Thursday, May 2, 2013
Playoff Picks ATS Day 13: Never Overestimate the Heart of...
a really, really, really, really old team.
Although the New York Knicks starting five's average age is a relatively young (in dog years) 28.6, only one reserve - J.R. Smith at 28 - actually brings that average down. The rest of the team, from the ex-Phoenix D'Antonion Quentin Richardson (33) to New Jersey Nets Finals big man Kenyon Martin (35) and his former Batman and NBA relic Jason Kidd, are destined for Halls of either Fame or Nursing Homes. Rasheed Wallace took one look at the roster and decided to hang 'em up in April, lest he bring down the average age and prevent the Knicks from a date with a book called Guinness.
"C'mon Joey. You know how fast three seconds goes at our age."
Am I exaggerating? No, not at all. The only thing keeping us from remembering how old the Knicks are is them being matched up with the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, over the past two games the Celtics have won games with the composure and aggression of age without the nerves of youth, while the Knicks have looked disorganized and overwhelmed. Have I become a prisoner of the moment; a moment that is evoking comparisons to the 2004 Boston Red Sox comeback against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series? Probably. But isn't that what sports and sports media is all about? If it's not a Hyper "Bowlie" then I don't want to smoke it.
This time, however, the truth is I'm not biting. The reason no NBA team has ever come back from being down 3-0 is because the better teams in NBA seven game series don't generally lose three games in a row - especially not the first three. It's called home court advantage and it's earned over the long, boring regular season by the team that is more consistent night in and night out. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's let the Bostonians build their enthusiasm and nostalgia into a nice, frothy, We Banged Your Honey Nut Cheerios lather, before New York puts an end - once and for all - to the Danny Ainge Experiment.
As for tonight...
POST-SEASON RECORD TO DATE: 25-13 ATS
CONFIDENCE EFFICIENCY RATING (CER): 53/81 or .65
TOP CONFIDENCE PICKS THROUGH DAY 12: 8-4 ATS
CHICAGO BULLS (-1.5) over Brooklyn Nets: Close out games also come down to heart - not the age but rather the substance. The Chicago Bulls, much like the Memphis Grizzlies in the West, is a team that plays every game, every quarter as though it were their last. And this game will be - for the Brooklyn Nets. Some might argue the pressure is on the Bulls to close it out, but sans Derick Rose and with a banged up Joakim Noah they weren't even supposed to be in this series, so much like the Houston Rockets last night, they're playing with house money. Although their 13-28 regular season home ATS record doesn't support this pick at all, with a one and a half point line, you take the team you believe will win the game. Bulls going away. Confidence Rating: 2
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (-1) over Denver Nuggets: Although I don't think the Denver Nuggets played dirty Tuesday night or even sent "hit men" (maybe mailmen with a message) after Stephen Curry, what I do think is that Mark Jackson (much like his distant cousin Phil) now has the attention of the referees for tonight's. Early foul trouble coupled with the deafening "Roar"acle crowd in Oak Town and the Nuggets will find themselves scrambling to climb back after the early onslaught of Bogut on the inside, the Splash Brothers from the perimeter, and Bazemore from the bench. More on that last guy tomorrow. Confidence Rating: 1
Good luck Kyle. Good luck Todd. Good luck anyone else who's still following along with the marathon. Only six more months to go...
Vinny and Marco