As I’m hunched over at my desk, I’m thinking about today’s NBA game in general, the lockout, the lack of training camps and exhibition games, the resulting ugly play most nights and the horrifying epidemic of injuries changing teams’ regular seasons.
A full-fledged fan of basketball before and now nearly balls-deep in NBA spread analysis and betting, I’m spending a good hour or six today researching today’s games. I bet between one and five dollars on each game against the spread so I can back up my picks in basketball conversations, but it’s really just to satisfy my own inner sports nerd.
I can’t help but draw parallels from the NBA to what we just witnessed in the NFL this season. The championship was wide open and not just due to injury: there were just no totally dominant teams. This even draws comparisons to baseball and hockey. Is there one dominant team in the popular american sports as far as postseason success is concerned?
Perhaps those years of juggernaut franchises are over in sports. I don’t know the numbers, but I don’t think there’s a huge nor growing interest in becoming a professional athlete among the younger generations anymore, so maybe the competition has lessened. I immediately think that since there are more people, even if that percentage has maintained relatively the same for the last few decades or even decreased a few points, the amount of competition should at least be sufficient.
Are we just not that good at sports anymore?
Monta Ellis is shaking his head at me right now.
Have the major sports associations in the U.S. successfully evened the odds for the small-markets and bastard franchises? Sometimes with questionable integrity if your last name starts with “S” and ends with “N” and involves a trade where a player with a 3-letter nickname going to a storied, big-market franchise was a done deal until you somehow cancelled it and took what you thought to be a better deal from that same big-market’s bastard other professional basketball team which I happen to be a huge fan of, but can’t deny the fishiness of said transaction to, you slimy, selfish, power-hungry savage of a corporate stooge…*deep breath*…
My apologies. That got a bit out of hand.
There just aren’t any teams without some kind of exploitable weakness. A weak backcourt off the bench, sub-par core of defensive backs, solid running game but only one serviceable receiver, turning the ball over and so forth, there’s no one team that looks like a lock for any kind of postseason success that I can tell. There is no one dominant team anymore, in my opinion: The playoffs are wide open.
On the Quality of Play:
Between phantom fouls and other controversial close calls (and defnitely bad… really bad calls… *cough* goaltending *clearing throat*) affecting the outcomes of various games, it’s reassuring to find a well-officiated game buried in the pile of crap that is the 2011-2012 NBA regular season thus far for the refs and players alike. I feel like there have been a lot of bad games in this compacted season for the players, but, not only are there some pretty good ones going on weekly, I won’t stop watching regardless.
It’s more a disclaimer than bragging. When it comes to sports, I’ve done things and acted in ways that are not so much unexplainable, but possibly morally reprehensible.
Even though there’s been some rustiness, if the NFL season tells us something, come April we should be seeing either some really awesome basketball or just a barren wasteland of bench players forced into starting roles due to injuries and coaches benching the starters because the season is already lost and the team needs a higher lottery pick.
“This picture of Rondo shows the toll taken on the players’ bodies.”
Please be the former, NBA.
Games of the Weekend:
I wouldn’t expect much from the Lakers in New York after a big win in Boston last night with Jeremy “Sty” Lin looking to stay hot after a fiery 3-game stretch, but there are some pretty interesting match-ups, many with possible playoff implications, this weekend.
Dirk has stepped it up as of late, but the Wolves get Kevin Love back after his 2-game suspension for not-so-subtly stepping on the face of one Luis Scola. The emergence of Nikola Pekovic despite Darko intrigues as Rubio continues to blossom as one of the league’s headiest players. The Mavs look to go over .500 on the road, but they’ll have a rough go of it at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Should be fun to watch!
Friday: Mavericks @ Timberwolves, 5:05 PM PT
Pick: Timberwolves getting 2 at home. +110 to win seems okay.
The Mavs go home to play the Blazers Saturday with both teams on the second night of a back-to-back, but both the Nuggets and Pacers are looking to get back on track.
Gallo is out, so who will step up for the Nuggets?
Saturday: Nuggets @ Pacers, 4:05 PM PT
Pick: Pacers giving 3.
And the big one! The rolling Bulls come to Boston on Sunday looking to improve their league-best 22-6 record. Boston has played strong lately, however, so this one could come down to the wire.
The Heat go to Atlanta (4:05 PM PT) where the Hawks are struggling without Horford, but they are still dangerous.
Sunday: Bulls @ Celtics, 12:35 PM PT
Pick: Bulls – no line, yet.