NBA: Greek Freak Puts Stamp on Dominant Sweep

Both of the NBA playoff series in action on Monday had the possibility of ending in a sweep — but only one of those series did see the brooms brought out.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took care of business against the Detroit Pistons, James Harden and the Houston Rockets will need at least one more game to get rid of the Jazz after an inspired performance from Utah in Game 4.

The Bucks’ sweep means that one second-round series is finally set as Milwaukee take on the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last year’s playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Rockets need to wait a while longer to set up their own rematch against the Golden State Warriors.

Milwaukee Bucks 127-104 Detroit Pistons (MIL win 4-0)

Giannis Antetokounmpo saved his best for last against the Pistons. After scoring just 14 points in Game 3, the Greek Freak poured in 41 points and 9 rebounds with 4 blocks in just 32 minutes in Game 4 as the Bucks closed out Detroit in one of the most dominant sweeps you can imagine.

Giannis’ 41 points was his highest total since dropping 45 on the Philadelphia 76ers in the second to last game of the regular season.

The fact that Antetokounmpo’s 32 minutes played in Game 4 was his series-high only underscored just how in command the Bucks were.

Even Blake Griffin’s return from a knee injury in Game 3 was not able to make this series competitive in any way, shape, or form. The Bucks’ margins of victory in their four wins against the Pistons were 35, 21, 16, and 23 points.

Griffin gave it his all in Game 4 and finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and six assists before fouling out. Meanwhile, Reggie Jackson erupted for 26 points as the Pistons led by as many as 10 points in the first half. But that was as good as it got for the Pistons as the Bucks roared back and never let up.

Milwaukee will now move on to the second round to face the Boston Celtics, who also completed their own sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

After demolishing the Pistons for four straight games, the Bucks should finally encounter some actual competitive postseason basketball against the Celtics, who knocked them out in the first round last season.

Both teams have changed significantly since then, though. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are now healthy for Boston after they both missed last year’s playoff run due to injury. And the Bucks have morphed into one of the best teams in the league under head coach Mike Budenholzer’s leadership.

Most NBA 2019 predictions will likely have the Bucks going through in that series. But it would be foolish to discount the Celtics, who possess the tools to give Milwaukee all they can handle.

Houston Rockets 91-107 Utah Jazz (HOU lead 3-1)

After the Jazz’s crushing Game 3 loss against the Rockets, Donovan Mitchell said Utah weren’t going to “lay over” in Game 4 and simply allow Houston to complete their sweep. And the Jazz’s second-year star backed up his big talk on the court as he led the Jazz to the Game 4 victory.

Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz extend their NBA season after defeating the Rockets

Donovan Mitchell reacts after scoring a basket against the Houston Rockets

Mitchell took a while to get going, but he finally erupted in the fourth quarter, where he scored 19 of his team-high 31 points.

Prior to Mitchell taking over in the fourth, Jae Crowder (23 points, 8-13 FG) and Ricky Rubio (18 points, 11 assists) were the ones mainly responsible for keeping the Jazz within striking distance of the Rockets, who simply lost steam in the end.

After his 0-of-15 start to Game 3, James Harden had another rough shooting night as he went 8-of-19 with eight turnovers. Chris Paul also went 8-of-19 from the field, but he filled up the stat sheet with 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks in a losing effort.

Rockets big man Clint Capela had his worst game of the series in Game 4 as he finished with just 4 points and 7 rebounds. However, NBA 2019 news broke that he’s actually been battling two respiratory illnesses in this series.

The Jazz showed in the two games in Utah that the series wasn’t quite as one-sided as it looked back when they got blown out twice in Houston. Who knows what would have happened if they had been able to capitalise on Harden’s horrific shooting night and won Game 3.

us odds are still very much against the Jazz as no team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 series deficit. But at the very least, they can still make the Rockets work to get that fourth win in Houston — or perhaps even force another game in Utah.

 

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NBA: MVP Front-Runners Start Playoffs Strong

Day 1 of the NBA Playoffs delivered a host of notable upsets. But there were no such surprises in Day 2 as all four of the higher seeds went on to win.

The Bucks and Rockets looked particularly impressive as their MVP-caliber superstars — Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden — led them to dominant blow-out wins.

Meanwhile, the Celtics and Blazers overcame some rough shooting to take the lead over the Pacers and Thunder, respectively.

And even though only one game has been played in those four matchups, some troubling signs emerged in three of them which suggest those series may not last very long.

Indiana Pacers 74-84 Boston Celtics

For the third time in the space of a couple of weeks, the Celtics once again got the better of the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers. It was truly a struggle for the Pacers to score in Game 1; they shot just 33 per cent from the field and had a franchise-low eight points in the third quarter.

The Celtics didn’t play so great themselves. Kyrie Irving had 20 points on a mere 6-of-17 shooting as they shot only 36 per cent as a team. But their defence completely smothered the Pacers, who have sorely missed the presence of their All-Star shooting guard after initially playing well without him.

While it’s safe to assume some better shooting from Boston in the next few games, the same can’t be said for Indiana. Without Oladipo, the Pacers simply don’t seem to have enough firepower to hang with the Celtics, who have the superior scoring talent.

Oklahoma City Thunder 99-104 Portland Trail Blazers

Paul George failed to impress during the NBA Playoffs against the Trail Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George drives around Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu in Game 1 of their NBA Playoff series

After getting swept in each of the last two playoffs, the Blazers finally ended their postseason losing skid with a hard-fought win over the Thunder.

The dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum didn’t shoot the ball well — they went just 18-of-45 –but they did combine for 54 points. Meanwhile, former Thunder big man Enes Kanter, who’s starting for the injured Jusuf Nurkic, came up huge with 20 points and 18 boards against his old team.

Russell Westbrook delivered his obligatory triple-double, but Paul George continued to struggle with his shot. The All-Star wing, who has been plagued by shoulder issues over the past few months, went just 8-of-24 from the field and 4-of-15 on 3-pointers.

After the game, George revealed he couldn’t even lift his shoulder four days prior. But he believes his poor shooting was just a lack of rhythm.

With OKC so highly reliant on Westbrook and George on offence, they just can’t afford those types of shooting nights from PG-13. Their hopes of getting past Portland will quite simply come down to whether he can overcome his ailing shoulder and hit more shots in this series.

Detroit Pistons 86-121 Milwaukee Bucks

The poor Pistons had some huge NBA 2019 news that they would be without star big man Blake Griffin for Game 1. As a result, they were completely blown out by the No. 1-seeded Bucks.

Much like the 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Griffin had been plagued by knee issues which saw him miss key games at the end of the regular season. And as the series opener showed, the Pistons have absolutely no shot to even be competitive against Milwaukee without their All-Star.

It was so one-sided that no Bucks starter even exceeded 25 minutes. Potential NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo put up his 24 points and 17 boards in only 23 minutes of play.

Even if Griffin were fully healthy, this series likely wasn’t going to get past five games at most. The Bucks were the best team in the regular season for a reason, and the Pistons just didn’t have the tools needed to threaten them.

But if Griffin remains out, Detroit could quite realistically suffer a couple more 35-point blowout losses en route to an utterly dominant Bucks sweep. For us basketball fans looking for a sure thing, this is just about the closest one to it in the first round.

Utah Jazz 90-122 Houston Rockets

The Rockets had relatively few problems with the Jazz when they beat them 4-1 in last year’s West semi-finals. And if Game 1 of their first-round series is any indication, James Harden and co. could once again make short work of Utah.

The scary part for the Jazz was that Harden didn’t even play all that well in Game 1, and Houston still won by 32. While he did have 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, he went just 11-of-26 from the field and had only three free-throw attempts. His supporting cast of Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela also made big contributions to the win.

The Jazz may have had the No. 2-ranked defence in the league, but it was the Rockets who showcased some stellar D. They forced Utah to just 39 per cent shooting (7-of-27 on 3-pointers) and forced 18 turnovers.

The Rockets’ defence was a key factor in their run to the conference finals last year. And if they can keep an already limited Jazz offence from scoring efficiently, this could be another short series.

 

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NBA: Greek Freak Gets Revenge on Embiid in Thrilling Duel

There’s officially less than one week left in the NBA regular season. While some teams — notably in the Western Conference — are still playing in games with playoff implications, Thursday’s three-game slate did not feature any of those teams.

But despite not having much left to play for, two of the top teams in the East in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers played one of the best games of the season. And luckily, no one got horribly injured like in the recent double-overtime thriller between the Blazers and Nets.

The action and intensity in that Bucks-Sixers showdown more than made up for the lack of drama in the other two games. The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors easily strolled to comfortable wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.

Milwaukee Bucks 128-122 Philadelphia 76ers

The Bucks and the 76ers produced a barn-burner of a game the last time they played. Led by Joel Embiid’s 40 points and 15 rebounds, the 76ers edged out the Bucks, 130-125, in Milwaukee despite a career-high 52 points from Giannis Antetokoumpo.

But the Greek Freak got his revenge as his 45 points and 13 rebounds topped Embiid’s triple-double (34 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists) to lead the Bucks to a 128-122 victory in Philadelphia. With the win, the Bucks have clinched the best record in the league and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Making the Bucks’ win more impressive was the fact that Eric Bledsoe got ejected less than three minutes into the game after an altercation involving Embiid.

After getting shoved in the back by Bledsoe, Embiid threw the ball at the Bucks guard’s direction. But Bledsoe retaliated by forcefully throwing the ball at Embiid’s torso, which sparked a melee between the two teams. Bledsoe was given two technical fouls and was tossed, while Embiid and Mike Scott got one technical apiece.

There’s a chance the Bucks and 76ers meet again in the Eastern Conference finals. And based on their past two meetings, that could be one heck of a series if it does come to fruition.

If those two teams do meet up, don’t forget to check out the us odds for that intriguing series.

Cleveland Cavaliers 104-117 Sacramento Kings

The Kings aren’t going to return to the playoffs this season. But they do still have a shot at finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2006 after beating the Cavs at home.

Buddy Hield led the way for the Kings as they get a NBA win over the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers

Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield making a move against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Brandon Knight

Swingmen Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic did most of the damage for the Kings as they poured in a combined 41 points on 9-of-18 from beyond the arc. De’Aaron Fox also chipped in with 16 points and 10 assists.

Jordan Clarkson led the way for the Cavs with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting off the bench, while rookie Collin Sexton added 19 points. Sexton is having a strong finish to the season, averaging 23 points per game in his last 10 contests.

The Kings are now at 39-40 with just three games left in their season and can get that winning record if they sweep their final three games. Although, two of those games will be on the road against the Jazz and the Blazers, who are still playing hard this late into the season.

As for the Cavaliers, they are 19-60 and have now lost seven games in a row. They are just about sure to finish with one of the three worst records in the league, which will give them a 14 per cent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.

Golden State Warriors 108-90 Los Angeles Lakers

The Warriors are finishing the regular season with a strong run of NBA 2019 results. With their 108-90 win over the Lakers, they’ve now won five of their last six games, with their one loss coming amid some controversial officiating calls.

With no LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball, the NBA 2019 betting odds for this game were always going to be skewed heavily toward the Warriors. And the remaining Lakers didn’t help themselves as they shot a miserable 35 per cent from the field and went 8-of-37 on 3-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins led the way for the Warriors with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Quinn Cook added 18 off the bench, mostly in garbage time. No Warriors starter even played 30 minutes as they had the game in hand by the end of the fourth quarter.

Cousins has suddenly been coming on strong during this last stretch. He’s averaging close to 17 points in his last 10 games while shooting 56 per cent from the floor. That’s certainly a promising sign for Golden State heading into the playoffs — but a worrying development for the rest of the league.

 

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Same Teams, Different Dreams: More Exciting NBA Action Awaits Fans

The regular season games are coming in hot and heavy, and it won’t be long until playoff season actually begins.

All of the remaining NBA games have become more significant, and each team would be approaching this game according to their goals. Some hoping for playoff contention will be doing everything they can to get the win. Meanwhile, teams aiming for the draft lottery will be looking to lose as many games as possible.

Depending on your team’s agenda, you may love or hate watching your favourite teams play tomorrow’s games. However, fans that frequent the best betting sites like us will find a game or two that can give them great winnings.

The Western Conference, in particular, has some interesting games on offer.

New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers (March 13, 07:00 GMT+8)

Fans who watched New York get obliterated by the Minnesota Timberwolves were treated to a terrible display of basketball. Things won’t likely change when the Indiana Pacers come to the Madison Square Garden as they try to get the top pick that will end up with Zion Williamson wearing a Knicks jersey.

It will not make for pleasant viewing for the Knicks fans, but they can at least witness Dennis Smith Jr. ball out. The NC State product is one of the few bright spots in the team and will look to involve the rest of the team as they try to stop the Pacers with a futile fervour.

Betting Tip: New York Knicks +15.50 @ 1.86

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Philadelphia 76ers (March 13, 07:00 GMT+8)

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The Cavaliers have been out of playoff contention for quite a while, but they were more than aware that they will not play postseason basketball this year. However, the fans appreciate it whenever the team pulls off wins against a team like the Toronto Raptors.

Kevin Love and Jordan Clarkson have the unenviable task of keeping the Cavaliers competitive against Joel Embiid and the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavs will be able to put up a much better fight if both Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman also step up their game against their top-heavy hosts.

However, I don’t think Cleveland can hold a candle to Philly’s fiery form.

Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers -13.50 @ 1.96

Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls (March 13, 08:00 GMT+8)

A lot of Los Angeles Lakers fans are wondering why the team didn’t live up to the pre-season NBA 2019 odds that surrounded the team. The Purple and Gold were supposed to make the playoffs, but it seems like they are now on the way out for an early summer.

They know that the negative energy surrounding the team — compounded with the injuries to their young core –will make their match against Chicago a tough game. They signed last season’s feel-good player to another ten-day contract, but whether he makes a positive impact will depend on LeBron James‘ willingness to help out on the defensive end.

Betting Tip: Los Angeles Lakers -1.00 @ 1.96

Milwaukee Bucks @ New Orleans Pelicans (March 13, 08:00 GMT+8)

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a heavy favourite for the MVP race, and his nightly output of 27 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 6 assists make him an easy pick for the award. He will definitely make his presence felt when his Milwaukee Bucks make the trip to the Big Easy and play the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans’ preparation for life without AD has been a messy one, and they have lost games left and right. With the minutes limitation they have set on their estranged star man, there’s no question how this game will end up.

Betting Tip: Milwaukee Bucks -9.50 @ 1.95

San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks (March 13, 08:00 GMT+8)

You can always count on the Spurs when it comes to quiet productivity. They are playoff-bound with their 38-29 record and have avoided the limelight as they took down Milwaukee, Denver and Oklahoma City in their last five games. Gregg Popovich’s team is just that good.

They should have an easier time against a Dallas Mavericks side that has lost all of their last five games. To make matters worse, Luka Doncic may not play after suffering a worrisome injury in their loss to their other Texas rivals in Houston.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets (March 13, 10:30 GMT+8)

NBA: The Denver Nuggets will face the Minnesota Timberwolves

Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic pulls in a rebound during their game against New Orleans Pelicans

The Minnesota Timberwolves may have comfortably won against the Knicks, but things won’t be so easy when they visit the Mile High City and play against the Nuggets. They need Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins if they were to have any chances at beating this Denver team.

However, things will be tough for them even if they have their two stars ready to play. Nikola Jokic has produced some fantastic NBA 2019 highlights, and his stellar game against the Oklahoma City Thunder could easily be replicated against a team of Minnesota’s calibre.

Portland Trail Blazers @ LA Clippers (March 13, 10:30 GMT+8)

The LA Clippers are doing great in the league despite losing their All-Star player in Tobias Harris. Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari are doing a lot of wonders for this team, and Doc Rivers‘ Clippers are currently untouchable from their spot in the Western Conference.

However, the Portland Trail Blazers will be tough opponents. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are playing like their usual great selves, and they won’t likely stop this duo. They have a chance if they play their usual brand of team-oriented basketball, though.

Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers -2.50 @ 2.00

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Playtime’s Over: The NBA Amps Up for the Playoffs

The All-Star weekend was a memorable experience for many basketball fans as rarely do you see your favourite hoops star let his guard down and smile with his fellow basketball players.

However, the break is gone and dealt with, and there’s only one thing that the league is now looking forward to: the NBA playoffs. There are only sixteen spots for the big dance, and the best basketball players in the world want to be a part of it.

Expect every team to step their games up as they try to make a push for playoff seeding. Of course, not everyone is aiming for the trophy, so don’t expect tight contests on all games.

Phoenix Suns @ Cleveland Cavaliers (February 22, 07:00 GMT+8)

 There’s no way these two teams can ever hope to compete for playoff positions this season, but there should be no reason that this match will be a boring game for anyone who would consider watching and putting a punt between two of the league’s worst basketball teams.

Devin Booker is still struggling to pull his Suns out of misery, but he can at least excite the fans with his scoring and playmaking. Meanwhile, the Cavalier faithful will be praying to the basketball gods that Kevin Love will be able to play after being sidelined for quite a long time.

If Love does play (which is very much possible), the Suns are in for a long night.

Betting Tip: Cleveland Cavaliers -2.50 @ 1.98

Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers (February 22, 07:00 GMT+8)

That Dwyane Wade–LeBron James alley-oop during the All-Star game reduced a lot of Heat fans to tears. It brought them back to a time when South Beach was the hotbed of winning basketball. Nowadays, the Heat are fighting tooth and nail to get into the playoffs.

While the squad looks like a hot mess, they do have good players in Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic. Wade is also playing out of his skin. However, I don’t think they have the roster necessary to take down a buffed-up Sixers squad.

I don’t think they can handle Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, and Tobias Harris for 48 minutes.

Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers -8.50 @ 1.86

Portland Trail Blazers @ Brooklyn Nets (February 22, 07:30 GMT+8)

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell in action against the Chicago Bulls in the NBA

Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell dribbles the ball down court during the first half against the Chicago Bulls

The Nets and their fans are on a high after D’Angelo Russell becomes the first Net to make an All-Star appearance for the first time in five years. The guard is putting up a season to remember, getting 20.3 points and 6.6 assists in 58 starts.

Moreover, he is not the only one surprising the league. Rodions Kurucs surprised many in the Rising Stars Challenge with his quality of play in only 15 minutes of play. Spencer Dinwiddie‘s creative play off the bench is badly missed by the Nets, and Jarrett Allen has already made a lot of NBA 2019 highlights with his blocks.

However, I still think they are huge underdogs against the Blazers. While they are one of the more exciting teams to watch in the NBA, they are still a few pieces away from contending. I also think Portland have the experience to handle whatever Brooklyn throw their way.

Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers -1.50 @ 1.97

Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks (February 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Fiserv Forum will be filled to the brim with exciting basketball action when the Milwaukee Bucks welcome the Boston Celtics for the day’s marquee matchup.

Giannis Antetokounmpo easily was the most eye-catching player in the All-Star game, and his performance this season saw the NBA 2019 betting tips on the Bucks improve. However, the Celtics are still the biggest roadblock in the East.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens knows that his Celtics can end the season at the top of the East, but inconsistent performances reduced certainty to hope. If they lose to Milwaukee, their hopes will be further reduced to doubt.

At least, they can keep this contest interesting. I believe this match would end a one-possession game.

Betting Tip: Boston +5.50 @ 1.92

Sacramento Kings @ Golden StaWarrors (February 22, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Sacramento Kings have been playing great basketball so far this season. While they are still losing their regular-season series against neighbours Golden State, all of those games show encouraging signs for one of the most passionate fan bases in the entire association.

Golden State are also playing some fantastic basketball, but they are still in the process of fully incorporating DeMarcus Cousins to the lineup. While Stephen Curry and All-Star MVP Kevin Durant are more than enough to get the us basketball market betting, I still think the Kings can hang in there.

Betting Tip: Sacramento Kings +13.50 @ 1.92

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (February 22, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Houston Rockets are still winning basketball games, but their most recent losses against teams with good big men (Oklahoma City and Minnesota) show just how much they miss Clint Capela. They should be more than happy that their star big is back after missing fifteen games.

With their roster almost back to full strength, there should be no reason the Rockets can overtake the Lakers in this game. LeBron is still LeBron, but the rest of the roster isn’t playing to his lofty standards.

I fully expect the Lakers to keep on dropping games, including this one. You know a team isn’t ready for prime time when they suffer a narrow defeat to a team that isn’t even in the playoff picture.

Betting Tip: Houston Rockets Draw No Bet @ 1.85

Some NBA players acknowledge James Harden's mastery

James Harden moves on the court against Team Giannis during the first half of an NBA All-Star basketball game

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Count on the NBA All-Star 2019 to Provide Us With Highlights

Team Giannis 164-178 Team LeBron

The NBA All-Star 2019 weekend was one for the books.

Not only did it have a lot of intriguing storylines coming in, but it was also a weekend that featured and celebrated many of the league’s top players. There was a lot to love for rabid basketball fans of all shapes and sizes.

However, the pick of the bunch is still the All-Star game. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo did incredibly well in drafting their respective teams, making for an enjoyable moment for both players and fans who made the trip to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Some of the best NBA All-Star 2019 highlights as the 2019 class stepped up and gave us moments that we will be talking about for days. Don’t worry if you missed the game, though; we at us have taken all of the juiciest bits and served them up just for you!

Highlights of the game

Giannis Antetokounmpo started the game gunning to win the NBA All-Star 2019

Team Giannis’ Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks the ball against Team LeBron during the NBA All-Star 2019

A fun game for everyone

The All-Star games of recent years have always been high-scoring affairs as the rosters feature some of the most impressive scorers in the league. While it is fun to see your favourite NBA stars score the lights out, many complained that the value of the game diminished due to a lack of defence.

This is why the all-new format is an impressive stroke by Adam Silver. The final score is still an insane amount of points, you can see that the players on the court were exerting a bit of defence (albeit still lax).

The game itself was an interesting spectacle if you looked at it from the box score alone. Team Giannis were completely dominating for much of the game, but Team LeBron turned on the jets and put on a shooting clinic in the second half to beat the live NBA All-Star 2019 betting odds and win 178-164. Kevin Durant was the unanimous MVP with his 31 points, while LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving provided some great backup for the Golden State star.

That isn’t much of a surprise, though. When you have five of the league’s best closers in your starting lineup, you just know that things will get interesting.

The passing of the torch

Depending on who your favourite player is, the All-Star game had you either pumped up with adrenaline or reduced to tears.

It was a particularly sad night for many Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat fans as they saw Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade strut across the All-Star hardwood. Dirk may not have announced his retirement yet, but it’s highly likely that he’ll join Wade and walk off to the sunset.

A particularly emotional moment for the fans and haters of the Miami Super Team was the incredible off-the-glass alley-oop between Wade and LeBron. It instantly brought everyone back to the era when LeBron and Wade were stomping everyone in the league. Dirk’s consecutive treys off the bench also took a lot of Mavs fans on a loop.

The way the two future Hall-Of-Famers carried themselves set an example to the rest of the young guys that aspire to have a career as impressive as theirs. And it seems like Giannis more than got the memo.

The Greek Freak played for the crowd and played an incredible All-Star game. He scored 38 points, grabbed 11 boards, made 5 assists, and stole the ball once on a 73.9% shooting clip. If he hasn’t made his intentions of becoming the league’s best player clear, then this game was his statement.

Giannis has arrived. Giannis will stay. Giannis will not go anywhere.

Oh, and he just made one of the most incredible dunks of the All-Star weekend.

Yes, I think it’s even better than that dunk over Shaq.

Key statistics

The highest-scoring All-Star game of all time was the 2017 All-Star game where both teams combined for 374 points. This year’s game came close to the 190-mark, but the amount of defence both teams played by both sides made the score a bit tighter. That would surely appease some fans.

Ten Team LeBron players scored double-digit points while there were seven players from Team Giannis had more than ten points. Both teams had high assist totals, but Team Giannis one-upped Team LeBron at 43.

The Flash showed a bit of everything in his 10 minutes of game time, netting 7 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. Meanwhile, The Dunking Deutschman was nowhere near the rim but managed to score nine points from three-point attempts.

That’s right. He made every. Single. One.

What’s next?

Kevin Durant was named as the MVP for this year NBA All-Star 2019

Kevin Durant lifting the trophy after winning the NBA All-Star 2019 MVP award

Now that every major news story is out of the way, the entire league zips back to business mode as they prepare for the post-break rush. Every team still in playoff contention wants to start on the right track, so a win is paramount here.

The most intriguing games coming out of the break are the Boston-Milwaukee game. People will be on the lookout for Giannis after that monster All-Star game he had.

Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic will be doing everything they can to keep their fantastic streak alive against the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder will reset to winning ways when they face the Utah Jazz.

 

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What To Love (And What Not) About the NBA All-Star 2019

The NBA All-Star 2019 is here, which means it’s time to take some days off from the regular season games and start enjoying pure entertainment with the league’s biggest stars!

Charlotte is this year’s host, and the city will be witness to what could be another historic and memorable moment in the league.

us is here to give you a preview of the notable events of the All-Star weekend. And as a treat, we will provide the best (and uhmm, not so best) about the annual affair.

NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

Okay, the idea here is to let celebrities who are not good at playing hoops, well, play basketball. Surely, there’s something fun in that!

Fans can’t expect high-quality basketball—one is better off watching a high school ball game as compared to this one. However, these are celebrities we’re talking about, and most people are willing to pay to see them.

Besides, there’s the bonus of laughing (or being impressed) at them while they play!

What to Love: Quavo is back, and ever the competitive hooper he is, the 2018 Celebrity All-Star MVP is expected to show off his skills once again. Also, who’s not excited to see Ronnie 2K play a game of actual basketball?

Oh, there’s also Ray Allen.

What Not: Come on, the celebrity game won’t ever be the same again without comedian Kevin Hart! The league should have done everything to force him out of “retirement.” And while they are it, they should have called Mark Cuban and LaVar ball to go at it on the hard court.

Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars

Now here’s an interesting bunch. The game’s best young stars duke it out in a game designed to display the next generation of superstars and future of the NBA.

As it has been in the past four years, a group of 10 USA players (Team USA) matches up against 10 players from other parts of the world. The format already sets up an intriguing storyline, especially with some rivalries starting to develop.

Luka Doncic will look to lead Team World to a NBA All-Star 2019 victory against Team USA

Luka Doncic of Dallas Mavericks dribbles past Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton

What to Love: Ben Simmons versus Donovan Mitchell. Luka Doncic versus Trae Young. These two match-ups alone are enough reasons to watch the Rising Stars challenge.

Mitchell’s rivalry with Simmons is well documented, starting from their Rookie of the Year race last year when Mitchell famously campaigned that Simmons was not an actual rookie. Meanwhile, a draft-day trade that sent Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks and Young to the Atlanta Hawks will forever link the two.

What Not: It’s a pity Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t included as a member of Team USA. It would have been great to see him play against his former Mavs teammate, Doncic, just a little over a week after he was traded to the New York Knicks—essentially because of the rapid development of the Slovenian wonderboy.

Lonzo Ball’s absence due to injury is also quite a bummer.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

All-Star Saturday night (in the US) pits All-Stars, near All-Stars and future All-Stars in a competition that is, obviously, about skills.

The eight participants square off against each other in three rounds on an obstacle course that will test their dribbling, passing, speed and shooting. Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley, who has never been an All-Star, headlines the event that also includes Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic and Orlando Magic centre Nikola Vucevic.

What to Love: The Joker is a must-watch here. Known as the best passing big man in the league, Jokic is made for the skills challenge—that is if you don’t take into account his speed, of course.

It’s also interesting to watch how Jokic and Vucevic will fare against each other. And how about another showdown between Luka and Trae (which could be even more exciting depending on the results of the Rising Stars challenge).

What Not: Spencer Dinwiddie won’t be able to defend his Skill Challenge title, so Brooklyn Nets fans and everyone following the rise of the 25-year-old playmaker won’t be happy about that.

Three-Point Contest

With the NBA turning into a small-ball league, the emphasis on 3-point shooters has been greater than ever. That is why the excitement about this competition is also at an all-time high.

It will be a big NBA All-Star 2019 for the Curry's as the brother's face off where there father spent most of his career

Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry speaks with brother Seth Curry of Portland Trail Blazers after their NBA match

The game’s best sharpshooters this season, headed by Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield, will prepare to compete in the event. Phoenix Suns Devin Booker is also back to defend his crown.

What to Love: Dirk Nowitzki, 2006 Three-Point shootout champ, will join the contest in what could be his final season in the league.

To add more drama (and some brotherly competition), Steph Curry will be up against his brother, Seth Curry, in Charlotte where their father Dell Curry spent the majority of his career.

It’s worth mentioning as well that the number of participants increased to 10 from eight in the past seasons.

What Not: Hey, if the NBA can add two more slots, why didn’t they select Davis Bertans? The San Antonio Spurs big man is second in the league in 3-point percentage, but he is the only one absent among the top five in that list. SNUUUUUB!

AT&T Slam Dunk

Unarguably one—if not the most—exciting competition, the Slam Dunk showdown deserves to be the main event of the day. While there have been plenty of disappointments over the years, it’s hard to abandon it as it can turn out to be an instant classic (case in point: the 2016 Aaron Gordon-Zach LaVine dunk classic).

It is guaranteed to provide some of the best NBA All-Star 2019 highlights. And in the fight, the four participants will get two dunks each, with the top two scorers moving to the final round.

What to Love: Knicks guard DSJ has some serious hops, and following his performance last year when he should have won, he’s back to take another shot err dunk at it.

What Not: Don’t get me wrong, John Collins, Miles Bridges and Hamidou Diallo are all fantastic players who can throw down the ball with force. They have all the physical tools to do it, anyway. However, they seem not flashy enough and lack the explosive power to send the crowd to their feet, something which is beneficial in the affair.

… or maybe it’s just me missing Gordon and LaVine.

NBA All-Star Game

Last year, it was Team LeBron versus Team Stephen. With LeBron bolting to the West, though, the landscape of the NBA changed. And so is the All-Star selection.

This season, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the new king of the East while LeBron took over the throne from Steph out West.

The two have made their picks in the All-Star draft, and here’s the result:

Team LeBron is the clear favourites based on the early NBA All-Star 2019 odds; but make no mistake, Team Giannis has four first-time All-Stars in his team which he believes will play harder than everyone else.

What to Love: There’s plenty to love in the All-Star Game, so we’re just listing it out!

  • James and Antetokounmpo made the first ever All-Star trade, with the former sending Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis for Ben Simmons. Their reason? For Joel Embiid and Westbrook to team up and mend their not-so-good relationship. Will it turn out to be a good trade?
  • D’Angelo Russell is a first-time All-Star, and after a whirlwind career that saw him traded to the Brooklyn Nets from the Los Angeles Lakers, he has proven his former team wrong. Sorry Magic Johnson!
  • Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who will coach Team LeBron, hoped and wished that LeBron would draft his player Nikola Jokic. Unfortunately, Jokic went to Team Giannis, setting up a showdown between the coach and his star player.
  • The starting lineup of Team LeBron composed of LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kahwi Leonard and James Harden is just scary.
  • Should LeBron play Anthony Davis? Because the New Orleans Pelicans star might get hurt and affect his free agency plans.
  • Paul George and James Harden are the front-runners for the NBA MVP award. As they play for different teams, it’s worth watching if they will fight for the All-Star MVP.
  • Kemba Walker finally gets the respect he deserves, and Charlotte will be stoked to have a representative in the ASG.

What Not: Seriously, we have Dirk and Dwyane Wade as special All-Stars, but where’s Vince Carter?

 

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NBA: A Battle of the Rejects is the Thing in Chi-Town

The NBA season is nearing its exciting climax, and every team will be approaching the coming games with the hopes of achieving their goals. These squads’ playing levels will depend on whether the team aims for a playoff ticket or the first pick on the draft.

And one of the games that will be played on Thursday morning feature three men with compelling stories that have the entire league buzzing. Two men come from a side that is embroiled in a huge trade saga while the other one is a young player whose career is on a downward spiral while playing for a team also on the way down once more.

This match will definitely attract the interest of many us fans who follow the best basketball league in the world, but this isn’t the only match worth paying attention to. After all, the biggest teams in the league will also be showing their stuff.

Denver Nuggets @ Brooklyn Nets (February 7, 07:30 GMT+8)

While a lot of neutral fans loved the fact that the Nuggets stood at the top of the fiercely competitive Western Conference, they also knew that their stay at the top won’t last for long. However, they will surely be carried by the 20-10 averages of their All-Star player in Nikola Jokic.

The Nets have an All-Star of their own in D’Angelo Russell, and we can definitely expect the former Los Angeles Laker to show off the same way he has carried the young and hungry nets to a respectable 28-27 record this year.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Chicago Bulls (February 7, 08:00 GMT+8)

The entire league still has their eyes at the Pelicans as they could be involved in the biggest trade in recent memory. The Anthony Davis deal is all the talk in the Big Easy, and all of the buzz surely has an effect on the games they play.

Fortunately for them, they have a big man that is stepping up to the plate. Jahlil Okafor is producing big numbers in Davis’ absence and is seemingly ready to take the mantle should the deal push through.

Meanwhile, Jabari Parker has failed to strike it big in Chicago. The former Blue Devil has not lived up to his spot in the 2014 draft after sustaining two ACL injuries. The man is also linked to a move to Los Angeles; it will be interesting how he would work with Davis and LeBron James once everything is ironed out.

On the Bulls, though, I don’t think Parker can stop the Pelicans from taking the W from the dumpster fire that is the Bulls franchise.

Washington Wizards @ Milwaukee Bucks (February 7, 08:00 GMT+8)

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo overcame an early miscue to dominate the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks against Washington Wizards forward Jeff Green

This is another battle between two sides with All-Star-level talent. The Wizards will be trying to do everything they can to beat the Bucks with the help of Bradley Beal. However, they couldn’t even manage to scoop a win against the Atlanta Hawks.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee have one of the biggest basketball superstars in Giannis Antetokounmpo. I would be surprised if they don’t win this game at the Bradley Center.

Charlotte Hornets @ Dallas Mavericks (February 7, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Hornets are the perfect definition of a mid-table team: they easily dominate teams on or under their level but fail to beat teams that are contending for the title. Kemba Walker can only do so much, and he needs the rest of the team to step up and help him contribute on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the entire city of Dallas, TX are already looking forward to the era of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as they are still recovering from last week’s biggest NBA 2019 news. Until that happens, though, fans can expect their Wonder Boy to keep on wowing the American Airlines Arena with his step-backs and court vision.

Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz (January 7, 09:00 GMT+8)

It’s safe to say the Suns have called it quits this season and are looking to the draft, hoping that they will get the first overall pick. There is an incentive for them to tank, after all: Zion Williamson is just too good for college and is more than ready to play with the big boys of the league.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are barely in the playoff picture as their 30-24 record places them seventh in the wilderness also known as the Western Conference. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert would happily swallow up the young Suns to further secure their playoff hopes.

Houston Rockets @ Sacramento Kings (February 7, 10:00 GMT+8)

De’Aaron Fox is hooping this NBA season

Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox and Iman Shumpert slap palms as they walk off the court

A year ago, there would be no question as to which team will win this fixture. The Rockets have a supreme scorer in James Harden and a talented point guard in Chris Paul. Meanwhile, the Kings have nothing but despair as they looked destined to another lottery pick in the summer.

This year’s match is a lot different now, however. The Rockets have seemingly gone back to the tried-and-tested tactic of just passing the ball to Harden and hope that his flops would get him enough times to the free throw line. The Kings, on the other hand, are playing entertaining, fast-paced basketball.

It’s weird how the world works at times.

San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors (February 7, 10:30 GMT+8)

I’ve always loved how the Spurs play basketball. Their brand of hoops wasn’t pretty, but it was definitely helping them win games.

Unfortunately, Gregg Popovich’s team is in a bit of a rebuild mode, and it would take a while before the NBA 2019 odds see them as favourites once more. Their upcoming game against Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors doesn’t help their chances, either.

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NBA: Intriguing Games in Store as Trade Saga Continues

The on- and off-court action during the past couple of days have been nothing but delightful for avid fans that can’t get enough of top-quality NBA action. Now that the season is past the halfway point of the season, interesting storylines are beginning to develop as teams amp up their playoff push.

Most of the buzz surrounds the biggest NBA 2019 news: Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans. The star big has called it quits on the team that drafted him and is looking to build a title contender with another established star.

It’s pretty clear to everyone where he wants to end up, but we can only assume the future until a trade is completed for Davis. Until then, we can only look at the coming games in store for us fans. And the four games to be played also offer very interesting points of conversation.

Dallas Mavericks @ Detroit Pistons (February 1, 07:00 GMT+8)

Luka Doncic may not be a starter in the All-Star Game, but his outstanding play on the Mavericks ensure his headliner spot in the upcoming Rising Stars game. His spot is well-deserved as he is leading the team with impressive averages of 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

While his individual efforts haven’t resulted in the Mavs winning more games, he can probably lead the team past Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons. Detroit head coach Dwane Casey still hasn’t figured out how to make his two bigs thrive in his system, and I doubt that things will change here.

Indiana Pacers @ Orlando Magic (February 1, 07:00 GMT+8)

Nate McMillan and his coaching staff are still trying to figure out how to finish the season without Victor Oladipo, and their attempts were met with defeats to Memphis and Golden State. While they do have a reliable scoring force in Bojan Bogdanovic, there is no one on the roster who can provide the kind of leadership and defensive capabilities Oladipo brought to Indiana.

Fortunately for them, their opponents aren’t doing too hot either. The Magic lost four of their last five league games despite Nikola Vucevic carrying the team in all major departments. Aaron Gordon can show up every now and then, but I don’t think he will make that much of a difference in the match itself.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors (February 1, 08:00 GMT+8)

Can Giannis Antetokounmpo continue impressing NBA 2019 Odds as they visit Toronto Raptors?

All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo is eyeing win vs Toronto Raptors

The Bucks were embroiled in a tough battle with Oklahoma City, and All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo will be raring to get his win against tough conference rivals in the Toronto Raptors. His 26.5 PPG and 12.6 RPG numbers help the Bucks keep themselves competitive against tough competition.

Mike Budenholzer will definitely need his star to step up as the Raptors will be playing with their best players in tow. Kawhi Leonard is also a walking double-double and will cause havoc against the Bucks. It will be up to Milwaukee to sift through the distractions and focus on the W.

Brooklyn Nets @ San Antonio Spurs (February 1, 08:30 GMT+8)

It’s delightful for many neutral NBA fans to see the Brooklyn Nets eventually seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. D’Angelo Russell is coming to his own as the team’s offensive and team leader while Jarrett Allen is quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s best rim protectors.

This young and hungry Nets team will be playing against an established San Antonio team that has always thrived throughout the past 20 years. This match against superb vets will surely help the young Nets understand the attitude required to succeed in the league.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors (February 1, 10:30 GMT+8)

us fans are expecting DeMarcus Cousins to continue playing great for the Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins continue to produce results after returning from ankle injury

Everyone except DeMarcus Cousins believed that he would be able to bounce back from his ankle injury and produce results while wearing the colours of the Golden State Warriors. He has quickly established himself as a dominant presence in the team, garnering 15 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes of action.

The fact that he is not the best player on the Warriors says something about the quality of the team and why they are still the favourites of NBA 2019 odds to win the title again this year. That little factoid should worry the equally impressive Sixers who cannot provide coverage to every single star in the Warriors roster.

Los Angeles Lakers @ LA Clippers (February 1, 10:30 GMT+8)

Things haven’t been peachy ever since LeBron James got injured. James’ 27-point outings have hurt a young Lakers team that is still without direction under the core. While the rumours of Davis switching to Tinseltown have shaken many Lakers fans, a lot of people also don’t want to sacrifice much of their young core for him.

Moreover, they have to secure the win against local rivals the Clippers. They have a roster that is the entire antithesis of Magic Johnson’s Lakers: the Clippers were not led by a star but are playing some excellent basketball.

This is a sure-fire hit among the many basketball fans in Hollywood.

 

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NBA Recap: All-Stars Paul George, James Harden Shine Bright!

Paul George and James Harden were both recently named as starters for the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte this February, and the two proved their credentials this time with some thrilling performances to lead their respective teams to victory.

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard also showed why he was part of the elite group,  while Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic made his case for the weekend festivities by etching his name on the NBA history books.

Here’s the full us recap of the nine games today:

Sacramento Kings 108-122 LA Clippers

The LA Clippers continue to cling on to the eighth seed in the brutal Western Conference, and they now extend their winning run to three games with a convincing victory over the playoff dreaming Sacramento Kings.

Patrick Beverley led the way for the Clips, bagging a near triple-double of 16 points, 10 boards and eight assists. Tobias Harris, who is hoping to be an All-Star this year, didn’t help his case though, as he finished with six points on 35.3 percent shooting for the team.

De’Aaron Fox had 21 markers for the Sac-Town team, but the Kings were horrendous from deep (8-of-36) and never really got their shooting clicking.

Cleveland Cavaliers 104-101 Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls lost the battle versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, but with both teams positioning themselves for the best lottery odds, the Windy City can be said to have won the war.

Cleveland are still the worst team in the league, but Chicago are closing in as they are now only one-and-half games ahead of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tied 79-all at the end of the third, the Cavs used a 12-2 run early in the payoff period to pull away for good. They also held the Bulls to just one field goal in the final three minutes of play.

Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman top-scored the Cavs with 18 points apiece, while Lauri Markkanenen finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in a losing effort for the Bulls.

Milwaukee Bucks 112-118 Oklahoma City Thunder

In the battle of the All-Stars and MVP candidates, PG13 reigned supreme.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, named as All-Star captain for next month’s event, produced his usual gaudy numbers and ended up with 27 points, 18 boards and four assists. However, Paul George outplayed the Greek Freak with 36 points, 13 boards, three assists and three steals.

Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo has failed to lead his side to victory when they meet OKC for an NBA battle

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to get past Oklahoma City Thunder players in their recent NBA match

Perhaps the most memorable moment in the game—and one that will surely be included in the NBA 2019 highlights—was when the Oklahoma City Thunder forward put Antetokounmpo on a poster late in the fourth quarter.

Remarkably, George went 8-of-12 from deep, leaving the Milwaukee Bucks chasing their tails for the most part.

Orlando Magic 98-103 Houston Rockets

James Harden is the reigning NBA MVP, and he’s undoubtedly playing like one.

The Beard, in what is becoming a habit for him, scored 40 points on top of 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks to give the Houston the win in Chris Paul’s return.

According to Stat Muse, it was the 18th time that Harden recorded 40-plus points this season, which is the most by any player before the All-Star break since Michael Jordan did it in 1986-87.

Orlando played well and was ahead by 16 after the opening frame. Nonetheless, Houston clawed their way back and wrapped things up with a 29-16 fourth quarter highlighted by a 10-5 run at the end of the game.

Paul had a solid performance for the Rockets, as he tallied 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in just 25 minutes of play.

Washington Wizards 119-132 San Antonio Spurs

The Washington Wizards fought mightily, but in the end, they fell short against a more clinical  San Antonio Spurs team.

DeMar DeRozan was sidelined due to a sore knee, but the Spurs made up for his absence with a total team effort. Seven players scored in double figures for the Texas team, all of whom shot above 45 percent.

LaMarcus Aldridge paced the team with 30 points, nine rebounds and six dimes, while Davis Bertans also did plenty of damage with a 21-point explosion.

San Antonio also outrebounded the Wizards, 49-32, to control the game throughout and even led by as much as 21 points midway through the final canto.

Toronto Raptors 123-120 Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks rookie sensation Luka Doncic showed he is an All-Star, but he certainly needs more help to bring the Mavs back to NBA relevance.

The Toronto Raptors, led by Kawhi Leonard, stymied a second-half charge from the Mavs to eke out a win at American Airlines Center.

The Mavs trailed by 12 points in the first half, but they responded with a 30-15 third quarter to take the lead heading to the final frame. Things looked bleak for the Raptors when Dallas opened the last quarter with four unanswered points to build a seven-point lead.

However, Toronto held on and got a much-needed boost from their bench mob to survive.

Leonard posted 33 points and 10 rebounds, while Doncic became the youngest player with a 30-point triple-double with his 35-12-10 stat line.

The Raptors have now won nine of their last 12 games since beating the Bucks early this month.

Utah Jazz 125-111 Minnesota Timberwolves

It’s back-to-back Ws for the Utah Jazz against the Timberwolves, thanks to strong performances from Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio.

Mitchell recorded 29 points, four rebounds and five assists, while Rubio had a bounce-back game and finished with 18 points and eight assists on 57.1 percent shooting. For what it’s worth, Rubio made just six markers in last week’s meeting with the Timberwolves.

It was a pretty close fight up until the fourth quarter, during which the Jazz opened with a 13-7 run in and never looked back.

Miami Heat 106-97 New York Knicks

A 12-point outing in the third quarter doomed the New York Knicks for good, all after leading by six at the break.

Trey Burke scored four points during that ugly stretch, and that is the highest among all Knicks players. In contrast, the Miami Heat saw a balanced contribution from the players, with seven finishing in double-digits.

No player scored more than 20 for the Heat, with Wayne Ellington making 19 and Dwyane Wade adding 15.

In hindsight, the Knicks’ performance might be only fitting in a night that Carmelo Anthony watched them play.

Phoenix Suns 102-116 Los Angeles Lakers

Wins are hard to come by for the Los Angeles Lakers nowadays, especially with LeBron James and Lonzo Ball still out.

The NBA 2019 odds were stacked against the Lakers ahead of the game, with Kyle Kuzma and Tyson Chandler also ruled out just hours before the match-up. Fortunately for them, the Phoenix Suns were also missing some of their best players in Deandre Ayton and T.J. Warren.

Ivica Zubac stepped up in the absence of the Lakers’ big men, providing 24 points and 16 boards. The 21-year-old Croatian also blocked four shots as the Purple and Gold demolished the Suns at Staples Center.

Ivica Zubac has taken the lead to help Los Angeles Lakers win over the Phoenix Suns in their latest NBA game

Los Angeles Lakers’ Ivica Zubac battles for the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also made 24 points while Brandon Ingram added 22. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 markers and eight helpers.

It’s only the Lakers’ third victory in six games, last winning against the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder a couple of weeks ago.

 

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