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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blog

Gio Gonzalez needs a ‘sexy’ date for Nationals’ gala

Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez needs a date to his team’s gala on Saturday, and he’s turning to Twitter for candidates.

Gio has a pretty simple checklist going: sexy, single, and 21-or-over. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

This has to be a plan to get some attention on Twitter, because I can’t imagine an MLB player would have that much difficulty finding a date to an event.

What’s nice is that he at least has the support of his teammates:

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NBA Finals betting odds suggest sports books think Heat is better than Thunder

As soon as the Heat defeated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, many people wondered which team was going to be favored in the NBA Finals. Sports books quickly answered that question by installing the Thunder as the favorite.

But does that mean the oddsmakers believe the Thunder is the better team? Maybe not.

According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, if oddsmakers believe two teams in a best of 7 playoff series are evenly matched, the odds would be -150 in favor of the team with home court advantage.

The Thunder opened as -135 favorites, meaning oddsmakers thought the Heat were slightly better. Bettors feel differently.

The public has been wagering on the Thunder, so the line has adjusted to -165 or -170 in many cases.

Now that we know what the oddsmakers and bettors think, it’s up to decide which side you knows more.

I think that the Thunder has the deeper and more complete team, but the Heat has the best players. If LeBron keeps playing like he did against the Pacers and Celtics, they’re going to win. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can help with strong play, but if LeBron continues to play determined ball, the Heat will win. I think it will be a seven-game series.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Spurs interested in Kevin Garnett?

Kevin Garnett is said to be considering retirement now that the Celtics’ season has ended and his contract has expired. If he decides to continue his career, he’ll have no shortage of suitors.

We’ve already heard that he might be interested in signing with the Lakers, and now we’re learning that the Spurs might also be interested.

From the San Antonio Express-News:

The Spurs will consider everything and everyone this summer when free agency begins. But one option tossed out this weekend by one in the Spurs organization is not just another name.

Kevin Garnett.

Not only is this notable because of the ways KG could improve the Spurs, but more importantly, because of the relationship between Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

According to a recent SI report, Duncan “hates” Garnett. The two are considered to be some of the best power forwards in the league’s history, but they’ve been rivals. Do you really think they could get along? Would Duncan even be comfortable having him around?

These issues might be moot if Garnett retires or re-signs with Boston, but they’re fun to consider. I can’t see it happening.

Chest bump to I am a GM

Driver cuts across infield to ram into other car, fistfight ensues (Video)

Have you ever been so pissed at another car in traffic that you wanted to forget about where you were headed and instead focus on just ramming into it bumper car style? Well that happened over the weekend.

At the 15th Annual 2 Hour Xtreme Winged Figure 8 Enduro at Sportsdrome Speedway in Clarksville, IN, last Saturday night, one driver cut across the track’s infield to ram into an opposing driver who apparently spun him before the race began. We don’t have a closeup of their fight, but it’s pretty obvious they threw down fisticuffs after exiting their respective high-performance vehicles.

We have no idea which driver won the fight, but just seeing the car cut across the infield was well worth the price of admission (or 53 seconds of video for those of us who had to relive it on the ‘net).

Big H/T to Off the Bench, Deadspin

One sports book refunded Manny Pacquiao bettors, others lost huge on fight (plus other funny betting business stories)

There was some funny betting going on for the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight on Saturday that won’t help decrease speculation that the fight was fixed.

RJ Bell of Pregame.com tells us that while most of the money came in on Pacquiao in the months leading up to the fight, big money came in on Bradley the day of the fight.

LBS insider Arsenious says the same thing, and tells us that the moneyline on Bradley plummeted from +475 to +300 in the final hour before the fight began. That means so much money came in on Bradley on Saturday, it lowered the payout odds on him to win the fight from 4.75:1 to 3:1.

Because of the big money that poured in on Bradley on Saturday, Las Vegas sports books lost big on the fight, per Bell. He tells us that one online sports book said it lost more on this fight than any other in its history.

We also have two other crazy betting stories from the fight.

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Kings accidentally sent plans to withhold stats from Devils coaches to the media

The LA Kings’ plans to withhold stats from Devils coaches as payback were made public after en email was accidentally sent to the media.

The Kings apparently were upset that the team’s coaches didn’t get stats from the Devils’ PR staff until the final two minutes of the second intermission during Game 5, so they’re planning to do the same in Game 6.

Here’s what the email, that was accidentally sent to members of the media, said:

“Jersey PR (whether it was their fault or not) didn’t get stats to our locker room until about two minutes left in the intermission. Our coaches were not happy about this. So we are going to do the same to them tomorrow.

“So unless you hear otherwise from me make sure their locker room does NOT get stats UNTIL about two minutes left to go in the intermission. Even if you literally have to eye the clock and wait. If they ask what’s taking so long just tell them our copy machines are down.”

Ah, the old copier was down excuse. That’s going to be my go-to excuse in life from now on. When people talk about home field or home ice advantage, this is just one example of the many advantages a team can have.

Relax, Devils fans, it could be much worse.

H/T Deadspin

Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo reportedly struggled to get along this season

When Danny Ainge assembled the Big Three back in 2007, it was assumed the Celtics were looking at a three-year window to win a championship. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce decided to get that out of the way immediately. After they beat the Lakers in 2008, every season after that was described as the “last shot” for the Big Three. Four years and another Finals appearance later, and the aging Celtics were able to push the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Championship. Is it now officially over?

From an age standpoint, it seems likely. Garnett and Allen are free agents. Both seem like they intend to play next year, but you never know what could transpire over the course of the offseason. In all likelihood Garnett will either retire or return to Boston for another season. It seems less likely that the Celtics will bring Allen back, especially since he reportedly struggled to get along with Rajon Rondo this season.

“I think there’s no question that the relationship (between Rondo and Allen) was strained over this year,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix said during an interview with WEEI Monday. “How strained is the key, and it’s still a little bit unclear. There was some friction between those two. I think that could play a role in Ray’s decision not to come back.

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Charles Barkley was one of the last players added to the Dream Team

NBA fans have been getting excited about an upcoming special on the Dream Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The documentary, called “The Dream Team,” airs Wednesday night on NBA TV and features the story of what many consider to beat the greatest team ever.

GQ posted an “oral history” of the Dream Team to help get people prepared for the documentary, and it’s loaded with great info. It talks about how competitive the players on the team were, what it was like for them traveling, and it had a few great anecdotes about Charles Barkley that are definitely worth sharing.

For instance, did you know that Chuck was one of the last players selected for the team because of his attitude/personality?

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Dad inspires/embarrasses son with improvised speech from ‘Miracle’ to get him ready for job interview (Video)

YouTubeTo our beloved Matt,

This is just our way of wishing you the best of luck tomorrow and on all of your future adventures.

We love you!!

Herb Brooks would be proud, I guess? The father you see above did his best impersonation of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey coach (first done by Kurt Russell in the movie “Miracle”) to help inspire his son to land a job, and I’m guessing to get his butt off their couch and move the hell out. There’s nothing like comparing arguably the greatest sporting contest in history — which not only transcended the game of hockey but also worldwide politics — to an entry level copywriting gig. But, hey, to each his own. Mike Eruzione and Don Draper (clutch name drop, Dad) had to start somewhere. If this helped get our beloved Matt the position, more power to him.

Tampa’s Will Rhymes has to run to bullpen to deliver message after dugout phone malfunction (Video)

If I were to tell you that a ballpark experienced a dugout phone malfunction over the weekend and you had to guess which venue it was, you might say Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. One of your last guesses would probably be Marlins Park, since it happens to be the newest ballpark in the country. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened to the Rays when they were visiting Miami on Sunday, and Will Rhymes had to spring into action because of it.

As you can see from the video above, Joe Maddon had to stop play during the Rays’ 4-2 win over the Marlins because he was unable to call to his bullpen. James Shields got himself into a seventh-inning jam, so Maddon wanted to get left-hander Jake McGee and right-hander Burke Badenhop loosened up. Since the phone wasn’t working, he Rhymes to the outfield to deliver the message.

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