3-Pointer: November 14, 2014
Derrick Rose found himself in a boiling pot of chicken broth earlier this week when he said that he does not want to sit in “meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past,” and then promptly went out and re-injured a different part of his sore-all-around body. The 2011 NBA MVP continues to seem light years removed from relevance, but he has now stepped a few bounds outside of reality, at least in the eyes of some angry fans. Elsewhere, the Grizzlies are starting to Grizz in a monumental, significant way, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has called for legalized and regulated gambling, surely to the delight of at least one TwH contributor.
1. Derrick Rose talks about protecting himself from injury for the future, promptly re-injures himself: Chicago Bulls point guard and longtime basketball cadaver Derrick Rose made comments earlier this week with reference to protecting his body from long-term effects that basketball may leave on it. Talking to The Chicago Sun-Times, Rose said, “I’m thinking about long term…I don’t want to be in meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past.” Naturally, the people of Chicago did not take kindly to that, believing he should mortgage his future for a chance at a championship. What long-term effects could there possibly be anyway? It’s not like he’s in the NFL or anything like that.
In the Bulls’ 100-93 victory on Thursday night in Toronto, Rose tweaked his hamstring and left the game. This, coming on the heels of his having already missed four games this season with Curry ankles. Granted, he has received a handsome sum for being Chicago’s crowned prince while missing most of the last two seasons, and he is basically the alpha and the omega when it comes to Tom Thibodeau’s offensive strategy.
2. MEMPHIS OUTCHEA: With a 111-110 victory against the overachieving Sacramento Kings on Thursday night, the Memphis Grizzlies improved to 8-1 on the season, with its only loss coming by one point at Milwaukee. This is a team which ranks near the bottom of the league in every major statistical category but ranks first overall in allowed points per game, which many expected, at 89.4. The front court tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph is playing to its incredible strengths and minimizing weaknesses, with help from a constantly-improving Mike Conley, Jr. and a supporting cast of talented players. Courtney Lee, who had 16 points off the bench, scored the final bucket on a lob pass from Vince Carter against Sacramento, capping off a 35-19 fourth quarter comeback. A crucible awaits every team in the Western Conference this year, but at this relatively early junction in the season, Memphis seems as equipped to endure it on both sides of the ball as any team in the NBA.
3. Commissioner Adam Silver calls for widespread, legalized, regulated gambling; Tyler Lauletta immediately places a bet as to whether or not it will happen in his lifetime: In an editorial for The New York Times, Commissioner Silver called for “a different approach” to betting on professional sports, a monumental and truly revolutionary step for gambling. He cites New Jersey as a state in which most people are in favor of legalized gambling as well as making note of the fact that major media outlets regularly publish betting lines for games. As regular TwH readers may have noticed, we are perfectly alright with gambling, so long as it is done in a responsible and disciplined fashion. To have the commissioner of a Big Four North American sport stumping on behalf of a somewhat tabooed institution could have remarkable reverberations in the coming months.
Tyler’s Take: It makes sense. As Silver is quick to mention, there are people illegally gambling on sports across the country with no regulation or real scrutiny. New Jersey, the state closest to making sports betting a new institution, brought their case to court and was struck down by a district judge last month, but the case is ongoing. Before the trial, Governor Chris Christie signed the “Sports Wagering Law,” which essentially said as long as casinos and race tracks keep it on the up and up, the state of New Jersey would not stop you from taking sports bets. This made the case very similar to those regarding marijuana legalization in the Washington and Colorado; the state says they have no problem with it, but the feds can still step in if they feel so inclined.
New Jersey needs this. Atlantic City is dying as more and more casinos fail to trick enough of us into losing our money. Do you know how many of us would be willing to lose our money if we could do it over football instead of some crap slot machine? Tons. Before their case was lost, one New Jersey racetrack – Monmouth Park – was preparing to take action for NFL games in Week 8. Expecting thousands of new customers, they trained ticket-takers and began setting up boards to display live odds. Now, a market worth an estimated $11 billion will go untapped, at least for now.
I have faith that it will happen soon though. By the start of next gambling season (football and basketball), I have a feeling that the degenerates of the Tri-State area will have a new place to call home. Done are we with shady dealings with bookies we like but aren’t sure we trust. Done are we with taking unfair lines because they are the only ones available to us. We will stand in line, buy our tickets, and look on with pride as our teams fail to cover.
It will be a glorious day.
I know Tyler would like us to think that he wrote this calmly at his computer, looking up relevant articles and fact-checking his work with a steaming cup of chamomile tea, but I also know that probably isn’t the case.
Somewhere in Philadelphia, Tyler Lauletta is making a few phone calls and setting up meetings with confidants. Within days, he’ll scrounge up all the change he can find under the couch. A friend named Ray will pick him up on a chilly morning, understanding everything and not saying a word, because this is their last chance. The heater is broken in the car; defrost will have to do. Its pleasant whirring delays the inevitable. The two head to an alley near Temple University, walking down steps to a place they once knew.
Underground, they encounter all the scoundrels and dregs of Broad Street, the people who remember throwing snowballs at Santa and the ones who wish they would’ve had the chance. What looks like the remnants of a DMV stands in as a bookmaking facility. The ceiling would be dripping if it wasn’t frozen. A stumpy man wearing a green visor will greet them, if you wish to call a grunt and nod a greeting, and Tyler will slap the change and a few bills on the counter. The date is November 22nd.
“Sixers over Knicks,” he’ll say, avoiding direct eye contact. “Straight up.”
The stumpy man will spit into a can. Who knows what he’s chewing. Ray begins to get nervous, shifting his collar and leaning on the counter. He hasn’t eaten in days, but he hasn’t felt hungry in weeks. Not for anything other than an upset and a payout, anyway. The man hands Tyler a slip, a promissory note predicting the Sixers’ dominance that night and the financial windfall which will result.
Watching the game in some bar whose name he won’t remember later, Tyler clutches his hat in his hands. With every Michael Carter-Williams three-pointer, he smiles like the sun is rising for the first time. With every J.R. Smith drive and dish, he asks himself, “Since when does J.R. pass?” He texts me asking the same question, and I don’t have the answer.
The game will be over by midway through the first quarter. With any other team, of course, it’d be over by halftime, but this is the Knicks, and they are a confused and confusing bunch. At one point, a camera focuses on a smiling Tony Wroten sitting on the bench, and he looks directly back at it, as if seeing directly into the soul of a lost gambler.
Words flow through Tyler’s head: You gotta know when to hold ’em – a sip of his PBR – and know when to fold ’em.
Having lost every dime to his name, Tyler asks Ray to buy him a cheesesteak. They go to a specialty joint, the kind of mom-and-pop establishment that looks out for young, beleaguered gamblers who’ve run out of luck. Slapping the money on the counter – because that’s the only way to hand anybody money in Philadelphia – the cashier asks Tyler what kind of beef he’d like on his cheesesteak. Rolling the promissory slip into a ball, Tyler turns to a nearby trash can, winds up and shoots.
AND-1: Taylor Swift, among others, shows up at a Knicks game, which the team loses: The Knicks losing? Welcome to New York. Unless you’re trying to get the pipe, go home, Taylor. You don’t want any part of this misery. It will just be another group of men letting you down repeatedly.