As the Stiffs writers talked among ourselves this past week the topic of Gwen Stefani's age came up. Dan Lewis dared us to guess her age and I for one did not realize that Ms. Stefani was actually in her mid forties. I was even more shocked to discover that her former band, No Doubt, had been playing for over a quarter century. That's bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S (sorry…had to). To be able to maintain relevance in the music world as long as she has is impressive. However, just how relevant is she? Enough to hit top 5 on the Billboard 200 with her new album? I think you can see where I'm going with this.

As for the rest of our picks, we’ve got the ultimate marquee match up of the Denver Nuggets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers tonight and an even more exciting match up with the Phoenix Suns visiting the Sacramento Kings! It gets rough towards the end of the season apparently. Since Dan was so enamored with Gwen’s age he naturally is the choice to represent the Stiffs writers this week. He’ll be joined by our long time commenter, and Anthony Carter fanatic, InboundingLobPass as well as /u/growedup from Reddit. Pick time!

Stump the Stiffs Week 20 Stiffs Staff
Daniel Lewis
Stiffs Commenters
Nuggets at Lakers Nuggets Nuggets Nuggets
Hornets at Pistons Pistons Hornets Hornets
Suns at Kings Suns Kings Suns
Raptors at Rockets Raptors Raptors Raptors

Will Gwent Stefani’s “This is What the Truth Feels Like”

debut in the top 5 of the Billboard 200?

No Yes No

Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): Nuggets over the Lakers. I’m excited for the D’Angelo RussellEmmanuel Mudiay match up, and I expect Nikola Jokic to be a force in the paint. The Lakers are giving Metta World Peace minutes – things are pretty entertaining in Lakers land. Pistons over the Hornets. The Pistons are winning with Tobias Harris, and they have a team that wants to make a postseason push. The Suns are winning lately as well, with a 5-5 record over their last ten. The Kings are a mess, and have officially jumped off the bridge. The players are out there to get their numbers and be done with the season, and that’s so toxic. I’ll take Phoenix, even with the game being on the road. I’ll take the Raptors over the Rockets. There continues to be rumors the Raptors will rest their players, but the Cavaliers keep winning. Toronto should want to compete for the No. 1 seed until they’re mathematically eliminated, and the Rockets are a mess. I’m all in for the Bismack-Dwight defensive swats in this game. Did you know that Gwen Stefani is older than Michael Malone? No Doubt started with Stefani in 1987, nine years before Emmanuel Mudiay was born. She’s so old, and since I’m a millennial ageist, I don’t think she’ll debut in the top 5. How soon until we start hearing her on 105.1 in Denver?

InboundingLobPass: Kobe is doing his best to go out on a high note scoring 20 pts on Tuesday against Memphis and their stalwart defender Tony Allen. The Nuggets can take the win if they can prevent Kobe from being Kobe (one last time) and maintain a reasonable perimeter defense against the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Mudiay has shown he enjoys competing against D’Angelo and will have to play well to give the Nuggets a chance to win. Denver will likely also need to rely on some clutch shooting from DJ Augustine (sign him!). I think the Nuggets can beat the Lakers…. Good riddance Kobe. The Hornets are abuzz after Denver snatched victory from the jaws of defeat late in the game on Saturday. Charlotte must have felt they had something to prove as they went on to beat the Spurs on Monday behind a spirited effort by Jeremy Lin(sanity). The Pistons on the other hand have won three games in a row thanks to one Andre Drummond. It could go either way but I think the Hornets will be playing together and still riding high off their San Antonio W.

The Kings have struggled to beat many decent teams not named the Nuggets lately and Suns have struggled to beat anyone period. The Kings have several players more individually talented in Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo that can make the difference in this game. For completely selfish reasons I hope the Rockets pull out this game as their pick in the draft is conveyed to the Nuggets if Houston makes the playoffs. The Raptors are the better team having knit together what will be a 50 win season. Raptors will win this game but I hope the Rockets do. As someone who actually works in the Entertainment industry with music videos I’m certain Gwen’s marketing team is doing their very best to get eyes and ears on her new material. With the recent separation from husband and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, Stefani has a wealth heart-wrenching, emotionally deep lyrics in many of her new songs. I’m looking at the current top 5 albums on the Billboard 200 chart and see that 4 of the 5 artists are signed to Universal Music Group labels. So based on that alone I’m guessing Stefani’s new album will be there in no time as she is signed to one as well. The music industries old guard is being shrunk down into a smaller and smaller space due to the internet allowing for decentralization of distribution and those companies that control the old money are focused on sales more than even. If they can’t make a truck load of money off a select few artists they might just disappear in the near future.

/u/growedup: Nuggets over Lakers, I mean, this is for a Nuggets blog, right? Hornets over Pistons, this is the only game that feels like it truly could go either way. This is in Detroit, but Charlotte has been playing really well as of late. Other than that 1st Q vs the Spurs. Suns over the Kings, you can't exactly count on the Kings to show up every night, and it's been a long stretch for them. The Suns are 5-5 in their last 10 no less. I feel the least confident about this pick. As an aside, I go out of my way to find Coach Karl pressers because I love when he starts to talk about "play hard." You know, not like "My guys needed to play harder tonight," but more like, "We just didn't have any play hard tonight." Anyway, I digress. Raptors over the Rockets, I wanted Ty to play well for the Rockets so that they could go just far enough into the postseason to break Dwight's heart. Instead they're just bad. I mean, downright un-watchable sometimes. Well, except for the schadenfreude. Gwen Stefani will not debut in the top 5 on the Billboard 200. My 2 minutes of google-fu said she hasn't had a top 5 album on the Billboard 200 since like 2006. I will spin Tragic Kingdom forever and ever, though.

And there you have it! A heads up, if you fancy yourself as a guru of multiple sports, you'll want to get in on next week's column, it's going to be a doozy. Make sure to reach out to Russ Hamilton (@rscotham) on the commenter side and Alec Gwin (/u/IdRatherBeLurking) on the Reddit side. It seems now that the commenters have gained the lead it's them who are getting fast and loose with picks. We'll see if it pays off or if its a costly gamble down the stretch.

If you're keeping score:

Stiffs Staff: 53-52

Stiffs commenters: 58-47

Nuggets subreddit: 56-49