GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 HARDWOOD Picks: 69-53 ats…57%
NBA 49-38 - NCAA 14-13 - Teasers 6-2 - Church League 69-0
My ATS Bus got rollin' yesterday (3-1)...Touch Me Here to see why!
Before we hit my NBA Play of the Day, the Jets and Laveranues Coles have severed ties on the final year of his contract so the Damon Wayans look-alike could find a long-term deal. As a Bear fan, while Anquan Boldin is my Andriana Lima (aka #1 choice), the 31 year-old speedster with mitts Rashad Davis could only dream about is my Jennifer Aniston (aka a solid veteran option always in solid shape).
The durable Coles had 93 catches and 1098 yards in 2006, missed four games in 2007 (his first time missing action since the 2000 season) and bounced back with 70 receptions, 850 yards, & 7 tuddies last season. While some may be scared following the Muhsin Muhammad experiment, Laveranues still has solid athleticism & elite speed, keeps his body in Greggy G shape, and will be much cheaper (relatively) than Moose was. I know he’s not a savior, but considering the Bears cheapness of late (Marty Booker last year), he’d immediately become the best WR on the squad and provide phenomenal hands & route running for whatever middle-of-the-road QB is under center.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (-2.5) @ HOUSTON ROCKETS
The reason most casual betters refuse to even sniff the NBA docket is the perception that no matter how you analysis a game, a team can simply take the night off. In the Cavs case, they reason that’s not an option is the desperately need home-court throughout the playoffs. After losing Game Seven in Boston last year, King James & Co. are more desperate than Tara Reid in Hollywood to finish atop the East. And as it stands now, Boston & Cleveland are basically dead even.
Since losing to the Lakers and a hiccup two night later in Indiana, the Cavs have won five straight by an average of 16 ppg and should look fresh having played the last couple at home (and rested their starters most of Tuesday’s contest against Memphis). In addition, the underrated combo-guard Delonte West (wrist- probable) returned to action Sunday against Detroit (he only sat out Tuesday because it was the Grizz) and looked better than ever (8-11 FG, 5-5 3-pt, 4-4 FT, 5 reb, 4 ass). In addition, while all the so-called gurus called the Cavs crazy for holding onto Wally’s expiring contract, KG’s old whipping-boy has been solid this season (45 fg%, 41 3pt%) and is a perfect compliment for Bron-Bron spotting-up on the perimeter.
On the Rockets side, while I honestly believe their better knowing T-Mac is not day-day (not to mention he appears to be suffering from Penny “suddenly washed-up” Hardaway-syndrome), their still in somewhat of a transition mode with the rotation…especially with the departure of PG Rafer Alston. I know Ron Artest has finally found his mojo after an injured-plagued first half and the insertion into the starting line-up, but for all the talk he’s the "Tru Warrior" he once was, he’s become more of jump-shooter than an aggressive attacker.
As for the match-ups, starting with the best baller on the planet, while casual fans probably see Shane Battier & Mr. Artest as the quintessential wings to slow Bron-Bron, they no longer have the quickness to come close to slowing the hardwood god. As for a prediction, Ron-Ron will try to use his hands-on tactics and will find himself in foul trouble immediately, while Battier will simply be overpowered and shot-ova by the man-child. Throw-in Houston’s Bigs that play smart D, but don’t move too well, and I expect King James to absolutely takeover tonight’s contest in-front of Sir Charles & the TNT crew.
On the block, while Yao Ming has been extremely efficient of late, the size & smarts from Big Z should keep the Cavs from having to double down too much. Throw-in the bruising tacktics from Big Ben & the Brazilian Side Show Bob when they take a turn, I don’t see the Chinaman having that much success.
And finally, probably the most underrated aspect of tonight’s game…
And finally, probably the most underrated aspect of tonight’s game, while the newly crowned starting point for Houston (lil speedster Aaron Brooks) has shown flashes of becoming a solid playmaker & clutch shooter, All-Star Mo Williams has looked better with each passing game and loves the nationally-televised stage. Throw-in Boobie Gibson’s long-range abilities off the bench against Cleveland newcomer Kyle Lowry, and the Rockets should have more problems than just stopping the King. CAVS BY 7-12 POINTS