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: Injury Bug Affects An Exciting Game in Milwaukee

The  Milwaukee Bucks are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most electrifying athletes to watch in the league as no one in the league has a direct answer to the incredible skill set the Greek Freak has in offer.

They have a potentially exciting battle in hand with the top-heavy Philadelphia 76ers which could help them cement their position in the East with the win. However, an injury to one of their key players could see their lofty position at the top crumble.

Whether they maintain their hot run of form despite the injury bug will be one of the more compelling NBA 2019 news stories, but their battles aren’t the only things worth watching. There are a total of eight games on offer tomorrow that offer equally exciting odds.

Los Angeles Lakers @ New York Knicks (March 18, 00:00 GMT+8)

It still feels weird to say that a Los Angeles Lakers team that has LeBron James as its centre is mathematically out of the NBA playoffs.

With two of their young core also deemed out for the season, there’s no pressure for the Purple and Gold to succeed in their remaining thirteen games. It can be said that they will be underdogs for the rest of the season, but their next opponents will be the laughable New York Knicks.

If James is cleared to play this game and doesn’t manage to pull off a win, the Lakers are in a truly sorry state.

Betting Tip: LA Lakers -4.50 @ 2.02

Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat (March 18, 01:00 GMT+8)

The Charlotte Hornets are still in the playoff hunt despite a pitiful 31-37 record, and beating the Miami Heat could see them rise to eighth for a brief moment.

The Hornets should be able to start with Kemba Walker commanding the team from the point. I think his 25.2 PPG and 5.8 APG should be more than enough to see off Miami if they don’t decide to play Justise Winslow and Dwyane Wade.

However, both of these men are fighters and will be ready to play come tip-off. It should be a narrow win for the Heat.

Betting Tip: Miami GHeat -4.00 @ 2.01

Philadelphia 76ers @ Milwaukee Bucks (March 18, 03:30 GMT+8)

The Bucks will be running without Malcolm Brogdon this game, and his absence will be a huge loss to the rotations Mike Budenholzer has established in the ball club. Giannis and the Bucks would have to work harder to make up for his absence.

The Sixers will be a tough opponent for the Bucks as they have one of the most top-heavy teams in the league. The starting line-up of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick, and Ben Simmons will be tough opponents to guard.

This will be a high-scoring affair, and this game could be decided on the last possession.

Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers +6.50 @ 1.99

Toronto Raptors @ Detroit Pistons (March 18, 04:00 GMT+8)

The Raptors are the other heavy favourites to emerge of the Eastern Conference

Kawhi Leonard in action for the Toronto Raptors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Raptors are the other heavy favourites to emerge of the Eastern Conference, and the way they dismantled Miami a week ago should give them some confidence going in against the Pistons in the Motor City despite a horrible loss against the Cavaliers.

The Pistons can churn out some impressive wins as Blake Griffin is still one of the best power forwards in today’s game. However, the Pistons are way too inconsistent to be even considered a threat against the North.

Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors -2.50 @ 1.95

Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando Magic (March 18, 06:00 GMT+8)

Both of these teams are inconsistent ball clubs with differing situations. The Magic are just outside the playoff picture while the Hawks are a couple of losses away from mathematical elimination from the playoffs.

However, both of them are in the same run of form, winning a similar number of games over the same 10-match span. With Atlanta being the more exciting team of the two, this should be an interesting watch for us fans interested in Trae Young.

Betting Tip: Atlanta Hawks +7.50 @ 2.02

Chicago Bulls @ Sacramento Kings (March 18, 06:00 GMT+8)

The Chicago Bulls are pretty much keeping their eye on the draft lottery as they prepare to face the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center. There’s no point in them winning games anymore, and no one’s interested in watching an uninspired team that is handmade by a confused GarPax.

Meanwhile, the Kings are looking to end their 12-year playoff drought by winning the last thirteen games of the season and catching up to the LA Clippers and the Utah Jazz. They cannot afford to drop any games now, and De’Aaron Fox must lead his team back to the big dance.

Betting Tip: Sacramento Kings -6.50 @ 2.02

Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves (March 18, 09:00 GMT+8)

The Rockets are favoured by NBA 2019 odds to win this match-up against the Kings with good reason.

The Timberwolves are far from playoff contention, and their chances don’t look as inspired as the Kings’. James Harden is still an unstoppable force in the league with his 36.1 PPG, 6.05 RPG, and 7.6 RPG. Ric Gordon, Clint Capela, and Chris Paul also have decent shooting clips.

There’s no way the Rockets trip here, do they?

Betting Tip: Houston Rockets -6.50 @ 1.93

LA Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets (March 18, 09:00 GMT+8)

The Clippers continue to defy expectations as they are on pace to finish eighth in the West despite the absence of a proper star in their roster. Props should be given to Doc Rivers and the incredible players who made this situation a reality for Clippers fans.

The Nets are another team that is overachieving as they are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference. Thanks to D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, the team is set to end their three-year playoff absence with a young, exciting core.

I think this will be an exciting basketball game that will be decided by a last-second shot, and the Barclays Center will be entertained regardless of the result.

Betting Tip: Brooklyn Nets +6.00 @ 1.94

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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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NBA: Nuggets No.1 No More, Rockets Rise

The Denver Nuggets fell to second and the Warriors returned to the top without doing anything, all thanks to a big night from the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit steamrolled the Western Conference top seed in what could be said as one of their best wins of the NBA season. Andre Drummond came up huge for Motor City and deserved credit for holding his ground against All-Star and MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.

On the other games, the Houston Rockets continue their rise at the expense of the Suns and are now fifth after the San Antonio Spurs suffered a surprising defeat to the Sacramento Kings.

Denver Nuggets 103-129 Detroit Pistons

The NBA 2019 odds at us were clear on this game: Detroit—out of the playoff picture in the weak Eastern Conference—have no match against West-best Denver.

Boy, we (and the odds) couldn’t be more wrong.

Detroit are the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting team, but they got themselves a great night from beyond the arc and connected 16 of their 37 attempts from deep to trash the Nuggets.

Drummond was pivotal for the team, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. However, the Pistons also received a massive boost from their bench unit that outscored the Nuggets’, 60-28.

Stanley Johnson led the reserve squad with 21 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter when they led by as much as 29 points. Langston Galloway chipped in 18 while Luke Kennard had 14.

With Jamal Murray and Gary Harris absent, the Nuggets had limited options offensively. It didn’t help they were outrebounded by the Pistons, 53-32.

Atlanta Hawks 137-129 Washington Wizards

Talk about sharing the ball!

Nine Atlanta Hawks players scored in double figures to torch the Wizards, who have lost their second consecutive match.

The difference maker for Atlanta, though, is their three-point shooting. The team made 20 of 41 attempts from beyond the arc, with Taurean Prince and Kevin Huerter going for five triples each.

Prince led all Hawks scorers with 21 while Huerter finished with 19. Rookie sensation Trae Young shot awfully at 15.4 percent, but he did make 10 assists to facilitate the Atlanta offence.

Bradley Beal bagged a game-high 27 points, but his efforts were not enough as the Wizards continue to struggle defensively. They were never able to recover after going down 35-20 in the opening quarter.

Milwaukee Bucks 113-94 Brooklyn Nets

Losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week seems to have a positive effect on the Milwaukee Bucks. Since that defeat, Milwaukee have won four straight—including their latest 19-point rout of the high-flying Brooklyn Nets.

Giannis Antetokounmpo brings Milwaukee Bucks to another NBA win against the Nets with triple-double registers

Giannis Antetokounmpo in action during the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets

Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly had a triple-double versus the Nets, putting up 30 points, 15 boards and nine dimes. The Greek Freak also had three blocks and shot an efficient 63.2 percent from the field.

First-time All-Star D’Angelo Russell made 18 points, but he was ineffective and went 7-of-20 from the field.

Both teams struggled offensively, shooting below 40 percent overall. However, a solid third-quarter display saw the Bucks pull away for good.

The defeat is Brooklyn’s third in a row.

Indiana Pacers 109-107 New Orleans Pelicans

Despite the absence of injured guard Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers are doing well to stay in the playoff race.

The Hoosier State beat the New Orleans Pelicans, albeit in a relatively close encounter at Smoothie King Center. It was a nervy affair, to say the least, as the Pacers led by only six points or less in the final five minutes of play.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, their shots didn’t fall, allowing Indiana to take the ugly W.

Darren Collison picked up the slack left by Oladipo and made 22 points on top of four rebounds and six assists. Domantas Sabonis, on the other hand, had 16 markers to go along with 13 boards.

Amid the trade rumours surrounding Anthony Davis, Jahlil Okafor and Jrue Holiday kept the Pelicans afloat. The two combined for 44 points.

Houston Rockets 118-110 Phoenix Suns

The Suns are serious in tanking for Zion Williamson. After all, they haven’t won—intentionally or not—for more than half a month now, with their defeat to the Pacers in mid-January starting their 11-game skid.

The Houston Rockets took advantage of the Suns’ apparent lack of motivation, and they never surrendered their lead after scoring the first basket 29 seconds into the match.

Houston led by as much as 20 points in the third quarter behind a well-balanced scoring from James Harden, Kenneth Faried, James Ennis and Chris Paul.

With another 40-point game, James Harden leads the Houston Rockets to a win against the Phoenix Suns

Reigning MVP James Harden celebrates as the Houston Rockets topple the Phoenix Suns

Harden grabbed 44 in the win, extending his scoring streak of 30-plus points to 27 straight games. Paul, meanwhile, had his best performance since returning from injury with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals.

San Antonio Spurs 112-127 Sacramento Kings

After producing one of their best NBA 2019 results against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Kings kept the momentum going to take down the Spurs.

Playing without injured point guard Derrick White, the Spurs had a hard time distributing the ball. That is evident with their 18 team assists, a huge difference to the Kings’ 26 dimes.

Rookie forward Marvin Bagley III took the spotlight, recording a career-high 24 points. The second overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft also tallied 12 boards, four assists, three blocks and one steal in an all-around effort for the Kings.

Although Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 46 markers, they didn’t get enough help from the bench unit that made a measly 32 points.

 

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NBA Preview: Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo Battle for King of the East!

Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are set to face each other for the first time this season, and the meeting of the Eastern Conference’s top scorers are expected to deliver on-court fireworks and non-stop action.

Both players were absent due to injuries during the October clash between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors, so there are high hopes when the two teams meet again…this time at Scotiabank Arena and now with their biggest stars.

On the other NBA games, the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Detroit Pistons in the battle of the East and West. Meanwhile, it’s Utah versus the San Antonio in the West playoff chase and Charlotte against New York in the East.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Detroit Pistons (December 10, 04:30 GMT+8)

It’s a fight between some of the best big men in the league right now. Anthony Davis continues to lead the Pelicans as they try to turn their season around, while Andre Drummond has maintained his hot start to the year with his 18-15 (points-rebounds) average.

The Pels will find some hope from the fact that the Pistons are on a slump, having lost their past three matches since winning over reigning champions Golden State Warriors last week. However, Detroit will be happy to know that they’ll be facing an Alvin Gentry team that has been abysmal on the road (3-10 on away games), even losing to the likes of the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards.

Betting Tip: Detroit Pistons +1.00 @ 2.06.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors (December 10, 07:00 GMT+8)

The two best teams in the East are geared to duke it out again, and this time, they’ll have their best players ready.

Milwaukee produced one of the best NBA 2018 highlights when they beat Toronto, 124-109, last October. Nonetheless, the fact that both teams were without Antetokounmpo and Leonard put some damper on what should have been an incredible matchup.

Kawhi  Leonard remains as Toronto Raptors' go to player this NBA season

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard celebrates after scoring a three-pointer against the Brooklyn Nets

They are two of the most well-balanced teams in the league right now, and it’s interesting to note that they both rank in the top five offensively and top ten defensively.

Both squads, however, are coming off a defeat—Toronto losing to the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee bowing down to the Dubs—so it might come down on who wanted the win more. Playing at home should give the Raptors a slight advantage, though.

Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors -5.00 @ 2.02.

Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs (December 10, 08:00 GMT+8)

The 2018-19 season hasn’t been great for the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, with both franchises out of the playoff picture contrary to the pre-NBA 2018 odds at us.

Utah (13-13) have the better record and will be more confident after beating the Spurs to the tune of 139-105 last week (behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert). Add to it that Quin Snyder’s men have won back-to-back matches—the other one against the Houston Rockets.

Nevertheless, the Spurs are always tough to beat at AT&T Center, and their record-breaking win over the Los Angeles Lakers should give DeMar DeRozan and Co. some much-needed momentum heading into this game.

Betting Tip: San Antonio Spurs +2.50 @ 2.02.

Charlotte Hornets @ New York Knicks (December 10, 08:30 GMT+8)

It’s all about Kemba Walker and his homecoming.

Kemba has elevated himself this year, and his return to New York to play his hometown team—the Knickerbockers—can be seen as an audition of sorts for the free agent to be in 2019.

“What kid doesn’t want to play in MSG? I’ve been fortunate enough to play there many, many times during my basketball career. Every chance I get to play there, I try to embrace it. I just love playing there,” Walker said recently via Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“I will always have an attachment to and a love of that city. That city made me who I am today.”

The Hornets point guard is averaging 25.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. He is also third in the NBA in plus-minus, making him a prime target for the Knicks who are in dire need of a floor general as Frank Ntilikina struggles.

New York have lost three straight already and seem to be a team fighting for the best lottery odds instead of the playoffs. They did beat the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Pelicans and Bucks over the past two weeks, but consistency remains a major issue.

Betting Tip: Charlotte Hornets -5.50 @ 1.92.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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NBA Preview: Kemba, Giannis, and Kawhi Will Make Your Day Interesting

The world’s best and biggest professional basketball league is wowing fans and pundits all over the world with a plethora of storylines and impressive individual feats. The NBA has stars that can turn games around with a snap of a finger, and these men are playing come Thursday morning!

Three of the stars we’ll be giving our focus for today are Kemba Walker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard. These Eastern Conference studs have been sending shockwaves throughout the league with their individual plays. These men have made plenty of NBA 2018 highlights just by the quality of their play alone.

While there are 13 games available on that day, expect these ballers to stand out and make their stake in the season.

Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte Hornets (November 22, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Indiana Pacers have been a dangerous team since Victor Oladipo and will be a sure threat to Walker and the Charlotte Hornets. They have struggled to find a stable footing to improve on their previous performances, but I don’t think Walker will let them down in this game.

The Hornets haven’t been the best team in the Eastern Conference, but Walker is singlehandedly doing everything to force the team into the playoff picture. He will surely score his way to another W here.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Philadelphia 76ers (November 22, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Jimmy Butler show in Philadelphia is off to a great start, and things are looking peachy in the City of Brotherly Love. He, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are set to create one of the strongest teams the 76ers will ever get to witness if things go their way.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans will be one of the bigger tests for this new-look 76ers. If they manage to stop Davis from his usual numbers of 27.6ppg and 12.4rpg, they’re set to compete for the top spot in the East.

Can Toronto Raptors impress us fans?

Can East Conference leaders Toronto Raptors stand out this season?

Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks (November 22, 07:30 GMT+8)

The Toronto Raptors have flourished under Kawhi Leonard and are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference. With his 24.8ppg average combined with his two-way play, he has helped the Raptors sit at the top of the Eastern Conference.

They should have no problem dealing with a young Atlanta Hawks side with a haphazard flamethrower in Trae Young as their scoring leader.

New York Knicks @ Boston Celtics (November 22, 07:30 GMT+8)

The Boston Celtics are far from the perennial playoff contenders that they were last season as they struggle to fit in both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in this team that pushed LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers during the last postseason.

They better get things sorted soon or they may find themselves losing to weaker outfits like the New York Knicks.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (November 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

This is an interesting game for both the Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Cleveland will be welcoming back LeBron James as he plays for another jersey once more, while the Lakers will be pinning their hopes on the King in order to make the playoffs.

The Cavaliers are far from being the toughest competition for James, but I’m sure that LeBron will be helping his Lakers play dominant basketball against his hometown club.

Phoenix Suns @ Chicago Bulls (November 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

Both of these squads have struggled to get victories as they are still far from finishing their rebuilds. However, us fans can look forward to a somewhat high-scoring affair as both Devin Booker and Zach LaVine have hot shooting hands to start the season.

Detroit Pistons @ Houston Rockets (November 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Houston Rockets have finally enjoyed some winning basketball after letting go of Carmelo Anthony. While there are still plenty of problems for the Rockets, they should have no problem competing with a resurging Blake Griffin and his Detroit Pistons.

Can Milwaukee Bucks favour NBA 2018 Odds?

Struggling Milwaukee Bucks visits Trail Blazers with an aim to win

 Portland Trail Blazers @ Milwaukee Bucks (November 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Milwaukee Bucks have struggled to keep themselves from getting into early-game deficits, but Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 26 points per game have kept them in the running for being the top dog in the East. They have a tough visitor in the Trail Blazers, but I don’t think the Greek Freak will allow his team to be grossly outplayed on their own floor.

Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves (November 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have somehow found their form after the Jimmy Butler trade, but Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins failed to lift the team against a veteran Memphis squad. They will try to restart their winning run against a Denver Nuggets team that lost against New Orleans and Milwaukee. The NBA 2018 odds will be interesting for this game, as it’s hard to predict how this match would end up.

Brooklyn Nets @ Dallas Mavericks (November 22, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Nets have struggled to find a scoring leader ever since Caris LeVert went through that tough injury earlier in the month. I think that the lack of a consistent scorer would not let the Nets play their usual basketball against the high-rolling Mavericks.

Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs (November 22, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to defy logic as they keep their proven core of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol going on a winning run. However, I’m not sure if they can keep up their grit-and-grind mentality against the currently-struggling-but-constantly-threatening San Antonio Spurs.

Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz (November 22, 09:00 GMT+8)

Sacramento’s red-hot start has seemingly come to an end as fluttered over the last couple of games. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz have struggled to win in front of their home crowd. This game should be a welcome respite for them after a horrible road trip saw them lose three of their last five games.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors (November 22, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Golden State Warriors haven’t been the perfect team to the eyes of some fans, and they are currently on a losing streak. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder are currently enjoying themselves with a steady winning streak. However, the Warriors will always be a tough team to play against.

 

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NBA Recap: Blazers Pull Off Stunner at Home, Mavs and Nets Impress

Four NBA games. Four wild results.

The Portland Trail Blazers headline another epic gameday in the NBA as they surprised the Milwaukee Bucks with a brilliant performance at home.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks finally broke out of their slump at the expense of John Wall, Bradley Beal and the struggling Washington Wizards.

The Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets also put on a show as they thumped the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks respectively, piling more misery on teams that are looking more likely to be headed to the lottery.

Here’s the full us recap of all the league games today:

Atlanta Hawks 102-113 Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets were expected to dominate this game, but the Hawks put up a valiant fight and managed to stay close up until the final quarter of the game.

Missing key players such as Taurean Prince, John Collins and Justin Anderson due to injuries, the Hawks were forced to start three rookies—Trae Young, Omari Spellman and Kevin Huertas—in the game. And it almost paid off big time for the team as they led by three points at halftime.

However, the difference in quality and depth between the two teams became more apparent, and Charlotte’s All-Star guard Kemba Walker soon took over to dominate. The 28-year-old finished the night with 29 points, three rebounds, seven assists and three steals to lead the Hornets to victory.

The Buzz City team used a 17-4 run in the payoff period to pull away for good, leading by as much as 15 points at one point in the quarter.

Young tallied 18 markers and 10 assists in a losing effort for the Hawks, though he was largely ineffective as he missed all seven of his attempts from 3-point territory.

Washington Wizards 100-119 Dallas Mavericks

It was a rollercoaster ride for the Mavericks who saw their 21-point halftime lead reduced to just six points early in the fourth quarter.

The Mavs have a reputation for collapsing defensively in games, as they showed in their meeting with the Hawks earlier this season when they led by 20 points in the first quarter before blowing it out and losing by six points. However, Dallas held on this time to put an end to their six-game skid.

With Wall and Otto Porter Jr. getting the hot hands, the Wizards made it 97-91 with seven minutes to go. Fortunately for the Mavs, after a well-called timeout, they responded well and staged a 15-5 run to deny the Wizards any chance of a comeback.


RELATED: Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz NBA Game Preview


Mavs’ rookie Luka Doncic, who was questionable for the game due to an ankle injury, grabbed the NBA 2018 highlights once again as he finished with 23 points and six rebounds. He was also efficient throughout, registering a 56.3 percent shooting clip.

Wall scored 24 while Beal and Porter chipped in 19 each, but their scoring outputs were not enough for the Wizards who have now lost six of their last seven games.

Brooklyn Nets 104-82 Phoenix Suns

Brooklyn are on a roll! After losing to the Houston Rockets last week, they have now won two straight and their third in four outings.

Caris LeVert continues to shine for the once-derided Nets, scoring 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting to cool down the Phoenix Suns. D’Angelo Russell added 15 markers, while Jarrett Allen had an all-around performance of 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

The Nets were never threatened in the game, with the Suns trailing for the most part. Phoenix did manage to keep the game close in the first quarter—even taking the lead at one point—but that is the biggest challenge they could muster as Brooklyn controlled proceedings after that.

It didn’t help the Arizona team that both Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton struggled shooting, combining for just 12 makes out of 38 attempts.

It’s the first back-to-back wins for the Nets this season, having also beaten the Philadelphia 76ers the last time out.

Milwaukee Bucks 103-118 Portland Trail Blazers

The NBA 2018 odds had the Bucks winning this one, albeit only by a small margin, so the Blazers’ victory with a 15-point margin undoubtedly came as a surprise.

Milwaukee have been defeated just once prior to the game—against Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Boston Celtics—but they had no answer to C.J. McCollum and the Blazers this time around.

McCollum catapulted Portland to victory, scoring a season-high 40 points on 17-for 26 shooting. He scored 19 points in the third quarter and made five out of his ten attempts from three to completely demolish the unsuspecting Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez all scored 20-plus points and combined for 67, but they were the only bright spots for the team that saw the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova and Donte DiVincenzo shoot below 35 percent.

 

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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 us 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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IN AND OUT | Coaches On the Move, Romero Out For Argentina

Veteran manager Manuel Pellegrini grabbed headlines once again after agreeing to take over West Ham in the English top flight, which the Chilean called the best football league in the world.

The 64-year-old’s return to the big league isn’t the only managerial change to happen in the sports world though, with three NBA teams sparking a coaching merry-go-round to start what is brewing to be a busy offseason.

On other sports news and updates, Argentina are set to miss their top-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero after the 31-year-old picked up an injury.

Bucks, Knicks, Suns make coaching changes

Budenholzer, Fizdale and Kokoskov are set to play the vital role in the new teams that they are going to manage

Budenholzer, Fizdale and Kokoskov will be the new key coaching for their respective NBA teams

The Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns have started their NBA offseason by bringing in new faces at the helm.

Milwaukee, who was without a legitimate head coach since firing Jason Kidd last January, hired Mike Budenholzer to take over their team that made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season.

Budenholzer won the Coach of the Year in 2015 and is known as one of the best tacticians in the league.  However, after a poor season in Atlanta, he agreed to part ways with the Hawks organisation.

Nonetheless, Bucks General Manager Jon Horst expressed his belief that Budenholzer is the right man to transform them into legitimate title contenders.

“Mike has demonstrated the ability to lead and communicate, and understands what it takes to build a winning culture. This move puts our organisation in a terrific position as we work together toward our collective goal of sustained success and winning championships,” Horst added.

Moreover, former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale was appointed as the new head coach of the Knicks, replacing Jeff Hornacek who lasted two seasons with the team.

Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his only full season with the team. However, he was fired early last year after a falling out with Memphis star Marc Gasol.

On the other hand, the Suns make history after hiring Igor Kokoskov to guide them as they rebuild. The 46-year-old Serbian is the first-ever head coach born and raised outside North America in league history.

Although Kokoskov served as an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz in the past three seasons, he is an accomplished international coach. In fact, he guided Slovenia to a gold-medal finish and perfect 9-0 record in the FIBA EuroBasket 2017.

West Ham appoint Pellegrini as new manager

West Ham confirmed Manuel Pellegrini as their new head coach

Manuel Pellegrini returns to the Premier League as the new West Ham manager

A new era of Hammers football is set to begin.

After a disappointing Premier League season that saw them battle relegation throughout, West Ham United have taken the first step to their rebuilding efforts by naming Manuel Pellegrini as new manager.

According to the club, the former Manchester City boss signed a three-year contract with the team to succeed David Moyes at London Stadium. It is also reported that his deal is worth £7 million a year, making him their highest-paid manager ever.

“I think that West Ham had a difficult season last season and I hope that next season we are going to play football that will delight the fans. I always play attacking football and we must try to reach important targets in the season,” Pellegrini said.

“I am sure that, with the players we have in this moment in the squad, and bringing maybe another four or five in, we are going to have a strong team.”

Pellegrini, who also managed Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga, won the Premier League title with the Sky Blues in the 2013-2014 season. He also boasts winning the League Cup twice during his three-year stint with Manchester City.

The Chilean boss managed Hebei China Fortune for two years before leaving the Chinese Super League club over the weekend.

Argentina keeper Romero out of World Cup

Sergio Romero will miss the World Cup 2018 after suffering a knee injury

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero will miss the World Cup 2018 due to injury

La Albiceleste received a huge blow ahead of World Cup 2018 after goalkeeper Sergio Romero was ruled out of the competition due to injury.

Romero, who was expected to be the nation’s first-choice goalkeeper, was forced to withdraw from the team after picking up a knee injury. The Argentine Football Association (AFA) also confirmed that the 31-year-old stopper requires surgery.

According to a brief statement from the AFA: “Sergio Romero suffered today a joint blockage in his right knee that will leave him out of the squad.”

The Manchester United player had been named as part of Jorge Sampaoli’s squad for the big event in Russia. However, with the latest setback, Chelsea’s Willy Caballero and River Plate’s Franco Armani are now predicted to share the goalkeeping duties for the nation.

Moreover, due to the injury, AFA called up Nahuel Guzman to be their third keeper. The 32-year-old, who plays for Liga MX side Tigres, has won six caps with the national team.

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