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2017 NBA Finals – No Surprises Here 5

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
LeBron James and Steph Curry will be meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

LeBron James and Steph Curry will be meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

Finally. After a month and a half of preliminaries, the main event that every basketball fan has been waiting to see is finally upon us. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will be meeting in the NBA Finals for a third straight year.

After splitting the first two meetings, this one promises to provide more excitement and at least for now some clarity on which team can claim the title of being the NBA’s most dominant.

While this marks the first time that two franchises have met in the finals for three straight years, the fact that neither the Cavaliers or Warriors are among the big-market marquee franchises of the NBA has made it a bit harder to garner the type of excitement past NBA rivalries have enjoyed.

However, what the cities may not be prime time, both have marquee superstars.

Leading the way is LeBron James, who is without question the best player of this generation and is now in the conversation when discussing the best players in NBA history. Counting his four-straight appearances (and two titles) with the Miami Heat, James is making his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance.

Last year James finally accomplished his longtime mission of bringing an NBA Champions to Cleveland. While there isn’t the same sense of urgency as a year ago, winning another title would be another high mark on James’ career resume. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: Michael Jordan Becomes MICHAEL JORDAN 1

Posted on May 07, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Lifting the Bulls over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 NBA Playoffs helped propel Michael Jordan to NBA Super stardom.

Lifting the Bulls over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 NBA Playoffs helped propel Michael Jordan to NBA Super stardom.

Prior to the 1989 NBA playoffs, Michael Jordan was already known as one of the best players in the NBA.  He was a three-time NBA scoring champion and had already earned his first NBA MVP Award. However, Jordan didn’t yet have a signature playoff moment. That all changed 28 years ago on May 7, 1989.

After first round playoff exits in each of Jordan’s first three playoff appearances, the Bulls had finally advanced to the second round in 1988. However, they lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Detroit Pistons.

Facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening round of the 1989 playoffs, the Bulls were on the brink of being eliminated in the first round for the fourth time in five years. The best-of-five series was tied at two games each and the Cavaliers led by a single point (100-99) when Jordan and the Bulls broke the huddle with three seconds remaining.

It was in those three seconds that Jordan started his rise from NBA star to all-time legend.

Taking the inbounds pass, Jordan drove to the foul line and then took a jump shot over the outraced arm of Cleveland guard Craig Ehlo. As the ball fell through the next, Jordan jumped in joy and pumped his fist as the Bulls celebrated.

Though they eventually lost in the Eastern Conference Finals, Jordan was now established as a clutch player and the legend continued to grow.

Two years later the Bulls won their first NBA title and Jordan was on his way to being known as the greatest of all-time.

Conversely, the shot by Jordan proved to be a dagger for the Cavaliers. The struggled the next two seasons before reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 1992 (losing to Jordan and the Bulls). While the Bulls went on to win six NBA Championships, the Cavaliers never advanced out of the Eastern Conference while losing in the opening round six times between 1989 and 1998.

Check out video from the first defining playoff shot of Jordan’s career.
Read the rest of this entry →

The Sky Is the Limit for Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 0

Posted on May 06, 2017 by Nathaniel Hybl
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins should lead the New Orleans Pelicans to victory next season.

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins should lead the New Orleans Pelicans to victory next season.

Anthony Davis has conquered the NBA in just five seasons.

He is a four-time NBA All-Star, including earning All-Star game MVP honors in 2017.

Despite playing on primarily losing teams with the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis has earned first-team All-NBA honors once, second team All-Defensive honors, while twice leading the NBA in blocks and made the NBA All-Rookie team in 2013.

During his career he has played in 335 games, with a .513 field goal percentage, a three point shooting percentage of .290, free throw percentage of 78.7, 10.2 rebounds per contest, 1.8 assists per game, 2.4 blocks per game and 22.4 points per game.

Between his sophomore and senior year in high school Davis grew from 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-10. He went from a mediocre point guard who just might get a college scholarship to a Division II team to the number one prospect in high school basketball and could attend any college in the country he wanted.

He would be an Olympic Gold Medalist straight out of college after leading Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament and winning it all. He was the SEC Player of the Year and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year during his one season in college. Read the rest of this entry →

Jazz vs Warriors Game 2 Odds & Betting Strategy 0

Posted on May 03, 2017 by John Harris
Stephen Curry scored 22 points to lead a balanced Golden State offense in a game one win.

Steph Curry scored 22 points to lead a balanced Golden State offense in a game one win.

Game 1 between the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors was exactly what everybody expected. Golden State got off to a hot start at Oracle Arena and cruised to a 106-94 victory.

The Warriors now have a perfect 5-0 record in the playoffs and don’t look like they’ll be challenged in this semifinals series.

But then again, Utah has some issues that prevented them from being as competitive as they would’ve liked. Let’s discuss what these issues were, along with if you should consider betting on the Jazz.

Utah vs Golden State Game 2 Betting Odds Released by BetOnline.ag

Point Spread: Utah +12.5 (-110); Golden State -12.5(-110)
Money line: Utah +700; Golden State -1400
Totals: 204 (over -115) (under -105)
Gametime: 10:30pm ET on Thursday, May 4

Golden State Warriors Game 2 Preview

As mentioned in the introduction, Golden State didn’t have much of a problem with Utah. They were up by 12 early in the second quarter and never looked threatened from there on out.

All five Warrior starters scored in double digits, with Steph Curry leading the way with 22 points. Five bench players also scored for Golden State too.

Perhaps the most-telling sign of Golden State’s easy victory is that they got 32 assists. Utah had trouble staying with Curry, which led to plenty of defensive breakdowns and easy baskets for the Warriors.

Golden State doesn’t need to change much heading into Game 2 of this series. Their defense was strong, they made shots, and they did a good job of dealing with Utah’s slowed-down pace. The Warriors will look to replicate their success in an effort to go up 2-0. Read the rest of this entry →

The Case for Gonzaga to Win the National Championship 2

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Bernie Stein
After years of coming close, Gonzaga is finally in the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four.

After years of coming close, Gonzaga is finally in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

Gonzaga played as close to perfect as perfect as you can imagine in its Elite 8 annihilation of Xavier on Saturday. With the Musketeers on a red-hot run through the first three rounds of the tournament, most pundits figure they’d run out of gas at some point, but a 24-point whipping wasn’t what most had in mind.

The Bulldogs are now two wins away from not just a national championship, but one of the single greatest seasons in NCAA college basketball history. Two wins would get them to 38-1, tying them for the most wins in a single season with Kentucky’s 2012 and 2015 teams and Memphis’s 2008 squad – interestingly enough all three coached by John Calipari.

The Bulldogs’ best number is their +22.3 points per game differential entering the Final Four. Only Duke’s 1998-1999 team had a higher average (25.9 ppg).

The Bulldogs are exciting because they have one of the best inside-outside combinations in the country in junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Premek Karnowski. Williams-Goss is the straw who stirs the drink, leading the team in minutes (32.4 per game), points per game (16.7), assists per game (4.6), steals per game (1.8), and free-throw percentage (.882).

How Karnowski responds to the pressure of this round will determine a lot. He’s 7-feet, 1-inch and weighs 300 pounds, but the Bulldogs have won in spite of him so far during the tournament. Against Xavier last weekend, he had just five points and three rebounds and sat a bunch with four fouls. During the tournament, he’s averaging 9.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He’s not a banger but being that tall should be good for 15 and 8 every game.

The X factors for the Bulldogs are Jordan Mathews and Johnathan Williams, the team’s third- and fourth-leading scorers. Mathews is putting up 10.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while Williams leads the team in rebounds at 6.6 per game and adds in 10.3 points per contest. Read the rest of this entry →

North Carolina and Duke Take Center Stage at ACC Tournament in Brooklyn Behind Decades of Storied History 0

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Chris Kent

It is college basketball royalty when North Carolina (27-6) and Duke (25-8) meet in the semifinals of the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The two will battle at 7 pm EST tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY with a trip to the ACC Tournament Championship game on the line. It is round three for the duo this year as the two posted home victories over each

The ACC Tournament is one of the richest traditions in all of college sports.

other in their two regular season meetings this season. The two met less than a week ago with the Tarheels winning 90-83 at home on March 4 in the regular-season finale for both.

North Carolina is the top seed in the tournament for the second straight year and has played in the last two championship games. A fifth seed in 2015, the Tarheels lost 90-82 to third-seeded Notre Dame in the title game before beating second-seeded Virginia 61-57 in the 2016 championship game as the top seed. The Blue Devils have not reached the championship game since 2014 when they were the third seed and lost to top-seeded Virginia 72-63.

Duke and North Carolina have not met in the ACC Tournament since 2011 when the second-seeded Blue Devils won 75-58 over the top-seeded Tarheels in the title game. The long and storied history of these two ACC and national powers is well documented. Since 1997, one or the other has reached the tournament semifinals for a now 21 straight seasons during which both have been in the round 12 times. During that same time period, the two have met in two tournament semifinals and played in four title games.

Besides the 2011 title meeting, the other three championship game battles came in a four-year span between 1998 and 2001 when one or the other was the tournament’s top seed. Duke won two of the three title games, winning 96-73 as the top seed in 1999 and posting a 79-53 win in 2001 as the second seed. The other title game came in 1998 when North Carolina, the second seed, won 83-68 over the top-seeded Blue Devils.

This four-year stretch of ‘98-‘01 was a marquee time period for both schools as they boasted some of their great all-time players. Both schools were at the top of the ACC and competed – as they always have and continue to do – at such a high level. Recalling each school’s history during this time is like reading a hall-of-fame biography. When you combine the personnel of the teams, their coaches, and their achievements, one can see why the two have had such a perennial strong conference and national presence. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

      Read more »

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