By: Frank Hyden
-The Milwaukee Bucks are now down 3-0 to the Miami Heat after losing 115-100 last night. That’s terrible enough but it’s the way they lost that’s inexcusable. They started the 4th quarter leading by 12 points. Then preceded by get outscored by 27 points in that quarter (a record, by the way) to lose by 15. That is absolutely pathetic. It’s an indictment of the Bucks as a team but also Giannis Antetokounmpo as a player. This is one of the things that separates good players from great. Would LeBron James lead a team that choked away a 12 point lead to lose by 15? Would Kawhi Leonard? Would Kobe Bryant? Would Shaq? Michael Jordan? Larry Bird? Charles Barkley? I could go and on but the point is, no, they wouldn’t.
Choking away a big lead pretty much disqualifies you from any discussion of being a great player. It shows that you can’t get the job done when your team needs you. The problem isn’t losing, everyone loses. Hell, LeBron and the Lakers got their asses kicked last night by the Rockets. It happens, you lose sometimes. You get blown out sometimes. It’s the way you lose. If the Bucks had trailed by 10-15 the whole way, you just say the Heat are a better team and it’s a bad matchup. However, the Bucks were up 12 entering the 4th quarter. And even if the Bucks had lost by 2 points or something at the end, that wouldn’t have been as bad, but to get outscored by 27 points in 12 minutes? What the hell is that? At a certain point, when the wheels are falling off, the superstar says “Give me the ball and everyone get the hell out of the way”, and you make it happen. You make something happen. That’s what the greats do. Giannis might get there eventually, but this much is clear. He’s not a great. He’s about to be a 2-time reigning MVP (and won Defensive Player of the Year already this year) who just got swept. If the Bucks come out and Giannis wills them to victory in the next game, that makes me feel better about his future. They’re going to lose the series, that much is essentially guaranteed, but show some fight and go down swinging. Show us what you got.
And I know Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer deserves a lot of blame as well for taking Giannis out, and various other moves he made in the game. Maybe Giannis is too nice, but he should have told Budenholzer “F you” when Bud tried to take him out in the 4th. You don’t have to make a big public spectacle of it but go to him during a timeout or before the 4th quarter started and tell the coach you’re playing the whole quarter. Or you’ll sit out the first 2 minutes or so, then play the rest of the way. This was the deciding game, basically, being down 2-1 is a hell of a lot different than being down 3-0.
-The Houston Rockets thumped the Los Angeles Lakers last night 112-97. The small ball Rockets were just too quick, the Lakers need to make some adjustments. I’m sure they’ll make some adjustments, the question is, will they be the right ones? The Lakers have the 2 best players in the series, with LeBron and Anthony Davis, so they should win this series. The Rockets have the better coach, though. Mike D’Antoni is better than Frank Vogel. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are good players, but if Harden’s shot is off, that’s trouble. And can Westbrook get his own shot? They played well last night and it showed with a big 15 point win. LeBron scoring no points in the 4th quarter looks really bad.
-Josh Rosen has been released by the Miami Dolphins. Rosen was the 10th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft by Arizona, who then traded him the next year to Miami. He hasn’t played very well but if he were to go to the right team, he might be able to turn it around and be a decent backup. He’s still young so there’s a chance.
-Adrian Peterson has been released by Washington. He’s still shown some flash in some games last year. Supposedly the Chiefs and Jaguars have shown interest. I’m not sure what his thoughts are on being a backup, though. He might go to Jacksonville if they offer him a shot at the starting job.
-Yesterday the talk was Jadeveon Clowney was going to New Orleans, now someone else is saying he’s going to Tennessee. Well, just wake me up when he actually signs then, I guess.
To wrap up, the NFL season starts this Thursday with Houston vs. Kansas City. DraftKings Sportsbook is doing a promotion right now where you can bet on Kansas City +101 for the spread, which is a guaranteed win. Max bet is $50 but still, this will get you about $45 for free. You just got to sign up for a DraftKings account. Use that link with my referral code and we both get free bets, depending on how much you deposit in your account to begin.
FanDuel Sportsbook is running a promotion where you can bet $50 or more on any team to win the Super Bowl next year and you get a $5 site credit for each regular season win they have this season. So if you bet $50 that San Francisco wins the Super Bowl and they win 12 games this year, you get $60 in site credit. And if they win the Super Bowl, you win that bet as well. Just make sure to bet on a team likely to win 10 games or more.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank