Browsing Posts published in March, 2013

Nailed! is a dramatic biography of Lenny Dykstra—the heroic center fielder for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies in the ’80s and ’90s whose gritty play earned him the nickname “Nails.” Dykstra’s unlikely post-baseball rise in the business world is a success story that is only matched by the sordid tale of his ultimate downfall.

From famously receiving financial guru Jim Cramer’s ringing endorsement as “one of the best” stock prognosticators, to hanging out with Charlie Sheen and numerous prostitutes, to holding court in his $15 million California home, Dykstra lived a highflying lifestyle. He was the toast of the business world before his litany of crimes were detected and his empire began to unravel in 2009, leading to a conviction and prison sentence in 2012 with more charges pending.

MV Comment: A must read for baseball fans. A thrilling, emotional journey for one of the game’s most interesting players.

You’re not going to find many players that are as dynamic as F LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers. He is averaging right at 21.0 points per game this season, and he had a streak of seven straight games with at least 20 points scored going before his team’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder a few days ago in which he scored just 10. The former Texas Longhorns standout and his teammates are back at home at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night for a showdown with the Brooklyn Nets.

Aldridge will have his work cut out for him against C Brook Lopez on Wednesday. Lopez is a fantastic center that has been playing well on both sides of the court. The fact that F Reggie Evans has been cleaning up the glass as well as he has, has allowed Lopez to focus more on shot blocking and making his own shots on the offensive end of the court.

Brooklyn has seen the results of this pan out well, knowing that the team has gone 10-4-2 ATS in its last 16 games. Unfortunately for the Nets though, they are just 8-8 SU in those outings, and they are starting to lose ground to the suddenly surging New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division. This is the sixth game in an eight-game marathon roadie for the Nets.

Portland knows that it has to get on its high horse if it is going to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference. Entering the day, the Trail Blazers are 2 ½-games behind the Los Angeles Lakers with two teams between them in the race for the last playoff spot in the West.

The home team has won four games in a row in this series and has covered three of the four. Brooklyn is not surprisingly a 2 ½-point underdog on the NBA odds on Wednesday night.


The Boston Celtics are losers of four games in a row, and on Tuesday night, they’re going to have their work cut out for them against the New York Knicks, the leaders of the Atlantic Division.

During this losing streak, all hasn’t been disastrous for the Celtics. They have been playing incredibly shorthanded, as they are without Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and Kevin Garnett. KG is out of the fold once again on Tuesday night, and that really could create some major matchup problems in the paint with New York coming to town.

However, these losses for Boston haven’t been brutal. The defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Friday came by 10 points, but the other three losses were only by a combined seven points, and they all were games that could have gone the other way.

New York meanwhile, is a team that you want to make your NBA picks on at the moment. A win on the road at the Utah Jazz to wrap up a West Coast swing really was what turned the tide in the other direction for the Knicks. Once they got back to Madison Square Garden, they were on their way to winning once again. Since that win over Utah, New York has rolled off three more victories in a row. Its winning streak is now at four games, and its cover streak is at five.

Getting Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup really has helped, as he is one of the top scorers in the whole league. He scored 65 points in two games against the Toronto Raptors last weekend, showing that he is clearly over the knee injury that cost him the mass majority of the road trip in the weeks prior.

Last year, the NCAA basketball betting world was shaken up when the #2 seed Duke Blue Devils lost to the #15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks as 11-point favorites. Now, the Dookies are back as a No. 2 seed once again, and they are going to try to go on a run here in the dance, starting with a clash against the Albany Great Danes.

The Great Danes only went 9-7 in the regular season in America East. Their conference was a lot better than it has been in previous seasons, but the fact that they were able to survive that conference tournament, winning the last game on the road at the Vermont Catamounts was impressive.

This is your prototypical tourney team that scares the wits out of some of the big boys. The talent isn’t there to stack up with the big guns, but Albany hits a high percentage of its three-point shots (36.4%) and plays stingy defense in the full-court press. The Great Danes only allow 60.3 points per game.

Duke is obviously playing with a bit of a chip on its shoulder. G Seth Curry, F Mason Plumlee, F Ryan Kelly, and G Quinn Cook, the top four scorers on this year’s team, all remember what it was like to lose to Lehigh in the first round last year, and they are going to try to avoid that embarrassment again in this one. Plumlee is a significantly better player now than he was at this time last year though, as the big man is averaging a double-double per game at 17.2 points and 10.2 boards per night.

Duke is 6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games, but it is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games played here in the dance.

Still, the Blue Devils are lined as 17 ½-point favorites in this Friday afternoon game played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Carmelo Anthony is expected to return tonight against the Orlando Magic. “I feel good as of right now, so I’ll be ready to play tonight,” says Anthony. Anthony has missed six of the Knicks’ last eight games, and presence has been sorely missed; they have lost five of their last seven.

This is not to say that other injuries haven’t been holding the Knicks back as well. Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are both out as well, which has not done the Knicks any good. The hope is that Anthony will be able to provide the spark this team has been missing of late.

In the two most recent games Anthony played in, it is thought that he probably came back from being injured a bit too early. He shot 7-27 in those two games, and later admitted that he struggled playing below 100%. That does not seem to be the case this time around. When asked about his confidence in his knee, Carmelo responded by saying “I’m not thinking about my knee. I’m not thinking about anything. I feel good. Now I’m just playing ball at this point.”

The Knicks are not in danger of missing the playoffs by any stretch of the imagination, but minimizing injuries is an important part of making a playoff run. It is encouraging to see ‘Melo displaying such confidence in his knee after a couple scary outings. Let’s hope that everyone else is in tip-top shape come playoff time.

A good test for the Knicks comes on April 14th when they play the Pacers, who for the time being have edged into the second spot in the East. Tickets to the game start at $171 on SeatCrunch and reach prices in the realm of $4,020.

At the outset of the month, the Dallas Mavericks were 25-32, and they looked dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff chase. They started the month with a 98-90 win on the road against the Brooklyn Nets, and that sparked a 7-3 run over the course of their 10 games thus far in March. Now, Dallas is only three-games back in the Western Conference playoff chase, and it will hope to continue that push on Wednesday night when it takes on these same Nets once again, this time at the American Airlines Center.

Brooklyn is in the midst of a playoff push of a different variety. Barring a collapse of epic proportions, the Nets know that they will be in the postseason this year. They’re still trying to run down the New York Knicks for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, though. Brooklyn starts the day two back in the loss column of the boys from the Big Apple with 15 games to play

When these two met the first time, G Deron Williams had a terrible time trying to hang onto the basketball for the Nets. Though he did score 24 points to lead the team, he also turned the ball over seven times. Brooklyn finished the day with 19 turnovers.

Dallas meanwhile, shot 50.0% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc that night. The team was led by F Dirk Nowitzki and F Vince Carter, who each had 20 points. G OJ Mayo has been floundering over the course of the second half of the season, but he had one of his better games against the Nets, hitting three triples and scoring a total of 17 points.

The Mavericks a 3 ½-point favorites on the Wednesday night NBA odds.

Golf fans everywhere are excited to witness this year’s Masters Golf Tournament that begins in April.  The Masters Golf Tournament is one of the longest running sports tournaments that’s been around for fans to enjoy since the early 1930s.  The tournament will take place this year in Augusta, Georgia at the Augusta National Golf Club and as always will bring with it many of the top golfers in the sport.  There’s one thing everyone is talking about with this upcoming tournament, however, and that’s Tiger Woods.

Experts everywhere are betting on Tiger Woods this year at the tournament after he’s proven that he’s more than willing and capable of getting back into the game.  Woods has been able to put ten wins under his belt since November of 2009 and he’s only got one more tournament left in his schedule at the Arnold Palmer Invitational before he’s ready to put all he’s got into the tournament in April.  He’s won the Arnold Palmer Invitational several times in the past and now he’s ready to kick it into gear at the Masters.

While some people speculate that his good fortunate at the Invitational and the Cadillac Championship has left him with nowhere to go but spiraling downward, the fact of the matter is that Tiger Woods is looking much better than he has in years.  It’s not completely out of the question that he might take the Masters by storm with his two earlier successes only just being a small taste of what’s to come from him.

The only thing that Tiger Woods needs to work on to be completely back on par with what he used to be is to get his weekend play times under control.  He hasn’t been doing so well in that department lately, but it looks like he’s en route to fix those issues as well.  It’s safe to say that it won’t be very surprising if Tiger Woods ends up winning the Masters – everyone’s already expecting it.

There are many great names appearing at the tournament this April, but no one has created as much buzz as Tiger Woods.  With two big wins already on his sleeve this year, there’s no reason why anyone should believe that he won’t be able to take the Masters as well.  He’s got not only his skills back, but he’s also been able to retain his confidence, which will go a very long way to helping him win this April.

Pardon the pun, but coming into their game with the Utah Jazz, the New York Knicks are clearly singing the blues. This is a road trip that New York just cannot wait to end. These first four games have all ended in disastrous defeats, each coming by at least 13 points. Now, New York finds itself as an 11 ½-point underdog on the NBA odds to a Utah team that is just scrapping and clawing to try to stay in the playoff picture in the Western Conference.

New York has the biggest injury woes in the league at the moment. The team already doesn’t have F Amare Stoudemire for at least the next 4-6 weeks, and F Carmelo Anthony has been seeing doctors all week to work on his knee. Now, C Tyson Chandler is out with a knee injury as well, and the team has to play the second game of a back to back just 30 hours or so after getting pasted by the Los Angeles Clippers.

Utah isn’t exactly playing the best ball in the world either, but this is a game that it has to have. The Jazz are just 2-5 in their last seven games, and one of those wins came against the lowly Detroit Pistons.

There is a score here to settle as well for Utah. The team was at Madison Square Garden just a week and a half ago before all of the injures started to kick in, and the Jazz were pummeled 113-84 as 5 ½-point underdogs.

The Knicks have covered 17 of the last 21 games in this series and a remarkable 10 in a row, but Utah hasn’t lost a game played here at Energy Solutions Arena in this series from an SU perspective since 2005.

The Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks square off at the Barclays Center Sunday with each team trying to keep a grip on its spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Brooklyn will have gone five days without playing after beating the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday, while the struggling Hawks have a winnable game at home against the Phoenix Suns Friday night prior to their showdown in Brooklyn.


The Nets have won four of their last five games after hitting a bit of a rough patch and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a straight-up record of 38-24. Meanwhile, the Hawks are in the midst of their own rough patch as they’ve gone 2-6 in their last eight games. A major cause for Atlanta’s recent struggles has been nagging injuries to two of its key players—Jeff Teague and Josh Smith. Both are listed as questionable against the Suns on Friday.


Atlanta currently holds the No. 7 spot in the East with a straight-up record of 35-29.


The Hawks and Nets played each other just over a week ago in Atlanta with the Nets securing an easy 93-80 win as a 3.5-point underdog. Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets scoring 18 points, 14 of which came in a key third quarter.


Atlanta desperately needs Teague and Smith back in the lineup if they are to turn things around before the playoffs. Both are nursing what’s described as “sprains,” so neither is expected to be out of action for an extended period of time. Smith is averaging 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Hawks, while Teague is averaging 14.5 points and seven rebounds at the point guard position.


Neither the Hawks or Nets have been particularly kind to bettors that have backed them in their NBA picks this season. Atlanta is 29-33-2 against the spread this season, while Brooklyn holds a mark of 30-32-3 against the number. 

The concern is growing in New York City, where an injury-ravaged Knicks team has been treading water since a fast start to the season. Following a 117-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday—the Knicks third in four games—New York travels to take on the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night.


The Knicks (38-23) have slid to third-place in the Eastern Conference behind the No.2 Indiana Pacers by going 21-19 since a fast 17-5 start to the season. Coach Mike Woodson has had to deal with a rash of injuries which of late has included his two biggest stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, returned from a knee injury to play against the Nuggets, but was forced to leave in the third quarter after scoring only nine points. He is slated to return to New York for further tests on the knee.


In addition to Anthony’s issues, the Knicks also learned last week that Stoudemire’s knee injury will keep him sidelined until at least early May. The next month, beginning with tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers, will be crucial for the Knicks.


Portland (29-34) has lost its last two games and is on the outside looking in of the Western Conference playoff race. The Trail Blazers are also a disappointing 28-32-3 against the spread this season. They are led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who leads the team in scoring at 20.8 points a game, and guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 19 points and 6.4 points a game to be a leading candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year.


As for a prediction, the injury issues the Knicks are dealing with mean there had been no line released as of Thursday morning. Both of these teams have issues that make them a little suspect to use in your NBA picks moving forward