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by Hollywood Sports - 01/21/2014
Frank Sawyer's Hollywood Sports football tips and observations from over the weekend that may inform my decision-making for my NFL Super Bowl picks as well as some thoughts in the NBA, NHL and College Basketball.
INITIAL SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS.
I don't plan on making a decision on my Super Bowl plays until next week. After going 1-2 on Sunday -- winning the San Francisco/Seatte Under but missing both side plays (albeit the 49ers were a play away from covering to produce a 2-1 profitable mark), I want to give myself some time to rethink some assumptions I may have incorrectly formed about those teams -- particularly the Broncos' defense. Frankly, entering last Sunday, this was the one matchup that I was going to require to reassess some things -- is the NFC significantly better than the AFC, can Seattle successfully pass the ball if they have to, is the Seahawks' defense too physical for Manning, etc? Perhaps most importantly, I don't want to commit myself to a side and total before getting a good indication as to what the weather will be that day. Weather forecasts begin to become reliable ten-days in advance. I won't make a decision regarding the side and the total before five days out at the earliest.
IS THE RUSSELL WESTBROOK INJURY PREPARING THE THUNDER TO BE A BIGGER PLAYOFF THREAT?
Kevin Durant has raised his game to another level during the absence of Westbrook at his side. He leads the league with five games where he scored at least 40 points. And he is improving as he has netted at least 30 points in eight straight games. It was his performance Tuesday night at home against a strong Portland team that should raise eyebrows as he was absolutely unstoppable late in that game to lead his team to victory (and point spread cover). Durant scored 46 against the Trail Blazers. Against the Heat in the NBA Finals two years ago, Durant was not as effective in key moments down the stretch. If Durant has raised his game to this final level where he can score at will in clutch time, Oklahoma City can beat anyone in the playoffs.
ARE THE BROOKLYN NETS FINALLY STEPPING UP?
The best team in the NBA in 2014 has been the Brooklyn Nets who are 8-1 in January. Point guard Deron Williams is playing better -- and better chemistry seems to be emerging with the addition of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Remember, injuries ravaged this team early on so this group did not have many opportunities to play along side each other and develop some cohesion. Still, the loss of Brook Lopez inside for the rest of the season really hurts this team. And while the Nets may develop into the third best team in the East, it is hard to envision them having the talent to keep up with Miami or Indiana.
Best of luck for us -- Frank.