Matthews: NBA Playoffs: Lakers Yes, Spurs No?

posted by Bob Matthews - 

NBA OVER/UNDER WINS TOTALS ARE POSTED IN LAS VEGAS...

PROJECTED FOR THE PLAYOFFS: LAKERS YES, SPURS NO

LeBron James will lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs and the San Antonio Spurs will miss the playoffs (I’ll believe that when I see it).

The much-anticipated over/under wins for the 2018-19 NBA season were posted Tuesday by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas and those are two of the results if the projected numbers hold up.

Here are the over/under wins (last season’s record in parentheses):

Eastern Conference – top 8 make the playoffs:

Boston 57.5 wins (55-27 last season)

Toronto 54.5 (59-23)

Philadelphia 54.5 (52-30)

Indiana 47.5 (48-34)

Milwaukee 46.5 (44-38)

Washington 44.5 (43-39)

Miami 41.5 (44-38)

Detroit 37.5 (39-43)

Charlotte 35.5 (36-46)

Brooklyn 32.5 (28-54)

Orlando 31.5 (25-57)

Cleveland 30.5 (50-32)

New York Knicks 29.5 (29-63)

Chicago 27.5 (27-55)

Atlanta 23.5 (24-58).

Western Conference

Golden State 62.5 (58-24)

Houston 54.5 (65-17)

Oklahoma City 50.5 (48-34)

Utah 48.5 (48-34)

Los Angeles Lakers 48.5 (35-47)

Denver 47.5 (46-36)

New Orleans 45.5 (48-34)

Minnesota 44.5 (47-35)

San Antonio 43.5 (47-35)

Portland 41.5 (49-33)

Los Angeles Clippers 35.5 (42-40)

Memphis 34.5 (22-60)

Dallas 34.5 (24-58)

Phoenix 28.5 (21-61)

Sacramento 25.5 (27-55).

New playoff teams – Denver...Detroit...Los Angeles Lakers

Made playoffs last season; out this season – Cleveland...Portland...San Antonio.

ESPN RANKS BEST UNDER-25 TALENT IN THE NFL: BILLS TAKE THE BIGGEST DROP

ESPN Insider this week ranked the 32 NFL teams in talent under 25 years old.

The top five are the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, New Orleans, Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

Buffalo took the biggest drop – from No. 7 last season to No. 26 this season.

The rest of the AFC East didn’t fare well, either: New York Jets 17th...Miami Dolphins 21st...New England Patriots 32nd.

The article pointed to Buffalo’s roster purge and the departures of Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Preston Brown, Reggie Ragland and Kevon Seymour.

The comments regarding the Bills were not flattering: “So what’s left? Usually an under-25 quarterback is a good thing in this exercise, and Buffalo has two of them in Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman. However, Buffalo and Denver were the only teams that are actually downgraded for their QBs based on expectations. Peterman was worse than imagined as a rookie and Josh Allen does terribly in our projections out of college. Pairing either with Zay Jones, who caught just 36.5 percent of his targets as a rookie, sounds like a perfect match for a football game played in hell.”

Wow, that’s sort of cruel.

It’s another reason to root for the Bills to fool their critics again.

SPRAYING BASEBALL HITS TO ALL FIELDS

Seattle long-time ace “King” Felix Hernandez was shelled in Tuesday night’s 11-4 loss to Texas and he’s on the verge of being dropped from the rotation. The Mariners are 2-8 in his last 10 starts. For the season, the 32-year-old right-hander is 8-10 with a 5.73 ERA. Opponents are hitting .270 and have 20 HRs against him.

The New York Yankees continue to lead MLB with 179 HRS through 112 games and are on pace to hit 262 HRs this season. The record is 264 HRs by Seattle in 1997. The Yankees record is 245 HRs in 2012.

Bryce Harper (Washington) in 17 games since the All-Star Game break: .370 batting average, 4 HRs and 16 RBI...Assuming Harper stays in Washington, the Nationals would have a potent 1-2 power punch for a long time. 19-year-old rookie Juan (“Childish Bambino) Soto is hitting .315 with 14 HRs and 39 RBI in his first 68 games.

Houston is 21-14 since star shortstop Carlos Correa was sidelined with a lower back injury. He’s on a rehab stint and is expected to be activated this weekend. Second baseman Jose Altuve (knee) also is on the DL and expected to return soon.

SHORT SHOTS

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has removed the Major League Baseball MVP and Cy Young awards from the betting menu. The closing odds for the favorites:  AL Cy Young Chris Sale 2-to-9 (bet $9 to win $2)...NL Cy Young Award Max Scherzer 1-to-4 (bet $4 to win $1)...AL MVP Mike Trout 2-to-3 (bet $3 to win $2)...NL MVP Nolan Arenado 3-to-1 (bet $1 to win $3).

The newest Rochester Knighthawk, 28-year-old forward Mike Burke, had a breakout season this summer for the Brampton Excelsiors of the Ontario Series A indoor lacrosse league. In 16 games, he had 68 points (17 goals and a league-most 51 assists) to tie for the league’s scoring lead. He signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this week. He should have a big winter setting up Rochester’s young scoring stars.

Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Business Journal reports that former Rochester RazorSharks coach Chris Iversen is suing the team for $32,475 in back pay.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., baseball’s top prospect at age 19, is heating up for the Buffalo Bisons. In his first seven Triple-A games, he’s hitting .389 (7-for-18), with 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 strikeouts and 8 walks.

Byung-ho Park, the former Red Wings slugger who bought out his contract with the Minnesota Twins last winter because he was homesick and wanted to return to South Korea, is enjoying an excellent season with the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization:  In 79 games, he has a .332 batting average and 29 HRs. In a recent 10-game span, he hit .432 with 7 HRs and 15 RBI. As a Red Wing, he hit .247 (132-for-535) with 27 doubles, 2 triples, 24 HRs and 79 RBI.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, April 8

Ragan Smith (18)...Nathan Lieuwen (28)...Anthony Rizzo (29)...Danilo Gallinari (30)...Cody Franson (31)...Pierre Garcon (32)...Roger Federer (37)...Rashard Lewis (39)...Trev Alberts (48)...Howard Cross (51)...Bruce Matthews (57)...Wes Chandler (62)...Cliff Speck (62)...Brian Sipe (69)...Ken Dryden (71)...Frank Howard (82). Robin Quivers (66) and Dustin Hoffman (81) are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, April 9

Alexa Bliss (27)...Jason Heyward (29)...JaMarcus Russell (33)...Matt Moore (34)...Drew Butera (35)...Chamique Holdsclaw (41)...Derek Fisher (44)...Rod Brind’amour (48)...Troy Pervival (49)...Deion Sanders (51)...Vinny Del Negro (52)...Brett Hull (54)...Hot Rod Williams (56)...Louis Lipps (56)...Kevin Mack (56)...Doug Williams (63)...Henry Marshall (64)...John Cappelletti (66)...Junior Kennedy (68)...Ted Simmons (69)...Jim Kiick (72)...Rod Laver (80)...Bob Cousy (90). Eric Bana (50), Melanie Griffith (61) and Sam Elliott (74) are invited to the birthday party...Whitney Houston was born on this date in 55 years ago (1963) and died in 2012 at age 48.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

August 8

148 years ago (1870), Magic (USA) beat Cambria (England) in the second America’s Cup...57 years ago (1961), the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) beat the Buffalo Bills (AFL) 38-21 in an exhibition game in Hamilton, Ontario...48 years ago (1970), the Yankees retired Casey Stengel’s No. 37...42 years ago (1976), the Chicago White played a game in shorts...28 years ago (1990), Pete Rose began serving a five-month prison term at the federal prison in Marion, Ill. ... 14 years ago (2004), John Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame...10 years ago (2008), the 28th Summer Olympics began in Beijing, China.

August 9

113 years ago (1905), mistaking her husband for a burglar, Ty Cobb’s mother shot and killed him...47 years ago (1971), Satchel Paige was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame...30 years ago (1988), the Edmonton Oilers sold Wayne Greztky to the Los Angeles Kings...16 years ago (2002), Barry Bonds hit his 600th career home run...6 years ago (2012), Usain Bolt became the first person to win the 100, and 200m sprints in back-to-back Olympics.

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