Anthony Davis was up for some show and tell earlier this week in commemorating the inglorious end of his seven-year run with the now-moribund New Orleans Pelicans.

Before the Pelicans played their last game of the season yesterday, which though perfectly healthy Davis missed because of back spasms that have apparently plagued him since March 24, the six-time NBA all-star showed up wearing a Looney Tunes, “That’s All Folks!,” t-shirt.

Having failed to sufficiently expose his lack of character and basic decency the night before, this morning Davis somehow increased the ignominy of his exit from New Orleans by having the local media believe that the soon-to-be ex-Pelican had nothing to do with the selection of his Looney Tunes, “That’s All Folks!,” t-shirt the previous evening, 

When asked earlier today, “why did you choose that t-shirt last night?,” Davis responded, “I didn’t choose it. I actually didn’t choose it. It was hanging for me already when I put my clothes on.”

When Davis was then asked if he knew, “who hung,” the t-shirt for him to wear, he said, “no,” then paused to add, “I’m not sure,” before laughing along with a local media whose strangely misplaced sympathy went a long way to explaining why Davis went out the way he did.

The post WHY ANTHONY DAVIS PROBABLY THINKS WE BELIEVE HIS DECEIT appeared first on Sports by Brooks.

By Andrew Puopolo

Tonight, the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin when the Columbus Blue Jackets head to Florida to take on the President’s trophy winners Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, having finished with 21 points more than the team with the second best team in the league. In light of their dominance, how likely are the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup this season?

To answer this question, I used a Glicko rating system model to simulate this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs 100,000 times. For those who are unfamiliar with what the Glicko rating system is, the Glicko rating system is an extension on the well known Elo rating system that dynamically updates after games. If a team wins a game, their rating goes up, if they lose a game their rating goes down. Beating a good team makes your rating go up by more than beating a bad team.

What differentiates the Glicko system from the Elo system is its ability to incorporate timing of matches into its prediction. In the Elo system, the rating changes at the same rate at the beginning and end of the season, which is problematic as the summer offseason changes the strengths of teams considerably, which should be reflected by team’s ratings moving more at the beginning of the season.

We fit our Glicko model using game results from the 2005/6 to the 2017/18 seasons. For the technical details behind fitting this model, please email me at andrewpuopolo@college.harvard.edu.

In our Glicko model, we estimated that the home team has an advantage of 33 rating points per game. This means that if two evenly rated teams face off, then the home team has a 54.7% chance of winning the game.

Our simulations are run “hot”, which means that we are constantly updating our estimate for a team’s strength throughout the (simulated) playoffs as they advance through more rounds.

First, we will look at our predictions for the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs:

These predictions are pretty much more or less what we expected. In the Eastern Conference, the 1-4 matchups in each division (Tampa Bay vs Columbus and Washington vs Carolina) see the team with home ice advantage as heavy favorites. We also have the Boston Bruins as slight favorites over the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, it is interesting to note that the Islanders are underdogs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, despite having home ice advantage. This is due to the Penguins having a rating that is 34 points higher than the Islanders, as it incorporates some of last year’s results into the estimate for a team’s rating.

In the West, the predictions for this series are more of a toss up. The Sharks and Golden Knights have almost identical team ratings and the model gives San Jose a slight edge due to home ice advantage. There is a similar phenomenon in the Winnipeg vs St. Louis series. The other two series see the better team with about a ⅔ chances of advancing.

Next, we will take a look at our predictions for the winner of each Conference

The Lightning are overwhelming favorites in the Eastern Conference, but despite their regular season dominance, only make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 38% of our simulations. This is a testament to the great parity of hockey. Another thing to note is that despite having the second best record in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins only make the the Stanley Cup in 12% of simulations, while the Washington Capitals who finished with three fewer points in the regular season make the Stanley Cup in 20%. There are two explanations for this. The first is that the Capitals are rated higher than the Bruins due to their Stanley Cup win last season. The second is that there is a higher probability that the Bruins face the Lightning en route to the Stanley Cup than the Capitals do. The Bruins have to face the Lightning in 78% of simulations, while the Capitals only have to face the Lightning in 55%. In addition, the Bruins have to face a tougher opponent in the first round than the Capitals do.

The Western Conference is much more even than the East. Only two teams (the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche) have a fewer than 10% chance of qualifying, while no team has higher than a 21% chance. This shows the incredible parity that is currently present in the Western Conference.

Finally, we will look at our predictions for the probability of all sixteen teams winning the Stanley Cup:

Predictions for Stanley Cup Champion

Our results are somewhat as expected. The Lightning have a 27% chance of winning the Stanley Cup, while we see pretty strong parity across the rest of the league. We see that the East has about a 60% chance of winning the Stanley Cup over the West, which makes sense given that 3 of the top 4 teams by record came from the East.

If you have any questions for Andrew, please reach out to him at andrewpuopolo@college.harvard.edu

The Colorado Rapids have postponed their match against the Seattle Sounders until Sept. 7. Originally scheduled for Wednesday evening, an impending snowstorm has forced the Rapids and their fans to make new plans for the night.

The winter storm is expected to bring 4-8 inches of snow to the Denver area with 50 mph winds. The possible blizzard was too much for the Rapids (0-4-2) to attempt a potential Snow Clasico Four — just five weeks after the third edition when Colorado played Portland to a draw.

The Rapids are still scheduled to play at home at 7 p.m. Saturday against D.C. United. The forecast clears up Friday and Denver-area temperatures are expected to be in the 50s with some sun during the day Saturday.

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

I, for one, am relieved to never have to watch another regular season game with this squad. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve felt this way about a Celtics team since I started watching circa the year 2002. I was nine at the time and was just content to watch any basketball back then. Now, I guess I have standards, or whatever. At any rate, this season was ass and I think Terry Rozier agrees with me:

“I couldn’t wait for this year to be over,” he said. “I ain’t gonna lie to you.” 

“I’m too happy right now. I’m happy we got through this long season,” he said today. “It hasn’t been perfect, but I feel like it’s going to shape us for the playoffs.

MassLive

That was from before last night’s win. Here’s a quote from after:

“I know I’m happy. I can speak for myself,” Rozier told reporters in Washington. “The season hasn’t been fun, personally. I know there are better things to come. I know we’re going to have a great playoff push, and I’m ready. … It ain’t nothing crazy. I just haven’t had that much fun. Last year I feel like was more fun to me. But it’s not all about me and I feel as a team, as a whole, we’re going to have a great playoff push.”

MassLive

For once, I think the Celtics and the fans are all on the same page. Despite how unenjoyable the regular season was, we see a team that looks ready for a strong playoff run. It’s hard to trust this group, but Hayward’s recent resurgence matters more than anything that’s happened in the 75 games before it. Kyrie, Horford, and Smart have all been great this year, so there are at least four core players that I trust right now. Baynes, when healthy, has been fantastic so I guess that makes five if he says in one piece. Jaylen Brown has molded himself into an effective bench player and Jayson Tatum… still drives me insane with his shot selection.

You probably don’t need me to remind you, but Rozier didn’t do himself any favors in making this season more fun. He clearly doesn’t have an eye for teammates making plays off the ball, nor does he have the sense to know whether to drive or pull up to shoot. Instead of playing with some caution, he put the pedal to the metal and hoped for the best. The most glaring issue of all is that he didn’t adapt his game to make up for some of his early-season shortcomings. While Rozier has often said what we’re all thinking, I don’t see it coming from a place of self-awareness. He wants a more prominent role so he can shoot more, while a lot of us want him to play smarter. No matter the results of the postseason, I can’t help but feel a little bad for Terry knowing he played himself out of a lot of money this season.

On page 2… a recap of a wild day around the NBA

Ok, so this isn’t strictly Celtics news, but drama levels were at an all-time high around the league and I can’t just ignore it, so here we go:

-Dirk Nowitzki drops 30 points in his final home game, and yes, he confirmed in the ceremony afterward that it was his final home game. Nobody seems to care about this as much as I do but, but Josh Jackson running over to double team Dirk on his final possession had me pretty heated. Why, Josh? WHY?

-In Dirk’s finale, Jamal Crawford became the oldest player to score 50+ points at age 39. It also made Phoenix the fourth team he’s had a 50 point game for, adding to the list of Golden State, Chicago, and New York.

-Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem play their final home games with Miami, which was somehow not on national television because somebody who gets paid to make decisions wanted the Celtics/Wizards game on NBATV instead. Wade had a 30 point game as well.

Extremely long drumroll

-Magic Johnson stepped down from his job with the Lakers. Just like that. Done. Over. Wasn’t feeling it anymore. This could impact the Celtics’ Anthony Davis negotiations if the Lakers are too much of a mess to re-engage the Pelicans on trying to find a deal. It’s impossible to predict, but less competition typically means a lower market price for a player. If the Pelicans can’t convincingly threaten to send Davis to another team, then the Celtics won’t be forced to put every single bargaining chip on the table. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

more links

Boston Herald: Celtics backups end on fun note, win while Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum test injuries | Celtics’ Jaylen Brown finds his way out of a detoured season

Celtics.com: After regular-season finale, it’s full steam ahead for the Celtics

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EAGLE — A Colorado man has been sentenced to three years in a community corrections program for stealing a Sno-Cat fitted out to look like the “General Lee,” the famous car featured in the classic television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Jason Cuervo, of Grand Junction, was sentenced Tuesday after previously pleading guilty to aggravated motor vehicle theft.

The 28-year-old, who has an extensive criminal history, stole the Sno-Cat and its trailer on March 11, 2018, in Minturn. Authorities say Cuervo hitched it to the back of his pickup and hauled it to Grand Junction.

The Sno-Cat was recovered after a woman followed it and called the sheriff’s office because she was curious why it was being towed by a small pickup.