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Kentucky Derby Watch Lists Starting to Take Shape

We’re now two months away from the 2013 Kentucky Derby, and the watch lists are already coming in.

That said, now is a good time to get options to bet on kentucky derby online, as the parade of Kentucky Derby preps is officially underway.

Vyjack made the first big splash of the season with a big win in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes .

Vyjack has been among the top contenders listed for the Derby this preseason, and Saturday’s race ensured that would remain the case.

Here’s a look at what the Kentucky Derby website lists as its Top 10 contenders heading into March, although this list could change as soon as this weekend when Verrazano headlines the field at the Tampa Bay Derby.

Goldenscents is also expected to run this weekend in the San Felipe Stakes, which could shake things up.

Let the games begin!

1. Ive Struck a Nerve

Matthew Bryan, J. Keith Desormeaux

2. Vyjack

Pick Six Racing (David Wilkenfeld), Rudy Rodriguez

3. Orb

Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps), Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III

4. Shanghai Bobby

Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith, Todd Pletcher

5. Goldencents

W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney & RAP Racing, Doug O’Neill

6. West Hills Giant

Long Island Racing Stables, Sunrise Stables, Bentivegna, John Terranova II

7. Code West

Gary & Mary West, Bob Baffert

8. Oxbow
Calumet Farm, D. Wayne Lukas

9. Speak Logistics
Hardway Stables, Inc., Eddie Plesa Jr.

10. Itsmyluckyday
Trilogy Stable & Laurie Plesa, Eddie Plesa Jr.

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Matros Already Looking for No. 4

The third time was a charm for Matt Matros.

Matros defied the odds last week, winning the 1,604-player, $1,500 no-limit hold ‘em Event 16.

It was his third World Series of poker bracelet in as many years, becoming one of the most formidable forces in US poker.

To put it in perspective, in the history of the World Series of poker, only 160 have won multiple bracelets. And only 57 have won three.

Now his goal is to become the 33rd player to win four or more.

“It’s almost ironic that I have three, because I very deliberately do not chase bracelets at WSOP,” Matros told ESPN.com. “I very much play where the edge is, which means a ton of players and little shot at the bracelet. The fields I won in are big. You don’t expect wins in them. I’m never going to set goals for bracelets because it’s too hard to win them. My only goal is to make money and I set that goal in a reasonable way. My secondary goal is to be known as a good player, but I think I achieved that with the first bracelet. I didn’t have much else to prove, so it’s really shocking that I won two more.”

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Hey Look, the Indiana Pacers are the 3rd Best Team in the Eastern Conference

Just a year ago the Indiana Pacers were a rudderless team led by an inconsistent coach. Their rotations were deplorable and they had too many wing scorers and not enough ball-handlers. Danny Granger was their only go-to guy and they lacked any sort of defensive intensity.

It’s amazing how much can change in just a few short months! Ineffective head coach Jim O’Brien was replaced by the young and pliable (and I use that word in the best possible way) Frank Vogel at a bit past the All Star break last year. Under his more flexible system, the Pacers turned around just enough to sneak into the playoffs as an low seed. Their new-found defensive intensity and Vogel’s effective use of his players’ strengths gave the Chicago Bulls all the could handle in the first round of the playoffs.

Team president Larry Bird caught lots of flak for the Pacers’ draft misses and the general mediocrity of the team during the past five years, but his patience has paid off with a team that is poised to make waves in the NBA this season.

The Pacers’ roster from top to bottom is deep and talented enough to play with anyone. Let’s take a quick walk through the key players on their roster.

-Granger, although his shooting percentage is often fairly poor, is scoring 18.3 points per game and is good in the clutch.

-Newly-named All-Star reserve Roy Hibbert has developed into one of the better centers in the league. He has a nice array of post moves and he’s bulked up in order to pound down low with the bigger post players. He’s even started wearing a Rip Hamilton-esque mask to protect his face, which indicates to me that he is ready to bash with the best of them.

-Darren Collison is a bit of a streaky shooter at point guard, but he’s been much better in his second year with the team and is good at penetrating and then dishing.

-George Hill was a monster acquisition for the Pacers in the off-season. He’s a “tweener” at guard and can slash to the basket to create his own shots and plays tough defense. Although he’s been out for a few games with an injury, some of the Pacers’ early success this season can be traced to his stellar play off the bench.

-Paul George has come on magnificently in his second year in the league. His break-out game against the Dallas Mavericks last week showed that he has the potential to be a truly special player. George’s development will make it easier for the Pacers to part with Danny Granger if they strike on a good mid-season trade.

-Lance Stephenson is another second year man who has shown flashes of excellence. He has the athleticism, the ability to create his own shots and the passing acumen to be a spectacular shooting guard.  

-David West has been a great addition at power forward. He does all the right things as a savvy veteran and can pour in points if needed.

-Tyler Hansbrough is an effort guy who will create a spark off the bench and get to the line due to his dirty work around the rim.

With these pieces in place, the Pacers have transformed themselves into the third best team in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls are still better than the Pacers, but I seriously doubt that either team wants to play the young, deep and hungry Pacers.

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The Big Dance…ACC

ACC Edition—Are they IN….or OUT?

Put it in Stone…

· UNC – The depth is showing by their two easy wins since losing defensive stopper Dexter Strickland. As Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston provide a more potent outside touch from the shooting guard spot and James Michael McAdoo continues to improve, this is a scary team to match up with in March and April.
· Duke – This Blue Devil team does what Coach K teams always do. They win the games they should and they shoot the 3-pointer as good as anyone. They have quality wins and barring a late season slide should be a 1 or 2 seed come the NCAA tournament. If the brackets fall their way and Mason Plumlee gives them the production he did against Maryland, Coach K could be heading back to the Final Four.
· Florida State – This might be controversial but I am basing this on a projection for this Seminole team through the rest of the year. They endured 6 early season losses but they are now playing as good as any team in America. They are the only team that can boast beating UNC (by 33) and Duke (in Cameron) within 8 days of each other. They are contenders for the ACC Championship and with the physical defense they play will be a nightmare matchup in the Big Dance which could propel them one step farther than the Elite Eight appearance from a year ago.

Unless they fall apart, they should be in…


· Virginia – The style is boring for the enthusiasts that love the breakneck pace of the UNC’s of the world, but for Tony Bennett, it’s like listening to the smooth jazz sounds of his namesake (the other Tony Bennett). UVA is a tough minded bunch let by Mike Scott, who in my opinion is overlooked in the discussion of top players in the ACC, which will not back down from anyone. They are like playing an Ivy League team with Division I talent. They proved in Cameron Indoor Stadium that they are a team to be reckoned with and as long as they win 10 games in the conference they should be in.

Could play their way in…

· NC State – I loved the hire of Mark Gottfried for the Wolfpack. He brought instant credibility to the program. The biggest hurdle for the Wolfpack is their best win to date is over a Texas team that in essence isn’t that good. They need to win the games over the weaker part of the conference and spring at least 1 upset of Duke, UNC, or FSU. 11 conference wins is a must to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

Outside looking in…


· Maryland – Talented but very young. The future is bright but just not enough experience to make their way into the NCAA tournament this year. NIT will be great experience for the Terps.
· Clemson – Only win that really matters is the win over FSU, so the goal for the Tigers needs to be keeping their record above .500 so they can qualify for the NIT.

Sleeper Team…


Miami – The Hurricanes have played half the year without their best low-post player, Reggie Johnson. This is a team that is filled with guys that can put the ball in the basket. Coach Larranaga has been improving this team as the year has gone along and now that they are healthy they could be pretty dangerous. Durand Scott is very athletic and along with the shooting of Dequan Jones, Malcolm Grant, and Shane Larkin, they could make a run through the rest of the regular season and into the ACC tournament. If the selection committee takes into account the games missed by Johnson and Jones, then the Canes will be right in the mix.

Follow me on twitter @Coach_JC9

Joshua Caudill
jkcaudill@gmail.com

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BallHyped Blogger Q&A: Predominantly Orange’s Take on Tebow’s Mile High Magic

It’s been awhile since we last caught up with Denver Broncos blogger Kim Constantinesco, of Predominantly Orange, so we thought this would be as good a week as any as the Broncos prepare for this weekend’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.

Constantinesco has been covering the Broncos closely all season and is credentialed to cover the game at New England, so we appreciate her taking the time to offer her insight on Tim Tebow and this magical Mile High run.

BH: There are so many storylines heading into this weekend’s game, it’s tough to know where to start. But why not start with the man of the hour, Tim Tebow. Some of us saw this coming, but did you or anyone in Denver expect this kind of run out of the Broncos when Tebow took over under center?

Denver Broncos blogger Kim Constantinesco of Predominantly Orange

Denver Broncos blogger Kim Constantinesco of Predominantly Orange

KC: Tim who? Kidding. I think many people believed that the Broncos would win some games with Tebow under center, but no one predicted that he would string six in a row together in the fashion that he did, nor get the Broncos past the first round of the playoffs. I mean, to go 4-0 in overtime is extremely special.

Tebow is improving from week to week, and during that time span between his third consecutive loss to end the regular season and prior to the Pittsburgh game, he walked around with a little bit of an edge to him. It was good to see the chip on his shoulder. It gave him some confidence to ‘pull the trigger’ as John Elway put it. That’s why he had the best performance of his career on Sunday.

That’s the great thing about sports. It gives us the chance to watch somebody surpass expectations and achieve things we never thought possible, and Tebow has certainly surpassed expectations.

How have the Broncos been able to make this run? We know about their defense, sending three players to the Pro Bowl. But that offense doesn’t have a single Pro Bowler. And with Eric Decker going down early last week, and Willis McGahee putting the ball on the ground in key situations, Tebow’s options have been limited. But even with a mediocre roster and questionable throwing mechanics, Tebow and this spread-option offense is working for the Broncos.

You’re right, the defense has been keeping the team in games, but it’s been the offense coming up with big plays at key moments to win it for them.

I think it’s hard for teams to prepare for the type of offense that the Broncos run. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy would watch a college game and try to find formations that could fit into the Broncos playbook. Then, he would add new wrinkles. They’ve bounced between college and pro-style plays to take advantage of Tebow’s mobility. In turn, that takes pressure off of Willis McGahee. That’s why he’s had a big year. It’s hard to scheme for the run-pass threat that Tebow is.

Then there are the intangibles – the competitiveness, the toughness, the ability to block out everything else to make big plays as the clock winds down. Tebow’s ability to excel in those areas have carried over to his teammates.

It may not be a pretty offense, but every win has been beautiful.

This weekend, it’s a different story. The Broncos hung with the Patriots until the second half in the previous meeting, but this one’s in the postseason and in New England. What does Denver have to do to keep their season alive against the Patriots?

Had the Broncos not turned the ball over three times in the last meeting, we would have seen a much closer score, and possibly even a Broncos win. This game is without a doubt tough, but the Broncos can win it.

The Patriots have such a deadly offense that it’s best to keep them off the field. The Broncos need to get their run game going to move the chains, and eat some clock. Converting in the red zone is essential, and it must be seven points.

The Broncos also need to score points on defense and special teams. The Broncos can’t keep pace with the Pats offensively, but they can do things to take the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.

Your boy Josh McDaniels is back on the sideline for this one, only it’s with New England. Is he a factor in this one at all in your eyes? Or is this just one more juicy storyline ESPN is adding to the “Tebow vs. Brady” showdown?

The media is certainly playing this one up. It’s the sexy story. McDaniels heads back to New England to face his two 1st round draft picks in 2010 (Tebow and Demaryius Thomas)? It doesn’t get juicer, does it?

Yes, McDaniels is familiar with a large part of the Broncos roster, but the playbook has changed a lot. He will be able to give information on players and coaches tendencies, but that’s about it.

McD can’t know that much about Tebow. He put him on the bench in Denver, not knowing how to play him.

(Editor’s note: Couldn’t agree with you more!)

Anything else you’d like to add about the big game?

I’ll be covering the game live from the press box in Foxborough, so check out Predominantly Orange as move forward!

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A _______ National Championship

BCS Championship

Things were a little unclear on the podium Monday night.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve left the names in our beat reporter’s recap of tonight’s “National Championship” blank, because us curmudgeon editors feel it’s not a championship game as defined by every other major professional and collegiate team sport in North America. Until there’s a playoff, we say [blank] the national championship. Congratulations _______!

NEW ORLEANS — The revenge was sweet. The shutout was even sweeter.

In a repeat clash of the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country (as determine by computers and coaches, rather than players and a playoff), _______ beat ___ 21-0 in one of the most dominant defensive showings we’ve seen in a “national championship.”

The win avenged a Nov. 5 loss in a game labeled the “Game of the Century,” despite the fact it was touchdown-less, defensive struggle that ended 9-6 in overtime.

If the November meeting was the Game of the Century, it’s uncertain what Monday’s game should have been called, being the No. 1 team in the country mustered just 92 total yards and five first downs.

Not that _______ dominated offensively, settling for 23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards before breaking free for a 34-yard touchdown run late to cap its second title in three years.

In the end, all that mattered was that _______ had captured its ninth “national championship” in the program’s storied history.

What if the champs wore another color, like blue?

Well Deserved

This year’s title was certainly _______’s most deserving title victory.

Sure, it lost to that same conference foe some four games earlier, but that didn’t mean any of the other four one-loss teams from non-___ conferences deserved a shot at the title.

After all, the ___ Conference has won a half dozen of these things, and there’s no evidence the computer rankings favor big-money schools that play in weighted conferences benefitting from the success of past seasons. And it’s not like these teams never leave their own 100,000-seat stadiums or refuse to play anyone substantial in the non-conference season.

Why give a Boise State a chance to foil your Mardi Gras party when you can preparty against powerhouses like Kent State, North Texas, or even Georgia Southern, which, for the record, lost to Division I-AA NATIONAL CHAMPION North Dakota State 35-7 in the 16-team I-AA playoffs.

What, you can’t believe the top division has a bowl series when all lower-level divisions have a legitimate playoff system in place?

What the naysayers fail to point out is that Division I-A is much more positive than the extremely negative lower divisions when it comes to its postseason system.

Thanks to our current Bowl System and the BcS, 35 teams were able to finish the 2011-12 postseason with a victory, which brings plenty of closure to another great postseason in the Division I ranks.

"It's all about these student-athletes."

See, it’s not about the money or the names on the bowls (Gildan, Famous Idaho Potatos, R+L Carriers, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, S.D. County Credit Union, MAACO, Sheraton, AdvoCare V100, Little Caesars, Belk, Northrop Grumman, Bridgepoint Education, Champs Sports, Valero Alamo, Bell Helicopter, New Era, Frank American Mortgage, Insight, Meineke Care Care, Hyundai, Auto Zone, Kraft, Chick-fil-A, TicketCity, Outback, Capital One, Taxslayer.com, Vizio, Tostitos, Allstate, Discover, AT&T, BBVA, GoDaddy.com and Allstate, again).

Nope, Division I football is all about the student-athlete and the ____ they represent. And that’s the way it should be, [blank]ers.

So What’s the Solution?

After this reading this, you’re probably thinking: “OK Mr. Know it All, what’s the solution then.” Rather than rant any more here, I’ll just link to last season’s post on this topic, and the need for an eight-team playoff.

We welcome your comments on the BCS vs. playoff scenario below …

 

 

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Kwame Brown taught Andrew Bynum everything he knows, says Kwame Brown

Kwame Brown has a dubious history in the city of Los Angeles. In his two-and-a-half season stint with the Lakers, Kwame solidified his label as a draft bust  after the Washington Wizards blew a first-round pick in the 2001 NBA Draft (although that pick turned into All-Star Caron Butler).

Dropped passes down low in the post. Poor offensive post-skills and inability to finish around the rim. Awful position on offense. Lazy rebounding. Kwame Brown suffered from it all on offense.

So it’s a little surprising when Kwame decided to take credit for Andrew Bynum’s success as an offensive machine. Here’s the quote, via a tweet by the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan:

Well, alright. I mean, sure, Andrew Bynum has been the pupil of the legenday Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all these years, but what does that matter? Kwame knows this game inside and out, and his defensive prowess is enough to force Bynum to learn from Kwame by trial-and-error and also by observing what not to do as a starting center in the NBA. You know what they say: Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach. Kwame’s definitely living his life by the latter.

In all seriousness, what a stupid — yet hilarious — thing for Kwame Brown to say. I’m sure the jokes on Twitter should force him to re-consider that statement.

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Kobe Bryant is on his way to becoming the Brett Favre of the NBA

Even Kobe Bryant's own picture thinks Kobe isn't playing that well.

Superstars in any sport aren’t without faults. In fact, all superstars in any sport suffer from incredible bouts of narcissism or, at the very least, insane stubbornness.

Save for a very rare few, the superstars who can’t come to grips with their declining talent after years of physical dominance in their arena are the ones most detrimental to their team’s success. The most popular, and recent, example of someone in such a dubious position was that of Brett Favre. Because despite a decade and a half of incredible durability and dominance that is stuff of legends, his finals years as a pro — save for his once-thought-to-be last stand with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008 — ended up hurting the franchises he played for, at least for the seasons that he was signed on as the starting quarterback.

Despite leading the 2007 Green Bay Packers to the NFC title game, his late-game decision-making (a game-ending interception) propelled the New York Giants to one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history. Overall poor play (and a league-leading 22 inteceptions) kept the 2008 New York Jets from the postseason. Even his career-year in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings ended on a sour note, with the Vikes missing out on an opportunity to clinch a Super Bowl berth when Brett threw a late-game interception within field goal range (that would have put Minnesota ahead late in the fourth quarter), forcing the game into overtime where the New Orleans Saints would kick their way into Super Bowl XLIV. And, seriously, do we have to mention his 2010 campaign, arguably the worst in his career?

Throughout Brett Favre’s career, he was considered to be in the upper echelon of quarterbacks nearly every year, mainly thanks to his confidence in his own abilities. However, the twilight of his career saw an epic collapse, which was, ironically, due to his over-confidence in his abilities as a quarterback. No longer could he gunsling his team to victory, instead gunslinging games away from his teams.

Of course, knowing Brett Favre’s history — I know, I know; probably more than you needed to know — is essential to understanding how Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is taking the same path.

For over a decade, Kobe’s dominance in L.A. was unquestioned. Sure, he was — and always has been — one of the most hated athletes during that time and, sure, he was selfish early in his career (namely at the beginning of Phil Jackson’s second tenure with the Lakers, although the talent level around him warranted such selfish play), but it was difficult to argue when he was single-handedly accumulating wins for the Lakers. His play down the stretch of games and the inability to guard him when he began sinking 20-footers with a hand in his face (and an arm on his elbow) was all thanks to his confidence in his abilities and his drive to prove he was the best player on the court, regardless of his injury status or his off-the-court issues. That mindset resulted in two more championship banners in Los Angeles with him as the lead dog (or “dawg.” Whichever you prefer.)

But last season? And the beginning of this season? That same mindset has doomed the Lakers. It was a huge reason the Lakers were swept out of last year’s playoffs and it’s probably the biggest reason the Lakers are struggling to start off a 66-game campaign, with a .500 record.

In the 2010-11 season, Kobe’s knees continued to suffer from years and years of abuse (with major knee problems beginning in the Lakers’ 2010 championship run in the postseason), which was compiled by an arthritic index finger on his shooting hand as a result of never working to resolve the once-upon-a-time broken digit. And though those knees are no longer an issue and Kobe’s learned to shoot with four functioning fingers as opposed to five, his wrist, which is debilitated and wrapped every game due to a torn ligament, is continuing to hurt his game.

But, to Kobe, that isn’t a big deal. Give credit to the dude for keepin’ on trucking, but let’s not forget that he’s hurt and he isn’t playing at the level he should be or, at least, the level that he thinks he’s playing at.

…Click here to read more

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No, seriously, Andrew Bynum is close to being as good as Dwight Howard

Andrew Bynum, disgusted at the rim

If there’s one thing Los Angeles fans are notorious for, it’s being the West Coast version of Philadelphia fans. We love our teams with a passion, just like you do, except we are incredibly radical and impatient. We want to win now, and at all costs. Build through the draft or develop young talent? No thanks, we’ll trade our ever-promising youngster for your megastar athlete.

Such is the case with the Los Angeles Lakers.

There’s no doubt that, over the past ten years, Lakers squads have been built via free agency (i.e. Shaquille O’neal, Matt Barnes, Ron Artest/Metta World Peace) or through trades (i.e. Pau Gasol). And though the big dawg/Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has been more than willing to move whatever pieces are necessary to bring in the next big superstar to Hollywood, there’s one important player that has yet to be officially but-no-wait-David-Stern-vetoed-it traded out of Los Angeles: Andrew Bynum.

Sure, there are rumors. There are — and always will be — rumors. And though some have substance, they just don’t make sense.

Lakers fans have been too quick to give up on Drew, not because he hasn’t looked all that great, but because every time the 7-footer soars for a rebound, the entire Laker nation gasps in suspense. Those knees — incredible medical staff be damned — have been known to give out in the worst of situations.

Of course, the chatter and consensus here in L.A. is this: If Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith calls and wants Bynum and insignificant pieces (i.e. draft picks) for Howard, do it. Don’t ask questions. Don’t negotiate. Just do it.

Because people here, in Los Angeles, couldn’t give a rat’s ass what Andrew Bynum could be. Rather, they only see Bynum for what he is now (or, at least, what he was before he exploded onto the scene Saturday against the Denver Nuggets when he racked up 29 points and 13 rebounds). And that is a youngster who has potential, but isn’t Dwight Howard.

Now, I just spent 330 words explaining to you what the general sentiment about Andrew Bynum is. All of them are necessary because it’s vital to understand the mindset of an average L.A. fan is. (That doesn’t make them less of a fan, mind you, but as an L.A. fan myself, I can tell you that we just sound plain dumb sometimes.)

But what do I (and have I, for the past two years) think? Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard is a mistake.

Numbers-wise, OK, Dwight Howard had Bynum’s, um, number(s). DH12 has been a 20/12 machine for the majority of his career and he’s been the sole reason that the Magic have made it to the NBA Finals once and to the playoffs for the past five years. He’s athletic as hell and has never had an attitude problem.

But that’s where Dwight Howard’s advantages end.

Because while Dwight has been the number one scoring option for the Magic during their five-year-long postseason stretch, Andrew Bynum has been buried as the third — sometimes fourth — scoring option during the second Phil Jackson era. With Pau Gasol’s acquisition, Bynum was relegated to playing defense and banging the boards (both of which he did well, averaging a 16.7 percent rebound percentage — while playing alongside 14.7-percent’er Pau Gasol the majority of his career, mind you — comparable to Dwight’s 20 percent rebound percentage). In his career, Bynum’s usage rate (the amount of plays used by a player by percentage) has been a shade under 18 percent, while Dwight’s has been 23 percent. Over the past few years, the biggest difference between Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum is minutes and games played, as well as usage rate.

From a non-stat-geek perspective, there isn’t a doubt that Howard is dominant. Most nights, it looks as if Howard is just stronger, quicker and faster than any man that wants to take him on, one-on-one. The amount of and-ones the dude puts up in one game is ridiculous, because he’s strong enough to finish at the rim while taking a hard foul. But outside of his brute strength? He still needs a lot of work with his post moves (they’ve gotten astronomically better through the years, but they still aren’t amazing). His footwork needs improving, and he needs to be able to take an entry pass further out from the paint and be able to use savvy — not just strength — to get to the bucket. Even further, Dwight’s height is a killer for him. Though his game is perfectly tailored to an All-Star center, his height at 6-foot-10 is damning. His arms aren’t extremely long to help make up for it and though that doesn’t hurt his defensive game, it’s a pain to watch him get shut down by the likes of Jarron Collins and Kendrick Perkins (which happens quite often). Against longer front-courts, Howard is doomed (think back to the 2009 NBA Finals, where Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum nearly negated DH12 for the majority of the series).

Andrew Bynum? He may not be as polished as Howard is in some respects (using his strength to force his way inside, for example, as well as using his athleticism to help out on defense). But his post moves are incredible, because his footwork is gorgeous, despite the fact that he’s a long 7-footer. With Bynum’s back to the basket, it’s a wonder how he doesn’t score because if he isn’t backing you down with conviction, he’s using some sexy spin move off the block and straight into the paint. He uses his long-ass arms well to get up and over defenders to prevent fouling or to draw fouls for seemingly-easy and-ones. His offensive IQ has reached the level of your average veteran center, as he often gets in perfect position to clear lanes for penetrators or for an entry pass into the post where he works his magic.

And this is Andrew Bynum, two years younger and a few inches taller than All-World Center Dwight Howard.

Of course, that’s not to say Bynum is better than Dwight Howard. Howard’s on another level, but just one level above Bynum, as opposed to the several levels everyone thought for the past two years.

Of course, we won’t know who’s better until the two finally get to play one another, one-on-one, on January 20.

And something tells me that this won’t be like other meetings, where Bynum merely defended Howard rather than posted him up.

In just 17 days, we’ll find out if the two centers will put on a show that might change everything come trade deadline.

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Mr. Mean ain’t Mr. Clean: Dahl F-Bomb Broadcast over Stadium PA, National TV

St. Louis Rams guard Harvey Dahl is already regarded as one of meanest players in the NFL, and during Sunday’s game against the Cincinatti Bengals we heard why.

After being flagged for holding in the second half, Dahl went after the officials and even dropped an F-bomb that was not only picked up by the ref’s microphone and broadcast all over the stadium, but was broadcast on national television as well.

“I know you didn’t call me for holding,” he said. “That’s not (expletive) holding.”

That left the CBS announcing crew in the awkward position of having to apologize for the expletive.

“We’ll apologize for that in lieu of the fact that Mr. Dahl can’t,” Dan Dierdorf said. “The National Football League is not Major League Baseball, (with) kicking dirt on shoes. The officials in the National Football League are in a position where you don’t disrespect them in any shape, manner or form.”

Dahl was flagged again for an unsportsmanlike penalty shortly thereafter, putting the Rams offense back against its own goal line.

St. Louis wound up losing 20-13 to the Bengals, falling to 2-12 on the season.

The surprising Bengals improved to 8-6.

Here’s the video of the play and ensuing outburst (includes explicit language):

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