The NBA — “NO BETTING ADVICE”

Sorry, but I just don’t know anymore.  I’m disoriented from an aggressive travel schedule  across multiple time zones with too little sleep, and it’s totally thrown me off my game with respect to the world of sports. Maybe I can work that into an excuse to wash away the run of poor predictions I currently find myself in the midst of?

I woke up in London this morning with an idea for a blog post that would discuss the two NBA Conference Finals, each knotted two games apiece, with one final attempt at rescuing myself from my dismal record on recent prognostications.  I even went so far as to remind myself to write it up quickly and get it out there before the Boston-Cleveland matchup tipped off. Then I checked my phone to see what the start time would be in over here only to find out that the Cavs-Celtics Game 5 had just ended, with the Celts maintaining their strong home-court advantage yet again. So much for that idea.

A quick glance further down the screen of my Yahoo Sports app also informed me that the Washington Capitals (who I’ve left for dead multiple times this postseason in previous posts — yes, you’re still welcome Caps fans) have now advanced to the finals against the Golden Knights of Las Vegas (interesting since in my slightly delirious head I also had that game taking place tonight).  Since I’m not a hockey enthusiast, I had actually rooted for Tampa Bay to advance, not just to send home the Caps and their playoff-victory-starved fans once again, but also to make the Stanley Cup Finals even less compelling from my personal vantage point.

I say “personal vantage point” only because I do recognize that what Vegas is doing in advancing to the finals in their inaugural season is nothing short of remarkable (however, it seems to me that also needs to serve as something as an indictment of hockey’s inefficient playoffs,  doesn’t it?). So pitting the Golden Knights against one of the more uninspiring sports cities out there would dampen the enthusiasm for the Cup (sorry Tampa Bay, but you really are a pretty poor sports town).   Never mind, as I’m really not qualified to opine on the NHL beyond what I’ve already done and the Lightning are now sitting home and the Caps are still skating.  Figures.

Okay, but I can’t help it — don’t you think that Vegas has to have at least a hint of “happy to be here” going on now as the Stanley Cup Finals begins?  That has to be a huge plus for the Caps, methinks.  Of course, the way my prognostications have been going of late, that thought alone could put the whammy on the Caps’ season once and for all.  Stay tuned to see the true power of going the opposite way with your wagers when I’ve come out strong predicting an outcome.  Caps in 5. No doubt about it.

Back to the NBA and the curse of Swaggy P.

Yeah, I’m switching course yet again and now running with the Rockets.  I had them to reach the finals at the beginning of the playoffs, thinking that their home court advantage, coupled with this recurring feeling that the injuries and drop-off in character on the Dubs side would have a lasting effect, would be enough to send a new Western Conference representative to the final round this year.  Then I (like everyone else) witnessed the Warriors Game 1 dissection of the Rockets and their overly simplistic offensive system and decided the Dubs were simply too much for any team out there and went with Warriors in 5. Not so fast.

I returned once more to my imaginary bookmaking window (can you say “never throw good money after bad?”), this time choosing to revert back to my original line of thinking.  So I’m going with Rockets in 7, but feeling justified in my latest waffle since I am already on record pointing out that if things were to go bad for Golden State the inevitable organizational autopsy should begin with Nick “Swaggy P” Young.

I just don’t like the guy. I don’t like his game and especially his nickname (which somehow I am convinced is his own concoction, not unlike when George Costanza tried to anoint himself “T-Bone” on that classic Seinfeld episode. Only “Swaggy P” is certainly nowhere near as lovable as George was).

So give me Houston (once again) and here’s hoping for an epic Game 7, which I’ll likely need to find airing at three in the morning somewhere in Belgium to enjoy.

I’m also going to root for another Game 7 showdown in the East, only in this one I’m sticking to my (recent) guns. I won’t rehash my Celtics/LeBron mutual hate dilemma in this post, but the angst of this matchup does remain quite real for me. And I’m also not simply riding the “Celtics can’t lose at home in these playoffs” bandwagon” either, although based on what I read about last night’s (this morning’s?) game, it sure is starting to seem that way.

I’m actually more excited about the possibility of an Eastern Conference Game 7 than one out west, as the idea of a desperate (and likely running on fumes) LeBron heading into Boston Garden and trying to carry that ragtag supporting cast of his into the finals should be an awesome viewing experience. That’s assuming they make it to a Game 7, but it is with an enormous amount of confidence I say that Cleveland is a lock in Game 6 at home.

Based on what we’ve seen from the Celts in this series on the road, they will be content to wait it out for some home cooking and then try to lock it up back in Boston.  If you are a Celtics fan, that mentality should scare the hell out of you. And that makes me happy, too. In the end, though, team basketball prevails in the East and the Celts move on.

There it is — rooting hard for dual Game 7’s in the respective conference finals. And I’m  predicting that the home floor advantage is the slight differentiator in both series, setting up a rematch of the 1986 finals (with hopefully a more competitive series coming our way) won by Boston in 6 mostly uninteresting games (although the Rockets Twin Towers of Sampson and Olajuwon at the time was pretty cool).

And when it’s over, let’s start the over/under discussion as to how many days it takes Bob Myers to jettison Swaggy P out of Oakland and on to some perennial also-ran where he can hoist up bad shots at will, score 20+ a game, annoy teammates on a nightly basis, all on the way to a 25-57 record (just please keep him out of New York, as when I reread that description it sounded eerily similar to Knickerbocker-land!).

Take a bow, Nick Young. You are doing what all the collective finest basketball minds in the NBA have been unable to do to date — figure out a way to take down the Golden State Warriors.  It’s all about chemistry, people, chemistry.

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