Saturday, January 23, 2016

Very strange sports things

So David Blatt was canned as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers? That seemed strange, given the Cavs had made it to the NBA Finals last year and had the best record in the Eastern Conference this year.

Then again, it was easy to wonder just which country David Blatt had allegiance to. Born in Massachusetts, he eventually immigrated to Israel to coach, said he became "much more Jewish and and much more Zionist" while there, and went on to other stops in Russia and Turkey along the way. This qualified him as a well traveled international coach, but hardly constituted a glowing resume as NBA head coaching material. The game is played a lot differently abroad than it is stateside.

Nevertheless, in their infinite wisdom, the Cleveland Cavaliers inked Blatt to a 5 year contract to run their team, though he had ZERO NBA experience beforehand. Hey, doesn't that Dan Gilbert Quicken Loans guy still own the team? You know, the same fine gentleman that is investing millions in the Detroit business district while professing his love for all things Cleveland. Very strange.

Thing is, the Cavs have to pay Blatt's considerable salary through the 2018 season. He can kick back and do nothing for the next three and a half years while the millions continue to roll in. Well OK, maybe the Cavs wanted a REAL American to run their team. So they hired ----- Tyronn Lue. Does it get any more American than a guy named Tyronn coaching basketball? Maybe not so strange.

But it gets weirder. Before Blatt, the Cavs had fired head coach Mike Brown. They're still on the hook for HIS salary through 2018 as well. Throw in Lue's 3-year deal, and bow-tie Dan will be paying three head coaches through the 2018 season -- two of them no longer even working for his organization. That loan business must have money to spare galore.

On to the NFL playoffs.

In the AFC, the New England Patriots are a 3 point favorite going on the road against the Denver Broncos. Sounds about right. But a current Sports Illustrated article seemed a bit strange. It pointed out that Denver has the top-ranked defense in the league, and the Pats' two best linebackers are banged up and still iffy. Further, Brady and Co. will be without the services of their top running back. History tells us that Brady has an 11-5 record against Peyton Manning, but a not-go-good 2-6 record when his Pats play at Mile High. Add it up, and one would think the odds tilt a bit in Denver's favor.

But the SI scribe fearlessly predicted the Patriots would clobber the Broncos to the tune of 42-17. Really? A twenty five point beat down? As in over 3 touchdowns worth? In Denver? Very strange indeed.

In the NFC, his prediction was Carolina 34, Arizona 23. Obviously, he thinks the Panthers will easily cover the 3 point spread. The Cardinals have been the NFL's best road team while Carolina remains unbeaten at home. Something has to give.

But it won't be yours truly to Biker George (see previous post -- stage right). He dinged me for a Jackson when I was foolish enough to think Seattle would knock off his hometown Panthers. Then he offered a chance for me to get my money back by taking Arizona.

Not this time, George. A lot of things might be strange, including yours truly -- opinions vary -- but he's not hitting me up for another 20 on this game. I think his homies are going to roll into the Super Bowl as well.

Parting thought: How in the world did the Detroit Pistons manage to knock off the Golden State Warriors a few days ago? It doesn't get any stranger than that......

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