Moons over San Antoni! (OV 207, Portland +6.5)

We moved to 4-1-1 last night as we’ve started publically handicapping games and scoring them on ‘the record’ here on this blog.  4-1-1 will help you turn 5 talents into more than 10, really fast…and that’s the point here!

I agree with the great David Glisan on tonight’s game, and I’ve found that the more often that my handicapping aligns with Glisan’s is a good thing.  I think the Spurs & Trailblazers continue their OV ways tonight as the Blazers rebound from a disappointing game one no-show.

I also am leaning towards Portland to cover the 6.5 tonight, in a desperate situation. Heck…I might’ve just talked myself into it. Yep, just changed the blog title; take a very good Portland team to rebound here. Just as OKC did the other night, I love bounce-back performances after game one blowouts.

Final score prediction:  SAS 107, POR  103

Now Miami vs. Brooklyn wasn’t the same deal.  Spurs/Blazers and Clippers/Thunder were blowouts, the Nets have an old-fashioned mismatch on their hands.  While I expect game two to be closer, this spread (6.5 to 8 depending on when & where you look) feels just about right to me. So does the total at 191.5/192. Final score prediction:  MIA 99, BKYN 91

Happy NFL Draftivus & Good luck!

Nets tonight (+8.0) Enjoy the Spurs/Blazers, get down on the Pacers & Thunder now!

I just lost all of the text of this post–complete with what I assure you was a stellar, and thought-provoking write-up on the Heat/Nets tonight, the series, as well as the Spurs/Blazers and looking ahead to the Pacers/Wizards and Clippers/Thunder in what amounts to must-win positions for the home teams.

Bummer–Wordpress screwed me there–oh well.

Long story, short; take the points tonight with the Nets. Enjoy the Spurs & Blazers and let’s try to get a feel for how the Spurs are playing.   Get down on the home teams tomorrow night, as well as the UNDER in the OKC/LAC game, as OKC will bring the intensity, and the Clippers have shown that they respond to the tempo, not necessarily force the tempo (as seen in the two UNDERs in the GSW series)

James Pierce

Clippers +5 1/2, over at OKC and Clippers +160 for the series

I like the Clippers to keep it close tonight at OKC, and in fact, put real pressure on the Thunder to keep home court advantage for more than 48 minutes in this series. I don’t care for the Thunder at a strategic level, because I don’t think they truly know who they are, or whose team it is, and I don’t like this match-up at a tactical level. I’d take the Clippers front court over OKC’s, and the Clippers backcourt over OKC’s, and while everyone loves Durant, herein lies my problem with him, and why I just chose the Clippers backcourt over OKC’s with Westbrook: Durant doesn’t play like he’s the second best player in the world, or the MVP of the NBA. Russell Westbrook does play with that attitude and chip on his shoulder, that competitive fire to win, but I think that creates more problems than it solves for the Thunder–especially as they go deeper in the playoffs.  I want my teams to resemble the championship teams of the Bulls, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers and even the ’11 Mavericks and the last two seasons of the Miami Heat: everybody knows and plays their role! 

To hear the second best player in the world say “I’m a decoy out there sometimes” tells me this team isn’t his, it’s the wildly inefficient, if marvelously talented and extremely fun to watch, Westbrook’s team.  Sure KD might have the endorsements and be the more likeable and recognizable player, but between those lines, who is bringing the competitive fire, and who is carrying this team? Is it the guy who’s always going 9-21?  Sure sounds like it if you listen to KD.  Not a blueprint for championships.

Memphis should’ve ousted OKC if not for being down half their team in game 7.  Take the points and the over tonight, take the Clippers for the series.


LA CLIPPERS are 15-3 ATS (+11.7 Units) revenging a straight up loss vs opponent as a favorite this season. 
The average score was LA CLIPPERS 112.9, OPPONENT 100.1

LA CLIPPERS are 20-11 ATS (+7.9 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent this season. 
The average score was LA CLIPPERS 111.0, OPPONENT 103.3

Both the Clippers and Thunder are 5-2 OVER in the playoffs, and both teams likely to have a little less intensity on the defensive end, and see a little higher tempo out of OKC after seven game series and the pressure of Saturday’s first round tilts.




Dear Caroline, aka “Cliney”

Dear Caroline-y!

On this major milestone in your life, I want to tell you how proud I am of you:

  • I am so proud of your love for God, your faith in God, and your pursuit of a relationship with God!
  • I am so proud of the way your fearlessly tell people about The Lord—not out of pride, knowing that you’re ‘right’, but out of love, wanting them to enjoy a relationship with God the way that you have come to enjoy it!
  • I am so proud of the way you care so deeply for other people.
  • I am so proud and so thankful of the amazing big sister you are to Abby!
  • I am so proud that she gets to look up to you, and follow in your footsteps through high school, into college, and as you girls become young adult friends
  • I am so proud that you have left (most) of the drama and meanness of yesteryear’s friends behind—that it didn’t leave a permanent mark on your character, or trust in friends
  • I am really, really proud of the student that you are!  You represent the best in a student: you’re self-disciplined, you’re driven to succeed, but not controlled by it, you’re curious, so you truly seek to learn, and you’re very gifted—you’re very smart, you learn very well in a variety of different ways, and you retain the information and know how it all ‘works together’. I’m so proud of you!
  • I am so so so proud of your awesome sense of humor and blazing fast wit, which you clearly were blessed with from your stepdad! 😉  No, really—I LOVE your laugh, I love your smile, I love your sense of humor, and I really love when you get into laughing/giggling fits that you can’t stop!
  • Lastly, I want to remind you that you are a stunningly beautiful girl!  Seriously—you are a breath-taking beauty, and I am an expert. To believe anything else is because we have a real enemy who attacks girls with that lie; John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” and John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  And so as your stepdad, and one who is outside of these lies and attacks, I can see them clearly—and as a husband to a bombshell, and dad to six girls, I know this is how Satan attacks you all.  Right at the heart, making you all believe lies that you’re not pretty, you’re not skinny, you’re not worthy, and you’re not worth it.  The most important thing I want you to take out of Middle School is this: I want you to be 100% secure in your identity in Christ! He says you’re beautiful! He says you’re special! He says you’re worthy of Him coming and dying just for you!  And He says, He loves you and you are perfect, just the way He made you and knew you before the beginning of time!  And I want to encourage you in that, Caroline!  For a guy, I know beauty, and you are incredibly beautiful—but lastly, what I’m most proud of is that you are even more beautiful inside than out!


I love you! I am so proud of you!


                                                Cheering you on, for the rest of your life!






Combat’s Positive Effects on Soldiers?

My buddy Oliver Grant  and I served together in Iraq in2004. Along with a few other tremendous soldiers, I think we look back on that time as one of, if not the most transformative experience of our lives.  Oliver sent me the piece below today from his 3rd deployement, in Iraq.

I’ve written about it many times, and I tell people in conversation all the time, Iraq was easily the single best professional experience of my life.  Sure, I have some PTSD–which left me pretty jumpy and skittish for a while–but I also have an epic lore as a chapter of my life that impacted me for the positive in every single aspect of my faith and life.

Combat’s Positive Effects Examined

Some troops find growth in tours of duty

By Gregg Zoroya, USA Today

WARDAK, Afghanistan – Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Frikken says three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan have robbed him of precious time with his family, but have also changed him – in some ways for the better.

A sense of personal strength, appreciation for life and love of family have all been enhanced, says Frikken, 39, who directs artillery fire for 10th Mountain Division troops fighting here. “I will never be the same person I was before my combat experiences,” he says.

What happens to soldiers like Frikken has led Army leaders to develop a resiliency program that urged GIs to look inward and discover how combat may have made them emotionally stronger.

Research appears to show that many people can emerge from traumatic experiences with greater self-confidence, a keener sense of compassion and appreciation for life, says Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. Cornum and other experts call this concept post-traumatic growth.

Although the military focuses attention on troops who develop mental health conditions in combat, Cornum says, the majority of war veterans do not suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other problems.

“We never ask if anybody had some positive outcomes. We only ask about this laundry list of illnesses,” says Cornum, referring to a battery of health questions soldiers face when they leave the combat zone.

She often alludes to her experiences as a prisoner during the Persian Gulf War. Cornum was an Army captain and flight surgeon in 1991 aboard a Black Hawk helicopter shot down over Iraq. Five of seven soldiers died. Cornum suffered two broken arms and a gunshot wound to the shoulder, was captured with two others and held for eight days.

Her goal is to include a self-assessment on traumatic growth with a health questionnaire given to soldiers three to six months after they return from combat. She would also like to include in preparations before and after GIs are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan short video segments of servicemembers describing how their personal lives changed for the better after surviving combat.

The new tools could be put into effect within a year, Cornum says.

Richard Tedeschi, an expert in post-traumatic growth at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, is collaborating on the project with the Army. Even though he calls the initiative “uncharted territory,” Tedeschi says research indicates that soldiers have found value in their combat experiences. If informed about potential for post-traumatic growth beginning in basic training, he says, soldiers might not automatically assume “that the combat experience produces PTSD and you’re kind of doomed.”

During remarks at the American Enterprise Institute recently in Washington, Tedeschi said some servicemembers found the changes in their lives so profound after combat, they expressed gratitude for having gone through it – even if it cost them permanent physical damage.

“They’d felt they’d changed as people in ways they otherwise wouldn’t have,” Tedeschi says. “At the same as this trauma separates them from other people, it also allows them to maybe see themselves as more human than they ever were before, have a closer connection with what it means to be a human being .”

Frikken is married with three children, and goes out on missions from Forward Operating Base Airborne here. He says that nearly 33 cumulative months of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan “have made me realize to live every day as if it were my last. I take nothing for granted.”

The experience forces survivors to “try to figure out ‘Who am I now? … What’s my life supposed to be about?’ ” Tedeschi says. “We certainly would like to find ways of helping people move in this direction, because it’s a way of mitigating the affects of this trauma.”

Tedeschi acknowledges that his concepts are controversial.

Howard Tennen, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Connecticut, says that although post-traumatic growth may occur in some people, it is difficult to measure. He says available evidence does not yet support the idea that promoting a sense a growth will lead to positive outcomes.

Cornum says she finds the concept convincing.

“We never want something bad to happen,” she says. “But if there’s an opportunity to learn something from some adverse circumstance, we certainly want to take advantage of it.”