"Linsanity" in New York!
"Linsanity" in New York!
By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT
Sudden star Jeremy Lin leads the New York Knicks into battle tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers in a game to be nationally televised by ESPN. My old stomping grounds have been the home to one of the most amazing sports stories in years! Jeremy Lin has gone from a guy who couldn't keep a job to a guy who's scoring 20+ points every night with a lot of assists on a shorthanded team!
You longtime readers know I was born in New York as a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!). I follow Big Apple sports very closely through the best of times and the worst of times. It looked like this NBA season was going to be the worst of times given the very poor start for the Knicks. But, now Garden fans are chanting "MVP" at a point guard out of Harvard who hustles and plays smart basketball.
I hate to rain on this parade because it's a great story and the city is buzzing about basketball again amidst the Super Bowl celebration for the Giants. Everyone's in a great mood. Unfortunately:
Lin's best games have come against bad defenses. His breakout game came against New Jersey, who has the worst defense in the NBA when you adjust for tempo. His second big game came against Utah, who is in the bottom 10. Then, his first big road game was against Washington...a horrible team with a bad defense that had no interest in closing off the lane when Lin was driving.
Lin's always got the ball in his hands because Carmelo Anthony is out with an injury, and Amare Stoudemire is away from the team because of the tragic death of his brother. When the big money guys are back on the floor, Lin's going to see a lot less of the ball even as a point guard.
Lin's not a consistent shooter. His best plays are coming on drives where he either scores from in close, draws a foul, or passes to an open teammate. The league will eventually adjust to this and force him to settle for jumpers. He'll be less dangerous when that happens. In fact, he'll probably go back to being the player he was with Houston, Golden State, and in the D-League.
Lin entered his recent three-game star turn with some of the freshest legs in the league. He just hadn't played that much. Everyone else is exhausted because of the brutal schedule. That certainly played a role in his big numbers. Lin wasn't just facing bad defenses, he was facing bad tired defenses.
At first I would have thought that tonight's game against the Lakers was going to provide the wake-up call. The Lakers play defense...have a defensive minded head coach...and have some very tall trees in the form of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol that hang around the basket. But, the Lakers are in a back-to-back spot the night after an overtime win at Boston...so they may be too tired to play great defense!
Maybe "Linsanity" is destined to last a few games longer! When you look over the upcoming schedule...the fun truly could last several more days:
Tonight: versus the tired Lakers
Saturday: at Minnesota, who plays up tempo
Tuesday: at Toronto, a bad team in a prolonged slump
Wednesday: versus Sacramento, another bad team that doesn't defend well
Friday: versus New Orleans, still ANOTHER bad team that doesn't defend well
Sunday 2/19: versus Dallas, who's been battling inconsistency this year
Eventually the Knicks will run into a string of good teams. And, Carmelo Anthony is due to come back and hog the ball in the not-too-distant future. For now, let's enjoy "Linsanity" and see how long it lasts.
I've been studying Knicks-Lakers very hard because I know my clients like winning TV games. But, Friday's schedule is very big...with 12 NBA games, a full Ivy League slate (I attended an Ivy League school), and a few bonus possibilities. I may or may not step out in the game at the Garden. But, I will have the best options on the board posted for you this afternoon right here at this website.
Then, I'll come back tomorrow with what looks to be my biggest Saturday so far this season in the colleges! Let's win big tonight...then let the profits ride tomorrow and Sunday in a BLOCKBUSTER basketball weekend! If you have any questions about this weekend or my private service, call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946. Packages that take you from tonight through March Madness are very affordable.
The Knicks are enjoying "Linsanity." Sign up with me and you'll enjoy WINSANITY! It's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
Coach Ron Meyer: NBA Coaches Must Pace Their Teams
I'm learning a lot this year about how smart...or how insecure...many NBA coaches are thanks to the unique challenges in play for the lockout shortened season. Playing so many games in such a short amount of time makes it ESSENTIAL for coaches to pace their players so they can play at the highest possible level.
If you've been watching a lot of NBA this year, you know that few teams, relatively speaking, have been able to do that. Many teams are tired (some look like they're exhausted in every fourth quarter). Many star players are getting injured because fatigue naturally leads to injuries through wear and tear or poor decision-making. Handicappers MUST pay attention to what coaches are doing in this regard, and how the challenges of the season are affecting each team.
The smartest team so far in my book is...no surprise...the San Antonio Spurs. Head coach Greg Popovich has been limiting the minutes of his starting lineup just so they have a chance to stay fresh for as long as possible. He'll even forfeit a game or two if he thinks that will help in the long haul. You may remember that his bench played the entire fourth quarter and overtime of a TV game in Dallas. They lost that one...but they've won six in a row since heading into Saturday Night's game at New Jersey!
And, it's not like San Antonio faced an easy schedule. They just beat red hot Philadelphia on the road. They beat Western power Oklahoma City easily. And, they won twice on the ROAD at Memphis! The Spurs are fresher than the teams they're facing...and that's because their coach is one of the smartest in the league.
Philadelphia's Doug Collins has been doing the same thing. He has a great bench, and he uses it. It's true that the Sixer's have been helped by playing a very soft schedule. But, they've been crushing the bad teams on that schedule. The only times they've run into trouble are against Miami, who they don't match up well against, and against San Antonio who matched them in freshness.
I'm not going to go into too many specifics about the best and worst coaches this year in terms of keeping players fresh. It's a very important part of my personal strategy...and I don't want to give away any edges. It's no secret that Popovich is a great coach, so I can talk about him. And, the line may have finally adjusted with the Sixers because they're such big favorites against bad teams now. I can assure you there are at least 3-4 more teams I'm backing lately because they're playing it smart...and at least TEN teams I'd consider fading on a regular basis because they're so tired they just can't play hard for 48 minutes every night.
Here are keys for you to look for in the nightly boxscores that will help you get up to speed.
Look at the minutes played numbers for individuals on every team. You want to see depth and balance on teams you're going to back. Any team that overloads its starters with minutes is probably in deep trouble already and it's not going to get any better.
Look at pace factors to see who's running-and-gunning too much (that's a horrible strategy to use on a nightly basis this year) and who's keep things slow and methodical in a way that's going to keep things manageable all season. I'm not kidding about this...there are some coaches who were running early this year with short rotations because they were too afraid of losing that night. This type of coach may lose 8-10 games down the road because he was trying to get one win!
Look at the assist breakdowns to see which teams share the ball, and therefore share the scoring load. If everybody's involved when they're on the floor...and they're getting plenty of rest thanks to the bench...then the team is well positioned to cover Vegas spreads. If there's no chemistry, and everyone's tired. An implosion is in the offing if it hasn't already started.
Look over the rosters to see who the youngest and oldest teams are in terms of quality minutes. This is a horrible year to be an old team. It's a great year to be a young team. And, recently, we're seeing that some of the young teams are posting surprisingly good results because they're not as tired as everyone else.
Study the injury reports to see which teams are so shorthanded that they MUST get tired because of the load. Denver's had some health issues lately, and they've dropped a few points in my Power Ratings as a result. Vegas oddsmakers were very slow to catch this.
Watch for short term spread streaks because these often signal who's tired and who's fresh. Houston just covered three road games in a row (winning them all outright) in a way that suggests they're fresher than many opponents. There are probably a dozen recent slumps I could point to that suggested teams had gotten tired.
Monitor the weekly schedules so you know who's been playing a few back-to-back's, and who's been enjoying so many days off that they've been able to get their legs back. Learn to anticipate fatigue or freshness rather than just waiting to see it.
This is a big year for NBA coaches...which means you should have a coach picking your games! Game day releases in pro and college basketball go up a few hours before first tip here at the website. You can also sign up by calling my office at 1-877-540-8787.
If you've been struggling in basketball this year, it's time to PUT A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!
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