Monthly Archives: October 2010

Smart is as Smart does: Warriors 109 Clippers 91

Unlike the first game, there was a lot to like in this Warriors win.  Let me start with what I liked the most: Keith Smart, the Warriors’ coach. This single game instilled a lot of confidence in me that Keith Smart gets it — that he has absorbed a lot of the lessons that he learned under Don Nelson, that he understands what he has in his roster, and that he knows how to get the most out of it. My concern that he might be one of the many coaches who insist on pounding square pegs into round holes is all but gone.

So what did I see that suddenly filled me with confidence?  Let’s go down the list:

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Pre-Game Jitters: Clippers at Warriors Preview

The Warriors are -5.5 favorites at home against the Clippers tonight.  I suppose this makes sense, given how Curry made Baron Davis look the last time they met in the Oracle. But looking at Warriors lines like this takes some getting used to!

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Opening Salvo: Golden State Warriors 132 Houston Rockets 128

I am a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with an ugly win.  That belief was tested a bit in this game, in which I was unable to discern many signs of cohesive team play on either side of the ball.  In my eyes, this game was won by the extraordinary individual efforts of a few very talented Warriors players.  I think you know who.  But it was a win.

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Pre-Game Jitters: Rockets at Warriors

Finally.  Am I the only one who feels like it’s been two years since last season?

The Warriors open the season as -3.5 favorites against the visiting Houston Rockets. Really, favorites?  This line is quite mysterious to me. Maybe it’s because the Warriors are suiting up more than six players, and the bookies don’t know how to handicap that!

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Pre-Season Wagers

This is going to be brief, because I didn’t see much of interest in the pre-season win totals.  But I did make a couple of bets, and in the tradition of this blog I want to play my cards face up for my readers.  I found it very interesting that the Warriors win total was 30.5 (-130 over [the juice on this bet has now gone up considerably, indicating betting interest on the over]) while the Washington Wizards win total was 32.5 (-130 over, EVEN under).  Are the Wizards, led by a rookie, and with the always unpredictable Gilbert Arenas playing a major role, really 2 games better than this Warriors squad, even accounting for the conferences?  I’m comfortable wagering a 5th round pick on Arenas to produce stats in fantasy basketball, but it’s quite another thing to wager money on him to produce wins.                                                            Continue reading

First Look: LA Lakers 105 Golden State Warriors 102

“You are doing the defense a favor when you post up Lee or Biedrins.” —  Mark Jackson

I couldn’t agree with Mark Jackson more.  We were told by the commentators to last night’s game that Keith Smart and his staff were raving about David Lee’s “surprising” abilities in the low post. (Surprising to whom?  Matt Steinmetz et al? They weren’t surprising to feltbot.)  Jackson went on to explain that despite Lee’s talent in the post, he is one of the greatest pick and roll players in the league, and that is how the Warriors should deploy him. I couldn’t agree more, as readers of this blog know.

And yet last night we were treated by Keith Smart to four quarters of watching the Warriors trying to post up Lee and Biedrins in the heart of the Lakers defense.  Why?  For well over three quarters, Smart ran literally no pick and rolls with Lee that were designed to get him a shot.  Instead Andris Biedrins was used almost exclusively to set the high picks, with Lee standing uselessly on the wings waiting for the ball that never came. Why?

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Sleep Well, My Friends: More Fantasy Basketball Sleepers

Winning in fantasy basketball is not just a matter of lucking into one of the top two picks in the draft, although that certainly helps.  And its not just a matter of sticking to the discipline of the published draft rankings, rather than drafting your favorite players, although that certainly helps too.  A large part of winning fantasy leagues involves doing your own scouting and independent thinking to find value where no one else — not even the fantasy experts — expect to find it. In other words, it involves finding and scooping up “sleepers” — players that for different reasons are greatly undervalued heading into the season.

As I prepared for my second and final expert league fantasy basketball draft to be held later today, I realized that I had in mind a whole list of sleeper candidates that fantasy basketball enthusiasts might be interested in reading about.  So, at the risk of boring the pants off my regular readership, here it is:

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Fantasy Friday

For any fantasy freaks out there who might be interested: I drafted my first fantasy basketball team of the year earlier tonight.  It’s a CBS Sports Platinum league that costs $100 bucks to enter, and pays $600 for first. So I guess this is my first NBA bet of the year.  There will be more.

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