Does anyone else find it odd that a team called the Heat would not be able to handle the heat in San Antonio last night? The Spurs had a couple of issues with the temps inside the AT&T Center last night as well, but the reason they were able to rise above is the same reason they will win this series. Miami just doesn't have enough players. Coach Pop can, and will, run all 12 guys out there if he has to, and he'll get quality minutes from all of them. The Champs just aren't that deep. Over the long haul of a 7-game series, playing 8. maybe 9, against 12 is going to take it's toll.
And the issues inside the building last night is just one more reason for the league to hate the Spurs. I've never seen a situation where the "brass" has so much contempt for a "worker". I wouldn't put it past The Commish to levy a big fine against Pop for not enough A/C and citing "integrity of the game" issues. Of course, that never happened in the Bird-Magic years when the Boston Garden was a sauna for all those great Finals matchups between the Celts and the Lakers.
Obviously, I have my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, but it is definitely true that the league hates handing the trophy over to the Spurs. San Antonio was never flashy enough for Stern. They didn't have a real superstar like Magic or Jordan or Kobe or LeBron. They don't have that now. The Spurs are a team that is, and always have, embodied the spirit of the very term "team". They should be a model for all, but they are reviled. It really is a terrible shame.
What's worse is that this series has now become about conditions inside the arena and not the talent level edge that one team has over another. If the league has trouble with the "weather" inside AT&T Center, they've got no one to blame but themselves. The season is too long. When this series is over, if it goes the full 7 games, the playoffs themselves will have lasted 2 months! YIKES! They baby these guys through an 82-game regular season that lasts 6 months. Then they take another 2 to determine a champion.
This finals series should have started almost a month ago. The season is too long as it is, so more back to backs are in order in the regular season, but they should also be in play during the playoffs as well. If you're going to stick to this 2-2-1-1-1 format for 7 games. The first 2 games of any series should be a back to back. Then a day off for travel. Then another back to back for Games 3 and 4. After that, there can be a day off between each of the last 3 games. Things would go a whole lot quicker, and the NBA wouldn't have as much of a chance of running into a "building's too hot for LeBron" situation.
You really didn't think I wouldn't have a solution to the problem, did you? It's just common sense, and on top of all of it, the NBA itself is the big loser. Does anybody really care what's going on with The Finals? I'm sure there are die hard fans out there, and I case no aspersions their way, but this is baseball season now. That's all that matters, and the NBA taking 16 days to get through 7 games, even with LeBron on center stage, just doesn't stack up to a Giancarlo Stanton bomb or a game saving over the wall robbery by Carlos Gomez, or a play at the plate to decide a game. That's just the way it is. Sorry, NBA. By this time of year, you're just passé.
THE SHOW (3-1 yesterday and 14-10 so far for the week)
BUTTA (no play yesterday and 4-2 so far for the week)
Brewers (Lohse -115) over PIRATES (CUMPTON) - The Bucs looked like they turned the corner and are ready to make a push after a successful road trip. Now, things get serious as they come home to take on a division foe. The Crew have dominated the Buccos this season, going 8-2, and Kyle Lohse has been working his magic against the Pirates for years. Lohse is 11-2 lifetime against Pittsburgh, and against the kid, Cumpton who has struggled a little bit in his initial starts, there's no reason to think things will be any different tonight.
ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
1. Phillies (Hamels +125) over REDS (CUETO) - I know. You're shocked, aren't you? I would give you a minute to catch your breath, but I'm a busy man. I don't think I'll shock anyone by saying the Reds just aren't that good. They've got plenty of talent. It just doesn't seem to play too well together. They've already wasted a couple of dominant starts by Cueto, and Johnny is only 1-4 lifetime against the Phils. Now, here's the one you really need to sit down for: Cole Hamels is 9-0 lifetime against the Reds with a 1.49 ERA. He doesn't seem to be able to get anybody else out consistently anymore, but he sure can dominate Cincy. So do we jump in it with Hamels? Not a chance. The Phils are a mess. We know they're not going to lose every game the rest of the season, and this looks like as good a chance as they've had in awhile to notch a win, but there is something else you should know. Cueto is 12-0 over the last 3 years at home when the Reds are off a loss. Finally! Something that seems to make sense!
2. Braves (Teheran -115) over D-BACKS (McCARTHY) - A lot less to say about this one, but just like Mad Bum yesterday, this kid Teheran looks like one we'll have to take a good hard look at every time out as a viable option and "cash cow".
3. ANGELS (WEAVER -200) over White Sox (Rienzo) - It is hard to pass on Weaver at home. He's 84-35 in his career at the Big A, and he's also 7-2 lifetime against the Sox. But here's something you won't often hear me say: The potential return is just not worth the risk involved when I've already got what I feel is a very solid play working.
RUN LINES (8-3 ATS & SU/4-7 TOTALS yesterday and 43-21/46-18/31-33 so far for the week)
|AMERICAN LEAGUE||NATIONAL LEAGUE|
|A's||Marlins (+1 1/2, U7)|
|ORIOLES (+1 1/2, U9)||CUBS|
|Red Sox (+1 1/2, O8)||Brewers (-1 1/2, O7 1/2)|
|Mariners (+1 1/2, U8)||Phillies (+1 1/2, O6 1/2)|
|Indians (+1 1/2, U8)||Dodgers (-1 1/2, O10)|
|Yankees (-1 1/2, U8)||Braves (-1 1/2, U8)|
|Astros (+1 1/2, O7 1/2)||Nationals (+1 1/2, U6 1/2)|
|White Sox (+1 1/2, U8)||Mets|
|ANGELS||GIANTS (-1 1/2, U7)|
|Cardinals (+1 1/2, U9 1/2)|
---As you can see, my stats are showing ties in the A's/ORIOLES and Nats/PADRES games for tonight.
---Just a random question that popped in my head earlier: How many bricks do you think Giancarlo will take out of the apartment buildings beyond the left field bleachers at Wrigley this weekend?
---Another indication that baseball is the best? How about tonight's premier pitching matchup is between Kuechel and Hughes when the 'Stros take on the Twinks in Minnesota?
The weekend is here, so we can all relax, breathe easy and have a great time. Be careful out there tonight though. I will see you tomorrow.