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Sports Then and Now



Proof That Defense Matters In The NBA 0

Posted on January 25, 2020 by Dan Karpuc

As of Thursday night, the eight teams that lead the NBA in Defensive Rating have a combined 245-111 (.688 winning percentage). The bottom eight teams in that metric have a combined 120-235 (.358 winning percentage). Every bottom-eight team has a sub-.500 record and just one team (Orlando Magic: 21-24) has a sub-.500 mark from the top-eight group. Therefore, even in today’s offensive-oriented, perimeter-centric NBA, defense matters… a lot.

The top-eight teams (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Magic and Utah Jazz) share some of the most crucial components of a sound defense. It is no surprise that the people who give out NBA expert picks are making a killing betting these teams this season. All of these teams do a great job with limiting high-percentage shots in the paint, creating turnovers, box out and grab boards and, in turn, limit opposing second-chance points. In many ways, their defensive prowess sets the tone for their offense. Creating turnovers often times leads to fast-break opportunities and high-percentage shots around the rim or wide-open looks on the perimeter. Repeatedly getting stops leads on defense also leads to some impressive scoring runs on the other end of the floor, where the offense can feed off of the momentum. 

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Are the Lakers the Western Conference Favorites? 0

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Dean Hybl

With the NBA season nearly a month old it seems safe to say that after nearly a decade of struggles the Los Angeles Lakers are back on top of the NBA and the Western Conference. Of course, adding Anthony Davis to a squad that already included one of the all-time greats in LeBron James certainly helped hasten their rebuilding.

Currently 17-3, the Lakers are clearly among the betting favorites and you can get your list of all betting offers to back them up. Other betting sites are anticipating the Lakers to win the playoffs at 3/1 in average, meaning stakes are high. You could use this fact to your early advantage and place a bet now on the LA Lakers.

In many ways, the start of this season is a reminder of how quickly things can change in professional sports.

After being the dominant team in the NBA over the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have been devastated by injury and are off to a league worst 4-18 start. With Klay Thompson likely out for the season and Stephen Curry expected to be sidelined for at least three months with a broken hand, their chances of returning to the playoffs is very doubtful and bookies are giving them odds as low as -450.

In a complete contrast, the Lakers were 37-45 last year and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. However, their off-season acquisition of Davis has paid immediate dividends.

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How Fashion Has Taken Over the NBA 1

Posted on February 04, 2019 by Martin Banks

Perhaps no sport is more associated with fashion than the NBA. The competition among players to dress the best is fierce, and it’s become a big part of the news cycle surrounding the league.

Players receive a lot of chances to flaunt their fashion choices. The most notable is the pre-game walk through the tunnel. Traveling to and from games, press conferences and other events provide opportunities as well.

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Over the last few decades though, the story of the NBA and fashion has moved beyond just pre-game and press conference outfits. Players such as Russell Westbrook and James Harden make regular appearances at world-famous fashion shows and on the covers of style magazines. Many players also have their own fashion lines and brand collaborations. Westbrook even wrote a book, titled Style Drivers, about his relationship with fashion.

In 2017, the NBA officially recognized the importance of fashion for the league by introducing the NBA Style Award, which the league gave out alongside awards for most valuable player and rookie of the year. Westbrook took home first place, followed by Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert and Chicago’s Dwyane Wade. Read the rest of this entry →

Iron Man Randy Smith 0

Posted on February 02, 2019 by Dean Hybl

Randy Smith-BravesThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month may have had a pretty common name, but his iron man streak as an NBA player was anything but ordinary.

In a streak that lasted more than a decade, Randy Smith played in 906 consecutive NBA games to establish an NBA iron man record that lasted more than a decade.

That Smith made it to the NBA at all was somewhat of an underdog story.

A three-sport standout at Bellsport High School in Long Island (basketball, soccer and track), Smith also was a three-sport All-American at Division II Buffalo State College. He helped lead the Bengals to three straight basketball conference championships and a spot in the 1970 Division II Final Four. Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Toronto Raptors the NBA Title Favorites? 0

Posted on December 14, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Kawhi Leonard is averaging a career-high 26 points per game for the Toronto Raptors.

Kawhi Leonard is averaging a career-high 26 points per game for the Toronto Raptors.

When the Toronto Raptors made the blockbuster trade during the summer to bring Kawhi Leonard to the Eastern Conference there was an expectation that it could help them “get over the hump” after getting close in recent years, but even live betting with Novibet couldn’t have predicted that a quarter way through the NBA season they would be the favorites to claim the 2019 NBA Championship.

Not only do the Raptors have a league-best 23-7 overall record, but they have swept the season series from the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. Their 113-93 win at Golden State earlier this week was impressive not just because of the dominant nature, but because the Raptors played the game without Leonard while the Warriors were at full strength with their four All-Stars all in the starting lineup.

With Leonard, who is averaging a team-best 26 points per game, out of the lineup, the Raptors had a balanced attack that proved too much for the Warriors to overcome.

Leading the way for the Raptors was four-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. He scored a team-high 23 points while also dishing out 12 assists, grabbing five rebounds and securing three steals.

Another player who has been great all season and continued that trend against the Warriors was center Serge Ibalka. The 10-year veteran is averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game this season and had 20 points with 12 rebounds in the victory.

The other three starters, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, scored 15, 13 and 10 points respectively to give the Raptors five double-digit scorers. The bench also played an important role with 32 points divided amongst six players.

That boxscore is consistent with how the Raptors have been winning throughout the season.

They have five players who are averaging at least 12.8 points per contest and then another six averaging between 5.0 and 9.6 per contest. Read the rest of this entry →

Bob Cousy: Houdini of the Hardwood 0

Posted on February 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy

The Boston Celtics traded prior to the 2017-2018 season for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, but the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball juggernaut. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

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