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Beating Vegas: Entry Twelve

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: Consider yourself lucky to  have an even split in rivalry week, this week it doesn’t get much easier.   During championship week, the games are played at “neutral” destinations, and some teams are playing for their playoff lives.

North Carolina (+4) vs Clemson (game to be played at Bank of America Stadium)

To get into the College Football Playoff, North Carolina would need a win against #1 ranked Clemson, and a ton of teams in front of them to completely fall apart.  First things first though for the Tar Heels, and that’s a chance to knock off the best team in the country, Clemson.  There are two things that separate the two teams, and only two things: 1. Clemson is undefeated while UNC has one loss to South Carolina; and 2. UNC’s one real weakness comes with their run defense.  The Tar Heels give up 208 yards a game on the ground to the opposition but at least have a pass defense that is formidable and they will have to be at their best against quarterback Deshaun Watson.  Watson throws at a 70% completion percentage and has thrown for 27 touchdowns on the year.  He is not in a class all by himself though.  UNC’s Marquise Williams throws at a 65% completion rate and is just as much a dual threat as Watson.  Week to week, Clemson looks like a team that plays down to the level of their competition and the next week they seem like they’re playing on a whole other level.  This week, they are playing against a tough and aggressive Tar Heels squad that knows even a bowl game after beating Clemson, won’t be as exciting as actually beating Clemson.

The Pick: North Carolina +4

 

Michigan State (-3) vs  Iowa (game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium)

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The knocks against Iowa all year is that they haven’t “played anybody good” and the knock against Michigan State is that they haven’t played “up to their expectations.”  For whatever faults these teams possess, they did enough to find themselves in the Big 10 Championship Game.  It’s simple enough, whoever wins becomes Big 10 Champ and earns a birth in the college football playoff.  Michigan State has had a problem “putting teams away” and it’s quite baffling.  The only assumption one can make is that they take their opponents lightly and basically sleep walk during games.  There is NFL talent throughout the roster, most notably at quarterback with Connor Cook.   Cook is expected to be a first round pick in the upcoming draft and games like these is when he’ll need to shine the most.   He has 24 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions but his 57.6 completion percentage shows, he tends to be inconsistent at times.   Iowa’s defense has been good this year, but once again – considering the level of competition, it’s to be taken with a grain of salt.  They won by single digit margins against the two better offenses they faced in Indiana and Nebraska.  This Michigan State team knows that the talent in the Big 10 is on the rise, and with things not looking to get any easier with rivals Michigan and Ohio State in the near future, their time is now.

 

The Pick: Michigan State -3

 

Florida (+17) vs Alabama (game to be played in the Georgia Dome)

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The Florida Gator defense has been the talk of the town.  They allow only  15.5 points per game and have speed in their secondary that goes almost unmatched.  The Gator offense has been more reliant on their defense then themselves as they muster 25 points a game, but haven’t gone over the 30 point mark since that early win in October against Ole Miss.  Quarterback Will Grier’s suspension has really put his team in a bad position on the offensive side of things, as Treon Harris has minimalized the chance for the Gators to display a balanced offense.  Harris’ 53% completion percentage forces the Gators to stick to the ground.  Harris’ athleticism is over-rated as well, because as the team’s second leading rusher the QB is averaging less than three yards a carry. . . Honestly, as good as the Gators are on defense, the Crimson Tide are just better. They allow one fewer point than Florida does on defense and  running against ‘Bama has been nearly impossible as teams average 2.5 yards a carry and less than 80 yards a game against them.  This is the team that held LSU’s Leornard Fournette to  31 yards and less than 2 yards a carry in their 30-16 victory over the Tigers.  And unlike Florida, ‘Bama has a very balanced offense that gets it done through the air and also by ways of the ground with their running back, Heisman hopeful, Derrick Henry.   Most will see the big number and go with the team getting the points, but in truth, Alabama is primed for a big win going into the College Football playoff.  Florida will struggle getting first downs, let alone touchdowns, while Alabama will find a way.

The Pick: Alabama -17

 

If you must: When looking at the Baylor vs Texas line, the +21 going to the Longhorns is too juicy to pass up.  The Baylor Bears are going into this game with their third string quarterback and that’s the least of their woes.  This is a team that was destroying everything in it’s path and looking forward to a Championship run – that is all gone.  For the Longhorns though, this is their championship game.  They may not win, but they’ll put up a tough fight to not be blown out.

BONUS pick:  This one is just too easy to lay off of.  Take the Jets at -2 against their hometown rival New York Giants.  The Jets are a team that are becoming scarier and scarier as the playoffs approach.  At full health this is one of the tougher teams on both sides of the ball, and they seem to be rolling right now.  Fitzpatrick is the only wildcard here, but he has weapons around him – too many for the Giants to handle.  Eli will be under pressure the entire game and this is a secondary that is loving the opportunity to play against Odell Beckum Jr.  This one could get ugly and could be the easiest win of the week.

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Teaser of the Week: (Four Gamer) Bowling Green +1, Jets +10, Patriots +2.5, Michigan State +9

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Two

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week:  The Browns and Florida were the money makers last week.  Eagles hurt a lot of people (especially those who took them in Suicide Pools, yikes).   The Bills almost made a comeback but it was too little too late and Cal got lazy late in the game to let Texas come back.

BYU (+5.5) at Michigan

Michigan has notched two wins under their belt after losing their season opener to Utah 24-17.  The Wolverines are a one dimensional offense, led by the running attack of De’Veon Smith and Ty Issac.  The backs have combined for over 300 rushing yards this season.  The scouting reports have circulated though on quarterback Jake Rudock, who has five interceptions on the year – not a good look for someone being asked to manage the game.  The defense has looked good the last two weeks, but the inept offenses of Oklahoma State and UNLV can make anybody’s defense look above average.  BYU comes into this game with confidence and a lot of luck on their side.  The “luck” comes from win over Nebraska resulting from a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass and beating Boise State by scoring two touchdowns in the final minute.   They loss to number ten ranked UCLA last week by one point.  In that loss they made UCLA freshman-quarterback-phenom, Josh Rosen, look like a freshman, picking him off three times.  Rosen struggled mightily throughout the game, while BYU’s Tanner Mangum helped lead a balanced attack against an impressive UCLA defense.  Michigan is too one dimensional on offense and suspect on defense for BYU not to move the ball on them.

Take BYU +5.5

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Ohio University (+10.5) at Minnesota

The Ohio Bobcats are 3-0 to start the season and have won by double-digits in each game.  This week the Bobcats travel to Minnesota for their first real test of the season.  The Bobcats have had a surprisingly balanced offensive attack and that’s because of the depth at the skill positions this year.  The offense is averaging 33 points per game and the Minnesota Golden Gophers defense has allowed 17 points per game – nearly half of what the Ohio is used to seeing.  Minnesota struggled against a MAC opponent in Kent State last week, only winning 10-7 and won by three points to Colorado State.  Minnesota came into this season with some high expectations, even after a loss to TCU to open the season.  Many saw the fight in the Gophers to believe that this program is on its way up.  Minnesota’s defensive front will be a problem for Ohio’s offensive line and much like the Bobcats, they have a strong running attack.   The MAC Conference has been a thorn to the side of the Big 10 Conference in recent years and although Minnesota should pull off the victory, there is nothing that proves they will run away with it.  The Bobcats have a lot of size and athleticism, and that will keep them in this game.

Take Ohio +10.5

 

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USC (-5.5) at Arizona State

USC started out the season blowing out easy opponents and as soon as they faced an average Stanford squad – they lost by ten points.  That just isn’t a good look.  Understanding the rivalry and familiarity between USC and Stanford, one might be able to look passed this loss, BUT – in a year that Stanford is definitely on a down-year and USC supposedly climbing back to national prominance – this just isn’t a good look.   USC would be nothing without it’s fair share of drama in a season and coach Steve Sarkasian has definitely supplied that early in the year.  Arizona State may be in the same boat with USC if one looks at their 2-1 record.   They open the season getting handled by Texas A&M and then beat up on two powder-puff squads.  Both teams look questionable on defense but both seem to have offensive fire-power.  The over/under is set at 63, which seems about right, but in a game where points will be scored by both teams, take the home under-dog.  Although both have the same record and play in the same conference, the pressure is always more on USC.

Take Arizona State +5.5

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Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) at New York Jets

Chip Kelly’s “genius” is being put into question.  After all the crazy off-season moves, Kelly’s Eagles have an 0-2 record and this offense hasn’t hit it’s stride.  The signing of Demarco Murray has brought nothing to this offense, as he has struggled out of the gate (21 carries for 11 yards).  Murray is a north-south runner, but the Eagles insist on running sweeps out of the shotgun with him.  If Kelly is the “genius” we’ve all been led to believe that he is, he starts running Murray up the gut.  Unfortunately for the Eagles, this might not be the week to try that.  The Jets have a strong front seven and like to attack  frequently.  The Jets have big names on their defense and the one who gets overlooked is David Harris.  Harris is a sure-tackler, that cleans up the middle of the field well and can mirror backs with the best of them.  The Jets offense has been more efficient than flashy, but that’s all they’ve needed thus far.  Brandon Marshall is proving that when healthy he is still one of the hardest receivers to cover in the league, and Eagle’s corner back Byron Maxwell will have his hands full.  Maxwell has been picked on a lot in the first two weeks. . . The Jets have (personally) been the team to trust in covering the spread, but keep it in perspective.  If they do beat the Eagles – who have the Jets really played?  A Browns team that stinks, an over-rated Colts team and an over-hyped Eagles squad.  Not saying the Jets aren’t good but they will get hit with reality eventually. . . luckily for them, Chip Kelly and the Eagles do not live in reality.

Take the Jets -2.5

 

If You Must: Seahawks -14.5 – The Chicago Bears are without Jay Cutler and going into Seattle to play an 0-2 Seahawks team.  This is a Seahawks team that has been hearing for two weeks that things are tearing apart at the seams and that their run is over.  There is no better way to get back on track than getting a home win against a team starting Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. . . These are rough times for Bears fans.

College / NFL Football Tease of the Week: four gamer –  Patriots -1.5, Cowboys/Falcons Over 33, BYU +17.5, Wisconsin -12.5

Good Luck and wager wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

“Human” Album Review

Joell Ortiz is the Brooklyn representative of the four man rap group, Slaughterhouse.  It would be easy for one to lose themselves while mixed in with the personalities of Crooked-I, Royce Da 5’9 and Joe Budden – but that’s what separates Slaughterhouse from the rest of the rap world.  Each member has a distinct personality and this is Joell’s time to tell his story and have the listener in a zone that he has created, along with producer Illmind.  Illmind has produced tracks for 50 Cent, Scarface and Ludacris to name a few and has collaborated with the likes of 88 Keys and Kanye West on the production side.

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“I’m a quarter of the best rap group, in my opinion, ever assembled but I’m 100% Joell and I wanna tell that story.”

Those are the words Joell speaks on the intro of “Human” and on tracks like “Light A L” he paints a perfect picture of growing up in the projects.  Joell Ortiz is great at being relatable and lets his personality flourish over a track with ease: “Hip-hop with Mellie then hit pot and scaley/Then sneak up to my roof and get sick mop from Shelly. . .Standin’ in the hall and lightin’ candles for the fallen/Reminiscin’, sippin’, snifflin’, and missin’ all them.”    On “Who Woulda Knew” Joell continues with his story-telling ability as he discusses a relationship he’s trying to save.  This is one of the times Illmind’s production along with Joell’s personality mesh perfectly.  The soulful sample echo’s in the back ground while Joell dishes out lines like: “Layin’ our head, I’m seein’ 4 years ahead/She seein’ 4 years ago, wishin’ she wasn’t in this bed/Instead, she miss the club life, the pop bub’ life/
The life she used to love is fuckin’ up our love life.” The best part of this record is how Joell captures the frustration of a man that is unsure about the future with a woman he loves.

On “New Era” Illmind drops a reversed beat accompanied by a repetition of piano keys that pay homage to the hip hop sound of the mid-90’s.   Joell hits the listener with clever back to back bars, about how his vision and mind under his New Era hat are something to behold.

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“I Just Might” might have been a stronger track with a better hook and a little more life on the production side of things but then again, that’s something that seems to happen more often than one would like on “Human.”  “My N*gg@s” is a track that we’ve all heard a million times before, but a million other artists as Joell ends almost every line with the words “my n*gg@s.”  Joell is above this as a lyricist and the entire track is not worth more than one forgettable listen.  “Lil Piggies” is a track that Joell pushes his luck with and Illmind’s production sounds like a bad imitation of the J.Cole song “A Tale of Two Citiez.”  Joell’s aggressive tone is a nice switch up on the track, but the hook of “This little piggy think he’s hard / But this little piggy walks around with bodyguards / this little piggy think he real. . . ” – just doesn’t work as clever or funny.

“Latino, Pt 2” takes a different direction from it’s predecessor and joins Joell Ortiz along with his Latino hip hop brethren Emilo Rojas, Bodega Bamz and the son of the late Big Pun,  Chris Rivers.  The track has a reminiscent feeling of the first Slaughterhouse track as all four MC’s handled the beat with a purpose.  The one who steals the song though is Chris Rivers: “Put you in the earth, what it’s worth you can act natural/The pragmatical mathematical rappin’ cannibal/Who ramp with animals, Bronx nigga that has an attitude
You see my avenue is compatible with a battle room.”  Rivers’ aggressive-rapid-fire flow is reminiscent of his father’s and will have people keeping an eye out for him. . .

Ortiz and Illmind combine for a nearly 3 minute audio assault on “Six Fo’.”   Ortiz shows how down to earth he is, even while proving he’s one of the nicest on the mic with bars like: “I would play the park bench with a crazy Walkman/Listenin’ straight, no rewind button/
Flip the tape, fast forward just to rewind somethin’/Fast forward, I’m flippin’ tapes, look at me, I’m frontin’.”

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“Bad Santa” is a touching track where Joell talks about not being around for his son as much as he would like to be.  It’s not about being a “bad” father either, it’s more about him and his child’s mother not getting along and him having limited time to see his son.  It’s a real-life track, where Joell’s honesty and frustration is felt, one hundred percent.

Joell and Illmind have a chemistry together as nothing felt forced, but if things weren’t forced, at times it felt rushed.   Maybe, they aren’t 100% honest with each other in terms of what beats to use/ what hooks to use and if that’s the case, that’s not a good thing and it hurt the project as a whole.  Ortiz is without a doubt a beast though, so for pure hip hop reasons, it’s worth a listen.

Rating 6 out of 10

G.W. Gras

“ALLA” Album Review

Coming out of Harlem, New York is Asap Rocky.  His road to hip hop stardom isn’t anything new : from a poor family, dealt drugs, saw death at an early age – began rapping – things happened.   That’s not to belittle his journey – at all, but one wouldn’t get that “defeated while coming up” tone if they listened to Rocky’s music.  Some would call him more of a modern day hippie – much like Wiz Khalifa and others.  He struck a $3 million dollar deal because of his mixtape success and has capitalized releasing hits like “F’n Problems” and “Wild For the Night” from his first album “Long. Live. ASAP.”   His follow up album “ALLA (At Long Last ASAP)” comes with the pressure of capitalizing off his commercial success.

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The album starts off perfectly with “Holy Ghost.”  In terms of delivery and tone, Rocky sounds more like T.I. than anything else, but delivers some insightful lines: “Satan giving out deals, finna own these rappers / the game is full of slaves and they mostly rappers / you sold your soul first, then your homies after / Let’s show these stupid field niggas they can own they masters.”   Rocky is a young business mind and finds it weird how some who have been in the game longer than him still get screwed over with music industry politics.  The laid back “Excuse Me” shows Rocky delivering a laid back flow in which he rattles off a perfect rhyme scheme.  Rocky likes to “flex” a lot and on this track he continues that pattern : “I spent 20 thousand dollars with my partnas in Bahamas / Another 20 thousand dollars on Rick Owens out in Barneys / I said excuse me, why the f*ck you lookin? What’s your problem? / I swear we gon’ have drama if you touch my tailored garments.”

He pays homage on the track “Max B” to the incarcerated rapper that goes by the same name but the hook by (mostly unknown) Joe Fox, throws the song entirely off.  Rocky has features by Kanye West and Lil Wayne on the album – and they both outshine Rocky easily.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 14:  Rapper A$AP Rocky visits the SiriusXM Studios on January 14, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Kanye produces and  is featured on “Jukebox Joints.”  This features Kanye doing his soul-sampling production which many miss, but it’s less a piece of production and more a lazy use of a looped sample.  Even when the beat switches up half way through the song, there’s nothing spectacular until Kanye jumps on the track himself, which isn’t a good look for Rocky.   On the track “M’$” Lil’ Wayne delivers one of his best verses in years (seriously): “Put a B up let’s fight, don’t get beat up tonight / Feet up in my European, I ride with me heater inside / Kill you an dyour dog then go put on a shirt that say PETA For Life / Like you sneez you on tight, you got beef I got white / You got beef I got white / I got green, I got white, I got pink, I got pints, I got lean, I got ice, I got needles and pipes. . .”   Looking into this situation a little more, Rocky must’ve felt that Wayne “spazzing” out on this track wouldn’t be good for him, so when “M’$” was released as a single, it was released with a second verse from Rocky and no verse from Wayne.  This isn’t good business from the young entrepreneur  who relies on the line “N*gg@ we talking ’bout M’s” to be repeated about 8 times to complete a sad and lazy hook.

“ALLA” is a tough album to listen through in one sitting, mainly because all of the beats are hypnotically slow.  Add to the fact that Rocky loves using the “screwed” up effect on his voice which almost makes the tracks slow down audibly.  The track “L$D” is an ode to his admitted favorite drug LSD – which explains a lot of the “hippie” and “psychedelic” feel throughout “ALLA.”  This track is all over the place and at times becomes incoherent.  “Fine Wine” is another weird song about a relationship coming to an end, but the “screwed” voice effect takes away from any real feel to the record – the combination of M.I.A, Joe Fox and Dream on the wrong just add to the confusion, as none of them bring anything of substance to the table.

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ASAP Rocky has talent, but sometimes seems stuck in a rut  when in comes to production.  An example of this is on the SchoolBoy Q featured track “Electric Body” : “Got a bitch in the spot and she faded / Yeah, corset top with the new ass shots / Couple Instagram likes, now she famous / Nose job, workin’ on some payments / On a new car, now she finna trade it.”  

A nice surprise was the addition of Miguel and Rod Stewart’s vocals on the hook of “Everyday.”  The track is listed to be produced by seven different people, but the main name on the list is Mark Ronson’s who’s blues / funk inspiration is peppered all throughout the track perfectly.

Rocky has a lot of creativity and enough talent to come up with better material.  Sometimes things just come together lazy although he probably thinks he’s putting in a good effort.  Amazing what drugs can do to your mind.

Rating 4.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

“Mr. Wonderful” Album Review

The phrase “larger than life” comes to mind when thinking of the personality and actual size of the rapper from Flushing, Queens – Action Bronson.   When listening to Bronson, the sound is very familiar.  His tone and delivery have been compared to GhostFace Killah on numerous occasions.  Even Bronson’s articulation seems to pay ode to the legendary Staten Island MC.   Nevertheless, Bronson brings his own brand of outlandishness and personality to the table on “Mr. Wonderful” which is his first major label release.

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Bronson teamed up with a nice team of producers made up with the likes  of Party Supplies, Mark Ronson and The Alchemist.   The album uses a lot of funk and even blues sampling and instrumentation – but the ultimate feel is uptempo.   The album opens with the Mark Ronson produced “Brand New Car” where Bronson’s charisma shines with lines like: “Trust you me, Gotham’s safer now / But there’s always a new Joker in town / Ready to smoke you with the pound / But when he shoots it, the flag says ‘bang’ and everybody laughs / He must be up and off the molly tab.”  Action Bronson’s claim is to be something the rap game needs and wants but he won’t conform to any trends to help his cause.

On “Actin’ Crazy” Bronson makes a reference to kissing his mother on the cheek to reassure her that all of his crazy antics are how he’ll take care of things.  It’s not a “dear mama”  type of song though, it’s more about the “crazy.”  Bronson’s flow and cadence become pretty predictable throughout “Mr. Wonderful.”  So predictable in fact, that if he was a boxer, he wouldn’t land his jab after the second round. . .

“Falconry” sounds a little bit like “Liquid Swords” by the Gza but the problem with “Falconry” is that there is little genius behind it as Bronson proves with: “I was made like the beginning of Jurassic Park / When they took the f#ckin’ blood from the mosquito with a dope needle  then they shot it in a wild lion, 1983 / I popped out holdin’ an iron with a visor on.”  Okay. . .

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The album thrives off of it’s  production.  Party Supplies have gained traction recently, but this is a production team that needs to gain more exposure.  They supply the backdrop masterfully on the tracks “A Light In the Addict” and “Only In America.”  “A Light in the Addict” is one of the few times Bronson is trying to address an introspective issue and even then he can’t wrap his one verse on the song in cohesive fashion.  He starts out saying “Starin’ out the window, with the mind of a schizo, thinking if I jump, will I feel it when I hit the ground” and somehow transitions into “Dog, what the f*ck is with your mother / She got one leg longer than the other / one eye through the shutter, made the transition from weed to butter like spring to summer.”   “Only In America” features Party Supplies on the hook, but the track is produced by Oh No.  The beat has an old rock feel but Bronson’s verses are filled with more “filler” than anything else : “Barry Bonds, barracuda, Chattanooga / Back alley shooter, black balley booter / catch me jumpin’ out the plane like a black puma.”  

Even the best song on the album is tainted with nonsense, but not to the fault of Bronson at least. . . “Baby Blue” is produced by Mark Ronson, who supplies a very soulful piano melody and Bronson does his best GhostFace imitation here talking about a relationship gone wrong.  In this ballad of a man who is just sick of the girl he’s with and leaves her, even Bronson’s rough singing vocal, works well with the track.   The track goes completely in the wrong direction as soon as an appearance is  made by Chance the Rapper who dishes out gems like these on his verse: “I hope you never get off Fridays / And you work at a Friday’s that’s always busy on Fridays.”  Damnit Chance, you ruined it.

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The jazzy bass line on “Galactic” works well, but the song itself lacks a hook and Bronson seems to just quit on the third verse.  One can see the appeal of Bronson in his reckless “I can care less about what you think of me” attitude, but when does it come to a point where lyrics and artistry come into play?  At times it’s all just too simplistic : “Black magic woman put a spell on me / F*ck around and win a spelling bee / I could walk under ladders, still won the lotto / Ten minutes flat, built a boat in a bottle.” 

Jay -Z once accused lesser rappers of putting “words together, just to match,” and that’s what Bronson has seemingly made a career of.  The style gets repetitive and boring while his “shock” value has very little entertainment value.  In all honesty, the album would’ve been better suited as a collection of instrumentals.

Rating 4 out of 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Brooklyn, We Go. . . Hard?

If it wasn’t for Mason Plumlee and Bojan Bogdanovic  representing the Brooklyn Nets in the Rising Stars game during All Star Weekend, the Nets would have absolutely nobody representing them.  They were a far cry from having any of their players in the actual All Star Game and with Mirza Teletovic out for the season, that pretty much ended their chance of having someone in the three point contest as well.   Brooklyn supposedly goes hard, but it seems like they’re also going the wrong way in terms of success.

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When Russain billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets in 2010 he was sure success would come and he would use all his money (and muscle) to make it come true.  Hard times have fallen on the Nets who are now an underwhelming 21-31.   This is a team who last year made it to the second round of the playoffs and now it looks like they will  struggle getting in through the door.

The problems are evident.  The gamble the Nets took on their big money players: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett is not paying off.  Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are now coming off the bench, Joe Johnson is unmotivated and at times just seems frustrated; while Kevin Garnett, with all due-respect to the future hall of famer, is getting old, and doesn’t intimidate anybody anymore.  All four have had their names thrown around in trade rumors, but as of now, they all remain in Brooklyn – but, why?

The Nets are in a “can’t win” situation.   Literally and figuratively.  As it stands now, the Nets are floating around being the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, which has them on the outside looking in, from a playoff perspective.  The teams they’ll be competing with for that 8th seed are Detroit, Miami and Charlotte.  Detroit and Charlotte are unpredictable, while the Miami Heat are a well coached team with a lot of pride.   The Nets are painfully predictable, lack any pride and at this stage you can question the legitimacy of  head coach Lionel Hollins, who does not hide his frustrations well on the sidelines of games.

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If the Nets make it in, they get to face an early first round exit against teams like Toronto, who’d like revenge on the Nets for losing to them in the first round last year – or Atlanta.   The Atlanta Hawks are interesting in terms of the Nets and not because of a possible first round playoff match-up, but because the Hawks have the option of switching draft picks with the Nets after this season is over.   This option came to be because of the trade between the two teams which sent Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in 2012.  At their current pace, the Hawks will finish the season with the NBA’s best record, or pretty close to it, so the swap of first round picks is inevitable.

Even tanking the season, would not do the Nets any good.  That’s why it’s a no-win situation.

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For all things considered, the Nets should try to find some inspiration from somewhere in the second half of the year and make a run at the playoffs.  If for no other reason it would be to boost the value of the players on their roster so a trade can be done after this season.   Parts are going to move, but moving them now actually makes no sense.  It would only give Atlanta a better draft pick and would hurt the brand of a team that was trying to erase the memory of what it once was.

Relatively-harmless is how hard Brooklyn apparently goes now-a-days.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio