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12-Mar 2019 Tuesday 5:14 PM (195 days ago)               #1
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NBA: Shocking Results Make for Nice Change of Pace

Upsets don't usually happen for a professional sports league like the NBA. However, the league has been more than a little surprising over the past couple of days. There have been a good number of surprising results that have done more than just shake the NBA 2019 betting odds. And just like last time, these games will always make for interesting stories.

Join the SBOBET team as we take a look at the most recent games played today as there were a couple of interesting scores today. The Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets were especially surprising.

Chicago Bulls 108-131 Detroit Pistons

The Chicago Bulls are still in the midst of a long and arduous rebuild, and their double-digit deficit at the end of their game against the Detroit Pistons was not surprising. The absence of Zach LaVine due to injury was felt by the roster as Wayne Selden had to try and lead the team against Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

However, it's important to note that the Bulls did what they could with the roster they had. They were actually keeping pace with the Pistons for much of the first half before a late Detroit run at the tail-end of the second quarter exploded to a lead as big as 29 points.

Toronto Raptors 125-104 Miami Heat

Some Toronto Raptors fans who breathed a sigh of relief when Kawhi Leonard's camp confirmed that he will not be joining the Lakers. However, the possibility of him heading to the Clippers is still there and winning the championship may be the only thing to convince him to stay up north.

Toronto's performance without him against the Heat may become another bargaining chip to make the two-way superstar stay. Kyle Lowry is holding down the fort well with a near triple-double (24 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists), and Pascal Siakam is definitely turning into Toronto's rendition of a Scotty Pippen.

Indiana Pacers 89-106 Philadelphia 76ers

Victor Oladipo's absence was profoundly felt by the Indiana Pacers as they were outscored in the final quarter, 19-34, to fall flat against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison did all they could to lead the team, but all that did was remind themselves of how better they are with Oladipo on the floor.

Meanwhile, the Sixers had a fantastic all-around game. Their four All-Stars -- Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons -- all scored in double digits.

New Orleans Pelicans 116-128 Atlanta Hawks

The Pelicans are in the midst of preparing for life without Anthony Davis, and the frustrated big man was only handed 21 minutes of playing time while players like Frank Jackson and Julis Randle took over the scoring load of the team.

However, they weren't able to hold a candle to the Atlanta Hawks. The team is seemingly out of their rebuild and are on their way to contending for playoff positions. Trae Young is still an inconsistent rookie as he only scored ten points in 31 minutes of game time, but Kevin Huerter's 27 saved him.

I don't think Hawks fans mind his erratic streaks, though: his first career triple-double is more than enough to make a lot of Hawks fans salivate for the future of this franchise.

Orlando Magic 97-105 Memphis Grizzlies

It's a curious case how the Orlando Magic have played this season. There are times when they just outright ball and create some NBA 2019 highlights with their play. There are also days where they lose against teams they should easily win against.

This is one of those days. Nikola Vucevic singlehandedly brought the team back in the fourth quarter, but a lack of support from team-mates meant that the Grizzlies were able to claw their way to a win in front of their home fans.

Houston Rockets 94-93 Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic's near-triple-double has almost led the Dallas Mavericks in beating the Rockets in recent NBA game
Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic shoots the ball during their NBA match against the Houston Rockets

The Dallas Mavericks are slowly becoming Luka Doncic's team as the days go by, and his near-triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists almost got the Dallas Mavericks in front of the Houston Rockets again.

However, James Harden and the rest of the team ensured that the Slovenian Wonder Boy won't get his way again. Harden had a poor shooting night but still ended with 20-5-4, Clint Capela had 17-12, and Gordon made up for The Beard's bricks with a 26-point outing from the wings.

New York Knicks 92-103 Minnesota Timberwolves

Knicks fans aren't even sure if the team is trying to at least ball out anymore.

The mere fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves won this game without neither Karl-Anthony Towns nor Andrew Wiggins should be disappointing. The knowledge that Taj Gibson of all people dropped 25 points on their shoddy defence is baffling.

To say that the Knicks have been atrocious is an understatement. This sorry excuse of a franchise should better land Zion Williamson in the draft.

Milwaukee Bucks 114-121 San Antonio Spurs

Giannis Antetokounmpo has blossomed from the lanky Greek boy taken 15th in 2013 into the beast that he is on the hardwood today. However, his efforts only saw him with a 27-13 night as the San Antonio Spurs played great team basketball to win this one.

LaMarcus Aldridge was especially effective from the four pot with his 29 points and 15 boards. They also had some help from the bench as both Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills got 16 points in limited minutes.

Phoenix Suns 115-111 Golden State Warriors

I am not sure how the Golden State Warriors lost against the Phoenix Suns, but the final score doesn't lie. They were two three-pointers away from winning this game, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both had off nights from the three-point line.

However, credit must definitely be given to the young Suns. Devin Booker balled like an All-Star with his 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists. Kelly Oubre and DeAndre Ayton also played well to helped clinch this rare win.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 12-Mar-2019 at 5:14 PM


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14-Mar 2019 Thursday 12:39 PM (193 days ago)            #2
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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 SBOBET 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)

NBA: <a rel=

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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This message was edited by SBOBET on 14-Mar-2019 at 12:39 PM


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19-Mar 2019 Tuesday 2:12 PM (188 days ago)            #3
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NBA: Warriors Face Spurs In Exciting Western Conference Clash

There are many fantastic teams to catch in today's NBA, but today's focus will be on two strong basketball teams that have built their success through differing schools of thought.

The Golden State Warriors have established themselves as the darlings of casual SBOBET fans due to their very attractive offence and star-studded starting five. The San Antonio Spurs continue to quietly dominate the league despite losing their superstar wing just this summer.

The fact that these two giants will meet tomorrow at this point of the season is enough to keep any basketball fan worth their salt intrigued. However, the Golden State-San Antonio game isn't the only match worth watching.

Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers (March 19, 07:00 GMT+8)

It took an incredible team effort from Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and the rest of the Detroit Pistons in order to manage a slightly undermanned Toronto Raptors team. Blakes 25-8-3 stat line reminded everyone that he is still a tough opponent to face.

The Pistons shouldn't have any problem facing the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena. While Kevin Love will put up a great fight against Griffin, I don't think the Cavaliers have enough quality on their bench.

Utah Jazz @ Washington Wizards (March 19, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Wizards continue to defy NBA 2019 betting odds as they pulled off another fantastic result against Memphis. Bradley Beal is doing pretty well in John Wall's absence as he leads this ragtag team into an unlikely playoff push this late in the season.

Beal, Bobby Portis, and Trevor Ariza will be putting up a good fight, but there's enough reason to doubt their chances against the Utah Jazz. The team is rallying behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and they should have the quality to see Washington off with a smile.

Betting Tip: Utah Jazz -4.50 @ 1.96

Denver Nuggets @ Boston Celtics (March 19, 07:30 GMT+8)

NBA: Kyrie Irving is expected to step up for the Boston Celtics against the Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving reacts during their match against the Los Angeles Lakers

The Boston Celtics are still considered strong contenders for the NBA title, but their erratic form this season has brought up a lot of question marks as to whether Brad Stevens' team can actually make the push for the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Moreover, they face an impressive Denver Nuggets squad that has an outstanding Nikola Jokic that is leading the team from the five spot. Boston can win against the Nuggets, but the fight for the W will be a very tough one.

Betting Tip: Denver Nuggets +3.00 @ 2.03

New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors (March 19, 07:30 GMT+8)

No matter what the New York Knicks do this season, they will always be at the butt of everyone's jokes. Until they make big NBA 2019 news in the summer by drafting Zion Williamson in the draft, a lot of diehard NYK fans will be going at the franchise for trading away their franchise centrepiece for peanuts.

They may have gotten a break from losing after stealing one against an equally laughable Los Angeles Lakers, but things should return to normal when they face Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors.

Miami Heat @ Oklahoma City Thunder (March 19, 08:00 GMT+8)

Dwyane Wade's One Last Dance takes him to Oklahoma City where he will square off against Russell Westbrook and Paul George for the final time. OKC fans haven't forgotten what he did to them in the 2012 Finals, but they will happily see the future Hall-Of-Famer off with a smile.

However, those smiles will turn to scowls if the Thunder somehow buckle and lose against a middling Miami Heat squad.

Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs (March 19, 08:00 GMT+8)

In case you need reminding, the Golden State Warriors are still the best team in the entire association. The manner in which they took down the Houston Rockets and the OKC Thunder are evidence enough of their class.

However, they are not immune to upsets. Moreover, they will be facing the San Antonio Spurs, one of the better defensive teams in the league. The fact that they found another diamond in the rough in Derrick White is another notch in Gregg Popovich's legend as a coach.

This will be a very exciting game that has all the bells and whistles attached to it. Expect some great plays between the Stephen Curry-Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan-LaMarcus Aldridge duos.

Betting Tip: Golden State Warriors -2.50 @ 1.88

New Orleans Pelicans @ Dallas Mavericks (March 19, 08:30 GMT+8)

NBA: Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic attempts a jump shot against Washington Wizard's Trevor Ariza
Luka Doncic in action for the Dallas Mavericks against the Washington Wizard

Both the Pelicans and the Mavericks are pretty much out of the playoff conversation, but everyone can agree that Dallas' future is brighter and more certain than their guests'.

Luka Doncic has become an instant favourite in and around the league, and his on-court skills (such as his impressive late-ge heroics against Denver) has made him a dangerous player in many coaches' eyes.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans are still trying to figure out how they can play ball without Anthony Davis. They have a tough couple of seasons ahead of them.

Chicago Bulls @ Phoenix Suns (March 19, 10:00 GMT+8)

I will not be surprised if only a few people even bothered considering to watch the Chicago Bulls play at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. Both franchises are out of playoff contention, and there's no doubt that the fringe players will be played a lot to give them some experience.

However, what could make this interesting is the potential matchup between Zach LaVine and Devin Booker. Both of these young scorers have played well this season, and they may engage each other in a friendly scoring contest to see who scores more.

Betting Tip: Phoenix Suns -3.00 @ 1.92

Indiana Pacers @ Portland Trail Blazers (March 19, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Indiana Pacers have hardly won a game without Victor Oladipo, but their narrow victory against Oklahoma City defied logic and pre-game expectations a bit.

However, there's not a shred of doubt that the Pacers will take the L when they play the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center. Damian Lillard is still averaging 26-5-7 a night, and he should be more than enough to carry his Blazers past a struggling yet competitive Indiana squad.

Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers -4.50 @ 2.00

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 19-Mar-2019 at 2:15 PM


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19-Mar 2019 Tuesday 2:15 PM (188 days ago)            #4
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NBA: Warriors Face Spurs In Exciting Western Conference Clash

There are many fantastic teams to catch in today's NBA, but today's focus will be on two strong basketball teams that have built their success through differing schools of thought.

The Golden State Warriors have established themselves as the darlings of casual fans due to their very attractive offence and star-studded starting five. The San Antonio Spurs continue to quietly dominate the league despite losing their superstar wing just this summer.

The fact that these two giants will meet tomorrow at this point of the season is enough to keep any basketball fan worth their salt intrigued. However, the Golden State-San Antonio game isn't the only match worth watching.

Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers (March 19, 07:00 GMT+8)

It took an incredible team effort from Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and the rest of the Detroit Pistons in order to manage a slightly undermanned Toronto Raptors team. Blakes 25-8-3 stat line reminded everyone that he is still a tough opponent to face.

The Pistons shouldn't have any problem facing the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena. While Kevin Love will put up a great fight against Griffin, I don't think the Cavaliers have enough quality on their bench.

Utah Jazz @ Washington Wizards (March 19, 07:00 GMT+8)

The Wizards continue to defy NBA 2019 betting odds as they pulled off another fantastic result against Memphis. Bradley Beal is doing pretty well in John Wall's absence as he leads this ragtag team into an unlikely playoff push this late in the season.

Beal, Bobby Portis, and Trevor Ariza will be putting up a good fight, but there's enough reason to doubt their chances against the Utah Jazz. The team is rallying behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and they should have the quality to see Washington off with a smile.

Betting Tip: Utah Jazz -4.50 @ 1.96

Denver Nuggets @ Boston Celtics (March 19, 07:30 GMT+8)

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving reacts during their match against the Los Angeles Lakers

The Boston Celtics are still considered strong contenders for the NBA title, but their erratic form this season has brought up a lot of question marks as to whether Brad Stevens' team can actually make the push for the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Moreover, they face an impressive Denver Nuggets squad that has SBOBET.com/nba-magic-shortage-dinos-greens-jokic-shine/" target="_blank">an outstanding Nikola Jokic that is leading the team from the five spot. Boston can win against the Nuggets, but the fight for the W will be a very tough one.

Betting Tip: Denver Nuggets +3.00 @ 2.03

New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors (March 19, 07:30 GMT+8)

No matter what the New York Knicks do this season, they will always be at the butt of everyone's jokes. Until they make big NBA 2019 news in the summer by drafting Zion Williamson in the draft, a lot of diehard NYK fans will be going at the franchise for trading away their franchise centrepiece for peanuts.

They may have gotten a break from losing after stealing one against an equally laughable Los Angeles Lakers, but things should return to normal when they face Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors.

Miami Heat @ Oklahoma City Thunder (March 19, 08:00 GMT+8)

Dwyane Wade's One Last Dance takes him to Oklahoma City where he will square off against Russell Westbrook and Paul George for the final time. OKC fans haven't forgotten what he did to them in the 2012 Finals, but they will happily see the future Hall-Of-Famer off with a smile.

However, those smiles will turn to scowls if the Thunder somehow buckle and lose against a middling Miami Heat squad.

Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs (March 19, 08:00 GMT+8)

In case you need reminding, the Golden State Warriors are still the best team in the entire association. The manner in which they took down the Houston Rockets and the OKC Thunder are evidence enough of their class.

However, they are SBOBET.com/nba-shocking-results-change-pace/" target="_blank">not immune to upsets. Moreover, they will be facing the San Antonio Spurs, one of the better defensive teams in the league. The fact that they found another diamond in the rough in Derrick White is another notch in Gregg Popovich's legend as a coach.

This will be a very exciting game that has all the bells and whistles attached to it. Expect some great plays between the Stephen Curry-Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan-LaMarcus Aldridge duos.

Betting Tip: Golden State Warriors -2.50 @ 1.88

New Orleans Pelicans @ Dallas Mavericks (March 19, 08:30 GMT+8)


Luka Doncic in action for the Dallas Mavericks against the Washington Wizard

Both the Pelicans and the Mavericks are pretty much out of the playoff conversation, but everyone can agree that Dallas' future is brighter and more certain than their guests'.

Luka Doncic has become an instant favourite in and around the league, and his on-court skills (such as his impressive late-ge heroics against Denver) has made him a dangerous player in many coaches' eyes.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans are still trying to figure out how they can play ball without Anthony Davis. They have a tough couple of seasons ahead of them.

Chicago Bulls @ Phoenix Suns (March 19, 10:00 GMT+8)

I will not be surprised if only a few people even bothered considering to watch the Chicago Bulls play at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. Both franchises are out of playoff contention, and there's no doubt that the fringe players will be played a lot to give them some experience.

However, what could make this interesting is the potential matchup between Zach LaVine and Devin Booker. Both of these young scorers have played well this season, and they may engage each other in a friendly scoring contest to see who scores more.

Betting Tip: Phoenix Suns -3.00 @ 1.92

Indiana Pacers @ Portland Trail Blazers (March 19, 10:30 GMT+8)

The Indiana Pacers have hardly won a game without Victor Oladipo, but their narrow victory against Oklahoma City defied logic and pre-game expectations a bit.

However, there's not a shred of doubt that the Pacers will take the L when they play the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center. Damian Lillard is still averaging 26-5-7 a night, and he should be more than enough to carry his Blazers past a struggling yet competitive Indiana squad.

Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers -4.50 @ 2.00

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 26-Mar-2019 at 5:37 PM


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26-Mar 2019 Tuesday 5:43 PM (181 days ago)            #5
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NBA: Gruesome Injury Mars 2OT Thriller

There may have been just four games on the NBA schedule on Monday, but each one was eventful in its own way. A couple of high-profile playoff teams were upset on the road. Devin Booker had another monster scoring performance for the Suns. And there was an epic shoot-out in Portland, which was unfortunately overshadowed by a horrific injury.

That's just the way the ball bounces in The Association. No one can be too sure what's bound to happen on any given night. Monday's slate is just another example that even with the regular season slowly winding down, the NBA is still full of surprises.

Philadelphia 76ers 98-119 Orlando Magic

Just last week, the 76ers were riding a six-game winning streak, which included impressive wins over their top East rivals in the Pacers, Bucks, and Celtics. But suddenly, they've now dropped back-to-back games after a surprising beat down at the hands of the Orlando Magic.

Star Sixers point guard Ben Simmons missed out due to a stomach virus, which made a significant impact on SBOBET odds. Joel Embiid couldn't quite carry the load offensively for Philly without Simmons as he had a quiet 20 points and 10 rebounds with 5 turnovers.

 T.J. McConnell, who started in place of Simmons, finished with just 2 points and 2 assists, while J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler combined for just 6-of-20 shooting.

Meanwhile, Nikola Vucevic had a team-high 28 points for the Magic, who have now won five games in a row and are within a half-game of the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Oklahoma City Thunder 103-115 Memphis Grizzlies

The Thunder were able to beat the Grizzlies earlier this month even with Paul George out injured. But they were unable to do so again with PG-13 back. OKC's recent struggles continued with a loss in Memphis, which the NBA 2019 betting odds did not see coming.

The Thunder seemingly turned a corner after they got a morale-boosting road win over the Toronto Raptors. But apparently, their issues still haven't been fully resolved as they dropped their fifth game their last six and have moved back down to eighth in the West.

Paul George and Russell Westbrook both had a rough shooting night against the Grizzlies as they combined to go just 16-of-49 from the field and 6-of-21 on 3-pointers. George has been struggling with his shot since suffering a shoulder injury last month. He's down to just 40 per cent from the field and 35 per cent from beyond the arc in March.

Meanwhile, Bruno Caboclo went off for a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies, whose five starters all reached at least 17 points.

Phoenix Suns 92-125 Utah Jazz

Devin Booker has been responsible for a good number of NBA 2019 highlights this season. One of which was his performance in the Suns' shocking win over the Warriors. And on Monday, he provided yet another bright spot.

Devin Booker sets his NBA season high of 59 pts but the Suns fall to the Jazz
Devin Booker running down the court after making a three point shot during an NBA game

Booker went supernova as he scorched the Utah Jazz for a season-high 59 points. For some reason, Booker really likes playing on March 25th. On the same day in 2017, he had his epic 70-point explosion against the Celtics.

Unfortunately, Booker got no help whatsoever from his teammates as he was the only Sun who managed to get into double-digits. Rookie Deandre Ayton, who had 9 points and 7 rebounds, was the only other Phoenix player who did anything of note.

As for the Jazz, their recent impressive run continues. They've now won seven of their last eight games, although most of those have come against some of the worst teams in the league. But they're not complaining, as they look to secure a high seed for the playoffs.

Brooklyn Nets 144-148 Portland Trail Blazers (2OT)

The Blazers should've been busy celebrating on Monday night. They outlasted the Nets in a crazy double-overtime contest, which also saw them clinch a playoff berth.

But instead, the Blazers are lamenting the loss of big man Jusuf Nurkic. The Bosnian Beast suffered a horrific leg injury in the second overtime and had to be stretchered off the court. Nurkic will now almost certainly miss the playoffs, which is a huge blow to the Blazers.

Nurkic was instrumental in the Blazers getting the win over Brooklyn. He had arguably his best game of the season, finishing with 32 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. Damian Lillard (10-30 FG) struggled with his shot, but Seth Curry and Rodney Hood helped out with 38 points off the bench.

Meanwhile, Nets star D'Angelo Russell had another huge night as he dropped 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in a losing effort.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 26-Mar-2019 at 5:44 PM


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10-Apr 2019 Wednesday 12:46 PM (166 days ago)            #6
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NBA: West’s Top Teams Fight For Playoff Seeds

The eight playoff teams in the NBA Western Conference may have already been decided, but the seeding of those eight teams is still pretty much up in the air.  And all four of Tuesday's games will have a big impact on how the seeding shakes out.

It starts at the very top as the Nuggets look to wrestle the No. 1 seed from the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Rockets can move directly behind those two as they face the dangerous Kings.

And finally, the Spurs and the struggling Thunder continue to battle it out for the seventh No. 7 and 8 seeds in the last few games of the regular season.

While the playoffs are just around the corner, SBOBET fans will have the chance to wager on these highly consequential regular-season contests in the meantime.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder (April 2, 8:00 GMT+8)

The Thunder are ending the regular season with quite a thud. They conspired to lose at home to the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks last time out as their incredible decline continues. They've now lost seven of their last nine games and are an abysmal 6-13 in their last 19.

As things stand right now, the Thunder would face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, which would likely result in an early exit for Russell Westbrook and co. But they still have five games left to overtake the Spurs, who have an identical record but have the edge in the tie-breaker, for the seven seed.

The first of OKC's last five contests will be against the Los Angeles Lakers, who have now shut down LeBron James for the remainder of the regular season. James' absence will predictably have quite an impact on the Lakers' NBA 2019 betting odds moving forward.

Although, the Lakers were still able to pound the Pelicans, 130-102, without LeBron in the lineup. That win was their fourth in the last five games as they look to end what has been a disappointing season on a high.

The Thunder should be able to pick up a much-needed win, but given their recent struggles, it's tough to trust them to cover such a big spread.

Betting Tip: Los Angeles Lakers +12.50 @ 1.90

SBOBET are expecting <a rel=

Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio Spurs (April 2, 8:30 GMT +8)

Trae Young and the Hawks' stellar end to the season continued as they won a dramatic 136-135 shootout over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks in overtime. Although, the Bucks were without their top three players, including MVP favourite Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Still, no one can take away the fact that Young produced one of the NBA 2019 highlights with his clutch game-winning bucket at the buzzer.

The Hawks have now won four of their last five games and are showing flashes of what could be a bright future with Young leading the way.

But extending that impressive run will be tough to do in San Antonio. The Spurs are on a bit of a skid, having lost four of their last six games. That includes rare home losses against the Heat and the Kings.

The Spurs have generally been outstanding at home, though -- 30-9 on the season -- and should be able to bounce back against the young Hawks.

Betting Tip: San Antonio Spurs -11.50 @ 1.95

Houston Rockets @ Sacramento Kings (April 2, 10:00 GMT+8)

The Rockets just met the Kings a couple days ago. In that game, James Harden erupted for a 50-point triple-double to lead the Rockets to a 119-108 home win.

Harden has simply crushed the Kings this season; the Bearded One is averaging 40 points in three meetings against them.

The Kings ended a recent five-game road trip with a big win over the Spurs. That performance goes to show that despite being out of the playoff hunt, the Kings aren't just going to lie down for their postseason-bound opponents.

As for the Rockets, they still have a chance to overtake the injury-hit Blazers for the No. 3 seed in the West, so they will likely be keeping their foot on the pedal until the end of the regular season.

Betting Tip: Houston Rockets -5.00 @ 1.88

Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors (April 2, 10:30 GMT+8)

Much like Liverpool in the Premier League, the Denver Nuggets are desperately looking to overtake the defending champions in the standings.

The Nuggets are currently one game down on the Warriors for the No. 1 seed in the West. But they still have a shot at leapfrogging Golden State in the final five games, especially if they win their fourth and final meeting.

After losing to the Timberwolves following some questionable officiating, the Warriors took their frustrations out on the unlucky Hornets, who were crushed by 47.

As for the Nuggets, they've dropped three of their last five, the most recent of which was a bad home loss to the Wizards.

The Nuggets narrowly won their first matchup against Golden State this season. But in the two games since, the Warriors have blown Denver out by 31 and 17 points.

The Warriors likely don't care very much about whether they get the No. 1 seed or not. However, don't be surprised if they decide to ramp it up one more time against the Nuggets to show just how much better they are than the best of the rest in the West.

Betting Tip: Golden State Warriors -8.50 @ 2.02

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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10-Apr 2019 Wednesday 12:58 PM (166 days ago)            #7
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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 SBOBET 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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10-Apr 2019 Wednesday 1:38 PM (166 days ago)            #8
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NBA: East Playoff Picture Still in Flux

It was an action-packed 13-game Friday night in the NBA as the regular season slowly winds down. After the Bucks- 76ers Thursday thriller, there was more excitement in the East with the Hornets and Raptors. Meanwhile, the bottom of the conference's playoff picture continues to take shape.

And in the West, the Jazz and Warriors continued on their winning ways, while the Lakers defied the NBA 2019 betting odds and pulled off the biggest upset of the night.

Toronto Raptors 111-113 Charlotte Hornets

For the second time in two meetings, a clutch Jeremy Lamb 3-pointer led the Charlotte Hornets to a big win over the Toronto Raptors.

Lamb's most recent game-winning 3 wasn't quite as spectacular as his buzzer-beating half-court heave to win the previous meeting, which was unquestionably one of the top NBA 2019 highlights. But it still delivered the W.

Thanks to that win, the Hornets' faint playoff chances are still alive. They remain two games back of the Nets and Pistons with just three games left.

Atlanta Hawks 113-149 Orlando Magic

Speaking of playoffs, the Magic have climbed up to sixth in the East after a dominant win over the Hawks, who have been putting up some fine performances to end the season.

The Magic set a new franchise record with 81 first-half points, and their 149 points were the third-most in franchise history.

Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Terrence Ross all had 25 points as the Magic shot a sizzling 61 per cent from the field as a team.

San Antonio Spurs 129-112 Washington Wizards

The Spurs still have a shot at moving out of the No. 8 seed in the West as they thumped the Wizards in Washington DC. LaMarcus Aldridge paced eight Spurs in double-digits with 24 points in just 28 minutes.

The Spurs are still a half-game back of the Thunder for the eighth seed, which would mean a date with the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

Boston Celtics 117-97 Indiana Pacers

The Celtics have all but secured home-court advantage for the first round after beating their likely first-round opponents -- the Pacers -- for the second time in just over a week. And based on this most recent win, SBOBET odds will likely favour the Celtics to come out of that series.

Gordon Hayward's perfect night lead the Boston Celtics to a much-needed NBA win
Gordon Hayward attempts a shot over Indiana Pacers' defenders

Jayson Tatum led the way with 22 points, while Gordon Hayward continued his impressive play of late with 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the field.

Hayward is averaging 13.4 points while shooting 52 per cent from the field over his last seven games, which is a promising sign ahead of the postseason.

New York Knicks 96-120 Houston Rockets

The Rockets extended their current winning streak to five games with a routine win over the league-worst Knicks. James Harden had 26 points in just 29 minutes of work to lead the Rockets, who have won their last three games by an average of 27 points.

Those blowout wins have given Harden a bit more rest ahead of the playoffs, which he could certainly use considering his incredible workload this season.

Miami Heat 109-111 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Heat's playoff chances took another big hit after falling to the Timberwolves. Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired for Miami, who have now dropped three straight games following back-to-back losses to Boston.

The Heat are one game back of the Nets and Pistons for the final playoff spot and will face the Raptors, 76ers, and Nets in their last three games.

Detroit Pistons 110-123 Oklahoma City Thunder

Blake Griffin returned from a recent three-game absence with a bang as he dropped 45 points on the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, it wasn't nearly enough to prevent the Pistons from dropping their third game in a row.

The Pistons remain tied with the seventh-seeded Nets at 39-40, with the Heat a game behind. Detroit end their regular season at home against the Hornets and Grizzlies, and on the road against the Knicks.

Russell Westbrook sets another NBA record as he finishes his 3rd straight triple-double season
Russell Westbrook engages the crowd during their NBA game against the Detroit Pistons

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook secured a third-straight triple-double season in the win.

Memphis Grizzlies 122-112 Dallas Mavericks

Delon Wright's career night helped snap the Grizzlies' two-game losing skid against the Mavericks. Wright set new career highs in points (26) and assists (14) and added 10 rebounds as he recorded his first-ever triple-double.

With Luka Doncic once again out due to a thigh injury, Courtney Lee led the Mavs with 21 points and seven assists, while Justin Jackson added 19 points.

Sacramento Kings 98-119 Utah Jazz

The Jazz are hitting all the right notes just ahead of the playoffs. Their win over the Kings was their seventh in a row, the longest active win streak in the league. Donovan Mitchell and rookie Grayson Allen had 23 points apiece to lead the Jazz.

Both starting point guards -- the Kings' De'Aaron Fox and the Jazz's Ricky Rubio -- had to go off after less than 10 minutes due to lower body injuries.

New Orleans Pelicans 126-133 (OT) Phoenix Suns

Despite the absence of Devin Booker, the Suns were able to pick up a rare win at the expense of the Pelicans. Josh Jackson starred with 35 points to lead the Booker-less Suns, while veteran Jamal Crawford chipped in with 28 points off the bench.

The Pelicans -- who have basically shut down Anthony Davis for the season due to "lower back spasm" -- are now just 2-12 in their last 14 games.

Portland Trail Blazers 110-119 Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets clinched their first division title in nearly a decade by beating the Blazers. Paul Millsap was wildly efficient as he finished with 25 points on just 12 shots. Meanwhile, star big man Nikola Jokic just missed a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists.

The Blazers -- who are still without CJ McCollum and have lost Jusuf Nurkic for the season -- better be careful; they're now just one game ahead of the streaking Jazz for the No. 4 seed with three games left.

Cleveland Cavaliers 114-120 Golden State Warriors

After being up by over 20 points, the Warriors allowed the Cavs to creep back into the game late in the fourth quarter. But the Dubs did just about enough to hang on for their fourth straight win and sixth in the last seven.

Stephen Curry had his shot cooking as he finished with 40 points on 9-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Draymond Green added a season-high 20 points with DeMarcus Cousins out of the lineup.

Los Angeles Lakers 122-117 LA Clippers

The short-handed Lakers pulled quite a shock on their city rival Clippers as they got the "home" win. Alex Caruso was the improbable hero for the Lakers with a career-high 32 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points, while JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo both recorded double-doubles.

The Clippers, who have now lost back-to-back games, are now in danger of dropping out of the No. 6 seed. They are just a half-game ahead of the No. 7 Thunder and will face the Warriors and the Jazz in their final two games.

 

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10-Apr 2019 Wednesday 1:45 PM (166 days ago)            #9
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NBA: Three Teams Left Fighting for Final Playoff Spot

It's the penultimate night of the NBA regular season, and just one more playoff spot is up for grabs. The Detroit Pistons still have their destiny in their own hands in their quest to make it back to the postseason.

But if they falter, the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat can still creep into that last seed in the East. SBOBET NBA fans should be in for a treat as they get to witness how this exciting race for the final playoff place unfolds.

Charlotte Hornets @ Cleveland Cavaliers (7:00 GMT+8)

The Hornets' playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. Despite winning their last three games -- including a win over the eighth-seeded Pistons -- the Hornets still need to win both of their remaining games and hope Detroit drop one of their last two contests.

The Hornets should at the very least hold up one half of their part of the bargain as they take on the Cavaliers, who have now lost their last nine games in a row.

Betting Tip: Charlotte Hornets -7.50 @ 1.88

Memphis Grizzlies @ Detroit Pistons (7:00 GMT+8) The Pistons have made things much harder for themselves after losing each of their last four games. They followed up their loss to the Thunder with a 13-point loss at home to the Hornets. Blake Griffin (16 points on 5-of-18 shooting) wasn't the only one off his game as the Pistons shot just 37 per cent as a team. The Pistons can still get into the playoffs if they win their final two games. But are hardly a slam dunk to snap their losing skid against the Grizzlies. With Delon Wright recording back-to-back triple-doubles against the Mavericks, the Grizz are still playing hard even with their season winding down and won't make things easy for Detroit.

Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards (7:00 GMT+8)

The Celtics are picking up injuries at the wrong time. Jaylen Brown just returned after missing a few games with a bad back. And now, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart both picked up injuries in their defeat to the Orlando Magic last time out.

With the playoffs just around the corner, the Celtics will most likely sit those two against Washington as a precaution even if they are capable of playing. That's obviously promising news for the Wizards, who could use a win after suffering losses to two of the worst teams in the league: the Bulls and the Knicks.

Can Miami Heat win against Philadelphia 76ers and make it into NBA postseason?
Dwyane Wade shoots for Miami Heat against Minnesota Timberwolves

Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat (7:30 GMT+8)

Despite four consecutive losses, the Heat still have a shot to make it into the postseason. But they need a lot of things to go their way. Not only do they have to win their last two games -- starting with their game against the 76ers -- but they also need the Hornets to lose at least one of their last two games and the Pistons to lose both of theirs.

Beating the Sixers at home is pretty realistic, though. Philly have lost three of their last four games, which includes their epic shootout against the Bucks. And since they're already locked into the No. 3 seed, they likely won't be all that fired up to beat the Heat.

New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls (8:00 GMT+8)

With the worst record in the league secured, the Knicks are finally starting to win some games. They've now won two of their last four outings after rallying in the fourth quarter to beat the Wizards.

The first of the Knicks' two wins came against the Bulls, who have decided to sit their best players for the remainder of the season. That should open the door for the Knicks to pick up another W before the end of the season.

Betting Tip: New York Knicks +2.00 @ 1.89

Toronto Raptors @ Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 GMT+8)

The Raptors' NBA 2019 results have been pretty impressive of late. They've won six of their last seven games, with their only loss coming to the Hornets after another Jeremy Lamb game-winning 3-pointer.

But despite having nothing left to play for, the Timberwolves are still playing hard. Don't expect them to make things easy for Toronto.

Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors -6.50 @ 1.83

Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans (8:00 GMT+8)

After winning five in a row and seven of their last eight games, the Warriors have now claimed the No. 1 seed in the West. So does that mean they'll put their foot off the gas against the Pelicans? Perhaps.

The Anthony Davis-less Pelicans have racked up the L's late in the season. They've won just three of their last 15 games, two of which coming against the Sacramento Kings. But it's not hard to imagine that even they can keep it relatively close against the Warriors, who could be in chill mode ahead of the playoffs.

Mavericks Dallas are aiming for a positive NBA 2019 results while playing on their home floor
Trey Burke has been filling up Luka Doncic's absence

Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks (8:30 GMT+8)

Even without Luka Doncic in the lineup, the Mavericks have remained fairly competitive over their last few games. The likes of Trey Burke and Salah Mejri, in particular, have been taking advantage of their increased playing time of late.

And while the Suns do have a win in their three games without Devin Booker, the rest of their roster is much less reliable than the Mavericks' reserves. The fact that the Mavs will be on their home floor will also be a significant advantage for them, as they're 23-17 at the American Airlines Center this season.

Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz (9:00 GMT+8)

The Nuggets have yet to secure the No. 2 seed in the West, and it's fair to wonder how much they even want it. They rested the likes of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Jamal Murray in their loss to the Blazers last time out.

The Jazz recently had their seven-game losing skid snapped by the Lakers and will likely be looking to bounce back. If the Nuggets rest their stars once again, it's safe to say the Jazz should like their chances of getting the W in their home finale.

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

No matter how high the Rockets' NBA 2019 betting odds get, they just continue to blow past them. They've now won six games in a row, five of which have come by over 20 points.

The No. 2 is still within sight for the Rockets, so they will likely keep their foot on the gas as they visit their possible first-round opponent -- the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After going on a disastrous skid in recent weeks, the Thunder have finally begun to right the ship by winning their last three games. OKC also need to continue winning to hold onto the No. 6 seed over the Spurs and the Clippers, so this could be a tighter contest than the Rockets have been used to of late.

Portland Trail Blazers @ LA Lakers (10:30 GMT+8)

Those plucky Lakers are still throwing some hard punches. Despite missing most of their top players, they've now won two games in a row against two playoff teams in the Clippers and the Jazz.

That makes them an intriguing play against Portland. The Blazers finally got CJ McCollum back against the Nuggets, but they were far from convincing against a Denver team which sat out its top three scorers.

Betting Tip: LA Lakers +9.00 @ 2.02

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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16-Apr 2019 Tuesday 4:38 PM (160 days ago)            #10
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NBA: Upsets Galore in Day 1 of Playoffs!

The first day of the 2019 NBA Playoffs was not a good one for top seeds -- but a great one for SBOBET NBA fans who also happened to back the underdogs.

With the exception of the Golden State Warriors, the other three higher seeds in action -- the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Denver Nuggets -- were all upset at home to go down 1-0 in their respective series.

But while it's a bit foolish to overreact to three separate series after just one game, those Game 1's might have shown that those series might be more competitive than first believed.

Nets top 76ers with Joel Embiid ailing

The various NBA 2019 updates about Joel Embiid's health heading into the 76ers' first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets weren't great.

While Embiid looked great in his duel against Giannis Antetokounmpo, the All-Star big man missed five of the team's last seven regular-season games with a lingering knee issue. And even his status for the series opener was in doubt.

Embiid eventually played against Brooklyn, but he was far from his usually brilliant self on both ends of the floor. He was able to play just 24 minutes and though he had 22 points and 15 rebounds, he shot just 5-of-15 from the field.

Of course, Embiid wasn't the only reason for the Sixers' defeat. Ben Simmons was a non-factor as he finished with just 9 points and 3 assists, and was a team-worst minus-21 in 32 minutes.  Meanwhile, J.J. Redick and Tobias Harris combined for just nine points as the Sixers went an awful 3-of-25 (12 per cent) on 3-pointers as a team.

As for the Nets, their guards once again led the way. D'Angelo Russel had 26 points, while Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert combined for 41 points off the bench.

The fact that Embiid was clearly not 100 per cent is a troubling sign for the Sixers, who are already very shallow as it is. If he continues to be limited by his knee, this series against the Nets will likely be more competitive than most people anticipated.

D.J. Augustin magic lifts Orlando in Toronto

D.J. Augustin becomes the Orlando Magic's hero as he scored the game winner in their recent NBA match
D.J. Augustin goes up to the basket during Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs

The Magic's NBA 2019 odds to make the playoffs weren't very high at the start of the season. But they made their way past the wild East playoff race and are making noise in the playoffs by upsetting the No. 2-seeded Raptors.

D.J. Augustin did most of the damage against the Canadian dinos. The veteran point guard had 25 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, to lead the Magic to their first playoff win since 2012.

Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard were both excellent for the Raptors as they combined for 49 points. But Kyle Lowry failed to show up as he went scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting from the field.

Lowry is coming off his worst regular season since his first year with the Raptors in 2012-13. He averaged just 14.2 points on 41 per cent shooting.

Even with Lowry not quite at the top of his game, the Raptors should still find a way past the plucky Magic. With Leonard and Siakam both playing well, they have too much firepower not to do so.

But if they are to live up to their lofty championship aspirations, they will need much more from their veteran point guard in succeeding rounds.

Spurs steal one from Nuggets

The No. 2-seeded Denver Nuggets had no shortage of doubters heading into the playoffs. That group probably grew even larger after their 101-96 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Some of the big question marks people had about the Nuggets reared their ugly head in Game 1. For one, All-Star big man Nikola Jokic was either unable or unwilling to take over even when the Nuggets needed him to, especially down the stretch, as he finished with just 10 points.

That left 22-year-old point guard Jamal Murray to take the big shots down the stretch, and he didn't make too many. He finished with 17 points on just 8-of-24 from the field and 0-of-6 on 3-pointers.

As for the Spurs, their two All-Stars -- LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan -- both struggled with their shot. They combined for just 33 points on 12-of-36 from the field.

However, young guards Derrick White and Bryn Forbes picked up the slack with 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting between them. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich singled out White's "spectacular" performance after the game.

The Spurs were a popular pick to spring a first-round upset, but it had more to do about scepticism about the Nuggets. They're now a quarter of the way toward that accomplishment, so Denver really need to step up their game immediately.

 

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16-Apr 2019 Tuesday 4:40 PM (160 days ago)            #11
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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 SBOBET 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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17-Apr 2019 Wednesday 6:53 PM (159 days ago)            #12
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NBA: No. 2-Seeded Raptors, Spurs Need to Strike Back

The two No. 2 seeds did not have a great start to the NBA playoffs as both the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets were upset in Game 1 of their respective series.

While the Nuggets going down to the experienced San Antonio Spurs wasn't all that surprising, the Magic taking one at Toronto was a bit of a shock.

Those would-be contenders will now look to bounce back and salvage a split at home in Game 2 before heading on the road.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder are engaged in a closely contested series that SBOBET basketball fans should enjoy. And after narrowly winning Game 1, the Blazers have their sights set on taking a commanding 2-0 lead.

Orlando Magic @ Toronto Raptors (ORL leads 1-0)

Although the Magic went an impressive 11-2 in their last 13 regular-season games to make it back to the playoffs, most NBA 2019 predictions didn't see them giving the No. 2-seeded Raptors much trouble. But they showed everyone in their shocking Game 1 win that they are not to be taken lightly.

However, taking one game in Toronto is probably as good as it's going to get for the Magic, as a second straight upset seems highly unlikely.

D.J. Augustin made several NBA 2019 highlights in Game 1 as he went off for 25 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer, but it's hard to see him playing quite as well again. Meanwhile, the Magic's magnificent 3-point shooting (14-29, 48 per cent) is bound to come back to earth.

On the other side, the Raptors should be raring to go and restore some order in this series after they were upset. Kyle Lowry, in particular, will have a chip on his shoulder after going scoreless in Game 1.

If Lowry can provide that third option behind Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, it'll be tough to stop the Raptors from running away from the Magic this time around.

Betting Tip: Raptors -9.50 @ 1.85

San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets (SA leads 1-0)

The Spurs didn't have to play all that spectacularly to take Game 1 in Denver. Their two All-Stars -- LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan -- both struggled with their shot as they went a combined 12-of-36 from the field.

SBOBET basketball,: Can Nikola Jokic lead Denver Nuggets to their second consecutive win against San Antonio Spurs
Nikola Jokic playing for Denver Nuggets against San Antonio Spurs

Instead, the Nuggets just couldn't take the many chances they had to take command of the game. They came close several times to take the lead in the second half, but they came up just short.

Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but his 10 points and nine shot attempts weren't quite enough. Jamal Murray was left to take the important shots late in the game, and he was unable to convert. He finished with 17 points on just 8-of-24 shooting.

Denver, who shot a disappointing 6-of-28 on 3-pointers, should see some slight improvement in Game 2. They will certainly need to improve because they obviously can't afford to go down 2-0 heading back to San Antonio.

But even if the Nuggets do hit a few more shots in Game 2, the Spurs should still have the wherewithal to stay within striking distance in Denver.

Betting Tip: Spurs +7.00 @ 1.94

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trail Blazers (POR leads 1-0)

It wasn't easy, but the Blazers just about survived to win Game 1 as the Thunder pushed them hard until the end. Neither Damian Lillard nor C.J. McCollum scored particularly efficiently, but they produced 54 points between them. Meanwhile, big man Enes Kanter picked up the slack with 20 points and 18 rebounds while starting in place of the injured Jusuf Nurkic.

For the Thunder, it was an achievement that they still had a chance to win despite shooting a horrific 5-of-33 from beyond the arc. Point guards Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder combined to go 0-of-11, while All-Star forward Paul George went 4-of-15 on 3-pointers as he continues to struggle with a shoulder injury.

Although, George said his shoulder is pain-free after Game 1, which is great news for the Thunder. With the way the Thunder are constructed, they can't really withstand those types of off shooting nights from their two superstars.

OKC should still be able to keep the game relatively close thanks to their swarming defence. But with doubts still surrounding George's shoulder and his ability to score effectively, the Blazers and their Lillard-led attack appear to have just enough firepower to hold serve at home.

Betting Tip: Blazers -2.50 @ 2.07

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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22-Apr 2019 Monday 1:47 PM (154 days ago)            #13
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NBA: Sixers-Nets Playoff Beef Boils Over

The East side of the NBA Playoffs hasn't produced much drama thus far for SBOBET NBA fans. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics both have commanding 3-0 leads and are on a collision course for the second round. And after getting upset in Game 1, the Toronto Raptors have reclaimed command of their series against the Orlando Magic.

The Philadelphia 76ers-Brooklyn Nets series hasn't exactly been remarkably competitive, either, with the Sixers now up 3-1 after three consecutive wins. But it has been by far the most entertaining of the four East series thanks to the beef that's developed between the two teams. And in Game 4, the simmering beef finally boiled over in a big way.

Philadelphia 76ers 112-108 Brooklyn Nets (PHI lead 3-1)

For anyone who may have missed the big NBA 2019 news, Ben Simmons and Jared Dudley are in the midst of a beef. It all started when Dudley called Simmons "average" in the half-court before Game 3. Simmons responded by having a dominant performance to give the Sixers their second straight blowout win.

And in Game 4, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler got into the act as a full-blown fracas erupted. It began with Embiid delivering a hard foul on Jarrett Allen. (Embiid had previously elbowed Allen in the face in Game 2 and seemingly laughed it off.) Dudley, coming to his team-mate's defence, pushed Embiid, which set off the melee as Butler and Simmons also got involved. Dudley and Butler were both ejected.

But the Sixers were able to survive Butler's absence as Embiid (31 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 blocks) and Tobias Harris (24 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists) carried them to victory -- and a 3-1 series lead.

The Sixers will now have a chance to close out the series at home in Game 5, which the NBA 2019 betting odds should have them strongly favoured to do. But chances are this beef has at least one more incident in it before the series concludes.

Denver Nuggets 117-103 San Antonio Spurs (Series tied 2-2)

The Nuggets have reclaimed home-court advantage from the Spurs after an impressive road win in Game 4 to tie the series up at two games apiece. The win was Denver's first in San Antonio since 2012.

NBA 2019 news: Jamal Murray posted 24 points in Nuggets' win vs Spurs
Jamal Murray celebrates scoring vs San Antonio Spurs

The Nuggets' two big stars -- Nikola Jokic (29 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists) and Jamal Murray (24 points, 6 rebounds) -- both came up big. But so did unsung hero Torrey Craig (18 points 5-7 3-pointers), who was inserted into the starting line-up by Nuggets coach Mike Malone for the struggling Will Barton and delivered in a big way.

The Nuggets also continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc. After going 15-of-29 in their Game 3 loss, they hit 15-of-31 in Game 4.

Neither team has yet to win back-to-back games in this series, but Denver will like their chances coming back home for Game 5 after such a morale-boosting win on the road.

Milwaukee Bucks 119-103 Detroit Pistons (MIL lead 3-0)

The Pistons received a massive boost in Game 3 as Blake Griffin finally returned to the line-up after missing the first two games of the series due to a sore knee. Griffin delivered his typically strong numbers of 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 31 minutes. However, it still wasn't nearly enough to trouble the top-seeded Bucks.

Milwaukee went on to record a 16-point blowout win even with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring just 14 points and 10 rebounds, which is far off from his strong Game 1 output. Instead, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez did the heavy lifting with 58 points between them. Nikola Mirotic and Ersan Ilyasova also combined for 27 points off the bench.

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the Bucks should complete the sweep of the Pistons, who have just not been able to put up enough of a fight in this series -- with or without Griffin.

Houston Rockets 104-101 Utah Jazz (HOU lead 3-0)

The bad news for the Rockets in Game 4 was that James Harden had a historically bad shooting night. The MVP contender missed his first 15 field goal attempts -- the most consecutive misses in his career and the most by anyone in the playoffs in the past 20 years.

But the good news was despite Harden's horrific start, the Rockets still ended up beating the Jazz to secure a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Donovan Mitchell (34 points, 9-27 FG) did the best he could, but he missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter as the Jazz failed to capitalise on Harden's epic off-night.

The series is effectively over, and the only question left is whether the Rockets will complete the sweep. But with Harden likely to bounce back and the Rockets aiming to get as much rest as possible ahead of their impending second-round series against the Warriors, it's hard to see the Jazz forcing this series to a fifth game.

 

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25-Apr 2019 Thursday 4:35 PM (151 days ago)            #14
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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.

SBOBET 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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25-Apr 2019 Thursday 4:37 PM (151 days ago)            #15
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NBA: Dame Time Strikes to Knock Thunder Out

Oklahoma City Thunder 115-118 Portland Trail Blazers

Three first-round NBA playoff series came to an end on Tuesday in five games. But only one of them ended on a clutch 37-foot game-winning buzzer beater.

That finish, of course, came courtesy of Damian Lillard as his long-range bomb gave the Portland Trail Blazers a dramatic 118-115 win in Game 5 to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was an absolutely remarkable performance from Lillard, who ended up with 50 points on 17-of-33 shooting, including a sizzling 10-of-18 from 3-point range. He also added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals.

The Thunder came out of the gate strong as Paul George and Russell Westbrook helped build an early lead. They could have pulled away a bit more, but Lillard wouldn't allow it as he almost singlehandedly kept the Blazers in the game in the first half.

Lillard played all 24 minutes of the first half, where he scored 34 of his 50 points. Some of the 3-pointers he hit during that stretch were simply unbelievable. And thanks to his nearly superhuman effort, the Blazers actually went into half-time with a 61-60 lead.

The third quarter was closely contested, but the Blazers finally went on a run to build up a nine-point lead with three minutes left. However, the Thunder answered back with a monster run of their own to establish a 15-point of their own at the seven-minute mark.

But Lillard and the Blazers once again stormed back to tie it up at 113-113 with less than a minute to go. Paul George's jumper nudged the Thunder back ahead. But then Lillard took over as his driving lay-up tied the game again. And when Westbrook couldn't answer with his own acrobatic shot, it was down to Lillard to win the game. And win it he did.

Lillard patiently dribbled down the clock as George got on his stance to guard the Blazers star. And in what is surely one of the top NBA 2019 highlights of these playoffs, Lillard made a quick move, pulled up and rose to shoot from close to mid-court, which went in as time expired. Pandemonium ensued in Portland as Dame Time made its triumphant return.

Dame bests Russ after series-long beef

Damian Lillard defends during the NBA playoff against the Thunder
Russell Westbrook drives to the basket as Damian Lillard defends in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA playoff series

One of the big playoff storylines that SBOBET NBA fans were likely locked into -- aside from the Sixers-Nets beef -- had been the Lillard-Westbrook back-and-forth. The Thunder star had been consistently talking trash and taunting Lillard with the "rock the baby" for most of the series.

Westbrook didn't have the greatest series, although he did do his best to match Lillard's incredible Game 5 with a strong triple-double of 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists. Paul George also erupted with his best game of the series with 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting.

But Lillard eventually got the last laugh in that rivalry with his show-stopping performance to close out the series and send the Thunder home.

Although Westbrook does have an MVP to his name, Lillard has shown over the past few years just what a special player he is. He's a perennial All-Star and All-NBA selection, not to mention a reliable leader in a time when very few superstars are happy and capable of leading.

 There were doubts about Lillard's status as that elite-level player after Portland's embarrassing sweep against the New Orleans Pelicans. But thanks to this amazing series where he outdueled Westbrook, he's well and truly reminded everyone that Dame Time is still very much alive and ticking.

What's next for Portland?

Next up for the Blazers is a date with either the Denver Nuggets or the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. Regardless of which team comes out of that series, though, the Blazers should like their NBA 2019 odds of moving on to a potential conference final berth.

The Spurs have finally shown their limitations in recent games, while the Nuggets have the talent, but are still inexperienced at this level.

Moreover, Lillard could very easily be the best player in a series against either the Spurs or Nuggets, which will give the Blazers a decent shot to go deeper in the postseason.

But it will be interesting to see whether the separated shoulder Enes Kanter suffered in Game 5 will affect him moving forward. The Blazers are already without starting centre Jusuf Nurkic, who broke his leg late in the regular season.

If Kanter is somehow hampered by his shoulder, the Blazers will have to rely on second-year big man Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard, which isn't ideal.

 

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07-May 2019 Tuesday 6:02 PM (139 days ago)            #16
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NBA: Raptors, Nuggets Reclaim Home-Court Advantage

The two No. 2 seeds were in a bit of trouble in the NBA conference semi-finals. Both the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets had lost crucial home-court advantage after Game 3 losses saw them 2-1 down in their respective series.

However, both teams were able to bounce back in a big way in Game 4 to tie their series up at two games apiece.

For the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard came up with yet another outstanding performance to carry his team to the win. As for the Nuggets, their star duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray outdueled the Blazers' excellent backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Thanks to those wins, the Raptors and Nuggets have significantly shifted the NBA 2019 betting odds in their favour. But with the way the first four games in these series have played out, there could yet be more thrilling action for SBOBET NBA fans to enjoy.

Toronto Raptors 101-96 Philadelphia 76ers (Series tied 2-2)

It seemed like the Raptors had lost control of the series after their comprehensive 21-point defeat in Game 3. But thanks to more heroics from superstar Kawhi Leonard, they were able to regain home-court advantage with a key Game 4 victory.

Leonard was masterful once again as he had 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting, including the clutch step back 3-pointer to put the Raptors up by four points with just over a minute remaining in the game.

Leonard is having a fabulous series thus far against the Sixers. In four games, he's averaging 38 points, nine rebounds, and four assists while shooting a sizzling 62 per cent from the field. Many people may have forgotten after he mysteriously opted to sit out most of last season, but Kawhi is capable of being among the handful of best players in the entire NBA.

Pascal Siakam was the most consistent Raptor aside from Kawhi, but he had his worst offensive game in the playoffs with just 9 points on 2-of-10 shooting in Game 4. However, veterans Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry helped pick up the slack with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Serge Ibaka also provided Toronto with some much-needed bench production with 12 points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes.

Joel Embiid scored 11 points during the Sixers NBA defeat to the Toronto Raptors in Game 4
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid kicks the ball into the crowd during an NBA Playoff series against the Toronto Raptors

As for the Sixers, there was once again important NBA 2019 news surrounding Joel Embiid. The All-Star big man was sick and needed an IV in order to play in the game. He was clearly not at his best, as he finished with just 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting in 35 minutes.

Embiid has been blighted by several health issues in these playoffs. He was dealing with a sore knee in the first round against the Nets and had a bout of gastroenteritis in Game 2 against the Raptors.

Tobias Harris surprisingly took the most attempts on the team, but he struggled with his shot as he ended up going 7-of-23, including just 2-of-13 on 3-pointers. Jimmy Butler (29 points, 11 rebounds) and J.J. Redick (19 points, 6-9 FG) both had efficient nights, but Ben Simmons was quiet with just 10 points.

Perhaps the Sixers can take comfort in the fact that they still had a decent shot at taking Game 4 despite Embiid not being 100 per cent. If he returns to full health in Game 5, Philadelphia should like their chances of taking another game in Toronto.

Denver Nuggets 116-112 Portland Trail Blazers (Series tied 2-2)

The Nuggets seemingly missed their chance to steal a game in Portland after they fell short in the epic four-overtime classic that was Game 3. However, Denver picked themselves back up to reclaim home-court advantage from the Blazers in Game 4.

Nikola Jokic, who played an incredible 65 minutes in the Game 3 marathon, showed he still had a lot left in the tank as he recorded a 21-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in 39 minutes. Meanwhile, Jamal Murray was spectacular with 34 points, and Paul Millsap added 21 points and 10 rebounds.

On the other side, that gruelling quadruple-OT battle seemingly took its toll with Portland physically. Enes Kanter and Maurice Harkless, who were both dealing with injuries heading into Game 3, were significantly limited in Game 4 as they had just nine points in a combined 46 minutes.

The Blazers certainly missed Kanter's scoring. The big man, who is playing through a separated shoulder, had averaged 17 points through the first three games of the series. However, he admitted that he had aggravated the shoulder injury in the first overtime in Game 3, and his play showed that it was quite a problem.

Damian Lillard, who has been brilliant in these playoffs, and CJ McCollum were both solid for the Blazers as they combined for 57 points. Meanwhile, Seth Curry took Rodney Hood's place as the offensive spark off the bench with 16 points.

But the Blazers might be in trouble moving forward if Kanter's shoulder can't allow him to be the consistent third scorer behind Dame and CJ that they need. The Nuggets have more reliable offensive weapons in their supporting cast, and two out of three home games, where role players usually play better.

 

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07-May 2019 Tuesday 6:06 PM (139 days ago)            #17
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NBA: Resilient Rockets Giving Warriors Another Gritty Series

The much-anticipated NBA Western Conference showdown between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets is living up to the hype. The two played out an exciting seven-game series in the conference finals last year, and they're closing in on another potential Game 7 after the Rockets won Game 4 to tie the series up.

And while the Raptors-76ers series is also all tied up, the Milwaukee Bucks are one win away from booking their ticket to the East finals after once again beating the Boston Celtics on the road.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. now have a commanding 3-1 series lead going back home for Game 5, where the NBA 2019 betting odds should have them as overwhelming favourites to close the Celtics out.

Milwaukee Bucks 113-101 Boston Celtics (MIL lead 3-1)

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the best player on the best team in the league all season, and he played like it in Game 4 as he led the Bucks to another big playoff road win at Boston.

The Greek Freak treated the Celtics' elite defence like he was facing the Pistons as he went off for a dominating 39 points on 15-of-22 shooting with 16 rebounds.

Giannis' great performance more than made up for Khris Middleton's off-night. The Bucks' second-leading scorer struggled with his shot as he went an abysmal 4-of-19 shooting for 13 points.

Eric Bledsoe was once again relatively with 13 points, but George Hill continued his fine play in this series with 15 points and four assists off the Bucks' bench.

Playing with a greater sense of desperation, the Celtics started off Game 4 strong and had the lead for most of the first half. But they couldn't sustain that level of play as the Bucks eventually caught up and pulled away in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics need to get back on top-NBA form if they want to survive the Bucks
Boston Celtics led by Kyrie Irving walk off the court following a disappointing loss against the Bucks

For the third straight game, Kyrie Irving had a subpar shooting performance. The Celtics' star point guard had 23 points, six rebounds, and 10 assists, but shot just 7-of-22 from the field and 1-of-7 on 3-pointers in 44 minutes. Irving is shooting an ice-cold 37 per cent for the series, which is definitely not what the Celtics need from their main offensive weapon.

 The Celtics got good games from the rest of their starters -- Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Morris all had between 16 and 20 points -- but Boston's bench gave them nothing.

The big NBA 2019 news for the Celtics was that Marcus Smart would play his first game in the postseason after suffering an oblique injury. But he didn't end up making a positive impact for Boston as he went just 1-of-7 on 3-pointers. And Gordon Hayward's disappointing series continued as he was limited to a mere two points in 27 minutes.

After failing to win a single game at home, the Celtics now face elimination going back to Milwaukee for Game 5. And unless Kyrie Irving breaks out of his current slump, there doesn't seem to be much hope that they can extend the series much further.

Golden State Warriors 108-112 Houston Rockets (Series tied 2-2)

The Warriors-Rockets rematch is back to square one. After the Warriors took the first two games at home, the Rockets responded by winning both of their home games to level the series up at 2-2.

The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the second half of Game 4 and looked to be cruising to a relatively comfortable victory. But the defending champion Warriors staged a late comeback in the final five minutes of the game and had not one, but two decent chances to tie the game up in the final 11 seconds.

However, both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry missed their 3-point attempts as the Rockets held on for the win.

After his disastrous Game 3 which saw him embarrassingly miss an uncontested dunk in the closing seconds, Curry bounced back with 30 points, eight of which came during the Warriors' late-game run. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant continued his exceptional postseason scoring binge with 34 points on an efficient 12-of-22 from the field.

However, Klay Thompson had an off-night, finishing with a mere 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. The Warriors bench also remained a non-factor in this series.

For the Rockets, James Harden once again fueled their offence with 38 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon added 20 points, although his hot shooting finally came back down to earth as he went just 6-of-17 and 2-of-12 on 3-pointers. And P.J. Tucker chipped in with 17 big points and 10 rebounds.

This series has been very tight, with all four games decided by six points or fewer. Neither team seems to have that extra gear needed to pull away, which could see this series going the distance.

SBOBET certainly wouldn't mind having three more games of intense, closely contested basketball between these two evenly-matched teams, and neither would the rest of the NBA-loving community.

 

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16-May 2019 Thursday 12:42 PM (130 days ago)            #18
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NBA: Double Game 7 Delight!

In sports, it doesn't get much better than a Game 7. And the NBA Playoffs will have two of them for SBOBET NBA fans to enjoy on Sunday as both the Blazers-Nuggets and 76ers-Raptors series go the distance.

After going down 2-1 early in the series, both the Raptors and Nuggets reclaimed home-court advantage, which they will now enjoy in this decisive final game.

The NBA 2019 betting odds will be against the Blazers and Sixers as they travel to enemy territory for Game 7. But both teams have already won on the road in their respective series and have the star power to pull off the potential upset.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets (Series tied 3-3)

For the second straight series, the Nuggets have gone all the way to a Game 7. Denver couldn't close out Portland in Game 6 as the Blazers won at home, 119-108.

Aside from Nikola Jokic (25 points, 10-15 FG, 12 rebounds eight assists), no other Nugget was particularly efficient offensively in Game 6. Jamal Murray had 24 points, but shot just 7-of-20 from the field.

Paul Millsap and Gary Harris combined to go just 8-of-26, while Will Barton and Malik Beasley were 3-of-16 off the bench. The Nuggets as a team shot a subpar 38 per cent from the floor.

On the other end, the Blazers had both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum go for 30 points at home. And Rodney Hood (25 points) and Zach Collins (14 points, five blocks) both stepped up big off the Blazers' bench.

Hood and Collins have come up with some impressive performances in this series. The Blazers have needed them, too, with Enes Kanter -- 18 points in the last three games due to his shoulder injury -- Mo Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu becoming non-factors offensively in recent games.

Unless those three can snap out of their slump, the Blazers will once again be counting on Hood and Collins to produce in Game 7.

However, role players tend to play better at home, which is why the advantage is with the Nuggets. The likes of Millsap, Harris, and Beasley are likely to bounce back from their rough shooting nights at home.

Meanwhile, the occasion could end up being too big for a youngster like Collins, who might not be able to deliver what the Blazers need from him.

But if there's any hope for the Blazers, it's that Damian Lillard is capable of coming up huge in the clutch to close out an opponent.

Dame had 50 points in the clinching game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5, including the game-winning buzzer-beater which is one of the top NBA 2019 highlights in this postseason.

Even if Lillard does go off, though, it may still not be enough to lead the Blazers to a Game 7 road win, which is very tough to get. However, he is certainly capable of at least keeping the Blazers close and in with a shout to win it late.

Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers +6.00 @ 1.89

Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets are tied with three wins in the NBA Playoffs
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris

Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors (Series tied 3-3)

The 76ers looked dead and buried after they were trounced by 36 points in Game 5 in Toronto. But they were able to pick themselves up to win by 11 back home to force a decisive Game 7.

Joel Embiid, who has had a roller-coaster series due to several health issues, didn't have the most spectacular game in Game 6 as he had 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting with 12 rebounds.

But the Sixers outscored the Raptors by an amazing 40 points in his 36 minutes, which is indicative of the incredible impact the big man had on both ends of the floor.

Jimmy Butler (25 points, six rebounds, eight assists) and Ben Simmons (21 points, eight rebounds, six assists) led the way offensively for the Sixers. They were able to make up for poor shooting nights from Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick, who shot a combined 10-of-28, including 5-of-18 on 3-pointers.

As for the Raptors, they simply couldn't muster enough offence outside of Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, who combined for 50 of their 101 points.

Kyle Lowry was limited to just 13 points, while Marc Gasol had a mere seven. The Raptors also went just 9-of-36 on 3-pointers, with Danny Green going 2-of-8.

Outside of Game 5, the Raptors just haven't been able to score that well against the 76ers' defence. However, it's unlikely to be a high-scoring affair in Game 7, both teams prepared to clamp down defensively as well as possible nerves coming into play.

That type of game could end up benefitting the Raptors, who will be at home and have an elite isolation scorer in Leonard. Having said that, though, the Sixers should be able to stay relatively close to the Raptors right until the end.

Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers +7.00 @ 1.81

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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16-May 2019 Thursday 12:45 PM (130 days ago)            #19
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NBA: Warriors and Blazers Meet Again in the Playoffs

Portland Trail Blazers vs Golden State Warriors

They meet again. For the third time in four years, the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors will collide in the NBA Western Conference playoffs. But unlike their first two meetings, a trip to the NBA Finals is now at stake.

The Warriors were able to weather Kevin Durant's calf injury as they once again dashed the Houston Rockets' championship hopes in the previous round. Meanwhile, the Blazers improbably won Game 7 on the road against the Denver Nuggets to reach their first conference finals since 2000.

 Golden State have gotten past the Blazers with relative ease in their last two series, and the NBA 2019 betting odds have them favoured to do so once again. But the Blazers have been beating the odds all offseason and have their sights set on pulling off their biggest upset yet.

Talking Points

Warriors don't need Durant to win

There were some who were quick to count the Warriors out when Durant went down with his calf injury in Game 5 of the Rockets series. Houston were already giving the Warriors another tough series through four games with Durant, what more without him?

But not only did the defending champions go on to win Game 5, they also closed out the Rockets in Game 6 on the road without the two-time Finals MVP.

In case anyone forgot, the Warriors were already pretty good even before Durant came over. And the Dubs were able to rediscover the swagger that helped them win a championship pre-KD at a crucial time in the series.

The Splash Brothers, in particular, both came through with vintage performances to overcome the Rockets' resistance.

With Stephen Curry struggling early, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala kept the Warriors in the game in the first half with some excellent 3-point shooting. And eventually, the Chef finally got cooking as he sliced the Rockets defence apart for 33 second-half points.

The big NBA 2019 news is that Durant will miss at least Game 1 of the conference finals as he continues to recover. But the Warriors have shown that they remain as formidable as ever even without their other superstar.

With Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, and Iguodala still leading the way, the Warriors are more than capable of protecting their home court as they wait for Durant's return.

NBA: Kevin Durant picks up an injury during the match against the Houston Rockets
Warriors forward Kevin Durant limps off the court after sustaining an injury during the Playoffs match against the Rockets

Banged up Blazers

It seemed hard to see how the Blazers could possibly win a Game 7 on the road against the Nuggets if All-Star Damian Lillard came up with his worst shooting performance of this postseason. But somehow, the Blazers were able to do just that, thanks in large part to CJ McCollum.

The less-heralded half of the Blazers' backcourt stepped up amid Lillard's horrific 3-of-17 shooting night as he had 37 points and nine rebounds. With Dame Time unable to repeat his OKC heroics, it was McCollum who crucially came through in the clutch as he hit several key jumpers down the stretch to help seal the win.

The Blazers also got an unexpected 14 points off the bench from Evan Turner, who had scored just four points in the first six games of the series.

However, Portland can't expect that type of production from Turner moving forward, and that also applies to several of their other role players.

Starting forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Mo Harkless have both disappeared offensively in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter -- already starting for the injured Jusuf Nurkic -- has not quite been the same since further separating his shoulder early in the Nuggets series.

And even Rodney Hood, who has provided some much-needed offence off the bench, picked up a knee injury in Game 7 against the Nuggets and is now questionable to play in Game 1.

With so many question marks now on the Blazers' roster, there will be even more pressure placed on Lillard and McCollum to perform. And while they did well to deliver against Denver, the Warriors will be a much, much taller mountain to climb.

History

As mentioned earlier, the Blazers and Warriors have met in two playoff series in recent years. Their first meeting was in the conference semi-finals in 2016. Despite Stephen Curry missing the first three games of that series with a knee injury, the Warriors still won the series, 4-1.

Their second meeting, which was during the first round in 2018, was even more one-sided. The Warriors easily swept the Blazers in four games en route to another NBA championship.

What are the odds?

Despite Durant's absence for Game 1, SBOBET odds still have the Warriors priced at 1.28 to win Game 1 on the 1X2 market.

However, the Blazers still have a legitimate shot to cover the spread on the Asian Handicap market. They are currently priced at 2.04 on the +7.00 handicap.

Lillard is almost surely set to bounce back from his horrendous shooting performance in Game 7, while McCollum has been consistently strong in this postseason.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have had the habit this season of playing down to their opponents. And after their gruelling series against the Rockets, they may just put their foot off the gas a little bit for Game 1 against Portland.

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16-May 2019 Thursday 12:48 PM (130 days ago)            #20
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NBA: Steph Curry Blows Blazers Away in West Finals Opener

Portland Trail Blazers 94-116 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors continue to not miss Kevin Durant all that much. Despite the absence of their injured superstar, the defending champions blew out the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

Just like in Game 6 of their series against the Houston Rockets, the Splash Brothers -- Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -- were once again spectacular as they completely outduelled their Blazers counterparts.

The NBA 2019 odds were stacked heavily against the Blazers before the series began. And if Game 1 was any indication, it appears the Warriors may not have to work too hard to make it to a fifth straight NBA Finals.

Highlights of the game

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Blazers in Game 1. They had only a couple of days off to rest and prepare following a gruelling seven-game war against the Denver Nuggets in the previous round. Meanwhile, a slightly better-rested Warriors team was waiting to greet them at Oracle.

But to the Blazers' credit, they came out of the gates strong as they were able to keep the Warriors within arm's length. Portland managed to prevent Golden State from building a big double-digit lead in the first half and went into the break down by just nine points.

However, Curry hit three consecutive shots -- including two 3-pointers -- in the final minute of the second quarter and carried over his hot shooting to the second half.

Curry went on to hit four more triples in the third as the Warriors finally began to break the game open. Thanks in part to Curry's 3-point barrage, the Warriors were able to open up a 17-point lead midway through the third.

Again, though, Portland responded as they pulled the lead back down to six entering the fourth. But that was just about as close as they would get as the Warriors just had too much in the end. After Curry did most of the damage in the third, Thompson helped ice the game with 12 points in the fourth.

<a rel=
Stephen Curry celebrates with Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

Key statistics

Curry once again had it cooking without Durant as he had a team-high 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting and 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. Curry has now scored 30 or more points in three of his last four playoff games.

Thompson is also in the midst of his best stretch of these playoffs, scoring at least 26 points in three straight outings.

The Splash Brothers combined to go 12-of-24 from beyond the arc as the Warriors went a sizzling 17-of-33 (51 per cent) as a team.

The Blazers' backcourt was nowhere near as effective as Lillard and McCollum combined to go just 11-of-31 from the field. The Blazers shot a subpar 36 per cent as a team and 7-of-28 on 3-pointers.

Lillard, who went 4-of-12, has been unable to supply the big-time heroics that he's capable of in recent games. He had his second straight poor shooting night after his disastrous 3-of-17 effort in Game 7 against the Nuggets.

On the bright side for the Blazers, Mo Harkless broke out for 17 points after scoring 17 points in the last four games of the Denver series. Although, he had his big game in part because the Warriors defence decided to help off him to keep Lillard and McCollum quiet.

Rodney Hood also didn't look too hampered by the knee injury which was big NBA 2019 news heading into Game 1 as he had 17 points off the Blazers' bench.

What's next?

Unfortunately for the Blazers, Game 1 might be a sign that the Dubs' recent dominance over them in the playoffs looks set to continue. Despite Durant's absence, the Warriors just seem like the superior team in every way. And if Durant can make it back in this series soon, the Blazers will be in even more trouble.

Curry appears to have shaken off his shooting struggles early in the Rockets series. And with Enes Kanter a significant liability on defence, the Blazers don't have a particularly good plan to stop the Curry pick-and-rolls.

Portland simply need much better production from their two stars, Lillard and McCollum. That's obviously going to be much easier said than done given how great Golden State's defence is, but that's just the reality.

On top of that, the Blazers also need to hope for similar production from Harkless and Hood going forward. Kanter is clearly not capable of being a consistent third scorer given his shoulder injury, which is why the Blazers need offence from other places moving forward.

If things don't improve significantly for the Blazers, SBOBET NBA fans likely won't get to see much of a competitive series in the Western Conference Finals.

 

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22-May 2019 Wednesday 4:50 PM (124 days ago)            #21
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NBA: Another Amazing Warriors Comeback Puts Blazers on the Brink

Golden State Warriors 110-99 Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers just can't keep the Golden State Warriors down for a full 48 minutes. For the second consecutive game, the Warriors came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Blazers.

The Blazers' backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum once again didn't have it going as Portland were unable to withstand the Warriors' Draymond Green-inspired second-half onslaught.

With their Game 3 win, the Warriors are now just one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. The NBA 2019 odds will be overwhelmingly in their favour, as no team in NBA history has ever lost a 3-0 series lead.

Highlights of the game

Draymond Green shows his unique side during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals
Draymond Green in action against Damian Lillard during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

With their season pretty much on the line in Game 3, the Blazers made a major change to their starting line-up. Meyers Leonard came in for ailing big man Enes Kanter to provide more spacing for the Blazers offensively.

The Warriors also pulled quite a surprise as they started Damian Jones at centre. But that experiment didn't last long as Jones played just three minutes the entire game.

The Blazers had the slight two-point lead on the Warriors at the end of the first quarter. But just like in Game 2, they made a big run in the second. Leonard came up as he scored eight of his 13 first-half points to help Portland win the quarter, 37-26. And that was with Lillard and McCollum not being much of a factor.

However, it was the Warriors' turn to repeat what they did in Game 2 as they stormed back in the third quarter, thanks in large part due to Draymond Green's amazing all-around play.

Green was simply a monster on both ends of the floor. When he wasn't making timely defensive stops or grabbing key rebounds, he was pushing the ball up to make plays or to score himself. By the end of the third quarter, he had already racked up a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists with a few steals as well.

With Green's terrific defence leading the way, the Warriors limited the Blazers to just 13 third-quarter points as they entered the fourth with a three-point lead.

The Warriors were able to make their big run without Andre Iguodala, who sat out most of the second half due to a calf injury. But luckily for the Warriors, their other role players stepped up in a big way as the likes of Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Alfonzo McKinnie all had timely baskets in the second half.

And while the Splash Brothers -- Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -- were also coming up with timely plays, Lillard and McCollum were coming up short as they failed to lead a Blazers fightback in the fourth.

Key statistics

With the win, the Warriors have now won a road game in 22 straight playoff series, which is an NBA record.

Draymond Green was brilliant for the Warriors as he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, and four steals in 38 minutes. Green has now recorded three triple-doubles in this year's playoffs.

Stephen Curry (11-26 FG) didn't have the most efficient shooting night, but he still finished with 36 points, which he also had in his spectacular Game 1 performance. He's now hit at least 36 points in the first three games of the series and at least 30 in five of his last six games in the postseason.

As for the Blazers, Damian Lillard's disappointing series continues. Dame is averaging just 20 points on under 33 per cent shooting, which is a far cry from his magnificent first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

McCollum hasn't been much better, though. The Blazers star is averaging just under 21 points on 37 per cent shooting from the field and 27 per cent on 3-pointers.

What's next?

The Warriors have all but clinched this series. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, and as much as SBOBET NBA fans would love to see a historic comeback, it's unlikely that the Blazers have it in them to do it.

Even if Iguodala is set to join Kevin Durant on the sideline as a calf injury casualty, the Blazers have a huge injury concern of their own. The big NBA 2019 news broke after the game that Lillard is playing with separated ribs, which could significantly limit his effectiveness moving forward.

The Blazers should still like their chances of taking Game 4 at home against a likely short-handed Warriors team. But if the series goes back to Oakland for Game 5, it's probably not returning to Portland again.

 

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22-May 2019 Wednesday 4:52 PM (124 days ago)            #22
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Warriors Closing In on 5th Straight NBA Finals Berth

Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers

The Golden State Warriors are one win away from a fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. Thanks to back-to-back amazing second-half comebacks -- including in Game 3 in Portland -- the Warriors can also sweep the Portland Trail Blazers for the second time in their last three playoff series.

Despite what the NBA 2019 betting odds say, the Blazers will be keen to prevent their season from ending just yet, especially in front of their own fans.

But they haven't found any answers for the Warriors' Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, who have both been brilliant in lifting the team while Kevin Durant has been out with his calf injury.

Talking Points

Warriors' role players

Despite missing arguably the best player in the league in Durant all series, the Warriors have seemingly not missed a beat. A lot of the credit for their success has been the phenomenal play of their other three All-Stars -- Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson.

Curry has been lights out since the tail-end of the Rockets series. The two-time MVP has torched the Blazers for 36 points, six rebounds, six assists and six 3-pointers per game through the first three games of the series.

His Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, hasn't been shooting particularly well in the series, but his 23 points per game have been very valuable.

And Green has been nothing short of spectacular. He's been filling up the stat sheet to the tune of 16 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks, and two steals, which goes to show the incredible impact he's having on both ends of the court.

However, the Warriors' chances in Game 4 could go down to their role players. With the latest NBA 2019 updates labelling Andre Iguodala as questionable to play due to his leg injury, the team's other role players will need to step up.

They did just that in the second half of Game 3, as the likes of Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook, and Alfonzo McKinnie all made some important plays in Iguodala's absence.

While the Warriors' star trio of Curry, Green, and Thompson can carry the team far, getting those contributions from their supporting cast should help them seal the sweep in Portland.

NBA 2019 updates: Porland Blazers aim to avoid being swept by Golden State Warriors
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard has been struggling this season

Lillard's effectiveness

In each of the last two games, the Blazers have been in a good position to steal a win from the Warriors. But on both occasions, they've failed to close them out. Damian Lillard's struggles have been a big reason why.

Frankly, Lillard has had a disappointing series. He's averaging just 20 points on 33 per cent shooting, which is just not going to cut it against Golden State.

Granted, his separated rib injury -- which he suffered in Game 2 -- likely played a role in his awful 5-of-18 shooting night in Game 3. But even in Game 7 against the Nuggets and Game 1 against the Warriors, he was already putting up some subpar performances.

As if Lillard's struggles weren't bad enough, the Blazers have also had to deal with CJ McCollum's cold shooting. McCollum has yet to shoot above 40 per cent in a game during this series, which has been disastrous for Portland.

With their two stars misfiring, the Blazers have few other reliable options to turn to. Meyers Leonard, who surprisingly started Game 4 and scored 16 points, is unlikely to play as well. It's equally tough to see Evan Turner's 12-point outburst happening again.

But with the Blazers possibly playing their last home game of the season -- coupled with Iguodala's injury -- perhaps it can all come together for them in Game 4 and avoid getting swept once again.

History

The Warriors have continued to just own the Blazers in the playoffs. Golden State are 11-1 in their last 12 postseason games against Portland and swept them in the first round back in 2017.

If the Warriors do pull it off, it would be their sixth series sweep in their magical five-year run, with the Blazers the lone team to get swept twice.

Obviously, completing the sweep will be much tougher without Iguodala. It seems unlikely that the Warriors will risk playing the veteran so soon following his injury scare. Even if Iguodala were capable of playing, the wise move would be to let rest until the Finals or if the Blazers somehow win two games in a row.

But recent history dictates that the Warriors can take care of business even without another member of the fabled Hamptons Five.

What Are The Odds?

SBOBET odds still favour Golden State to complete the sweep. The Warriors are priced at 1.62 to win Game 4 on the money line market.

They very well could close out the series on the road. They've proven in this series that they have more than enough to deal with the Blazers even without Durant.

But it's hard to see the Blazers going out on this sour note, especially at home. After they worked so hard to erase the memory of last year's sweep against the Pelicans, it's hard to believe they will allow this to happen on their home floor.

Despite their struggles, Lillard and McCollum are fully capable of digging deep and keeping the Blazers alive for at least another game. Blazers +3.00 is priced at 2.04 on the Asian Handicap market, while their money line odds are 2.38.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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22-May 2019 Wednesday 4:58 PM (124 days ago)            #23
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Short-Handed Warriors Sweep Their Way to Historic Trip to NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors 119-117 (OT) Portland Trail Blazers

No Kevin Durant and no Andre Iguodala? No problem. Despite being without two-fifths of their famed Hamptons Five, the Golden State Warriors sealed the deal and completed the sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.

With the win, the Warriors have become just the second team in NBA history after the legendary 1960s Boston Celtics to reach five consecutive NBA Finals.

One of the most recent SBOBET tips highlighted the fact that the Blazers would be desperate to avoid getting swept in front of their home fans, and so they were.

But despite a valiant effort from the Blazers, including surprise package Meyers Leonard, the Warriors' original Big Three of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green were just too good as they carried the day for the defending champions.

Highlights of the game

As expected, the big NBA 2019 news for the Warriors was that they would be without Andre Iguodala for Game 4 after the veteran suffered a calf injury in Game 3.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr brought in Alfonzo McKinnie to start in place of Iguodala. He also replaced Damian Jones, who was disastrous in Game 3, with Jordan Bell at centre.

Meanwhile, the Blazers stuck with the starting line-up that included Leonard, who played surprisingly well as a starter in Game 3.

And Leonard came up with even more surprises in Game 4 as he went 5-of-7 from the field in the first quarter, with two 3-pointers. Damian Lillard, who had struggled with his shot in this series, also started well by hitting his first three shots.

However, it was the Warriors who had a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to the Splash Brothers. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were both locked in as they combined to go 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-8 on 3-pointers.

But the Blazers, led by the red-hot Leonard, kept coming in the second. Leonard hit all four of his shots, including three more triples to cancel out Curry's equally impressive shooting to help give the Blazers a narrow four-point lead at the half.

The Blazers have faltered in the third quarter in each of the last two games, but they finally got the better of the Warriors thanks to Lillard and McCollum finally hitting some big shots.

They had built up a 17-point lead at one point, but the Warriors eventually stormed back in the final minutes of the third and into the fourth.

In an aggressive move to close out the series, Kerr kept Curry in to start the fourth instead of giving him his usual rest. The move paid off as Curry helped tie the game with four and a half minutes left.

And after a 3-pointer from Thompson again tied the game with under two minutes remaining, both teams had their chances to win in regulation. But the game instead went to overtime.

With Curry gassed having played the entire second half and OT, it was Draymond Green who stepped up to hit the crucial 3-pointer to give the Warriors a four-point lead with 40 seconds left.

Damian Lillard quickly cut the lead to two and then had two chances to tie the game in the closing seconds. But Dame Time did not arrive as the Warriors held on for a hard-fought win.

Key Statistics

Stephen Curry was brilliant once again for the Warriors as he had 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. It was only his second ever playoff triple-double, with the other coming in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Draymond Green (18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists) also recorded a triple-double, his second in a row after his remarkable Game 3 heroics. Green now has four triple-doubles in this postseason run.

As for the Blazers, Meyers Leonard was the big story. The big man had the game of his life as he had a career-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting.

Meyers Leonard insane performance for Portland Trail Blazers against Golden State Warriors
Portland Trail Blazers Meyers Leonard dunks over Golden State Warriors Draymond Green during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals

Leonard had 25 of those points in the first half, which was already a new career-high. His previous high was 22 points, which he also set against the Warriors as a rookie in 2013.

What's next?

It's off to yet another NBA Finals for the Warriors, who will now have nine full days of rest before Game 1 on May 30. Those nine days will be crucial in getting themselves fully healthy for their next opponent.

That should hopefully be enough time for Durant and Iguodala to recover from their respective calf injuries. However, it remains to be seen whether DeMarcus Cousins will be able to feature after he suffered a quad injury in the first round against the Clippers.

They await the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. The Bucks currently lead the series, 2-1, heading into Game 4 in Toronto.

The Warriors will not have home-court advantage in the Finals regardless of who comes out of the East. But after seeing how they swept aside the Blazers despite being short-handed, it wouldn't be a surprise if most NBA 2019 predictions still pick Golden State to win the title.

 

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22-May 2019 Wednesday 5:00 PM (124 days ago)            #24
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NBA: Resilient Raptors Claw Their Way Back into East Finals

Milwaukee Bucks 102-120 Toronto Raptors

After the first two games of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, it looked as if the Milwaukee Bucks would make like the Golden State Warriors and sweep the Toronto Raptors.

The No. 1-seeded Bucks flexed their considerable muscles in Milwaukee as the Raptors appeared to be overmatched by the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and co.

But lo and behold, the Raptors have rallied back from that 0-2 hole by claiming Games 3 and 4 in Toronto to make this series a lot more interesting for SBOBET NBA fans.

The Raptors have relied on Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam to carry them offensively for most of the postseason. But they didn't need their two stars' scoring as much in Game 4 as their role players stepped up in a huge way.

Despite back-to-back defeats, the NBA 2019 betting odds still favour the Bucks, who will have the crucial home-court advantage moving forward. But they must now find some answers after two tough losses in Toronto.

Highlights of the game

The big NBA 2019 news following Game 3 was the status of Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors star looked to injure his leg during that double-overtime win, and despite saying he was "good" for Game 4, it was certainly a significant concern.

But instead of Kawhi, it was Kyle Lowry who set the tone early for the Raptors as he hit four of his first five shots and had 11 points. As for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Lowry's 11 points as Milwaukee were only down one after the first quarter.

Once the reserves came in, though, the Raptors' bench players -- Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet -- began to get the better of their Bucks counterparts.

Powell, in particular, continued his impressive play in this series as he had 10 first-half points. Meanwhile, Ibaka added 12 and VanVleet -- who'd been struggling mightily with his shot -- finally hit a couple of 3-pointers as the Raptors entered half-time with a 10-point lead.

The Milwaukee Bucks need to bring out their A game if they want to advance to the NBA Finals
Khris Middleton shoots a layup between Norman Powell and Marc Gasol

Khris Middleton had it going offensively for the Bucks in Game 4, and he and Antetokounmpo tried to keep Milwaukee within striking distance in the third quarter.

But the Raptors continued their well-rounded scoring attack. After a quiet first half, Leonard finally got going with 11 points. Powell also hit a couple more 3-pointers as they extended their lead to 13 heading into the fourth.

The Ibaka-Powell-VanVleet trio then led a 10-3 run to start the fourth, which gave the Raptors a 20-point cushion. The Bucks were unable to make a Warriors-esque second-half comeback and finally waved the white flag after a Leonard 3-pointer with four minutes left pushed the lead back up to 19.

Key Statistics

The story of this game was undoubtedly the Raptors reserves. Powell, Ibaka, and VanVleet combined for 48 points on 50 per cent shooting from the field. VanVleet, who came into the game with just eight made field goals in his last 10 games, went 5-of-6 with three 3-pointers.

Thanks to that strong bench production, Leonard was able to take a backseat offensively. He finished with just 19 points, his lowest output since scoring 16 in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Magic. Siakam was also limited to seven points on six field goal attempts, both playoff lows.

As for the Bucks, Khris Middleton -- who had just 32 points through the first three games of the series -- finally broke out with 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting, along with six rebounds and seven assists.

However, the Bucks' backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon struggled mightily, going a combined 4-of-18 for nine points. Bledsoe has been awful in this series thus far, averaging a mere 8.3 points on 25 per cent shooting.

What's next?

As the series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 5, the Raptors suddenly look like a different team. With Marc Gasol (33 points in his last two games) rediscovering his shooting touch and their bench back to being productive, they no longer seem so highly dependent on Leonard and Siakam offensively.

But the big question will be whether Powell, Ibaka, and VanVleet can carry that great play over to Milwaukee, as role players generally play better at home.

There's also the looming doubts about Kawhi and if he can be able to carry the Raptors again if needed despite his leg injury.

Meanwhile, the Bucks' supporting cast needs to bounce back and provide more assistance for Antetokounmpo. More importantly, Bledsoe desperately needs to get going. He has been a complete non-factor in this series, which has to change if the Bucks are to reach the Finals.

 

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 12:55 PM (103 days ago)            #25
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NBA Finals: Can Raptors Draw First Blood Over Durant-Less Warriors?

Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors

There will be a bunch of firsts in Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors: the first-ever Finals game for the Raptors; the first-ever Finals game outside of the United States; the Warriors' first Finals foe besides the Cleveland Cavaliers during their dominant five-year run; and their first Finals Game 1 on the road.

The Warriors will be well-rested after a nine-day break following their sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. Meanwhile, the Raptors will be riding high after their stunning comeback down 0-2 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Unsurprisingly, the NBA Finals 2019 betting odds are backing the Warriors to complete a remarkable three-peat. But the feisty Raptors are ready to make the defending champions work for that third successive title, starting in Game 1 in Toronto.

Talking Points

Warriors still short-handed

Despite their extended lay-off ahead of the Finals, the big NBA Finals 2019 news for the Warriors is that Kevin Durant still won't be available for Game 1. Durant remains sidelined by the calf injury he suffered in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets.

Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins has been upgraded to questionable to return from the quad injury he suffered in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers. Andre Iguodala also looks set to play after his own calf injury in Game 3 against the Blazers.

Even without two-time Finals MVP Durant, the Warriors still made short work of the Blazers thanks to the brilliance of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Curry was back to his scintillating best as he averaged 36.5 points in the series and set the NBA record for most points in a playoff sweep. Green was equally excellent on both ends of the floor. Aside from recording two triple-doubles, he also set the tone with his remarkable defence.

Thanks to their long rest, the Warriors should be more than ready to expend the necessary energy in Game 1. They will need to continue to work particularly hard on offence with Durant still out, but Curry and Thompson have relatively fresh legs and should be up for the challenge against a formidable Raptors defence.

Raptors' big advantage

The Raptors looked dead and buried after the first two games of their series against the Bucks. But they made the necessary adjustments -- like tasking Kawhi Leonard to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, in particular -- as they swept the next four games to reach their first-ever NBA Finals.

Aside from Leonard's all-world defence, he also continued to power the Raptors' offence with his consistent scoring. He even grew significantly as a playmaker as he recorded 16 assists in the final two games.

But perhaps more importantly, the Raptors' role players stepped up in those last few games. Marc Gasol came up with a couple of big games, while Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet all provided important production off the bench.

Inspired by the birth of his son, VanVleet snapped out of his horrific shooting slump to shoot 14-of-17 on 3-pointers in the last three games against the Bucks.

Those three reserves will continue to be vital to the Raptors' success in the Finals and will need to outplay the Warriors' bench.

It also goes without saying how valuable Game 1 will be for the Raptors. Home court is one of, if not the only advantage Toronto have in this series, and it would be very tough if they were to give it up immediately. Moreover, they must fully capitalise on Durant's absence while they still can.

NBA Finals: Who will win the Game 1 of the series between the Warriors and the Raptors?
Kevin Durant limps off the court after sustaining a calf injury during the NBA Payoffs against the Rockets

History

The Raptors should head into the Finals against the Warriors with confidence in their ability to hang with the defending champions. They won both games against the Warriors this season, which included a 20-point blowout win at Oracle Arena without Leonard and the Warriors at full strength.

On the other hand, though, the Warriors almost beat a full-strength Raptors squad in Toronto despite missing Curry.

The Warriors are an undefeated 4-0 in Game 1 of the Finals during their amazing run. Although, it should be noted that all four of those games were at home.

At the same time, the Warriors shouldn't be fazed by starting out the Finals on enemy territory. After all, they have won at least one road game in 22 straight playoff series.

What are the odds?

SBOBET odds have the Raptors installed as the narrow favourites for Game 1 against the Durant-less Warriors. The Raptors are 1.87 on the money line, while the Warriors are at 2.03. And in terms of the Asian handicap, Raptors -2.00 is priced at 2.04 and Warriors +2.00 is 1.86.

The Raptors are certainly deserving of a good deal of respect, especially at home. The way they reeled off four-straight wins against a Bucks team which hadn't even lost three in a row all season was quite impressive.

But the Warriors are obviously no ordinary underdog. Even without Durant, they are more than capable of taking one -- or even both -- games in Toronto. It certainly wouldn't be the worst idea in the world to take them and their uncharacteristically favourable odds in Game 1.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 1:01 PM (103 days ago)            #26
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NBA Finals: Raptors Get Ready to Pounce on Wounded Warriors

Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have drawn first blood in the NBA Finals. Led by a masterful performance by Pascal Siakam coupled with amazing team defence, the Raptors dealt the Warriors their first Game 1 defeat in the Finals during their dynastic five-year run.

The Warriors swept aside the Portland Trail Blazers without Kevin Durant, but they missed the two-time Finals MVP in a big way in Toronto as no one apart from the Splash Brothers could get going offensively.

The defending champions now face a big Game 2 as they look to avoid going down a 2-0 hole which would significantly swing the NBA Finals 2019 betting odds in the Raptors' favour.

Talking Points

Warriors' injury woes

To those who were wondering whether the Warriors even needed Kevin Durant to win another NBA championship, Game 1 was overwhelming proof that they certainly do.

While Stephen Curry (34 points, 8-18 FG) and Klay Thompson (21 points, 8-17 FG) both played well, the Warriors clearly lacked that third scoring option against the Raptors, who were able to keep the non-Splash Brother Warriors in check.

Draymond Green, who had a terrific offensive series against the Blazers, was completely shut down as he went just 2-of-9 from the field. Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins went without a field goal in eight minutes in his first game back from a lengthy lay-off due to a quad injury.

And to make matters worse for the Warriors, Andre Iguodala appeared to pick up another leg injury late in Game 1. Although he looks set to play in Game 2 according to the latest NBA Finals 2019 updates, it remains to be seen whether he will be limited in any way by that injury.

With Durant still ruled out for Game 2, the Warriors desperately need their defence to pick up. Green needs to do a much better job on Siakam, while Iguodala must continue to help keep Kawhi Leonard quiet, which will obviously be much easier said than done.

But the Warriors without Durant just don't seem equipped to outscore the Raptors, so they'll need their defence at its best to stand a chance of stealing Game 2.

Raptors' suffocating defence

Pascal Siakam received the majority of the plaudits after Game 1, and rightly so. With the Warriors clearly keen on preventing Kawhi Leonard from beating them, the Cameroonian stepped up and dropped 32 points (14-17 FG), eight rebounds, and five assists to lead the Raptors offensively.

But the Toronto defence was the key to their Game 1 success. They did a tremendous job limiting the Warriors' offence, which was dearly missing Durant's presence.

It was particularly impressive how the Raptors completely stymied the Stephen Curry-Draymond Green pick-and-roll that picked the Blazers apart in the last round.

Marc Gasol, who was brilliant offensively with 20 points, was equally as valuable on defence as he consistently wreaked havoc on the Warriors' pet play. And Leonard made up for his unusually inefficient shooting (5-of-14 from the field) by providing his usual excellent defence.

It speaks to the Raptors' depth that they still scored 118 points despite off shooting nights from Leonard and Kyle Lowry (seven points on 2-of-9 shooting).

Danny Green finally rediscovered his shooting touch and hit three 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Fred VanVleet continued his fine play from the Bucks series with 15 points off the Raptors bench.

But even if the Raptors' shooting falls back down to earth -- they shot 50 per cent as a team in Game 1 -- their defence is more than good enough to keep them competitive.

Who will win the Game 2 of the NBA Finals?
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam celebrates with teammate Danny Green after a play against the Golden State Warriors

History

The Warriors find themselves in unfamiliar territory down 1-0 in the Finals; they had won Game 1 in their previous four trips.

But despite losing Game 1, don't expect the Warriors to panic just yet. Don't forget, this is a team that's won at least one road game in 22 consecutive playoff series, which is an NBA record.

They are still more than capable of going into Toronto and stealing home-court advantage away from the Raptors in Game 2.

What are the odds?

SBOBET odds currently have the Raptors priced at 1.74 on the money line to win Game 2, while the Warriors are at 2.19.

Meanwhile, the options on the Asian Handicap market are between 1.00 and 2.50 points. Raptors -2.50 is priced at 1.99, and Warriors +2.50 is 1.91.

At this point, the smart money seems to be on the Raptors taking a commanding lead in the series. Their defence is locked in at the moment and as good as Golden State are, they don't appear to have the tools to score consistently on that defence without Durant in the lineup.

Having said that, though, it wouldn't at all be surprising if the Warriors were to somehow earn a split in Toronto heading back to Oakland for Games 3 and 4.

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 1:09 PM (103 days ago)            #27
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NBA Finals: Wounded Warriors’ Gutsy Win Comes at a Cost

Golden State Warriors 109-104 Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors had a golden opportunity to put the wounded Golden State Warriors down a 2-0 hole in the NBA Finals.

But the defending champions weren't going to go down without a fight. After suffering a Game 1 setback, they produced a gritty Game 2 win to tie the Finals up at one game apiece as the series shifts to Golden State.

With their win, the Warriors have extended their NBA record of winning at least one road game in 23 straight playoff series.

However, that win came at a cost as the already banged-up Warriors suffered even more injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney that could yet play a major part in the series.

Highlights of the game

As the NBA Finals 2019 updates before Game 2 indicated, Andre Iguodala did play despite suffering a leg injury late in Game 1. Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins -- who went scoreless in Game 1 -- moved into the starting line-up as the Warriors looked for more offence with Kevin Durant still not available.

While Boogie and Stephen Curry both went scoreless in the first quarter, the Warriors were still able to keep things close. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green combined for 20 of the team's 26 points as the Raptors led by one.

The Raptors were able to extend their lead to double-digits in the second quarter. But Curry finally got going as his 12 points in the final four minutes kept the Warriors within five heading into half-time.

And as they've done several times in this postseason, the Warriors went on one of their trademark third-quarter runs to take control of the game.

Golden State ratcheted up their defence as they held the Raptors scoreless for the first five minutes and 40 seconds of the period. Meanwhile, they scored the first 18 points of the quarter, with Thompson scoring or assisting on 14 of them.

The Warriors were able to sustain a healthy lead into the fourth quarter until they suffered another injury setback. Thompson tweaked his hamstring after landing awkwardly while attempting a 3-pointer. He tried to play through it for a couple of minutes, but he eventually had to go out and didn't return.

Thompson was the second Warrior to go down in Game 2. Big man Kevon Looney did not play in the second half after suffering a chest contusion.

With Thompson missing and a still-not-in-top-shape Cousins playing extended minutes, the Warriors offence eventually stalled as they went scoreless for five minutes in the fourth.

GSW coach <a rel=
SW coach Steve Kerr talks with Draymond Green after picking up a foul against the Toronto Raptors

After missing a number of good opportunities, the Raptors were finally able to cut the Warriors' lead down to two thanks to a Danny Green 3-pointer with just 27 seconds remaining.

But after a crazy sequence, Iguodala was able to answer with a clutch 3-pointer of his own with seven seconds left to seal the crucial win for Golden State.

Key Statistics

Draymond Green was brilliant once again for the Warriors. He bounced back from his 2-of-9 shooting night in Game 1 to drop 17 big points. He also came one assist short of recording a fourth-straight playoff triple-double.

Meanwhile, Cousins was the unsung hero for Golden State. In just his second game back after a long injury lay-off, Boogie had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 28 crucial minutes.

For the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard also resumed normal production after an off-night in Game 1 to drop 34 points and 14 rebounds. He went a perfect 16-of-16 from the free-throw line.

However, Game 1 hero Pascal Siakam regressed to the mean. After going a sizzling 14-of-17 in the series opener, the Cameroonian went a mere 5-of-18 from the field for 12 points.

The Raptors as a team came back down to earth in Game 2. They shot a mere 37 per cent from the field, including just 11-of-38 on 3-pointers.

What's next?

The Finals now heads to Golden State for Games 3 and 4 with the Warriors stealing home-court advantage away from the Raptors. However, it remains to be seen what shape Steve Kerr's Warriors will be in health-wise to capitalise.

Apart from the on-going wait to see when Durant will finally make his return, the Warriors will also be anxious to find out whether Thompson will be able to go.

As the fourth quarter of Game 2 showed, the Warriors desperately need Thompson and the spacing his shooting provides for their offence to function effectively. If Thompson joins Durant on the sideline, that would leave Curry as their only reliable 3-point shooter.

Thompson's absence could significantly shift NBA Finals 2019 odds since it would make it that much easier for the Raptors' strong defence to clog up the Warriors' offence without him.

Either way, it's shaping up to be a fascinating NBA Finals, which SBOBET NBA fans haven't seen for some time.

 

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 1:16 PM (103 days ago)            #28
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NBA Finals: Warriors Facing Must-Win Situation

Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors

The Toronto Raptors have reclaimed control of the NBA Finals after beating the shorthanded Golden State Warriors 123-109 on the road in Game 3.

Stephen Curry did all he could for the Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney, as he poured in a playoff career-high 47 points. But the depleted champions simply didn't have enough to overcome the Raptors' balanced offensive attack.

As the series moves on to Game 4, the Warriors are seemingly in must-win mode, as another home defeat would see the Raptors vs Warriors betting odds shift significantly toward Toronto's favour.

Talking Points

Raptors have strength in numbers

"Strength in numbers" may be the Warriors' motto over the past few years, but it applies more to the Raptors at the moment. Toronto had six players score in double figures in their big Game 3 win, with all five starters scoring at least 17 points.

Even the much-maligned Danny Green, who had 21 points in six games against the Milwaukee Bucks, delivered 18 points on 6-of-10 3-point shooting.

Because of the Warriors' recent injuries, the Raptors clearly have a significant edge in terms of capable offensive weapons.

Kawhi Leonard is close to producing an automatic 30 points in every game he plays. And while the likes of Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Green, and Fred VanVleet are not quite as consistent, their upside as scorers is significantly higher than what the Thompson-and-Durant-less Warriors have to offer.

It's not an exaggeration to think that Norman Powell, who played just six minutes in Game 3, would have been the shorthanded Warriors' third- or fourth-best scoring option given their current situation.

Powell played a major part in turning around the Bucks series, and the fact that the Raptors haven't needed him in the Finals is a testament to their overall depth.

If the Warriors continue to be without two of their top three scorers, the Raptors should like their chances of snatching another win at Oakland, which would put the champions in serious trouble.

Raptors looked pretty comfortable in the NBA Finals game
Kawhi Leonard celebrates with Danny Green

Will Warriors' stars return?

The big NBA Finals 2019 news minutes before Game 3 was that Klay Thompson would be active despite suffering a hamstring injury in their Game 2 win. But despite his active designation, the Warriors opted not to play the hurting swingman in order to give him more time to heal.

The Warriors have overcome several injury setbacks during this playoff run, but Thompson's loss was just one blow too many. Despite Curry's best efforts, the Warriors clearly didn't have enough firepower to top Toronto in Game 3.

Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala combined for 29 points and hit four 3-pointers, which is more than is usually expected out of them. But DeMarcus Cousins, who's just three games back following a long injury layoff, couldn't provide the offensive spark that the Warriors desperately needed from him as he had just four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes.

It's obvious at this point that the Warriors will need at least one of Durant or Thompson to return in Game 4. And even if both are diminished versions of themselves if they do return, they are still much superior options to what the Warriors have without them and will give them a better chance of evening the series up.

History

The Warriors know all too well what the history of teams that go down 3-1 in the NBA Finals is. In 2016, they infamously became the first team ever to blow such a lead in the Finals as they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As great as the Warriors are, they would obviously prefer to avoid going down such a steep hole, which is why it won't be too surprising if they do decide to risk the health of Durant and/or Thompson in Game 4.

If they are healthy enough to play, it won't make much sense to hold them out for one more game, especially since they'd likely be facing elimination in Game 5 if neither can make it back for Game 4.

What are the odds?

In SBOBET Asian Handicap sports betting, the Warriors are currently favoured by 5.00-6.00 points. That seems to indicate that Durant and/or Thompson will play in Game 4, with Thompson the more likely of the two.

But even if the two All-Stars do make their return, don't completely rule out betting on the Raptors on the Asian handicap market. Durant and/or Thompson most likely won't be close to 100 per cent due to their injuries, which should give Toronto a decent opportunity to at least keep it close on the road.

 

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 1:27 PM (103 days ago)            #29
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NBA Finals: Is This the Warriors Dynasty’s Last Stand?

Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have pushed the Golden State Warriors' dynasty to the brink of extinction. Despite being in a must-win situation in Game 4, the Warriors were still unable to prevent the Raptors from taking a commanding 3-1 NBA Finals lead heading back to Toronto, where the Raps can clinch their first championship in franchise history.

But the big question heading into Game 5 is the same one that's been on everyone's minds all series long: Will Kevin Durant finally come back?

With the weary Warriors seemingly out of answers for the Raptors through four games, they will be hoping that the two-time Finals MVP's return can help keep their season alive for at least one more game.

Talking Points

Will Durant finally return?

It's now been a full month since Durant suffered his fateful calf injury, and despite all that time to heal, the superstar has yet to return to the court. The Warriors have obviously missed his presence in the Finals as they've struggled to score consistently against the Raptors' terrific defence.

However, the latest NBA Finals 2019 updates regarding Durant are positive. He has finally been able to practice ahead of Game 5 and is listed as questionable to play.

Obviously, it's highly unlikely that Durant will be anything close to his best if he does play. But even his mere presence should be a major upgrade for the Warriors, who have had to rely on the likes of Alfonzo McKinnie and Quinn Cook in the Finals because of Durant's absence.

The Warriors will need much more than Durant to beat the Raptors on the road, though. They will require another heroic performance from Klay Thompson, who scored 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting in 42 minutes after returning from his hamstring injury, which he suffered in Game 2.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry -- who was not at his best in Game 4 (27 points on 9-of-22 shooting) -- must also rediscover his form in Game 3, when he dropped 47 points in a losing effort. The same goes for Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, who were non-factors offensively.

Simply put, the Warriors will need "strength in numbers" to get past the Raptors -- with or without Durant.

The Raptors' big chance to clinch

The NBA Finals 2019 odds are decidedly in the Raptors' favour now that they have a 3-1 lead. Even if they lose Game 5, they'd still have two more chances to close out the series and would also have the decisive Game 7 at home if necessary.

However, Game 5 is still the Raptors' best shot to clinch the championship, and they'd be wise to treat it as such. Based on how they played Games 3 and 4, though, the Raptors appear to be fully focused on the business at hand.

Kawhi Leonard has continued to lead the way on the offensive end with his consistent production and has gotten timely contributions from the likes of Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Serge Ibaka. Meanwhile, their defence has simply suffocated the Warriors, especially with no Durant in the equation.

Even if Durant does return, the Raptors will be difficult to beat at home. The Toronto crowd will be electric given that the title could be won on the night, and that should have a positive effect on the team.

Can the Toronto Raptor win the championship in Game 5 of the NBA Finals?
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard shoots between the tight defence of the Golden State Warriors

History

The Raptors find themselves in a tremendously advantageous position up 3-1 in the Finals. Teams that have held such a lead in the Finals are 33-1 all-time in terms of going on to win the title. That lone exception was, of course, the 2016 Golden State Warriors, who squandered their lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Although, it should be noted that the Warriors also have experience overturning such a deficit. They did so in the 2016 Western Conference Finals against Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder. But a big difference is that they were the higher seed in that series and had Game 7 at home -- an advantage they won't have against the Raptors.

What are the odds?

SBOBET odds currently have the Raptors priced at 1.84 to win Game 5 -- and the NBA championship. Meanwhile, the Warriors are at 2.06 to keep the series alive for at least one more game.

As for the Asian Handicap market, the spread is between 1.50-3.00 points and favours the Raptors. Toronto -3.00 is priced at 2.19, which would be a decent bet based on how the series has gone thus far.

Game 5 will be a tough one to call, though. From a logical perspective, it's easy to form a compelling argument for the Raptors winning. They have clearly been the superior team through the first four games and will have home-court advantage.

But on the other hand, the Warriors could potentially get Durant back, which should at the very least provide a psychological boost. And even if Durant doesn't return, Golden State will be in desperation mode and will put everything on the line in this elimination game.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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12-Jun 2019 Wednesday 1:46 PM (103 days ago)            #30
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NBA Finals: Valiant Warriors Show True Heart of a Champion

Golden State Warriors 106-105 Toronto Raptors

As the great Rudy Tomjanovich once said, "Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion." And after facing even more adversity in Game 5, the Golden State Warriors showed once again they are truly worthy champions as they staved off elimination with a dramatic NBA Finals road win against the Toronto Raptors.

Game 5 finally saw the much-awaited return of Kevin Durant after a month-long absence due to a calf injury as the Warriors prepared for one last stand. But tragically, Durant went down once again early in the game with an even more serious injury to his Achilles.

But even after losing the two-time Finals MVP for a second time, the Warriors -- with the help of some clutch 3-pointers by the Splash Brothers -- withstood the Raptors' late run to shift the series back to Oakland for the last-ever game at Oracle Arena.

Highlights of the game

It all started so promisingly for the Warriors. The big NBA Finals 2019 news that many expected came to fruition: Kevin Durant was finally set to play. And he made his presence felt immediately as he hit two 3-pointers within the first three minutes en route to 11 first-quarter points.

Stephen Curry also benefited from the extra attention Durant received and dropped 14 points of his own.

The Warriors as a team came out all guns blazing as they hit their first five triples to establish an early lead. But the Raptors were able to weather the early storm and were down just six heading into the second period.

Suddenly, though, disaster struck for the Warriors. As Durant tried to cross over Serge Ibaka, he fell to the floor clutching at his injured left leg and exited the court limping. His season was well and truly over -- and possibly his Warriors career, as well.

Warriors suffer a major NBA Finals blow as Kevin Durant possibly tears his achilles
Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during an NBA Finals game against the Toronto Raptors

Golden State soldiered on without Durant and were able to preserve their six-point advantage through half-time. DeMarcus Cousins, who had struggled mightily in the past two games, came up big with nine second-quarter points to keep the Warriors afloat.

Despite Curry going cold in the third, the Warriors still made enough timely baskets to maintain their lead heading into the fourth.

But the Raptors were finally able to make their run midway through the fourth. Kawhi Leonard took over as he scored 11 quick points and assisted on another bucket to give the Raptors a six-point lead with three and a half minutes remaining.

But he and the rest of the Raptors went cold after they came out of a timeout, while the Splash Brothers suddenly caught fire. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry hit three clutch 3-pointers in a span of 90 seconds as the Warriors reclaimed the lead with just under a minute remaining.

After two costly Warriors turnovers, though, the Raptors were just down one and had the chance to win the championship in the most dramatic way possible. But Kyle Lowry's 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn't close as the defending champions lived to fight another day.

Key statistics

Without a doubt, the standout stat in the Warriors' gutsy Game 5 win was the disparity in 3-point shooting. Golden State went a sizzling 20-of-42 from beyond the arc (47 per cent) with Curry and Thompson alone going 12-of-27. Durant also played a significant part as he hit all three of his 3-point attempts before exiting.

Meanwhile, the Raptors were a mere 8-of-32 on 3-pointers, with Pascal Siakam and Danny Green both going 0-of-4.

The contribution of DeMarcus Cousins also shouldn't go unnoticed. Much like in the Warriors' other gutsy road win in Game 2, Boogie came up big with 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the Warriors' bench.

With Durant gone for the series, the Warriors will once again need that version of Cousins in Game 6, not the one who scored just 10 points with seven turnovers in Games 3 and 4.

What's next?

Thanks to the Warriors' win, SBOBET NBA fans will get to enjoy one more Finals game. Similarly, Warriors fans will get to watch one last game at Oracle Arena in Game 6.

Golden State will surely be without Durant for that game, and possibly Kevon Looney as well. The big man also aggravated his collarbone injury in Game 5, and his absence would give the already wounded Warriors even more problems.

While the Warriors' fighting spirit in Game 5 was admirable, the NBA Finals 2019 odds are still very much in the Raptors' favour. Remember, the Warriors pulled out a similarly dramatic road win in Game 2 and were subsequently smashed in both games in Oakland.

The Warriors likely wouldn't have won Game 5 without Durant's limited but meaningful first-quarter contribution. It remains to be seen if they can get that sort of production from any of their supporting cast moving forward.

 

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12-Jul 2019 Friday 7:31 PM (73 days ago)            #31
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NBA Finals: Warriors Need Oracle Magic One Last Time

Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors

Game 6 of the NBA Finals will be the last ever NBA game played at Oracle Arena. But will it also be the last game of the season?

The Golden State Warriors -- who will most definitely be without Kevin Durant -- will be looking to extend their series against the Toronto Raptors for one more game when they collide in Oakland.

The Raptors probably rue their missed opportunities to clinch the championship on their home floor in Game 5. But as they showed in Games 3 and 4, they are more than capable of going into Oracle and beating Golden State.

Talking Points

Raptors can rebound

The Raptors probably feel they should be NBA champions right now. They had the Warriors right where they wanted them in Game 5: they were up by six at home and just three minutes remaining.

However, they failed to deliver the knockout blow and allowed the defending champions to come back and extend the series.

But despite that demoralising defeat, there are still many reasons for the Raptors to remain confident that they can clinch the title.

For one, they played far from their best basketball in Game 5 and still very nearly pulled off the win. Apart from his sudden fourth-quarter explosion, Kawhi Leonard did not have his best game. Neither did Pascal Siakam nor Danny Green, who combined for just 16 points and 0-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers.

The Raptors as a team shot just 8-of-24 from beyond the arc while the Warriors went a sizzling 20-of-42.  If those numbers simply regress to the mean, the advantage will shift significantly toward Toronto.

Toronto Raptors aim to finish the series at game 6 to win the NBA Finals against Golden State Warriors
Kawhi Leonard confident to win game 6 against Golden State Warriors

The Raptors are also no strangers to winning at Oracle. They did so in Games 3 and 4 after losing at home in a closely contested Game 2.

While the Warriors didn't have Klay Thompson in Game 3, he returned and played well in Game 4. But he and Curry weren't nearly enough to beat the Raptors, who are simply the deeper team at the moment.

What do the Warriors have left?

The Warriors showed what true champions are made of with their valiant effort in Game 5. Despite the devastation of losing Kevin Durant early in the game, they dug deep to successfully stave off elimination.

However, it's fair to wonder if the Warriors are actually capable of playing any better than they did in that game, which they just barely won.

Curry and Thompson combined for 57 points and hit 12 of the Warriors' playoff-high 20 3-pointers. But Durant was responsible for three of those triples, and Curry's effectiveness took a noticeable dip once Durant went down as the Warriors were once again unable to space the floor as well.

They also got a good game from DeMarcus Cousins, which was huge given how shallow their bench is. But as he showed in Games 3 and 4, Cousins at his current physical state can't be counted on to be consistent from game to game.

Meanwhile, Kevon Looney -- who is one of the 6-7 players they can even play at this point -- is questionable to feature after aggravating his collarbone injury. That will certainly be big NBA Finals 2019 news if he does miss out.

At this point, the Warriors have proven on numerous occasions that it's dangerous to completely count them out. And perhaps the crowd at Oracle Arena in its last ever game can provide the lift they need.

But at their current state, it's a legitimate concern whether the Warriors have enough -- particularly on offence -- to force a decisive Game 7.

History

It has been a curious NBA Finals so far. Since the Raptors took Game 1, the home team has lost each of the last four games.

But despite that unusual trend, home-court advantage still counts for a lot, and the Warriors will be glad to be playing in front of their own fans in this do-or-die game.

The Warriors have not found themselves facing elimination at home too often during their dynastic five-year run. In fact, it's happened just four times: Games 5 and 7 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016; Game 7 vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016; and Game 6 vs. the Houston Rockets last year.

They went 3-1 in those four games, with their lone defeat coming in that Game 7 against the Cavs.

What are the odds?

If the SBOBET odds are anything to go by, this series looks like it's going to a Game 7. The Warriors are significant money line favourites to win Game 6 at 1.67 while the Raptors are priced at 2.29. And on the Asian Handicap market, the Warriors have been pegged as 2.50-4.00-point favourites.

But while the Warriors have the advantage of being at home, the Raptors' NBA Finals 2019 odds to win Game 6 should probably be a bit more even.

They have clearly been the superior team in this series and have already blown out the Warriors twice on the road. It will be difficult to do so a third time, but a win of any kind is well within the realm of possibility for the Raptors.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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12-Jul 2019 Friday 7:33 PM (73 days ago)            #32
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NBA Free Agency: Welcome to the Wildest Offseason Ever!

The NBA is in the midst of what is by far the most eventful offseason in its history. In just a matter of days after the start of free agency, the entire landscape of the league has changed completely.

A number of the league's top stars have switched teams, a list headlined by Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. And there may be even more stars on the move, with one notable former MVP most likely close to getting traded.

There are far too many moves to discuss, so allow SBOBET to break down the six most impactful pieces of NBA 2019 news from the offseason thus far.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George team up on the LA Clippers

On the day a major earthquake hit Southern California, reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard rocked the NBA world as he decided he would leave the newly-crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors to sign with the LA Clippers on a four-year, $140.8 million max contract.

And he wasn't the only one headed West.

In order to convince Kawhi to sign, the Clippers swung a blockbuster trade that sent promising young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a record-setting number of draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for All-Star forward Paul George.

Unsurprisingly, the Clippers' NBA 2019 betting odds shifted significantly after they got arguably the two best two-way players in the entire league.

Leonard, who might just be the best player in the league right now, led the Raptors to their first championship in franchise history as he averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, George had a career year with the Thunder, averaging 28 points and 8.2 rebounds to finish third in MVP voting.

The two join an already talented Clippers squad that includes reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley, and Landry Shamet, and should be one of the top contenders in the West.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sign with the Brooklyn Nets

Prior to the Leonard-George news, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were the first superstar tandem to team up as they both agreed to sign four-year max contracts with the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant will likely miss their first year together as he recovers from the torn Achilles he suffered in the Finals. That means it will be up to Irving to lead the team during the upcoming season.

Brooklyn Nets lands Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant in hope for NBA redemption
Brooklyn Nets claim sensational NBA start for the league as they claim Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant

Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for the Boston Celtics last year as he made Second-Team All-NBA. However, the Celtics' season was a massive disappointment, in part due to Irving's supposedly poor leadership style.

But if Irving can refrain from disrupting the Nets' strong chemistry, they still have enough pieces with Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, and Joe Harris to compete in the East even without Durant.

Warriors attempt to retool

Many proclaimed that Golden State's dynasty was over after their Finals loss and Durant's departure. But the Warriors aren't ready to go away just yet.

They signed Klay Thompson to a five-year, $190 million max deal despite the fact that he will miss most of next season due to the torn ACL he suffered in the Finals. Meanwhile, they also acquired All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade with the Nets.

The Warriors also said goodbye to veteran Andre Iguodala and have added some younger pieces in Glenn Robinson III, Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman, and Alec Burks as they look to remain competitive in a loaded Western Conference.

76ers and Bucks both make big moves

With Kawhi Leonard no longer on the Raptors, the Eastern Conference will once again be up for grabs next season. And the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers appear to be in front of the line after their splashy offseason moves.

The 76ers landed veteran big man Al Horford on a four-year, $109 million contract to join their talented core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, who re-signed on a five-year, $180 million deal.

The Sixers lost sharpshooter J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler, although they did gain young swingman Josh Richardson through a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat to boost what could be the best defensive team in the league next year.

As for the Bucks, they also lost a couple of key free agents in Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic. But they did re-sign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and George Hill and added veterans Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez to help them make another run at the Eastern Conference crown.

Lakers and Knicks strike out on the superstars

The Lakers and Knicks both had their sights set on landing a superstar like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, or Kyrie Irving. But they lost out on those stars to their city neighbours and have had to turn to Plan B.

The Lakers are still in relatively decent shape with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But instead of Leonard, they've had to settle for DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green as their marquee offseason additions, along with Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley, and Avery Bradley.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are Los Angeles Lakers tandem for NBA 2019-2020 season
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis claim their excitement to compete for a championship together

They also re-signed JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Alex Caruso as they look to end their six-year playoff drought.

Meanwhile, the Knicks loaded up on big men by signing Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and veteran Taj Gibson, while adding former Pistons guards Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington to play around prized youngsters RJ Barrett, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox.

Heat looking to form new star duo

The Heat are no strangers to teaming star players up, and they could be about to do so again. After landing the first star in Jimmy Butler -- who got his $140 million max deal -- via sign-and-trade with the 76ers, they are now setting their sights on acquiring another: Russell Westbrook.

The Thunder are seemingly ready to rebuild after trading George and Jerami Grant, and Westbrook looks bound to be the next one out the door. The former MVP reportedly likes the idea of heading to Miami, so all that's left to do now is for the two teams to agree on a deal.

A Westbrook-Butler duo should help the Heat get back into the East playoff picture, which should be very interesting after this unbelievable offseason.

 

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18-Jul 2019 Thursday 7:04 PM (67 days ago)            #33
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NBA: Five Players Who Impressed In the 2019 Summer League

Every year, the NBA Summer League provides a platform for young players to make a name for themselves from top picks to even undrafted prospects.

The Summer League provided the ultimate eye test for coaches and scouts as they got a chance to see whether players perform up to par or maybe find some diamonds in the rough.

Today, SBOBET takes a look on some notable players who turned in strong performances in the annual showcase.

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

RJ Barrett initially struggled with his efficiency, especially in his first two games of the Summer League. Things like having poor shot selection and missing wide open teammates continued to haunt him, and it was the same criticism that he drew during his days in Duke.

However, he did get better every game, as he became the only player in Summer League history to average around 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists highlighted by his 21-10-8 line against the Washington Wizards in his final game. At just 19 years old, Barrett is already strong enough to withstand the physicality of fellow NBA-calibre athletes. He and Mitchell Robinson look to be a threat in the pick-and-roll after developing some chemistry as well.

Barrett is barely scratching the surface in terms of potential, but his overall performance boosted his NBA 2019 odds on winning the Rookie of the Year. The Knicks will need it more than ever given that they struck out in this year’s free agency.

Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Known as one of the best shooters in the draft, Tyler Herro lived up to his billing by doing just that in the Summer League. The 13th overall pick shot 8.5 three-point attempts per game, at a 33-percent clip. He also made 96-percent of his free throws and he has shown his scoring potential in a variety of ways.

Other than shooting via pull-up jumpers and spotting up, Herro was able to score in transition, finishing well over taller and longer defenders. Not only can he do those, he did show some glimpses of his playmaking ability by making plays off the bounce in halfcourt sets.

With all these in place, expect Herro-ball to be a complimentary piece for Jimmy Butler and the Heat for the upcoming season.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans

Head coach Alvin Gentry can’t help but gush upon the Pelicans’ young core and for good reason, as they have built a strong one for the foreseeable future after granting Anthony Davis’ request to get traded to the Lakers. One of their young cogs is Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was drafted 17th overall in this year’s NBA Draft.

Alexander-Walker emerged as one of the most productive players in Las Vegas, posting gaudy averages of 24.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. He’s standing at 6’5’’ and he looks to be a good complimentary piece for Zion Williamson on the floor.

The Canadian guard was an excellent shooter from beyond the arc, knocking down 41-percent on his attempts. Despite his lack of explosiveness, Alexander-Walker will definitely add some depth at the wing position for New Orleans.

Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans

Another piece to the Pelicans’ core is Jaxson Hayes, who has made a name for himself after using the Summer League as his personal playground. The seven-footer emerged as one of the elite athletes in this year’s draft, especially with this poster dunk in their game against the Chicago Bulls adding to some of the best NBA 2019 highlights.

New Orleans Pelicans Jaxson Hayes create sensational highlights in in NBA Summer League
Jaxson Hayes dunks the ball during first half of his New Orleans Pelicans debut in the NBA Summer League

Hayes is at his best when he’s on the open floorwhen he can use his supreme athleticism running up and down on both ends. Not only does he possess a high vertical leap, he has great hands and can finish strong in the interior.

Despite his obvious physical tools, it may take a while to see him make an impact at the NBA level. He may need to add strength on his lower body to keep up against most bigs in the NBA.

Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies

One of the main reasons why the Memphis Grizzlies won as Summer League champions is because of Brandon Clarke. The 21st overall pick developed into a quintessential big who can impact the game at both ends of the floor.

Being the team’s primary option, Clarke churned out norms of 14.6 points, 9.8 rebounds on 64-percent true shooting. He thrives as a roll man off of a pick-and-roll play where he can use his bounce and crafty moves to score inside the paint. The Gonzaga alum has shown the capability to shoot three-pointers when needed, which was considered the biggest hole of his game coming out of college.

Just imagine him along with the likes of star point guard Ja Morant and sophomore standout Jaren Jackson Jr., and the future suddenly looks bright for the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

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22-Jul 2019 Monday 5:27 PM (63 days ago)            #34
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NBA: Best Duos In the NBA Right Now

In what was one of the wildest offseasons ever, the NBA has veered away from the usual super teams that we’ve witnessed for the better part of the decade.

Whether it’s chasing huge cheques or giving themselves a chance to win, players have wielded their increased power to take full control of their destiny – choosing where to go as soon as they become free agents.

Strange enough for these players, the mix between enhancing your legacy while building a strong team was evident in the form of one-two punch tandems that will take the league by storm next season.

With everything falling into place this summer, pundits are having a hard time to predict on who will be the favourites to win next season’s NBA title.

Today, SBOBET takes a look at some top duos that fans will be anticipating to see.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson

Even if they lost against the Raptors in last season’s Finals, the Warriors are still in the thick of things with most of their core locked up.

They will have to move on, however, with Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins finding new homes in Brooklyn and Los Angeles respectively. The Warriors offense will have to lean heavily on the deadly outside shooting of the Splash Brothers once again.

Klay Thompson, who injured his knee in the playoffs, signed a five-year, $190 million contract while defensive specialist Draymond Green is guaranteed to suit up for Golden State at least for one more season.

It can also be noted that Steph Curry was signed to a lucrative contract as well. The two-time MVP signed a whopping $201 million deal over five years last 2017 due to his consistent play at a high level during their title runs.

Legendary coach Rudy Tomjanovich once mentioned that we should never underestimate the heart of a champion. And while the Warriors may be in a quandary, expect the Warriors to still bring their A-game – especially when Klay Thompson fully recovers.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant

The mercurial combo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant sent shockwaves across the league when they both took their talents to the Brooklyn Nets.

After recovering from the infamous Boston trade few years back, the Nets have rebuilt their roster in a bevy of shrewd deals while developing some young talent.

Give credit to both Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson – who have been making strides from the day they were hired by the franchise. But they would have to wait for Kevin Durant to fully recover though, since he suffered a ruptured Achilles in last season’s Finals.

Add along guys like Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, Joe Harris, and Caris Levert, it won’t be surprising if Brooklyn will be poised to make a run for the Eastern Conference crown in the near future.

Brooklyn Nets are relying on Kyrie Irving to carry the team through the playoffs and into the NBA finals
Superstar tandem Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are Brooklyn Nets' hope for their awaited NBA redemption

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Months after a lot of wheeling and dealing with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers finally got a superstar teammate to tandem with LeBron James in Anthony Davis.

 Despite missing the playoffs and losing some key players from last season, the NBA 2019 odds for the Lakers to win next season’s title have dramatically increased with their recent acquisitions such as DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, among others.

James, who is still in his prime, has shown the capability to play and get along with top-tier talents as evidenced by his previous runs with players like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love.

The three-time champion is an adept playmaker with a strong physical frame – making him one of the most versatile players ever in league history.

Anthony Davis, on the other hand, is one of the league’s premier big men. He is a double-double machine who can make plays on both ends with his supreme athleticism and polished offensive arsenal.

With these two in the mix, Laker fans will get used to seeing some of best NBA 2019 highlights from them starting in October.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

While Laker fans may feel like they can win it all, they might temper their expectations for now given the arrival of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

After winning last season’s Finals MVP award, Kawhi Leonard is set to go back home in Southern California to try and bring one this time for the Los Angeles Clippers.

He will team up with Paul George, in which they’ll form one of the league’s top defensive teams since they’re both great two-way players. Both are superb creators off the bounce and they can rack up steals on the other end.

The two, along with the core of Pat Beverley, Landry Shamet, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams will be exciting to watch as an inter-city rivalry is about to emerge soon.

 

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24-Jul 2019 Wednesday 2:03 PM (61 days ago)            #35
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NBA: Best Players Left In Free Agency

This year’s NBA free agency has been one of the craziest that we’ve witnessed in a while, as we’ve seen a lot of player movement - changing the league’s landscape in the process.

The NBA 2019 news featured the vast majority of big-name players signing up for various teams. Despite this, there are still some quality free agents that are yet to be signed - and there’s no doubt that they could help out a team one way or another.

SBOBET takes a look at some of the best free agents that are still available on the open market.

Kenneth Faried

If your team is looking for some source of hustle and defence, getting a guy like Kenneth Faried is the way to go.

Faried started off last season being buried on the bench for the Brooklyn Nets. However, he found new life when he was traded to the Houston Rockets last January. He started 13 games for a much-better Rockets team and tallied norms of 16.2 points on 58.8-percent from the field, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in that span.

More importantly, he has been efficient despite playing limited minutes for the most part. Faried posted averages of at least 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game under 25 minutes since the 2012 NBA season.

He may be undersized at 6’8’’, but he will bring his boundless energy and motor to make an impact on both ends. He can gobble up rebounds, block shots, and excel as a roll man in pick-and-roll situations. He’s called “The Manimal” for a reason.

Jeremy Lin

Over the past few years, Jeremy Lin has proven himself to be a serviceable backup point guard in the NBA.

Last 2019 season, Lin posted solid numbers for the young Atlanta Hawks, averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 assists on 47.6-percent shooting from the field in 45 games. He was eventually traded to the Toronto Raptors and earned for himself an NBA title.

When fully healthy, the Taiwanese sensation can drive to either finish or make plays for his teammates. He can also knock down threes when needed to keep the defence honest.

Having reliable facilitators in your roster is certainly a commodity in today’s game and age, and having a guy like Jeremy Lin fits the bill for teams out there.

Thabo Sefolosha

Even at age 35, Thabo Sefolosha remains to be one of the top 3-and-D specialists in the market.

The Swiss native currently stands at 6’7’’ and has the length and mobility to guard some of the league’s best scorers. His overall IQ and experience continue to make him one of the NBA’s most respected veterans.

Not only can he play defence, he can also knock down shots efficiently from outside the arc. Last year, Sefolosha shot a career-best 43.6-percent from three and has become a key part of the Utah Jazz’s offence.

However, there are concerns about his durability as he’s only played more than 70 games in just five seasons.

Vince Carter

It’s no secret that Vince Carter would still want to play in the league, and he wants a suitable team that can provide minutes for him to play.

The 21-year veteran has surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the oldest player in league history to lead the team in scoring for a game (41 years, 337 days), when he chipped in 21 points in 23 minutes in a game against the Miami Heat last season.

Vince Carter, even at 41, can still be a reliable player for any NBA team
Vince Carter celebrates after a three-point basket during an NBA game against Houston Rockets at State Farm Arena

He also leads all active players in games played (1,481), which is a huge testament to his work ethic and longevity. From time to time, he would show off some of his old hops – adding on to some of the best NBA 2019 highlights.

Carter is also a capable outside shooter, shooting 38.9-percent from distance last season. But more importantly, he can take on a mentorship role for younger players in the league as well.

Carmelo Anthony

Scoring is something Carmelo Anthony excels at – but his penchant in doing so might have cost him a roster spot in today’s NBA.

He played in 10 games for the Houston Rockets last year. However, he was later traded to the Chicago Bulls and was released subsequently.

When put in the right team -- the 10-time all-star is better suited as reinforcement off the bench – it’s just a matter of whether he’s willing to accept that role.

The former Syracuse standout may no longer be what he used to be but he would certainly be able to provide meaningful minutes as a 10 to 20-minute per-game scorer. All in all, Anthony posts career norms of 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists for his 16-year career.

 

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29-Jul 2019 Monday 1:43 PM (56 days ago)            #36
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NBA: 5 Potential Breakout Stars of the 2019-20 Season

New stars emerge every season in the NBA. Take last year, for example. Pascal Siakam suddenly transformed into a star-calibre player and was a major factor in the Toronto Raptors winning their first championship in franchise history.

The likes of Jamal Murray and De'Aaron Fox also took significant steps forward as they helped defy the NBA 2019 odds of their respective teams last year.

So who will those young up-and-comers be this upcoming season? Let SBOBET offer up five potential candidates to emerge as legitimate stars in 2019-20.

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

An inclusion on last year's list, Murray had the misfortune of missing all of last season due to a torn ACL. Luckily for the Spurs, Derrick White emerged as a more than capable stand-in at point guard as they once again made it into the playoffs.

However, Murray is still three years younger than White and has significantly more upside to become a legitimate star. He already showcased his tremendous defensive potential during his first two years in the league. He was also all set to unleash his reworked jump shot, which no one got to see due to the injury.

The big question upon his return will be whether his offensive game has caught up to his defence. I believe it has and that Murray will finally get that belated breakout season for the Spurs.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder supporters will see a fresh face in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the upcoming NBA season
Former Los Angeles Clippers point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in action against the Phoenix Suns in the NBA

Although Chris Paul is still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's just a matter of time before he gets traded. OKC have clearly pushed the reset button after trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, and they're ready to rebuild.

That rebuild is already off to a good start after they acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back from the Clippers in the George trade. The 21-year-old shares similarities with Murray in terms of being an extremely large point guard with potentially elite-level defence.

SGA still has some way to go as an offensive player, but he more than held his own as a rookie for a competitive Clippers team as he averaged nearly 11 points on 48 per cent shooting in just 26.5 minutes per game.

Gilgeous-Alexander will get to play big minutes this season with the Thunder and has a good chance of putting up the numbers and the performances that will scream " star."

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Like SGA, Ingram is another youngster sent packing from LA in a blockbuster trade for a superstar.

Ingram spent three seasons with the Lakers, and although he put up some impressive numbers last season -- 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds -- there was still a sense that he wasn't quite living up to his full star potential.

It also didn't help that he suffered a scary blood clot that prematurely ended his season. Luckily, indications are that his condition isn't serious and that he'll make a full recovery.

That's certainly good news for the Pelicans, who have been desperately in need of wing production in recent years. Despite all the hype surrounding Zion Williamson, Ingram has the ability to steal the show and can become a dynamic scorer this season.

If Ingram can finally add more consistent shooting to his arsenal, he should finally blossom into a star in New Orleans.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr. was one of the few bright spots in what was a tough 2018-19 season in Memphis. The Grizzlies big man had an impressive rookie year as he averaged 14 points, including 36 per cent 3-point shooting in just 26 minutes per game. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to injury.

Still, JJJ was able to showcase all the tools (shooting, athleticism, versatility on defence) that make him the perfect modern-day NBA big man. Jackson still has weaknesses he needs to fix-- rebounding, interior scoring -- but he figures to have a perfect complement moving forward in rookie Brandon Clarke, who impressed in Summer League.

The sky is the limit for Jackson, who doesn't turn 20 until September. He will get every opportunity to prove himself to be the Grizzlies' next big star, and after his impressive rookie season, it's not a stretch to think that he knocks on the door of stardom as soon as this season.

Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings

Despite being the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, Bagley flew under the radar for most of the year. That was in large part because Luka Doncic and Trae Young were grabbing headlines with their impressive rookie campaigns.

But after a somewhat slow start, Bagley finished his debut season on a high and showed just why he went so high in the draft. He ended up with impressive numbers of 15 points and seven rebounds per game, not to mention several NBA 2019 highlights.

This year, though, Bagley should get even better. Luke Walton is in as the Kings' new head coach, and with his penchant for running and pushing the pace, the immensely athletic big man could find himself in the perfect situation to succeed.

After Fox made the jump to impending stardom last season, there's every chance that Bagley follows in his team-mate's footsteps and establishes himself as one of the best young big men in the league.

 

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31-Jul 2019 Wednesday 1:32 PM (54 days ago)            #37
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NBA Roundup: Westbrook Willing, Davis’ Dream, Lin’s Fear

There's not much going on in the NBA these days. After all the massive deals that took place, the wildest offseason possibly of all-time has finally quieted down.

But there are still some things taking place such as Russell Westbrook's introductory press conference with the Houston Rockets, and Anthony Davis and Jeremy Lin talking about their current state of their careers.

SBOBET has rounded those stories up for you to catch you up on the latest goings-on in the best basketball league in the world.

Russell Westbrook willing to "sacrifice" on Rockets for a title

Russell Westbrook has finally been introduced as a member of the Houston Rockets following his blockbuster trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder few weeks ago.

Westbrook will be reunited with former Thunder team-mate James Harden and indicated that they are both more than willing to sacrifice in order to win a championship.

"We've been friends for many, many years," Westbrook said of Harden. "Since I was 10, actually. So we've played with each other in Oklahoma City, and to be able to win something, you've got to be willing to sacrifice some parts of your game, and we both understand that.

While Westbrook is saying the right things now, it will be easier said than done for him to alter his game at this stage of his career. He played basically the same ball-dominant way on the Thunder despite calls for more ball movement and off-ball action from him. He produced a number of NBA 2019 highlights but not that many wins.

He and Harden may have played together in the past, but they have changed significantly since then and will need to make significant adjustments in order for them to co-exist.

Former Rockets Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have said similar things about making sacrifices in order to win, but neither was successful. Although in Paul's case, his physical decline, as well as his apparent conflict with Harden, also contributed to his departure.

Westbrook can say all he wants now, but he will still need to prove his talk of sacrifice on the court.

Anthony Davis really wants to win a ring

Speaking of winning, Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis has also made it clear that he wants to add an NBA championship to his already impressive collection of an NCAA championship and an Olympic gold medal.

"I don't think I have a failure that I've had yet," Davis told ESPN as a guest on That's What She Said with Sarah Spain. "Obviously, at the end of my career, if I don't win a championship that would be, I would feel that's one of my biggest failures. But right now, I still have a lot to do in this world on and off the court. So I don't feel like I've failed in anything. I think I just continue to do it over until I succeed at it."

Anthony Davis is eager to win the NBA title as he team up with Lebron James
Los Angeles Lakers’ newest duo Lebron James and Anthony Davis both aiming for the title

Davis is entering his first season with the Lakers after arriving in a blockbuster trade earlier this offseason. The 26-year-old is set to team up with LeBron James to form what should be one of, if not the best duo in the NBA next season.

Davis hasn't come particularly close to winning a championship. He won just one playoff series during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans, which was their first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers back in 2018.

Still, Davis has produced in the playoffs, averaging 30.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in 13 career games. And with James by his side, the NBA 2019 odds of him achieving his goal this season with the Lakers are looking good.

Jeremy Lin fears his NBA career may be over

Jeremy Lin remains an unsigned free agent heading into August. And during a recent motivational speech he gave in Taiwan, the 30-year-old point guard is concerned that this is a sign that the league is no longer interested in him as a player.

"In English there's a saying and it says once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up," an emotional Lin said. "But rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. So, free agency has been tough. Because I feel like in some ways the NBA's kind of given up on me."

"After the season I had to get ready for this Asia trip and it was the last thing I wanted to do," Lin said. "Because I knew for six weeks I would have to just put on a smile. I would have to talk about a championship that I don't feel like I really earned. I would have to talk about a [basketball] future I don't know if I want to have. And honestly, it's just embarrassing. It's tough."

Lin was part of the Toronto Raptors' championship team after arriving in a midseason trade, but he was a bit-part player in their run to the title.

He averaged 9.6 points and 3.1 assists in 74 total regular-season games between the Atlanta Hawks and the Raptors last season. And before that, he suffered two injury-hit years with the Brooklyn Nets.

At this point in his career, the Lin that sparked "Linsanity" appears to be gone for good. But he believes he still has something to offer teams -- if he can get another chance.

 

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06-Aug 2019 Tuesday 1:55 PM (48 days ago)            #38
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NBA Roundup: Carmelo Anthony Airs His Side, David Griffin Talks, NBA Schedule Released

Even in the offseason, the NBA never fails to produce storylines after all that’s happened in what was one of the craziest summers ever.

Over the past few days, several personalities have spoken their piece touching upon a wide array of topics – from talking about the past and dealing with their current situations.

Also, the league office has partially released the schedule for the upcoming season. And for sure there will be exciting matchups in store for fans to witness in what will be additions to some of the best NBA 2019 highlights.

Allow SBOBET to take you through on what’s going on in the basketball world with some news from the Association.

Carmelo Anthony airs his grievances on his current situation

After a long hiatus, 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony took time to talk to Stephen A. Smith in an exclusive interview via ESPN First Take.

During the segment, he talked about various things – from his time with the Thunder and the Rockets, and his relationships with NBA players such as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and James Harden.

He touched upon on the idea of getting to play with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and that he could’ve formed a superteam with them back then. Anthony also mentioned that he almost suited up for the Chicago Bulls back in 2014.

The New York native also narrated about his hard times in Houston and how his services were ‘no longer needed’, which led to some serious ego and confidence issues. While he was questioning himself on whether he could still play at a high level, many people still believe that he can still contribute for any NBA team.

Most importantly, the 35-year-old dispelled any negative notion on accepting any role given to him – whether it being a scorer coming off the bench or just an additional piece to a contending squad. His announcement might increase his NBA 2019 odds of landing a team.

Anthony never rested on his laurels -- as he continues to work out with renowned trainer Chris Brickley -- and it all remains to be seen on whether a team would pick him up soon.

David Griffin sets the record straight on comments made towards LeBron James

In a recent article from Sports Illustrated, David Griffin talked about his time with Cleveland where he had a ‘miserable time’ after the Cavaliers won the 2016 championship. He lamented the constant media scrutiny brought about by a LeBron James-led squad.

“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” said Griffin in the article.

“The reason is LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that’s not fun for people. They don’t like being part of that world,” he further explained.

He also thought that James ‘might have’ lost his hunger to win after the 2016 title, which added fuel to the fire.

David Griffin will look to lead the Pelicans to a positive start this NBA season
David Griffin introducing Zion Williamson during a New Orleans Pelicans conference

With those being said, several people came out to criticize the newly-minted Pelicans GM, mentioning that he wouldn’t be where he is now without the help of LeBron James – which is why he came to clarify his comments during ESPN’s The Jump.

In the interview, Griffin said that his quotes were misinterpreted and that those thoughts about James’ lack of killer instinct came when the latter mentioned that he has ‘no longer anything to prove’. He instead would like to focus on the rejigged Pelicans in the article more than focusing on his past.

All in all, Griffin further reiterated that James remains one of the highly-scrutinized players for the media today and that he is excited to start anew with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Key games for the upcoming season

While there are still over two months left until the upcoming season, the league office has already provided a preview of what’s to come starting on October 22.

A huge part of the schedule is talking about the Christmas games where some of the best teams will face off.

For West teams, the Clippers will face the Lakers, the Pelicans will face the Nuggets, and the Rockets will go up against the Warriors. As for the East, the Celtics are slated to go up against the Raptors while the Bucks are scheduled to a duel against the Sixers.

At the same time, there are also some other games that should be marked on your calendar.

Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving are in for marquee matchups against the Pelicans and the Celtics respectively on November 27 while Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto on December 11.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George will take turns in meeting the Thunder on January 9 and March 3 respectively.

 

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12-Aug 2019 Monday 6:12 PM (42 days ago)            #39
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NBA Roundup: New Look Team USA, Draymond Green Re-Signs, Vince Carter Makes History

Another day, another set of NBA news.

The Association and its players continue to make headlines as the offseason is not over yet. And with the NBA schedule partially released, fans are sure to be excited for the upcoming season.

While most players in the league have already inked deals with their teams, there are still some who are left out and some who are just waiting for the actual contract for them to sign eventually.

Moreover, the focus now turns to the upcoming FIBA World Cup, which will commence at the end of August in China. Some of the world’s best teams will feature several notable NBA players that will get a chance to showcase their wares at the big stage.

Today, SBOBET takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the best basketball league in the world.

A new look for Team USA Basketball

NBA stars backing out from national duty is a normal thing especially as they would prepare for the long, arduous season ahead. However, it gives a rare opportunity for other players to make a name for themselves and vie for those much-coveted roster spots.
Head coach Gregg Popovich will lead a new look for Team USA after NBA stars have backed out
Team USA to sport a new look when they aim for glory in the FIBA World Cup tournament

Newly-minted Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t seem to be worried for this common occurrence, as he believes that they can still field in a team that’s going to very competitive for the gold medal to say the least.

“You don’t need the greatest amount of talent in the world. Too little talent is not a good thing, but we don’t have that problem,” said Popovich after practice few days ago.

The national team roster isn’t devoid of great NBA talent as some notable names include: Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Lowry, De’Aaron Fox, Myles Turner, and Harrison Barnes.

The team is undergoing a two-week training camp and as it stands now, 17 players will vie for the 12 roster spots in Team USA. Popovich and the rest of the national team coaching staff are set to determine the Final 12 when they’ll fly to Australia next week.

Draymond Green signs long-term deal with the Warriors

There’s a good reason as to why the Warriors have experienced a dynastic run over the last five seasons, and a big part of it is Draymond Green – who has been their defensive linchpin.

With Kevin Durant now out of town, the Warriors’ brass made a wise decision to get Green to sign a four-year $100M max extension, with a player option after the 2023 season.

Golden State’s NBA 2019 odds of winning it all again looks better with their core intact as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green are all locked up to multi-year pacts. They’ve also added Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks in an effort to get younger.

Most pundits may have counted them out already. But once they get their groove and remain healthy, for sure they will be a very dangerous team to deal with.

After all, you could never question the heart of a champion.

Vince Carter is a class of his own

After months of speculation on where he’ll end up -- Vince Carter has signed with the Atlanta Hawks for another year -- per the NBA 2019 updates.

Carter’s 22nd season will be the most in league history – breaking a tie with Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, and Robert Parish. If he gets to play on or past January 26, 2020, Vince Carter will also become the first ever player to have his career extending up to four decades (1990, 2000, 2010, 2020).

It’s remarkable to see Carter’s longevity as he continues to remain in shape despite Father Time lurking around the corner. The 43-year-old remains a valuable contributor on and off the court for teams in dire need of veteran leadership.

A high leaper in his prime, the former fifth overall pick was known for his aerial artistry and versatile offensive arsenal. He won the Slam Dunk Contest back in 2000 where he provided some of the best dunks we’ve ever seen.

Carter evolved as a decent outside shooter and scoring option off the bench.  From time to time, he would be used as a small-ball power forward as he can defend opposing bigs well while providing a mismatch on the offensive end.

He has bounced around the league – playing for the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Kings prior to the Hawks.

The eight-time NBA All-Star will serve primarily as a mentor to the rebuilding Hawks squad composing of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, John Collins, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter.

 

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22-Aug 2019 Thursday 2:48 PM (32 days ago)            #40
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NBA: 5 Stars to Lookout For In the 2019 FIBA World Cup

With the FIBA World Cup just a few weeks away, all participating national teams have been preparing fervently for one of the biggest stages in basketball.

Many NBA players have set aside their vacation time in the offseason to make a name for themselves while representing their respective countries.

Even if Team USA are the prohibitive favourites of winning it all once again in China, expect a lot of up-and-coming teams to try and give them a run for their money.

Here at SBOBET, we feature some of the players that are set to make waves in the said tournament.

Nikola Jokic, Serbia

Nikola Jokic is expected to carry the offensive cudgels for a strong Serbia squad that boasts the likes of fellow NBA-ers Bogdan Bogdanovic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica.

The Denver Nuggets main man in the middle emerged as one of the brightest young stars in the league thanks to his uncanny passing ability and a vaunted arsenal on offence.

After being picked 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, the seven-footer worked his way up for a then-rebuilding Nuggets team.

Just last season, Jokic led Denver to as far as the Western Conference semifinals - the farthest the team has ever been since their 2009 playoff run. He even made the All-Star and All-NBA First Team that year as well.

Coming off a successful NBA season, Nikola Jokic will lead a powerhouse Serbia squad in the World Cup
Nikola Jokic posts up Enes Kanter during the NBA playoff series between Denver and Portland

With him leading the way, Serbia is looking to stake their claim at the gold after their maiden finish in the 2016 Olympics. They will face Italy, Angola, and the Philippines in Group D.

Nikola Vucevic, Montenegro

Another NBA star to look out for in the World Cup is Nikola Vucevic, who is tasked to bring Montenegro to new heights.

Vucevic made strides in the last NBA season, where he led the Magic to a playoff berth after a seven-year drought. He signed a lucrative $100M max deal with the team last month, increasing their NBA 2019 odds of going far in the playoffs next season.

The eight-year journeyman churned out a strong 2019 season, tallying norms of 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest. He even made the All-Star team for the first time in his career as well.

The Orlando Magic slot man will be an integral part for the Montenegro national team looking to make some noise despite being dubbed as underdogs.

Marc Gasol, Spain

Even if he’s not what he used to be, Marc Gasol remains one of the prominent players in FIBA history playing for Team Spain.

Fresh from winning his first NBA championship, the younger Gasol will provide leadership and heft for Spain as they’ll try to win their first World Cup crown after 13 years.

The 34 -year-old is a post-up monster as he can pick on his smaller defenders with a variety of post moves. He is also an intelligent defender who uses his size well to anchor the defence. From time to time, he can shoot the long ball to keep opposing defences honest.

Marc Gasol is now setting his sights on the World Cup with Spain after helping the Raptors win the NBA championship
Marc Gasol hugs Toronto Raptors teammate Kyle Lowry after winning the NBA Finals

Gasol will be backed up with the likes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, and the Hernangomez brothers. Spain is slated a Group C along with Iran, Puerto Rico, and Tunisia.

Kemba Walker, USA

Despite several players pulling out, the Gregg Popovich-mentored team won’t be short of NBA-calibre talents in the World Cup.

Team USA will be captained by point guard Kemba Walker, who has transferred from the Hornets to the Celtics this summer. After years of being mired with mediocrity, Walker will now have a chance to advance further in the playoffs under the tutelage of Brad Stevens.

The New York native will make his first appearance for Team USA. He is a three-time All-Star and is one of the more explosive guards in the game today.

Walker is a solid scorer and can knock down the outside shot. But more importantly, he is an underrated passer and defender despite being undersized.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a mainstay for Greece for quite some time, but this will probably be the first time where he’ll get to lead the national team.

He will be joined with brothers Thanasis and Kostas, along with former NBA players Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou.

The rangy forward is coming off an MVP season after he towed the Milwaukee Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals. He is a three-time All-Star and is part of the NBA All-Defensive Team multiple times.

The 24-year-old can wreak havoc on both ends. He can score easily in the paint with his strength and he can pose as a lockdown defender with his IQ and size.

With his long strides and jaw-dropping dunks -- expect Antetokounmpo to provide more NBA 2019 highlights – especially if he develops a lethal three-point shot.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 22-Aug-2019 at 2:48 PM


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22-Aug 2019 Thursday 2:52 PM (32 days ago)            #41
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NBA: Boogie Blows Out Knee, Fox Pulls Out, Morey’s Outrageous Statement

It's never fun when an NBA star suffers a serious injury. And unfortunately for DeMarcus Cousins, he's picked up yet another significant lower-body injury which puts his season in serious doubt.

The unlucky big man's latest setback leads the list of notable news stories that SBOBET NBA fans should know.

Next on the list is Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox's surprise withdrawal from the Team USA FIBA World Cup team.

And last but definitely not least is Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey's highly controversial comments about James Harden being a better scorer than Michael Jordan, which SBOBET NBA fans should have strong opinions on.

DeMarcus Cousins suffers torn ACL

DeMarcus Cousins will likely miss most, if not all of the 2019-20 NBA season after the big NBA 2019 news broke that he suffered a torn ACL while working out in Las Vegas.

It's a massive blow for the Los Angeles Lakers big man, who is just over a year and a half removed from rupturing his Achilles. That injury, which occurred during the last year of his contract, was not only gruelling to recover from, it also cost him a potential max-salary deal.

With the contract offers last offseason not to Boogie's liking, he decided to sign a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. But the injury bug once again bit him during the playoffs, where he suffered a torn left quadriceps in their first-round series against the Clippers.

And during this wild offseason filled with several star players switching teams, there was again no market for Cousins. He settled on signing another one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would team up with LeBron James and former New Orleans Pelicans team-mate Anthony Davis.

But with Boogie's injury, the Lakers suddenly find themselves short on depth in the frontcourt. JaVale McGee is the only full-time centre currently on the roster. Although, Davis could play there at times, with Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley playing power forward in smaller line-ups.

As for Cousins himself, this is yet another serious injury he has to return from, which will not be easy. It might be too early to say for sure, but after this latest injury, it's possible that the All-Star version of Boogie Cousins is no more.

De'Aaron Fox pulls out of Team USA

De'Aaron Fox is out of Team USA as aims to help the Sacramento Kings seal a playoff spot next NBA season
De'Aaron Fox guards Pat Connaughton during Team USA's intra-squad game at T-Mobile Arena

Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox has decided to leave Team USA prior to their trip to Australia to focus on helping the Kings make the playoffs this season.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise given that Fox had impressed during Team USA workouts and looked certain to make the 12-man team.

Fox made a major leap in Year 2 last season as he averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 assists as he played a significant part in the Kings going 39-43, their best record since their last playoff berth back in 2005-06.

For Team USA, Fox's withdrawal is just the latest in a long list of top players who have decided not to take part in the FIBA World Cup. Although, many of the other withdrawals were established stars, while Fox was the up-and-coming youngster who could have greatly benefitted from the World Cup experience.

But it appears he has decided that all the extra work and travel he'll need to do during the tournament will be detrimental to his preparation to get the Kings back into the playoff picture after 13 years out.

The Kings' NBA 2019 odds to make the postseason won't be too favourable, especially in a competitive Western Conference. But if Fox can take yet another leap, perhaps the Kings can make a playoff run this year.

Daryl Morey says James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is generally considered the G.O.A.T., or the greatest of all-time. However, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey doesn't quite subscribe to that belief after coming out and saying its "factual" that James Harden is a superior scorer than MJ.

"It's just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan," Morey said on the "Selfmade with Nadeshot" podcast. "Based on literally, like you give James Harden the ball and before you're giving up the ball how many points do you generate? Which is how you should measure offence. James Harden is by far No. 1 in NBA history," Morey said on the podcast that was published Thursday.

In terms of sheer numbers, Harden does have a legitimate case. He's the embodiment of Morey's analytics-based approach to basketball with his remarkable ability to get to the rim (or the free throw line) and shoot 3-pointers -- the most valuable shots in basketball.

In contrast, Jordan did not have the benefit of playing in an era that put as much emphasis in shooting 3-pointers, which means his numbers aren't quite as impressive.

Morey may very well be right in stating that Harden is a superior offensive player than Jordan based on the statistics. However, it will likely take much more than "facts" to sway the hardcore Jordan fans to his side.

 

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26-Aug 2019 Monday 5:22 PM (28 days ago)            #42
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NBA: Dwight Howard’s Lakers Return, Team USA Set, Harden’s Newest Move

Dwight Howard is back making NBA headlines. The former perennial All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year has been a bit of an afterthought over the past few seasons, but he's set to return to the limelight now that he's on his way back to one of his old teams: the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Howard bombshell is the biggest NBA 2019 news over the past few days, although perhaps the biggest basketball news was Team USA's stunning defeat against Australia in a FIBA World Cup tune-up match.

And in slightly less ground-breaking news, James Harden is apparently cooking up a brand new move that could be the next to take the league by storm.

Here's SBOBET's quick breakdown of these three top news stories from the past few days.

Dwight Howard set to return to Lakers

Dwight Howard is coming back to LA. The 33-year-old big man has completed his buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies and is set to sign with the Lakers.

The Lakers had been in need of another big man after DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL a few weeks ago. And after impressing in his workout, Howard will now join JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis in the Lakers' frontcourt rotation.

Howard infamously spent one disappointing season in Los Angeles back in 2012-13. He arrived in a blockbuster trade, but the "Big Three" of him, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash failed to live up to the hype.

Howard left in free agency the following offseason and spent the next three seasons with the Houston Rockets. But his career hasn't been the same since leaving Houston for Atlanta in 2016. He's been with five teams over the past three years and played just nine games for the Washington Wizards last season.

Aside from injuries, Howard's grating personality has also been a big factor for his inability to find a new home. But he's apparently hit "rock bottom" and is ready to do whatever it takes to make it work with the Lakers, who could certainly use another big body who can protect the rim and grab rebounds.

If he can get anywhere close to being the double-double machine and dominant defensive force that he once was, the Lakers' NBA 2019 odds to make the postseason should improve significantly.

Team USA's 12-man FIBA World Cup roster set

For the first time in 13 years and 78 matches, Team USA have been defeated. The Americans lost the second of their two warm-up matches against Australia, 98-94, in Melbourne.

The Boomers' NBA contingent of Patty Mills (30 points), Andrew Bogut (16 points, nine rebounds), and Joe Ingles (15 points) led the way to victory.

Not long after that defeat, Team USA's 12-man World Cup roster was finalised after Kyle Kuzma pulled out due to an ankle injury.

The 12 members of the team are guards (and captains) Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, and Donovan Mitchell, as well as Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Joe Harris, Khris Middleton, Derrick White, and big men Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee, and Myles Turner.

Due to a notable lack of star power, this team is quite clearly the weakest Team USA in recent memory. And while it was just a warm-up match, their defeat to Australia was an eye-opener that the Americans are no longer the invincible superpower they were in the past and that perhaps one of the other top contenders like Greece or Serbia can actually have a legitimate shot of winning the World Cup.

James Harden working on a new step-back move

James Harden is not preparing for the World Cup with Team USA after being one of the many superstar players to beg off the squad. Instead, he's apparently working on a new move this summer to add to his arsenal: a one-legged step-back 3-pointer.

Harden popularised and patented the step-back 3-pointer last season, to the point where he was successfully skirting the line between step-back and travel. But he's not satisfied with mastering that skill and is still eager to add more to his game.

NBA News: James Harden is working hard to perfect his one-legged step-back jumper.
James Harden attempts a three-point shot against Kevin Durant

"I'm always trying to be creative," Harden told ESPN. "I'm always trying to get better -- at basketball, life, businesswise. I'm always trying to find ways to be impactful. With basketball, you have to be creative. This is my 11th year, and every single year I want to get better. I don't want to stay the same. You've got to find ways to keep growing."

Harden, who is heading into his 11th season in the NBA, has improved his scoring in every single year. Although, it will be quite a tough task for him to top last year's career mark of 36.1 points per game. The presence of one Russell Westbrook also likely means fewer points and shots for Harden this season.

But Harden seems fully focused on getting better as a basketball player, which likely means he will continue to master one-legged step-back 3-pointers and other elaborate skills.

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18-Sep 2019 Wednesday 7:04 PM (5 days ago)            #43
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NBA: Gasol’s Unforgettable Summer, Iso Joe’s Return, Shaun Livingston Retires

The FIBA World Cup just ended a few days ago, which means that the NBA is just around the corner.

It can be noted that the NBA-laden Spanish team took advantage by winning the gold against the Luis Scola-led Argentina squad in their final game, especially when Team USA was eliminated by France in the earlier rounds.

The Spanish duo of Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio have capped off an unforgettable summer after bringing home multiple awards in the said tournament, while making their country proud in the process.

Other active players such as Rudy Gobert, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Evan Fournier, and Frank Ntilikina are also going home with some hardware and they’re back to the drawing board as they prepare with their respective NBA teams for the long season ahead.

The crazy offseason continues in the association and SBOBET is here to give you a roundup on some of the league updates.

What a summer for Marc Gasol

The Toronto Raptors center had quite a memorable summer for 2019. After winning his first NBA championship playing for the team up until June, he suited up for Spain after being called upon by Coach Sergio Scariolo.

Despite getting up there with age, the younger Gasol brother showed no signs of slowing down. The 34-year-old behemoth averaged 14.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per contest in the World Cup. While his statistics weren’t really eye-popping, his intangibles and leadership have been instrumental for Spain.

Gasol anchored a Spanish defence that proved to be too much for their opponents. He was tasked to guard the likes of Nikola Jokic and Luis Scola in the tournament’s key stages and he managed to slow them down considerably. His best offencive game of the tourney was when he erupted for 33 points in their thrilling double-overtime win against Australia in the semi-finals.

By winning his first NBA title and FIBA World Cup gold, he joins Lamar Odom to be the only NBA players who have won those awards in the same year. He is expected to return to the Toronto Raptors, especially after he exercised his $25.6 million player option during the offseason.

Despite having low NBA 2019 odds of repeating for next season, expect Gasol and his team to bring their A-game even without the services of superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Joe Johnson returns after successful BIG3 stint

Joe Johnson is set to return to the NBA fresh from his MVP season in the BIG3 where his team, the Triplets, have won their first championship. He has agreed to a one-year deal to play for the Detroit Pistons next season, as per NBA 2019 news.

Aptly named as “Iso Joe”, Johnson provided some of the league’s best highlights thanks to his incredible shot-making and ball handling. He scored 175 points across eight games – which was the league record – and he also led the league in total assists with 31.

The 18-year veteran last played in the league during the 2018 season with the Houston Rockets. He is a six-time NBA All-Star that has played for teams like the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and the Utah Jazz.

Johnson is expected to add scoring depth for the Dwane Casey-coached squad that has the core of Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Reggie Jackson, and 15th overall pick Sekou Doumbouya. The Pistons are aiming to build off from their brief playoff run last season where they lost in the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Shaun Livingston retires after 15 seasons

Warriors take a group photo after dominating NBA's Western Conference
The Golden State Warriors celebrate after being crowned the Western Conference champions

Shaun Livingston wasn’t expected to have a long career, especially with the horrific knee injury that he suffered during his third year in the league playing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

On his Instagram post a few days ago, the lanky floor general has officially announced his retirement in the NBA after 15 years. He played for the Clippers, Heat, Thunder, Wizards, Bobcats, Bucks, Cavaliers, Nets, and with the Warriors.

It was his five-year stint with the Golden State Warriors to where he got his three NBA championships. Livingston played a key role off the bench and served as a backup point guard to Steph Curry. More importantly, he was a valued voice in the locker room with his basketball IQ and veteran leadership.

With the reputation that he has built over the years, for sure NBA fans will miss Livingston with his contributions on and off the court.

“No words will describe my appreciation for his guy and what he means to me and the success this franchise. He is the ultimate warrior,” said Steph Curry.

“What an amazing combination of talent, grace and character. I will miss his presence, passing, and his turnaround jumpers in the post,” added head coach Steve Kerr.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 18-Sep-2019 at 7:05 PM


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