Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Bird Man Cometh: NBA Playoff Picks ATS Day 3

Post-Season to Date: 3-5 ATS

Confidence Efficiency Rating (CER): 8/20 or .4

For more on our totally made up but logical CER, please read the paragraph beneath James Harden's mug at:


Having been raised by a couple of pot-smoking, non-competitive, pacifistic hippies, it was never my destiny to end up as a professional athlete. Coming to terms with my strengths and what my mother called "growth edges" at an early age, my dreams morphed from the rather elaborate fantasy of being a nine year-old infielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers to the more realistic ten year-old General Manager, twelve year-old owner, and finally to the much more attainable college-aged color commentator for any minor league affiliate that would have me.

As a result, I came to appreciate the fine art of broadcasting at a very young age. I remember muting the television and imitating Howard Cosell on Monday Nights and Vin Scully from April through October. I'd paint pictures of historic at bats by my favorite players right down to the extraneous bits of background information Scully often included between pitches. Baseball was truly the perfect pace for an adolescent with modified dreams.

The pace of basketball, however, is a completely different beast - be it live, on TV, or on the radio. Today I had the pleasure of listening to all the playoff games at work on Satellite Radio, learning in a hurry that there are no homers quite like the radio broadcasters in the NBA. They were all very talented, but my favorite one of the day resides in Miami. I don't know his name, but his infatuation with Miami Heat reserve, Chris Andersen, was about as subtle as The Bird Man's tattoos.


Besides Andersen's striking resemblance to me without a shirt on, my favorite part of the Heat game was the various ways in which the broadcaster analogized his basketball skills with avian behavior. From the very cliche

"The Bird Man soars down the lane for the lay-up,"

to more of a stretch

"And the Bird Man picks up the change and slams it in the nest,"

to the downright obscure

"Bird Man gobbles up the loose ball, digest it, and regurgitates it into baby Mario's mouth."

What??? That's not cool. Chalmers is a starter.

Along the way, I actually found a way to root for LeBron and the Miami Heat. It's called gambling. Although Marco and I only went 2-2 ATS today our CER was 7/10. I was also feeling pretty good about myself in the final game when the Rockets tied the Thunder with five minutes left in the first half. That was, of course, before OKC went on a 517-3 run to close out the game.

Today, Marco and I decided we might do a little better with our picks if we use that stuff - what's it called, what's it called - research. This whole painting a story line that we'd like to see happen isn't really panning out for us. Eight home teams win, seven cover. Is this a set-up, or what?


Chicago Bulls (+4.5) over BROOKLYN NETS. In a surprise move, the Chicago Bulls have signed former NBA star Latrell Sprewell to a ten hour contract as an intimidation tactic to rattle Brooklyn coach, P.J. Carlisimo. In the real world, however, Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau is one of the best in the business as making adjustments, which in this case is mainly a better defensive game plan to contain Williams and put a body on that freaky twin in the post. Meanwhile, the Nets will come into this game over-confident, dig themselves a hole, and have to play catch up for three quarters. Brooklyn is a surprising 16-23-2 ATS at home this year while the Bulls were an impressive 23-18 ATS. These stats will balance out in Game 2. We're not just expecting the cover, we're predicting the win.  Confidence Rating: 2

Memphis Grizzlies (+5.5) over LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS. Statistically speaking, these teams have identical ATS records for this match-up with the Grizzlies going 24-16-1 on the road and the Clippers brandishing the same record at home. Things tend to balance out. Don't you think Vegas expects people to expect the same result we saw on Saturday. Don't you think Zach Randolf and defensive player of the year candidates  Marc Unleaded Gasoline and Tony The Tiger Allen have adapted to the Hollywood climate and are ready to get down to business? Don't you think every basketball player in the NBA should have a nickname, and don't you think I should be the one to give it to them? 
Confidence Rating: 1

Happy Gambling, TSZers. Don't forget to Spread the word about The Zone. 

Vinny and Marco

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