Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 01/05/2009
Here we go again.
Stephon Marbury just won't go away. The Celtics are making it known that they have an interest in the disgruntled guard and adding them to their title team. Many are saying that there is absolutely no downside to the Celtics taking a gamble on Marbury. He can still play, he will have a hunger to prove everyone wrong, and they have a locker room filled with veteran character guys. The best part of the whole thing is they Celtics would get him cheap. The Knicks would have to pay most of his salary, as they already are, and Boston gets them a viable backup to Rajon Rondo.
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Now let me ask you this: how long does Marbury stay quiet on the bench backing up a guy that plays 32 minutes a game and already has a backup in Eddie House? "Well, Marbuy could just play the two." No he can't as the Celtics already have Ray Allen, who plays 35 minutes a game, and has a solid backup in Tony Allen.
He could possibly back up Ray Allen and Tony Allen could move over to the small forward and back up Paul Pierce. Even if that works you still have a shoot-first, I-am-all-about-me point guard running a team with three great scorers.
This isn't Sam Cassell we are talking about. I know that's what the C's brass is thinking about. They know what a savvy move they made last year bringing Cassell and P.J. Brown into the fold to give them a veteran presence. But Cassell was a proven winner with multiple rings. Marbury is a loser. He has not won anywhere he's been and I don't know if he will be anything but that.
We will just have to wait and see what happens in the upcoming days concerning Stephon Marbury and the Boston Celtics. I for one hope they pass and good ole' Stephy gets his ass kicked somewhere in Brooklyn and is never heard from again.
With that said I give you the first Around The NBA in 24 Seconds of the New Year:
24. Only five teams in the Eastern Conference are playing at least .600 ball: Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta, and Detroit. Compare that to four teams in the Western Conference's Southwest Division alone whom are winning games at a 60 percent clip: New Orleans, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. This division started out slowly, but they are starting to play as expected. Also, I think that while The Crown lies in the East, the best ball is still played out West.
23. Big Z is out for the Cleveland Cavaliers for the next month of the season. This will put more responsibility on the shoulders of LeBron James, which isn't all bad. But the Cavs offense and defense won't be as potent without their starting center. Over the next month the Cavs will play the Lakers twice, Boston, Orlando, New Orleans, Detroit, Portland, and Utah. Things might get interesting in the Central if Detroit can continue to progress. Also, this will be the time of the year where Cleveland's incredible ATS start evens out.
22. The Orlando Magic is a complete team. This is not a team that the Celtics or the Cavs want to meet in the playoffs as they have a great inside/outside combination. A team with Dwight Howard inside that can also shoot 38 percent from the three-point line is dangerous come playoff time. The Magic are also very strong against weaker teams. According to an online site they are 27-11 over the last three years against teams getting outscored by three or more points per game.
21. The Chicago Bulls are 4-12 ATS without Luol Deng and Drew Gooden yet they are 11-5 against the total. Deng and Gooden are the captains on this team and they are also two of the better defenders. Look for Bulls games to continue to go 'over' the total without these two.
Also, Gooden is definitely on the trading block. So if he comes back and gets dealt you can expect this 'over' trend to continue. That said, when Kirk Heinrich returns from a hand injury he will replace Larry Hughes in the lineup, which will again bolster the D.
20. Weekly Syracuse Orange Update: The Orange are ranked 13th in the AP and 12th in the USA Today rankings after going 2-0 in the Big East with victories over Seton Hall and South Florida. Now that the Devendorf Drama is behind them (for now) this team is locked and loaded as a potential championship sleeper.
19. The San Antonio Spurs were left for dead after just five games this season, as they were 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS. Since then the Spurs are 21-7 SU and 15-12-1 ATS. Timmy and Co. just know how to win. They received a nice little ATS bounce when Park and Manu returned, but they are now just 4-8 ATS in their last 12. The books have caught up to them.
18. The New Jersey Nets are the only team in the NBA that have a losing record ATS at home and a winning record ATS on the road. Play accordingly.
17. The Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings are in discussions about a possible Shawn Marion/Brad Miller swap. Another player would have to be included because the salaries don't match but that trade should help both teams tremendously. The Heat could move all the way up to the fourth spot in the East with an acquisition of Miller's caliber.
16. Away dogs are continuing to find value in the NBA as they are covering the spread in almost 55 percent of the games. On the flip side they are not winning games overall. The road puppy is winning SU at just under 30 percent, but honestly, who cares if they win…just cover baby!
And, interestingly enough, road underdogs have actually produced at a rate higher than home underdogs, which are always sacred cows in gambling circles. Home puppies are covering at a 53.6-percent clip.
15. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 4-30 SU but they are ranked fourth in the NBA with a 21-13 record ATS. This team stinks, but they play hard and are getting a load of points every night.
14. The Portland Trailblazers scored a basket on the Boston Celtics with six men on the court. The officials let the basket count as the Blazers went on to win by five. Wow! Officials in the NBA are getting really, really bad.
13. The New York Times reported this over the weekend: "As the regular season approaches its midway point, the results have been mixed for those who played in Beijing. Some Olympians used their summer play as a springboard into the new season. Half the league's top scorers participated in Beijing. But of those 25 Olympians, 17 are scoring fewer points this season than they did a year ago. The slippage is not staggering, ranging from Carlos Boozer's 0.6 fewer points to Manu Ginóbili's drop to 14.6 points a game from 19.5."
12. Kevin Martin is back in a big way for the Sacramento Kings. Martin lit up the scoreboard for 45 against the Pacers in a five-point loss for the Kings. However, the Kings covered the seven-point line just one day after a solid underdog cover in Detroit. Look for Sacramento's offense to get a big boost with Martin back.
11. As we discussed in previous 24 seconds the +/- stat has become the trendy, new, stat in the NBA. Out of the top 14 ranked +/- players in the NBA 13 are from either the Celtics, Lakers, or Cavs, with Rashard Lewis being the only other.
10. No team in the Eastern Conference has covered more than two games in a row at the present time. Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and the L.A. Lakers, are the only teams in the NBA with at least a three game ATS winning streak (the Clippers had won two in a row with a game at home versus Dallas after this was written). Chase bettors must be having a field day.
9. The Denver Nuggets have gone 'over' the total in their last six contests. They are also 5-1 SU during that streak but only 3-3 ATS. I expect a regression here soon and look for the Nuggets to start coming in 'under' their inflated totals.
8. Sam Mitchell, formerly the head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was on NBA TV the other night discussing the altercation between Joel Przybilla and Tyson Chandler. He felt that if Tyson was going to get thrown out he might as well have gotten his money's worth and really gone after Joel. Not that he should have kept his cool and stayed in the game, but since he shoved him he should have really gone after him. Great advice. Now I see why he is formerly the coach of the Toronto Raptors.
7. Eddie Curry is now back practicing with the Knicks. Is this guy insane? Does he realize that he is going to have to run, run, and run some more in the new up-tempo Knicks offense? I give him three days until he officially hangs up the sneakers. However, Mike D'Antoni is a bit more optimistic. He thinks that Curry could be back on the court in around two or three weeks.
6. Dwight Howard is starting to get extremely agitated with the thuggish behavior from a lot of the guys that guard him. Recently Zach Randolph and Andres Nocioni have thrown him to the ground. Jamaal MaGloire also fouled him hard numerous times. Howard admits that he has to keep his cool, as he doesn't want to do anything to hurt his team. I for one can't wait until he loses his cool. He is probably going to punch someone so hard his fist goes entirely through their body.
5. In the last seven days 55 percent of all NBA games have gone over the total. Looks like no one partied too hard over the holidays.
4. Utah is 39-20 ATS in their last 59 games versus winning teams. Throughout the rest of January the Jazz play seven winning teams.
3. The Indiana Pacers are ranked first in the league after they lost their ninth game after leading by double digits. The Toronto Raptors are second with seven. Make sure you don't pop the champagne too early when you are cheering on the Raptors or Pacers.
2. The Celtics, Cavs, and Lakers are a combined 52-2 SU at home this season and 35-20 ATS. These three teams are the only reason that the away dog is only covering 55 percent of the games. If it wasn't for them the road puppies would be hitting at a 58-percent clip.
1. Check back next week for more Around the NBA in 24 Seconds.