Revenge-Minded Pacers take on Suns in Thursday Night NBA

Phoenix Suns +11.5 at Indiana Pacers -11.5  Total: 199.5

Revenge will be on the Indiana Pacers’ mind tonight as they welcome the Phoenix Suns to Indianapolis. The Pacers were dealt their worst loss of the season just over a week ago at Phoenix, losing 124-100 to the Suns. The 124 points were the most they allowed under coach Frank Vogel, while the Suns shot 54.2 percent in what was arguably their best game of the season.

“Heck of an offensive performance by the Phoenix Suns,” Vogel said after that loss. “Their shot-making was off the charts.”

The Suns haven’t cooled off much since that victory, following a home loss with three straight wins on their four-game trip. They’ve averaged 116.3 points during that streak and had another hot-shooting night in a 126-117 victory over lowly Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Suns are outplaying expectations and in a big way. Expected to be in the lottery mix as one of the worst teams of the season, Phoenix has already tallied 26 wins, against 18 losses.

Phoenix has been winning with offense at 105 PPG (tied for fifth). They’ve won the first three games of a four-game road trip that ends tonight – at Cleveland (99-90 as 2-point dogs), at Philadelphia (124-113 as 5-point favorites) and last night at Milwaukee (126-117 at 8.5-point favorites). The Suns are 6-1 against the spread on zero days rest and an impressive 8-2 ATS against teams with a .600 or better record. The last time these two trends crossed, the Suns beat the Rockets in Houston 97-88 as 9.5-point dogs.

The Suns are scoring 105 points per game so far this season, en route to a 27-18 record overall and a 30-14-1 record against the spread. Phoenix has given up 101.6 PPG, and have an O/U record of 24-19-2 on the year.  On defense, the Suns have held their opponents to a 45% field goal percentage, 34% from three point land. They are creating 15 turnovers per game , and blocking 4.2 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.34.  The Suns are shooting 46% from the field so far this season, with a 37% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 49%; its offense rebound rate is 27% with the defense collecting 72% of their opponent’s misses. The Suns are shooting 76% at the free throw line this year.

Indiana is glad to be back home after a muddling through a five-game road trip. It finished at 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS, with the defense allowing an uncharacteristic 106 PPG. Foul trouble for center Roy Hibbert was one reason why. The team still leads the NBA in scoring defense (90.2 PPG).

The Pacers have been deadly at home, winning 21 of 22 games, including 10 straight since losing to Detroit on Dec. 16. They are 16-6 this year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers have outscored opponents by an average of 15.8 points at home, and no team has scored more than 92 against them during the 10-game run.

Indiana is 35-9 on the season, averaging 98.7 points per game while giving up 90.2. They are 29-15-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 18-26-0.  When their opponents have the ball, the Pacers are allowing 41% shooting from the field, including 33% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 77%, and the team is averaging 7.2 steals and 4.4 blocks per game so far this season.  On offense, the Pacers are shooting 46% from the field, including 36% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 78%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 25% of the time. Indiana has turned the ball over 14.5 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 5.7 times per game.

A Decentralized Internet Through BitCloud

Can a decentralized Internet be a reality? A group is trying to make it so, proposing a peer to peer system for sharing bandwith. Users would help complete computing tasks such as storing, computing, or routing, and be rewarded with cash.

“Just as Bitcoin miners provide computing power and are rewarded for solving complex mathematical equations with the virtual currency, so individual net users would be rewarded based on how much bandwidth they contribute to the Bitcloud network.”

The project is called Bitcloud, and its interests are clear.

“If you’re interested in privacy, security, ending internet censorship, decentralising the internet and creating a new mesh network to replace the internet, then you should join or support this project.”

Currency would be called “cloudcoins” and its use will be similar to Bitcoins.

“For example, someone who wants to advertise on a public video that is streamed from a Bitcloud node will have to pay for that advertisement in cloudcoins. Another example would be someone who wants to pay for personal cloud storage on the Bitcloud network. By monetizing the system, nodes can get paid for their willingness to share bandwidth, provide cloud storage, and allow for direct streaming to stored content.”

“Adding the profit motive to the equation gives this project a chance to succeed where many others have failed in the past.”

The end result: enough capacity to replace a centralized commercial services like Youtube, Dropbox, Faceboo, even ISPs.

It Is That Time of Year: Bizarre Super Bowl Bets

Super Bowl Sunday is always about something other than the football game. From the commercials, to the squares, its amateur hour to football fans. Sportsbooks jump into the sewer as well. Each game sees a number of crazy bets that never get offered again. It’s fun and good publicity for a book. It is also a dangerous game to play. Many bets are judgement calls. Judgement calls that go against a gambler is a quick way to lose that customer. But the books persist. Here is this year’s list of silly bets offered by a variety of sportsbooks:

  • Will it snow during the game?
  • What will be the lowest temperature during the game?
  • Will the power go out in the stadium during the game?
  • What Will be Higher? Seconds in the National Anthem sung by Renee Fleming, or Peyton Manning Passing Yards in the First Half?
  • Will Renee Fleming wear gloves when she starts singing US National Anthem?
  • Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the signing of the National Anthem
  • If Renee Fleming wears gloves when she starts singing US National Anthem, what color will they be?
  • How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV during the game?
  • How many times will Eli Manning be shown on TV during the game?
  • Who will be seen first on TV after kickoff? Erin Andrews or Pam Oliver
  • How many times will “Beast Mode” be said during the game? Over 2? Under 2?
  • How many times will Peyton Manning say “Omaha” during the game? Over 27.5? Under 27.5
  • Will the announcers say the word “Marijuana” during the game?
  • Will Richard Sherman receive a taunting penalty in the game?
  • Will Richard Sherman be interviewed on field after the game by Erin Andrews on the live FOX broadcast?
  • Will Michael Crabtree mention Richard Sherman in a tweet during the Super Bowl from kickoff until final whistle?
  • If the Broncos win will Peyton Manning retire before game 1 of the 2014 Regular Season?
  • Who will Barack Obama pick to win the game?
  • What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?
  • What will be higher? Gold Medals by the USA in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, or First Half Total Points by the Broncos

BitCloud: A Decentralized Internet?

Can a decentralized Internet be a reality? A group is trying to make it so, proposing a peer to peer system for sharing bandwith. Users would help complete computing tasks such as storing, computing, or routing, and be rewarded with cash.

“Just as Bitcoin miners provide computing power and are rewarded for solving complex mathematical equations with the virtual currency, so individual net users would be rewarded based on how much bandwidth they contribute to the Bitcloud network.”

The project is called Bitcloud, and its interests are clear.

“If you’re interested in privacy, security, ending internet censorship, decentralising the internet and creating a new mesh network to replace the internet, then you should join or support this project.”

Currency would be called “cloudcoins” and its use will be similar to Bitcoins.

“For example, someone who wants to advertise on a public video that is streamed from a Bitcloud node will have to pay for that advertisement in cloudcoins. Another example would be someone who wants to pay for personal cloud storage on the Bitcloud network. By monetizing the system, nodes can get paid for their willingness to share bandwidth, provide cloud storage, and allow for direct streaming to stored content.”

“Adding the profit motive to the equation gives this project a chance to succeed where many others have failed in the past.”

The end result: enough capacity to replace a centralized commercial services like Youtube, Dropbox, Faceboo, even ISPs.

Celtics Take on the Knicks in Tuesday Night NBA Action

Boston Celtics +5.5 at New York Knicks -5.5 Total: 192.5

Seeking a third straight win, the New York Knicks look to get some paybacks fro  two earlier losses to the sputtering Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.  The Knicks are riding a sizziling Carmelo Anthony, who scored 62 points on Friday night and backed that performance up with 35 on Sunday against the Lakers.

Four other Knicks scored in double figures; Raymond Felton with 20, Tyson Chandler scored 13, and bench players Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith scored 18 and 16 points each. Spreading the ball around has been part of the plan this year, says coach Mike Woodson.

“Last year we had five guys that averaged in double figures and I’ve always wanted a team where you just didn’t know where it was going to come from,” Woodson said. “And we know Melo’s going to get his, but we need everybody to be a part of the offense and touch the ball and feel good about themselves.”

New York is 17-27 on the season, averaging 96.2 points per game while giving up 99.3. They are 18-26-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 23-21-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Knicks are allowing 46% shooting from the field, including 37% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 76%, and the team is averaging 6 steals and 3.8 blocks per game so far this season. On offense, the Knicks are shooting 44% from the field, including 36% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 76%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 25% of the time. New York has turned the ball over 12.1 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 4.6 times per game.

Boston is coming off Sunday’s 85-79 loss to Brooklyn, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s first game back since getting traded last summer.  Rajon Rondo played a season-high 30 minutes in his fifth game back since returning from a torn ACL. He scored 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists but also committed six turnovers.

“It’s actually progressing as we thought,” coach Brad Stevens said. “He played more minutes, obviously, and that was by design. … That probably helps him get a better rhythm when he’s in the game. I still think he’s (in) game five of exhibition season, and I think he’ll continue to get better.”

The Celtics are scoring 94.7 points per game so far this season, en route to a 15-31 record overall and a 22-24-0 record against the spread. Boston has given up 98.6 PPG, and have an O/U record of 18-28-0 on the year. On defense, the Celtics have held their opponents to a 45% field goal percentage, 35% from three point land. They are creating 13.9 turnovers per game , and blocking 4.5 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.35. The Celtics are shooting 44% from the field so far this season, with a 33% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 50%; its offense rebound rate is 26% with the defense collecting 73% of their opponent’s misses. The Celtics are shooting 77% at the free throw line this year.

Firefighting Bookie Pleads Guilty to Bookmaking

A retired Los Angeles County firefighter pleaded guilty today to running an illegal sports gambling business that authorities said operated in part from a firehouse while he was on duty.

Retired fire Capt. Tod Hipsher, 51, entered the plea in federal court in Santa Ana. He will be sentenced on June 2 and is looking at a maximum of five years in prison.

The investigation of Hipsher began in 2009 following a tip from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Hipsher’s clients had the option of betting online or using a 1-800 number, prosecutors said.

In 2011, undercover agents met at least twice with Hipsher at a fire station in Bell to conduct gambling business, said Mark Speidel, a special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s homeland security investigations. Hipsher’s home was searched in March 2013, and $200,000 in cash was seized during the raid.

Another Orange County man, Hipsher’s partner in the business, has pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling business on another site and will be sentenced later this year.

Hipsher told authorities he made between $200,000 and $300,000 during the past few years. Hipsher and federal authorities reached a plea agreement in October but he did not plead guilty in court until Monday. The delay allowed his client to retire at the end of last year.