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NBA: Hardly a Bull market

Posted on December 11th, 2009

I can’t believe we’re only 23 games or so into the season, and we’re already talking about who’s leading the All-Star ballots. Too bad that’s not something we could bet on, because you could predict the starting five almost every year without any surprises. Wade, Lebron, Kobe…wake me when it’s over. I miss the days when Jordan went up against Wilkins in the dunk contest.

But the fact remains that this season is in full swing, one coach already got chopped, and here’s hoping another one follows suit soon (Del Negro). The Bulls are 7-13, and seem to have lost their heart when Ben Gordon skipped town to play for the Pistons (who aren’t tearing things up themselves, either). Let me say that if Vinny keeps his job through the All-Star break and the Bulls continue to lose like they are now, that’s a joke. I don’t care if Hinrich is hurt, the Bulls need to be improving on last year with the young core, and they always seem to find a way to go in the other direction.

So my wager is by Feb. 1, either the Bulls are .500 or Vinny faces intense pressure and/or gets fired. As for the Bulls? Keep betting on them to lose until someone steps up to lead this team – on the bench or on the floor.

I like the Denver at Houston match-up for Dec. 16. While most of the West is hurting their necks looking up to the Lakers, Denver is only 3 games back right now, and they’re not playing like it’s all been decided already. Anthony is a true league star, averaging 30 points a game (not to mention more than 3 assists and a steal). Billups still has that intangible quality you couldn’t quite pin down when he was winning with Detroit, but it seems to follow him wherever he goes. The Rockets have been getting it done with defense (holding four out of their last five teams under 100 pts – three of those under 90), but it’s going to be tough to contain a Nuggets team that has only failed to score 100 once over it’s half half-dozen, including a 135-point outburst against Golden State at the beginning of the month. I see the NBA betting line being 7 or 8 for Denver at home, which they really should cover. It’s their third home game in a row, and they’ll be well rested before heading out to New Orleans two nights later.