close either. It's James Harden of the Thunder. You could argue he is the league's most improved player too. But with 16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1stlpg, while shooting 47% from the field. There is a reason the Thunder are a top 3 team in the league. Its not just all about Durant and Westbrook. When you can bring a guy like Harden off the bench, that takes you from a good team to an elite team. 

Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, and James Harden.
Defensive Player of the Year: Serge Ibaka, OKC - He anchors the inside for one of the league's elite teams. Playing under 30min a game he still manages to be the leader in blocked shots on the season. He deserves some credit this season. 

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, OKC - Yep, I'm handing the Thunder yet another award. He scores, he rebounds, he extends the floor. He might not pass like Lebron, but KD has something Lebron doesn't. Killer instinct. MJ had it, Kobe has it, and Durant has it too. He should be MVP. 

East Predictions:
1. Miami - Hate to say it, but they're the best team in the league
2. Chicago - My Bulls do have reining MVP and still have one of the league's best records despite Rose missing alot of time.
3. Orlando - Dwight will be Dwight but if Orlando has a chance, Jameer Nelson needs to play better.
4. Indiana - They have youth and play exceptionally good defense.
5. Atlanta - Joe Johnson most over paid player in league but Josh Smith been great. They should get Horford back for playoffs.
6. New York - Now that NY has found a PG, they prob most dangerous lower seed team in the playoffs.
7. Boston - Just hard to bet against the Big 3. If they don't wear down by then, they will be a tough out for almost anyone.
8. Philadelphia - Hawes hurt, Iggy & Brand struggling. They were a good story but a 1st Rd. sweep is how that story will end.

West Predictions:
1. Oklahoma City - In my opinion, they have MVP, Defensive PoY, and 6th man on top of having a superstar PG. They will make the finals.
2. LA Clippers - With the youth and elite PG play of Paul, they will pass San Antonio.
3. San Antonio - They just find a way to get it done. Parker is playing at a high level but if Manu can't stay healthy, I smell an upset waiting to happen.
4. L.A. Lakers - They just aren't done either and I think a new PG is on the way, maybe a Ramon Sessions. That would make all the difference.
5. Dallas - The reining champs won't go away easy because of their veteran roster. Another LA/Dallas matchup would be something to see.
6. Memphis - Another 1st round match up with SA seems likely and Randolph is coming back within weeks. I think they upset SA again.
7. Portland - They show they can play with anyone some nights and have bad losses other nights. They will squeek in.
8. Houston - Their guard play from Lowry has carried them. But they play no D and their bigs aren't that good. A first round exit seems likely.

Well, those are my All Star & awards thoughts as well as my 2nd half predictions. What are yours?


Saturday, February 18, 2012


It is close to that time of year again. You know that time of year that all sports fans USED to really look forward to. That time where the best of the best in the NBA can show off their......DUNKS! That's right it is about a week from the slam dunk contest and besides from the fact that the NBA Slam Dunk contest has gone from pure dunking ability to your ability to put on a show, it used to be a time we would look forward to and now I would be fine to catch the highlights on Sports Center. More specifically I am call out YOU, LeBron James.

Every year it never fails that you toy with our hearts, you mess with the masses that would love to see your pure athleticism on display for all to see. Instead you decided to not participate in the Slam Dunk Contest. Which would make sense had none of your superstar peers ever participated, but in fact they have. Need a reminder of who has been in this event and won it! Check this out.....

That's right! A lot of big names out there, and not to mention one that LBJ has decided to model himself after. The one who is know by all with the pure mentioning of two letters, the one that everyone wanted to be like. Hell, the one that the Looney Toons needed to make a motion picture. MJ... enough said. Not only did he compete multiple times but he has done, what apparently no one wants to try and do any more, which is defend his title!

For some of the most competitive men on this face of this earth to just allow someone else to come and take their title bothers be. One person you can't put in that category is one Mr. Nate Robinson. He is one hell of a competitor and can dunk too.

 When you dunk over D12 (Superman)


Spud Webb. You got some game.

How can I forget about the show that Vince Carter put on.  
And don't forget I forgot about the second part. 
Bottom line here.... There have been a lot of big names in this contest and some of the best athletes have been on this stage.... Except for one... LBJ (and yes I saw you in that Nate Robinson video). What 's wrong LeBron, afraid you can't live up to the hype or maybe you are afraid of not being able to live up to what a man about 1.5 feet smaller than you did? You want to "Be like Mike" LeBron? 

It's time to Dunk or Shut up! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Did LIN-Sanity just get a little crazier?

Lin-Sanity Continues!
Yes, I know, 2 Jeremy Lin posts in a matter for 4 days.  This kid is getting so much attention, its all everyone talks about.  The Lin story is gettin as old as the Tim Tebow story.  When will Lin just fail so we can all just stop talking about him?  Ya know what, this story isn't like the Tebow story.  One simple reason, Jeremy Lin is good, Tim Tebow just simply isn't.  Ok wait, to be fair, Tebow does do some things well.  He plays hard, he's tough, he can motivate, he's a great leader, he never gives up, he can run the football.  Wait, am I describing a running back?  Oh shit, Tim Tebow is a QB.  Ok, that's why I don't think he's that good, he isn't good at being what his team needs him to be to sustain long term football success, being a quarterback.  But that's an entirely different post all together.

Jeremy Lin is for real.  I said it on my post on Sunday morning and I'll let it echo the rafters of this great blog..........THE KID IS FOR REAL!  He continues to dominate ball games.  He has put this team on his back, a team that was led by 2 "superstars Amare & Melo" to an 8-15 record, and led them to 6 straight wins and has pulled NY to 14-15 which is good for the 8th spot in the East.  If I'm MIA, I'd hope NY keeps wining or starts losing.  That team, at full strength, with Lin, Melo, & Amare is a 1st round nightmare.  That's only my assumption, the 3 have yet to play together yet.  As a Bulls fan, and a Knicks hater, I don't wanna see them in the first round.  It would maybe rekindle the rivalry, but at the same time I don't want the Knicks to be the team that ends my teams run, especially if Derrick can't get to 100%.
But those are all future stories.  Whats now is Lin is unreal.  He posted yet another 27pts and 11assts.  Not only did he fill up the box score, but he hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with .5 remaining to give his team the win, 90-87.  The best part of it, his coach, Mike D'Antoni, let Lin do it all.  In the huddle there was no play drawn up, none of that.  Lin asked the coach if he could call his own number, an isolation play, and his coach said "go for it kid".  And the kid named Lin delivered.  Check out the video to your left.

With stardom, comes adversity.  He has gotten his fill of that over the past 2 years while trying to pursue his basketball dream, but in the last few weeks, he hasn't seen it on the court.  He has seen it from others in the sporting world however.  Most notably, Boxing star, (who watches boxing anyways) Floyd Mayweather. 

Check this quote out.
“Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise,” Mayweather said via his Twitter account on Monday.

Is that a JOKE Floyd?  He is getting this attention only because he's Asian.....and for no other reason.  Is he wearing blinders?  Sure, some is because of the fact he is Asian.  How many Asian players are in the NBA, are there even more then 5?  Doubtful.  So yeah, some of it has to do with that.  I saw a stat somewhere that Asian NBA viewership has increased 40% over the last 2 weeks.  Well, that makes alot of sense.  But how many players, Asian or not, took the unlikely path that he took to get here.  No collegiate scholarships.  Played at a school, Harvard, not known for basketball in the least.  Went undrafted in 2010.  Cut from the Warriors and Rockets in the NBA before ever really getting a chance to step out on the court.  This isn't Kyrie Irving, John Wall, or Derrick Rose who were all PGs drafted #1 overall over the past few years' NBA drafts.  This is a kid that went undrafted, skipped over by every scout who thought they had this kid pegged right from the beginning.  Shit, he was probably close to being cut by the Knicks if not for injuries allowing him to finally get his chance to step out onto the floor.  And black players are not doing what he does every night and getting the same praise.  Though a small sample, he is averaging 26.8pts 8.5assts 3.8rebs 1.8stls during his 6 game tear.  That is unreal.  No one in the league, other then probably Lebron, has done that during a 6 game stretch this season, especially a stretch that also includes you winning all 6 of those games.  
So no Floyd, black players do not do what he is doing every night and YES Floyd, he is getting some more attention because he is Asian.  But he's not getting it ONLY for the fact that he is an Asian ball player.  The Knicks games @ MIN and @TOR last night were sell outs, something those 2 teams don't do very often.  You know why all of this is happening??  Because its unique.  Its one of a kind.  It's special.  This kinda stuff doesn't happen every year, every 5 years, once a decade.  It just doesn't happen.  That's why is so special.  That's why we all can't stop talking about it and its EXACTLY what a league needed that turned so many people away this off season because of the lockout.

That's why its so LIN-SANE!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hilton Magic in the Top 25?

On the eve of what could be one of the biggest games in recent Iowa State basketball history and a spot in the Top 25 on the line, I thought this would be a good time for our first visit to the world of college basketball. Right off the bat I want to get out of the way that I have spent some of the best years of my life in Ames, IA and I love my Cyclones. That being said I want to put out there that I am one of the rare sports fans who can put aside his allegiance to his team and look at this teams from an objective stand point. I will say that this may not stop me from picking my Clones to win almost every time (got to have faith right)!

The ISU Men who have received 71 votes for the Top 25 will take on #6 ranked (at this time, will most likely drop in the rankings due to recent losses) Baylor. Baylor who is 21-4 overall and is 3-2 at home during Big 12 Conference play has the task of beating the "pesky" Cyclone team who is 18-7 overall and 3-3 on the road during conference play. Baylor is averaging 72 points per game while allowing 69 points per game leaving an average scoring margin of +3 points per game. The Cyclones on the other hand have scored an average of 71 points but only allowed an average of 65 points per game leaving an average scoring margin of +6 per game.

ISU and Baylor are very similar across almost all stat categories but the big difference maker in this game (and for the season) is Free Throw %. This is where the game will be won or lost for the Cyclones at the Free Throw line, especially on the road against a GOOD team. Don't let Baylor's "slump" (lost to Kansas and Mizzu both good teams) fool you. This is a good team!

What I would like to see:

I would like to see Cyclone star player Royce White take control of this game early. I would like to see him look for his shot more at the beginning of the game and look to get teammates involved based off his productions. While Royce is liability at the charity stripe he is a good tester of a teams depth. Royce the guy on this Cyclone team that demands defensive help. Get Baylor in foul trouble early and allow our better shooters to go to the line later in the first half to try and gain a lead. Obviously, if you have watched any Iowa State game this year you would know we live and die by the 3 ball. If the 3 doesn't fall I don't see us having much of a chance but if the 3 falls and we can get Baylor in early foul trouble I like out chances. Early foul trouble for Baylor would force them to get in to their bench which hasn't proven to be that deep this year. I believe that this could set the tone for ISU in the first half and possibly extend some confidence in to the second half.

What I hope I don't see:

The Cyclones are on the verge of making a Top 25 appearance for the first time in ..... well lets face it a long time.While this is not a "young" team it is a young team. A lot of these players have not been in a position where they have been nationally ranked before and I fear that the pressure of cracking that big board of national recognition may enter in to the minds of our "young" players. If the Cyclones cannot focus on the issue at hand and allow the moment to become bigger than the game this could easily become a blow out in Baylor's favor.

This has been a good year for the Cyclones in almost all sport categories and as a Cyclone fan I couldn't be happier about it. I feel our programs are heading in the right direction and I am excited about the things to come. I do feel the need to put out a disclaimer to all of the Hawk fans who may be reading this. I do see sports objectively and even though I am and always will be a Cyclone fan when it comes time to give the Hawks their due it will be there. As painful as that was to say I leave you with one final thought.....

I know this was for Kansas but the the message is the same .... LET'S GO STATE!


Can you handle the LIN-sanity?

If any of you follow the NBA at all, you would have heard about Jeremy Lin by now.  He has essentially become the Tim Tebow of the NBA.  A great story for a league that suffered through an extended lockout that included the cancellation of summer league, training camps, almost all of the preseason and 16 regular season games per team.  The Chris Paul trade debacle, the Dwight Howard drama, and seeing the NBA’s “elite” teams having their age catch up to them was sure to hurt the league on top of everything else.

But who is Jeremy Lin and where did he come from?  Well, the man is from Palo Alto, California.  He won a state title, was a 1st team all state selection while earning Player of the Year honors.  Even with the impressive high school resume, he was not a sought after talent out of high school.  After attempting to get recruited by UCLA & Stanford, which lead to disappointment, he settled on Harvard who could not offer him an athletic scholarship.

He went on to set numerous school records at Harvard and was named to the Ivy League first team twice.  During his career he posted impressive wins over Boston College and UCONN in which he had 30pts and 9rebs.  Lin, all things considered, had a very successful collegiate career for a guy that couldn’t even earn himself a scholarship out of high school.

Even with the success, it wouldn’t get any easier from there.  He ended up going undrafted in 2010 but did manage to work out for numerous NBA teams.  He finally stuck with one, the Dallas Mavericks, offered him a spot on their Summer League team.  He played well in the league.  Well enough to earn some interest from a handful of NBA teams, including the Golden State Warriors.
Lin would sign a 2 year deal with the Warriors.  It was a dream signing for Lin.  He was playing in his home state for his favorite NBA team growing up.  In his first season, he would only play 10 minutes a game.   He would stick with the team all season long only to be cut in December 2011.  The Warriors were looking to clear cap space to go after FA center DeAndre Jordan.

He would be claimed by the Houston Rockets.  A tough spot for Lin to land however.  The team already had 3 PGs on the roster with guaranteed contracts, Kyle Lowry, Jonny Flynn, & Goran Dragic.  Lin didn’t stand much of a chance.  I’d blame his agent.  To give the kid a fighting chance, he should have been promoting his client to teams that Lin had a chance to stick with.   Being the 4th PG on a team and you being the only one with the non guaranteed contract, the writing was on the walls.  A few weeks later Lin was waived by the Rockets to make room for FA big man Samuel Dalembert.

He would next get his shot with the New York Knicks.  This team DESPERATELY needed a PG.  They, for whatever reason, waived Chauncy Billups and relied on PGs Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby while they waited for Baron Davis to get healthy and save the day.  The Knicks were struggling but Lin couldn’t find the floor.  He made his debut with NY vs. Golden State of all teams.  He would play a limited role for much of the next month and would actually be sent to the D-League.  In his first game for the Erie BayHawks, he would drop a triple double, 28pts 11rebs 12assts.  3 days later, on Jan. 20th, the Knicks would recall him.

He would remain in a bench roll however.  On Feb. 4th Lin would finally get his chance vs. the New Jersey Nets.  With Melo struggling, Lin would come off the bench to play 35min, the most he had played the last 2 weeks combined.  He would provide the Knicks with a spark and with his career performance.  He ended up with 25pts, 5rebs, 7assts, 2stls on 10-19 shooting.  He had come out of nowhere and led NY to the victory 99-92.

The next game, on Feb. 6th, Lin had earned himself a start while Amare would miss the game due to injury.  Melo would play only 5 minutes after straining his groin in the 1st Q.  And Lin would continue his LIN-sanity by scoring 28pts and dishing out 8assts with 2stls while New York would win again 99-88.  Without Melo & Amare, Lin would lead the Knicks to a third straight W over the pathetic Wizards 107-93.  He would record his 1st double-double with 23pts and 10assts while grabbing 4rebs.

People now know who Jeremy Lin is.  He was a versatile scoring PG with the will to win and the ability to get his teammates involved.  Something Melo & Amare couldn’t do while leading the Knicks to an 8-15 record.  With new excitement and better ball movement, the Knicks without their high paid superstars had won 3 in a row and were looking forward to welcoming Kobe and the Lakers to town.  All of a sudden it had turned into Lin vs. Kobe.  Kobe was not aware of “LIN-sanity” so he said.  He would after the game at MSG when the Knicks would win again 92-85.  Lin would have his best game yet.  He had 38pts, 4rebs, 7assts, 2stls on 13-23 shooting and 2-4 from long distance.  He out battled Kobe to give the Knicks their 4th straight win.

Then, on Saturday night, the Knicks would win their 5th straight 100-98 over Kevin Love and the Timberwolves.  Lin would hit some key late free throws while finishing with 20pts, 6rebs, 8assts, 3stls.

Now, with the Knicks back in the hunt for the playoffs, is LIN-sanity for real?  Can this kid continue his short term success?  What will happen when basketball black holes Melo and Amare come back or will they play off of their budding star PG?

I for one, am a believer.  It’s a PG league.  With guards like Derrick Rose doing what he do and budding stars John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio making their impacts felt on weak rosters, why can’t Lin get it done in a place that already has Melo, Amare, and Chandler?  If those stars can accept that this kid can be the missing PG they been looking for, the Knicks might be the Knicks of old who contended for titles.  As a Bulls fan, that is tough to say, but I wouldn’t mind renewing the rivalry.
Keep an eye on this LIN-sanity, it’s about to get more LIN-sane!


Saturday, February 11, 2012


Well it's that time of the year for the NBA... Let the popularity contest begin! All Star games are great for those who participate in it. They get to be recognized as one of the best players in the league and I'm sure the perks of playing in the game and the events surrounding the game aren't bad either. Nevertheless, every year there are always players who leave us wondering how they got in (usually on reputation and overall career body of work) and then there are the few that are still left outside the club wondering what more they would have to do to get in. In this addition of BTBSports I'm going to let you know about a 4 players (2 from each conference) that should have made it in.

Before we get to who should be in lets take a look at who did get in:

Eastern Conference                                                   Western Conference
*Carmelo Anthony                                                   *Kevin Durant
*LeBron James                                                         *Chris Paul
*Derrick Rose                                                           *Kobe Bryant
*Dwyane Wade                                                         *Blake Griffin
*Dwight Howard                                                      *Andrew Bynum
Chris Bosh                                                                  LaMarcus Aldridge
Luol Deng                                                                   Marc Gasol
Roy Hibbert                                                                Kevin Love
Andre Iguodala                                                           Steve Nash
Joe Johnson                                                                Dirk Nowitzki
Paul Pierce                                                                 Tony Parker
Deron Williams                                                          Russell Westbrook

For the most part you could argue that all of these players are deserving of being in but some make you wonder how they got it. Tony Parker for instance, is a great player, but I would not say that his stats or his play really scream ALL-STAR to me this year. I would also have to say the same for Dirk. I know he is part of the defending champs and I'm sure the NBA would hate to not have a member of that team make it but I'm not overly impressed with Dirk's play this year, again still a great player and makes big shots but not sure it was All-Star worthy for me this year.

I think the East is a little harder to "Knit-Pick" because taking a player out of the current line-ups and replacing them with someone else, lets face it, at this level is all about being "Knit-Picky". While I love Carmelo and he is a tremendous player who plays for the big name team.... Have you seen the Knicks this year? They are Horrible! I truly expected more out of that team. While the argument to keep in in will be "Well, he puts that team on his back and has very little help!" I argue that this is what he wanted and he flat out has not produced the results. Finally, Roy Hibbert. I hate to rain on a guys parade when he gets selected to his first All-Star game and he is deserving, however, there is someone else who is even more deserving that Mr. Hibbert.

Lets start out WEST:

Marcin Gortat (PHO) - The man is averaging a Double Double with 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. In addition these are all career highs Gortat! This points are up 5 from last year and rebounds are up by 2. He also chips in with an assist, steal, 2 blocks per game and an efficiency rating of +20 . The guy played second fiddle to Dwight Howard for years and this year he has really shined on his own and an effort like this should be rewarded.

James Harden (OKC)- The leading candidate for the 6th man of the year award in my opinion. The only reason he is not starting is because rules limit the amount of players you can have on the floor to five. The energy that Harden brings of the bench is one thing but the production he brings has got to be envied by almost all teams from around the league.  His numbers are up across the board and he is averaging almost 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists and a +17 efficiency rating.... did I mention that this is off the bench? I know we tend to ignore rookies and bench players for this game but if anyone deserved to be a part of this game it would be Harden.

Now to the EAST:

Ryan Anderson (ORL)- The guy who leads the league in 3's Made and Taken, which you might think is a bad thing if he had taken 250 and only made 74, but he has made those 74 while only taking 172 shots from beyond the arc! That is a remarkable 43%! In a league where making 1 out of 3 from beyond the arc is considered good, Anderson has become the King of the Arc. Which wouldn't mean much by itself but he also pulls down about 8 boards per game to go along with his almost 17 point average and +17 efficiency rating. Anderson is having a career year and with the game in Orlando this year it would've been nice to see that rewarded.

Greg Monroe (DET) -I believe this could be one of the biggest snubs of this years game. Monroe does so much for his team... which lets face facts isn't the greatest. He averages a Double Double with 16 points per to go with 10 boards. That doesn't even mention his almost 3 assists, 2 steals and a 1 block per game. His almost +22 efficiency rating really tells you what he means to his team. When you consider that Dwight Howard (+27) and Kevin Love (+28) are two of the most elite centers in the game, it really says a lot about Monroe's game and more importantly his omission from this years All-Star game.

Honorable mentions:

Brandon Jennings, David Lee, Kyrie Irving, Danillo Gallinari, Kyle Lowry, Ricky Rubio, Pau Gasol and Danny Granger

Let the debate begin!

Keep checking us out for our second half BOLD predictions to go along with our conference finals and NBA Finals match ups and winners.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Post Super Bowl Thoughts

Another Super Bowl has come and gone.  And I must say, when you're right, you're right.  My pick, the Giants, took down Brady and the Pats for the 2nd time in 5 years.  They didn't quite dominate the line of scrimmage on defense like I thought, but they did get some pressure on Brady even though the sacks didn't pile up.  Hell, the pressure led to the first 2pts of the game.  Big factor in the loss for NE, they couldn't make the big play when they needed to in the passing game, and the TE that put up the best statistical season of all time was a basic non factor.  He was effective on his 20yd catch when all he had to do was run straight down the field.  But when he needed to make a cut, he was slower then his teammate Wilfork.

Eli made plays downfield and some guys stepped up in the WR corp.  Hicks caught screen passes and turned them into first downs.  Cruz caught the first TD of the game.  And, well, Manningham made the catch of the night in the 4th quarter.  The running game was effect with Jacobs/Bradshaw combining for 109yds and a 4.2 avg.  Because of that, they controlled the clock 37 to 22 TOP.  The Giants did what I thought they would and they executed it and came out victorious.

But the Pats had a chance at the end.  Almost was the best finish in SuperBowl history.  But, what a great game regardless.  One of the better onces in recent memory.

As far as the other things the SuperBowl has to offer, the commercials weren't that outstanding. 

Nothing really wow me like this one from last year:

But there were a few good ones.  I liked the M&M one as well as the "here we go" dog that ran and fetched everyone beer.  Who doesn't need a dog like that??  The Chevy one was pretty solid bashing Ford about the toughest truck surviving our would be end of days in 2012.  But nothing really stood out in my mind.

And halftime..........awful.  She can't dance, she wasn't singing, and then some chick who thought she was hot shit gave the ol F YOU finger to the camera as it panned to her.  Who was that anyways?  Not a clue.....not well up on my diva chick singers.  But, if you didnt know her before, you sure do now.  Her name and picture is all over the place now.

  Oh her name is M.I.A.  What kinda name is that?  Only thing M.I.A. from this picture was a bit of class.  MIA is a BIA!

But the main attraction, the football, was as good as advertised.  Now the off season follows.  Let the Manning debates begin.  I'm sure I'll hit on that at some point.

Not a whole lot of major big time games on tonight.  I'll be catchin the Bulls @ Nets.  Join me if you dare.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Well it was a good start for BTBSports and our predictions but I have come on here to admit failure in my prop bet segment.

1. According to my timing of the National Anthem it ended up at 1 minute and 34 seconds which would make this this a push.

2. I did however predict that she would nail the National Anthem. Nice work Kelly Clarkson.

3. Called for tails... ended up heads.... what can you do?

4. Went with the over 3.5 Peyton Manning showings. To my defense they didn't even show him in the stadium once during the game. Makes me wonder if he was even there or if he was at his home trying not to steal the spotlight from his younger brother. That just sounds like a Peyton move... total class...regardless I was wrong on this bet.

5. 1st scoring play... not only was I wrong on this count but I couldn't be more off. I don't think I was the only one in this category though. Not many people could have predicted that the first scoring play would be a safety but it would be a safety where Brady would make a mental error and just throw the ball away while he was in the end-zone, but yet again I was wrong.

6. Madonna why did you have to do it.... really you couldn't have went with something a little more conservative? WAIT ... did I really just ask Madonna to be conservative ... what the hell was I thinking?! AGAIN ... I was wrong.

7. Over 1.5 David Tyree showings... WRONG!!!! If this would've been mentions of David Tyree I would've been right... but I must admit NBC did a great job of making it about this years game and not reliving the past. Good work NBC.

8. Brady's First Pass.... SEE #5!

9. Welker or Cruz fist catch... I got one right. This may have come down to who got the ball first but regardless I was right but neither player had a great night.

10. Manning v LBJ... Got another one right but 30 completions was asking a lot of Manning in this game. Ball control was the game and both defenses played well... NE better than expected ... either way Eli-te = MVP!

11. WRONG!  I chose the Blue Gatorade ... My wife picked Red... together we were right ... guess that helps make an argument for compromise.

12. Eli was MVP as predicted by me... but when on the podium he either was not given or did not take the opportunity to thank anyone. I would like to call this a push but not thanking anyone was an option so I have the take the L.

Hope everyone had better luck than I did. Keep looking for more posts by us and remember this blog is nothing without comments from our followers. Give us your opinion ... but BACK IT UP and above all.... Put your NAME on it! We want to know who you are!


Super Bowl Prop Bets

While I do share the same name as my partner I promise you that we will not always agree on the topic at hand. That being said I am in favor of the G-Men winning today and agree with all of his points from his previous post. I decided to take a different route for my first posting on BTBSports. What is a Super Bowl with out some bets to make it fun. I did some research and found some good prop bets to further enhance your Super Bowl viewing experience.

1. Over/Under 1 minute 34 seconds on the National Anthem.
  • I personally think that when you get an event as big as this you tend to find that the performer likes to really show off those vocals. Take the over and sing your heart out Kelly Clarkson. 
2. Over/Under 1 word forgotten/missed during the singing of the National Anthem.
  • Take the under she's done this too many times to mess this one up! 
3. Heads/Tails during the coin toss.
  • Now there is no surefire system for this everyone has their own personal preference on what is good and what is not (much like there are men who prefer one asset of a women over another and women you are not innocent either you all have your surefire way to measure up men [Big Feet/Hands]) I'm taking tails ..... you can read in to that however you want.
4. Over/Under 3.5 times Peyton Manning will be shown during the game tonight.
  • I think this is a good prop bet as older bother Manning has almost been stealing the show with everyone wondering what will happen with him after the Super Bowl is over and he is by far the biggest story happening in the NFL after this game. I think this number is low and believe that 4.5 would've been a better number. Take  the Over on 3.5 and I'll bet he is shown at least 5 times. 
5. What will be the first scoring play of the game?
  • Always a good bet and this is where you can make it as specific or general as possible. It is up to you and your guests to make it as difficult as you would like. This is where I think the betting public will be thrown a curve. With all the emphasis on the passing game I believe that both teams will come out with the mind set of needing to set the tone for the game and show that they will be able to dictate ball control. The first score will be a rushing score but who will score and who will strike first? Give me the "Law Firm" Mr. BenJarvis Green Ellis  from 3 yards out as the first strike of the game but look for the G-Men to adjust and win the game. 
6. Will Madonna wear fishnet stockings at any point during the Halftime Show?
  • Now I'm sure there are still some people who are really big fans of fishnets out there but I'm going with a No for this one and hope for just an overall good show which as been lacking for a long time now. 
7. Over/Under 1.5 times David Tyree's catch will be shown.
  • Take the Over on this one. The media can't help but relive that infamous play and if this game gets close at the end you know it will be shown giving you one and the other one will come at the beginning of the broadcast. 
8. What will be the result of Brady's first pass.
  • To me this is a no brainer.... COMPLETE and I'll even go one step further and say it will go to a TE ..... but it won't be the GRONK.... look for Hernandez to see more looks early to take some pressure off the Gronker. 
9. Welker/Cruz who catches a pass first.
  • This is a tough one as both are very dynamic WR out of the slot. This could come down to who starts with the ball. The problem I see with picking Welker is that there are just soooooo many weapons on the NE side of the ball that Welker can get lost early but Cruz has become a focal point of the NYG offense. Look for Cruz to draw first blood in this one. 
10. Which will be higher Manning Completions or LBJ points v Raptors?
  • LBJ scored 30 against raptors and while this is just an every day thing for BronBron and Manning is certainly capable of completing 30 especially against this NE defense. I still believe that the running game will be the difference in this game and given that I am taking the under. 
11. What color will the Gatorade be that gets dumped on the winning coach.
  • Simply put.... I took the G-Men to win if they dump any other color besides Blue they need to change their team colors next year. 
12. Who will the MVP thank first?
  • Wow! There is a realm of possibilities for this. Could the MVP thank God, Owner, Coach, Teammates, Family, or do they just not thank anyone because they are just that good. This is tricky and depends on who wins this and since Tebow isn't playing in this game the obvious choice is taken away. While God is still a strong possibility regardless of who wins, I have Manning as my MVP of the game and believe he will thank his teammates first. 
Well, that is about it hopefully this will enhance your viewing experience and win you a little money in the process. I should note that all in game bets start once the kickoff happens and end after the the clock reads 0:00. Also, giving credit where credit is due these prop bets came from ESPN's First Take. Enjoy the game and keep an eye out for future posts.


First post.....NYG vs NE.........who YOU got?!?

It's Super Bowl Sunday!  What a great way to start the first post!  If I was a betting man (oh wait I am) my money is on Giants +3.  I don't even think its unlikely that they just win the game outright.

Say what you want about the nations love affair with Brady and Belichick but I'm riding with the team that plays both sides of the football.  Pats can air it out with the best of them but the NYG attack isn't too bad either with Nicks and breakout stud Cruz.  My guess is the Giants will be able to run the ball as well with Jacobs and Bradshaw, easily the 2 best backs playin in the game today.  NE hasn't been able to run the ball for the better part of the year.

Then there is the defense.  Its well known the NYG D has the best front 4 in football.  I'd say they even have an above average linebackers and secondary as well.  NE hasn't been able to stop teams all year long, especially ones that pass which plays to the Giants strength.  NYG will get pressure on Brady and that will be enough to win this game.

I'd even argue that the Pats have had a gold paved road to this point and have had alot of luck.  First, the Pats won their division.  Ok, they earned that.  Not a tough division however with Buffalo, MIA, and NYJ, a combined 20-28.  So they get the first round bye then are lucky enough to draw DEN in their first game after Tebow's miracle victory over PIT.  After NE crushes probably the worst playoff team in the field, they squeek out a victory at home vs. BALT.  That game could of been won by BALT if that catch was reviewed and if not for a missed TO call by Harbaugh and a shank of a FG kick, it could be the Ravens in this game, not the Pats.

What have the Giants done?  Destroyed a dynamic ATL team in New York.  Traveled to Green Bay to handle the Packers who are the defending champs and are led by what should be the eventual MVP of the league.  Then they again traveled to SF and beat THE BEST defense in football this season.  This team can grind it out like they did @ SF, they can throw up points when needed like they did vs GB.........they can beat you many ways basically.

So, in all, give me the team with the more dynamic offense, the better defense, and the team playin the best football at this very moment.  Did I mention they are an underdog tonight?  Take the Giants.

Just wanted to say myself and my parter (also named Matt) will cover a wide range of topics a couple times a week.  Feel free to read, follow, comment, whatever.  We're just a couple of sport fanatics that want to inspire some great debate!  I'm most familiar with the 3 major sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB) with my most knowledge with the Chicago Bulls specifically.  But I'll hit a wide range of topics.

Lets see what my partner has for us today!
Enjoy the game everyone!
- Clark -