Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 11/24/2008
The sun has set on the fourth week of the NBA season and the cream is already rising to the top. The Lakers and the Celtics are starting to prove to the rest of the NBA that if anyone wants to get to the Finals they need to knock off the defending Eastern and Western Conference champs. Boston and L.A. are a combined 23-3 straight up after their first 26 games and both teams are in first in their respective conferences.
Not only that, but the two teams are a combined 20-1 in intraconference games, with the Lakers a perfect 10-0 against the Western Conference.
While both clubs have been equally dominating, it's interesting to note that the Lakers have actually had a much better go of it at the betting window. Now, not only do they have nicer weather and bigger, faker breasts on the Left Coast, but the Lakers also have an 8-4 mark against the spread while Boston has struggled to keep their head above The Harbor at 8-7 ATS.
The secret to the success of each club - you know, besides the incredible execution, exceptional bench play, and plethora of Hall of Famers - is that these teams have been able to win on the road despite taking everyone's best shot. Boston is 6-1 SU away from home with their lone loss coming at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, who, as we've seen, are extremely feisty on their home court. Los Angeles is a spotless 5-0 away from home and are winning by an average margin so swollen Dr. 90210 would be proud. The Lake Show is winning on the road by an average of 16.4 points per game, which is ridiculous.
Lakers are the Best in the West. Celtics are the Beasts in the East. Close your eyes and pump some "Sweet Child O'Mine" and it could be 1988 all over again.
With that said, it is now time to bring you up to speed on all the goings on in the NBA. So without further ado, I give you, Around the NBA in 24 Seconds:
24. Kobe Bryant has now made it clear, at least in my eyes, that he is the best player in the NBA. LeBron might be close, but Kobe's skill set is unmatched by anyone in the league.
23. The New York Knicks just traded away their first and second leading scorers on the year, and the fans are happy about it. The latest rumor out of the Big Apple is that they aren't just going for LeBron in 2010, but that they want Bosh and Nash as well. I don't know about anyone else, but the thought of King James playing in a Mike D'Antoni offense is enough to make my nipples hard.
Also, I'm going to wait to break down the moves that the Knicks have made. Not just from their perspective, but from the view of Golden State and the Clippers as well. Too often people are ready for knee-jerk reactions (the books PREY on that) to these things. I would rather see how it shakes out.
22. Dwyane Wade is back, ladies and gentleman. He is single handedly winning games for the Heat. His stat line…28.9 points, 7.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game. Oh yeah, and 2.0 blocks per game. UNREAL! The Heat are not a very deep or experienced team. But they're tough to bet against with that cat on the prowl.
21. Away teams are 107-87-3 on the year ATS. That is a 55.2-percent winning clip.
20. Since Michael Jordan left the Bulls they are 5-47 on their annual two-week road trip. Each year the circus comes to the United Center and the Bulls need to hit the road. And each year they get absolutely destroyed during their jaunt around the NBA.
19. Favorites are 129-66 straight up on the season, good for 66 percent winning percentage, but only 90-102-3 ATS. That means that blindly betting every NBA underdog has been a profitable play to this point, and that doesn't count straight up wins by puppies.
18. Tracy McGrady is only averaging 15.9 points a game, a nine-year low, 4.3 assists a game, a nine-year low, and shooting under 40 percent for the first time in his career. Looks like Ron Artest is having a great effect on one Rocket player. And at what point do we call McGrady what he is - an overrated bust of a player.
17. KARMA, that's right Oklahoma City, how does it taste? Only 12 games into the year and you have already fired your coach. The Starbuck's coffee is flowing in Seattle! Cheers!
16. Quick, name the one team in the NBA with a better ATS record than the L.A. Lakers. Give up? The Milwaukee Bucks at 10-4-1. A long time ago my friend told me to always take the Bucks for bucks ($). He must have been on to something.
15. Only five teams in the NBA are averaging over 100 points a game, down from 13 the year before. I think this will change as we get further into the season. Many teams got much younger this offseason and it is taking time to gel.
14. Only 12 of the 30 NBA teams have a winning record against the total thus far this season. Again, I think this will change considerably once teams start to gel.
13. When Zach Zarba, Mike Callahan, and Sean Corbin officiate games the teams are a combined 23-3 against the total.
12. Steph Marbury has struck again. He refused to play this past weekend when the Knicks only had seven guys on their bench. This guy is an absolute bum. Someone needs to smack him in the face with one of his $17.95 sneakers. On the one hand, I can understand that he feels he's been screwed over. But on the other hand he is a multi-million dollar athlete and should be able to suck up his wounded pride. Any normal worker pulls that with their boss and they are on the unemployment line.
11. The Milwaukee Bucks are 8-2-1 ATS and 8-3 against the total since Michael Redd went out with an injury. This just once again illustrates a league maxim: the books will always overadjust to things like injuries, trades, and suspensions. It's a lot more profitable to play against conventional wisdom in these instances than to take on the books.
10. The Sacramento Kings were supposed to hit the tank when Kevin Martin went down with an ankle injury. Since he got hurt the Kings are 4-4 ATS. That's not profitable, but, again, it's much better than anyone thought.
9. Home cooking: Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, and Portland are a combined 17-6-1 ATS on their home courts.
8. Road warriors: Houston, Milwaukee, and Toronto are a combined 17-7-1 ATS on the road.
7. Syracuse has a big game against Florida Monday and then potentially Kansas on Tuesday if they win. I know it's not the NBA but I have to mention the ORANGE! Let's go boys! Oh yeah, and suck it Notre Dame! We own you on the gridiron, too!
6. Watch Shaq handle his business. That is why we call him the daddy.
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5. In the last seven days away favorites are cleaning up. They are 10-2-1 ATS, good for an 83.33 percent winning percentage.
4. The Indiana Pacers took a timeout when they were tied at 91 with 20 seconds left against the Orlando Magic. The decided to run their game winning play with Rasho Nesterovic. They wanted him to try and take Dwight Howard off the dribble and score a layup. Needless to say Dwight's block total went up by one and they went to overtime. Good call.
3. Paul Pierce gets more calls than anyone in the league since Michael Jordan. I have never seen so many phantom fouls in my life. He is a great player, and has been for over a decade. But no way he deserves that much love.
2. The Boston Celtics are 60-35-2 ATS since the start of last year. Prior to that they were 80-82-2 ATS over the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
1. Check back next week for more 24 Seconds Around the League.