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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 05/06/2009

Nothing hurts more than when a player intentionally elects not to score the uncontested and, for bettors, winning touchdown or basket.

Those of you who had over 193.5 in Game 1 of the Rockets-Lakers series know exactly how it feels.

Fantasy players might remember when Brian Westbrook did it against Dallas in 2007. With the Eagles leading 10-6 with two minutes to go, Westbrook found a crease in the Cowboy defense and had a clear path to the end zone. Instead of scoring the uncontested touchdown, Westbrook elected to slide down at the one-yard line. With Dallas out of timeouts, it allowed the Eagles to run out the clock and secure the win.

The Eagles were 10-point dogs, and the total was 48.5, so Westbrook’s wise decision didn’t affect the lines. But horror stories of fantasy league titles being lost because of Westbrook’s unselfish play popped up all over the place.

The play at the end of Monday’s Rockets-Lakers game wasn’t nearly as dramatic, but it stung just the same.

With the rusty Lakers going 2 of 18 from behind the 3-point line, the under looked the right side for three quarters.

But the Lakers stayed close enough that they were forced to foul down the stretch. Houston made 11 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes to give over players a chance.

Two Kyle Lowry free throws with 16 seconds left put the Rockets up 100-92.

The Lakers’ Sasha Vujacic raced down the court and bricked a 3-pointer.

Houston’s Aaron Brooks grabbed the rebound, avoided being fouled and passed the ball ahead to an open teammate. (It was either Kyle Lowry or Carl Landry, but it was hard to tell. If someone knows for sure, please inform us so we can send him a lovely thank you card.)

The unknown Rocket took a dribble toward the goal for what would have been an uncontested layup that would have pushed the total over.

It was a total tease, because he circled out and dribbled out the clock.

It was brutal.

Turning down an open layup in exchange for running out the clock may be a smart play, but it sure can be a frustrating way to lose for gamblers.

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