Yes, just as things are once again getting heated in Warriors land with Biedrins-gate, feltbot is off to the Mexican riviera for a much needed stint of Warriors rehab. I’ll be gone 10 days, missing the next 6 games, including the brutal 4 road games in 5 nights stretch next week. It’s probably just as well. My Lagavulin bill has been killing me.
Feel free to continue the discussion here as you see fit. Perhaps some of you guys can recap the interesting stuff for me. One thing that will be very interesting to watch is just how Biedrins reacts to being called out by Nellie. I like Biedrins, and know from observing his play over the last several years that he has a great deal of competitive pride. On the other hand, he has a very considerable psychological block against going to the free throw line right now. Which way will it go?
Mavs bet update: Dallas was a -2 home favorite against the Lakers tonight. I had some trepidation about that line, but after I researched it (I use the excellent matchup reports at SBRForum.com) my concerns eased. The line was quite reasonable by recent historical standards. The bookies have not yet moved their lines in reaction to the trade, and so I placed my bet on the Mavs.
Then I found out right before tipoff that Caron Butler wasn’t playing. A reaction to some medicine he took. Aaaaargh!
I needn’t have been concerned, though, because the Mavs still wound up covering, winning 101-96. I’m guarded about reading too much into this game. Yes it was in Dallas, Yes the Lakers were on a back to back road game, Yes Kobe is not yet completely right after an extended layoff. But still I noticed a couple of things that should greatly concern Laker fans. The first is that Brendan Haywood contained Andrew Bynum, and Dallas outrebounded the Lakers by 5. This Dallas team is HUGE, every bit as big and a lot more physical than the Lakers. And they will get even bigger when Butler plays off-guard at 6-7″, and Eric Dampier returns.
Unlike Nellie and the We Believe Warriors, the Lakers won’t be able to punish the lumbering size of the Mavs by running, because Phil Jackson doesn’t believe in running. If Phil Jackson let Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar run, then he would no longer be Big Chief Triangle. Capisce?
The second eye-opener for me in this game was Shawn Marion’s defense on Kobe. It was unbelievable. Marion simply would not let Kobe get around him, and his length and jumping ability clearly bothered Kobe’s shot. Kobe shot 9-23 in the game, and only 2-6 in the fourth quarter. Remember how much Paul Pierce bothered Kobe in the finals? Well, Shawn Marion, even at this stage of his career, is Paul Pierce times two on defense.
I didn’t consider this possibility, that Marion would guard Kobe, after the Butler trade. I knew that Butler was a great defender with size, and automatically assumed he would be taking Kobe. But now it is apparent to me that Dallas has TWO players who can make life tough for Kobe.
Combine this with the Mavs huge size, and their superior point guard play, and you have a very interesting situation developing in the West. The plot has gotten much, much thicker.
The Mavs are now 4-0 straight up, and 2-1-1 against the spread since I began the Mavs bet. (The tie came in the Indiana game, when the Mavs gave up 10 points of a 19 point lead in the final three minutes to win by only 9.) So it’s safe to say that I still like this bet, and would be looking to continue it if I weren’t going on vacation. So long as I satisfied myself that the bookies had not adjusted. The bookies will eventually adjust to the new strength of the Mavs, and I always stop my plays the moment that happens.
I will of course not be betting the Mavs while in Mexico, nor researching the lines for you, so if you have been inclined to follow me on this, make sure you do your research on every game.