Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Okay, so we're getting down to crunch time in this shortened 2011-12 NBA regular season and there's been some talk that the San Antonio Spurs might have "given away" games this year when head coach Gregg Popovich rested some of his star players - we got into that whole conversation some in a Jim Sez piece last week but now here's a different question:
Can - and will - the Spurs throw a good old-fashioned one-two punch as it were and deliver some major body blows tonight at the 10 ½-point underdog Golden State Warriors and than Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Lakers?
Hey, when NBA play ended Sunday night there were the Spurs (42-16) just one full game behind NBA Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City (44-16) but do take note that the Spurs have two games "in hand" and so maybe Coach "Pops" gets to show everyone 'round the league that he means business in these early-week tilts. No doubt that San Antonio - an electric 12-4 in divisional play this year and now 28-13 in conference action following on the heels of last Saturday's easy-as-pie 105-91 win/cover against 9-point pup Phoenix - would love to get home-court advantage for as long as possible and gut feeling here is Popovich won't rest any of his stars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in these two games ... although you never know what folks he's looking to upset!
Hey, keep your eye out in the East on the New York Knicks who host Boston on Tuesday night - the Knicks right now have a two-game lead over Milwaukee for that eighth and final playoff berth but should be more than a little worried after starters not named Carmelo Anthony shot a combined 8-of-23 from the floor in Sunday's close-but-no-cigar 93-85 home loss to Miami.
The Bucks could chisel away at that two-game deficit with Wednesday's game at Washington and than it's a revenge special come Thursday night in Indiana.
No, Knicks, don't print those playoff tickets just yet!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to rock this 2012 Major-League Baseball season and remember there's still lots more NBA Regular-Season Winners too this spring and so sign up today and be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily/nightly winners. Remember the NBA Playoffs begin later this month and you can sign up today for all the winnin' hoops action right through June.
THE NFL DRAFT
HERE'S THE BEST WIDE RECEIVERS
Our official NFL Draft coverage at Jim Sez continues today as we bring you our position-by-position analyses - here it's the top WRs. Note that we will have our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft Preview on Wednesday, April 25th. The NFL Draft will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 26-27-28:
JUSTIN BLACKMON, OKLAHOMA STATE - There's been some negative spin to the game of this 6-foot-1, 208-pounder who is not nearly as large or maybe as quick as advertised in his college days but no denying the fact this former Cowboys stud can make it happen after the catch: Last year he registered 111 catches for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs (all school records) but his detractors claim he doesn't work hard enough at his trade and the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner may drop a couple of draft places here if some teams get a bit scared. Sorry, but we simply cannot believe the draft boards that have Blackmon falling out of the top 10 and so gut feeling for now is that this Okie State alum could go #7 to Jacksonville or might slide down some to the #10 pick to Buffalo. Put it this way, if there has not been a wide-out selected in the first nine draft picks, the Bills will jump to grab Blackmon.
MICHAEL FLOYD, NOTRE DAME - Conventional wisdom says that this former ND Fighting Irish star won't drop far behind Blackmon come Draft Night and our early-bird forecast is for this 6-foor-3, 220-pounder to wind up just outside the top 10 with Kansas City at #11 a likely destination or possibly he will fall to Seattle at #12. In any event, Floyd may not overwhelm scouts when it comes to the stop watch but his size/strength combo makes him one of those "can't-miss" types on this next level and his 171 career receptions proves he is a reliable target despite some off-the-field alcohol-related issues that he must get in check. Don't believe he's passed Blackmon by even with that recent much-ballyhooed Pro Day but Floyd could be Pro Bowl-bound within a year or two.
KENDALL WRIGHT, BAYLOR - Could this former favorite target of Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III be a real hidden gem here in the first round? No doubt that the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Wright will be snapped up sometime on the first night of the draft but some projections say he'll get picked in the low twenties and some others claim he'll last right till the end of the opening round but gotta believe once Blackmon and Floyd are snagged in the first dozen picks, Wright will be the beneficiary of any team looking for an offensive spark and so keep your eyes on the New York Jets at #16 or Cincinnati at pick #17 to make things happen with this star who caught 108 passes last year and scored 14 TDs (and see nine different 100-yard receiving games).
REUBEN RANDLE, LSU - More than a few folks believe he was an underutilized part of last year's BCS Championship Game runner-up team even though he increased his season catches to 53 grabs for 917 yards after totaling 44 receptions in all his first two years with the Bayou Bengals. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Reuben is tough-minded and strong and he is very adept at picking up extra yardage after being hit. Note that Randle was on LSU's "hands team" for onsides kickoffs and made a big game-sealing play against Oregon in last year's season opener. Look for Reuben to wind up getting picked in the mid-to-high 20s on Draft Night with both Houston at #26 and New England at #27 having sincere interest.
STEPHEN HILL, GEORGIA TECH - Please don't ask us why this ultra-talented 6-foot-4, 215-pounder went to run-first G-Tech but the bottom line is it won't hurt his draft status as we see him going somewhere late in Round One after he wowed scouts at the NFL Combine where he ran a dazzling 4.28 in the 40 and his vertical leap was close to 40 inches ... no wonder he's already drawing comparisons with former Tech star/current Detroit Lions megastar WR Calvin Johnson. Last year Hill averaged a haughty 29.3 yards a catch as he snagged 28 passes for 820 yards while scoring five TDs including one in the bowl game against Utah. Ask us and we say Hill's a good fit with San Francisco at pick #30.
NOTE: Get more NFL Draft coverage along with NBA and MLB News & Notes all week long in these Jim Sez columns.