Marley Town

When host of the “Noe Show” Brian Noe asked me to host his show this Friday May 13th, I was a wee-bit dissapointed to tell him I was going to Jamaica.  Dissapointed to go to Jamaica?  Sounds like a statement that should be banned from the English language.  As much as I’ve been looking forward to another oppurtunity to hop on ESPN radio, the thought of sun, sand, and see-through water is pretty powerful.  I don’t know much about where I’m going besides that the climate/location is God’s idea of a Hydroponics lab, and that if I wander too far off the resort my organs will proabably be sold on the black market within a few hours.  If you don’t see a post by middle of next week (May 17/18), it’s been real. 


Bad Bynum

When I first heard play-by-play caller Mike Tirico refer to Andrew Bynum’s flagrant foul on JJ Barea as “One of the biggest bush league things I’ve ever seen” I thought he was using hyperbole for effect.  After watching the replays over and over, I stand corrected.  Bynum was handed a 5 game suspension, with a steep fine of over a half million bucks (Partly because he went G-unit and yanked his shirt off in front of the sold out crowd in case there was any doubt that “yea, I just did that”).  But on Tuesday I heard it being discussed on national radio how this was the way the NBA used to be.  The glory days.  The days when Bill Laimbeer would truck stick you because you even thought about coming in the lane, Rick Mahorn would sharpen his elbows and Kevin McHale tried decapitating Kurt Rambis.  I heard phrases like, “This was par for the course” when referring to Bynum’s foul in connection with the 70’s and 80’s.  I’m struggling to understand rationalizing Bynum’s foul.  You can plug what Bynum did into any era and it’s a flagrant foul.  The game used to be rougher?  Tougher?  Ok…and?  Those reckless plays from the hard-nosed legends I named were equally flagrant then as they are now.  None of it has anything to do with basketball.  If that happens at the local park, expect fireworks.  And furthermore, the league is lucky that Dallas isn’t a short fused team because that could have gotten ugly.  Barea’s teammates stood around like, “Damn, that looked like it hurt.”  You commit a foul like that on a teammate of KG, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Kenyon Martin, or a handful of others and David Stern’s playing Dr. Damage Control.  At the end of the day Bynum made a horrendous decision that literally brought zero positives to the table.  The worst part for me is I went back and looked at his other flagrant fouls and they all look similar.  Forearm extended, intentional shiver, no play on the ball.  Check out the 3 videos below.  Deja Vu for Bynum.

Is it just me…

One of my favorite games that has no beginning or ending is the look-alike game.  You see a guy pumping gas and you say to your buddy, “who’s that _____?”  And you fill in the blank with a look-alike.  Someone funny-looking on TV or movies, an obscure name from high school, or pretty much anyone you can think of who even half way looks like your target.  Hit it right on the head and you have a good laugh.  The other day I’m watching the Chicago Bulls and see backup center Omer Asik on the bench and call out Judge Reinhold from Beverly Hills Cop.  Boom.  You can be the overall “judge” for this comparison, and a few other athletes that came to mind.

You’re telling me that if I put a jersey on The Predator you’d be able to tell the difference between it and Marquis Daniels?  I don’t believe you.  Predator is one of the baddest creatures to ever hunt.  I’d imagine our alien friend would have great success on the hardwood.  Superior quickness and jumping ability sets Predator apart.  The thermal vision wouldn’t help his case when catching or dribbling the ball, but his laser-shooting capability would come in handy at the park or any other street ball setting.  Marquis Daniels is the last of the Predator species known to pro sports.  It was once thought that Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks had a direct blood link to the Predator, but it was later discovered his ties were with another alien species you’ll see below…

Remember Popeye Jones from the Washington Wizards?  If you’re not sure, you haven’t seen Popeye.  Anyone who’s ever laid eyes on this monster has that impression forever burned into memory.  Listen, I’m not making fun of Pop in a mean-spirited way, genetics happen…But there’s genetics, and then there’s Popeye.  Popeye’s name is extremely fitting because when you first see him, your eye’s literally pop open as if less eye lid will improve what you’ve seen.  Dude’s mother even has a tough time with birth ownership.  The look-alike is easy.  Sloth from the 1985 film ‘The Goonies.’  “HEYY YOU GUYS!”

At first I was under the impression that running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks began playing football after he shot several seasons playing the role of Worf from Star Trek.  Only recently did I come to find out that these two men are not one.  Marshawn was born in 1986 in Oakland, California, where as Worf was born in 2340 on the Klingon’s home planet.  The birth date for Worf is a bit confusing, and the actual location didn’t show up on my planetarium, but I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if Worf is the father of Lynch.  Just saying.

Those who’ve watched any amount of basketball know Chris Kaman.  The guy’s got some game for sure.  And although his play from 15 feet and in is pretty smooth, his appearance can only be correlated to either 1 of 2 things.  The first is a Crystal Meth addict, and the second is a Wookie from Star Wars.  Kaman lacks the overall hair to be officially linked with Chubaka, but the bone structure says otherwise.  But at the end of the day, the sagging shoulders, sunken eyes, and jacked up jaw says Meth Head.  You call it.

His birth certificate says he’s from Barcelona Spain…but then again Danny Almonte’s birth certificate also said he was 12.  I looked hard and deep (pause) into the subject and found that Pau Gasol’s original place of birth was on the African plains, the native land of the Ostrich.  The correlation breakthrough came when I discovered that the Ostrich lays the largest eggs of any living bird, and Pau Gasol laid the largest egg in the 2011 playoffs of any living All-Star.  When times got really tough in 2011, Gasol could be found burying his head in the sand, just like his ancestors before him.  It was right under my nose/beak the entire time.

Shell of Self

It seems playing too close to hollywood and having all those actors sitting courtside has rubbed off on the Lakers.   Acting like they play defense, acting like they’re desperate, acting like they have it under control.  Joining the Celtics down 0-2 in the best of seven, the future in L.A. looks bleak.  What happened to the Lakers?  The same core group that won 57 regular season games and won the last two NBA championships isn’t getting it done.  How?  This Lakers team seems like a shell of its former self, with the common ground with years past being the uniforms.  Every Laker, top-to-bottom, is underperforming.  It starts with Kobe still not snapping out of his over-assertive gameplan.  Kobe has unique tools around him to build, but insists on trying to do it by hand.  There was a couple of years there when Kobe didn’t have those pieces around him and it made sense to try and bear the burden on his shoulders alone…MEMO: THOSE DAYS ARE OVER.  He’s hurting his team, and his chances of a 3-peat.  In game 1 Kobe took more shots than Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum combined.  We’re not talking about Chris Mihm, Sasha Vujachic and Smush Parker anymore.  I’m talking about the 6th man of the year (Odom), one of the best young centers in the game (Bynum), and an All-Star power forward (Gasol).  And for as many folks who agree with this stance, there’s an equal amount pointing the finger at those guys blaming their lack of initiative and confident play as well as lame duck defense.  And I guess they’re right too.  Gasol, who my brother has now nicknamed ‘Gasoft’, has seemed distant on offense.  And I literally mean ‘distant’ as in he’s 7 feet tall and isn’t scoring in the paint.  Pau is looking at 13 points per game to go with 7.8 boards so far in these playoffs.  Compare that to the sample size of 82 regular season games where Gasol was averaging just under 20 points and 11 rebounds.  That’s nearly a 30% drop in both categories!?!  What happened?  He’s not attacking and doesn’t look as active as he was.  He needs to get back to the basics, playing with power, exploiting  his advantages, and taking more than 1 shot in the fourth quarter (Game 2).  Gasol’s frontcourt ‘brother’ Andrew Bynum needs to be more aggressive as well.  Of course he needs the ball first.  On 78 offensive possessions Wednesday night, Bynum touched the ball 15 times.  Inexcusable.  Their inability to take advantage of their greatest strength (size, length and athleticism at the 4 and 5 positions) has Dallas on the verge of stunning the world champions.

Digging a Hole

The Boston Celtics have dug themselves into a deep hole, and the Miami Heat may finish the job by burying them alive.  Boston, now down 0-2 in the best of seven series, showed serious signs on decay of what they once were on Tuesday night in South Beach.  I’ve heard the reaction from several analysts after game 2 pointing to Boston’s age factor, no ‘pep in their step’, or a lack of stamina in keeping up with Miami.  Of any descriptive label I could throw at Boston, it would be their lack of competitiveness thus far.  This, over anything else, to me is the most shocking.  I became used to Boston being that team that would refuse to give in, back down, or go away.  The team that you would have to over-kill just to make sure they were dead.  Instead, after two games Boston now looks like the team who’s shying away from a fight because they’re scared to get punched in the mouth.  Where was Paul Pierce?  After the double technical and ejection in game one, I would have bet my life savings that ‘The Truth’ would come out swinging.  Instead Inglewood’s finest came out… to lay down.  Pierce shot 0-5 in the second quarter and somehow attempted only four shots in the entire second half!  Four?  Where’s the aggressive and assertive nature we’ve grown accustomed to?  If you’re going to bark, you better bite.  And if Pierce is going to lay an egg, Boston certainly can’t afford to have Ray Allen take two 3-pointers in 34 minutes of play.  That being said, Miami had a lot to do with Boston’s struggles.  The Heat’s committment to team defense was popping out of the television.  Fighting through screens, communicating, and just an overall ‘togetherness’ was apparent.  On the other end of the floor, King James was earning his nicknames.  In the second half LBJ made 9 of 13 shots.  When ‘Bron is shooting 70% in the second half of a semifinal playoff game, you’re in trouble.  Like a headlining actor, LeBron stole the show.  James and D-Wade were literally one point shy of outscoring the entire Celtics starting lineup.  I’ve been of the belief that the Heat need at least one of the two most important positions on the floor in order to win a championship, that being a point guard or center.  They lack both, but somehow they’re still getting it done against a proven winner in Boston.  Maybe the Heat don’t need a PG or a Big.  Maybe being stacked at every other position will be good enough (like Jordan’s Bulls).  I’m not yet completely counting out Boston though.  If they go back home, take care of business, and let Miami’s old nightmares of close-game losses creep back into their frontal lobe, who knows what can happen?  Of course for that to take place, Boston will first need to get up off the mat before the ref counts to ten. 

Got Em’

What a way to start a week.  I was laying in bed on Sunday night, kicking around ideas on whether I should highlight the fact that Russell Westbrook needs to fall back a bit on offense and remember that he has a top five player in the league on his team or talk about Zach Randolph’s all out takeover of the NBA playoffs.  These, and pretty much every other story, takes a back burner to the news of Osama bin Laden getting popped in Pakistan.  After ten years we finally got the slippery scumbag.  Are Navy SEALs not the baddest dudes on the planet?  I really don’t think there’s another line of work that’s even close.  I can think back 10 years ago, seeing the destruction on Sept. 11th followed by those home videos bin Laden would release of him sitting smug in a cave waving his finger, basically saying “I told you so.”  The hate we all felt has probably been a bit diluted over the years, but he’s always been in the back of my mind.  Think about the level of disdain we had for this man; In the entire planet, what other human being’s death could make you genuinely smile, fist pump, and cause the masses to break out in chants of jubilation?!?  You know you’re a scumbag when people chest bump over the news of your death.  I know this will sound a bit extreme, or morbid, but for years I was hoping that when we did find Osama, we would shoot him in the face.  I guess the Navy SEALs and I were on the same page.  The epic scene of the news hitting the Sunday Night Baseball crowd in Philadelphia, where the murmurs turned into cheers, evolving into a classic U-S-A chant, instantly gave me goosebumps.  And if that doesn’t make your hair stand up, we are not the same.

Check out this video of people going wild at the White House, Times Square, and Ground Zero over bin Laden’s death.  Like I said above, you know if this many people are getting off from the thought of you being dead, you probably should have been a better person.

Where was the officer from ‘The Hangover’ when bin Laden had his eye invaded by a Navy SEAL bullet?  I wish he was right next to Usama giving one of his classic lines like the one below…

The Gamble

Within the last few years I’ve gained interest in sports betting.  Nothing crazy in terms of the amount of money wagered, as I usually get a similar thrill betting 10 or 20 bucks as others would from betting 100.  Having constant interest throughout the games, a reliable tip or just a heavy hunch are usually my reasons for laying down hard-earned cash.  Over the last few years I’ve picked up hints or tendencies in line movements, and correlations with certain teams and sports.  A good example would be the NBA’s Boston Celtics playing the second night of a back-to-back.  The C’s have one of the oldest starting lineups in the league, so while they won 56 of their 82 regular season games, 12 of their 26 losses came in the second game of those back to backs.  That’s a huge percentage, so you learn to stay away or play off of it.  Another interesting example of betting trends came in late February the night after Melo was traded to the Knicks.  The Nuggets were scheduled to play the Grizzlies, and you could see all of the general public’s money was being tossed on Memphis.  Usually with so much money being tossed on one team, Vegas’s line of points given will adjust accordingly.  But for some reason, the points stayed the exact same.  You knew something was up.  Vegas had a good idea that the Nuggets were going to come out strong with a point to prove, much like the passionate Cleveland Cavaliers team stormed out of the gate without LeBron at the start of the season winning four of their first seven games.  So when my buddy said “Hey, lets load up on Memphis tonight,” I knew better.  Sure enough, the Nuggets played with a huge chip on their shoulder and pounded Memphis.  Vegas is good…No, Vegas is great at what they do.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times, in the last three years, the over/under and spreads have hit by half points and single points.  Just this past Friday night I bet the Spurs/Grizzlies over.  I bet that the two teams combined score would be less than 189.  The combined final score: 190.  Meaningless foul shots, field goals, and solo home runs in the 9th inning of a blow out are all critical to Vegas (and me).  So when I watched CBS’s flagship show 60 minutes this past Sunday highlighting a notorious sports gambler in Vegas named Billy Walter, I was sucked in.  Odd’s makers literally call him the most feared man in Vegas sports betting history.  Dude can’t even make bets with most of the book keepers in town because he’ll bend the house over.  Walter has never had a losing year and bets over a million dollars on games depending on the day.  Instead of making decisions based on the Vegas lines like you or I, Billy Walter makes his own lines, and Vegas will then adjust to Billy.  I posted the video below that will blow your mind just how big this is.  His home command center, his 18-man crew with code names that have all never met one another, and his 20 million dollar jet are all fascinating.  Besides the known fact that 60 minutes can make any subject seem interesting, I know you’ll love this video just because.

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