By Craig Kwasniewski
Well here we are at the "beautiful" and "luxurious" Sahara Hotel surrounded by "hotties" left and right losing money in Keno at the "cafe." (I'd add more quotations as in "dancers" and "libations", but I think you get the point.) Part of the charm of March Madness in Vegas is staying at the old school
dumps hotels. Every year since we started doing this thing, we've been watching the first round games at the Stardust Hotel. Sadly enough, they blew up "The Dust" last Tuesday (couldn't they wait just two more freakin' days?). So we took the next best dump cheap hotel place, the Sahara Hotel.
The Sahara brings the funk big time. The highlight was a tie between my burnt pancakes at 10:00 PM (who the hell burns pancakes???) and the wheelchair bound fat lady with one movable arm, pumping cigarettes and playing slots... good times. (My friend Dean, always the positive one, best summed up the room, "Hey at least they have new phones.")
Anyway, the NCAA games fire off in a few hours. Expect a first round March Madness diary from Vegas sometime later today. Until then, here's a quick peek at the NBA on TNT (all times Pacific):
Miami @ New Jersey (5:00 PM): Is Miami on every single Thurday night? It's almost like the schedulers at TNT knew that Shaq would be back from the Shaquries (fake injuries) and ready to go for the final stretch. Does anyone really want to see Miami in November in full mail-it-in mode? Me neither... this explains Miami Madness on TNT in March and April.
So does New Jersey even have a chance in this one? On paper they still have J-Kidd, Vinsanity and Jefferson, a formidible team... on paper. In reality, you have a motivated Heat gaining momentum with the playoffs around the corner with a reeling New Jersey team looking to earn the final spot in the weakened east.
With Shaq actually trying and Antoine Walker hitting game winners, the Nets have no chance tonight. Miami wins 94-83.
LA Lakers @ Denver (7:30 PM): Will the Lakers ever win again? Here's a bigger question; why the hell did I put down $$ for playoff tickets? At least there's a Laker worthy of an injury: Brian Cook went down with a twisted ankle last Tuesday and will miss the game. One down, Smush Parker to go.
Anyway, Luke Walton returns from extended vaginal inflammation and Lamar Odom will suit up with a torn labrum (ouch!). I see chemistry issues tonight. You can't miss so many games and expect instant success. Even though Denver has it's own issues (zero defense, a coach willing to throw his players under the bus, Carmelo Anthony chemistry problems) I see a close game with Denver winning 110-103.