ATS – Yesterday: 1-2…I’ll admit that I never saw 41 points coming from Linas Kleiza, but at least ISU beat Mizzu this week!
Overall – CBB: 15-12 NBA: 54-56 NFL: 22-20
GOLDEN ST WARRIORS (-1) @ CHICAGO BULLS
I had to trade in my GST tix because of a work-party tonight, but I don’t think Baron & S-Jax will be too devastated in my absence to let this one slip away (BTW, I have 5th row floor seats behind the Pistons bench Saturdary!). Unlike the East, Nellie and his gang of swingmen cannot afford to lose two in-a-row too often and stay in a playoff race with the surprising Blazers, Hornets, & Lakers making 45 wins a probable destination for postseason. While the Bulls made the Heat look silly, watching Jason “bad-knee” Williams & Dorell “I should be in the NBDL” Wright pair with an expansion-roster bench was the reason Skiles’s former team rolled this week. Tonight, I expect the Bulls to be extra tight in-front of a home-crowd that’s been quick to treat them like the Dog-Lovers have treated Ronny Mexico once things go south. Especially...
Especially with Hinrich’s back still giving him problems (questionable), I can’t see how Baron doesn’t explode for 30 and Monta Ellis doesn’t exploit the defensively-challenged Ben Gordon. While Luol Deng & Noce will provide some spark from the wing, they’ll also have their hands-full with S-Jax, Harrington, Pietrus, Azubuike, & the tattooed-wonder Matt Barnes. The teams that give GST the most trouble usually have a solid inside presence, so unless Aaron Gray lost 20 lbs or Tyrus Thomas added 20 lbs the last few days, I don’t think Joe Smith will be able to off-set what the Warrior guards do to our undersized backcourt…Warriors by 6-10 points
PORTLAND BLAZERS (-5) @ MIAMI HEAT
Any chance Coach LA Looks, D-Wade, & the Diesel are planning on tanking an already lost season to get one of the young phenoms in the up-coming draft? While I’m sure you won’t see them purposely throw the ball out-of-bounds, Wade looks awfully passive lately and Riley actually seems content developing Daequan Cook & Dorell Wight. Especially with all the injuries and a bench that couldn’t beat the Idaho Stampede, I can’t see how a deep, energetic Blazers squad coming off a loss to the Celtics doesn’t destroy the Flames of Florida. With all the shooters spreading the floor and a brilliant coach that knows the Blazers are still not guaranteed a playoff spot, they'll be up 10 by halftime and then we'll see guys like Luke Jackson & Earl Barron replacing the Heat All-stars by the 3rd quarter…Blazers by 10-14 points
SEATTLE SONICS @ MEMPHIS GIZZLIES (-6)
While both teams have similar records, the Grizz have actually played some inspired ball of late with a 1-pt loss against the Lake Show and an OT-loss to King James this week. Pau Gasol has been phenomenal of late (Last 5 games: 24 ppg, 12 rpg, 2 bpg, 57fg%), while rookie PG Mike Conley has been the speed-demon playmaker coach Iavaroni needs to run his PHX Suns style offense. As for their wing scorers, I expect Mike Miller & Rudy Gay to play with a chip on their shoulders with the rooks in-town (Durant & Green) while Juan Carlos Navarro (last 3 games: 12-22 from behind the arc) will continue to be a spark off the bench. As for the Sonics, while I expect the Grizz to treat this as a must win, P.J. Carlesimo seems content merely developing their young talent...and I can’t see how his vets off-the-bench get too riled-up for this trip to Memphis …Grizz by 10-14 points
NIAGARA PURPLE EAGLES (-13) @ CANISIUS G. GRIFFINS
Canisius (2-14) is vying to be one of the worst teams in Div-I ball, and that was before they played without the only two upperclassmen getting minutes (3rd & 4th leading scores) the last two games. No idea if they’ll play tonight as the only thing their beat-writer has mentioned the last couple games is that a walk-on is now starting. As for (11-4) Niagara, they sit atop the MAAC with Siena and are led by Conf. MVP candidate Sr. Charron Fisher (28 ppg, 9 rpg) and 6-10 Jr. Benson Egemonye who has been awesome of late (last 3 games: 19 ppg, 11 rpg, 2 bpg) and will probably be matched-up with a 6-7 freshman most of the night. The Purple Eagles only loss in conference was to Siena two games ago, so I expect them to still have the fire tonight, especially since Siena just beat Canisius by 28 in this building…Niagara by 18-22 points
*Mike's Rant will be back in Action tomorrow!