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Role Players show worth

Role Players show worth

Role Players show worth
By Scott Rickenbach

Kobe! LeBron! Williams? Marshall?

After a “cooling off” period I am finally writing an article that has been bouncing through my head since the Sixers’ miraculous win at Orlando in Game 1 of their playoff series. You see, from a fan standpoint, the NBA is all about guys like Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and LeBron James of the Cavaliers. However, from a bettors’ standpoint, the NBA can be about guys like the Sixers’ Louis Williams and Donyell Marshall…as I painfully found out on that ugly Sunday!

Holding a Top Play ticket on Orlando (-9) and having enjoyed a great season with Basketball Top Plays, I felt quite comfortable as the Magic built up as much an 18-point lead in the second half. In fact, at the end of the third quarter Orlando’s lead was a solid 14 points and it looked like the Magic should be able to coast in for the victory. As expected, in the fourth quarter, Sixers coach Tony DiLeo starts to empty the bench.

The 76ers’ Donyell Marshall had played in only 25 games this season. He had averaged about seven and a half minutes per game. His usual role is to come into blowout losses and simply close out the game. Only this time, Marshall did a lot more than was ever expected of him! He played a huge role in rallying the Sixers all the way back down from that 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Marshall scored 11 points – all in the fourth quarter – and this included a 3-of-4 performance from 3-point land!

Marshall had help too. Louis Williams certainly sees a lot more floor time than Marshall does on a regular basis. He played in all but one regular season game and he averaged about 24 minutes per game. But still, for Williams – 39.8% from the field and 28.6% from 3-point land in the regular season – to do what he did Sunday was ludicrous. Williams scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting which included him knocking down all three of his three point attempts!

Give credit to the Sixers for the effort and a huge comeback win. Also don’t look for such crazy results from a guy like Donyell Marshall anytime soon. No disrespect but the guy had played less than 200 minutes on the entire season! In any event, the lesson we are reminded of here is that absolutely anything can happen in sports gaming. With all the hard work that professional handicappers put in, they generally do a solid, long-term job of putting themselves (and most importantly: their clients!) in position to win. However:

There are occasionally going to be instances where the hard work can blow up in their face and they end up tearing up their ticket. We felt that on Sunday and, as you can see, it’s not just about Kobe and LeBron in this league…it’s sometimes even more so about guys like Donyell Marshall and Louis Williams. In fact, how fitting was it that Williams assisted on Andre Iguodala’s three-pointer with about ten seconds to go in Game 2 on Wednesday? That cut the Sixers’ deficit from 10 to seven and basically clinched their point-spread cover in the second game of the series as well. Bring on Game 3!

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