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Posted By Topic: SBOBET: Latest NBA News       - Views: 528 Change Timezone:
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23-Mar 2018 Friday @ 7:08 PM (236 days ago)               #1
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The Tight Playoff Race Promises Exciting Live Betting!

The battle for playoff qualification reaches a new high as the NBA season is about to come to a close. Betting odds will be especially tight for the Western Conference as the teams from third to tenth are separated by only five wins.

We should expect some fun sports betting action from these competitive teams in the West as well as the rest of the league's top dogs!

LA Clippers vs Indiana Pacers (March 24, 8:00 GMT +8)

Victor Oladipo's production may have slowed down a bit, but that doesn't erase the fact that he has led Indiana to a good spot in the playoffs. While winning against Lou Williams and the Clippers may be tough opponents to face, but Indiana's better defensive rating should help them get the W. Indiana -2.50 @ 1.96 is a good punt to make.

Denver Nuggets @ Washington Wizards (March 24, 8:00 GMT +8)

The Nuggets are sitting right out of the playoff picture, two wins behind Utah and Minnesota. They need to win this tough road game at the Capitol One Arena against the Wizards. Washington are still without John Wall and are solely relying on Bradley Beal for production. They should make things tough for the visitors, but Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris should be able to force a win for Denver.

The most sensible punt to take is Denver +1.50 @ 1.95.

Phoenix Suns @ Cleveland Cavaliers (March 24, 8:30 GMT +8)

The Suns lost the last time they hosted the Cavaliers, so there shouldn't be any doubt that they will also lose on their visit to the Quicken Loans Arena. Even if they do put up a fight, LeBron James is there to sweep the shattered remains of their squad off the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ New York Knicks (March 24, 8:30 GMT +8)

Should the season end now, Minnesota will be squaring off against the Golden State Warriors. Tom Thibodeau and his young Wolves definitely don't want the Dubs as their first opponent, so they need to win against New York. With Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins playing great basketball, it's hard not to go for Minnesota -6.50 @ 1.94.

Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors (March 24, 8:30 GMT +8)

Brooklyn are among the league's worst teams in defensive efficiency, while the Raptors are the third best in the league when it comes to offensive efficiency. There should be no doubts that Toronto will devour the Nets and boot them out of Air Canada Centre without so much as a goodbye. There's no other way to go than Toronto -12.00 @ 1.95.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls (March 24, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Bucks still aren't sure if they can have Giannis Antentokounmpo ready in time for their trip to Chicago, but I don't think they should have any concerns in this match. Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker have been playing well and will not let the Bulls easily have their way.

I see this ending in a double-digit victory for Milwaukee, so putting money on their -5.50 @ 1.96 Asian Handicap will result in decent returns.

Miami Heat @ Oklahoma City Thunder (March 24, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Heat are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, but a string of losses would see them sink to the bottom seed. They need to win against an Oklahoma City team running on top form if they wish to keep fighting for better seeding. However, I don't see Goran Dragic being able to trade buckets with Russell Westbrook, so OKC -6.00 @ 1.90 is a good pick to make.

Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs (March 24, 9:30 GMT +8)

This is probably the most important clash to watch for the avid NBA fan.

Both teams are far from securing their playoff spots and need the wins in order to put some distance between them and the chasing pack. Utah especially need the W as the Nuggets are only two games away. This game could go either way, but I see Donovan Mitchell forcing a win here. Utah +3.00 @ 2.00 is a risky bet I'm recommending.

Boston Celtics @ Portland Trail Blazers (March 24, 11:00 GMT +8)

The Celtics are a well-oiled machine that are only losing games due to their key cogs being out of duty. Since almost their entire backcourt is basically injured, I don't think they can defeat the Blazers on their home floor. However, they should be able to keep the score close. Boston +6.00 @ 2.16 is a good bet to make.

Atlanta Hawks @ Golden State Warriors (March 24, 11:30 GMT +8)

The Hawks weren't able to beat the lowly Sacramento Kings, but they have a good chance at winning against the injury-ridden Dubs. However, the Warriors should be able to win easily if Stephen Curry gets to cleared to play in front of the adoring Oracle Arena crowd.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 23-Mar-2018 @ 7:08 PM


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25-Mar 2018 Sunday @ 9:00 PM (233 days ago)            #2
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Prepare for More Exciting Sports Betting Action

There are many NBA games that will provide top-notch betting odds for you!

The Cavaliers, the Warriors, the Celtics and the Rockets will be suiting up to play tomorrow, so there will be a lot of live betting fun to be had!

Don't you dare miss out on all of the fun and see what's in store for today!

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Brooklyn Nets (March 26, 2:00 GMT +8)

LeBron James is having one unforgettable month as he is averaging an almost triple-double throughout March. There should be no way D'Angelo Russell and the hapless Nets would have any chance of toppling the King's Cavaliers. Cleveland -7.00 @ 1.92 is the way to go.

San Antonio Spurs @ Milwaukee Bucks (March 26, 4:30 GMT +8)

The Spurs have been winning left and right without Kawhi Leonard, but no such certainty can be made when they square off against the Bucks. If Giannis plays, there's a good shot for the Bucks to win it. If he's not cleared to play, however, LaMarcus Aldridge could bully his way to a W.

Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers (March 26, 6:00 GMT +8)

Miami need the victory to climb the Eastern ladder and avoid a potential confrontation with the Cavaliers. However, Indiana won't likely give them the satisfaction and will play to win in front of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd. Given their form at home, betting on the hosts' -4.00 handicap for 1.96 is not a bad deal.

LA Clippers @ Toronto Raptors (March 26, 7:00 GMT +8)

The Clippers are a subpar team when it comes on the road, while the Raptors rarely concede in front of their rabid fanbase up north. I think the Canadian cold will continue to freeze Lou Williams' shooting form, so choosing Toronto -8.50 @ 2.04 is more of a steal in my book.

New York Knicks @ Washington Wizards (March 26, 7:00 GMT +8)

Tim Hardaway Jr. is doing everything he can to salvage another forgettable season for the Knicks, but the absence of Kristaps Porzingis is too much for him to handle on his own. There should be no doubt that the Wizards would easily take care of things at home. I believe betting on Washington -9.50 @ 1.92 is a wise move.

Boston Celtics @ Sacramento Kings (March 26, 7:00 GMT +8)

The Celtics haven't been the same without Kyrie Irving, but they managed to win close games against Portland and Oklahoma City. Brad Stevens and his battle-hardened C's should have no problem sending off the struggling Kings. Punting on Boston -6.00 @ 2.00 should get you some nice returns.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder (March 26, 8:00 GMT +8)

This match will be a battle of the guards. Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook are two of the most exciting guards to catch in the NBA, and the sight of the two of them trading blows will be one many of the Chesapeake Energy Arena will be talking about long after the game is over.

The Thunder rarely lose at home, so OKC -3.50 @ 2.04 is the best punt to make.

Atlanta Hawks @ Houston Rockets (March 26, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Rockets will be playing without Chris Paul due to his hamstring injury, but the Hawks have almost half of their entire roster suffering from ankle problems. Moreover, James Harden has been unstoppable over the past 11 games he's played. It would be idiotic to think the Hawks have a chance in this one.

Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors (March 26, 9:30 GMT +8)

The Dubs will be playing without most of their starting five after Stephen Curry injured his knee on his return to the hardwood. The Jazz have a real shot at winning this as Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be sitting out of this game. Betting on Utah -3.50 @ 1.82 is the most sensible punt to make.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 25-Mar-2018 @ 9:00 PM


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29-Mar 2018 Thursday @ 7:20 PM (230 days ago)            #3
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Close Wins and Blowouts Star in Today’s Live Betting Fiesta

If you woke up early to catch today's great NBA games, you probably know that you were treated to an exciting dose of NBA action!

There were a variety results that satisfied online betting fans of all ages. There were close games probably upset some betting odds. There were also blowouts that just went out of proportion.

There is a bit of something for everyone after today's games!

Cleveland Cavaliers 118-105 Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker may be tired of missing out on the playoffs, but his team cannot hope to make the postseason if they can't keep up with teams like the Cavaliers. LeBron James was simply unstoppable with his 41-point outing at the Spectrum Center.

Brooklyn Nets 111-104 Orlando Magic

The Magic are so terrible that even the lowly Nets are finding ways to outplay them. D'Angelo Russell led the way with a double-double performance while the rest of the roster provided ample support. Meanwhile, Nikola Vucevic and Mario Hezonja had to lead the struggling Magic for 48 minutes.

New York Knicks  101-118 Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid had to leave early due to an accidental headbutt, but the Sixers easily manhandled the struggling Knicks. Dario Saric took over Embiid's scoring load while Ben Simmons quietly had a double-double night. Marco Belinelli and Richaun Holmes also played great off the bench.

Portland Trail Blazers 103-108 Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies pulled off a much-needed win against the Lillard-less Blazers. CJ McCollum tried his best to force his team back in the conversation, but the Grizzlies showed some great team basketball that eventually got them the W. MarShon Brooks was impressive off the bench, scoring 21 points on 58% shooting.

Atlanta Hawks 114-126 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves erased whatever embarrassment they incurred in their loss against the Grizzlies with a dominating win over the Hawks. Karl Anthony Towns single-handedly brought the Wolves the W: he scored 56 points and grabbed 15 boards in 41 minutes of play.

Boston Celtics 97-94 Utah Jazz

The Jazz almost got away with a win against the Celtics after Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio played some fantastic basketball. However, Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum willed a strong comeback that helped the C's leave the Vivint Smart Home Arena in smiles.

LA Clippers 111-99 Phoenix Suns

Tyler Ulis's 23-point outing was the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing performance by the entire Phoenix squad. Tobias Harris got off to a hot shooting streak, ending the night with 27 points. DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers and Tyrone Wallace made up for Lou Williams' poor shooting night.

Dallas Mavericks 93-103 Los Angeles Lakers

If you're questioning whether Mark Cuban is looking beyond this season, this game provides all the answers.

There wasn't any reliable shooting from the Mavericks tonight, and Harrison Barnes just hasn't played out well as a consistent scoring option for the Mavericks. All the Dallas supporters can hope for is that they land a certain European star named Luka Doncic.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 29-Mar-2018 @ 7:20 PM


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30-Mar 2018 Friday @ 6:50 PM (229 days ago)            #4
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Start the Weekend with Fun Handicap Betting

The NBA is the perfect sporting league for the online betting aficionado.

While there is an established hierarchy among teams, every now and again an upset occurs. The weakest team in the league can topple insane betting odds if one player catches fire. The overwhelming favourites can simply collapse at the drop of a hat.

These things are what makes the NBA a great league to follow and bet on. You just don't know what will happen next! This weekend's games promise more of the same basketball action!

Chicago Bulls @ Orlando Magic (March 31, 8:00 GMT +8)

The Bulls don't have Zach LaVine ready to play, making their upcoming game against the Magic a rather tough one. While the Magic also have Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier out with an injury, they still have Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon ready to play. Betting on Orlando -7.00 @ 2.07 is a sure win.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks (March 31, 8:30 GMT +8)

Ben Simmons once told Karl-Anthony Towns on stream that the Atlanta Hawks are no big deal, and their upcoming tussle at the Philips Arena is the perfect opportunity for him to back his words. Atlanta don't have a lot of players in full health, so the Sixers should easily win this one.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Cleveland Cavaliers (March 31, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Pelicans are doing quite well under Anthony Davis' outrageous play, but LeBron James is always a tough cookie to deal with. I'm not sure that Davis has the same gravitas as Cleveland's No 23, and the Cavs are hard to beat when they're in the Land.

Phoenix Suns @ Houston Rockets (March 31, 9:00 GMT +8)

You don't have to look at the stat sheets to even predict that the Rockets will overwhelm the Suns. Devin Booker and TJ Warren are the only bright spots on the team, but both of them are dubious to appear in this game. I don't think the Suns (or any team) can handle the firepower of James Harden.

Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder (March 31, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Nuggets are somewhat thriving with their own brand of basketball, but they are still two games away from playoff qualification. Things don't get any easier when they play Russell Westbrook at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. However, the Thunder have been prone to late collapses, and a close game is in order here.

I think the Thunder will win by four points, making Oklahoma City -3.50 @ 1.94 the best punt to make.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Dallas Mavericks (March 31, 9:30 GMT +8)

The Mavericks can't win be it home or away, so this game should be a sure lock for the Timberwolves. Given how well the Wolves' young stars have been playing as of late, it's not bad to put your money in Minnesota -6.00 @ 2.03.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz (March 31, 10:00 GMT +8)

MarShon Brooks is the unexpected scoring presence the Grizzlies desperately needed, but their shoddy team play doesn't encourage much optimism. The least they could hope for is for Donovan Mitchell to have an off night and continuously shoot brick after brick.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Los Angeles Lakers (March 31, 10:30 GMT +8)

The Bucks had a relatively easy time in dealing with a depleted Golden State Warriors team, so they should have plenty of energy left for the Lakers. Giannis Antetokounmpo should easily play around the young frontcourt of the Lakers and cruise through them for the W.

LA Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers (March 31, 11:30 GMT +8)

Lou Williams and Tobias Harris have performed well for the Clippers, but the lack of a true superstar might be the Clippers' undoing against the Blazers. Damian Lillard has been lighting up scoreboards left and right, and he should have no problem overwhelming this hodgepodge Clippers squad. Portland -6.50 @ 2.50 is a steal in my opinion.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 30-Mar-2018 @ 6:52 PM


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07-Apr 2018 Saturday @ 5:29 PM (221 days ago)            #5
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The Wild West Makes for Fun Live Betting!

The Eastern Conference has finally chosen their best eight teams, but the West is still a lawless area where teams ranked four through ten can still compete for playoff contention!

Betting odds for tomorrow's games are sure to be tight as some of the teams vying for better playoff positions are playing. The Denver Nuggets-LA Clippers game is especially noteworthy as a loss here could doom the other LA team to irrelevance.

Which teams are worthy of your free bets?

Denver Nuggets @ LA Clippers (April 8, 4:30 GMT +8)

The first match of the day is probably the most intriguing one!

The Nuggets and the Clippers clash to secure their hopes of making the playoffs. The Clippers cannot afford to lose here and will need outstanding play from Tobias Harris, Austin Rivers and Lou Williams. DeAndre Jordan also needs to step up defensively and secure the paint.

However, the Clippers will have a rough time in trying to contain the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic is on a mission, switching gears and scoring 27 points over the last three games. Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Will Barton have also played impressively over the same stretch.

I don't think the Clippers can keep up with the Nuggets, so you should bet big on Denver +1.00 @ 1.95.

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks (April 8, 8:30 GMT +8)

The Bucks can now focus on making the most out of their time after making it to the playoffs, but a loss against Brooklyn is not the way to go.

They need to make sure that their upcoming road game against the Nets' neighbour goes well. While the Knicks overwhelmed the Heat, I don't see them easily stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe altogether. They even have to worry about Jabari Parker's outrageous scoring off the bench.

Brooklyn Nets @ Chicago Bulls (April 8, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Bulls seemed to be hopeless as they have many of their young core end their seasons early. However, Lauri Markkanen, Sean Kilpatrick and Bobby Portis are doing a fantastic job for the Bulls. They will be an interesting matchup for the equally young and disorganised Nets squad.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets (April 8, 9:30 GMT +8)

The Thunder are still struggling to find any shred of consistency even after their stars took a year of adjusting. Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony badly need a win here if they want to gain any confidence ahead of the postseason.

However, I don't think James Harden and Chris Paul will allow the Thunder to do whatever they want. They will surely impose their will and dominate over this motley Thunder crew, so betting on Houston -6.50 @ 2.00 is not a bad deal.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors (April 8, 9:30 GMT +8)

Anthony Davis is playing some fantastic basketball to end the regular season, posting a double-double over the past two games. They also have a better shot at victory as the Warriors' locker room is unusually disorganised. However, Kevin Durant might prove Steve Kerr wrong and power his way through the Pelicans.

Portland Trail Blazers @ San Antonio Spurs (April 8, 10:00 GMT +8)

Portland's fans heads might not go down to the ground despite consecutive losses to Dallas and Houston due to Damian Lillard's incredible showings. He will surely bring Dame Time to a struggling San Antonio side that lost to both LA teams on their road trip. I'm not sure if Gregg Popovich can salvage their horrible end to the season.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 07-Apr-2018 @ 5:30 PM


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10-Apr 2018 Tuesday @ 5:57 PM (218 days ago)            #6
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Playoff Seeding is All That Matters Now!

While there are six games slated in the NBA this Wednesday, the focus of sports betting fans will only be on two matches.

Utah are already secured of a postseason berth, but they can still finish inside the top four of the tough Western Conference if they beat online gambling heavyweights Golden State Warriors.

In the Eastern Conference, all eyes will be on the Philadelphia 76ers as they try to defy betting odds and end the season as the No.3 seed—an incredible jump for a team that finished with the fourth worst record in the NBA last year!

Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers (April 11, 07:00 GMT+8)

Domantas Sabonis exploded for 30 points against the Hornets yesterday, and he'll likely want to follow that up with another big performance as they gear up for the playoffs.

Charlotte have the tools to stay competitive in this game. However, it's clear they are no longer playing to win, but rather trying to develop their younger guys and giving them as much experience as possible.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks (April 11, 07:30 GMT+8)

Winners of 14 straight games, the Philadelphia 76ers have finally seen the result of the process. Now, they are in contention to finish ahead of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fortunately for the Sixers, their streak is likely to continue as they play the lowly Hawks who would welcome defeat with open arms. Also, it's not like Atlanta have an answer for Ben Simmons who recently recorded 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists in a win against the Cavs! Go for Philly -9.00 @ 1.87.

Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards (April 11, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Celtics have stumbled as of late, so it's not farfetched for Washington to upset the second-seeded team. Nonetheless, the Wizards have been in a slump as well, losing four of their last five games since John Wall's return.

Moreover, there might be more problems brewing inside the Wizards' locker room especially after successive defeats to Cleveland—during which they blew a 16-point lead—and Atlanta. That being said, choosing Boston +6.50 @ 1.96 might be the best move.

Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks (April 11, 08:30 GMT+8)

With the Phoenix Suns sure to end the season with the worst record, they can now go all out and close the year in style. The Mavericks can put up a fight from time to time, but they can't seem to solve the Suns who have torched them twice this season.

Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz (April 11, 09:00 GMT+8)

It has been an incredible season for the Jazz after almost everyone counted them out this year in the wake of Gordon Hayward's departure. Now, they are on the cusp of finishing in the top-half of the West.

The Warriors might not be favourable opponents at first look, but the Jazz have already taken down the defending champions twice this 2018, a 129-99 demolition in January and 110-91 thrashing last month.

Defence has been the key to the Jazz' rise, and they could well use it to their advantage to upset the Warriors who aren't the usual threat they are without Steph Curry. If you're punting, Utah -7.00 @ 2.00 is a worthwhile proposition.

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (April 11, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Rockets have been the best team in the league this season, there's no doubt about that. However, with the team already assured of the top spot, Houston coach Mike D'Antoni might opt to limit the minutes of his stars as they aim to stay healthy heading into the playoffs.

Although that's still uncertain, the Lakers undoubtedly have a fighting chance considering their last two meetings with the Rockets ended close.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 10-Apr-2018 @ 5:57 PM


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11-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 8:35 PM (216 days ago)            #7
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Are You Ready for a Thrilling Finale?

The final day of regular season action promises a lot of interesting live betting options for the game's biggest fans!

Twelve action-packed games will be vying for your free bets, but there's one game that we should all pay particular attention to. There's still one ticket to the big postseason dance, and two teams are squaring off to get on the train!

Will you bet online for the Joker or the KAT?

Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

It's unfortunate that the Celtics would have to compete in the playoffs without either of the marquee players they got in the summer, but they can at least hope for a good end to their season. Jaylen Brown and company might find themselves in a tough yet winnable game against a streaky Brooklyn team.

New York Knicks @ Cleveland Cavaliers (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

Tristan Thompson has his own off-court problems, but his extracurricular activities should not have any impact on the Cavaliers' chances against the poor Knicks. I don't think LeBron James will want to end season number 15 on a low.

Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Heat are teetering off after enduring unacceptable losses against Brooklyn and New York, and their upcoming test against Toronto might leave Goran Dragic in tears. DeMar DeRozan should have no problems outplaying their hosts.

Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

Mario Hezonja is getting a lot of playing time as another disappointing season ends in Orlando, and he is showing flashes of brilliance. However, his minute brilliance may have little to no effect against John Wall and the Wizards.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Sixers are enjoying a fantastic winning streak, including a thrilling winner against the Cavs. Ben Simmons will want to end his rookie season with a win, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and the visiting Bucks will do everything to spoil the party.

Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

This is not the ideal end to the season for Blake Griffin, but his team winning against the Chicago Bulls should at least give him a positive end to an already terrible season. The Bulls barely have people to field on the floor due to injuries, but Lauri Markkanen is doing wonders for the Bulls. Betting on Chicago +2.00 @ 1.88 is not a bad idea.

Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

This battle is one that will draw in the big guns.

Both the Nuggets and the Wolves have a 46-35 record, but their season series put the Wolves at the final playoff spot. Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns are already putting up some amazing performances for their respective teams, and this game could have the intensity of a playoff match.

The Wolves have the definite home-court advantage working for them, but the Nuggets did beat them earlier this month. They also contained strong teams like Milwaukee, Indiana and Portland in their last five contests. Choosing Denver +3.00 @ 2.00 is a steal in my book.

San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

The Smoothie King Center will bear witness to a thrilling battle of big men as LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony Davis do battle.

Both bigs enjoyed a successful season that saw them lead their respective teams to the playoffs. The Spurs will surely mount a fight, but Nikola Mirotic and E'Twaun Moore will probably help AD secure the final W of the season. It's recommended for punters to take New Orleans -4.00 @ 2.02.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder (April 12, 9:00 GMT +8)

MarShon Brooks is something of a revelation to the Grindhouse, but his 21.8ppg in April won't be able to do enough against the Thunder. Westbrook will most likely pad his rebounds to end the season with another triple-double, but that won't take away from the fact that they are the better team.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers (April 12, 11:30 GMT +8)

I don't think there's any better way to end the NBA season in Tinseltown than through this matchup. The Clippers are better-ranked than their Purple and Gold neighbours, but the Lakers have the brighter future. It will be up to the young Lakers team (with a 32-year-old rookie) to prove the hype surrounding them.

Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers (April 12, 11:30 GMT +8)

Donovan Mitchell's supreme confidence and skill is a breath of fresh air that helped the Jazz compete for the third seed in a turbulent Western Conference. Damian Lillard and the Blazers also want the seat and will battle them hard for it.

This has the makings of a classic that will showcase both Lillard and Mitchell. Given this fact, I see the Blazers winning by only a slim margin. Utah +2.50 @ 2.13 is a fine punt to make in my opinion.

Houston Rockets @ Sacramento Kings (April 12, 11:30 GMT +8)

The Rockets are shooting towards the stars with their outstanding basketball, and their main guys can take a well-deserved break before the outset of the playoff race. They shouldn't have that much trouble battling a Sacramento team that is again destined for another season without seeing postseason ball.

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12-Apr 2018 Thursday @ 7:54 PM (216 days ago)            #8
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East Playoffs Preview: It’s Time to Know Who’s the Best!

Eastern Conference Playoffs - First Round

The first-round matchups of the Eastern Conference are set, and it's time to take a pick and bet online on the top contenders in the opening series.

Top-seeded Toronto play Washington in a series that could well go either way. There's also Cleveland who will look to defy betting odds and prove their doubters wrong.

On the other side of the bracket, the up-and-coming Sixers draw the Heat for a big live betting affair between a young team and an experienced playoff squad. Meanwhile, Boston will try to overcome the injury bug when they play Milwaukee in the seven-game opener.

Toronto Raptors (No.1) vs Washington Wizards (No.8)

This one is a tough draw for a Toronto team that needs every rest they can get in preparation for a possible second-round meeting with the Cavaliers.

There's no doubt this year is the best chance for the Raps to win a championship. They changed their offence and made it one of the league's best, improved to a top-five defensive team and developed one of the best reserve units in the league en route to the top seed in the East.

Despite all these, however, they face the Wizards who have John Wall back healthy. Sure, their record won't scare anyone at first look, but it should be noted that Washington split their regular season series with the Raps—the last two ending by a seven-point margin or less.

Prediction: Toronto in six games

Boston Celtics (No.2) vs Milwaukee Bucks (No.7)

The last few weeks of the regular season haven't been good for the Celtics as they limped off to the playoffs, literally. Daniel Theis got injured, Kyrie Irving hurt his knee and Marcus Smart broke his thumb and the Celtics found themselves in an up-and-down stretch.

Sure enough, Milwaukee will take that opportunity to topple the Celts. They know they have what it takes after beating them two weeks ago and will be high in confidence when they meet again. After all, their stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are both healthy.

The difference in this game, though, is the coaches. Brad Stevens and the Celts know how to play and what it takes to win at this stage, and that may prove pivotal against the Bucks that haven't found a replacement yet for Jason Kidd.

Prediction: Boston in seven games

Philadelphia 76ers (No.3) vs Miami Heat (No.6)

The big question in this matchup is: when will Joel Embiid return?

Embiid could miss a large chunk of the first round against the Heat, and that would be a bummer as it would be exciting to see him match up with Hassan Whiteside once again.

Philadelphia also need Embiid as soon as possible considering that they'll play Miami who have tons of playoffs experience. The Sixers, in contrast, have missed the past five postseasons.

If there's one silver lining for the Sixers, it's that they have the momentum after a 16-game winning streak. Oh, and who could forget about Ben Simmons—the do-it-all rookie who Julius Erving even described as someone who could evolve to a "one-in-a-lifetime-type" of player?

Prediction: Philadelphia in six games

Cleveland Cavaliers (No.4) vs Indiana Pacers (No.5)

Are you all ready for playoff LeBron?

Despite all their struggles this season, it's never a good thing to write off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, LeBron has never lost a first-round playoff series—he's 12-0 overall which is a testament to his dominance.

Not to mention that a LeBron-led team hasn't lost a single first-round game since 2012!

Indiana's resurgence with Victor Oladipo has been nothing short spectacular, and they will find some confidence from their 3-1 record against the Cavs this year. However, experience might just be the deciding factor in this series.

Prediction: Cleveland in five games

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12-Apr 2018 Thursday @ 7:55 PM (216 days ago)            #9
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The West Promises the Most Exciting Live Betting!

Western Conference Playoffs - First Round

The NBA regular season has drawn back its curtains, and the postseason is about to make some noise!

This fact is especially true in the Western Conference! Every series in the first round has the potential of becoming an instant classic with equally fantastic betting odds! While it may be too easy to put your free bets on the Houston Rockets winning this thing, Golden State, Portland, Utah and the rest of the chasing pack have just as much of a chance at coming out of the West.

A great rumble awaits basketball fans, and postseason can't start any sooner!

Houston Rockets (No.1) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (No.8)

Houston's first opponents offer an interesting challenge.

The last time the Timberwolves were in the playoffs was the year Kevin Garnett was still donning a member of the franchise. Now, the Wolves will be fighting with Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins at the front.

However, I think their lack of playoff experience will hurt them in the long haul. Chris Paul and James Harden have plenty of postseason experiences between them and should be able to lead their team where it counts the most. I think the Wolves can get a W, but the Rockets should win the series without any hiccups.

Prediction: Houston in five games

Golden State Warriors (No.2) vs San Antonio Spurs (No.7)

The Warriors haven't been their usual selves this season. Not one Warriors starter managed to play in all 82 games, costing them several easy victories. Their embarrassing loss to the Utah Jazz in their final regular-season game also builds some frustration among the coaching staff and fans.

However, it is undeniable that the Dubs are still the same Dubs that overwhelmed the Western Conference playoffs last season. As long as they flipped their postseason switch on, Gregg Popovich and the Spurs shouldn't be able to touch the Warriors.

Kevin Durant will have to do a bit of heavy lifting, but they should be able to cruise past the struggling Spurs.

Prediction: Golden State in five games

Utah Jazz (No.3) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (No.6)

The Jazz are on a high after Donovan Mitchell carried a team that was supposed to enter the lottery into the third seed. Salt Lake City's high times, however, will be put to the test when they square off against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

While Utah have the home court edge, Mitchell will have a tough time trying to overcome the cumulative playoff experience of OKC's three big stars with just energy and hustle alone. Without any supporting man beside Rudy Gobert to give him a hand, it's inevitable for Utah to see this as a mere learning experience for the future.

Prediction: Oklahoma City in five games

Portland Trail Blazers (No.4) vs New Orleans Pelicans (No.5)

This matchup is tough to call as both squads have outstanding players that can turn the tides of the game in a snap of a finger.

Anthony Davis has been playing unbelievable basketball for the Pelicans ever since DeMarcus Cousins bowed out of the season. Fans can expect him to assert his presence on the court as he will be facing an uphill battle with the Blazers.

I see this going to Game 6, but I don't think Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will choke at this point of the season. They will do everything they can to outrun Davis and advance to the next round.

Prediction: Portland in six games

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15-Apr 2018 Sunday @ 8:27 PM (212 days ago)            #10
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It’s Game On in the Big NBA Playoffs!

The NBA Playoffs is off to a great start as Golden State, Toronto and Philadelphia delighted the online gambling faithful with convincing wins in the opener.

And in a big live betting twist, sixth-seeded New Orleans staged the ultimate upset of the day as they defied betting odds and took down high-flying Portland in a game that featured an intense fourth-quarter battle.

San Antonio Spurs 92-113 Golden State Warriors

Draymond Green has every right to say that they are a "championship ball club" after the Warriors rout the Spurs in Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

With Steph Curry still out due to injury, Golden State showed they have what it takes by dominating on both ends of the floor. Steve Kerr fielded a lineup composed of Green, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee—a group which has not started together during the regular season—and it paid off big time as they outscored the Spurs 40-26 in 16 minutes with that starting core.

Oh, that group also didn't allow an offensive rebound and outscored San Antonio 16-6 in the paint.

Thompson was particularly sensational for the Dubs as he bagged five three-pointers (out of six attempts) en route to 27 points.

Washington Wizards 106-114 Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have an ugly history when it comes to Game 1—they are 0-5 at home in Game 1's under Dwane Casey and 1-12 overall in Game 1's played outside Air Canada Center—but they proved they are a different team now.

Relying on a deep rotation, Toronto survived a scare and fended off the Wizards in the fourth quarter, thanks to super-sub Delon Wright who scored 12 of his 18 points in the final frame.

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry led the way for the East top seed, but it was undoubtedly their bench that made the difference as they outscored the Wizards' reserves, 42-21.

Miami Heat 103-130 Philadelphia 76ers

We thought the Sixers, without their All-Star Joel Embiid, would have a tough time against the hard-working Heat, but we couldn't be more wrong.

Miami had a hot start and dropped 60 points on the young Sixers at halftime. However, Erik Spoelstra's men weren't able to maintain that for long as Philadelphia responded with 74 second-half points, including a 40-point explosion in the fourth quarter.

Rookie sensation Ben Simmons tallied a near triple-double of 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds to spark the Sixers and further solidify his case for the Rookie of the Year award. Philly also registered a team playoff record 18 three-pointers in 28 attempts, which is considered one of their most efficient performances.

New Orleans Pelicans 97-95 Portland Trail Blazers

Portland had a hard time against New Orleans in the regular season, and that proved to be the case once again in their first-round meeting.

The Pels led by as much as 19 points in the game and held on despite a late fightback from Damian Lillard and Co.

Sure enough, the Blazers managed to cut the lead down to just a point in the second half. However, Anthony Davis proved to be too much for Portland, providing New Orleans with a much-needed superstar production and finishing the match with 35 points and 14 rebounds.

Credit should also be given to Rajon Rondo who switched to playoff mode and dished out 17 dimes in the process.

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15-Apr 2018 Sunday @ 8:28 PM (212 days ago)            #11
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Get Ready to See More Fantastic NBA Games

The postseason is well underway, and the games in store are sure to get some interesting betting odds!

The Cavaliers and the Rockets enter the fray as well as very interesting matches. Meanwhile, the Sixers and the Warriors will be looking to double their series advantage and make live betting fans jump on the bandwagon.

Which team deserves your free bets? Let's find out!

Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics (April 16, 02:00 GMT +8)

If the Celtics had a healthy roster, this series would have been overwhelmingly in their favour. While the current C's can put up a strong resistance under Brad Stevens' tutelage, I don't see them overcoming the amazing athlete that is Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Since I see a Milwaukee win here, choosing Milwaukee +3.50 @ 2.07 is a good punt to make.

Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (April 16, 04:30 GMT +8)

Victor Oladipo has been nothing short of a revelation for the Pacers. His sudden jump from being an option player to the leading role definitely puts him in front of the Most Improved Player race.

However, LeBron James is also playing some amazing basketball. The King's overall greatness as a player will definitely negate Oladipo's presence. While the Pacers won the regular-season series, the Cavs are a completely different team come the playoffs.

The Cavs will win, but I see this ending in a close-enough margin. A good punt, in my opinion, is one towards Indiana +6.00 @ 2.11.

Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder (April 16, 07:30 GMT +8)

This series is bound to be an interesting one as Russell Westbrook will be looking to trade blows with Utah's Donovan Mitchell.

The Jazz are badly outgunned when it comes to individual talent. Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert are good players, but they cannot just be compared side-by-side against Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Fortunately for them, Quin Snyder has established a fantastic system that plays around Utah's strengths.

Despite all of the positives I said, I still believe that star power and home-court advantage will pull the Thunder through. Oklahoma City -4.00 @ 2.04 is the best pick to make.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets (April 16, 10:00 GMT +8)

The Wolves are just happy to make it to the big dance, but I don't think they can hold a candle to the Houston Rockets. The hosts outgun their young visitors in almost every category, and their record during the regular season doesn't do them any favours.

Not choosing the Rockets for this round is a stupid thing to do. Pick Houston -11.00 @ 1.95 to get nice returns.

Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers (April 17, 09:00 GMT +8)

Ben Simmons played a key role in an outstanding rout of the Miami Heat by the Sixers during Game 1. What's more impressive is that they did this without Joel Embiid.

Erik Spoelstra should have done the necessary adjustments to combat Simmons, but I'm not sure if there's anyone on the Heat roster that can contain the big Aussie. Philadelphia -7.00 @ 1.97 is the obvious choice.

San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors (April 17, 11:30 GMT +8)

The Golden State Warriors have gone into playoff mode as they easily dismantled the Leonard-less Spurs. Gregg Popovich could try to defy the inevitable by getting an upset win at the Oracle Arena, but I'm not sure he can pull off such a feat with the quality of players he currently has.

Durant and Friends should easily cruise past the Spurs for another easy win, making Golden State -9.50 @ 1.85 the no-nonsense option.

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18-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 7:10 PM (210 days ago)            #12
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Will the Indiana Killmonger Shock Live Betting Fans Again?

LeBron James may be King, but Victor Oladipo is the Killmonger that threatens the Land.

Sports betting fans were rattled out of their boots after Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers convincingly won against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While there are two other games to bet online on, the second Cavaliers-Pacers game will determine the King's future.

Will Cleveland bounce back? Or will the power of King James be stripped away?

Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (April 19, 08:00 GMT +8)

LeBron James showed us why he is king with a great triple-double. However, Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers forgot to show up as the Pacers swept the rug under their feet and killed off their home-court advantage in this series.

We can be sure that LeBron will be playing a lot harder to even the score, but it is now up to Tyronn Lue and the rest of the Cavs roster to limit Oladipo's impact and make life easier for James.

I think Cleveland will even the series after LeBron makes a statement game at home. While betting on betting on Cleveland -8.00 @ 1.96 is a tempting option, I wouldn't be so surprised if Oladipo keeps the game close.

Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder (April 19, 09:00 GMT +8)

Playoff experience trumped rookie talent as Paul George took over for the Thunder in Game 1. Russell Westbrook did well in providing support with his double-double performance. The Thunder will want to ensure that they secure their home games in order to gain a definite advantage when they visit Salt Lake City.

The Jazz have a lot of adjustments to make in order to bounce back. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert would have to do a lot of scoring and defending. Ricky Rubio also needs to up his scoring and Joe Ingles needs to keep on threatening the Thunder from deep.

With Mitchell questionable for the coming game, I am not sure if they can mount an upset here. Oklahoma City -4.00 @ 1.96 is the best punt to make for this game.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets (April 19, 10:30 GMT +8)

The Wolves weren't able to do anything against Rockets as their three stars combined for a shocking 39 points. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler need to up their scoring game if they want a chance at cracking these Rockets.

However, I'm not sure they can even hold a candle to these Rockets anymore. James Harden scored 44 outrageous points in Game 1, while Chris Paul and Clint Capela were equally amazing on the floor. I find it hard not to see -10.50 @ 2.00 as a steal of a bet.

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27-Apr 2018 Friday @ 5:23 PM (201 days ago)            #13
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Is a Thunderous Upset on Your Live Betting Cards?

It is understandable if you are shocked by the current playoff picture. After all, several pre-series betting tips saw certain teams easily containing their opponents. The Rockets are sure to progress, while the Cavaliers are in a tricky deadlock.

Meanwhile, betting odds are now tipping in favour of the Utah Jazz, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking first-round elimination in the eye.

Will we see a shocking first-round exit for the Brodie and his team? Or will the Thunder rouse themselves and set up a dramatic Game 7?

Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (April 26, 8:00 GMT +8)

The Raptors seemingly left their fluid passing game at the Air Canada Centre when they played the Washington Wizards. Dwane Casey needs to sort his team's regression to iso-ball if he wants to end the series in six games.

Meanwhile, all John Wall and the Wizards have to do is to clog Toronto's passing lanes. However, I don't think DeMar DeRozan would stand being upstaged at home. The Raptors will win, but the Wizards should be able to keep it close, making Washington +7.00 @ 1.92 an interesting prospect.

Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (April 26, 8:00 GMT +8)

LeBron James is simply playing incredible basketball to cover the Cavaliers' weaknesses. While it may be impossible for James to keep this level of play the entire postseason, he should be able to push for a 3-2 advantage.

Victor Oladipo will definitely try to push the issue here, but I don't see him making a dent in LeBron's performance for the Cavs in any shape or form. The Cavs should be able to win, albeit another tight one. It could all end in a one-possession game, so Indiana +6.00 @ 2.05 is the better punt to make.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets (April 26, 10:30 GMT +8)

The Wolves made an admirable run to the playoffs, even going so far as to steal a game against the Rockets. However, I see this as nothing more than a gentleman's sweep for the loaded Houston squad.

James Harden, Chris Paul and the rest of the Rockets made quick work of Minnesota in Game 4 and will not likely let up on the return leg. Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns got some much-needed playoff experience under their belts at the very least.

Houston -12.50 @ 2.02 is a no-brainer of a pick.

Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder (April 26, 10:30 GMT +8)

Russell Westbrook is staring elimination straight in the face, and it is not a pretty sight.

While he, alongside Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, have played superbly, the Utah Jazz have been nothing but a delightful surprise. Donovan Mitchell's 27.5ppg is the shining star in a well-oiled machine that features a lot of passing and great defence. Heck, even Joe Ingles is talking smack to George!

I don't like the thought that this is the end for OKC, but Utah are just too good. I still think they have a chance at winning this, but the stars would have to align and pigs would need to grow wings.

If you're watching this game, Utah +4.00 @ 1.93 is the most appealing odds.

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27-Apr 2018 Friday @ 5:26 PM (201 days ago)            #14
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Fear the Deer: Are You Ready for a Thrilling Finale?

Boston Celtics 86-97 Milwaukee Bucks

The Boston Celtics, despite missing their key players to injury, were slight live betting favourites coming into Game 6 of their back-and-forth series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown have done brilliantly in carrying the team in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to make things entertaining.

However, it's been proven time and time again that a bet online against an NBA superstar is the same as playing tag with a raging stag. Betting odds were once again shattered after Giannis Antetokounmpo carried the Bucks and forced a Game 7 in Boston.

The Greek Freak was unstoppable during his 41 minutes of game time at the Bradley Center. He scored 31 points, snagged 14 boards, made 4 dishes and swiped the ball off the opposition twice. While Al Horford and the rest of the Boston frontcourt did a marvellous job defending him, his will to score was too much for them to contain.

Giannis also got some help from his team-mates. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon were also playing impressive basketball. While they didn't take as many shots as the franchise star, they made sure that every shot of theirs count.

While the Bucks won the game, credit must also be given to Boston for keeping the game close until the game's final minutes. Whenever Milwaukee would build a nice lead, a Tatum layup, a long-range bomb from Rozier or a finesse move by Horford would always spark a run that would bring them back to the game. Brad Stevens' coaching should be praised as well as his leadership helped the team compete in such a hostile environment.

Fans can expect a bombastic ending at Boston. Boston will definitely try to build a case for the future by proving that they can compete with the best of them without their star players. Antetokounmpo will try to cement his legacy as a legitimate superstar by making it to the next round.

Whatever happens in this series, one thing is for certain: a tough series against a strong Philadelphia squad awaits them.

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29-Apr 2018 Sunday @ 8:51 PM (198 days ago)            #15
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Time to Show Who is the Real MVP!

LeBron James and James Harden are this year's frontrunners for the MVP honour, and they are ready to show the reason for that when they continue their playoff runs this week.

Harden and the Rockets are through to the West semi-finals and will face online betting underdogs Utah Jazz. Meanwhile, LeBron and his Cavs are set to play a do-or-die Game 7  against Indiana Pacers who have surprised betting odds with their performance this series.

Indeed, with how things are shaping up, the Monday playoffs slate is something sports betting fans can't afford to miss!

Western Conference Semi-finals Game 1

Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets (April 30, 03:30 GMT+8)

This game is a battle of contrasting philosophies: Houston and their high-octane offence versus Utah and their top-of-the-line defence.

The Jazz's defence was no match for the Rockets' three-happy attack during the regular season, with Mike D'Antoni's team sweeping the season series. In fact, Harden averaged 34 points in their four meetings this year.

However, the Jazz have transformed into a different beast in the playoffs -- something which the Oklahoma City Thunder learned the hard way.

Utah played with a faster pace in the playoffs and unleashed Donovan Mitchell who is undoubtedly a superstar in the making. While the Rockets have the better offence behind the trident of Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela, they will have to be cautious of the threat the Jazz brings.

Fortunately for Houston, Utah will be shorthanded when they meet after Jazz starting point guard Ricky Rubio picked up a hamstring injury.

Harden and Houston would likely want to make a statement here, so betting on the Rockets -10.50 @ 1.81 seems the best move to make.

Eastern Conference First Round Game 7

Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (April 30, 01:00 GMT+8)

LeBron has never lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. That's the only stat you need to know heading into this crucial Game 7.

The King is no longer the same player he once was, and the effects of the proverbial switch might be fading. Not to mention that his current Cavaliers team is probably the worst he ever had in his career.

However, it shouldn't be forgotten that LeBron James has been in situations like this before, and he delivered countless times for his team. Most recently is the 2016 NBA Finals when LeBron helped Cleveland force a Game 7 and win the title after going down 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors.

Victor Oladipo is a legitimate All-Star, surprising everyone by doing what Paul George wasn't able to do for Indiana. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if he can deliver under such immense pressure.

With all these considered, Cleveland -5.50 @ 1.92 is the way to go for me.

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01-May 2018 Tuesday @ 4:59 PM (197 days ago)            #16
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Can Anyone Stop the Best of the West?

Western Conference Semi-finals Game 2

The Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors are the best teams in the NBA, and that was made clear in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

Houston and Golden State are simply a cut above the rest. Utah had the second-best defensive rating in the regular season and playoffs, but they still ended up losing by double-digits against the Rockets.

New Orleans, despite surprising betting websites with their first-round sweep of online gambling favourites Portland, were basically outclassed by the star-studded Warriors.

Indeed, betting odds favour the two juggernauts to win again; and their opponents undoubtedly need lady luck to smile on them if they want a shot at beating the league's true heavyweights.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors (May 02, 10:30 GMT+8)

Defence has been the key for the Warriors in winning Game 1. Stopping Anthony Davis wasn't easy—Portland failed in that aspect—but Golden State managed to limit The Brow to just 21 points on 20 shot attempts.

Also, it wasn't only Davis who had a hard time scoring against the Warriors. First-round sensation Jrue Holiday made only 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting, this after averaging 27.8 points per game against the Blazers.

With the way the Warriors are playing on both ends of the floor, it looks impossible for the Pels to beat them. Not to mention that Steph Curry is reportedly ready to play after missing the last five weeks due to injury.

And sure enough, I don't need to mention how scary the Warriors' offence is when Curry is on the floor. Who needs defence when you can drop 120-plus points on your opponents, right?

Choose Golden State -11.00 @ 2.02.

Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets (May 03, 08:00 GMT+8)

There are a few things we learned in Game 1 of the Utah-Houston matchup: (1) the Rockets are scary when they are hitting their shots; (2) they are not that scary when they are not hitting their sots; and (3) the Jazz are no fluke.

Houston led by as much as 27 early in the game after showing the marksmanship and defence that rolled them to a 65-win season. However, it was a different story in the second half as the Jazz slowly cut the deficit all the way down to 11 in the fourth quarter.

The Rockets are still the better team, and they have more tools with Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker at their disposal. Nonetheless, if the Jazz locked in on defence right from the start, it could be a more thrilling game.

I don't think the Rockets will lose at home, though I expect more rugged defending that would lead to a low-scoring affair. With that said, go for Under 206.00 @ 2.06.

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02-May 2018 Wednesday @ 7:11 PM (196 days ago)            #17
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Their Dire Straits is Our Live Betting Delight

Eastern Conference Semi-finals Game 2

To be honest, it's confounding many an online betting veteran how the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors find themselves in this ditch.

Betting odds were supposed to be in their favour, after all. Both the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers came off seven-game series against their respective opponents, giving them the advantage in terms of rest and preparation.

Still, they came up short and lost. While they still have a chance to force the ground even, Game 2 is a harder proposition. Can they pull off such a tough feat? Are they even worth your bets?

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors (May 04, 7:00 GMT +8)

The Raptors were supposed to win against the Cavaliers this year. Kyle Lowry knew it. DeMar DeRozan knew it. Dwane Casey knew it. However, LeBron James just reminded Toronto who the real King of the North is with his triple-double. The narrow 113-112 overtime loss caused emotions to flare high at the Raptors' locker room.

What the Raptors did not anticipate was the rest of the team coming back to life. JR Smith and Kyle Korver were deadly from beyond the arc, and Tristan Thompson was extremely effective off the bench.

Dwane Casey needs to up their defence against the rest of the role players and leave LeBron to force his way to score. Moreover, the usually effective Toronto bench need to up their ante in order to match the production of the role players.

I think we're bound to see another close game that could end in a single-possession lead. Go for Cleveland +6.00 @ 2.04.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics (May 04, 09:30 GMT +8)

The young Sixers also have problems dealing with another basketball star, but that man doesn't even hold the basketball on the court.

Brad Stevens has done a marvellous job in turning a young team without their usual firepower into a bonafide playoff team. He turned Terry Rozier into a legitimate option for these Celtics while motivating Hayson Tatum and Al Horford to create problems.

Brett Brown has a lot of defensive adjustments to make since there's little left to be desired on the offensive front. The young Sixer core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons must lead the team on defence, showing energy and hustle on every possession.

I still believe the Sixers are outgunned in this duel as Stevens continues to exhibit his Shuri-like genius. However, the Sixers should be able to somewhat keep the game closer than what happened in Game 1.

Boston +1.50 @ 1.78 is the only way to go in my humble opinion.

 

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03-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:04 PM (195 days ago)            #18
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Gold Rush: Bet Online on the Mighty Warriors!

Western Conference Semi-finals Game 3

Steph Curry is back and the Warriors are scary again.

Betting websites favour Golden State to advance to the West finals, and basketball fans all over the world witnessed the reason for that after the Dubs beat the New Orleans Pelicans in Curry's return.

With the Warriors complete and ready to wreak havoc, betting odds on a Pelicans' comeback are getting slimmer day by day.

Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans (May 05, 08:00 GMT+8)

Twenty-eight points on 53.3 percent shooting in 27 minutes of play. If this stat is not enough to prove that Curry is the most important player in Golden State's roster, I don't know what will.

On a night that saw the Warriors struggle offensively in the first three quarters, Curry came off the bench and sparked the offence with his lights-out shooting. He never even looked like a player that missed 22 of the Warriors past 23 games due to a knee injury.

The Pelicans showed up in Game 2, but so does Curry. And in reality, the Pels are simply no match for the so-called "Death Lineup."

Heading to Game 3, New Orleans now have the tough task of guarding not only Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson but also Curry.

Sure enough, the Pelicans will like their chances to win. After all, they'll be playing at home where they recently scored 119 and 131 points in a sweep of the Trail Blazers. However, it should be remembered that the Dubs won their two regular season games at the Big Easy.

Also, are we really betting against the complete Warriors that won the NBA title two times in the past three years? I think New Orleans can keep the game close, but the smart money is on Golden State -4.00 @ 1.99.

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz (May 05, 10:30 GMT+8)

Utah are back in the ball game!

The Jazz's series-tying win in Game 2 was a much-needed confidence boost after losing their first five meetings with Houston this season, and they will surely look to build on the momentum as they head home for Game 3.

Of course, there's no reason for the Rockets to panic. It's just another off night for them, having just made 10 of their 37 three-point attempts. We all know what Houston can do when their treys start falling.

Nevertheless, it doesn't look like things will get easier for Houston this time around. The Jazz are not only shooting the ball well in the postseason, but they have also been terrific getting boards and snatching the ball—ranking third in rebounds and fifth in steals.

Their match-up at Salt Lake City could go either way, though choosing Utah +4.00 @ 1.88 seems the ideal move to make.

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05-May 2018 Saturday @ 6:16 PM (193 days ago)            #19
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Stop the Kings: Will You Place Your Free Bets on Big Upsets?

Eastern Conference Semi-finals Game 3

There are currently two kings in the Eastern Conference. One of the kings is hard to ignore, making play after spectacular play. The other is a genius strategist who made a seemingly lacklustre team into a dangerous playoff contender that can fight with the best of them.

Some sports betting fans are already anticipating a clash between these two teams in the Eastern Conference Finals, but we should know better than to write off their two seemingly harmless opponents. Pre-match betting odds are meant to be guides as upsets tend to happen every now and then.

Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers (May 6, 06:00 GMT +8)

The Celtics have a two-game cushion as they head to Philadelphia, and their confidence is only bound to soar with every passing minute. Brad Stevens, the architect behind Boston's on-court brilliance, found a way to make Ben Simmons ineffective at the point, leaving Joel Embiid and Robert Covington to carry the scoring load on their own.

Brett Brown and the rest of Philly hope that things will change when the Celtics visit their backyard. Simmons better forget what happened in Game 2 if he wants a shot at victory in Game 3. They also need to find a way to contain Terry Rozier who has been red-hot for the Celtics as of late.

As much as I'd like to think that they can pull off a win, I don't think Brown is the man that can help them get past the Celtics. Stevens has simply outgunned his counterpart in almost every department of the game.

Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers (May 6, 09:30 GMT +8)

I am honestly baffled by the way LeBron James is playing at the moment.

The 33-year-old Akron, OH native is in his 15th season as a professional basketball player, but he still manages to put up insane video game-like numbers. His 43-point, 8-rebound, 14-assist performance in Game 2 defies logic that it may seem to LeBron that he is simply playing a video game.

I am at a loss as to how the Raptors will respond to James' rampage. Things are especially harder for Dwane Casey, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry as they will be playing in front of a rabid crowd at the Q. We're not even talking about Kevin Love's equally impressive 35-point, 11-rebound stat line.

It's hard not to pick Cleveland -4.50 @ 1.97. It's illogical to battle the King of this Conference.

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09-May 2018 Wednesday @ 10:07 AM (189 days ago)            #20
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Can the Sixers Continue Their March to History?

Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics

No team has come back from a 0-3 deficit in the NBA Playoffs. EVER. But the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to be the first out of more than 100 that tried.

After losing the first three games to the Boston Celtics and facing a do-or-die situation, the Sixers woke up from their slumber, played a highly-physical game and repelled their tormentors to live and fight for another day.

At 1-3, the Sixers have a lot of work to do to keep themselves on the good side of the basketball betting gods. And there's no doubt they have a tough task at hand as they head to Boston for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

Talking Points

T.J. McConnell's insertion to the starting lineup worked wonders for the Sixers as the 26-year-old guard scored a career-high—both in the regular season and playoffs—19 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Philly were also more active offensively as Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid all scored in double figures.

Defence, however, has been the key to their rise in Game 4 that prevented what seemed an unavoidable sweep last weekend. They limited the Celts to just 41.3 percent shooting, this after allowing them to shoot above 45 percent in their previous three games.

Though, it should be noted that there are plenty of officiating errors in the game, with Boston called for 12 fouls in the second quarter alone to just one for Philadelphia.

Heading into Game 5 at TD Garden, the Sixers will undoubtedly look to repeat the same strategy to further chip away at the Celtics' series advantage.

However, while Game 4 showed that the Sixers have a fighting chance, fans and pundits alike shouldn't forget the man that catapulted the Celts to where they are now: Brad Stevens.

Brad Stevens keen to bounce back after the 76ers snatch a live betting win

As Al Horford said after Boston's win in Philadelphia last Sunday, Stevens is a genius. And how can we refute that after the former Butler coach led his undermanned and injury-riddled squad to playoff contention?

They lost Gordon Hayward in the first game of the campaign while Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the remainder of the season after knee surgery last month. Despite missing his best players, Stevens used his sideline wizardry to get over the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

Sure enough, it's difficult to make a bet online against Stevens. He solved the "Sixers" problem in the first three games, and while Brett Brown out-coached him in their latest matchup, it's hard to imagine Stevens not retaliating.

Not to mention that they will be playing at home where they can close the series and secure their second straight Eastern Finals appearance in the Stevens era.

History

History is against the Sixers in their match with the Celtics. As records suggest, what they are doing now is merely delaying the inevitable.

There's just no going back from a 0-3 hole. Kudos to their Game 4 effort, but out of the 129 teams that went down to the same deficit, none made it through—Yes, ZERO, O or whatever you want to call it.

The Celts-Sixers head-to-head season record also shows how difficult it is for Philly to mount the historic comeback. Including the playoffs and their recent win, the Sixers are 2-6 against the Greenies this year.

They won one regular-season game last January, though the die-hard fan would argue that Irving was with Boston when they won their first three season match-ups. However, the first three games of this series throw that argument out of the window.

Also, it shouldn't be forgotten that the Celtics are 27-14 at home in the regular season.

What are the odds?

Joel Embiid delighted that his side still in the NBA betting websites following the 76ers win

As expected, the Celtics are the underdogs in Game 5. They have always been since the start of the series, no thanks to injuries. However, our NBA betting lines point to a tight affair at the TD Garden.

The Celtics are given a +2.00 start that pays at 1.89, while the Sixers are at 1.99 with the handicap.

While the Sixers will be motivated by the fact that the top betting sites back them to extend the series, the match could still go either way especially if we factor in Philly's inexperience. After all, this is the first time that the team made the playoffs since 2012.

Besides Asian Handicap betting odds, it is interesting to note that Over 204.50 pays at 1.99. In two games at the Celtics' home turf, the two averaged a total score of 214.5 points.

Other notable match-ups

Western Conference Finals Game 5:

  • New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors: The Pelicans are also at 3-1 and will look to come back from the deficit, but are we really betting against the Warriors?
 

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10-May 2018 Thursday @ 1:53 PM (188 days ago)            #21
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The West Now Has Something Interesting to Watch!

New Orleans Pelicans 104-113 Golden State Warriors

The Western Conference semi-final between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors was practically a done deal the moment the Pelicans had to return to the Bay Area with a 3-1 series deficit.

Everyone and their mother knew that pulling off an upset against the Warriors at the Oracle Arena was a difficult prospect, so not even the most daring betting sites advised a bet towards the Pelicans. The Dubs dominated the floor and didn't allow the Pelicans to sweep another game from under their noses.

Now that the Big Easy will take a hard trek into the offseason, fans can now look forward to the matchup that's been talked about since the regular season!

Highlights of the Game

The game was considerably close during the first half. The Pelicans were able to keep up with the high-tempo offence the Warriors implemented, with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday doing most of the power-hitting for the Big Easy.

However, the best bookmakers know that the game doesn't really start for the Dubs until the third quarter. The Warriors outscored their visitors 36-19 in the third frame, and the Oracle Arena roared in delight as the lead inflated to 26 points.

Warriors online betting fans cheered loud and proud for their squad as they defeat the Pelicans
Stephen Curry attempts a layup in front of Anthony Davis during Game 5 of their West semi-final matchup

The third quarter saw many uncharacteristic turnovers from the Pelicans, which allowed Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant get some of the easiest baskets. The Dubs had the Pelicans' number on offence. Durant used his unique threat as a supreme scorer to creat some space and sink easy midrange shots. Curry also played around, scoring floaters from way outside the paint.

Key Statistics

While the game seemed to end what appears to be an uninteresting series, statistics suggest that the Pelicans were actually a tougher opponent than what the final scores were saying.

Anthony Davis is in the Top Ten for field goals, field goal attempts, free throws, total rebounds, blocks, steals, and points. Davis had an incredible run, and Alvin Gentry even compared him to one of the greatest big men in history. Many expect him to come back stronger next year.

However, the revelation of the playoffs has to be Rajon Rondo. He was an important cog to the Pelicans' playoff run to the point that this humble writer considered his gravitas before making a recommendation. He led the playoffs in assists and assists per game, so I won't be surprised to see him getting big money wherever he goes in the offseason.

The more intriguing fact in these playoffs is the shockingly subpar shooting of the Warriors from beyond the arc. The Dubs are 13th-worst in the playoffs with 34% shooting from beyond the arc. Superb defensive coverage from the Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs forced the Dubs to take a lot of bad shots. However, stopping the Dubs at the three-line also opened lanes for Durant and Curry to dash to the inside and make closer shots.

Lastly, it is simply impressive that Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry haven't missed at the charity stripe in these playoffs. Curry made all 14 of his free-throw attempts while Thompson converted his own 15 shots. It will be interesting to see if both players will be able to maintain their perfect strokes at the line for the rest of the playoffs.

What's Next?

The New Orleans Pelicans are in an interesting pickle this coming offseason, and they have a lot of questions to answer.

The first big question is the DeMarcus Cousins situation. Boogie will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and can literally go anywhere he wanted. He won't likely be getting max money unless Solomon Hill and Nikola Mirotic are shipped off. How will the front office convince him to take less money to stay when they have such a big roadblock out West in the Warriors?

Gambling websites are counting on the Pelicans to come back stronger next season
Anthony Davis congratulates Stephen Curry at the end of Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-finals

Rondo is the other major question mark that needs to be addressed. The man showed that he can thrive in the system, but he will definitely demand considerable amounts of money in the summer. Will they keep him in the Big Easy? Or will they shop around and let Rondo leave?

Meanwhile, two of the West's best teams will square up in the Western Conference Finals. This is Chris Paul's first foray into the Western Conference Finals, and he will do anything to make it to the biggest dance in professional basketball. James Harden is equally hungry to get in on the action, too.

We will surely see an exchange of physical plays, dirty looks and seething words come out of both sides as the Larry O'Brien trophy looks closer than ever. Many a sportsbook will keep one eye on this series because we will likely witness a classic!

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10-May 2018 Thursday @ 1:58 PM (188 days ago)            #22
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NBA: Despite All Odds, Boston are Back to the East Finals

Philadelphia 76ers 112-114 Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are heading to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Yes, you read that right. Brad Stevens' team, missing key summer signings Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, beat the highly favoured Philadelphia 76ers in five semi-final games.

Top betting sites back the Sixers to easily win the series against the injury-plagued Celtics. After all, how can a team without their superstars take down a young and rising squad that has been dubbed as a future powerhouse all season long?

As it turns out, all it takes is one coaching genius, an unselfish team and players who are hungry for victory. Well, playoff experience also played a huge role as Boston fended off the Sixers who tried to become the first team to come back from a 0-3 deficit.

Highlights of the game

The game was close up until the final minutes of the second quarter when Boston staged a huge 10-2 run to take a nine-point lead and close the half. The Celts even led by as much as 12 points before the Sixers started to chip away at the lead in the third frame.

Philadelphia, determined to make it 2-3 and bring the series back to Wells Fargo Center, came roaring back at the start of the second half behind All-Star Joel Embiid who scored 11 points in the quarter—all after making just 12 in the first half.

J.J. Redick was also pivotal, with his three-pointer with 21.3 seconds left in the third quarter allowing the Sixers to cut the lead to just one heading to the do-or-die fourth.

It was a see-saw affair in the decider as both teams failed to get a comfortable lead against the other. Boston went up by six midway through the payoff period, but Philly responded with a 9-2 run to give them the lead.

Betting sites favourites Sixers failed to seal their Eastern Conference final slot after being beaten by Celtics, 112-114
Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown talks with Ben Simmons during Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against Boston Celtics

In the end, however, Philadelphia's late-game struggles showed up once again. They had a shot at sending the game to overtime after Boston took a two-point advantage, but Ben Simmons' desperation heave was stolen by Marcus Smart, which effectively sealed the win for the Beantown team.

Key Statistics

Balanced scoring was the key for Boston in the hard-fought victory. Six players scored in double figures for the Celts, with rookie sensation Jayson Tatum scoring 25 and showing Simmons—his co-rookie—who is better.

Simmons, for his part, produced a brilliant all-around effort with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Sixers. However, his four turnovers proved costly.

Al Horford had a near double-double for Boston with 15 points and eight boards as he provided much-needed stability on the paint. Starting centre Aron Baynes was impressive as well with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Smart, perhaps, had the biggest contribution to the team—at least defensively—as he finished with a box plus-minus 10, the highest out of all players in the team. The 24-year-old guard had 14 points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals.

While the stats don't show it, Smart also did well defending Redick who can be deadly when given space. Redick ended with just 14 points and converted just two of his seven attempts from three-point territory.

Embiid and Dario Saric combined for 54 points and 22 rebounds in a losing effort for the Sixers.

While Philly dominated the glass and had a better ball distribution, their turnovers doomed them. They turned the ball over 16 times as Boston finished with 12 steals—not really the best way to play a high-stakes basketball game.

What's next?

With the win, Boston secured their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals. They are now set to play LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who recently surprised basketball betting with their sweep of the Toronto Raptors.

Betting sites anticipate exciting Eastern Conference Final as Celtics and Cavaliers meet for the second time around
LeBron James celebrates after scoring the game-winning shot for Cleveland Cavaliers against Indiana Pacers in Game 5

It's Boston's second straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance, having reached the conference finals last year. They also played Cleveland back then but was no match with the LeBron-led squad who finished them in five games.

For Philly, they can hold their heads high for giving Boston a good fight. Playoff inexperience has always been the issue for them as this is the first time they made the postseason with their young core.  In fact, the last time they made it to the playoffs, Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday were still with them.

Now, the team can continue "The Process" and learn from this experience. Basketball betting tips project them to be the next best team in the East, and that is not far-fetched considering what they have shown this year.

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13-May 2018 Sunday @ 8:50 PM (184 days ago)            #23
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The Rivalry Begins: An Unexpected Battle in the East!

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics

The Eastern Conference playoffs look a lot different than what was previously predicted. Plenty of betting sites were imagining a different kind of picture for the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Boston Celtics weren't supposed to make it this far out without Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving. The Cleveland Cavaliers looked ready for the offseason when the Indiana Pacers got the 2-1 series lead in the first round. The Celtics were supposed to struggle against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Toronto Raptors were meant to put an end to LeBron James' rampage with their team basketball.

But none of that happened. We're in the Eastern Conference Finals, and what we have is a rematch.

Brad Stevens versus Tyronn Lue. LeBron James versus Boston's entire youth movement. The Celtics versus the Cavaliers.

You cannot make this up. These kinds of storylines are what makes online bookies giggle like crazy.

Talking Points

There wouldn't be anything to talk about in this series if we don't discuss the tyrant of the East. King James has been terrorizing the Eastern Conference for a good chunk of the 2010s and he will definitely be the one to watch among the Wine and Gold.

James has had an incredible performance in the playoffs. He scored 34.3 points, grabbed 9.4 rebounds and provided 9.0 assists in 11 playoff games. No 23 also gave fans moments to remember when he scored buzzer-beaters against the Pacers and the Raptors. There's no doubt that he is the most dangerous man in the league right now.

However, you will not find the Celtics shaking in their sneakers. The Celtics have been heavy underdogs the entire playoffs since Kyrie Irving was ruled out with an injury. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Sixers were favoured to win as their opponents didn't have any stars.

However, Brad Stevens needed none of that. His brilliant coaching has inspired Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum to step up and make big-boy numbers for the C's. The two are scoring close to 20 points per game, effectively replacing Hayward and Irving for this year. They're playing with so much confidence that Scottie Pippen thinks Boston can take the game to the Cavs.

One more interesting storyline to see from this series matchup is the familiar relationship shared by Tatum and Lue. The coach said that he has known the former Duke standout ever since he was a kid and ever once doubted his talent.

"Seeing the player he’s become – we knew he was gonna be good, but now he’s at a whole new level," the Cavs head coach said. "Just seeing him coming to Mexico and just coming to my barbecues and all that stuff. Now he’s an NBA player and playing at a high level. It’s just good to see."

History

Basketball betting underdogs Celtics rely on Kyrie Irving

This is not the first time the Celtics and the Cavaliers have squared off in the playoffs, and this rivalry has built a lot of interesting stories over the years.

The Boston's Big Three era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen stopped LeBron from getting into the finals during his first stint in Cleveland. One can say that the Celtics were the ones at fault for James' decision to take his talents to South Beach.

In James' return to Cleveland, the Celtics have long lost their core and were in the middle of a rebuild under Brad Stevens. It took the former Butler coach some time before the then Isaiah Thomas-led Celtics made the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, only to bow out against the Cavs in five.

The summer following their exit was a big one: they traded star guards as Kyrie Irving looked to escape Bron's shadow. Isaiah Thomas, who played through his sister's death for the Celtics, was then sent to the Cavs. The refurbished teams met on the first day of the NBA season, and the world saw Gordon Hayward end his debut season for the C's with a horrific injury.

Cleveland went on to win the regular season series 2-1, but everyone knows that the season does not matter at this point.

What are the odds?

LeBron James will definitely make noise, and it will be up to the Celtics to trap the Akron, OH native and force his team-mates to take the shot. While Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers have seemingly found their stride against the Raptors, they still need LeBron to close out games for them.

Meanwhile, it is important for the Cavaliers that they interrupt the magic that is going on in Celtic Land. They need to force both Tatum and Rozier to make terrible decisions on the court. They also need to be wary of Al Horford as the Dominican can easily score on any given night.

If you like the Celtics' chances, you'd be delighted to see Boston +1.00 @ 2.03 as a terrific betting option. Meanwhile, Cleveland -1.50 @ 1.92 is the way to go if you believe James can get the job done.

Other notable match-ups

Golden State Warriors @ Houston Rockets: This is probably the most anticipated matchup of the playoffs. The Houston Rockets won their regular season series against the Golden State Warriors, but the Dubs are slowly getting into their championship form. Can James Harden and Chris Paul stop the basketball madness that is Golden State?

GSW wants to defy NBA betting odds and win against Houston Rockets

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13-May 2018 Sunday @ 8:53 PM (184 days ago)            #24
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NBA: The Best of the West are Here!

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

Golden State play Houston in the Western Conference Finals, and we might as well consider it the "real NBA Finals."

There's a reason why this match-up is the most highly-anticipated series of the year. Since Chris Paul paired up with James Harden in Houston, top betting sites pegged them as challengers for the Warriors' west dominance.

And the Rockets did more than just that, getting the conference's top seed and the home-court advantage over the Warriors in the playoffs. Heck, they are even considered as the best team in the NBA—record-wise.

Now, as the two head to Toyota Center for Game 1, we take a closer look at the key talking points for the series and the NBA betting lines for the opener.

Talking Points

Houston and Golden State boast the league's two best offences this season—well, two of the best ever. Houston registered an offensive rating of 112.3 in the regular season, while Golden State are just a little bit behind at 112.2.

While both of their offences have an obvious reliance on the three ball, the way they get points are still different. The Rockets' attack is centred on the pick-and-roll and one-on-one, thanks to James Harden and Chris Paul, while the Warriors emphasise ball movement.

It remains to be seen how they plan to stop each other from racking up points, though it would be interesting to see how the Warriors' ultimate small-ball lineup—AKA the Hamptons Five which the Dubs used for the first time against New Orleans—will fare against the Rockets.

Another thing to watch out for in this game is the battle between Harden and Steph Curry, who are both members of the 2009 NBA Draft. Harden was selected third by the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Curry was taken seventh by the Warriors.

Remarkably, the two star guards have near identical regular-season averages. Harden has averaged 23.0 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds through nine years in the NBA, while Curry has a career average of 23.1 points, 6.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds.

Best betting websites believe Chris Paul will play a crucial role in the Rockets' series against the Warriors
Chris Paul launches a two-point shot during the first half of Houston's second-round playoff series against Utah

Oh, and who could forget about Paul who will be playing in his first-ever conference final after 13 years in the league?

CP3 will surely be motivated to reach his first NBA Finals, and he will look back at history as he tries to lead Houston against the Warriors. Back in 2014, Paul and his LA Clippers eliminated the Bay Area team in seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs—that was the last time Golden State lost to a West opponent in the postseason.

History

Houston GM Daryl Morey said it clearly back in December 2017: "We're basically obsessed with 'How do we beat the Warriors?'"

Indeed, that was apparent as Houston won the season series against the Warriors, 2-1. It could have been a sweep too had the Rockets been with James Harden when the Warriors beat them 124-114 in January.

However, Golden State are different beasts in the postseason and the Rockets, more than anyone else, would know that.

This playoff series is the third postseason meeting between Golden State and Houston in the last four years. The Warriors needed only five games to send the Rockets packing in the 2015 West Finals, and they repeated that when they crushed the eighth-seeded Houston 4-1 in the first round in 2016.

Under a new coach and backed with better players, Harden, Morey and Houston will have their hopes up this time. However, the Warriors will undoubtedly want to remind their West rivals their history against each other.

What are the odds?

The Rockets are favoured to win, though they are given a -2.00 handicap that pays at 2.05—a clear proof that even the top online bookies expect a tightly-contested affair. Golden State, on the other hand, are given a +2.00 start at odds of 1.85.

Top betting sites hope Kevin Durant will go all out as the Warriors face the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals
Forward Kevin Durant reacts to a call as time runs out in the second half of the Warriors' game over the Nuggets

While most basketball betting tips point to a close game, a high-scoring affair might also be on the books. It is worthy to note though that Over 225.00 pays at 2.06 while Under 225.00 is only at measly odds of 1.82.

Out of the three regular-season matches between the two, only one game ended at under 225. That happened in their final meeting in the season when Houston and Golden State combined for just 224 points.

Meanwhile, their first two meetings ended with more than 235 points, including their opening night game that saw them combine for 243 points. The Rockets came from 17 points behind to beat the Warriors in that wild contest.

Other notable match-ups

Eastern Conference Finals Game 1

  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics: Check out our Game 1 preview for the unexpected finals meeting between the injury-plagued Celtics and the LeBron James-led Cavaliers, who weren't expected to make it to the conference finals.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 16-May-2018 @ 2:56 PM


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16-May 2018 Wednesday @ 2:58 PM (182 days ago)            #25
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NBA: How Do the Cavs Solve a Problem Like Boston?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are not the Toronto Barneys—err Raptors—and LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers learned that the hard way in Game 1.

One can say that the Cavs' 25-point blowout loss was merely an effect of the team not shooting well. There's also the fact that LeBron didn't play like he usually does, with some basketball betting fans even saying he might be trying to get a feel of how Boston play before unleashing the monster that we saw against Indiana and Toronto.

However, the Celtics have turned into different beasts this postseason—with Brad Stevens emphasising defence and ball movement in the absence of his stars—and the Cavs might find themselves in deep trouble if they allow Boston to have it their way.

After all, the Beantown team is not as inexperienced in the playoffs as the young Pacers and don't have the mental disadvantage against Cleveland like the Raptors.

Heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference, we dissect their Game 1 performances, highlight the key talking points and analyse the NBA betting lines for the match-up.

Talking Points

In case anyone has forgotten, the Celtics are the best defensive team in the NBA. They registered a league-leading 101.5 defensive rating in the regular season, ahead of the Utah Jazz (101.6) who boast the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner in Rudy Gobert.

That league-best defence was on full display in Game 1 at TD Garden where the Celts limited the Cavs to just 36 percent shooting.

Sure, that can also be attributed to the fact that the Cavs were horrendous from the three-point territory. In fact, Cleveland were 1-of-12 from uncontested three-pointers in the game.

Nonetheless, pointing to that discredits the team from the great job they did on stopping Cleveland and the LeBron freight train. James, who averaged 34 points a game in their sweep of the Raptors, was held to just 15 points.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Marcus Morris guarded James on 24 plays and limited The King to only five points on 2-of-6 shooting—an impressive performance from Morris after boldly declaring himself as one of the best LeBron defenders.

Of course, James won't be missing 70 percent of his shots in every game, but this result shows how poor the Cavs are when James is not playing well.

Besides their defence, Boston also deserve recognition for their offensive outburst that left the Cavs trailing all game long.

Offence was supposed to be the Cavs' bread and butter—it was supposed to be their main weapon considering their poor defence. But Boston stole Cleveland's thunder with a first-quarter explosion that saw them end the half with a 26-point lead.

Boston used a 14-0 run early in the first quarter to pull away and never looked back as they led by as much as 29 points in the game. Three Celtics players scored 20-plus points, headed by Jaylen Brown who had 23.

Sure enough, the Celts aren't expected to keep that offensive production throughout the whole series. In a game of averages, their 18th-ranked offence in the regular season will eventually show.

Nevertheless, Boston don't need all seven games to be that balanced on both ends of the floor. All they need is four, and the challenge is on the Cavs to find a solution to counter the Celts whether they are clicking offensively or not.

History

After Boston's huge Game 1 victory, it's hard to blame their fans for dreaming of a return to the NBA Finals. They haven't made it to the big dance since 2010, the same year they defeated the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals to end LeBron's first stint in Cleveland.

However, it's still too early to celebrate. Although the Celts made a statement in the opener, they haven't won the conference title yet. As LeBron said after the Cavs' defeat: "I have zero level of concern at this stage...I've been down 0-1, I've been down 0-2, I've been down before in the postseason."

True enough, it's just the first game and the Cavs will find some motivation from the fact that everybody also counted them out when they fell to Indiana last month.

Not to mention that the Wine and Gold won the season series against Boston, including a 121-99 victory at TD Garden just three days after overhauling their roster at the trade deadline.

What are the odds?

Compared to the odds offered in Game 1 which backed the Cavs to win, NBA betting odds this time are swinging towards the Celtics' favour.

The Cavs are considered underdogs, with Asian handicap betting odds giving them +1.50 @ 1.88. Meanwhile, Boston are at -1.50 that pays at 2.02.

LeBron James desperately eyes to turn basketball betting odds around and claim the victory against Celtics at Game 2 
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James looks frustrated after suffering a 108-83 defeat against Boston Celtics in Game 1

Cleveland will undoubtedly aim to tie the series at 1-1 before taking the game to Quicken Loans Arena, but it's worth noting that the Celtics are yet to lose a home game this postseason.

Boston won all four home matches in their seven-game series against Milwaukee. Furthermore, three of their four victories against Philadelphia came at home, including the series-clinching Game 5.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 16-May-2018 @ 2:58 PM


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19-May 2018 Saturday @ 6:33 PM (179 days ago)            #26
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NBA: It’s on Houston to Reverse the Golden Tide!

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

Houston, TX bore witness to one of the most entertaining playoff games so far in the tournament when their hometown Rockets fell short to the Golden State Warriors.

Kevin Durant proved too much for Houston as his presence on the court allowed the rest of the already-fantastic Dubs to get more shots on the floor. Stephen Curry also stepped up, allowing the Warriors to run away with the game by the third quarter's end.

Basketball betting circles will definitely look at the Dubs for another win here, but James Harden and company will not make things easy for their visitors. What the Rockets need right now is defensive adjustments. The thing now is this: I'm not sure if Mike D'Antoni is the perfect man for the job.

Talking Points

Kevin Durant has completely thrilled basketball betting after dominating Houston Rockets to lead the Warriors at Game 1
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant in action against Houston Rockets guard James Harden during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

The biggest point of conversation here is the Warriors' sheer dominance on the basketball floor. While the Rockets played fantastic basketball in the first half, things took a turn in the second. Like clockwork, the Warriors exploded in the third frame, outscoring Houston 31-24 in the quarter.

Kevin Durant did a lot of the power-hitting for the Warriors after ending the night with a masterful 37-point outing. He was also unstoppable from all over the floor, shooting 51.9% for the night. He used the entire floor to score: the Rockets weren't able to stop him on the three-point line, the paint and the midrange.

D'Antoni is more than aware of the danger Durant poses when he gets free rein on the court, but he is confident that they can handle Durant's damage and focus on what they do best.

"He is 7 feet and falling away. He's one of the best scorers ever, right? So I thought he was extremely good. But we can withstand that," D'Antoni said. "We can't withstand turning the ball over, missing layups, them getting out. Klay Thompson got up 15 [3-pointers]. We can't give him 15 3s. We're switching everything and staying off for that reason, so we have to clean up some stuff and see if we can do it on Wednesday."

What the Rockets need to do is improve their defence and shot selection. They shot 45.9% compared to Golden State's 52.5%. While Harden was red-hot the entire night, it's a must for him to include the other Rockets in the offence. The drop in defensive effort was also noticeable when the Dubs started to pull away in the third.

History

These two clubs are the best in the West, and their clashes in the regular season gave fans and many a betsite reasons to be excited about this series. While the Dubs did take first blood, Houston fans should be more than aware that their team won the season series against the Dubs.

While the first one was a rather tight contest that saw the game go to the wire, their last one was a considerably comfortable win for the Rockets. Chris Paul took charge during their January 20 meeting and laid down the law against a Golden State team that didn't see any action production outside Durant, Curry, and Draymond Green.

The Rockets had also played historically well against Golden State. Harden, Paul, and Eric Gordon scored well against the Dubs, and they showed their masterful scoring in Game 1 as well. Should PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute finally find their scoring groove, the Warriors will have a difficult task in their hands.

However, the Warriors front office is far from worried when it comes to the team responding to challenges.

Warriors GM Bob Myers admitted that he initially got worried about the Warriors' run of form during the tail-end of the season. "Was I worried? My first thought was, 'Yes.' But my second thought was, 'Have they let us down yet?'"

What are the odds?

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni eyes to thrash basketball betting favourites Warriors at Game 2
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni looks frustrated during the first half of the Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 against Warriors

The Warriors are huge threats to upset Houston's home-court advantage, but betting sites are giving out interesting odds. The Rockets are still looked upon to win Game 2 with -2.00 @ 2.04. Meanwhile, the Warriors have 2.02 odds for a +1.00 Asian Handicap.

The Beard needs to show why he is the favourite to win the MVP with his play. However, he also needs to involve his team-mates in the scoring and not just throw easy lobs to Capela. He needs to help Trevor Ariza get hot from the corners and involve PJ Tucker in the offence as well.

A big priority for the Rockets is to get the opposing stars out of their game. They have to push Curry to do defence a lot more. While Curry is more than ready to meet Houston's defensive demands, pushing him to the limit is something they must do. They should also get Draymond Green in trouble with the refs with another technical. They should also keep a close guard on Klay Thompson.

It does seem like Houston have a huge list of things to do by the time Game 2 comes rolling around, but I'm sure Harden and Paul would have figured something out. We have a series in our hands if they know how to prevent another third-quarter meltdown.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 19-May-2018 @ 6:33 PM


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19-May 2018 Saturday @ 6:36 PM (179 days ago)            #27
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NBA Playoffs: Can King James Pull Off a Miracle?

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Close your eyes and picture the Boston Celtics, without two of their premier stars, heading to the Quicken Loans Arena with a 2-0 series lead. Now, imagine LeBron James, angry at the team for letting him down again.

Now, consider your basketball betting options. It's easy to say the Boston Celtics will steamroll over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that couldn't be further away from the truth.

As long as LeBron James is in the court, nothing is certain for Brad Stevens' men. As long as LeBron James still breathes, betting sites will still give his squads a lot of consideration. As long as LeBron James still bleeds Wine and Gold, the Cleveland Cavaliers will always be contenders.

The fact that we're not yet counting out the Cavaliers is a testament to LeBron's greatness as an NBA player.

Talking Points

To be honest, no one expected things to end up this way. While no one was certain how things would go in the lead-up to the series, nobody in their right minds thought that the Cavs would disintegrate this way at the TD Garden.

Tyronn Lue was clueless as the Cavaliers weren't able to find an answer to the attacks Boston mounted upon them. Jaylen Brown was unstoppable from all over the court. Jayson Tatum had a rather quiet night but made important contributions to the C's defensive rotations. "Scary" Terry Rozier was also seeing his shots fall, while Al Horford's silent but solid contributions down low proved to be too much for Cavs.

Meanwhile, The Land is going through all kinds of trouble. LeBron is the only bright spot in a Cleveland team that seemingly went back to their ways during the first round of the playoffs. Kyle Korver, Jordan Clarkson and the rest of the Cavaliers weren't doing so hot on offence and defence.

Betting websites are now skeptical if the Cavs can mount a comeback
LeBron James and Kevin Love on the bench during their East finals match against the Celtics

Even Tyronn Lue admitted to making mistakes when it came to the Game 2 roster he fielded. While he refused to tell why he started the second quarter without either LeBron James or Kevin Love, he admitted that he shouldn't have done that. "Something happened but we'll be better at it next time," Lue said.

Of course, any talk about the Cavaliers will be moot if LeBron James isn't brought up once. He is the only that is stopping the Cavaliers from being the Phoenix Suns, and he is doing a wonderful job of it. He bounced back from his atrocious performance at Game 1 to end the night with 42 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

I don't think he'll allow Beantown to run rampant in his court, so we should expect more eager defending from the Cavs after James whips them back to shape.

History

The problems for the Cavaliers are obvious with just a simple peek at the stat sheet. They cannot find a way to stop any of Boston starters while also struggling to find their own shots. And they are struggling to get things together against a Boston team that is without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

King James has always been carrying the Cavaliers in the playoffs, but we're not sure if he can actually will the Cavaliers past the C's this time around. Lue is obviously outplayed by Brad Stevens, and Jaylen Brown is killing them from the corner and the inside.

Bet online on the Cavs if you believe that they can prevent going down 3 games to none
LeBron James celebrates with his teammates after hitting the game winner against the Raptors

What the Cavs need to do is look into film and remember how dominant they were against the Toronto Raptors. They managed to put a dangerous Toronto team to sleep with effective shooting and team play. I am not sure how they will manage to pull that off, but they need to find solutions now if they hope to even the series.

What are the odds?

It's hard to figure out the best odds among the multitude of offerings, but Asian Handicap offers an interesting picture. Bookies put James and the Cavaliers to win, with a -7.00 handicap going for 2.11. Meanwhile, the Celtics have 1.98 odds for a +6.00 boost.

Honestly, I am not comfortable with the way the odds are set up, but we have to remember that LeBron can pull off the impossible. He is one-third of what helped the Cavaliers pull off the impossible 2016 upset against the Golden State Warriors. He will not let the series go 3-0 without his say in it. Even the Celtics are aware that things will be much harder at the Q.

The Cavs can capitalise on Boston's terrible road record, but whether they turn the series around will be up to the rest of the team. We know King James won't let the Land down; it's on his knights to step up and help him win.

Other notable match-ups

Western Conference Finals Game 3

Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors: The Oracle Arena will be loud and proud as they cheer on the Dubs against a strong Houston Rockets team. Steve Kerr should have made the necessary adjustments to stop James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon, and it is up to the team to execute.

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24-May 2018 Thursday @ 12:00 PM (174 days ago)            #28
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NBA Playoffs: Warriors Wounded But Not Dead

Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors got a wake-up call last week as the Houston Rockets even the series at 1-1. Now, it's time for the basketball giants to retaliate.

As the Western Conference finals series shifts to Oracle Arena for Game 3, all eyes are on the Warriors and what they will do to bounce back from their 22-point blowout loss to Houston last week.

Draymond Green said they are at their best when they "feel threatened." Now, it's time for them to prove that and show the Dubs faithful and the top betting sites why they should still be considered as the team to beat.

Talking Points

Steph Curry's performance will be vital for the Warriors if they are to make a huge statement win at home. The two-time MVP has been struggling on both ends of the floor and needs to find his rhythm to keep the Warriors' engine running.

In the first two games, Curry has only made a total of 15 shots out of his 34 attempts from the field.  While that doesn't look bad at first, closer analysis suggests otherwise.

The 30-year-old guard, who became a cultural phenomenon with his insane long-range shooting, is 2-of-13 from three-point territory against the Rockets so far. In fact, he only made one out of eight shots from three in Game 2 and had to wait until the fourth quarter to make it—when the game was all but out of reach.

His defence tells a more horrifying story. Curry, no thanks to his frame and stature (6-3, 190 pounds), was targeted by the Rockets with their signature pick-and-roll play. No.30 is actually not a defensive liability, but the Warriors need him to be locked in at all times especially now that Houston are dead set to target him to create spaces for wide-open shots.

Top betting sites back Stephen Curry to find his impressive form again when the Warriors face the Rockets at Oracle Arena
Stephen Curry looks frustrated during Game 2 of their Western Conference Finals against Houston Rockets

It's not just Curry who needs to step up for the Warriors though. His Splash Bro., Klay Thompson, was abysmal in Game 2 and shot 3-of-11 from the field while Draymond Green tallied six points alongside six boards and six assists.

Both players finished with a minus-24, the second-worst rating on the team behind Kevin Durant.

The Rockets used a balanced offence to tie the series, and they will hope for a similar result when they visit Oracle Arena.

Sure enough, they won't be making 16 three-pointers every time, but the Warriors cannot afford to give them easy shots with James Harden and Chris Paul running the Houston offence.

History

The Warriors are difficult to beat at home in the regular season. And they are more difficult to beat at home in the playoffs.

Certainly, the job gets harder for the Rockets in one of the league's most imposing and commanding venues—it's called "Roaracle Arena" for a reason.

Also, who would ever want to play against the Warriors at Oracle Arena after they were voted for the Best Home Court Advantage award last year?

Golden State's 29-12 home record is only the fifth-best mark in the NBA—third in the Western Conference in the 2017-18 campaign. However, it should be noted that they are yet to lose a home game in the playoffs this year.

They won all six of their home matches against the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans and will look to extend that when they play the Rockets.

More amazingly, the Warriors are currently tied for the NBA record for most consecutive postseason home wins with 15, dating back to the playoffs last year. They equalled the Chicago Bulls' mark set in the 1990 and 1991 playoffs.

James Harden looks to defy top betting sites suggestions by leading Houston Rockets in dominating Oracle Arena at Game 3
Houston Rockets guard James Harden celebrates after his team beat the Golden State Warriors at Game 2

Houston boast the league's best record on the road (31-10), and it's worth mentioning that they beat the Warriors at the Oracle in the first game of the year.

What are the odds?

The first two games between Golden State and Houston both ended with double-digit leads, so it's no wonder why online bookmakers expect the same thing this time.

Thanks to their home-court advantage, the Warriors are tipped as favourites with Asian Handicap odds. They are at -7.00 that pays at 1.92, while Houston are at 1.98 for the +7.00 start.

While the Dubs are considered as a third-quarter team, our odds also favour them to be at the lead by halftime. First Half Asian Handicap -4.00 on the Warriors give 1.82 odds, while the Rockets are at 2.06 with +4.00.

Interestingly, despite their last game ending by a combined 232 points, our NBA betting lines still give odds of 1.90 for Over 225.50.

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24-May 2018 Thursday @ 12:03 PM (174 days ago)            #29
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NBA Playoffs: Watch Out For the Rise of the Cavs!

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers showed up in Game 3. Now, they just have to do it again as they try to even the series in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs are indeed unpredictable. They are that "hit-or-miss" team that keeps basketball betting fans on the edge of their seats in every match.

However, the Cavs we saw last Sunday are the Cavs at their best. And if they can keep the momentum swinging in their direction, there's no doubt they can give Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics a good run for their money.

Talking Points

There are two things we learned in Game 3: (1) there's no way LeBron would be swept in the playoffs, and (2) the Cavs are unbeatable when the rest of the team—or at least the starters—shows up.

Sure, James scored 27 points and had only five rebounds, not even close to the "King" playoff standards that we have seen so far, but it was the effective version of LeBron as his teammates were finally able to hit their shots...particularly from deep. James finished with 12 assists.

Their defence was also pivotal in the victory. Everybody knows that Cleveland are capable of exploding offensively, but it was on their ability to stop shots and make the scorers struggle that most of their fans worry.

For 48 minutes on Sunday, however, the Cavs showed what desperation can do. Facing the possibility of a 0-3 deficit, they transformed into a defensive beast and limited the Celtics to 86 points—this after allowing them to score 108 and 107 in the first two contests.

Jaylen Brown, who is a dangerous first-quarter scorer, had only two points in the opening frame before finishing with 10 points. Terry Rozier was limited to 13 points, while Marcus Morris ended with a measly nine points on 25 percent shooting.

It didn't help the Celts that they made just 16 assists, far from their usual numbers in Game 1 and Game 2 that saw them tally at least 24 dimes.

Now, both teams will undoubtedly go all out in the fourth installment of their budding rivalry with only winning in mind. After all, whoever wins the match would be the favourites to advance.

A win by Cleveland will not only allow them to tie the series, but it will also give them a tremendous boost as they head back to TD Garden. It seems impossible to think that LeBron won't get a W in Boston especially if the series ends up in seven games, right?

Meanwhile, a Celtics' win would give Stevens' men a 3-1 advantage and a clear path to the big dance. They are a strong team at home and are sure to win at least one match at TD Garden where they are yet to lose this postseason.

History

The Celtics' 30-point defeat to the Cavs revealed a glaring trend: they are a poor team on the road.

While that may sound odd for a squad that boasts a 28-13 record on away games in the regular season—which ranks as the best in the Eastern Conference—their poor form on the road in the postseason can't be denied.

After losing Game 3, Boston are now 1-5 in six road fixtures in this year's playoffs. More surprisingly, they have been outscored by 75 points in those six games, losing by an average of 12.5 points.

Expect basketball betting to intensify as Brad Stevens and the Celtics play the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens gives directions to his players during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Of course, if that trend continues, they still have the home-court advantage, right?

Well, it should be noted that the Cavs have won at least two times in their opponents' home court this postseason. They took down the Indiana Pacers twice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and won the opening matches at Air Canada Centre in their sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the semi-finals.

Moreover, the Wine and Gold have LeBron, which means they have history on their side. James has won at least one playoff road game in 31 of his last 32 playoff series.

With that said, Boston know they need to win in Cleveland if they want some security that they will move on to the NBA Finals.

What are the odds?

Following their devastating loss, Boston are tipped as heavy underdogs with Asian Handicap odds. The Beantown team is given a +7.00 start at odds of 1.91 to even the playing field, while the Cavs are tipped with a -7.00 handicap at 1.99. These odds on most online bookies suggest that Cleveland are likely to win comfortably.

Meanwhile, Under 206.50 pays at 1.94. While there is a possibility for both teams to explode offensively, these odds still look surprising given that both teams haven't combined for more than 203 points in a game so far in this series.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 24-May-2018 @ 12:03 PM


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24-May 2018 Thursday @ 12:07 PM (174 days ago)            #30
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Home is Where the Win is for Golden State

Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors

Leading 2-1 against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors will try to defend home court once again and make it a two-series lead in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

A lot, if not all online sports betting fans expected the Warriors to win Game 3 at Oracle Arena. However, you’ll have a difficult time finding someone who predicted the Dubs to take the W in such historic fashion against the NBA’s best regular-season team this 2017/18 campaign.

Stephen Curry had a breakout performance, and the Warriors will certainly hope that he’ll be at his best again when they play their second at Oracle Arena.

Talking Points

Winning is one thing, but winning by a ridiculous 41 points in a postseason game is another. And the Warriors did just that against a team that ranked sixth in defensive rating in the regular season.

Golden State’s 126-85 victory in Game 3 is the franchise’s biggest winning margin in the postseason, surpassing the 39-point mark set by the then Philadelphia Warriors in 1948—that’s 70 years ago! Meanwhile, for the Rockets, that was their largest playoff defeat in history.

While it could be said the Rockets merely had an off night, it can’t be denied that there are a lot of things that went well for Golden State, particularly Curry and their third-quarter offence.

Curry, who was plain terrible in the first two games, finally woke up and put the Rockets to sleep with his long-range shooting. The two-time NBA MVP shot 5-of-12 from deep and finished with a game-high 35 points.

For what it’s worth, Curry’s total in the match is two points more than James Harden and Chris Paul’s tally combined—a real bad night for the Rockets, huh?

Moreover, Golden State showed why they are considered the best third-quarter team in the league. They outscored the Rockets 34-24 in the penultimate frame and carried the momentum to cap off the night with 38-18 fourth quarter.

Curry, for his part, scored 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the third quarter alone to spark the Warriors’ run. Durant chipped in 10 in the period as he and Curry scored five points each to give the team a 10-0 burst.

Indeed, if Golden State want to make it 3-1, they need to continue that third-quarter trend.

It will be interesting to see what adjustments Houston will make in Game 4. They are the only team who can keep up with the Dubs’ scoring pace, thanks to Harden, Paul and Trevor Ariza. However, it’s hard to erase the fact that they seem to be a team that relies heavily on their three-point shooting.

In their two losses to the Bay Area team, they shot 35 percent and below from deep. That number increased to 38 percent in their Game 2 win.

The Warriors have the tough task of limiting Harden and Paul and stopping the Rocket from getting wide-open shots, but they will surely be confident after doing that the last time out.

History

Oracle Arena. Need we say more?

The Warriors now hold the NBA record for the most consecutive home wins (16) in the playoffs, breaking the Chicago Bulls’ mark set in 1990 to 1991. The last time the Warriors lost a postseason home affair was in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, during which the Cleveland Cavaliers staged the biggest upset in league history.

Golden State have been undefeated since then, starting in their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2017 playoffs.

NBA betting lines are on the side of the Dub Nation after Steth scored a career high of 35 points
Golden State Warriors fans react after Stephen Curry scored against Houston Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

The deafening and bright yellow crowd in the so-called “Roaracle” Arena was imposing in Game 3, and Houston can’t expect a more welcoming crowd when they return.

Clutch City coach Mike D’Antoni has the best words to describe the Warriors’ home-court advantage: "There's a certain energy that their fans will give them and moments they hit two or three 3s you can get a buzz going that helps the home team. You just have to try to keep that crowd out as much as you can.”

What are the odds?

There's a growing trend in this year's conference finals: blowouts.

Through seven games (four in the East and three in the West), the lowest margin of victory is nine points, in the Cavs' latest win over Boston. Before that, it was 13—in Boston's Game 2 win and Golden State's Game 1 victory over the Rockets.

In the West alone, the average margin of victory is 25 points through three games! Considering this, it's not surprising that Asian Handicap odds on the Warriors are at -8.00 @ 1.91. The Rockets are at +8.00 @ 1.99.

While NBA betting lines on most sports betting sites suggest another one-sided affair, it's interesting to look at Over-Under odds. Over 223.00 pays at 1.88 while Under 223.00 is at 2.05. Both the Warriors and Rockets boast remarkable offence, though it should be noted that they have the tendency to go cold at times.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 24-May-2018 @ 12:07 PM


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24-May 2018 Thursday @ 12:11 PM (174 days ago)            #31
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Beantown on Fire: Can The Celtics Stop King James?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics

The Eastern Conference Finals is back on neutral territory, and Boston are bracing themselves for what is bound to be a tense game at the TD Garden.

LeBron James took what is supposed to be a dire situation for the Cavs into a series where we don't know who will make it out of the Eastern Conference. Basketball betting will surely get interesting as the series head back to Beantown.

If things go the way they did in the previous matches, then Boston should be able to pull off the impressive streak of beating LeBron. However, I don't think the King and his Cavaliers will let that happen.

Will we hear joy or despair ring in New England?

Talking Points

Tristan Thompson has completely thrilled basketball betting after helping the Cavaliers clinch a win during Game 4
Tristan Thompson shoots the ball against Boston Celtic's Al Horford in the first half of Eastern Conference Final Game 4

We cannot ignore the fact that LeBron bullied his way back to the conversation. His sheer presence in the floor immediately makes the Cavaliers an instant contender that can duke it out with the best of them. His stat line for this year's postseason leaves nothing to be desired.

He leads the Cavaliers in almost every significant statistic, making play after play to keep the Wine and Gold afloat. He has proven himself to be the only consistent bright spot in a Cavalier team that would struggle to win without him.

It's going to be unbelievable to hear these words being said in this order, but LeBron James' 44-point outing was a little disappointment. Of course, every single point was vital in the Cavaliers' victory, but the fans got used to James doing everything on his own. The fact that he didn't at least flirt with a double-double by trusting his team-mates was an odd sight to behold for casual fans and betting sites.

Speaking of which, I think it is also important to talk about the rest of the Cleveland team playing up to LeBron's expectations the same way they did in Game 3. Tristan Thompson, George Hill and Kyle Korver were instrumental in the Cavaliers' Game 4 triumph. While Kevin Love had a relatively quiet game, he brought rebounding and defence to help LeBron and the Cavs secure the victory.

The Cavaliers executed their game plan well, and there was nothing the Celtics could do about it. While Brad Stevens and company tried everything they could to get back in the game, and his young core tried to respond to his calls. However, Tyronn Lue's game-planning kept Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier struggling in check.

The Celtics also need to address their aggression in Game 5. Stevens probably hurt when he saw the C's get slapped with 26 personal fouls, way above their postseason average. With players like Brown, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart dealing with foul trouble, the Celtics found it hard to keep James and Thompson from bullying their way inside.

History

While the Cavaliers will still have a tough time at the TD, the pressure is on the C's. They weren't able to do anything against LeBron at home, and the amount of momentum the Wine and Gold are riding will be hard to interrupt.

Boston fans that are obsessed with statistics are probably shaking in their boots now that the series is all tied up. Of course, the reason for their fears is James the Bogeyman: LeBron James has never lost an Eastern Conference playoff series where his team was trailing from a 2-1 deficit.

The Celtics also have to be careful with letting the Cavaliers run loose on their home turf. The last time the King's supporting staff came to play, they used the rags that were once the Toronto Raptors to clean the Q.

However, the series is still in favour of the Boston Green. If we look at the results of the last four games, the home team always win. The Celtics are also dominant from home, never losing a home game this offseason. If Stevens and the rest of the C's manage to keep this trend running, then the series is Boston's to lose.

However, it is important to remember that it is almost impossible to just hope and contain the monster that is LeBron James. The 15-year-old veteran, who just surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabar in all-time postseason field goals made, claims that he is not a scorer despite dropping 44 on the C's.

LeBron James, the man who averages 34 points in 15 playoff games, is not a scorer. It's hard to wrap your head around that.

What are the odds?

The casual fan would think that the advantage has shifted back to Boston, but many a sportsbook do not doubt LeBron. The Cavaliers get a nice 2.44 from a -1.50 Asian Handicap, with the bookies respecting the steam the Cavs are currently riding on. However, the Celtics are not far behind in the books: Beantown gets 1.97 for +1.00.

Given their last four meetings, I don't doubt the potential of this game to be another high-scoring affair. Over 206.50 @ 1.94 is not a punt that fans should shy away from, in my opinion.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 24-May-2018 @ 12:11 PM


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24-May 2018 Thursday @ 7:33 PM (174 days ago)            #32
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The Rockets Prepare to Launch for the Finals

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

The battle out in the West look to be as formidable and interesting as the one happening in the East. The two squads, arguably the best in the NBA, are duking it out, giving fans and neutrals a lot of reasons to pay good money and watch. This battle has also attracted many punters to visit their favourite betting sites and make a bet on either ball club.

The eyes of fans and basketball betting pundits are now on Houston. The Rockets managed to turn the series back on even footing by stealing a game against the Dubs on their home turf. They will now be heading to Houston with the chance to get a game up.

Of course, the Dubs will do everything they can to not end up in a ditch. However, Game 4 was a clear must-win for the Dubs, and they failed to deliver. If they don't manage to contain James Harden and Chris Paul here, they will find their return to the Finals a lot more difficult than it should be.

Talking Points

The elephant in the room is the Golden State comeback in Game 4 that came up short. The Dubs were their usual selves, exploding for 34 points in the third frame of the game. Their scoring run, led by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, helped the Dubs wrestle the lead back in their favour.

However, James Harden and Chris Paul led the Rockets well; they buckled up to stop things from getting worse. The Beard, who finished the game with 30 points on 42% shooting, did well enough to just keep the game out of reach for the Warriors and return to Houston with a very comfortable 2-2 lead. CP3 was also brilliant throughout the game, scoring eight of his 27 in the fourth to help seal the W.

This loss brought about light doubts as to whether the Dubs can close off games when Harden and Paul come alive on the offensive end. They seemed lost in the second quarter as the Rockets powered their way into a lead as large as ten points. They will definitely need their veterans in Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to step up when the stars take a quick respite.

Speaking of which, the Dubs badly missed the presence of Iguodala. Iggy, alongside Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson, are both marked questionable for Game 5 due to knocks on their knees. The Dubs looked lost without Iguodala on the floor, and they now may lose a sure source of 20 points if Thompson does not make it back in time. The biggest priority for Kerr and the Warriors medical staff is to get the Hamptons 5 back together and get these two out of the injury list.

History

Harden and Paul have never failed to impress Rockets GM Daryl Morley after wowing the crowd in Game 3. They will likely be looked upon to bring the team back up in Houston when the Dubs look to take control of the series again. The two have been unstoppable in the postseason, and their individual talent will surely help the Rockets come closer to the NBA Finals.

The Beard will especially be looked upon to carry the team when the Warriors impose their will at the Toyota Center. He has the second-highest player efficiency rating, the fourth-most steal average, and the fourth-highest points-per-game numbers in the playoffs.

However, they need to make sure that the Warriors don't find their shooting stroke. While the Dubs are uncharacteristically struggling from deep, they have the highest shooting percentage out of the four remaining teams in the tournament. It's been proven at Game 1 that they can suffer a huge defeat at their own floor.

Curry and Durant and obvious defensive priorities for Mike D'Antoni's squad, but they should also game plan for all-around forward Draymond Green. The very expressive forward is having a monster playoff run, finding himself at the Top Ten lists for rebounds per game, assists per game, and steals per game. Sure, the Dubs will certainly struggle without Iggy and Klay, but Draymond is a very loud glue that can will the Dubs to a series-altering win.

What are the odds?

Kevin Durant hopes that the basketball betting tips are still on the side of Warriors to prevail in Game 5
Warriors forward Kevin Durant shoots against Rockets center Clint Capela during the first half of Game 4

Like the most recent Cavaliers-Celtics game, betting odds on online bookmakers are tight. These two teams are evenly matched, and even the slightest of circumstances can greatly affect the result of the game.

Punters confident that the Rockets will win a big one at home will be thrilled to see Houston with a -1.50 Asian Handicap for 1.99 odds. Meanwhile, the Warriors have 1.91 for a boost of the same amount.

Given the fact that the Warriors will want to win away, it's very plausible for Curry and Company to go on a big scoring run at the half. Golden State +0.50 @ 1.96 is a possibility. Houston have 1.92 odds for a negative handicap of the same value.

Finally, both teams seem to have hunkered down on defence. While we may see another high-scoring classic, it's also likely for the game to be as low-scoring as Game 4. Under 219.00 offers a tempting 1.97, while over 219.00 rewards punters with 1.91.

 

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 3:09 PM (167 days ago)            #33
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Dire Straits: Cleveland Face NBA Playoff Elimination

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers

There were some who predicted the Boston Celtics would win over the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas switch happened in the postseason. However, nobody -- not even the most avid basketball betting fan -- would have ever imagined things to end up like this.

Both teams have neither of the star guards they traded: IT is spending an early summer at Hollywood while LeBron James' former Robin is out with an injury. However, the absence of these two players led to a revelation that will rattle many betting sites: Boston will become a tough dynasty to beat in the Eastern Conference.

LeBron looks gassed after carrying the team through sixteen games. Will we see the Cavaliers finally miss out on their first NBA Finals since 2015? The Q will reveal to us in time.

Talking Points

The biggest topic of discussion for Cleveland fans is the struggling display the Cavaliers showed at the TD Garden. It's been mentioned that winning Game 5 is the utmost priority for LeBron and friends, but it seems that the Celtics are just too tough to stop on their home court.

Beantown is a fortress for these Celtics as they now enjoy an incredible 10-0 home record in the playoffs. What makes the feat all the most impressive is that their wins average an 11.5-point gap. This feat only exemplifies the brilliant coaching done by Brad Stevens over the course of the long NBA season.

Leading these young Celtics is Jayson Tatum. The 20-year-old wing has left a big impression on casual fans and experts with his basketball skills and mentality. In fact, he is playing so well that even current greats and NBA legends weren't hesitant in singing him praises.

Boston sports betting fans believe that Jayson Tatum will be a problem for the whole NBA in the future
Jayson Tatum lays it up past LeBron James during their Eastern Conference Finals clash

LeBron James acknowledged that Boston's No 0 is playing well above his years. Paul Pierce also believes that Tatum has the potential to become one of the legends Celtics fans will be talking about for years and years.

“He’s mature beyond his years," Pierce said. "He doesn’t look rattled by the moment. Sometimes you see rookies have problems when they get to this point. I don’t see that in Jayson Tatum. And if he didn’t have a team full of guys who are really good players and with two All-Stars, he could easily have won Rookie of the Year.”

On the other side of the coin, the Cleveland Cavaliers' languish reached a new low as the rest of the squad left their better selves at the Q. Only James and Kevin Love were the players scoring in double digits as the rest of the squad failed to score. The only bright spot outside the two were Kyle Korver's two three-pointers.

If the Cavaliers cannot find a way to stymie the C's on their home floor, then there's a huge chance for LeBron to sit out of the Finals and mull on his future a lot earlier than expected.

History

LeBron James has just been named into the All-NBA First Team for the 2017-18 season, and his performance in the postseason leaves little to no doubts for the honour.

Fans who saw James' look at the end of Game 5 may be a sign of what's to come for the franchise, but the King did well. He leads the league in points per game, player efficiency rating, win shares and box plus/minus. I am not sure if James can do keep on carrying the Cavs for much longer if his team-mates don't step up.

LeBron James will definitely do his best to align the betting odds in the Cavs' favour
LeBron James looking tired and frustrated during the Cavs' NBA Playoffs clash against the Celtics

Moreover, a bit of a history lesson will worry Cleveland fans all the more. The last time Cleveland were down 3-2 to the Boston Celtics was during the 2010 Eastern Conference semi-finals, where a younger LeBron failed to match up against Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Everyone and their mother knew that he soon took his talents to South Beach after the playoffs.

The Cavaliers have always played well on their home floor, and their performances in their last two series prove that. It is now up to the rest of the group to help James and Love force an improbable Game 7 at Beantown.

What are the odds?

The series has been determined by the home team, so it's no wonder that online bookies like SBOBET have the Cavaliers on the advantage. You can bet on the Cavs with a -7.50 Asian Handicap for 2.08 if you are confident that LeBron's supporting cast will be making their return to the court.

Meanwhile, choose Boston +7.00 @ 1.92 if you believe Brad Stevens, Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the rest of the Celtics will become the first Eastern Conference Champions in seven years that don't star the kid from Akron.

This game should become a high-scoring affair, so gunning for over 202.00 will increase your stake by 1.91.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:44 PM (167 days ago)            #34
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The Lonely Beard: Can James Harden Win On His Own?

Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are in a territory they haven't experienced in the longest time: they are now at the brink of elimination against the Houston Rockets.

The 3-2 series ditch the Dubs find themselves in was something not a lot of online bookies were anticipating to really happen, but great plays from James Harden, Chris Paul and the entire Houston team roster made this situation a reality.

However, it's been confirmed that James Harden will be facing the Dubs on their home floor without his trusted floor general. Basketball betting experts are probably tipping the game in favour of the Warriors as it seems like the Warriors are too much for Harden to handle alone.

Will the Beard be able to pull off the impossible and defeat the Warriors on his own? Or will the Dubs follow the Cleveland Cavaliers and force a Game 7?

Talking Points

Online bookies believes that Houston Rockets will have a tough game with Chris Paul missing in action
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul sits on the floor after being hurt during the second half in Game 5

One of the most interesting topics of conversation to see here is the fact that neither of the usually high-scoring outfits scored more than 100 points on the last two games. Game 4 was won by Houston in a game that could have been extended by a three-point make by Stephen Curry. Game 5, on the other hand, was iced by Eric Gordon's free throws before the buzzer ended the 94-98 contest.

The fact that the Dubs and the Rockets, teams that have scored more than 105 points per outing in these playoffs, scored low in the last two games is a testament to the physical defence employed by both teams. It's unbelievable to admit, but Houston's defensive planning has put them close to a Finals appearance.

Fans that have been following the NBA for the longest time know just how allergic Mike D'Antoni is to defence. His usual approach to the game was to let their attacks make up for the shortcomings of their guards. However, he made the wise decision to turn to a switch-heavy defence to counter the Warriors' very fluid lineups.

However, there are concerns on the Houston end as Chris Paul will be sitting out of Game 6 due to hamstring problems. The most bitter part of this is the fact that the injury occurred during the game's final moments. It remains to be seen if CP3 will be available to the Rockets should the series head back to Houston for a decisive Game 7. Fans will be hoping that Harden will be able to end the series at the Oracle.

Meanwhile, the Warriors saw their two main stars misfiring left and right. Curry and Durant had respectable scoring performances (29 for KD and 22 for Steph) in Game 5, but their scoring efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. This is especially true for Curry's case after making only two of his eight three-point attempts.

Andre Iguodala's absence is also doing a number on the Warriors. They're still not sure as to whether the versatile winger will be able to return on time for Game 6, and that's definitely bad news for them. Iggy's contributions to Golden State's 'Hamptons Five' lineup is sorely missed, and fans will be hoping for his quick return to action.

History

Steve Kerr and Ken Durant both want to win the critical live betting match in Game 6
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is congratulated by head coach Steve Kerr following their win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1

The past two games have been determined by defence, and Houston's defensive planning will also determine whether they make the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995.

Harden, Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza and PJ Tucker need to exert their utmost on defence to force the Warriors to take hard shot attempts. They also need to clog the passing lanes and force the Dubs to make as many turnovers as they did in Game 5.

The Beard also needs to take it upon himself to carry the Warriors and end the series on their home floor. He is among the top playoff performers in points, assists, steals, and player efficiency. However, his performance in Game 5, headlined by his atrocious 0-for-11 from deep, is not going to win them the conference. He needs to step up, and the time to do so is now.

Curry and Durant only need to maximise their efficiency on shooting if they want to force a Game 7. Draymond Green also needs to be more careful with the ball as his turnovers late in Game 5 added to the ditch they are currently in. Klay Thompson should continue bothering Harden with his defence.

What are the odds?

Betting sites see this game heading to Game 7 and favour the Warriors to win big time. Golden State -12.00 @ 1.98 is the way to go if you believe Dub Nation will be able to force a do-or-die match in Houston. Rockets +11.50 @ 2.02 is the way to go if you think James Harden will be able to at least keep the score close.

Over-Under odds also offer interesting options: Over 213 give 1.94 while Under 213.00 rewards punters with 1.94 odds.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:48 PM (167 days ago)            #35
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Beasts of the East: It’s Do or Die Now for Cavs, Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics

And then there was one.

After a gruelling six matches, the Eastern Conference Finals is now headed to a decisive Game 7. Both Boston and Cleveland gave it their all to make it this far; but in the end, only one will get the right to represent the East in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics, often dubbed as the powerhouse team of tomorrow, will look to show basketball betting fans that the future is today. However, the Cavs will hope for another ticket to the big dance as LeBron James tries to cement his status as the greatest player of all time.

Talking Points

LeBron James. Is there any other player worth talking about at this stage of the series?

The King has single-handedly willed the Cavs to Game 7, and it's almost laughable that his doubters thought he wouldn't be able to push the Celtics to the limit with his current teammates.

Facing elimination at home, LeBron drew a masterpiece and carried his team to the decider. He scored 46 points on top of 11 boards and nine assists to power the Cavs, who lost Kevin Love five minutes into Game 6 after suffering a concussion.

Sure enough, the Cavs got some unexpected production from their role players. George Hill scored 20 points while Jeff Green chipped in 14, but it was James' undeniable brilliance that led them to the victory.

The Cavs need another similar performance from LeBron if they are to make it a record four straight finals appearances, and James knows it too.

Following their Game 6 win, LeBron said: "As soon as I leave here, I’ll start to prepare. I’m going to get in the car and head back to Akron. As soon as I get home, I’ll start my treatment [on my injured right leg]."

Basketball betting fans of Cavaliers believe that LeBron James will drive the team to victory at Game 7
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James celebrates after making a 3-point shot against Boston Celtics at Game 6

Meanwhile, for Boston, it's all about using their home-court advantage and staying consistent on both ends of the floor.

They are without their two superstars, but Brad Stevens found a way to keep his team in title contention, beating both Milwaukee and Philadelphia in the first two rounds. Now, they need to find that mojo back as they aim for their first finals appearance since 2010.

The Celtics are still undefeated at TD Garden this postseason, but as we noted in our Game 4 preview, LeBron has won at least one road game in 31 of his last 32 playoff series.

Boston need to rediscover their league-leading defence to have any chance of stopping LeBron and the Cavs. They registered a defensive rating of 101.5 in the regular season, but it dropped to 104.9 in the playoffs, which is only good for fifth.

History

As mentioned earlier, Boston are undefeated in the playoffs with a 10-0 record. And sure enough, they will rely on their home-court dominance and the support of the crowd to get the job done in what could be described as the most important Game 7 in the franchise's new era.

Nonetheless, while the Celts have a spectacular history at home, they shouldn't forget "Game 7 LeBron"—who is undoubtedly a far different beast from the "Playoff LeBron" we all know.

James is 5-2 in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs, and if that's not scary enough, he averages almost 35 points per game in such situations! The latest example is his 45-point outburst in the do-or-die finale of their first-round series against the Indiana Pacers last month. He even recorded eight rebounds and seven assists in that match for a near triple-double performance!

There's also his 2016 display in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors! After trailing 1-3, LeBron led the charge for the Cavs to complete a historic turnaround. He tallied 27 points, 11 boards and 11 assists in their title-clinching win.

The last time LeBron lost in a Game 7 was in 2008, ironically against the Celtics in the East semi-finals. That's another history too!

What are the odds?

As expected, NBA betting odds are tight between the two teams. Boston, thanks to their home-court advantage, are slightly favoured to win at Asian Handicap odds.

The Beantown team is at -2.00 @ 1.91, while the Cavs are given a +2.00 start at odds of 1.99.

Basketball betting is set to intensify as Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals starts tomorrow
Marcus Smart celebrates after Boston Celtics beat Cleveland Cavaliers, 96-83, at Beantown in Game 5

SBOBET odds, however, not only point to a tight affair but also to a low-scoring game. Their last match at TD Garden ended with only a combined 179 points, and our NBA betting lines on Over-Under point to a repeat of that as Under 200.50 pays only at 1.82. For odds comparison, Over 200.50 is at 2.06.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:59 PM (167 days ago)            #36
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LeBron and the Cavs are Back to the NBA Finals!

Cleveland Cavaliers 87-79 Boston Celtics

Death, taxes and LeBron James making the NBA Finals.

It's hard to argue with that after the King willed the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Boston Celtics in a thrilling Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics were aiming for their first Finals appearance since 2010, back when their "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen was wreaking havoc in the NBA. However, LeBron proved to be too much for this star-less version of the Celtics that relied on the sideline genius of Brad Stevens to make things work in the absence of the injured Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

Here's the full Cleveland vs Boston Game 7 results, as well as more LeBron highlights:

Highlights of the game

Pre-match NBA betting odds pointed to a tight win by the Celtics, and for a good reason: they have never been defeated at home this postseason.

Nonetheless, LeBron's talent and overall basketball brilliance defy logic and mere stats, and the son of Cleveland showed that as he put up a memorable performance that even Stevens and his Beantown team couldn't prepare for.

The four-time league MVP recorded another near triple-double performance with 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists—the kind of gaudy numbers that he has spoiled us with all season long. He kept the Wine and Gold afloat in the first half and paved the way back for the team after trailing by as much as 12 points.

He had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds at halftime before leading a third-quarter surge that saw them reverse the game and get a three-point lead.

The fourth-quarter was a see-saw affair as the Celtics, boasting their championship pedigree, didn't get intimidated. Rookie sensation Jayson Tatum—who LeBron said was bound for greatness—led the charge for the C's, posterizing James before banking a huge three-pointer to restore their lead, 72-71.

However, the Celts failed to build on the momentum and went scoreless for more than five minutes as the Cavs buckled up defensively.

Cleveland then made the most out of the C's slump and responded with a 15-2 run to pull away for good and make no sense of the Eastern Conference Finals betting tips that back Boston to get the victory on their home court.

Key statistics

LeBron played all 48 minutes in what was his 100th game of the season. And while he's obviously exhausted, he was still able to finish with a 50 percent shooting clip.

Coach Stevens said that their plan was to wear James out, but it's clear that plan didn't work. After all, LeBron is a tireless cyborg built for moments like this.

"Our goal going into the series was to make him exert as much energy as humanly possible and try to be as good as we can on everybody else," Stevens said after the game. "For the most part, I thought we were pretty good at that...but he still scored 35. It's a joke."

James, nonetheless, got some much-needed help from his teammates. Jeff Green, who started in place of the injured Kevin Love, stepped up and tallied 19 points and eight boards on 7-of-14 shooting. Tristan Thompson was also pivotal, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds while making all his shots.

J.R. Smith, after a forgettable display in Game 6, found his stroke and made 12 points—nine of which came from beyond the arc.

On the other hand, Boston received a huge boost from Tatum with his 24 points, while Horford was also aggressive throughout and dominated the low post en route to 17 points. Yet, the efforts of the two were not enough.

Jaylen Brown was largely ineffective, making only 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting. The same goes for Terry Rozier (four points on 14.3 percent shooting) who didn't live up to his "Scary Terry" nickname.

What's next?

The victory gave the Cavs their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, joining the likes of Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat (also with LeBron) as the only teams to reach the incredible feat.

LeBron James and Co. headlines the Cleveland vs Boston Game 7 results in the NBA
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James soars to dunk during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals

LeBron, for his part, is only the sixth player to reach eight straight NBA Finals—four with Miami and four with Cleveland. He joins an elite company that includes Bill Russell (10), Tom Heinsohn (9), Sam Jones (9), K.C. Jones (8) and Frank Ramsey (8), all of whom were part of the Celtics' dynasty in the 1960s.

For what it's worth, James is the only player to do it after that era.

The Cavs will now wait for the Western Conference Finals results between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. The two are set to play Game 7 at Toyota Center, with the Warriors aiming to join Cleveland for a fourth straight final and the Rockets seeking their first appearance in the big dance since 1995.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 6:02 PM (167 days ago)            #37
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NBA West Finals: It’s a Battle for Supremacy!

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

It all comes down to this: Game 7, a winner-takes-all finale between unarguably the best teams in the NBA this 2017-18 season.

Everybody, even the casual basketball fans expected a thrilling series between the two; and blowouts aside, their match-up has lived up to expectations. No team led by two games and it was a see-saw affair through and through, with both powerhouses splitting their home and away games in the opening four matches.

Houston will be happy with their home-court advantage in the final game of the Western Conference Finals. However, make no mistake, SBOBET odds point to a closely-contested affair as the Warriors try to show that they know how to win when it matters.

Talking Points

We can't move on to the finale without discussing the latest match-up between the two, and man what a spectacular Game 6 that was!

The Warriors didn't look like themselves in the first half and appeared on their way to an early summer (by Golden State standards). However, trailing by ten at halftime, the Bay Area team pulled off a turnaround of epic proportions and outscored the Rockets 64-25 in the second half—even limiting Houston's high-octane offence to just nine points in the fourth quarter. NINE POINTS!

Klay Thompson was at the heart of the Warriors' comeback, banking nine-three pointers en route to 35 points. It was the "Game 6 Klay" we all know, the same man who made an NBA playoff-record 11 three-pointers in Game 6 of the 2016 West Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Thompson was pivotal, and the Dubs will certainly need him at his best once again when they play the decider at Houston. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant remain the main act, but Thompson is equally important to keep the Golden State engine running.

The same goes for Draymond Green who was overshadowed by Thompson's raging display from deep. Green quietly made history as he became the first-ever player in NBA history to finish a postseason game with at least nine assists, five blocks and four steals.

With Golden State's other utility man Andre Iguodala still doubtful to play, Green's contributions will be highlighted even more.

On the other hand, for the Rockets, the more pressing issue is the status of All-Star point guard Chris Paul who is nursing a right hamstring injury. In the absence of CP3, Houston blew a 17-point lead and lost to the Warriors by 29 points.

The Clutch City team had 26 assists in the match, but it was clear they missed Paul's contribution on the offensive end. After all, the nine-time NBA All-Star has averaged 19.8 points through five games in the series, even scoring 27 and 20 points as they won back-to-back games in Oracle Arena and Toyota Center.

According to reports, Paul is "less likely than likely" to play. And if those reports are true, James Harden and Co. will undoubtedly have a hard time even if they are playing at home—we have all seen how they struggled in the closing stages of Game 6 despite a hot start.

History

The Warriors have been in this situation before. In fact, it was worse for them in 2016 when they had to battle back from 3-1 down to defeat the Thunder and book a ticket to the NBA Finals.

Not to mention that the Oklahoma team back then featured Russell Westbrook and 2014 Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant—who eventually moved to California to join Golden State the following summer.

Put simply, Golden State know what it takes to win in such clutch situations, and that mentality could prove crucial in Game 7.

Houston, in contrast, raise doubts about their mindset. They had the Finals ticket in front of them, but they let adversity and discouragement get the better of them.

As SBOBET odds predicted, Chris Paul remains as game-time decision for the Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul sustains hamstring injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Harden said they remain confident of sealing the series, emphasising that they know what they have to do with or without Paul. Nonetheless, the Warriors are the same, with Thompson saying: "If we take the same focus and execute the game plan [in Game 7] like we should, I have all the confidence in the world in this team."

What are the odds?

Despite finishing at the top of the West and getting home-court advantage over the Warriors, the Rockets are still labelled as the underdogs at SBOBET.com.

Mike D'Antoni's men are tipped at Asian Handicap odds +5.50 @ 2.00 while the Warriors—as it has been throughout the series—are the favourites to advance at odds of -5.50 @ 1.90.

Such NBA betting odds are expected though considering that the Dubs are the defending champions that boast four All-Stars and two former MVPs. On the other hand, the Rockets are facing the possibility of playing with only Harden as their legitimate All-Star calibre player.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that the final match between the two teams is predicted to end up a low-scoring affair. Under 209.00 pays at 1.90, which suggests that it's highly likely that the two would end up scoring less than 100 points each.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 6:11 PM (167 days ago)            #38
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Golden Dynasty Continues for the Warriors

Golden State Warriors 101-92 Houston Rockets

It was hard work. It was SEVEN GAMES. However, after all the careless plays and frequent showboating of their immense talent, the Golden State Warriors came out on top of the West, again.

The Western Conference Finals results won't be forgotten any time soon. The Houston Rockets fought hard and almost stole the series away from the defending champions; but as what we have seen in the decisive Game 7, experience goes a long way.

It helped the Warriors that they have four All-Stars in their fold, though that's just trivial for the Rockets who can't use Chris Paul's absence as an excuse after finishing as the best team in the NBA and getting home-court advantage over the Bay Area team.

Highlights of the game

Golden State are the best third-quarter team in the league, and as if the Rockets needed any reminder of that, the Dubs exploded big time at the start of the second half to pull away for good.

Trailing by 11 points at halftime, the Warriors turned the game around by outscoring the Rockets by 18 points in the third canto.

Stephen Curry sparked the turnaround and scored 14 points. He hit four of his five shots from deep in the quarter, including the dagger with 3:58 left that gave them the lead (for good), 64-61.

Houston, in contrast, went ice cold as the Warriors roll. They failed to convert any of their 14 attempts from the three-point land in the penultimate period—an ugly stretch that formed part of 27 straight misses from the said area.  The Rockets ended up making only seven out of 44 three-pointers.

James Harden, in the absence of Paul, tried to rescue the Rockets from their demise. Nonetheless, his 32 points were not enough to counter Golden State's firepower—it was mission impossible with Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson clicking offensively.

Curry finished with a near triple-double of 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He also had four steals to highlight his all-around performance in the crucial game.

Durant had 34 markers while Thompson chipped in 19 points on 61.5 percent shooting—the highest shooting clip among all Warriors. Draymond Green was also pivotal, thanks to his 10 points, 13 boards and five assists.

On the other hand, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and PJ Tucker combined for 57 points, but they were only the other bright spots for a Houston team that largely disappointed. Trevor Ariza was held scoreless throughout the 41 minutes he was on the court.

"This is a situation we've never been in before: to win a game seven on the road and keep our composure for the whole series," Curry said after securing the West championship. "All those hurdles and obstacles, we got over them, so it's an unbelievable feeling. Winning a championship is hard, so this is a testament to that."

Key statistics

The Warriors fell behind by as much as 15 points in the first half, something that Warriors coach Steve Kerr described as "bizarre." In Kerr's defence, the manner the Dubs' fell to the huge hole was weird as well: they committed four fouls in the opening 55 seconds with Thompson drawing two, leading to his early benching.

"I saw one of the worst quarters of basketball we've ever played and we're down five points," Kerr said after the first half. "So if we can get our act together, we'll be fine."

However, the Dubs made up for it with an excellent third quarter showing. Despite Thompson playing only three minutes in the quarter, they scored 35 points while shooting 53 percent overall and 55 percent from distance.

Durant also played a key role in the Dubs' comeback victory, scoring 21 of his 34 points in the second half—all after struggling for the most part of the series.

What's next?

Golden State Warriors versus Cleveland Cavaliers: Chapter IV. Need we say more?

The Warriors join the Cavs as two of only five teams to reach four straight NBA Finals. They will now renew their rivalry that has really developed over the years.

Golden State won the title in 2015 and 2017, while Cleveland stopped what could have been a Warriors' three-peat by lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2016—doing so against the record-breaking 72-9 California squad.

With the Western Conference Finals results finally in, basketball fans await the Kevin Durant vs LeBron James matchup
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James drives on Golden State's Kevin Durant during an NBA regular season game in Oracle Arena

NBA Finals betting odds point to the Warriors as the overwhelming favourites, but LeBron James—who has single-handedly carried the Cavs to the ultimate party—will be keen to prove otherwise.

The NBA Finals begins this June, with the Warriors getting the home-court advantage after finishing with a better record than the Cavs.

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31-May 2018 Thursday @ 6:16 PM (167 days ago)            #39
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Cavs vs Warriors: Who Will Draw First Blood in NBA Finals?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors

The Warriors and Cavaliers will meet again in the NBA Finals; and despite talks about how "boring" it is to see the two juggernauts battle for the title for the fourth straight year, no one can deny how dominant they have been in the regular season and in the playoffs.

Now, as we head to Game 1 of The Finals, the more serious question that needs to be asked is: who will win?

The basketball purists—and our NBA Finals betting odds—will tell you that it's impossible to beat a Golden State team that boasts what could be described as the best collection of individual talent that the league has ever seen. However, LeBron James, unarguably the best basketball player on the planet right now, is more than determined to prove that he can lead his Cavaliers to the promised land once again.

Talking Points

No matter how you look at it, the biggest and most intriguing storyline in the fourth chapter of the Golden State-Cleveland rivalry is "Four versus One."

The Dubs' death lineup is for real and you can ask the Houston Rockets, the West and the NBA's top team, about that. Put simply, the Warriors is unlike any other squad in the history of the league.

They have two former MVPs in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green, and a four-time NBA All-Star and three-point contest champ in Klay Thompson. Add there the injured Andre Iguodala—perhaps one of the best utility men in the league—and we could say that it's "Five vs One."

Nonetheless, much like the Warriors, LeBron James is unlike any other player that the league has ever seen (sorry Michael Jordan).

LeBron James rallied for the Cavaliers to reach the NBA Finals Betting Odds
Cavaliers forward LeBron James drives through the defense of Boston Celtics guards in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals

The King is a one-man wrecking crew, a tireless cyborg, a freak of nature. He has carried the Cavs to this stage all by himself; and if there's one thing we learned in the 2017/18 playoffs, it's to never bet against LeBron. NEVER.

He helped the Wine and Gold survive the Indiana Pacers in the first round, led them in the sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the semi-finals, and used his out-of-this-world talent and athleticism to beat the genius of Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

LeBron is LeBron and despite all the hate he receives, he always gives that sense of assurance that his team can win every game with him on the floor.

Moreover, if his teammates play like their lives depend on it—much like in Game 7 against Boston—there's no doubt they can give the Warriors problems.

Shared talent and experience goes a long way, and both teams have that.

History

As mentioned, this will be the fourth time that they will meet. The Golden State Warriors won the title in 2015 and 2017 against the Cavaliers, the first one ending in six games and the second in just five.

However, it should be noted that the Cavs beat the best version of the Warriors in 2016. Golden State (72-9)broke the Chicago Bulls' record for most wins in a season during that campaign, but LeBron and his crew spoiled their historic run by stealing the O'Brien Trophy.

Oh, and they made history while doing that, becoming the first team to win the NBA title after going down 3-1 in the finals.

This season, the Warriors totally dominated the Cavs. They met only two times and the Bay Area team won both matches with Durant leading the way.

For what it's worth though, LeBron averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists in those two games—he's averaging a near triple-double of 34.0 points, 9.2 boards and 8.8 dimes this postseason.

What are the odds?

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are both happy to be on the top of NBA betting tips
Warriors forward Kevin Durant hugs teammate Stephen Curry after they beat the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals

NBA betting tips have the Warriors winning Game 1...by a huge margin! But that is expected as many fans believe that the Dubs already passed their biggest test when they defeated Mike D'Antoni's Rockets.

SBOBET Asian Handicap sports betting, in fact, have Golden State at -12.00 that pays at odds of 1.93. Meanwhile, the Cavs are given a +12.00 start at 1.97.

While that sure looks blasphemous for Cavs fans, it's worth noting that the Warriors won by an average of 23 points in their four wins against the Rockets. Cleveland, on the other hand, registered a margin of 14.25 points in their wins against the Celtics, though that's thanks in large part to their 30-point demolition of the Beantown team in Game 3 of the East Finals.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:20 PM (124 days ago)            #40
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NBA Finals: Can LeBron Beat This Odd Ditch?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors

Don't worry if you are still puzzled by what JR Smith did at the end of Game 1. LeBron James probably is scratching his head at that, too.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are once again behind in the NBA Finals after a bizarre series of events erased what was supposed to be a statement game from the King of the East. The Golden State Warriors escaped a scary loss and are now poised to put a familiar 2-0 cushion between them and the Cavaliers.

SBOBET tips also favour the Warriors to win at home. After all, they are the loaded team in this series. I don't think the Cavaliers can overcome the amount of talent the Dubs have to repeat what they did in 2016.

However, the question that needs to be asked is this: do you really want to bet against LeBron James this time around? Are you sure that a comfortable Asian Handicap can even stop this LeBron James from winning Game 2?

Talking Points

Bet online on Cavs as Tristan Thompson's flagrant foul 2 was downgraded to a flagrant 1
Cavs' Tristan Thompson confronts Warriors forward Draymond Green during overtime of the NBA Finals Game 1

Any Cavaliers vs Warriors predictions made by pundits will always have to take one man into account before they make their stand.

LeBron James always stood out whenever he squares against the Dubs in the Finals, but Game 1 of the 2018 edition was something else entirely. His 51 points easily clock in as one of the most impressive offensive performances he has ever displayed. We're not even counting his eight boards and eight dimes or the fact that he is still performing at the highest quality in his fifteenth professional year.

Unfortunately for the King, he was brought down to the ground by things he cannot control. JR Smith's blunder is a given, but a lack of scoring from George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and the rest of the Cavalier roster placed the team in a really bad spot. They shoot poorly from three but forced 37 shot attempts. Tyronn Lue obviously does not have an inkling of a clue with what to do with this decomposing dumpster fire of a roster.

Then there were the scares of Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. Late in Game 1, Thompson got himself a silly Flagrant 2 foul against Shaun Livingston. Draymond Green then did what he did best: he taunted. He effectively hooked Thompson into getting into a fight with him. The fight was tense to the point that Kevin Love got off the bench and walked into the altercation. Just in case you didn't know, that's a big no-no.

Fortunately for them, Thompson escaped suspension and will be fighting for rebounds in Game 2. Love was also spared for his violation and will be playing as well. Fans can only hope that his scoring does not disappear this time around.

Meanwhile, everything is going swimmingly well for the Warriors. With this lead, they can now focus on putting more pressure on James and head to Ohio with a 2-0 lead. However, Green will be under the radar as some of his violations weren't called by the referees.

However, as long as Durant and Curry keep on sinking threes and Klay Thompson is ready to catch and shoot, the Warriors will always be considered the favourites.

History

The Cavaliers haven't won a Game 1 against the Warriors in the Finals, and the latest game holds true to that tradition. Though the Cavaliers were this close to winning for the first time, it cannot be denied that the Cavs still lost. This might be the final series James will be playing for the Cavs, so the least they could do is help him prevent a 3-9 Finals record from tainting his legacy as the greatest.

After all, his 51 points is tied for second-highest playoff performance among active players; former Cavalier team-mate Isaiah Thomas' 53 points last season is at the top of the current players list.

Speaking of records, he now has the second-most 2-pt career field goals in NBA playoff history. He has already surpassed Tim Duncan in most playoff minutes played and is also the holder of most career playoff points.

Ray Allen's 385 career playoff 3-point field goal record is also at risk to three men. LeBron is leading with 367 and Curry is close by with 361. Klay Thompson is a distant fourth among active players with 297, and JR Smith is not far behind with 281.

What are the odds?

Cavs online betting fans delighted after the NBA announced that they will not suspend Kevin Love
Cavs' Kevin Love avoids suspension for leaving bench

It's hard to believe that LeBron will be able to do what he did in Game 1 again, so it's safe to assume that Game 2 will be a blowout. The safer option is choosing Golden State's -11.50 Asian Handicap for 1.96 in odds. If you feel like being a little risky, Cleveland +11.00 is available for 2.01.

However, I do think that the Cavaliers will be leading in the first half before they run out of gas. The lead will still be small, but Cleveland +6.00 First Half Asian Handicap will reward punters with 1.99. These two teams also score lots of points, so Over 216.00 for 1.98 is a no-brainer of a pick.

It will be interesting to see if LeBron James will be able to carry the Cavaliers through this. He has been carrying an entire state for most of the playoffs, so it's only a matter of time before he gives out and collapses under the weight.

After all, even superhuman athletes get tired.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:24 PM (124 days ago)            #41
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NBA Finals: It’s Time for LeBron to Defend The Land

Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James has been here before—being down 0-2 is nothing new to him. This time, however, the NBA Finals betting odds are way stacked against him and his Cleveland Cavaliers.

Stopping the Golden State Warriors is a job easier said than done. After all, this Bay Area team we're talking about is the same team that won two titles in the last three years and that boasts not one, not two but four All-Stars!

However, if the Cavaliers are determined to turn things around, their best and only chance is Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena where they have won eight straight games these playoffs.

Talking Points

Although the Warriors vs Cavaliers Game 3 betting tips have Golden State winning, Cavs fans have a valid reason to believe: there's just no way that The King would fall to a 0-3 hole in what could be described as his career-defining postseason.

No team in league history has ever come back after going down three-to-nothing in the NBA Finals, so it's just blasphemous to think that it will happen to 2018 LeBron—of all players!

Not to mention that the Cavs are stronger at home this year. They are 29-12 in the regular season and improved on those numbers as they tallied an 8-1 home record in this year's playoffs.

The Cavs' only defeat came from the Indiana Pacers in the opening game, though they have since made up for that with an unbeaten run at The Q.

It remains to be seen if they can maintain that streak. However, the Wine and Gold's postseason averages at home should give them added confidence. They are shooting 48 percent from the field and 37 percent from three when playing in their turf.

For comparison, they shot 43 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc in the first two games at Oracle Arena.

Shots will soon start falling for the Cavs, and all signs suggest that it would be at home this Game 3. Even Warriors marksman Klay Thompson acknowledged the difficulty of playing at Cleveland, saying: "They’re a team that’s great at home."

For the Warriors, they head into this game with smiles plastered on their faces. They can afford to lose one game, though they certainly aren't thinking of that especially with how Steph Curry is playing.

A few days ago, Curry pointed out that he's not thinking about getting the elusive Finals MVP award and emphasised that winning the title is more important. But after saying that, he scored a combined 62 points in the first two games to lead the Warriors to a 2-0 lead.

Oh, and he did that while also breaking the record for most three-pointers made in a single NBA Finals game!

LeBron has been a monster for the Cavs, but so is Curry; and it will be interesting to see how they will fare against each other this time around.

History

Besides the change of scenery, it's safe to say that the Cavs have history on their side.

In 2016, the Cavaliers also found themselves in a 0-2 hole; and against all odds, LeBron willed his team to a huge turnaround. They joined the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers as the only teams in league history to overcome a two-and-o deficit in the NBA Finals.

Moreover, that historic feat made them the only team to ever come back and win the title after trailing 3-1.

It's also worth noting that the Cavs have won two out of the three Game 3s they played in the past three finals series.

NBA Finals Betting Odds: LeBron James and Kevin Love hope to turn the odds around their favour at Game 3
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue talks with LeBron James and Kevin Love during NBA Finals Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors

What are the odds?

As usual, the Warriors are the favourites to win. Unlike in the previous SBOBET odds, though,  the game is expected to go down the wire. The Dubs are at a -4.00 handicap that pays at odds of 1.85, while the Cavs are given a +4.00 start at 2.05.

Moreover, with the Cavs likely to benefit from their home-court advantage, they are expected to keep the game close at halftime. In fact, their +0.50 First half Asian Handicap that gives 1.86 odds suggest that they are likely to be tied with the Dubs after 24 minutes of play.

Golden State, in contrast, are at First Half Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.02.

On the other hand, despite Game 1 and 2 finishing by more than 220 points each, our odds imply that the match could go either way at Cleveland. Over 217.00 pays at 1.94, while Under 217.00 have the same odds.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:27 PM (124 days ago)            #42
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NBA Finals: Can the Warriors Finally Sweep the Cavs?

Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Golden State are now up 3-0 against Cleveland, and they have a chance to complete a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

The league hasn't seen a sweep in the finals since 2007 when a LeBron James-led Cavaliers lost to the San Antonio Spurs in four games.

However, with how things are shaping up, it's not impossible for the Dubs to achieve the elusive feat and pile more misery on LeBron. After all, it's not often that a team can boast beating The King at the peak of his powers.

While most fans hope the Warriors would give the Cavs the W in Game 4 before finishing them off via a gentleman's sweep, NBA Finals betting tips suggest that it's unlikely to happen. The Bay Area team certainly don't want any reminder of that 3-1 horror story.

Talking Points

Cleveland fans had their hopes up heading to Game 3. The Cavs have only lost once at the Quicken Loans Arena this postseason and were riding an eight-game winning streak prior to the match-up.

However, as it turns out, home-court advantage was not enough for the Cavs to defeat the Warriors. Golden State are simply in another level.

Having four All-Stars showed its benefit in their latest match-up. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson playing poorly and combining for just three makes from beyond the arc, Kevin Durant stepped up and denied the Cavs a victory with his 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Durant's career-high overshadowed another brilliant performance from LeBron James who finished with a triple-double of 33 points, 10 boards and 11 dimes.

It also put a damper on Rodney Hood's coming-of-age performance that saw the former Utah Jazz guard shoot 63.6 percent from the field in 25 minutes of play.

Another matter worthy of discussion is Andre Iguodala's return to the Warriors lineup. The former Philadelphia 76ers star and 2015 NBA Finals MVP had a solid outing for the Dubs in his first game since picking up a knee injury in the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.

Iguodala, who completes Golden State's famed "Hamptons 5" lineup, finished with eight points and two rebounds. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that the Warriors outscored the Cavs by 14 points in the 22 minutes that he played on the court. Iguodala was a plus-14 after the game,  second to Kevin Durant in terms of effectiveness.

Indeed, if the Cavs can't beat the Warriors who weren't even at their best, then there's no way they'll be able to take down the defending champions in this series.

As usual, the Cavs need everything to go their way in Game 4. Besides making their shots, they need the Curry, Thompson, Durant and Draymond Green to have a bad day at the same time—I won't talk about the probability of that happening!

The Warriors have their sights on a third title in four years, and it's doubtful if the Cavs have enough gas and fighting spirit left to at least delay the inevitable.

History

The Warriors are looking for the first NBA Finals sweep in 11 years, something which they failed to do in the past two years.

In 2016, Golden State were up 2-0 against the Cavs, but they choked big time and eventually gave up a 3-1 lead to allow Cleveland to win their first Larry O'Brien Trophy. Meanwhile, in 2017, the Warriors lost in their third game after getting a two-to-nothing lead, though they managed to close out the series in just five games for their second title.

On the other hand, the Cavs will be looking to become the first team in league history to reverse a 0-3 deficit. It has never been done before in the playoffs and seems an impossible task for them given their current roster.

LeBron and Co., though, will find some silver lining from the fact that there are a few teams who have forced a Game 7 after losing the first three games of a postseason series. The New York Knicks did it in the NBA Finals in 1951 against the Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings), while the Denver Nuggets also forced the decider against the Utah Jazz in their 1994 conference semi-finals matchup.

Furthermore, the Portland Trail Blazers were the last team to do it, pushing the third-seeded Dallas Mavericks to a do-or-die affair in their first-round meeting in 2003.

LeBron James and company were overshadowed in the NBA Finals betting tips following their another defeat
LeBron James looks up at the scoreboard during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3

What are the odds?

Just like in Game 3, SBOBET odds on the Warriors vs Cavs Game 4 have Golden State winning by a low margin again.

In fact, SBOBET Asian Handicap sports betting put the Warriors at -6.00 @ 1.99, while the Cavs are at +6.00 @ 1.91.

On the other hand, our odds suggest a repeat of their latest match that ended with just a combined 212 points. Over 215.50 pays at 1.91, while Under 215.50 is at 1.97.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:30 PM (124 days ago)            #43
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Golden in the Buckeye State: Warriors Sweep the Cavaliers!

Cleveland Cavaliers 85 - 108 Golden State Warriors

It was like seeing Avengers: Infinity War all over again.

We all wanted to see a different NBA Finals, to make the NBA fun and exciting again. When the final matchup was slated to be a rematch of the past three NBA Finals, we hoped to see something different.

We hoped that previous Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors results would matter little and that LeBron James would be able to do the impossible. We hoped to see something different, something more memorable, to come out of this seemingly one-sided massacre.

However, everyone knew how the Avengers fared against Thanos. All of the planning done by these heroes were undone once Thanos got all the stones he needed.

In the case of the Warriors, the Infinity Stones were the Hamptons Five and Steve Kerr's genius coaching. There was simply nothing James, Cleveland and the rest of the league could do but shudder at the sight of a dynasty being built at the Bay.

They sit on the throne as it was prophesised, and it seems like there's nothing we can do but pray the monotony of the league does not extend its stay.

Highlights of the Game

Basketball betting tips knew that Stephen Curry will be one of the leading scorer
Stephen Curry shoots in front of Cleveland Cavaliers' Jeff Green during the second half of Game 4

You don't need to check any Golden State Warriors highlights to know at which quarter did the Cavs see their hopes of an upset crumble. The Dubs have always been a third-quarter team, and this game didn't make any difference.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant led a charge at the start of the second half that doomed the Cavs into another summer of disappointment. Curry had 25 points by the time the third frame was past the half-way point, and the rest of the Dubs played beautiful, unselfish basketball while keeping the rest of the Cavaliers on a low shooting night.

The Dubs entered the last quarter of the NBA season with an eye-popping lead, and the quiet Quicken Loans Arena crowd was slowly coming to terms with the idea of the Warriors celebrating their third championship in four games on their home floor.

The Warriors started giving out celebratory embraces when the Hamptons Five were taken off the court with a 25-point lead and 2:47 remaining on the clock. Every single player on the Golden State bench was smiling and preparing for a long night of high fives and champagne fizzing everywhere. Meanwhile, LeBron looked sullen as he spent the last four minutes of the 2017/18 season on the bench, mulling over his future.

Key Statistics

Durant was named Finals MVP for two straight years. He joins an elite company of players that have done the feat: among those in the club are James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan.

This is also the first time a team has won back-to-back NBA championships. The last ball club to do so was LeBron's Miami Heat in 2012-2013. The last Western Conference team to win back-to-back titles was Kobe's Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

This is also the first NBA title for veteran journeyman Nick Young. The 33-year-old, also known by his "Swaggy P" monicker, has bounced around from Washington, Toronto, Philadelphia and Los Angeles before finally getting crowned as NBA Champion at the Bay.

What's Next?

LeBron James was sad to see how the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors Results ended
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wipes his face during a conference

The future is far from the minds of the Golden State Warriors as they just want to celebrate their victory after a testing season of basketball. However, it's not bad to consider things moving forward.

Kevin Durant has an upcoming player option in the summer. It's obvious that he wants to stay with Golden State, but going with the option means that one of the team's key role men would have to go. Young, David West, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia are at the end of their contracts, and Durant may take a pay cut to keep them.

There have also been reports of Klay Thompson being willing to take a pay cut to keep the roster. After all, their toughest challenge in the playoffs came from the West where a tough Houston Rockets squad took them to seven games.

The future is up in the air for James and Cleveland. We can be certain that James will want to keep his streak of eight consecutive Finals appearances going, and the Cavaliers don't look the least bit ready to help him make it back.

There are plenty of teams that want LeBron's signature. After all, his mere presence on the court instantly turns any team into instant contenders. It will be interesting to see where LeBron heads from here. After all, he has fulfilled his promise and brought a championship to the Land. Fans all over the league will be looking up LeBron James updates in order to find out where he will take his talents next.

Should LeBron leave, there are plenty of options the Cavs could take. They could unload Love to get some draft picks. They could also look for young players in the draft. However, they should definitely not keep Tyronn Lue in the bench for one more season.

Even if LeBron does decide to stay in Ohio, there's nothing Lue could do except being a yes man to one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:32 PM (124 days ago)            #44
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2018 NBA Free Agency: Ranking the Best Signings So Far

The NBA Free Agency has nothing been short of surprising, to say the least.

While the whole world was engulfed with the football World Cup in Russia, the NBA took a share of the spotlight thanks to some of its biggest stars who made some surprising moves that either left fans in disbelief or in utter euphoria.

Indeed, free agency has always been the opportunity for NBA franchises to build their teams and elevate themselves from pretenders to contenders. And today, we take a look and rank five best free agent acquisitions in the league so far.

5. DeAndre Jordan (Dallas Mavericks)

Contract: One year, $22.9 million

Jordan is a Maverick and he's not backing out of his commitment this time.

The Dallas Mavericks finally got the centre they oh so covet after years of missing out on big-name free agents. Jordan is unarguably one of the best big men in the league and though his defence has regressed over the past year, he remains an elite rebounder and pick-and-roll player.

In fact, Jordan finished second in rebounding (15.2) and in field goal percentage (64.5) last season. Now, he's set to par up with Dirk Nowitzki in the frontcourt and play alongside the Mavs' new backcourt duo Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic.

4. Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)

Contract: Two years, $61.5 million

NBA Betting odds: Dub Nation are still the team to beat as Kevin Durant decides to stay
Kevin Durant addresses the press after the Golden State Warriors 2018 NBA finals win

Durant, unsurprisingly, chose to stay with the Warriors which makes it a no-brainer one of the best moves in free agency. After all, how can retaining the second-best basketball player on the planet not be a great move?

There were rumours that Durant could opt out and find a new home as he has nothing left to prove after winning two titles and back-to-back NBA Finals MVP awards. However, the allure of playing with arguably the best basketball team ever assembled and winning more rings is hard to pass by.

Golden State are still the team to beat, and it doesn't help that Durant continues to take a pay cut just to play for them.

3. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

Contract: Five years, $148 million

Denver secured their future by retaining one of the brightest young talents in the NBA.

Jokic is, by far, the best passing big man of his generation. And at just 23 years old, he has every opportunity to grow and become one of the top players in the league. Put simply, the sky is the limit for the former 41st pick from Serbia.

For the second year running, Denver barely missed the playoffs in the ultra-tough Western Conference. Hence, it's difficult not to applaud this signing that almost guarantees they can compete in the years to come.

2. DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State Warriors)

Contract: One year, $5.3 million

The Warriors' "super-duper death lineup" is complete. As if they need another All-Star, the reigning champions acquired DeMarcus Cousins who is unarguably the best big man in the NBA.

Sure enough, there are concerns about Cousins' health and fitness considering that he's still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. However, getting him for the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.3 million is certainly worth it.

NBA News: The strongest got stronger as Warriors acquire DeMarcus Cousins in free agency
DeMarcus Cousins, still with New Orleans then, get past Charlotte's Marvin Williams for the dunk

His acquisition gives the Warriors five All-Stars, which is undoubtedly a scary team to face come playoffs. Even Cousins himself acknowledged the potential of the Bay Area team now that he's on board.

"The potential is scary, that's obvious," Cousins said via ESPN. "But, of course, it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication, and also a lot of sacrifice from not only myself, but other guys on the team as well. I think that's something we're aware of, and it's something we've accepted already. I think that's why these guys also wanted me to be a part of this team. The potential is scary."

1. LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)

Contract: Four years, $154 million

LeBron James is a Laker. Let that sink in for a moment.

In one could be said as the biggest and most eye-popping NBA news of the past week, the greatest player of all time decided to take his talents to Hollywood.

LeBron is a transcendent player who has proven over the years that he can take any team to the Finals. Just look at his miracle work for the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers last season, helping them beat the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics en route to a fourth straight finals berth.

James is a player who can alter the NBA betting odds, and upon his move to LA, most betting lines gave the Purple and Gold the second-best chance of winning the title...only behind Golden State.

Los Angeles is a free-agent destination once again and props to Magic Johnson for hitting a home run this time.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:35 PM (124 days ago)            #45
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NBA: Who Will Be the Next King of the East?

LeBron James has gone too Hollywood. Now, the search for a new ruler in the Eastern Conference is set to begin.

LeBron has basically dominated the East for the better part of his career. He made eight straight trips to the NBA Finals—four with the Miami Heat and four with the Cleveland Cavaliers—and hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy three times.

However, with the King opting to move to the Western Conference and play for the Los Angeles Lakers, the door opened for the next generation of stars to take over the Southeast, Atlantic and Central divisions.

Today, we take a look at five potential contenders who can alter the NBA betting odds and replace LeBron as the King of the East.

Joel Embiid

2017-18 Season stats: 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 blocks per game

A double-double machine with ridiculous defensive instincts and great footwork, Embiid undeniably has the talent and tools to be the East's best player.

He is yet to scratch the surface of his potential as he prepares to enter his third season in the league. Despite that, however, he was already named to the All-Star team and was even one of the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award last campaign.

Health and conditioning, though, remain an issue for Embiid after missing 19 games in the 2017-18 season.

Ben Simmons

2017-18 Season stats: 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.7 blocks per game

Oft-compared to LeBron (and Magic Johnson), Simmons is unarguably on his way to greatness. His vision is said to be right on par with the younger Magic, while his overall play and ability to do everything drew him comparisons to the King.

Simmons also earned the nickname the "New Fresh Prince," a nod to being the heir apparent to LeBron.

He won the Rookie of the Year honour after being red-shirted for a year; and while the young Australian is often overshadowed by Embiid in Philadelphia, he is undoubtedly capable of being the main act.

NBA News: Ben Simmons won Rookie of the Year and could also dominate the East Conference
Ben Simmons of the 76ers getting some advice from his coach Brett Brown during game with Celtics

In a recent NBA news, Sixers legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving even described Simmons as a "once-in-a-decade player" who can become a "once-in-a-generation" type of athlete.

All that is left missing in his repertoire is that long-range shooting that continues to be his biggest flaw.

Kyrie Irving

2017-18 Season stats:24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.1 steals per game

Irving once played Robin to LeBron's Batman, and now that the King's gone, most fans believe the 26-year-old is the rightful one to take over the throne in the Eastern Conference.

A lethal scorer and crafty point guard with sick handles, Irving has all what it takes to rule over the East.  Also, considering that he's currently playing for the Boston Celtics, his path to utter dominance might just be easier.

Irving's injuries over the years are quite frustrating to see, and it remains to be seen if he can lead a team to the NBA Finals in a relatively weak bracket—something which he has failed to do over and over again during his time with the pre-Lebron Cleveland Cavaliers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

2017-18 Season stats: 26.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.4 blocks per game

He's called the Greek Freak for a reason.

Antetokounmpo can play multiple positions, and given his 6-foot-11 height and 7-foot-2 wingspan, he's easily one of the tallest and longest point guards in the league—though he usually plays as a small forward.

It's also worth noting that Giannis has shown the desire to improve year after year. He averaged just 6.8 points in his rookie season, but he has grown tremendously over the past five years, earning him two All-Star berths and the Most Improved Player of the Year in 2017.

A two-time All-NBA second team member, Giannis needs to become a game-changer for the Bucks and lead them to a deep playoff run if he wants to become the best. Fortunately, the 23-year-old is hungrier than ever to improve and do just that.

DeMar DeRozan

2017-18 Season stats:23.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.1 steals

DeRozan was the best player of the Toronto Raptors team that won the top seed in the East last season. So by default, that makes him the best player in the conference, right?

Well, their choke job against LeBron and the Cavs in the recent playoffs doesn't help that case, and he is perhaps the long shot pick to contend for the "King of the East" title.

NBA Betting odds for DeMar Derozan and Raptors making NBA Finals better now with Lebron gone in the East?
Toronto Raptors' DeMar Derozan tries to get past defender during playoff game vs Wizards

Only his performance in the upcoming NBA season can change the narrative. But with Dwane Casey gone, the future is still uncertain for the University of Southern California standout.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:38 PM (124 days ago)            #46
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Should the Lakers Spend a Pretty Penny on the Klaw Machine?

It's not a stretch to claim that the Los Angeles Lakers are feeling like a kid that's really good at playing the claw machine at the local arcade.

They just got the best piece every single team in the association wanted out of the impressive pool of players in the machine. This Kingly piece named LeBron James quickly became the headline of many NBA news sites. After all, who wouldn't be shocked to see such a fantastic player such as him make the switch and make the already-difficult Western Conference even more stacked?

However, it seems like Magic Johnson is far from walking away from the claw game. There is still one piece they believe can help them make the NBA Finals and add another championship banner to the already-impressive gallery at Staples Center.

The man they want is Kawhi Leonard, the biggest claw in today's NBA. It's pretty obvious that the Lakers are more than willing to spend a pretty penny to get the man they want. However, the question that begs to be asked is this: should they shoot their shot this year or wait for the time they can freely court their man?

Kawhi to Hollywood? Yeah!

It's no secret that the man wants to leave the Lone Star State after spending a bizarre season of the lineup for the Spurs. There's no question that the franchise has been frustrated with their star's outright refusal to play despite the Spurs' medical team clearing the kid from Compton to return to the team.

His unwillingness to return to the roster greatly affected the Spurs season. Head coach Gregg Popovich quickly assumed that the star wasn't going to be returning to the squad, and some of the Spurs players had they say about the bizarre situation. It quickly became clear after San Antonio's poor series against the Golden State Warriors that they might have to ship him off elsewhere.

NBA News: Kawhi Leonard's option is to stay with Spurs or team up with LeBron James at Lakers
Lakers are looking to recruit Kawhi Leonard away from Gregg Popovich's Spurs and pair him with LeBron James

Now that it's been made clear that he will not be playing the rest of his career in a Spurs jersey, Pop and Sons are looking to unload Kawhi into a situation where he will be headed to a team of his choice and the Spurs would get quality picks in return.

Kawhi's desire to return and play in Los Angeles is a poorly kept secret among many basketball fans, and there's no question that the Lakers is the most ideal destination for the 27-year-old.

The move is plausible for every party involved. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are more than interested to bring Kawhi over. They also have exciting young talent that San Antonio can groom to become the successors to the keys of the Spurs Kingdom. Reports have also stated that Popovich wants Kawhi to be happy and will look for the best option for him.

Of course, the prospect of playing with the best player of his generation, who he ironically defeated to get his first championship ring, is definitely an intriguing idea for him.

The Clippers could also be a destination for Kawhi, but every Laker fan that keeps on refreshing Kawhi Leonard updates are hoping with every fibre of their being that they will see the Klaw donning the Purple and Gold.

Is It Worth the Risk?

NBA News: Magic Johnson believes that Kawhi Leonard is one of the major steps in Lakers' renovation
Magic Johnson is planning to build Los Angeles Lakers superteam with LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard

Sure, the Lakers can pull the trigger and make an offer the Spurs just cannot refuse. However, should Magic really make the move now?

Sure, they are under pressure to win now, but LeBron James' contract secures his services for the Lakers until 2021. This kind of commitment from LeBron gives the Lakers front office this offseason and the 2019 summer to craft a superb deal for Kawhi should trade talks fall through.

Moreover, they also have a few issues with their payroll that they have to address. They have to find a way to unload Luol Deng's ridiculous $18,000,000 contract, and there's no way the Spurs would take on such a contract in exchange for Kawhi.

They can also involve one of their three young stars -- Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball -- in a package in order to acquire Kawhi. While they will likely get their man in doing so, they will likely miss out on the long-term stability the three lads can provide when they reach their full potential.

Should the Lakers Play Now?

As much as acquiring Kawhi through trade will vastly improve their outright odds at SBOBET, I don't think the Lakers should trade with Spurs this offseason and see how the season plays out.

I don't think sacrificing one of their three future stars for instant gratification is worth the risk. I think they've had enough experience with trying to force super teams to happen.

Moreover, if Kawhi really wants to move to LA, then he will leverage a move to the Lakers. I think the better thing for them is to talk to Kawhi and make him verbally commit to signing with the Lakers in the offseason.

However, I will be the last man to complain if Magic orchestrates a masterstroke to acquire Kawhi. After all, LeBron needs all the help he can get against the ridiculously strong Warriors.

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 5:41 PM (124 days ago)            #47
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DeMarcus Cousins is a Warrior and It’s So Wrong But Right

DeMarcus Cousins joining the Golden State Warriors is downright unfair at first look, but closer inspection suggests that it is a smart decision and makes a lot of sense.

While LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers was a bit surprising, Cousins' decision to join Golden State was an even more shocking NBA news and was met with a chorus of disapproval from fans and players alike—well, except for diehard fans and players of the Bay Area team.

The former Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans big man is a four-time NBA All-Star, and as if the Warriors need another superstar, they managed to lure Cousins for the cheap midlevel exception worth $5.3 million (again, unfair!).

However, Cousins has every right to decide where he wants to play; and while his choice raised calls to review the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA, its franchises and players, it can't be denied the 27-year-old Alabama native actually put himself in the best position for next year when he is set to become an unrestricted free agent once again.

More time, less pressure to recover

It's easy to judge the Warriors for "ruining" the NBA with the Cousins signing. After all, there's no need for the reigning NBA Champions to add another All-Star to their "Death Lineup" that already boasts Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

Nevertheless, it's difficult to blame them given that they are only one of few teams—or perhaps the only team—that can be patient with Cousins who, if you have forgotten, ruptured an Achilles tendon last January.

At Golden State, there's no pressure for Cousins to rush his recovery from an injury of such gravity. The Warriors' don't need to install the centre into their lineup right away, giving him more time to focus on regaining his fitness.

NBA News: DeMarcus Cousins leaves Anthony Davies for Warriors
DeMarcus Cousins chat with ex New Orleans teammate Anthony Davies when he was sidelined by injury

Sure enough, it is a gamble for the Warriors. Recovering from a torn Achilles is a difficult process and more often than not, athletes who suffered from the said injury never returned to their old, explosive selves.

However, for a paltry one-year-deal at $5.3 million, it's certainly worth the risk. As Cousins said recently, the Warriors' potential is scary; and indeed, if he returns to at least borderline All-Star form, the Dubs will be unstoppable.

"The potential is scary. That’s obvious," Cousins said. "Of course that’s going to take a lot of hard work. A lot of hard work and dedication and obviously a lot of sacrifice from not only myself, but other guys on the team as well. I think that’s something we all are aware of and that’s something we accepted already. That’s why these guys wanted me to be a part of this team."

Changing the narrative of the "Boogie" man

Although Cousins is known as an emotional player with poor work ethics, it's worth noting that he has never been with a winning team.

In Sacramento, Cousins was bigger than the Kings. In New Orleans, he had a share of the spotlight with Anthony Davis. But now that he's with Golden State, he will need to learn to work with a team and adjust to Steve Kerr's system.

There's no better place for Cousins to change the ugly reputation that has long haunted him than with the Golden State Warriors. Even JaVale McGee, oft-ridiculed for his basketball IQ, was able to transform his narrative with the Dubs!

He can prove with the Warriors he's not just about gaudy stat lines; that he can also make sacrifices to win; and that he has what it takes to make a difference and not just whine.

"I don't have to be the guy every night. I've always wanted a team where everything doesn't rely on me and now I'm in that position," Cousins furthered.

Of course, the ring!

NBA Betting odds still say it will be Warriors lifting the trophy in 2019
Golden State Warriors celebrate 2018 Finals win in front of fans during parade

Well, this is a big reason, isn't it?

Perhaps, Cousins could have chosen to sign with the Boston Celtics and move to the Eastern Conference. That way, he could have had written a better story and legend for himself: an injured All-Star big man joining the Celtics and helping them reach the Finals—or even win the title.

Nonetheless, if winning a ring is the priority, there's really no better choice than the Warriors. Just look at the latest NBA betting odds at SBOBET.

...or ask Kevin Durant about that.

Put simply, Cousins can take all the time he wants to recover, become a better player and learn the Warriors' system, get paid millions of dollars and ultimately win the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Also, if Cousins recovers well and recaptures his form, he could be off to a big payday in the summer next year!

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16-Jul 2018 Monday @ 10:09 PM (120 days ago)            #48
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Making a Bigger Rocket: How Will Houston Beat Golden State?

If you kept an eye on the latest NBA news, you know that the offseason has been one of the craziest yet. Plenty of shocking free agency moves were made and the rookies have announced their arrival in the Summer League. However, the Golden State Warriors are still king of the basketball world, and that fact won't likely change any time soon.

The Houston Rockets were once the biggest team to come out of the West and actually give the Dubs a proper challenge. However, Chris Paul went down with an injury and missed the important two games, which the Warriors easily won on the way to a third NBA title in four years.

H-Town could still add a third banner to their haul with the help of Paul and James Harden, but the West just got a lot tougher. I'm not saying that the Rockets won't make it back to the Promised Land, but they got to have some things go their way.

Rivals got a boost

Many of the teams surrounding them went through a lot of offseason changes that has an immediate effect on their rosters. However, it would be criminal not to talk about the elephant in the room.

DeMarcus Cousins is a Warrior.

The league's best center is only getting paid $5,337,000 to be able to play for the Dubs. The man who averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds per game in only 48 appearances is getting less dough than Shaun Livingston.

Let that sink in for a minute. All done? Good. Now let's talk about the Dubs again.

Cousins claimed that only one other team gave him an offer sheet before he decided to chase a ring with the Warriors. Sure, an Achilles injury ended many a great career, but this is Boogie Cousins we're talking about. It's a foolish play for everyone (the Rockets included) to not even give him a one-year loan spell.

Everyone will rue letting a beast like Cousins go to the Warriors. However, the Dubs aren't the only ones the Rockets should worry about.

The Los Angeles Lakers are suddenly back to contention status after getting the best player on the planet in LeBron James to leave the Eastern Conference and settle in Hollywood. The mere presence of James quickly halted the rebuilding process of the Lakers and put them in the championship conversation.

They are reportedly chasing after Kawhi Leonard, but it is still unsure if the Spurs would even want to send their franchise star to a conference rival. LeBron is not rushing things, so it's highly possible that they will not get their co-star until the next offseason.

Then there's the Dallas Mavericks. Not only did they finally get their big man in DeAndre Jordan, they also have a future star. Luka Doncic is a supreme player who could take them to the Finals in the next ten years or so. The Rockets don't have that much time with their star duo.

Houston, we have a roster problem

Aside from the opposition around them retooling and upgrading, the Rockets experienced a talent drain of their own.

Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, two important pieces to the Rockets' defensive schemes and three-point shooting, have blasted off Toyota Center for Phoenix and Los Angeles, respectively. With two three-and-D players gone, Mike D'Antoni needs to find suitable replacements quick.

Another issue would is the center position. Houston fans are browsing through many basketball portals, hoping to see one positive Clint Capela news story. The man they drafted with the 25th pick in the 2014 Draft developed into an important cog of their machine and is a constant part of Houston Rockets highlights with his athletic dunks. He is now demanding a fat pay raise from his employers or he will pack up and leave.

Of course, many are confident that he will re-sign with the team that drafted him. However, the inability of the Rockets to seal the deal with their center has become a huge source of frustration for die-hard Rockets fans. The lack of progress in their negotiations give teams like the Lakers, the Spurs and the Pelicans opportunities to poach him away.

What should the Rockets do?

If the Rockets want to finally get over the hurdle that is the Golden State Warriors, they need to look beyond scoring. The Lakers believe that they should not fight fire with fire, and that's something the Rockets should look into.


It may sound blasphemous to D'Antoni, but he really needs to improve their defensive efficiency for the coming season. While he is slowly getting better at organizing defensive plans, he needs to become able to guard the very fluid basketball of the Warriors. This is especially true today that they finally got a big that can stretch the floor.

Of course, they need to find replacements for Ariza and Mbah a Moute. They need to find superb wing defenders to stop Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson from scoring. They have something good going for them if they can grab Marcus Smart and Rodney Hood from the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Yogi Ferrell is also a solid option.

They need to clamp down Capela with a long-term contract. I don't care if they have to shell out big bucks as long as they tie him down. He is an important piece for their campaign, and losing him would derail their plans, probably for good.

They can also get another cannon to join their ranks. There have been talks of Anthony coming over from Oklahoma City, and that is a viable option to take.

Finally, they need to have both of their stars healthy and ready to play for most of the playoffs. They were on their way to the Finals if it weren't for Paul's hamstring issues. If they can manage to keep their stars fit, then they have a great shot at the championship.

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21-Jul 2018 Saturday @ 12:06 PM (116 days ago)            #49
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Why Ending One-and-done is Good for the NBA and the Players

The NBA is on the verge of abandoning the one-and-done rule, and we say it's about time.

For those who didn't know, the NBA instituted a rule in 2006 that prevents high school players from directly jumping to the league. It requires prospects to be at least 19 years old and one year out of high school to be draft eligible.

The policy effectively ended the prep-to-pro concept and paved the way for the so-called "one and done",  a phenomenon which saw NBA prospects play one year in college before declaring for the annual draft.

The rule received plenty of criticisms from players who argued that it stops them from earning immediately. It didn't help that the NCAA—USA's governing body for the top collegiate basketball competition—and some of its member schools were recently involved in a bribery scandal, further increasing calls for the NBA to provide another route to pro basketball besides college.

And sure enough, the league responded and suggested they are already looking to put an end to the one-and-done era. In the latest NBA News, commissioner Adam Silver said they are "ready to make that change."

"It won’t come immediately, but…when I weighed the pros and cons – (and) given that (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice and her (NCAA) commission has recommended to the NBA that those one-and-done players now come directly into the league and, in essence, the college community is saying ‘We do not want those players anymore,’ I mean that sort of tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18."

It remains to be seen how the league plans to move forward about it, but there’s no doubt that it’s welcome news to everyone involved.

Today, SBOBET takes a look at why the end of one-and-done is good for the NBA, the players and even for college basketball.

What does it mean for NBA?

LeBron James came straight from high school and became one of the stars in NBA
NBA News: LeBron James is one of the best prep-to-pro players in the league

The NBA and its franchises are, of course, the main beneficiaries of the possible rule change. After all, teams can start training players and get them ready for the gruelling 82-game season as early as 18 years old.

In a star-driven league like the NBA, developing players and ensuring that they reach their full potential is top priority. It could help in stabilising the balance of power and the NBA betting odds as having better players would result in a more competitive league—though distribution is another matter.

Furthermore, the league can finally use to its development league, now called G League. There had been calls for the NBA to develop a farm system similar to the minor league in baseball and to the youth academy in football/soccer.

With the G League growing in popularity and the NBA thinking of other ways to expose players without immediately pitting them against the pros, the developmental competition could be an excellent replacement.

Also, it could be another source of income for the league and a better way to acclimate young players to the demands of the pros.

How about for the players?

Some of the best basketball players we have seen are prep-to-pro. Five-time champion and Oscar winner Kobe Bryant and new Los Angeles Laker LeBron James came straight from high school (before the rule change) and became stars in the league.

Of course, there are the likes of Kwame Brown and Sebastian Telfair who never really panned out after playing directly to the NBA; however, teams today have drastically improved in developing athletes and high school players could benefit from such high standard of training and conditioning.

The NBA is also growing faster than ever, which means more money for athletes. As mentioned above, most players argued that it prevents them from earning money after high school, so removing the rule and allowing aspiring ballers to turn professional immediately will solve that.

What now for College basketball?

NBA News: college basketball will have a long-term benefit in change 12-year rule
NBA News: Ben Simmons is one of the players that is undergoing one-and-done

Truth be told, one-and-done isn't bad for college basketball. It's bad for players. After all, the NCAA benefits from the star power that the top recruits bring.

Nonetheless, having the NBA change its 12-year rule will have a long-term benefit to college basketball, particularly the NCAA.

Of course, an NBA policy amendment will not completely end the one-and-done as players could still opt to play one year in college before declaring for the pros. Nevertheless, it would limit such instances and instead give colleges sustainability in their programs.

Imagine building your team around one player only to see that athlete leave the next year?

The level of competition will likely be an issue at first, but it's a small price they have to pay. Besides, they can increase the competition in no time given the established schools that continue to produce top talents.

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21-Jul 2018 Saturday @ 12:08 PM (116 days ago)            #50
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Analysis: Where did Carmelo Anthony’s Career Go?

If you told a basketball fan in New York City three years ago that their star man, Carmelo Anthony, would be struggling to find a career after a disappointing season in Oklahoma City, you would be likely punched in the face and be told to get out of his face in true New Yorker fashion.

However, that is exactly what has become of the former Syracuse star to fall so far from grace? He used to be one of the game's leading stars, always making the NBA news circles for his feats of athleticism.

He is a part of the legendary 2003 Draft class that saw talented players like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade drafted into the league with him. He used to wow crowds with his impeccable shooting and his killer instincts. Fans can still remember the havoc he caused while playing for those New York and Denver teams.

However, the 34-year-old New York native hasn't been in the conversation of the league's best scorer for quite some time now. While LeBron and D-Wade have still found ways to make themselves relevant, Anthony has failed to adjust his game when the hops started to go away and he began to put on a few extra pounds.

For the long-time basketball fan, it's painful to see Anthony fall from the game's good graces. The man has always been the poster boy of what a scorer is and is arguably the most gifted volume scorer the game has ever seen.

Is there is still a chance for Melo to make a return? Or is this it for the former Knicks star? SBOBET checks what happened to his career with this piece.

Father Time caught up

It's unavoidable that time catches up to everyone. Not even a once-in-a-generation talent like LeBron can carry the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Golden State Warriors during the recently concluded NBA Finals the same way he did when he played his peak years for the Miami Heat.

The same way rings true for Carmelo and the rest of the players in the 2003 Draft or older who are still playing in the league. However, fans expected Melo to age gracefully the same way LeBron and Wade did. After all, all teams need a superb scorer, and Anthony has got that in spades.

However, it's hard to deny that Father Time has finally caught up with the powerhouse scorer, and the statistics are showing that he is far from the dominant player that he once was.

NBA News: Melo's scoring averages during his stint with the OKC Thunder are the lowest of his sixteen-year career so far
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony against the Utah Jazz during Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series

In his soon-to-be-only season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Melo averaged 16.2 points per game on 15.0 field goal attempts in his 78 starts. Those scoring averages are the lowest of his sixteen-year career so far.

The biggest noticeable dip in his performance is his conversion rate within the three-point line. He has always averaged above 44% for his two-point percentages throughout his career. The fact that he struggled with finding his stroke only means that defenders have limited him from doing whatever he wants on the floor and are forcing him to make a lot of uncomfortable shots inside.

His three-point didn't take a much of a hit (he shot a decent 44% from deep) and could have been considered a terrific spot-up man off the bench for the Thunder. However, everyone knew that Melo wouldn't be the type of player to just sit on a corner and wait for a dime his way. He guffawed at the idea of sitting on the bench, instantly killing off any possibility of him making an extended run with Russell Westbrook and Paul George at OKC.

He and Wade have fallen off greatly when it comes to offensive prowess. However, Wade accepted his limits, took the hit and started off the bench for Cleveland and Miami the past season, and is still considered an instant lock in the Hall of Fame discussions. He also showed flashes throughout the season to remind fans who he is.

Melo doesn't have the same legacy as his Banana Boat buddy.

The game isn't for him

The game of basketball has evolved from the time he entered the league too. When he entered the league in 2003, the game was all about hero ball and isolation. Jordan made a final farewell tour with the Washington Wizards. Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and Tracey McGrady were the poster boys of what offence in the NBA should look, sound and feel like.

Nowadays, the game is almost unrecognisable. Valuable big men in the league are those who can keep up with the opposition and stretch the floor with their long-range shooting. The ball is thriving off of ball movement and three-point shots being taken on the regular.

Moreover, the Golden State Warriors just got reinforced, making the NBA an optional sporting league to watch in the coming season. Melo cannot hope to chase a ring with the Thunder with Westbrook running the show. He needs the ball in his hands to be effective and he won't get that while running with the Brodie.

Both the OKC front office and Melo realized that this experiment won't cut it and have decided to part ways with him. He will be sent to Atlanta in a three-team trade, and the Hawks will reportedly buy out the remaining $28,000,000 he is owed for the 2018/19 season.

His career's twilight is in his destiny. What he does with it, alongside his legacy as a player, will be affected by what he does next.

What's next for Melo?

There is huge interest coming from the Houston Rockets. They just lost valuable three-and-D defenders in the free agency and could use a serviceable scorer.  While his 16.2 points an outing for OKC is a far cry from his usual numbers, he would be a great addition to Houston's high-octane offence.

Houston Rockets Updates: The Rockets are the favourite to sign Melo
Rockets center Clint Capela, center, is fouled by GSW guard Stephen Curry, right, as he tries to score during the Western Conference finals

Rockets fans will surely be looking for the latest Houston Rockets updates to see if they acquired Anthony, but there is also something that Melo needs to realize for himself.

He needs to accept that he will not be the face of an NBA franchise any longer. He must learn to realize that coming off the bench is good for his career the same way Dwyane Wade did. He needs to become a positive contributor to his team or he will spend another year of frustration with fellow Banana Boat rider Chris Paul and Houston.

The question now is this: Can Melo actually take the hit in his ego in his quest to get a ring?

 

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24-Jul 2018 Tuesday @ 1:18 PM (113 days ago)            #51
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Analysis: Who Won the Kawhi-DeMar Trade?

Unless you're not a fan of the NBA and are simply a devoted football fan, you may have heard of another gargantuan piece of NBA news to hit the mainstream media.

In a shocking move, the San Antonio Spurs shipped off two-way-superstar-turned-prodigal-son Kawhi Leonard alongside Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a heavily protected 2019 first-round pick.

The trade greatly affected the outright odds of the two teams in leading betting websites such as SBOBET. However, it's hard to discuss trades and not speculate on which side won and which side took the L.

It would be unfair to say that one side clearly won the trade as there are huge repercussions that come with the trades that were made by both teams. You can say that the immediate winners of the trade will eventually turn out to be the biggest losers come next summer.

We will take a look at the trade that took place and judge which parties for now won and lost the trade.

Winner: San Antonio Spurs

It's hard to see someone who had to part with the franchise centrepiece that they groomed into the man that he is as winners of a mega-trade, but seeing them as anything other than winners after snagging this trade.

The season has been an odd one for the Spurs to the point that barbs have been exchanged between Gregg Popovich and Kawhi's camp through the media. After failing to sort out their differences, the Spurs accepted the inevitable and looked to trade away their star piece.

The Lakers immediately came knocking and looked for a way to bring the Compton native back to his home city. However, there was no way that the Spurs would allow their star man to make their future playoff forays more difficult by joining the Lakers.

Having him join Toronto is the best decision basketball-wise. Not only do they get an already-great baller in DeRozan who will definitely buy into the system, they also acquire a talented project in Poeltl and a first-round pick in next year's draft.

I think Spurs fans should be excited with the prospect of having DeRozan pair up with LaMarcus Aldridge and form a dominant duo in Spurs Land.

Gregg Popovich is ready to move forward talks of Leonard-DeMar NBA News
Gregg Popovich looks forward to Spurs' future with DeMar DeRozan

Loser: Kawhi Leonard

I am still confused as to how Kawhi Leonard ended up a Raptor.

He used to be one of the best players to watch in the NBA. He didn't make much fuss with the media. He was a multi-millionaire who still drove a '97 Chevrolet Tahoe. He used coupons to get free wings. He was the perfect prototype of what a Spurs player is.

Then things went weird. He didn't play all but nine regular season games for the Spurs, frustrating many of his team-mates and coaches. Some whisper that the people around him caused this irreparable discord between him and the franchise.

If he ever regretted what he did, it's too late for him to turn back now. He is still a superb player who averaged 26-6-4 during his best year as a Spur. There's no question that he will perform for the Raptors.

However, everyone knows that it is not his dream destination. Will he keep his head down and toil in his final guaranteed year? Or will he pull off a similar stunt to last year's?

Winner: DeMar DeRozan

There's a certain set of Laker fans that also called for DeMar DeRozan to come home and play for the Purple and Gold. However, he chose to display his loyalty to the team that drafted him and decided to build his future with the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors faithful -- broken by the departures of Chris Bosh, Vince Carter and Tracey McGrady -- were understandably elated with his commitment. However, it seems like Kawhi's allure was too much for Masai Ujiri to resist and pulled the plug on DeRozan's career as a Raptor.

He was understandably hurt by the franchise's betrayal, going to Instagram Stories to exhale the frustration out of his lungs. However, this trade is definitely good for his career moving forward.

He will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Sure, he will be playing in the same conference as his basketball bogeyman again, but he will be playing with one of the best coaches in the game. I fully expect his 23 ppg average last season to increase under Popovich's system.

Loser: Toronto Raptors

NBA News: Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri knows he took a risk in trading DeMar to Spurs for Kawhi
Masai Ujiri is hoping that his gamble will pay off in a championship for the Raptors

Sure, losing year after year to James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs can break any man. However, I never thought the Raptors could just easily trade their LA man for another Compton kid who reportedly doesn't even want to be there.

DeRozan has been a part of many of Toronto Raptors highlights for the better half of the decade, and it was a poor move for them to poorly communicate their intention to send their franchise star away in a blockbuster trade.

Of course, the trade was a great basketball move. Kawhi is a force that can affect both ends of the floor with a swipe of his abnormally large hands. GM Ujiri is confident that the Raptors are now a championship-caliber team with the Leonard acquisition.

However, the task for the entire Raptors franchise is to convince Kawhi that the East and the North is a better place for him to play winning basketball. They have to convince him that the great city of Toronto, ON is a place where he can grow roots and thrive as a man and a basketball player.

If Kawhi will be as mum as he was during his last year in the Lone Star State, then the franchise will be taken for a long, painful and confusing ride this season.

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24-Jul 2018 Tuesday @ 1:25 PM (113 days ago)            #52
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NBA: The Curious Case of Clint Capela

Remember Clint Capela?

Three weeks ago, the Houston Rockets centre was one of the hottest commodities in the free agency market. He is the prime example of the modern day NBA big man that can protect the rim and is effective in the pick and roll.

As a restricted free agent, Capela wasn't expected to last in the market. The Los Angeles Lakers have shown interest on the Swiss international while Houston were reportedly ready to match any offer that their 24-year-old centre will receive.

Three weeks later, however, Capela is still without a contract. Basketball junkies waiting for the latest NBA news have been left frustrated as well, no thanks to the lack of #WojBomb involving the Geneva, Switzerland native. Contract talks with the Lakers didn't get far and the Rockets now appear to be haggling for a better and more team-friendly deal.

So what exactly happened to Capela and what once seemed to be a summer of wealth? SBOBET takes a look.

Clint wants the money

Capela is a really good basketball player and has shown the desire to improve his game. In his four seasons in the league, he has consistently increased his numbers every year and eventually became a key part of the Houston offence that featured James Harden and Chris Paul.

The trio of Harden, Paul and Capela were deadly in the pick and roll; and with Paul and Harden drawing most of the defence, Capela often takes advantage to dominate inside the paint. Last season, the Swiss averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

Not to mention his defence. He's undoubtedly one of the best rim protectors in the NBA, averaging almost two blocks in 74 starts last season. According to NBA stats, opponents shot 5.1 percentage points below when he is within six feet of the rim.

Capela's presence helped Houston surprise the NBA betting odds, reaching the Western Conference finals before losing only to Golden State in seven games.

NBA News: James Harden-Clint Capela tandem plays might not be seen anymore next season
James Harden tried to set up Clint Capela in a pick and roll in NBA game versus Denver Nuggets

Sure enough, given his importance to the Rockets and what he has shown so far, Capela expected to hit a big payday this summer. He was reportedly seeking a max contract, with some NBA updates even pointing that he prefers the same deal that Steven Adams got with Oklahoma—a four-year, $100 million contract.

And in a time that Ian Mahinmi is getting $65 million over four years, Mason Plumlee with $41 million over three years and even the injury-prone Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker getting almost $20 million a season over the life of their contracts, Capela's demand seems to be reasonable.

In a surprising turn of events, however, he hasn't got any deal near his perceived worth.

No one has the cap space

Capela wants $25 million a year and simply put, no one has the cap space to pay him such a hefty price.

In fact, based on Spotrac, only four teams (Sacramento, Phoenix, Dallas and Philadelphia) are below the cap. Out of those teams, though, the Kings have the highest space remaining at around $2 million.

With that said, it's unlikely that Capela will get what he wanted. It's also worth noting that he doesn't have much leverage in negotiating with other teams. He's a restricted free agent and it's common knowledge in the league that the Rockets will match any offer given to their starter.

What's up with Houston?

As what we have discussed before, Houston need Capela. Nonetheless, with no genuine competitors for his services, they are driving a hard bargain.

Houston reportedly offered Capela a five-year contract worth $85 million, a deal that could potentially reach the $90-million mark with incentives. Nonetheless, that's tens of millions away from Capela's asking price.

The Rockets could also argue that they can get at least 50 to 70 percent of what Capela does from other bigs—and for way less the price. Heck, even four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors for a measly midlevel exception worth $5.3 million!

Possible scenarios

NBA Updates: Houston Rockets coach Mike d'Antonio on a crossroad for Clint Capela case
Houston Rockets coach Mike d'Antoni shouts instructions to team during NBA Western Conference finals game

Of course, there's still a team that can opt to break the bank and offer Capela the max. That would also be a good move for it can pose problems for Houston who would have ended up paying more than $300 million on three players alone in the next few years.

Another option is for Capela to accept the latest contract from Houston. He's not sure about his current and future value so accepting the contract will at least give him security.

The general consensus, though, is for Capela to bet on himself and to sign the qualifying offer that would make him an unrestricted free agent next season. He would lose a lot this year, though that's a little price he has to pay should he succeed next season and drive up his stock even more.

Houston wouldn't want that. After all, they did well picking Capela 25th overall in the 2014 draft and developing him into one of the best big men in the league.

Nevertheless, as Houston and Capela know, money talks in sports.

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26-Jul 2018 Thursday @ 12:13 PM (111 days ago)            #53
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Why the Knicks are Worth Watching Now

There have been a lot of movements that happened in the NBA offseason so far. The draft has added a new crop of talents to the ever-growing circle of elite athletes known as NBA players. The free agency has also transformed teams for better or for worse.

 However, we don't often discuss how these NBA updates change the franchises that add to the ever-growing popularity of the NBA. Some teams have made giant moves in the offseason while a lot of others made their business in relative silence.

The New York Knicks are a superb example of the latter. Despite being one of the most established big-market teams of the association in terms of history and media coverage, the Knickerbockers haven't been relevant in the NBA landscape for quite some time.

The last time the Knicks reached the Eastern Conference Finals was during the turn of the century and Patrick Ewing was still donning a Knicks jersey. They haven't made the playoffs since 2013, and their last four seasons have been nothing but disappointing.

However, there's enough reason to believe that the latest dark age Knicks fans are going through is coming to a halt from the 2018/19 season onwards.

Doubtful of that bold declaration? Let me point out reasons as to why the New York Knicks are a worthy team to follow this season?

A Grizzly Coach Arrives in the Big Apple

The first wind of change comes from the top brass. They have kept Jeff Hornacek to give him a chance to keep his job on the court. However, a 29-53 record over the course of last season was an abysmal performance for many proud Knicks fans, and the former Utah Jazz found himself out of a job.

NBA Updates: New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has to guide his team according to his philosophy and style
David Fizdale welcomes the rookies Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox

David Fizdale is given the reigns to turn over the fortunes of a poor team in the hopes of making the team successful again. While his coaching career only comprises of 101 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, he has extensive experience handling the pressure of big-media markets through his long stint with the Miami Heat during their Big Three era.

The new head coach has already made his move during the offseason in order to orient the team in the right direction. He made the long trip to Latvia to talk it out with franchise man Kristaps Porzingis, who has had notable clashes with New York hierarchy.

If he is able to get the Unicorn to buy into his philosophy, then the Knicks and their fans have something to look forward to.

Electrifying Youth to Knock Your Socks Off

The Knicks have lost a lot of their attacking power ever since they let Carmelo Anthony walk from the team in 2017. However, that decision has turned out swimmingly for the franchise: New York's own son is struggling to find his identity without the ball while the Knicks have an array of young talent ready to blossom. Leading the youth movement of New York are Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox.

While Ntilikina didn't feature in a lot of New York Knicks news, we must remember that young Frenchman was expected to struggle in a volatile environment. Despite the chaos surrounding him, however, he managed to average close to six points, three assists and a steal in the 78 games of his rookie campaign.

Knox will be looked upon to help lessen the offensive burden placed upon the 2017 first-round selection. His superior wingspan and physical tools give him the potential to become a premier offensive and defensive option for the franchise. His 15.6 PPG in his lone season at Kentucky shows great promise for his future.

If there are questions about his mental fitness for the game, you shouldn't waste your breath: he wasn't afraid to speak his mind about Melo.

Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke, Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. make up the rest of the young core that might become the foundations of the franchise for the next five years.

The Unicorn Rises

NBA Updates: Kristaps Porzingis' comeback can boost the morale of the team to make it to the playoffs
Kristaps Porzingis ready to slam the ball

Kristaps Porzingis, the leading man of the Knicks, pretty much represents what the city is all about. He is a foreigner. He was rejected by the city at first. He zeroed in, forcing his way into people's hearts and is now an irreplaceable presence that is now synonymous with the city he represents on his chest.

The Unicorn played half a season in his third year of NBA action, and his production was greatly missed by the slumping Knicks. He made 22.7 points, grabbed 6.6 rebounds, and rejected 2.4 shots in 48 appearances.

 Those who watched him play last season might have seen the Latvian star come out of his shell and exude confidence with every game. He will definitely be able to spread his wings amidst a gallery of impressive superstars that SBOBET thinks will replace LeBron as King of the East.

If you are not considering Porzingis or his Knicks to be ready for playoff contention, you might be sleeping on a big winner. After all, hunger can make the tamest animal go feral.

And the lack for postseason action has starved the Knicks just enough.

 

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 4:39 PM (50 days ago)            #54
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NBA Watch: Potential Breakout Stars of the 2018-19 Season

Every year, the NBA and its players never fail to disappoint.

While the league is pretty predictable, there are still plenty of surprises every season especially from athletes who make the jump from being a solid starter to All-Star calibre player.

Of course, predicting those who are primed to make the leap to star status is easier said than done. After all, who would have thought that Victor Oladipo would make the All-Star team last year after he was traded to the Indiana Pacers from Oklahoma in exchange for Paul George?

That's where lies the beauty of the NBA. You just never know who will surprise you every year!

Here at SBOBET, however, we tried our best to name five players (and five dark horses) who are well positioned for a breakout campaign this 2018/19.

Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

Lonzo had a fairly underwhelming rookie season...that is if you consider the hype his father, LaVar Ball, created around him.

The second overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft actually showed great potential in his first season with the Lakers, averaging 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 52 games. In fact, his assist tally is second among rookies, only behind Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.

Ball has all the makings of an elite defensive floor general; and with LeBron James now in the Lakers fold, he is well poised to increase his numbers and impact on both ends of the floor.

His atrocious 30.5 percent three-point shooting remains a concern, but if he can up that number even just by five percent, LA could dream of returning to "Showtime Lakers" once again.

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

After being troubled by injuries last NBA season, Aaron Gordon looks to bounce back
Aaron Gordon throws down a dunk during the Magic's game against the Lakers

Do you still remember that time last year when the Orlando Magic were at the top of the Eastern Conference? Those were good days indeed, and as basketball junkies know, it was Gordon who was behind that Magic rise.

The 22-year-old University of Arizona product had 11 games with more than 20 points, including a couple of 40-point outings; and with Orlando retooling—adding the defensive-minded Mo Bamba from the draft—it's safe to expect Gordon to feature more on the offensive end.

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

Coach Gregg Popovich has unofficially handed the keys of the Spurs offence to Dejounte Murray.

As you would have probably learned from the latest NBA 2018 news, the Spurs have let Tony Parker walk away and have recently traded Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan.

With their first-choice point guard gone and face of the franchise out, Murray is now up to the task of developing into the team's primary ball handler and floor general.

Murray averaged just 8.1 points, 2.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 81 games (41 starts) for the Spurs last season, but we predict him to at least double those figures in the upcoming season now that he's in place to become a regular starter.

D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets is now in D'Angelo Russell's hands as he officially the cornerstone of the NBA franchise
D'Angelo Russell directs the Nets offense during their NBA game against the Magic

The Brooklyn Nets are now D'Angelo Russell's team, and it's time for him to step up and take the spotlight in New York.

Brooklyn traded Jeremy Lin recently, and that should open the way for Russell to become the team's primary scorer and shot creator.

After missing almost half of the 2017/18 season due to arthroscopic surgery last November, Russell struggled mightily in his return and ended up averaging just 15.5 markers and 5.2 dimes. However, before his knee injury that required operation, the former Lakers guard was putting up 21 points night in and night out.

If he remains healthy this year, we should be able to see more of Russell's offensive brilliance.

Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks

It's common knowledge in the league that Dennis Smith Jr. and rookie guard Luka Doncic are the cornerstones of the Dallas franchise. And with the Mavericks determined to develop them into All-Star players quickly, the two—specifically Smith Jr.—could be in for a great season.

Based on the latest NBA 2018 odds, the Mavericks aren't expected to make it to the playoffs in the ultra-tough Western Conference. While that's not good for the fans, it's a great opportunity for Smith Jr. to grow and polish his shooting.

With Doncic beside him and Harrison Barnes predicted to be the usual offensive threat he is, DSJ could see a huge increase in his overall numbers—particularly on the ball distribution department.

Other notable breakout candidates worth watching: Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic), Jabari Parker (Chicago Bulls), Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings), Frank Ntilikina (New York Knicks), Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 4:43 PM (50 days ago)            #55
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Hot Take: Which Lottery Teams Will Make a Splash in the NBA?

The life cycle of an NBA team can be determined in three stages: the rebuild, the peak, and the collapse. The rebuild is where the team acquires talent through the draft or the free agent market to make the team competitive again. The peak is when the team has all the right pieces together and is fighting for a chance at the NBA championship. The collapse is when a team experiences deterioration of quality due to either injuries or age.

Some teams are great at keeping the team in a contending position like the Golden State Warriors. There are franchises like the Cleveland Cavaliers which are suddenly irrelevant due to the loss of their star player.

And then there are organizations that have been on the rebuilding phase for a good while. Some are still trying to find their way out of the darkness, but there are some teams that may have finally found the answers to their prayers through the offseason.

These are the following teams that will become a regular part of our weekly NBA 2018 highlights.

Los Angeles Lakers

The acquisition of star free agent LeBron James means that the Lakers are now back on the headlines and will be making waves on and off the court.

They have spent their post-Kobe Bryant years trying to find the next star to lead Tinseltown back to the Promised Land. The front office has done well in not forcing the issue in the past couple of seasons, choosing to build a team through the draft.

The arrival of LeBron instantly accelerates the Lakers' roadmap into that of a win-now team. While they have made curious signings in Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo, it is believed that it is LeBron and the young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma that will carry the Lake Show for the next couple of years.

Now, if they just find a way to shut LaVar Ball up...

Dallas Mavericks

Lukas Doncic is expected to give a boost to Dallas Mavericks in the new NBA season
Slovenia's Luka Doncic celebrates during Eurobasket European Championship final match against Serbia in 2017

The Mavericks will always have a special place in my heart, as that ragtag 2011 team of veterans pulled the rug on LeBron's budding dynasty at Miami to win Dirk Nowitzki's first (and possibly only) NBA title.

A couple of poor moves the following postseason immediately saw the one-off champions return to anonymity among NBA fans. However, it looks like Mark Cuban's got another brilliant shark tank in his hands.

Drafting Luka Doncic doesn't just ensure that a European would lead the Mavs into the future. They acquired a brilliant point guard that already has fantastic vision and championship experience. His body will eventually catch up to the physicality of the league and will become a strong floor general for the franchise.

Moreover, finally acquiring DeAndre Jordan without a chair blocking his doorway means that Dirk can finally slot into the four as he starts his farewell tour. Dennis Smith Jr. is also one to watch.

Should everything work out for the Mavs this season, we will definitely see Cuban jumping up and down the sidelines.

New York Knicks

It's weird to say that the Knicks will finally get a playoff ticket after so long, but they have the pieces they need to succeed in a weaker Eastern Conference.

They have drafted well in the recently concluded draft, acquiring Kentucky star Kevin Knox with the ninth overall pick. The rookie had a great debut during the Las Vegas Summer League, scoring 21.3 points and snapping 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in four appearances.

Frank Nikilitina is also slowly coming along for the Knicks. Many of the fans knew that the second-year player will be a bit of a project coming in, so they just need to put their trust in him.

But of course, many are awaiting the return of Kristaps Porzingis. His ACL injury is reportedly cleaner than expected. This means that he will have a quicker rehab back to full fitness. He will definitely rattle many NBA 2018 betting tips once he makes his thunderous return.

Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker hopes to make a fresh start for Phoenix Suns in the 2018/19 NBA season
Devin Booker in action against Kevin Durant during a training camp for USA Basketball in Las Vegas

I think it's high time for the light of the basketball gods to shine down on Phoenix. SBOBET predictions for this team should surely be on the rise.

They have endured years of poor performances, of draft picks not working out the way they expected to. However, they may have found the final piece to their puzzle in this year's draft.

Deandre Ayton is a physical specimen who terrified opponents during his time in Arizona. He will surely feel at home in Phoenix and make a huge impact on the inside. With head coach Igor Kokoskov taking the realm, it is expected that the 20-year-old will blossom into a dominant centre in the league.

Ayton is not the only exciting part of their roster. Their team has the perfect mix of youth and veteran leadership to help propel the team forward. Josh Jackson is slowly becoming the reliable winger that he was drafted for. Trevor Ariza will provide quality defence and mentorship to the young wings of the team.

More importantly, Devin Booker got a shoutout from NBA fan and hip-hop giant Drake.

Everything's sunny in Phoenix, and things are just about to heat up even further.

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 4:48 PM (50 days ago)            #56
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SBOBET’s Too Early NBA Predictions: Top Coach of the Year Candidates for 2018/19

Winning the Coach of the Year in the ever-competitive NBA is no easy feat, and the job just gets harder for the men at the helm this 2018/19 campaign.

New faces in new places was the main storyline in the NBA this summer. LeBron James, unsurprisingly, ditched the Cleveland Cavaliers for the vast and beautiful Hollywood, while DeMarcus Cousins made everyone angry (besides Golden State) for his ring-chasing move—as if you still don't know that he joined the Warriors for dirt cheap.

There are also players who stayed for a COST like Chris Paul and Paul George, helping shape up a summer of surprises.

With these developments, though, the pressure on coaches also increased. Imagine having to find a way to take a playoff spot in the ultra-tough Western Conference? Or having to live up to the pressure of producing positive results in the weakened Eastern Conference where owners are likely expecting a Conference Finals at the least?

Coaches all over the league have always had a share of the spotlight, and that won't change in the upcoming basketball season. In fact, the spotlight might have just gotten bigger and brighter.

Today,  however, SBOBET takes a look at three coaches who are capable of living up to expectations and delivering results to their respective teams, as well as actually winning the top coaching honour this year.

Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers

Can Luke Walton lead Lakers to success this 2018/19 campaign?
Luke Walton is now set to manage Lonzo Ball

Walton is a dark horse candidate sure, but there's no doubt he's up to the task of coaching unarguably the best player in the planet—and perhaps the best ever to play on the hard court.

Remember, Luke coached Steph Curry and the Warriors a couple of years ago and was, in fact, the one responsible for leading them to a 24-game unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season. Although that record wasn't credited to his name, everybody knows that he was the reason for that incredible feat.

Now, Walton is set to manage another superstar but of a different calibre. There are fears that he will be overshadowed in success by LeBron—just like those who coached the King in the past eight years—and not to mention that everything he will do will be put under the microscope.

Nonetheless, Walton has everything he needs to succeed in Los Angeles, a young core, a group of savvy veterans and a superstar. He is well positioned to bring the Lakers to a whole new level, and a top-three seed in the West might just do the trick for him to winning the coaching accolade.

Also, it might silence the naysayers that LeBron seems to be all-in to the Lakers and Walton.

"He's about the team. He's about doing things the right way, and he's about winning," Walton said via ESPN. "I can work with those qualities."

Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks

Budenholzer is one of the best coaches in the league, plain and simple.

He had little to work with at Atlanta but managed to lead the team to four straight playoff appearances before missing the postseason last year, with the Hawks finishing with the third-worst record overall.

Now that he's at Milwaukee, though, he's likely to find success again. After all, he's taking the reins of a team that features one of the league's true unicorns in Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is also not short of talent with the likes of Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Thon Maker and newly acquired bigs Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova.

That's more than just "a pretty nice team" and certainly a level up to his Atlanta squad of last year. With that in mind, it won't be a surprise to see Budenholzer and his bucks grab the NBA 2018 news and headlines.

Being in the Eastern Conference should also help Budenholzer's case, though the last person on this list will make things a little difficult for him.

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens' side are now SBOBET favourites in the Easr
Brad Stevens has been a good coach for Boston Celtics since 2013

There are only a few highly adored coaches in the league, and one of them is Stevens.

The former Butler University coach has led the Celtics to immense growth over the past five years. He took over the team in 2013 and led them to the playoffs in just his second season, sparking a quick turnaround despite low expectations.

Stevens has never looked back since then and has guided the Celts to back-to-back trips in the East Finals, losing only to the LeBron-led Cavaliers.

With LeBron bolting to the West, Stevens and his Celtics are now the best in the East. And with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward set to rejoin the team after recovering from injuries, Stevens has everything he needs to take the throne in their conference and possibly, according to the NBA odds, lead Boston to the Finals for the first time since 2010.

 

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 4:51 PM (50 days ago)            #57
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NBA Hot Takes: Which Player is Worthy of the MVP?

Basketball is a sport where one man can impact how the rest of the nine players on the court will play. The physical tools and intelligent play of one supreme player could allow him to do whatever he wants against a team full of competent ballers.

The NBA is blessed to have a lot of these transcendent players in the league. Almost every franchise in the league has a superb player, giving fans more than enough reason to buy tickets and see their teams play some fantastic ball. Any of these stars have the chance of making a big impact on the league and reign as the best player of the season!

Of course, we have to remember that a spectacular player doesn't have to score all the time. While many of the past MVPs have always been one of the league's top scorers, the value of a star player can also be found on defence, vision, basketball IQ, and the intangibles.

While basketball season is still months away and James Harden has just been crowned the MVP, there's never a bad time to talk ball and speculate. Which men will headline the most NBA 2018 highlights and take the title of the league's best from The Beard?

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

A decade ago, offering a big contract to a 33-year-old player is nothing short of preposterous. However, LeBron James has more than done enough in the NBA to warrant a yearly inclusion to the MVP conversation.

His mere inclusion to the roster immediately made the Los Angeles Lakers an instant playoff lock. His hands reach farther than the basketball court, opening a school for high-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, OH. He is also following Kobe Bryant's footsteps by getting the green light on a documentary series he is trying to produce.

He is such a renaissance man that some may wonder if he can even juggle his on-court and off-court responsibilities in a large media market like Los Angeles. However, his stats in his final year with the Cleveland Cavaliers proved that he can definitely bring it whenever he wants to.

He was a walking triple-double last season, averaging 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, and 8.6 rebounds while playing every single regular season game for the underequipped Cavs. He was the glue that held it all together. Cleveland, OH wouldn't have seen a fourth straight Finals appearance if it wasn't for James' brilliant play.

Don't be surprised if the King is a favourite of the yearly SBOBET predictions for the 2018/19 MVP race. He's that good.

DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

DeMar DeRozan might not be satisfied with the trade decision but Spurs can boost more his NBA career
DeMar DeRozan signing autographs for his fans

The dust has settled from the chaos caused by the blockbuster trade between the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors. People will be divided as to which side won the trade, but we can be sure of one thing.

DeMar DeRozan will definitely thrive under Gregg Popovich and come out as one of the biggest players in the league.

He had an already accomplished final year with the Toronto Raptors: he averaged 23 points, four points and five assists in 80 starts for the North. However, King James stopped them from making the Finals yet again, validating the domination Cleveland have over his former team.

There's no question that DeRozan will greatly benefit from playing under such a popular system. While he isn't known to be an elite defender, he will definitely benefit from working together with LaMarcus  Aldridge and the rest of the Spurs lineup to make the AT&T Center into a formidable fortress.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak's explosiveness and athlecism began to attract fans to root for Milwaukee Bucks this NBA 2018 – 2019 season
Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to slam the ball into the basket

The Eastern Conference has finally seen some light after LeBron decided to take his massive shadow to the West. NBA 2018 betting on which team will reign supreme in the East seesaws between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, but one man is the overwhelming favourite to be the best of the East.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has steadily improved under the shade of King James to emerge as a leading figure in the East. His previous season has been one of his best yet: he averaged 27 points, eight rebounds, five assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks in 75 starts.

Of course, the biggest weakness of Giannis' game is his three-point shooting. He has never been effective from long-range, but his effectiveness from the other aspects of the ballgame easily outweighs his poor shooting from range. Moreover, his three-point percentage saw an improvement this year, partly due to better shot selection. If the Greek Freak worked on his shooting over the summer, he would definitely become an unstoppable offensive threat.

Moreover, he has been spending time in the weight room to make him an unstoppable freight train on the fast break. If he builds strength, he will become much more of a potent scorer despite his lack of shooting.

The rest of the league better watch out for Antetokounmpo because he will be an even greater pain to deal with in the coming season.

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 4:57 PM (50 days ago)            #58
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NBA: Four Most Improved Teams Not Named Lakers or Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are the winners of the offseason, but they are not the only teams that have significantly improved this summer.

With all the key player movements in the NBA likely done, we can now make an accurate assessment on which teams had the best offseason. However, the Lakers and Warriors are already no-brainers on this list, so we decided to leave them out and focus on the other franchises that took a huge step forward ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Below is SBOBET's list of teams that undoubtedly levelled up this offseason despite being overshadowed by the LeBron James acquisition of LA and DeMarcus Cousins' move to Bay Area.

Toronto Raptors

It's still too early to say that the Raptors won the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade. After all, Leonard's future as a Raptor is still uncertain and recent NBA 2018 news is already assuming he will leave Canada as a free agent next year.

Nevertheless, that doesn't erase the fact that they became a better team with Leonard and Danny Green. When healthy, Leonard is a top-five player in the league, a massive upgrade over DeMar DeRozan. He's also one of the best two-way players in the NBA, which should bode well for the Raps who are solid defensively.

Green, on the other hand, adds three-point shooting to the team. Kyle Lowry has developed into a three-point threat, and adding Green alongside him makes Toronto even deadlier from beyond the arc.

It remains to be seen how the coaching change will affect them in the upcoming season, but Nick Nurse surely has all the tools he needs to succeed in the relatively weak Eastern Conference.

With Kahwi Leonard in the team, expect that Toronto Raptors will surge to the top in the upcoming NBA season
Former San Antonio Spurs forward Kahwi Leonard talks with coach Gregg Popovich in an NBA game against OKC in March 2016

Oklahoma City Thunder

What the Thunder did this summer is addition by subtraction.

The Russell Westbrook-Paul George-Carmelo Anthony experiment didn't work last year, and they did well in convincing Anthony to waive his no-trade clause so they can send him to Atlanta (who then reached a buyout agreement with the former All-Star).

Oklahoma couldn't ask for more this offseason too. George, who was long rumoured to be headed to Tinseltown, chose to stay to give OKC a solid "Big Three" along with Westbrook and Steven Adams. They added a low-risk, high-reward big man in Nerlens Noel and retained a solid role player in Jerami Grant.

Dennis Schroder's acquisition is quite confusing given that it's hard to see him playing at the same time as Westbrook and George. However, if Sam Presti and Billy Donovan can persuade him to embrace a substitute role—a la James Harden of 2010 to 2012—the Thunder will have a high chance of contending for a top-four seed in the West.

Dallas Mavericks

Let us be clear on this one: the Mavs aren't championship contenders. Not even close.

Dallas are still years away from going toe to toe with the likes of Houston, Golden State and Boston. This summer, though, they did something magnificent and worthy of praise: they laid the foundation of a bright future in the post-Dirk Nowitzki era.

Starting from the draft, they moved up to get EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic, a potential franchise cornerstone. They then selected Jalen Brunson in the second round, a player who could develop into a star in the right environment.

Those two, alongside Dennis Smith Jr., give the Mavs one of the most intriguing backcourts in the NBA.

The team has finally signed DeAndre Jordan as well, three years after he backed out of his "verbal commitment" with the franchise. DJ is already 30 years old and has shown signs of slowing down, but he remains one of the best athletic big men in the league and should complement well with Nowitzki.

Dallas finished 13th (of 16 teams) in the Western Conference last campaign, but the NBA 2018 odds now have them fighting for a playoff spot and barely missing out.

Dallas Maverick's future looks bright next NBA season following the signing of EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic,
Luka Doncic poses for a picture with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during the NBA basketball draft last June 2018

Phoenix Suns

For the worst team of the 2017/18 season, there's no other way but up. But hey, after getting the first pick of the 2018 draft and adding a veteran player, Phoenix are well poised to rise from the ashes (sorry for that cliché).

This one is simple. Imagine a lineup of Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson, Trevor Ariza and Deandre Ayton. Pretty lit, right?

Phoenix unarguably have one of the best collection of young talents, and acquiring Ayton and Bridges through the draft and Ariza through free agency should lift them up from a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the East to a high-powered and talented playoff chaser.

It's up to Igor Kokoskov now to utilise his young Suns to their full potential. Fortunately for Phoenix, the Serbian coach has the experience to lead an up-and-coming squad and develop youngsters, something he proved when he guided the Slovenian team last summer to an improbable run to the EuroBasket title.

 

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 6:58 PM (50 days ago)            #59
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NBA Updates: LeBron’s Contenders and the League’s Youngest Stars

There is still quite some time left before basketball season starts once again, but the multitude of fans in love with the sport just cannot wait for the NBA season to kick-start anew. The lull between the summer league and preseason leaves a lot of fans hungry enough for basketball action that any piece of news regarding the sport is immediately consumed and dissected by the sport's super fans.

Thankfully, there isn't any shortage of information to speculate on ahead of the season. This piece will dissect some of the most interesting stories that have taken over the league over the past couple of weeks.

Many of these stories will affect how fans will make their picks ahead of the coming season. While we have to remember that anything can happen between now and opening day, these talking points can keep plenty talking and busy before tipoff.

These stories have actually kept many basketball heads at SBOBET talking for days on end!

LeBron's Picks for NBA Champions

LeBron James is one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball, and every word he says about the sport is taken seriously. After all, his move to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency has completely transformed the league's landscape and made the ever-competitive Western Conference all the more difficult.

With his move to the bright lights of Tinsel Town, many thought that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be competing for the NBA title. The press didn't hesitate to get his take on it and asked him which teams will be heavy contenders for the NBA title.

LeBron James picks the top contenders for the NBA championship
Rockets, Thunder and Celtics are among the teams on LeBron James' list of possible competition for the Golden State

Of course, it wouldn't have been weird for James to include the Lakers. After all, the Purple and Gold got a big boost to their NBA 2018 odds once James' arrival was confirmed.

However, James didn't even mention his Lakers as possible rivals for Golden State's stake for the Larry O'Brien trophy. He mentioned the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers as possible competition for the Dubs' star-studded lineup.

The fact that he excluded the Lakers from the conversation is understandable. The young core has a lot of adjustments to do in order to make deep runs in the playoffs the way they did during the franchise's peak years with Kobe and Shaq.

However, we also have to remember that James is in no rush to win a championship now. The Lakers will start to make real moves next summer, and that's when the King will include his team in the championship conversation.

Rookie Watch 2018: Who is the Best Rook to Follow?

An NBA player's first season is always a memorable one, and fans specifically follow the rookies that their respective teams have pinned their hopes on in the future. Last season alone, the league was enthralled with the performances of last season's rookies.

Sure, the previous season had its share of impressive rookies, but the coming season also has a collection of impressive freshmen. The 2018 Draft Class is reported to be one of the most impressive pool of young talent coming into the league in recent memory. There are plenty of talented rooks that are worth watching, and each of them can attract basketball aficionados for different reasons.

Deandre Ayton is a high-quality big man that will attract the attention of the rest of the league while playing for the Phoenix Suns. He will be able to show his stuff against NBA competition while playing with scoring savant Devin Booker.

Cleveland also has something to look forward to despite James' departure: Collin Sexton looked like a stud in the summer league, scoring nearly 20 points per game. His athleticism and attacking mentality will bring an attacking edge to a post-James Cavaliers squad that is seriously lacking inspiration in offence.

Trae Young is still far from being the Stephen Curry 2.0 projected by scouts, but he has shown that he has more than enough confidence to shoot and distribute the ball. The Hawks, badly in need of something to look forward to in their rebuild, will be anticipating the former Oklahoma Sooner's hot streaks.

Finally, Luka Doncic will have a lot of eyes glued to him. The young point guard, who has dominated EuroBasket with Real Madrid, will surely be a part of many NBA 2018 highlights with his style of play. With the inclusion of DeAndre Jordan to the squad, the Mavericks should become a joy to watch in the coming season.

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 7:05 PM (50 days ago)            #60
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NBA Roundup: Wade’s Last Dance; Larry’s Prediction; Salary Cap Projections

The new NBA season is still a month away, but that doesn't mean there is a shortage of exciting and interesting news for the die-hard basketball fan.

In fact, it's the complete opposite as the league grabbed headlines once again, thanks to a series of storylines that make the wait for the upcoming season far more thrilling.

First off, there's Dwyane Wade announcing his decision regarding his future. The 12-time NBA All-Star spent months pondering whether to return to the league, play in China or retire, but he finally made his choice and let the basketball world know.

There's also former Los Angeles Laker Larry Nance Jr. who turned heads, not with his leaping ability and thunderous dunks but with his bold prediction for the 2018/19 campaign.

On the other hand, the NBA gave teams the news they are all waiting for: the salary cap projections for the next two seasons—figures that will have huge implications on the teams' free agency dealings and trade acquisitions.

Here's the full SBOBET report about the biggest stories in the league:

"One Last Dance" for Dwyane Wade

One more season. "One last dance."

In what he called as the "hardest decision" of his life, Dwyane Wade announced in a 10-minute video that he is returning to the Miami Heat for the 2018/19 season.

Wade literally spent the summer weighing his options. Last July, the 36-year-old guard received a $25 million offer to play in China, though there were reports that he also considered retirement just a few days ago.

The three-time champion with the Miami Heat, however, decided to give the NBA one last go before he calls it a career.

"I've always did things my way," Wade said. "Whether they've been good or whether they've been bad, I got here because I've done things the way that I feel is right for me and right for my family. And what I feel is right—I feel it's right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance, for one last season.

"This is it. I've given this game everything that I have, and I'm happy about that, and I'm going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left."

According to the latest NBA 2018 news, Wade is expected to sign a one-year, $2.4 million deal to finish his 16th season with the Heat.

Wade is already the most accomplished Heat player, holding the team record for most points, assists, steals and games played. And after brief stints with Chicago and Cleveland, there couldn't be a better ending for him.

LeBron and LA to the NBA Finals? Larry Thinks So!

Larry Nance Jr. believes that anything is possible in the NBA if LeBron James is on your roster
Larry Nance Jr. and LeBron James challenge Kemba Walker's floater attempt during an NBA game

It's easy to count out LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the top-heavy Western Conference. However, Larry Nance Jr. believes The King and the Purple and Gold have a legitimate chance of reaching the NBA Finals.

LeBron, who joined the Lakers this summer, are considered outsiders for the 2018/19 Larry O'Brien Trophy. The NBA 2018 odds even have them as only the third-best team in the West, behind Golden State and Houston.

Nonetheless, Nance said that the Lakers have as good of a chance as anyone to make it to the finals with LeBron leading them.

"They could [get to the Finals]," Nance, who played with LeBron at Cleveland, told The Sunday Express.

"With LeBron, anything is possible. I think it’ll be a very tough road because arguably three of the best four teams are out West."

"You’re going to have to go through Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City—there’s some really good teams out there. Their work is certainly cut out."

Nance is not wrong with his statement, though. While the Warriors are still the favourites after re-signing Kevin Durant and adding All-Star centre DeMarcus Cousins to their fold, the Lakers have every reason to be confident with LeBron guiding them.

LeBron has never missed the finals in the last eight seasons, winning it twice with Miami and once with Cleveland. Most notably, he sparked the 2017/18 Cavaliers to a fourth date with the Warriors on the big stage despite low expectations given their poor performance and lack of team chemistry.

It remains to be seen if LeBron can work his magic with the Lakers, but he sure is not lacking the support he needs.

Good or bad? NBA Sets Salary Cap for 2019/20, 2020/21

NBA organisations can now start planning for the next two seasons.

According to reports, the league has informed all 30 teams of the projected salary cap and luxury tax level for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league will set the salary cap for 2019/20 at $109 million. The luxury tax for that season will be at $132 million. Meanwhile, for 2020/21, the salary cap will be $9 million higher than the previous year ($118 million) with the tax level at $143 million.

The projection for the 2019/20 season remains unchanged, which should come as good news for all teams after seeing the previous salary cap projections decrease. Moreover, the cap for 2020/21 will be 1.5 percent higher than initially estimated.

The NBA landscape will turn once again when the salary cap increases in the upcoming seasons
Adam Silver speaks to the media in an NBA press conference

With teams given a clearer picture of what the NBA landscape could look like in the near future, the next step is managing their dealing properly and avoiding overpaying for talent.

As things currently stand, 11 teams have already committed salaries more than the projected cap for 2019/20. With that said, it won't be wrong to expect some salary-dumping trades or team-friendly deals from now on until next summer.

 

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 7:10 PM (50 days ago)            #61
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NBA News: Butler Wants Out, Lonzo Ball’s Shot, Basketball and Mental Health

If you see one of your friends who is a basketball fan starting to fidget and get restless at random times of the day, that usually only means one thing: the year has gone on for too long without basketball and all the basketball heads are undergoing withdrawal from the lack of ball.

Fortunately for everyone, the NBA is not that far away. There's only less than a month left before the world's best basketball league begins entertaining basketball fans around the world with eye-popping plays and incredible feats from the best ballers to step on the court.

Some might still find three weeks as too long, but there are more than enough NBA 2018 news to keep us occupied until the start of the season. There are plenty of things to talk about ahead of the new season, and these stories will surely change how you watch the NBA this coming season.

Jimmy Butler Shocks Minnesota with Trade Demand

Some fans may have seen this development coming from a mile away, but news of Jimmy Butler requesting a trade away from the Minnesota Timberwolves came as a surprise for people across the league.

Butler, who led the Wolves with 22.2 ppg despite only playing in 59 regular season games, didn't have that good of a time in his soon-to-be-short stint with the franchise. He didn't hide his frustration with the team's young stars, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. The feud between the two sides has gone so bad that they are throwing jabs on social media.

The fractured relationship was especially noticeable between Butler and Towns, and there are reasons for the two to be beefing. The former Marquette Golden Eagle has expressed his frustration over Town's lack of focus on defence while Towns could be mad at Butler for apparently cheating with his ex-girlfriend.

Butler named the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the New York Knicks as his preferred destinations. Whether he will get his wish remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see where Butler will end up.

Until that happens, I advise the dear reader to keep the same energy for the rest of this piece.

Lonzo Ball's Shot is *Looking* Good!

There are probably three things Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is known for: his impeccable basketball IQ, his loudmouth of a father, and his wacky shooting form that sees the ball start from his left shoulder.

The Lakers have good NBA 2018 odds to make the playoffs with LeBron James at the helm. Ball will definitely want to make sure that he is part of Los Angeles' rise, and it seems like he realised something after shooting an atrocious 30.5% from the three-point range during his rookie campaign.

He went and changed the mechanics of his signature jump shot over the summer.

Lonzo Ball's unconventional shooting form was a point of concern during his time at UCLA up to his NBA rookie season
Lonzo Ball shoots against San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes

There are videos of the baller-cum-reality-star shooting that is making its rounds around the net. While the shot is still not pretty like Klay Thompson's, it is noticeable that his shot is more fluid and closer to the ideal shooting form. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka are raving about the changes, saying that everything can all be credited to Ball's determination to improve.

If these changes result to him having a more accurate shot, there is no question that he will become one of the league's breakout players next season.

NBA Raise Awareness Against Mental Health

Every aspect of human culture is slowly coming to terms with the reality and repercussions of mental illness, and many sectors are taking serious steps to give support to everyone.

The NBA is the latest worldwide brand to directly address people's mental health. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts sent an emphatic letter to NBA players that as much as they are expected to perform well, they should also take note of their mental health.

"Each of our offices has newly-enhanced mental wellness programs, which we encourage you to use to manage stress, anxiety and other challenges," read the letter. "It's a critical step that can also encourage teammates and fans alike to understand that it's a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help."

Commissioner Adam Silver expresses that NBA will follow Love’s campaign and help bring awareness about mental health
Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love waiting for his turn in the bench

This announcement is an encouraging message to the players of the league. They go through a different kind of mental pressure and compared to your everyday individual as they scrutinised every single day of their careers. Kevin Love penned a revelatory piece in The Players' Tribune that revealed the severity of his mental health issues.

The NBA has always been one of more progressive sports leagues in the United States, and it is heart-warming to see the league iterate that they are ready to give help to their players.

After all, SBOBET fans don't want their stars performing poorly due to the heavy burdens they carry in their minds.

 

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25-Sep 2018 Tuesday @ 7:13 PM (50 days ago)            #62
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NBA Roundup: Battle for Butler; Davis’ Klutch Move; Philly’s Ultimate Goal

After the lull in the wake of the free agency bonanza, the NBA has officially returned.

While a league game is quite far from being played (there's still the pre-season games to begin with), the best basketball competition in the planet is undoubtedly back to relevance and even took the sports world by storm with some of the hottest storylines all summer long.

First off, there's Jimmy Butler demanding a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. A deal is yet to be secured by the Wolves, but they may not find it difficult looking for a trade partner as plenty of teams are already lining up to sign the All-Star forward.

On the other hand, there's Anthony Davis who made a major career move by signing with a big-time agent. His decision is for his best interest, but it could also have huge implications for New Orleans in the future, particularly when he hits free agency.

Speaking about future, the Philadelphia 76ers are also starting to look forward to theirs, with coach Brett Brown eyeing a big step for his young team in the 2018/19 season.

Here’s the full SBOBET report on the biggest stories in the league today:

Butler Up for Grabs: Cavs, Heat, Rockets Among Teams Interested

NBA teams line up as disgruntled all-star Jimmy Butler wants out of the Minnesota Timberwolves
Jimmy Butler shoots a free throw during the Minnesota's playoff series against the Houston Rockets

Jimmy Butler made it known he wants out of Minnesota. Now, teams are lining up for a chance to land the four-time NBA All-Star.

According to the latest NBA 2018 news, several teams have shown interest in acquiring the 29-year-old disgruntled star, with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets reportedly aggressively pursuing Butler.

The Cavs recently lost LeBron James in free agency, so it's no wonder why they are keen to add one of the best two-way players in the league to their fold. With Kevin Love already committed to the team and rookie point guard Collin Sexton ready to live up to expectations, Butler's arrival could spell a quick revival for Cleveland.

Miami, who have been said as one of the most interested teams, could also use Butler to boost their wing depth. With newly signed Dwyane Wade unlikely to start, the Heat could insert Butler as a shooting guard to feature alongside Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside.

Mike D'Antoni's side is the most intriguing candidate to get the services of the former Chicago standout, considering their squad that already boasts James Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. However, given that they have championship aspirations in the tough Western Conference, acquiring Butler seems to be a must.

Other teams that are keen to get Butler include the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers.

It remains to be seen where Butler will be sent, though in his trade demand last week, he listed Brooklyn, Los Angeles and New York as his preferred destinations.

Anthony Davis Goes Klutch in Agent Search

The Brow now joins a long list of elite NBA stars in the Klutch family.

After parting ways with his longtime agent Thad Foucher earlier this month, Anthony Davis has found a new representative in Rich Paul of the Klutch Sports Group.

While players switching agents is pretty common in the NBA, Davis' decision to sign with Paul and his Klutch Sports turned heads for a few good reasons. First of all is the fact that Paul is the agent of Los Angeles Lakers' superstar LeBron James.

Second is the timing of the move, with Davis set to be eligible to sign a five-year, $235 million extension with the Pelicans next summer.

The 25-year-old big man has insisted that his decision to switch agents is rooted to his desire to improve his game, but the LeBron connection and his free agency in two years time raised speculations that he wants to change teams.

"My focus is to win, to come in every day and do all I can to help this organization," Davis said via ESPN. "While establishing myself as the best player on the floor every night."

Fortunately for New Orleans fans, Davis' new representative said that there's no truth to rumours of Davis wanting to leave the city and even announced that he is planning to meet with team officials soon to discuss his new player's future.

Paul is currently representing more than 20 NBA players, including LeBron, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Ben Simmons.

Brown, Sixers Dreaming of NBA Finals Berth

Brett Brown sets a high goal for his Philadelphia 76ers squad as he wants Philly to make it to the NBA finals
Brett Brown giving instructions to point forward Ben Simmons during the Sixers' playoff game against the Celtics

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown has only one goal heading to the 2018/19 season: the NBA Finals.

After a year that saw Philly make it to the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference, Brown didn't shy away from setting up higher goals and aspirations for his young and rising team.

"We want to play in the NBA Finals," Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the Sixers' first training camp practice. "As I said to you, we feel we could have played in the NBA Finals [last season]. I understand the magnitude of that statement, but I stand by it. And I own it."

While Brown's goal may seem unachievable, he has proven with Philly that he can make his predictions happen. In fact, last summer before the start of the 2017/18 campaign, Brown said that his goal for the team is to make the playoffs—something which seems unrealistic that time considering that Philadelphia finished 2016/17 with the fourth worst record in the league.

However, Philadelphia defied expectations and made it to the East semis before falling to the Boston Celtics.

Sure enough, making the playoffs is different from making the finals, but Brown and Philly will remain confident with their chances, especially with their group that features Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid—two of the most promising young players in the league today.

Philadelphia are up for a big challenge in the East though, with the NBA 2018 odds putting them behind Boston and Toronto to win the conference title.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 12:47 PM (5 days ago)            #63
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NBA Roundup: Kyrie’s Flat Earth; Durant’s Seattle Remarks; Rondo’s LeBron Praise

The NBA preseason is underway, and it means plenty of action and more interesting storylines for the die-hard basketball fan.

A lot has already happened in the league, from impressive performances from the rookies, debuts of new faces in new places, to injuries to some key players. Nevertheless, what really turned heads this time around are the comments from some of the league's top players.

Kyrie Irving, who grabbed headlines last year not only for his trade to the Boston Celtics but also due to his remarks that the Earth is flat, has opened up about his controversial statement and made a huge claim once again.

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, on the other hand, made some comments ahead of his return to Seattle that will certainly delight Sonics fans.

There's also new Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo who just showed his admiration to fellow new Laker LeBron James.

Here’s the full SBOBET report on the biggest stories in the league today:

Kyrie Irving, Flat-Earth-er No More?

"I apologise."

That was Kyrie Irving's message to all the science teachers and members of the scientific society for his flat-earth comment that sparked outrage and raised eyebrows in 2017.

The 26-year-old guard admitted that he regrets saying his theory publicly, citing that he didn't realize the effect that it would have caused. He also defended that he was "into huge conspiracies" during that time.

"To all the science teachers, everybody coming up to me like, `You know I've got to re-teach my whole curriculum?' I'm sorry," Irving said during the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston.

"I apologise. I apologise."

Irving furthered that he has since learned to keep certain thoughts "in intimate conversations."

The five-time All-Star started the whole saga ahead of the 2017 All-Star weekend. Appearing on Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye's Road Trippin' podcast, Irving revealed that he is a flat-earth truther and even questioned teachings that the Earth is round despite no one fully knowing the truth.

NBA all-star Kyrie Irving apologises to fans about his comment on whether the Earth is flat or not
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving talks to the press during media day

The former Cleveland Cavaliers star has since made a lot of follow-up statements regarding his claim, even saying at one point that he just made the remarks to promote conversation and show how stories—even how outrageous they are—spread rapidly in this age of social media.

Nevertheless, it's worth noting that he told The New York Times three months ago that he was not really sure if the Earth was flat or round. Yikes!

Kevin Durant on Seattle SuperSonics: They Need To Be Back in the NBA

Kevin Durant wants the team that drafted him to make a comeback in the NBA.

Ahead of his return to KeyArena in Seattle for the Golden State Warriors' preseason match-up with the Sacramento Kings, Durant expressed his desire to see the Sonics back in the city.

The 30-year-old star, who was drafted no.2 overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007, argued that there's no reason for Seattle not to have a basketball team, especially after the success of the Seahawks (NFL Super Bowl winners in 2014), the Sounders (MLS Cup titlists in 2016) and the Storm (WNBA champions in 2010 and 2018).

"The Seahawks had some success. Now the Storm had some success. But everybody in the basketball world and the NBA knows the Sonics need to be back in Seattle,” Durant said.

Durant played only one season in Seattle before the team relocated to Oklahoma, but there's no doubt the city will always hold a special place in his heart. He won the Rookie of the Year honour with the team back in 2007, and his former Oklahoma City Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo even said that he believes Durant would still be in Seattle had they never moved to the Sooner State.

It might take some time before the league adds a new team, more so for a franchise to relocate, but Durant promised to give the fans a game to remember when he steps on KeyArena this week.

"I’m looking forward to going out there and playing. Hopefully we give them a show," he added.

LeBron James 'Even a Better Leader,' Says Rajon Rondo

LeBron James has earned the respect of another fierce competitor.

Rajon Rondo, who was used to playing against LeBron in the Eastern Conference, has high praises for his Los Angeles Lakers teammate following their preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets.

The Purple and Gold failed to live up to the pre-match NBA 2018 odds with their defeat to the Nuggets. However, Rondo has a lot of positives to take in the game, particularly from LeBron who he said exceeded his expectations.

”I played against him for 13 years now, but obviously I think what you hear vs. what you see is a little bit different. He is who I thought he was, he’s probably even a better leader, especially on the floor, telling everybody where to go and directing traffic," Rondo said.

Rondo furthered that seeing LeBron calling things out on offence and defence takes some pressure off of him, especially that he's used to doing that for his previous teams.

"I’m so used to doing that myself, so it’s kind of refreshing to me to not have to talk every possession down the floor because I have someone else doing the same thing that you can obviously trust," he added.

Lakers fans are excited to be part of NBA 2018 highlights with their new squad featuring the King
LeBron James jumps high for a rebound over Paul Millsap during the Lakers' pre-season game against the Nuggets

LeBron James, who joined the Lakers in a shocking summer move, is expected to lead Tinseltown to a deep playoff run, or even the championship, in the ultra-tough Western Conference. And hearing Rondo's first-hand account of The King's leadership is certainly music to the ears of LA fans.

It remains to be seen if LeBron can live up to expectations and actually lead his new team to the promised land. Nonetheless, in our early season predictions, we have the 33-year-old star grabbing the NBA 2018 highlights and headlines and contending for the season MVP.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 12:49 PM (5 days ago)            #64
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NBA Roundup: Seattle Expansion; CP3’s Praise on Murray; Barkley on Fultz

Another NBA week, another trio of hot and trending basketball news.

The preseason is in full throttle right now, and all the events that happened on the basketball court give fans, players and pundits plenty of things to talk about.

Reigning champions Golden State Warriors recently played the Sacramento Kings in Seattle, sparking calls for the league to have an expansion franchise and give the city an NBA team once again. However, latest reports reveal that it might take some time before that actually happens.

Houston Rockets Chris Paul also grabbed headlines after he chimed in on the situation in San Antonio following the exodus of stars. Instead of taking a jibe at their rivals, the All-Star point guard showed his support to the team and their brightest young talent.

On the other hand, there's Hall of Famer Charles Barkley who gave his two cents on what the Philadelphia 76ers need to do to contend for the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Here’s the full SBOBET report on the biggest stories in the league today:

NBA Nowhere Near to Seattle Expansion, Elsewhere

Can Kevin Durant's former team SuperSonics make it to NBA earlier than expected?
Kevin Durant's former team SuperSonics may wait further more before coming back to the league

Seattle basketball fans need to wait for at least seven more years before they can explore bringing an NBA team back to the Queen City.

After Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors put on a preseason show against the Sacramento Kings in KeyArena, calls for an expansion franchise in the city only increased. According to a report by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, however, the league have no plans for expansion "anywhere on its timeline."

In his piece, Windhorst cited that "NBA officials have been told expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest, when a new TV deal can be negotiated."

Furthermore, while Seattle has approved the renovations of KeyArena—which was the main reason why the Seattle SuperSonics left and relocated in 2008—getting an NBA team could still prove tricky and difficult.

"Beyond that, the complexities of the so-called New Arena at Seattle Center, the building's working title, may make it challenging for Seattle to compete for a team if and when the time comes. The situation could even require Seattle to have a second new arena with the NBA team as the main tenant if the city wants to outbid other markets to attract a team," Windhorst further wrote in his piece.

Durant, who was drafted by the SuperSonics in 2007, recently said that the NBA knows they need to be back in Seattle. And while it's hard to argue with that given the city's reputation as a profitable sports market, that may not be enough to land them a professional basketball team in the foreseeable future.

Chris Paul Believes the Spurs are in Good Hands with Dejounte Murray

Houston Rockets star Chris Paul knows a great point guard when he sees one.

The San Antonio Spurs recently lost long-time starting point guard Tony Parker in free agency, but Paul believes their southwest rivals still have a quality floor general in 22-year-old Dejounte Murray.

Paul narrated in an interview with Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that he once played a pickup game with Murray in Seattle, and he admitted that he was impressed with what he saw from the young guard back then.

"When Jamal Crawford got married a few years ago, Dejounte might have still been in high school," Paul said. "The night before Jamal's wedding we played a pickup game in Seattle. Dejounte was on my team."

"[Murray was] Really good, really good. So athletic. Plays with a lot of confidence."

The nine-time All-Star also predicted big things for Murray, suggesting that he's going to grab the NBA 2018 highlights after coach Gregg Popovich handed him the keys to run the Spurs' offence.

"Now, too, playing in San Antonio Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) gave him the keys to the ship. He's really going to be good now," Paul added.

Chris Paul eyes Dejounte Murray to make it in NBA 2018 highlights
Chris Paul is confident in Dejounte Murray's talent to bring in San Antonio Spurs

Murray averaged 8.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 81 games, 48 starts, for the Spurs last year. Interestingly though, he scored 16 points and tallied 11 rebounds in their latest preseason game against the Detroit Pistons.

NBA Legend Charles Barkley Says Markelle Fultz is the Key to Philly's Success

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Markelle Fultz after a strange rookie season, but NBA legend Charles Barkley believes he is the key to unlocking the Philadelphia 76ers' full potential.

Fultz, the no.1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was sidelined for the most part of his rookie season due to a scapular imbalance in his right shoulder. He played in just 14 games, averaging 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Despite the unexpected twists of Fultz' rookie year, however, Barkley said that the 20-year-old has a huge role to play to bring the Sixers to the next level.

"Well, they're [Sixers] going to have a good team because Ben [Simmons], Joel [Embiid] are terrific and [Dario] Saric. It's going to come down to Markelle Fultz. How well he plays is how good the team can be," Barkley said.

"Toronto and Boston are probably ahead of them. But that all depends on Markelle. Markelle is the key."

Philly are currently fifth in our NBA 2018 odds to win the championship, but Barkley isn't wrong to think that Fultz holds the keys to the team's success. The former University of Washington standout averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists in his lone year of college basketball, and if he can replicate that success in the NBA, the Sixers are going to be a different beast.

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 12:54 PM (5 days ago)            #65
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NBA News: The Raptors’ Klaw, Diversity in the NBA, Chris Bosh’s Return

There's only a week remaining before the best basketball league on the planet makes its emphatic return to the lives of its adoring fans. With only a couple of days left in the preseason, all teams are focused on getting their teams in top shape to start their campaign for the Larry O'Brien trophy on the right foot.

And with the NBA being busy as it is, there's no short supply of intriguing storylines for the seasoned pundits and the casual fans to digest and process. We'll be focusing three especially interesting topics that are currently making rounds in every circle that is heavily invested in the sport.

Leonard Might Fight for Title at Toronto

Everyone and their mother knows how Kawhi Leonard had a bizarre final year with the San Antonio Spurs. He strained the good relationship he had with heralded head coach Gregg Popovich and asked for a move away from the team.

The resulting Leonard trade was one of the most rattling transactions in a busy summer of moves made by stars across the league. Both teams are looking forward to moving towards the NBA title with their new stars, but there was uncertainty as to whether the Klaw will actually stay with the Raptors after the season's over. Kawhi's future is the biggest among the NBA 2018 updates Canadian basketball fans are wary of.

Fortunately for Raptors fans, it seems that there is something to look forward to next summer with the way things are going at with the team.

The former San Diego University standout has been working hard on his game ever since returning to the team. He told the press that he came to the franchise with an open mind and that he wanted to play up north.

Even fellow former Spur Danny Green noted that there is a noticeable difference between the San Antonio and Toronto versions of the Klaw. He noted that the 27-year-old is more vocal and focused than ever.

These bits of information are bad news for the teams out in the East, already one of the biggest favourites to win the East in the SBOBET basketball market at 4.50. The Klaw will definitely be sharp, and the Raptors will rip the East to shreds if they're not careful.

NBA and the Push for Staff Diversity

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made it a point to promote diversity and inclusion
NBA commissioner Adam Silver during the pre match press conference

The NBA is a global brand, with fans spanning from Canada all the way to the farthest reaches of China. With that fact in mind, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the association are doing everything they can to ensure that the league will have the reputation as one of the most diverse sporting leagues in the world.

The league's teams have long since opened their doors to the world's best players, but it's only recently that they have started accepting coaches and backroom staff of different races. Serbia's Igor Kokosov will be coaching the Phoenix Suns for the season while the Charlotte Hornets tapped the league's first full-time Hispanic head coach in James Borrego.

Many in the league also believe that women should be given opportunities to thrive in a league that has been long deemed as a man's world. And at the front of that is Popovich himself.

The long-time San Antonio coach has been working with Becky Hammon in his team since 2006, and the former San Antonio Stars point guard is the leading favourite to become the first-ever female head coach of the league.

"There are more Beckys out there, they just have to be noticed and given the opportunity by people who are wise enough and courageous enough to do it and not just sit in the old paradigm," Popovich proclaimed.

I'm sure that this is something Silver is already looking into.

Chris Bosh Hopes to Return to Playing Basketball

Chris Bosh to return to NBA action soon
Chris Bosh is eyeing an NBA comeback

Chris Bosh is a name that hasn't been heard by NBA fans in many moons, but the former Toronto Raptor and Miami Heat star is definitely beloved by the league.

Bosh was a star that stirred NBA 2018 predictions alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade during the trio's outstanding run with the Heat. After LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014, he showcased the talent that was overshadowed by the King.

However, the forward was forced to stop playing in 2016 due to the discovery of blood clots in the system. The Heat were surely crippled without their stretch big man and have struggled to get out of the first round since then.

However, Bosh has come out and said that he hasn't really hung up his shoes just yet.

Bosh reminded people that he is not retired just yet and that basketball is still in his heart. He explained that he has still not made his decision and will be contemplating as to whether he will give it a shot one more time or just walk off into the sunset and call it a career.

If he does decide to go back, however, he could find himself plying his trade in the Big Apple. The New York Knicks have become a possible destination for him, and Bosh is open to playing with former Heat assistant coach and current Knicks head coach David Fizdale.

"If they make me a deal, yeah," Bosh said of the possible move.

Of course, he still cannot play basketball as long as he is still in medication. But if his complicated recovery process gets the job done, we might see Bosh playing with Kristaps Porzingis in the future.

That in itself is a terrifying thought.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 12:56 PM (5 days ago)            #66
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NBA Preview: Top Dogs Warriors, Celtics Ready to Impress in Season Opener

THE NBA IS BACK!

After four months of waiting, the grandest basketball competition in the world makes it return for the 2018-19 season. And fans are in for a treat in its curtain-raiser as the best teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences make their debut.

To kick off the new campaign, reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors start their title defence against the retooled—and seemingly much-improved—Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the other hand, with LeBron James bolting out of the East, Kyrie Irving and his Boston Celtics will look to take over and establish their dominance early against their closest and biggest rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics (October 17, 08:00 GMT+8)

The top two East teams meeting for the opener? Surely, it's as good as it gets!

Philly have matters to settle against Boston. After all, the Celtics were the ones who denied the Sixers a dream run in the playoffs last year, beating them in the second round to set a date with the then LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the East finals.

Now, the Sixers return to the league with not only playoff aspirations but also championship hopes. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remain the core of the team, and they have Markelle Fultz—the top overall pick of the 2018 draft—fully healthy and ready to contribute.

Boston, however, will provide a stern test. They always do, anyway.

It should be remembered that this Celtics team sent the Sixers packing in just five games in a best-of-seven playoff series without All-Star players Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

Irving and Hayward are ready to start at TD Garden for this opener, so the Sixers are undoubtedly up for a fight unlike any they have experienced before.

NBA 2018 news: Boston Celtics aspire for championship after returning in the league
Kyrie Irving ready to start their opener battle against Philadelphia 76ers

Brad Stevens is unarguably the best coach in the NBA today and, no disrespect to Philadelphia coach Brett Brown, his basketball wizardry was the reason why Philly managed to win only two games in their nine encounters (including the playoffs) with Boston last campaign.

The NBA 2018 odds at SBOBET have Boston winning this one by a small margin, at Asian Handicap -5.00 that pays at 1.94. Nonetheless, I think the Beantown will win by more, considering that it's an opportunity for them to make a statement and tell the basketball world they are now the team to beat in the East.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors (October 17, 10:30 GMT+8)

The strong just got stronger.

That's the storyline for the mighty Warriors this year after an offseason move that saw them land free-agent All-Star centre DeMarcus Cousins.

Imagine a lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. That fivesome will easily be the starting squad of the Western Conference All-Star team (if it is still alive).

Sure enough, Cousins is far from being game-ready as he recovers from the torn ACL he suffered last season. However, the idea of that lineup playing together is just plain scary.

For now, the Warriors will have to do with their usual "Death Lineup" of Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green or their ultimate small-ball crew—famously called the Hamptons Five—that inserts Andre Iguodala into the equation.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City will hope that cashing in on the All-Star duo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George will bear fruit for them.

The Thunder parted ways with Carmelo Anthony and broke the bank to keep the Westbrook-George partnership running, committing more than $230 million to the two players alone. They did make some low-risk, high-reward acquisitions in the likes of Dennis Schroder, Nerlens Noel and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, but the focus will always be on Russell and Paul and if they can bring the Thunder to the promised land.

As the Warriors host the Thunder at Oracle Arena this Wednesday, Durant's match-up with former teammate Westbrook will grab the NBA 2018 news headlines. Nevertheless, the game is promising to be thrilling overall, especially if their head-to-head record last year is to be considered.

They split their four matches in the 2017-18 season, each winning one at home and one away. Oklahoma won their first two games against the Warriors though, and they will surely look at that as a source of confidence.

While the Dubs are overwhelming favourites with Asian handicap betting (-11.50 @ 1.94), the Thunder should be able to keep it tight and close. The Warriors lack depth at the centre post, and that is something the Thunder could exploit to turn the tide of the battle.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 1:02 PM (5 days ago)            #67
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NBA Preview: Harden, Giannis Start Their Seasons!

If you're starving for NBA action, you've come to the right place!

The biggest basketball in the league will be hitting the ground running as they've got some exciting games for you to catch! With the best players in the world now ready to wow the millions of fans all over the world, it's not hard for the seasoned SBOBET basketball fans to be hyped.

Of course, these games won't be the actual openers to the season; the favourites to reach the NBA Finals have the honour to open the festivities. However, that doesn't mean that these games won't be as exciting.

There are interesting NBA 2018 news that we'll be following through the season, but let's get on with the games.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Charlotte Hornets (October 18, 07:00 GMT+8)

There is much behind the Greek Freak, and Giannis has shown over the past couple of seasons that the buzz surrounding him is more than warranted. The superstar, who is entering his sixth year at the NBA, will be looking to score more threes this season. The three-point line has been the only point of criticism in his game so far, and sinking threes against the Charlotte Hornets will establish him as an impossible player to stop.

Brooklyn Nets @ Detroit Pistons (October 18, 07:00 GMT+8)

This is the first full season in Detroit for Blake Griffin, and this is probably the final chance for the former Clipper to prove that he is still an influential force in this game. He has a great chance to thrive under Dwane Casey, but the roster does not give much confidence for Blake's playoff chances.

Meanwhile, things are looking up for the Brooklyn Nets. This is the final real chance for D'Angelo Russell to establish his place as a premier starting guard in the league, and Detroit is the perfect place for him to showcase his wares.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Indiana Pacers (October 18, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Grizzlies are in an unsure place and will likely be struggling for most of the season as they try to figure out whether they will make one last playoff push or blow it all up by the trade deadline. Meanwhile, Indiana have loads of momentum and should be able to crush the Grizzlies in front of their home fans. Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner will be a nightmare to defend for J.B. Bickerstaff's men.

Can NBA 2018 Betting fans witnessed Dwyane Wade's farewell tour start well?
Dwyane Wade aim to with his side vs Orlando Magic

Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic (October 18, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Dwyane Wade farewell tour starts with an intra-state match between the Heat and the Magic. The Heat will want to quiet the Magic and stop them from repeating the brilliant stretch they had at the start of the season. Aaron Gordon will be a big assignment for Miami to contain.

Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks (October 18, 07:30 GMT+8)

This is not only a game between two likely stragglers in the Eastern Conference. This is the first peek into the young careers of Trae Young and Kevin Knox. Their performance in their first official NBA game matters a lot, so coming off the gates strong is an important priority for these two rookies.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors (October 18, 07:30 GMT+8)

The Cleveland Cavaliers can hope to start their second post-LeBron James era on a positive foot, but I don't see them winning against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. With the Klaw reportedly being highly motivated to play basketball, I don't see these rebuilding Cavs winning in any way, shape, or form.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Houston Rockets (October 18, 08:00 GMT+8)

The first NBA game in Houston this season is between two men touted by NBA 2018 betting sites to most likely win the MVP.

Anthony Davis will have a point to prove after becoming the lone star in New Orleans once more. Of course, he will have help in the form of Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle, it will be interesting for them to face up against James Harden, Chris Paul and the highly efficient Rockets offence.

Can Minnesota Timberwolves celebrate victory in their court?
Jimmy Butler aims to give the best of his abilities in Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves @ San Antonio Spurs  (October 18, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that was overflowing with potential last season, will be opening their game against San Antonio with a fractured locker room. Now that Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota front office have agreed on terms to seek a good trade for him, Tom Thibodeau will have to make do with his stars not playing to the best of their abilities.

This is the kind of game Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs love to pound to the ground.

Utah Jazz @ Sacramento Kings (October 18, 10:00 GMT+8)

Quin Snyder and the superb Utah Jazz will be entering this season with high hopes. They clearly have the better players and play style over the Sacramento Kings, the ultimate symbol of mediocrity in the league. I just don't see a single player in the Sacramento roster being able to stop Donovan Mitchell.

Denver Nuggets @ LA Clippers (October 18, 10:30 GMT+8)

These two teams can play basketball and elicit some cheers from the Staples Center crowd, but I think the Nuggets will be the huge favourites in this contest. The complete loss of the Lob City core will be tough on Doc Rivers, and the Nuggets have a special man at the five spot in Nikola Jokic.

Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns (October 18, 10:30 GMT+8)

This is probably the most important game to watch among the 11 games scheduled.

Both teams have outstanding rookies that are booked to win the prestigious Rookie of the Year award in Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. Both youngsters have a lot of hype surrounding them, and they will be playing in very exciting rosters.

Eyes will be glued onto this game, and people will be intrigued to see how these two future stars get on.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 1:05 PM (5 days ago)            #68
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NBA: Dominant Win for Celtics, Hard-Earned for Warriors

The NBA is back...and it's back with a bang!

After more than four months of waiting, the 2018-19 season finally kicked off. And fans couldn't ask for a better start after solid performances from the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors.

Boston now have the upper hand in the East with their convincing victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, while Golden State just proved they can win ugly and why they are the team to beat.

Philadelphia 76ers 87-105 Boston Celtics

The Celtics were expected to make a statement in the opener against the Sixers, possibly their closest title rival for the throne in the Eastern Conference. And sure enough, they lived up to their pre-match billing as they completely destroyed Philly at TD Garden.

Sure enough, the game didn't start the way many NBA fans would have hoped. Boston missed seven of the first 10 shots while Philly started 4 for 11 from the field. In fact, the two made just one field goal in 11 attempts in the opening three minutes.

Despite the poor start and some rusty shooting, however, the Beantown team showed they are a cut above the Sixers and pulled away in the second half.

Second-year forward Jayson Tatum paced the C's to victory, scoring 23 points on 52.9 percent shooting. The 20-year-old was all over the court and provided the much-needed spark to get the offence going for the Celtics.

He made nine points in the first quarter (13 by the end of the half) and continued to produce in other areas, finishing with nine boards and three assists to go along with his scoring output.

Gordon Hayward, who received a standing ovation, played in his first regular-season game since his season-ending injury in last year's opener. Kyrie Irving also started after missing the end of the 2017-18 regular season and the playoffs due to a pair of knee surgeries.

Unfortunately for the two All-Stars, they both had sluggish performances and shot a combined 6 for 26 for the game. Hayward had 10 points in 24 minutes of action, while Irving made just seven markers despite playing 29 minutes.

Celtics prove they are NBA title contenders as they dismantle the young Sixers squad
Jayson Tatum battles for the rebound with Al Horford and Robert Covington

All-Star centre Joel Embiid (23 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks) and 2017-18 Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons (19 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, four steals, two blocks) showed why they are the future of Philly, but their efforts were not enough to lift the Sixers past the Celts.

Trailing by six at the end of the first half, the Sixers thought they had the momentum midway through the third quarter when they staged a 7-2 run. Nonetheless, it was short-lived as the Celts found their footing and pulled away for good.

Marcus Morris, who scored 16 in the game, made eight of Boston's last nine points in the third frame.

Boston shot just 43.3 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from beyond the arc, but the Sixers were worse with 39.1 field goal percentage and 19.2 percent three-point shooting (5 for 26).

Oklahoma City Thunder 100-108 Golden State Warriors

Ring night. Rivalry night. Win night.

It's everything the Warriors could have hoped for, as they started their title defence with a hard-earned win over the Thunder at Oracle Arena.

Last year's opener saw the Warriors bow down to the Houston Rockets, ruining what was supposed to be a celebration of their 2016-17 championship. This time, however, the Dubs didn't let that happen and came out with the desire to win.

Of course, the preseason form still appears to be there, but the Bay Area team held on to fend off a feisty Thunder side.

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, as usual, grabbed the NBA 2018 highlights as they combined for 57 points in the game. Curry had a game-high 32 points, scoring 19 in the first half that saw the Warriors lead by 10 points.

Durant, meanwhile, had 27 points on 42.9 percent shooting, though he missed all of his five attempts from 3-point territory.

Famed for their third-quarter avalanche, the Warriors were noticeably missing their spark. It didn't help that Andre Iguodala—the fifth member of the Hamptons Five—left the game early with a suspected calf injury.

The Thunder then took a page out of the Warriors playbook and were the aggressors in the third canto. The pre-match NBA 2018 odds at SBOBET put Oklahoma as heavy underdogs, no thanks to Russell Westbrook's absence, but Paul George took over to keep things tight.

OKC erased the Warriors' 10-point advantage with a 9-2 run to open the penultimate period, and they eventually took the lead, 71-70, with 6:19 left to play in the quarter.

George made 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter, though he was largely ineffective come the payoff period.

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell short of upsetting the defending NBA champs as they lose their opening day game
Paul George attempting a jumper over Golden State Warriors center Damian Jones

Dennis Schroder, taking care of the ball-handling duties in the absence of Westbrook, surprised with his 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but he too went missing when it mattered most.

Besides George and Schroder, only Steven Adams reached double-digit marks for OKC. Meanwhile, the Warriors had Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and Damian Jones scoring 10 points or more.

Furthermore, Warriors' defensive anchor Draymond Green tallied 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals despite recently recovering from left knee soreness.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 1:07 PM (5 days ago)            #69
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NBA Recap: History, Record and Thrilling Encounters!

After the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics started the 2018-19 season on a high note, the rest of the NBA followed suit to produce an even more memorable gameday.

There are plenty of close games to start with—hello Milwaukee and Orlando—and there are milestones reached and some records broken in a truly entertaining night. And who could forget about the upsets and big wins?

Here's the full recap of every NBA game played today:

Milwaukee Bucks 113-112 Charlotte Hornets

The Bucks led by as much as 20 points early in the first half, but a huge second half saw the Hornets claw their way back to give coach Mike Budenholzer and his squad a huge scare.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a solid game with 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists, but he committed eight of the Bucks' 21 turnovers in the game. Fortunately, they were able to hold on and stop Charlotte who saw Kemba Walker explode for 41 points on 51.7 percent shooting.

Miami Heat 101-104 Orlando Magic

The Heat had a hot start and jumped to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter, but they couldn't sustain the momentum and eventually found themselves on the losing end of a gritty game at Amway Center.

It certainly didn't help Miami that they were without Justise Winslow (hamstring), Wayne Ellington (ankle), James Johnson (abdomen) and Dion Waiters (ankle), leaving Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside with little help.

Aaron Gordon and rookie centre Mo Bamba paced the Magic to victory, with the former tallying 26 points and 16 rebounds and the latter notching 13 points and seven boards. Dragic, meanwhile, had 26 points, four rebounds and four assists in a losing effort for the Heat.

Memphis Grizzlies 83-104 Indiana Pacers

With huge expectations on their shoulders heading into the season opener, Victor Oladipo and the Pacers did not disappoint as they put on a show against the Grizzlies and made some history.

Indiana Pacers had a productive NBA opening game as they set a record for biggest in winning margin in franchise history
Victor Oladipo attempts a shot over Memphis Grizzlies' Garrett Temple

Seven players, led by Bojan Bogdanovic (19 points) and Victor Oladipo (16 points), scored in double figures for Indiana to beat Memphis by 28 markers. Remarkably, that winning margin is the franchise's biggest win in a season opener, breaking their 27-point victory over New Jersey back in 1985.

No player scored more than 13 for the Grizzlies who shot a horrendous 29.8 percent from the field.

Brooklyn Nets 100-103 Detroit Pistons

While it's easy to count out the Pistons this year, Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond just showed fans why they shouldn't.

The Detroit trio combined for 69 points in the game, even outscoring Brooklyn's starting unit that made just 66 points. Drummond was particularly impressive as he grabbed the NBA 2018 highlights with his 24-point, 20-rebound performance—becoming the first player in franchise history to achieve the statistical feat in a season opener.

Caris Levert had 27 points for the Nets, but his backcourt running-mate D'Angelo Russell failed miserably and finished with only eight points on 33.3 percent shooting.

Cleveland Cavaliers 104-116 Toronto Raptors

As it shows, the Cavaliers are no longer the team to beat in the East.

In their first regular-season game since the departure of LeBron James, the Cavs fell to the Raptors and never took the lead after the first half. The Raptors, meanwhile, cruised to victory and were never really threatened, thanks to the presence of Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.

Leonard rewarded the Raps for trading for him over the summer after his fallout with the Spurs, finishing the game with a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Atlanta Hawks 107-126 New York Knicks

It's a tale of two quarters for New York. After starting the game 0-for-9 from the field, the Knicks found their rhythm in the second quarter and scored 49 points to record the franchise's third-highest scoring in a single quarter.

Tim Hardaway put up 22 points in the opening half and eventually finished with 31 in the game.

The Hawks never recovered from their 23-point first half deficit despite Taurean Prince's 21 points, though it was still a pretty memorable night after Vince Carter started for the team to become the second-oldest player to start a season opener.

New Orleans Pelicans 131-112 Houston Rockets

The NBA 2018 odds at SBOBET had the Rockets winning this one. However, Anthony Davis and crew had other plans.

Houston never led in the game, and New Orleans never looked back after a 14-6 start that saw Nikola Mirotic bank two triples, Elfrid Payton send a beautiful alley-oop to Davis, and Jrue Holiday pull off a brilliant cut.

Davis and Mirotic, along with Julius Randle, combined for 87 points in the match. Meanwhile, the Rockets' supposed 'Big 3' of James Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony made only 46 points overall.

Minnesota Timberwolves 108-112 San Antonio Spurs

With Jimmy Butler playing for the Timberwolves for the first time since his offseason trade demand, there were concerns that it could turn into a disaster—especially after previous reports of his "outburst" during a Wolves scrimmage.

Nonetheless, that wasn't the case as Butler went all out and was all over the court, recording 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block for the Wolves.

The injury-riddled Spurs proved to be a tough nut to crack though, with DeMar DeRozan (28 points, four rebounds and four assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points and 19 boards) leading the way.

Utah Jazz 123-117 Sacramento Kings

For a team known for defence, it's surprising to see the Jazz allow the Kings to make 117 points. Sacramento leapt to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter and was ahead by 16 before Coach Quin Snyder made adjustments that paved the way for 21-9 Jazz run.

Utah went up by 13 heading into halftime, but the Kings kept on fighting back and cut the Jazz' lead to just one in the closing stages of the third. In the end, though, the Jazz held on and got the job done in what could only be described as a tough opener.

Donovan Mitchell, as expected, sparked the Utah offence with 24 points while Rudy Gobert had 19 to go along with 15 boards. Willie Cauley-Stein, on the other end, made 23 points to lead the Kings.

Dallas Mavericks 100-121 Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker is the hero of the Suns' opening game story.

After the Mavericks battled back and reduced the Suns' lead to just four points in the payoff period, Booker stepped up for the home team and scored 19 points in the final seven minutes of play.

Devin Booker led a spirited run to give Phoenix their first win of the NBA season
Devin Booker celebrating after he made a three during the Suns win against the Mavs

Booker ended up with 35 markers and what was initially a close encounter turned into a one-sided affair for Phoenix.

Suns rookie Deandre Ayton also played well and kept the team ahead in the first three quarters before Booker's fourth-quarter explosion. He had 18 points, to go along with 18 rebounds and six dimes.

Denver Nuggets 107-98 LA Clippers

The Clippers lost in the most Clippers' way possible.

Leading in the game for the most part, the Clips had one hell of a collapse. They were ahead 94-90 with 3:18 left to play, but they managed to put up just four points after that as the Nuggets staged a 17-4 run to complete their comeback.

Nikola Jokic, who hit the go-ahead three in the fourth to bring them within one, finished with 21 points. Meanwhile, Paul Millsap—who put Denver ahead with a floater after Jokic's triple—ended up with 11 points and 16 rebounds.

 

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09-Nov 2018 Friday @ 1:10 PM (5 days ago)            #70
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NBA Preview: There are Big Games to Be Seen!

There's nothing more blissful for the basketball fan than the opening days of the NBA season. The memories of last season are still fresh in the memory of fans, and optimism of the moves made by the 30 franchises during the offseason makes for a very happy environment all throughout the league.

While all 11 games are worthy of your attention, there are two games that will have the attention of the entire league. The Golden State Warriors will be squaring off against another of the teams looking to bring them down in the Utah Jazz.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors will be giving fans a preview of what will likely be the Eastern Conference Finals. Seeing Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry square off with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward has many fans drooling in their seats.

Charlotte Hornets @ Orlando Magic (October 20, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Orlando Magic have made a great start to their season by beating intra-state rivals Miami in a close battle. Aaron Gordon is slowly fulfilling his potential as he finished the game with a double-double.

They cannot sit on their laurels, though. Their next opponents at the Amway Center are the Hornets, a team coming from a close loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. If they aren't careful with guarding Kemba Walker, they will see the guard score another 41 points.

New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets (October 20, 07:30 GMT+8)

The first Battle of the Boroughs this year will be held at the Barclays Center as the Brooklyn Nets will try to get a W off of the New York Knicks. They have a shot at actually winning this game as they took Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons to their utmost limits on the back of strong outings from Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Tim Hardaway Jr. hammers the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Madison Square Garden
Tim Hardaway Jr. hammers the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Madison Square Garden

However, the Knicks aren't exactly pushovers, either. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter haven't let up on the gas pedal and pounded the Atlanta Hawks to submission. SBOBET tips aren't exactly in favour of the Knickerbockers, but NYK +3.00 @ 2.09 is a worthwhile punt.

Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors (October 20, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Boston Celtics didn't have that hard of a time against the Philadelphia 76ers, quickly establishing them as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry captivated the full-capacity Scotiabank Arena crowd by thumping the Cleveland Cavaliers to submission.

The Celtics are the big favourites to win with the quality of their players and coaching staff, but a highly motivated Kawhi should have no problems keeping Toronto in the game for the entire 48 minutes. Future NBA 2018 results in the East depend on this match, and I see this as a game that Boston will win narrowly. Boston +3.00 @ 1.93 is a palpable punt to make.

Atlanta Hawks @ Memphis Grizzlies (October 20, 08:00 GMT+8)

Both of these teams aren't expected to win a lot of games this season, but this is the type of games that they should strive to win if they want their fans to have some reason to be happy. Memphis have a better shot at this game as Atlanta are still breaking in their star rookie in Trae Young.

However, Trae Young is the type of player that will suddenly sink four consecutive threes without warning. The Memphis defence better be ready for the kid.