GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 PIGSKIN Picks: 68-44 ats...61%
NFL 28-19 - NCAA 20-15 - Teasers 20-10 - Lovely Ladies 69-0
GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 HARDWOOD Picks: 50-36 ats…58%
NBA 33-24 - NCAA 11-10 - Teasers 6-2 - Church League 69-0
Btw, if you missed my Super Bowl Recap, the Michael Phelps Glaucoma scare, or my undefeated ATS plays yesterday…Touch Me Here
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ DENVER NUGGETS (-5)
While Pop’s vets have been playing like Championship contenders of late, they also have been playing a lot of frickin games on the road of late…including last night’s OT win at the carnival that is Golden MFin St. In somewhat of an unheard of schedule in the Association, the Spurs will be playing their 7th game in the last 12 days, never with more than a day break, and with five of the last six on the road. And tonight’s back-to-back headache comes after a draining performance against Donnie Nelson’s run-n-gun show where the Big Three averaged 40 minutes apiece…not to mention the AARP role-players Michael Finely & Kurt Thomas also totaled 63 minutes of court time.
And in what usually is considered a trap-game scenario for an overused squad, after tonight the Spurs head home for a four-day recovery before flying to play the Defending Champs in Beantown. But back to tonight, of all the places to finish a trip, you think Mr. Duncan is looking forward to banging with Nene in Denver’s crazy mile-high air. Speaking of the 26 year-old beastly Brazilian, the artist formerly known as Maybyner Rodney Hilario is finally healthy and putting together a solid season (15 ppg, 8 rpg, 62 fg%), while ferociously attacking the basket and looking even sharper of late (last six games: 18 ppg , 10 rpg, 69 fg%). As for his frontcourt running-mate, K-Mart’s knee is healthier than ever, he’s been extremely active on defense, and has added a nice shooting touch to his game (50 fg%, 50-3pt%). Throw-in the rebirth of the Birdman (last five games: 7 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 bpg), and I have a feeling a tired Timmy D will have all he can handle in the paint tonight.
In addition, while the Nuggs surprised everybody with their play in the absence of Carmelo (elbow), the former Orangeman returned to action Friday and looked in better shape than ever (30 min – 19 pts 5 ass) and appears to be playing with a chip on his shoulder after being skipped over for All-Star Weekend. While Billups leadership was he main reason Denver is still in the middle of the playoff picture, the emergence of J.R. Smith (last five games: 18 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg) and Linaz Kleiza (last five games: 18 ppg, 6 rpg) during Melo’s stationary bike tour could be a blessing for Coach Karl during the second half of the season.
Overall, while the Spurs have been unbelievably consistent of late (winners of four straight), sometimes at the end of a road-trip those wins cause a team to have a little less urgency. As for Denver, they’ve won four of five, have an extremely underrated home-court atmosphere (19-6), are well rested, and have Mr. Melo looking to prove he’s more than just marketing gem. While Tony Longoria will have his moments slicing past Chauncey & his massive chompers, the Nuggets will have too much energy for a veteran squad thinking about heading back to the Alamo…NUGGETS BY 8-14 POINTS