ATS This Week – 4-2…Tryin’ to win back my fans!
ATS HOOPS Overall – CBB: 29-25 NBA: 72-75
Greg Gamble's NBA Trade Analysis
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Pau Gasol to the Lakers was the most amazing acquisition since the White Sox received Jon Garland for Matt Karchner or when David Spade traded in his groupie-trash for Heather Locklear. If Bynum was healthy and Kobe’s finger could perform at Brandi Belle’s level, I’m convinced they would have dominated the playoffs…now, 50/50 they win it all. (Whatever you do, don't google for Brandi Belle)
While I’m as big a fan of J-Kidd as Joumana, the move to Dallas is one of the few places the whinny, crabby, shooting-challenged guy fits. Even though the Mavs gave-up waaaaay too much, it was impossible to put Jason Terry & Devin Harris on the floor together as nobody had the size to guard the 2-spot. Now, Kidd can slide-over on D and Terry can play his usually lousy D on the opponents PG…not great, but a better solution than before. In addition, I think Kidd forces Avery to play faster which will make Josh Howard look sweeter than the scenery in the Wisconsin Dells during prom-week and let Dirk knockdown those transition-jumpers that made him famous under Donnie Nelson. The only problem, losing Diop’s presence in the middle will cause a Duncan/Shaq/Gasol/Bynum match-up against Mr. Dampier all by his lonesome...aka GAME OVA 2nd ROUND
While you have to luv the balls of GM Stevie Kerr, I can’t figure-out how this is gonna work. For all the truth behind The Matrix becoming a superstar because of Mr. Nash, nobody in the league was better for Suns run-n-gun style than Marion. With all the long-rebounds and loose-balls created by D’Antoni’s system, Shawn’s ridiculous quickness and leaping ability created tons of 2nd chance opportunities for the Suns. While I understand how Shaq will take some pressure off Amare and can picture him standing just outside the paint ready to destroy the basket from a Nash dish, the fact that he’ll probably only give them 20 solid minutes a night means Boris Diaw & Brian Skinner will be logging heavy frontcourt time come the playoffs.
Mike Bibby to Hot-lanta may look pretty on paper to the so-called roundball wizards, but as a basketball scouting savant myself, I’m not sure this makes the Hawks that much better. The highflying youngsters on ATL need a playmaking PG to utilize their talents, and Mr. Headband is not what you call a Spud Webb type of distributor. While he's is a clutch-shooter and decent ball-handler, his scoring ability is similar to Joe Johnson’s and his defense is actually a step-down from Tyronn Lue & Anthony Johnson’s…both just traded to Sac-Town. Bibby’s game flourished off the skills of high-post passers like Chris Webber & Brad Miller, and now, he’s forced to teach Al Horford how to play the pick-n-roll on the fly.
With that, let’s find some ATS games and bikinis to close-out Hump Day!
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (+3.5) @ PHOENIX SUNS
The Lakers are a machine since the Gasol trade and are playing with a chip on their shoulder that would make MJ proud. As for tonight, with Shaq lacing them up, you know Kobe will do everything in his power to prevent the headlines from praising the Suns new Diesel-look. While the frontcourt of the Lakers has dominated teams of late and added a perfect dimension to the triangle with Pau, the depth in the Lakers backcourt has given the Zen Master tons of options…and tonight, expect them to handle Nash & the Brazilian Bandit better than most squads. But the biggest reason I know I’ll be having Cristal & Caviar tomorrow, you know it’s gonna take some time for them to get used to having a plodding big-man in the game. Not to mention...(better click on "Continue Reading" below for the wonderful-world of BIKINIS & BBALL PICKS)
Not to mention, I guarantee the Suns will force the ball into him to get him involved early and that just doesn’t seem like a solid option with arguably the hottest team on the professional hardwood in town. Write it down, take a picture, I DON’T GIVE A KOBE TAI…Lakers win
CHICAGO BULLS (-3) @ NEW JERSEY NETS
In the Nets final game before the All-Star break they played without J-Kidd and looked completely lost trying to initiate the offense, as a result, they were trailing the Raptors by 32 in the 3rd quarter. Tonight, not only will they be dealing with life without Kidd, but rumors have Vince Carter being dealt by Thursday’s trade-deadline…which means the already focused-challenged Vinsanity probably won’t show too much effort chasing the young Bullies around. Speaking of the Skiles’less squad, Ben Gordon looks to be back in action tonight, while Luol Deng participated in practice yesterday and will probably see some time. In their absence, Capt. Kirk, Thabo, & Noce looked awesome taking over the scoring load, while T-Time started to play with some passion and Joe Smith & Joakim Noah provided stability on the glass. Look for the Bulls to go on a little run over the next few weeks as the All-Star break gave them time to reflect on how awful they were in the 1st half, not to mention, Deng & Gordon need to make sure they don’t look like fools for turning down zillions & zillions of dollars…Bulls in an easy win
ATLANTA HAWKS @ SACTOWN KINGS (-5.5)
Arco Arena should be rocking tonight with crowd-favorite Mike Bibby returning in a Hot-lanta jersey. As for how the trade effects both teams, the Hawks have a huge adjustment with a new floor-general now running with their high-flying youngsters, while the Kings actually go-back to their early-season success with the unselfish Beno Udrih running the show. Mike “No-D” Bibby looked awful last night in LA, and tonight, you have to think he’ll be even more nervous trying not to lay an egg in his recently-old stomping-grounds. While Bibby was a clutch shooter for the Kings, what gets lost is how much Brad Miller’s high-post passing ability and pick-n-roll opened things up for him. Now with ATL, his game must be completely transformed to fit the iso-style utilized by Joey J and J. Smith. As for the Kings 1st game since the trade, their balanced scoring attacked rolled by double-digits in Portland. And to finalize my ATS confidence, the Kings have been awesome at home winning 6 of their last 7 and should be extra pumped tonight, while you know the young Hawks will not know what to expect with the crazy atmosphere at Arco…Kings by 9-13 points
NEW YORK KNICKS (+6.5) @ PHILLY 76ERS
Call me crazy, but I think Isiah “It’s ok for a black guy to call a black girl BEEATCH” Thomas finally has a line-up that could push the Knicks into the playoffs. The combo of Zach Randolph’s dominating high/low post play (last night: 24 pts 10 reb) and David Lee’s selfless role as a rebounder/defender has the frontcourt clicking (last night: 19 pts 7 reb), while the backcourt of Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford have an eerie confidence looking to prove the can start together (last night: 40 pts 11 reb 10 ass 4 to). The missing link may be at SF as Q-Richardson tries to rebound from a horrendous 1st half, and last night, he seemed to respond with 19 pts and 6 rebs in an OT victory over the Wizards. Tonight, they face an overachieving 76ers squad that was embarrassed in Minnesota last night and really don’t really have a go-to guy to stop-the-bleeding once the shots aren’t falling. The biggest reason I’m taking my emergency-fund money and rolling with the Knickerbockers tonight is the match-ups. While Andre Miller has been extremely efficient taking PGs to the hole, despite his size, Nate Robinson has the strength and annoying quickness to hassle him all night. At the other guard spot, the defensively-challenged Crawford has a perfect match-up with the offensively-challenged Willie Green. In the frontcourt, expect Zach Randolph to keep Sammy D from protecting the basket by maneuvering in the high-post, while rookie Thad Young is playing out-of-position at PF and can’t rebound with David Lee. Sure, Iggy will have a nice box-score at the SF position, but he’s still more of slasher than a scorer so expect Zeke to use the length of Jared Jeffries if Q has trouble keeping-up with the former Wildcat…Knicks in an upset
MARQUETTE EAGLES (-7.5) @ ST. JOHN’S RED STORM
After some tough losses in late-January and early-February, the Eagles seem to have righted-the-ship and have a confidence they displayed early in the year, not only at home, but on the road. The Eagles have won 2-straight, an impressive 24-point win at Seton Hall and an absolutely dominating performance against #24 Pittsburg last Friday, and have one of the best coaches at having his team’s peak at the right time in Tom Crean. With a balanced, veteran-attack, the Eagles look determined to climb-up the standings in the ever-changing Big East, and tonight, face a St. John’s squad that seems to have given-up on the season and ready to develop their youngsters. Four freshmen started in the Red Storm’s 18-point home loss to Villanova Saturday, while two others received big-time minutes for a team that was already shooting 40% from the field, 32% from Craig Hodges range, and 68% from the charity stripe on the season…Golden Eagles in a blow-out