Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Sunday without football (sport, food, gambling)

Pro Bowl? No thanks.

So begins 7 months of Sundays without football. Today I spent it watching two great NBA matchups in Spurs-Celtics and Lakers-Cavaliers. I enjoyed the Spurs-Celtics game more as I just like watching both those teams execute. I thought it definitely vindicated Poppovich's decision to rest his big three against the Nuggets earlier in the week. Boston was severely handicapped for this game however because they were without their own tall white red-headed shooting center. I can't wait for the rematch which should be billed as Bonner vs. Scalabrine. The Lakers really stepped it up during this road trip, taking over the best record in the league as well as clinching tiebreakers against both the Celtics and the Cavaliers. During the Lakers-Cavs game there was mention that Kobe had some flu-like symptoms. The flu has been going around the NBA recently affecting a lot of players. My guess is that the constant travelling and locker room environment help to spread the virus. Or perhaps it's a bird flu related to these guy hanging in the air so often. Here are some other random thoughts of the day.

Playing in the NBA is often about how many gears you have. The ability to change speeds is more important than how fast you can go in full sprint. This is especially true of scorers because they are often in isolated situations and changing speeds is critical to getting separation. From watching a lot of games this season, I think Paul Pierce has the best changeup in the NBA right now. He's not a guy with a 97mph fastball and an 85mph changeup like Kobe Bryant, but more like a guy with an 88mph fastball and a 70mph changeup. He changes from his post-up stance to his spin move or his go-by-you step or his pullback jumper probably more fluidly than anyone else in the league.

That's not to say pure sprint speed isn't an important factor to succeeding in the NBA. Top point guards like Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, and Steve Nash are more noted for their full sprint speed because they're often leading the fast break. However, my vote for the best point guard in the league (or perhaps best guard period) goes to Chris Paul. One of the reasons is because he is one of those players who has multiple gears and changes speeds with ease. This ability also shows up on defensive stats because it allows him to anticipate steals without completely blowing his defensive assignment (he leads the league in steals by more than .6 steals/game over the second place player).

I left out one thing in my mini-rant about ethnic food authenticity. I also don't understand the belief that people who come from somewhere else must be knowledgable in what food is good from their place of origin. An example of this is the Pizza Hut commercial where they do their food switch (the lasagna?) in Italy. Why is it assumed that Italians must know what good Italian food is? Take a look at this post from Slice (pizza blog)

where they mention that Naples is full of hotdog and french fry pizzas.

I think I have found the worst game on online poker in terms of losing rake. I think it is the heads up .25/.50 pot limit omaha/8. First of all, PLO8 is the worst of all the games in terms of rake because there are too many max-rake pots that end up being split between the players. Secondly, playing heads up limits the amount of money in the pot that a winning player can scoop or 3/4 from. Also, using the rake scale on Full Tilt, this level of stakes is the only one where the max rake is as much as the big blind AND rake is taken every time a flop is seen. Anyone else have a better nomination for the worst raked online game?

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