Thursday’s Thoughts: Jazz pull even, crucial Game 2’s tonight

Gamblers backing the Utah Jazz on the money line in Game 2 cashed outstanding +650 tickets.

Published on Thursday, 5/3/18, at 10:42 a.m. Eastern.

–Utah won a 116-108 decision in Game 2 at Houston last night. The Jazz evened the series as the best-of-seven set heads to Salt Lake City for Friday’s Game 3. Quin Snyder’s club won outright as a 10.5-point road underdog with star point guard Ricky Rubio still sidelined with a strained hamstring. Bettors backing Utah to win outright cashed lucrative +650 money-line tickets (paid $650 on $100 wagers). As of Thursday morning, most books had the Rockets as 3.5-point road ‘chalk’ for Game 3, with the total at 207. ESPN will have the broadcast at 10:35 p.m. Eastern. Rubio is expected to miss Game 3 but return at some point later in the series.

–Houston shot 10-of-37 from 3-point land (27.0%) in Game 2, yet the ‘over’ easily cashed with the 224 combined points soaring ‘over’ the 207-point total.

My preview of tonight’s NBA doubleheader can be found over at

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week that former Florida guard Nick Calathes, who is now 29 years of age, is planning to return from Europe back to the NBA next season.

My grades of every first-round pick in last week’s NFL Draft.

–LOVED my Falcons getting Calvin Ridley in the first round! How on earth he fell to No. 26 overall is beyond me.

–Former Florida RB Mark Thompson, who went undrafted, signed a free-agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens. WR Brandon Powell, who also went undrafted, inked a free-agent deal with the Detroit Lions earlier this week.

–Charles Barkley in his prime would make quick and easy work of Draymond Green. Trust me, youngsters. With that said, Barkley did apologize yesterday for saying he wanted to punch Green in the face on TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ late Tuesday night.

New England’s season win total of 11 is the league’s highest, reports Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.’s Brad Powers breaks down five sleepers (25/1 odds or longer) in college football that could win it all in 2018 (+ 2 longshots).

My NBA picks for tonight.

–Jason Witten has elected to retire from the Dallas Cowboys and join ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew in the booth as an analyst.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers have converted Ryan Shazier’s $8.26 million base salary for 2018 into a signing bonus. The move will reportedly have no cap implications. Shazier has been placed on the PUP list. That’s a great gesture and the type of thing you expect from a first-rate organization run by the Rooney family.

–Nate Diaz has been in the news this week with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reporting that he’s in serious talks with the UFC to make his return at UFC 227 in early August at Staples Center in Los Angeles. My guess is the opponent will be Kevin Lee, who is off an impressive victory over Edson Barboza. No deal has been finalized yet.

Kevin McHale recently shared a good shit-talking story about Larry ‘Legend‘ on the Dan Patrick Show.

–That Donovan Mitchell putback dunk in the fourth quarter last night was nasty.

–The Atlanta Hawks are still looking for a new head coach. Mike Budenholzer and the organization decided to part ways more than a week ago. Before the Hawks hired Travis Schlenk as GM, Budenholzer was pulling double duty as head coach and GM. For some ignorant-as-fuck reason while still serving as GM, Budenholzer thought it was a good idea to sign Ken Bazemore to a $70 million extension and ink Dwight Howard to a $70 million deal as well. This was only one year after the Hawks won 60 games during the regular season when they were resting starters every other game for nearly the entire final two months of the year (in other words, they could’ve easily won 65 games or more). Budenholzer thought it wise to sign Bazemore and Howard before negotiating with Al Horford, who was rightfully seeking a max deal. Well, you see where Horford is right now, while the Hawks are getting ready to be in the lottery. Five candidates have reportedly interview with the Hawks already, including Hawks assistant Darvin Ham (remember when he broke the backboard dunking at Texas Tech?), Warriors assistant Jarron Collins, Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts and former Grizzlies head coach and Hawks assistant David Fizdale.

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