Another season, and another playoff elimination for the Denver Nuggets. A lot is going to be made about the fact that the Nugs had to "soldier on" in these playoffs without Gallinari, but when you look at the fact that the team that beat them was without their 2nd option in David Lee, the argunent just doesn't hold water. I don't know what the problem is with Denver. I don't think it's the coach. I think George Karl is great, but you have to wonder if maybe it's the style that he wants his team to play with that's the problem.
Karl has been getting by without a true big man for years. Faried is a fine player, but he's not going to control the paint. NeNe was, and still is, a fine player, but he's the same guy that Faried is. At some point, Coach Karl is going to have to realize that he can have a Shaq or a Howard like big man and still run his style of offense effectively. When he does, the Nugs will finally be able to extend deep into the playoffs and not come up way short after a great regular season.
THE SHOW (1-1 yesterday and 13-8 so far for the week)
BUTTA (1-0 last night and 4-2 so far for the week)
BRAVES (MINOR -190) over Mets (Marcum) - After a very promising early start, the Mets have quickly gone into free fall. They aren't hitting and their bullpen is once again a big question. The Bravos will be extremely motivated tonight after letting the last 2 games of the big series with the Nats get away from them. I don't expect that they will steamroll the Mets here because there are some questions with their offense too, but it what might be a close game, I definitely want the team with the better bullpen.
ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
1. Dodgers (Kershaw -140) over GIANTS (ZITO) - Can't back away from the fact that Kershaw is one of the best in the majors, but it's a problem when I can't jump on him because the offense that supports him is so ineffective. Kershaw has had great success against the G-Men with a 9-4 lifetime record, but I just can't get to him. And let's not forget that his mound opponent tonight, Barry Zito, has quietly become the anchor of The Champs staff over the last couple of seasons. I hate to do it, but I have to pass this one.
2. RANGERS (HOLLAND -130) over Red Sox (Doubront) - Both of these teams are playing good ball to start the season, but the Rangers have the edge for tonight at least. Doubront is 0-2 lifetime against the Rangers. Holland is 4-1 against the Red Sox and he's also 14-3 when the Rangers are off a loss ove the last 2 years and 27-10 against teams with winning records over the last 3 seasons.
3. Rays (Moore -130) over ROCKIES (FRANCIS) - It's tough to pass on Moore. He looks like he's primed to have the kind of season that David Price had for the Rays last year, and against a soft-tosser like Francis, you would think the Rays would roll here. The only problem is that the game is in Denver, and that gets in the head and messes with a lot of talented pitchers.
RUN-(NING) LINES (2-6 ATS/2-6 SU/3-5 TOTALS yesterday and 28-38/31-34/39-27 so far for the week)
1. White Sox (+1 1/2, O7 1/2) at ROYALS
2. Red Sox (+1 1/2, U9) at RANGERS
3. BLUE JAYS (+1 1/2, U7 1/2) vs. Mariners
4. ASTROS (+1 1/2, U8) vs. Tigers
5. Orioles (+1 1/2, O8 1/2) at ANGELS
6. YANKEES (-1 1/2, O8) over Athletics
7. Twins (+1 1/2, U8 1/2) at INDIANS
8. BRAVES (-1 1/2, U7) over Mets
9. CUBS (-1 1/2, U7) over Reds
10. PHILLIES (-1 1/2, U8) over Marlins
11. Cardinals (+1 1/2, U7 1/2) at BREWERS
12. PIRATES (-1 1/2, U7) over Nationals
13. PADRES (+1 1/2, U7) vs. D-Backs
14. GIANTS (+1 1/2, U6 1/2) vs. Dodgers
15. ROCKIES (+1 1/2, O9) vs. Rays
THE NBA (1-1 ATS/SU/TOTALS last night and 6-8/7-7/7-7 so far for the week)
BUTTA (no play last night and 0-1 so far for the week)
Last night's games featured 2 teams trying to force a Game 7 with a win on the road. In 3 of 4 games tonight we have a home team trying to force a Game 7, but I don't want anything to do with any of it.
ALL THE REST
1. CELTICS (+2, U181) 90, Knicks 87 - The Knicks can be forgiven somewhat for not closing out the Celts in Game 4 in Boston. There is no excuse for taking the C's lightly as the Knicks did in Game 5 though. They're going right back into the hornet's nest tonight in Boston, and they better get it together here. Otherwise, it all comes down to a Game 7 after winning the first 3 games of the series. That, to me, is unconscionable, but it gives me some great insight into what I might be able to do if the Knicks survive and move on.
2. HAWKS (-2, U187 1/2) 96, Pacers 82 - This has been a home team dominated series. The Pacers are the better team, but they were struggling on the road down the stretch of the regular season. So, there's no reason to think that it won't be another win by the home team tonight. The only problem with that is the home team here is the Hawks.
3. Thunder (+1, O206) 108, ROCKETS 103 - The numbers are still backing the Thunder, but after what we all saw on Wednesday night, we have to wonder if OkC might have another meltdown again tonight. My instincts say that the chances of that are slim, but the Rocks have nothing to lose and they play with no fear.
4. GRIZZLIES (-6 1/2, U180) 91, Clippers 71 - In spite of what my projection for this game says, I think this might be too many points to be laying on the favorite. However, I also think this will be the Clips last game of the season.
It really kind of sucks to wake up on May 3rd and have snow on the ground, but that's exactly what we had this morning here in God's Country. And it's one of those "ugly" snows too: All heavy and wet and not a blanket at all. There's still spots on the ground where the grass is sticking out. UGH! In any event, have a great night, be careful out there and I'll see you tomorrow.