Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) USA 97, Australia 78:
— Americans advance to the gold medal game.
— Australia led 41-26 in 2nd quarter.
— Down 45-42 at the half, USA outscored Australia 32-10 in 3rd quarter.
— Other semi-final is France-Slovenia at 7am, when I will be sound asleep

12) Next week is the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which is great fun to watch, but for the love of God, please do not wager on these games. I’ve told this story before, but…….

Several years ago, I’m in Cox Pavilion at UNLV with my friend Dennis watching summer league games. Guy who looks like a bodybuilder sits in front of us, drink in hand, talking loudly about the team he wagered on. “Team A won by 20 yesterday; they’re GOING TO KILL this team” and so on and so on, until right before the opening tap. 

One small problem; Team A didn’t play the same guys that day  they did in their last game, and they got spanked pretty badly. The guy in front of us was steaming; not even sure if he knew different guys were playing, but we moved our location for the second half, to get away from the inevitable explosion when he lost.

NBA teams need to see all the guys on their summer league roster to see who they want to invite to training camp; they also don’t overwork the guys they know are keepers, so the scrubs get a good look in front of scouts for pro leagues overseas. Lot of the people in the strands at summer league are scouts for pro leagues in other countries.

11) Miami Heat signed G Duncan Robinson to a 5-year, $90M contract, which is amazing, seeing how Robinson once played D-III college ball at Williams College, before he transferred to D-I at Michigan. Nowadays, skilled shooters get paid major money.

In the 2013-14 season, Robinson played D-III ball, which is really good at the highest level, but no one there has any delusions about becoming a millionaire playing hoops. D-III teams don’t give scholarships, kids pay to go to school and play ball. They play because they love it.

Seriously, someone needs to make a movie out of this guy’s career someday.

10) Speaking of career paths, here is PJ Tucker’s:
2006-07— Toronto Raptors, NBA
2007— Colorado in the G-League
2007-08— Hapoel Holon in Israel
2008-10— Donetsk in Ukraine
2010— Bnei Hasharon in Israel
2010-11— Aris Thessaloniki in Greece
2011— Sutor Montegranaro in Italy
2011-12— Brose Baskets in Germany
2012-17— Phoenix Suns, NBA
2017— Toronto Raptors, NBA
2017-21— Houston Rockets, NBA
2021— Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

PJ Tucker just signed a 2-year contract worth $15M with Miami. Hard work pays off.

9) Tucker is 36 years old; he scored 98 points in 23 playoff games for the Bucks this year, but they won the NBA title in large part because Tucker does the little things that help teams win, and smart guys like Pat Riley/Erik Spoelstra value that.

8) Minnesota Twins are 42-20 when they allow 5 or fewer runs, 3-43 when they allow 6+ runs.

7) 37-year old Cole Hamels is going to sign on with the Dodgers; Hamels has started 422 MLB games, has a 163-122 record- he only pitched one game for Atlanta LY before getting hurt. He is 7-6, 3.41 in 16 playoff games. Dodgers can use him if he is healthy.

6) A’s 5, Padres 4 (10)
— A’s scored 2 in ninth to tie game; Yan Gomes had a huge hit.
— Matt Olson won with a 2-run double in the 10th.

5) Angels’ 3B Anthony Rendon (hip) will have surgery, is out for the year.

4) Can the Miami Dolphins equal their 29 takeaways from last year? When a team has a +9 turnover ratio, it can be difficult to replicate that- they were minus-19 the previous three years. Dolphins just missed out of the playoffs LY; they’ll need better QB play this season.

3) Since 2015, Canadian Football League underdogs are 48-26-2 (65%) ATS in Weeks 1-4

2) Jimmy V Classic in New York City December 7; Villanova-Syracuse, an old Big East rivalry and Tennessee-Texas Tech.

One of these years, Jimmy V Classic has to include an Iona-NC State game, the two teams Jim Valvano was head coach of.

1) There is an NFL game on TV tonight, Cowboys-Steelers from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Summer is going by way too fast. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.