The 66th NBA All-Star game commences in one week at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans at 8:00pm eastern. Since the game is simply an exhibition and since Valentine’s Day is Tuesday, which requires us gentlemen to exhibit not only a smile but our best behavior, today we’re going ranting.
New York state of disarray
Maybe, just maybe, New York Knicks owner James Dolan isn’t the complete and utter buffoon America is making him out to be. Maybe Dolan is a brilliant marketing strategist masquerading as a buffoon because that’s the role he’s required to play to fulfill the greater economic good.
What greater economic good, you ask? Answer me this: How on Earth does the 12th-best team in the Eastern Conference, who just so happens to have lost 19 of its last 25 games, happen to dominate the national sports headlines, talk radio frequencies and television stations with such ferocious consistency that even Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City and LeBron James’ beef with Charles Barkley have been relegated to the media and barroom banter back burners?
How on Earth does the fourth-worst team in the Eastern Conference, who just banished franchise legend Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden for life, currently rank fourth in the NBA in per game attendance at 19,812 fans?
How on Earth do we have little idea what’s happening in Phoenix, Denver, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Portland on any given night as it pertains to the National Basketball Association, but we are consistently stumbling across up-to-the-minute updates on the disorganization known as the New York Knicks?
Again, maybe owner James Dolan is actually a brilliant marketing strategist who happened to take a dog turd basketball club and turn them into the most talked about franchise in all the land.
Or maybe, just maybe, Dolan is a buffoon who has no idea what he’s doing at the helm of one of professional sports’ most iconic properties.
The Knicks have lost 20 of their last 26 games and are only 11-15 ATS during that span (42.31 percent), including 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four (all home games).
Kevin Durant 3, Oklahoma City 0
Saturday night was about one thing and one thing only: Kevin Durant’s first trip back to Oklahoma City since departing for Golden State last July. Now that the dust has settled, here’s what you need to know:
Durant and the Warriors are now 3-0 SU and 3-0 ATS against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, winning by an average of 21.0 points per game while covering point spreads of -12, -15 and -8, respectively. The final showdown of the season between these two clubs takes place on Monday, March 20 in Oklahoma City and you should be foaming at the mouth to make the following two bets: Warriors minus the points and Durant OVER total points + rebounds + assists.
This second bet is of particular importance as the OVER is 3-0 this season when Durant faces OKC, with the former league MVP totaling 47, 56 and 46 points + rebounds + assists, respectively, in his previous three encounters with Westbrook.
As to the OKC fan reaction regarding Durant’s return, I believe Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said it best: “Boo the player, not the man.”
Kevin Durant legitimized Oklahoma City as a professional sports town – six playoff appearances in nine seasons, one trip to the NBA Finals, one MVP Award. Prior to Durant, the only claim to sports fame the state of Oklahoma could tout was Sooners football. Now they’ve got one of the most recognizable NBA brands thanks to Durant, who just so happened to be a pillar of that community from start to finish.
You want to call him, “Cupcake,” Oklahoma City fans? Fine. Just be sure to recognize the bitter irony of that scenario.
You hate Durant for taking a better business opportunity, but didn’t the Seattle SuperSonics realize that moving to Oklahoma City was, in fact, a better business opportunity?
However, I must say that the build-up to Saturday night’s showdown and the hostile fan reaction is one of the many reasons why I love sports.
So much for Cleveland’s struggles
The month of January saw LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers go 7-8 SU and 3-12 ATS. LBJ was calling out his front office and some select teammates, Charles Barkley was calling out LBJ and the news cycle turned ever more vicious against the defending champions with every passing headline.
And then the calendar flipped to the month February, where James and the Cavs have gone 5-1 SU and 5-1 ATS with the over cashing in at a perfect 6-0.
With only two games remaining until the All-Star break, I’d pay very close attention to laying the lumber at Minnesota on Tuesday night. However, Wednesday against Indiana poses an entirely different scenario altogether.
Remember, the Cavaliers are an abysmal 3-7 SU and 2-8 ATS in the second half of a back-to-back situation this season. But since the Indiana game on Wednesday is the final contest before the break, will Cleveland display a renewed focus and desire to close out the first half of the season on a high note?
Well surprise, surprise!
Question: Entering Sunday, which team has posted the highest covering percentage in the NBA through the first half of the season?
Answer: The Philadelphia 76ers at .592 (32-22 ATS)
Question: Which NBA rising star was recently diagnosed with minor tear in his knee meniscus?
Answer: Philadelphia 76ers rising star Joel Embiid
It never ends, does it?
NBA bet of the week
Monday, February 13: Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets
The bet: OVER
Why: The OVER is 8-0 in the last eight meetings between the Warriors and Nuggets, including 5-0 in the last five contests between these two clubs played in Denver.
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