The NBA All-Star Game is behind us and now we’re preparing for the pointy end of the season. For the Lakers, the end can’t come soon enough. Ja Morant, on the other hand, looks like he could play this way forever. 

Is It Finished Yet?

Los Angeles Lakers fans couldn’t wait for the game to finish when their team trailed big in the first half. However, upon making a big comeback and trying to ice the game, they were forced to wait for 19 minutes to get through 25 seconds on the court. 25 seconds in which the Lakers failed to knock down a shot, eventually losing to the LA Clippers 105-102.

Now five games below .500 and not even assured of featuring in the play-in tournament let alone the post-season, the Lakers are out to $36 to win the NBA championship.

They’re getting better and have displayed some promising signs either side of the All-Star break but it looks as though it will be too little, too late.

DeMVP

Are we sure Joel Embiid is out so far in front of the Most Valuable Player race?

He’s the $2.37 favourite ahead of Nikola Jokic at $3.60 and Giannis Antetokounmpo at $4. However, DeMar DeRozan continues to put himself in the frame.

The Chicago Bulls star became the first player in NBA history to score 35+ points while shooting over 50% from the field in seven consecutive games last week. This week, he dropped another 35 points while shooting 71.4% from the field. He became just the 7th player in NBA history to score 35+ points in eight consecutive games joining Wilt Chamberlin, Elgin Baylor, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and James Harden on the list.

Those are some MVP names and numbers.

What doesn’t make sense is the $10 DeRozan is still trading at to win the award.

Harden’s Debut

James Harden got what he wanted last week in forcing his move away from the Brooklyn Nets. Ending up with the Philadelphia 76ers, he made his debut for the franchise scoring 27 points, handing out 12 assists and dragging down eight rebounds.

It’s a superb debut on paper, but we’ve seen this movie before. A few times, actually.

He’s going to put up some big numbers and the 76ers will win plenty of games, but as he spent five seconds in possession at the top of the key, dribbled out his defender and knocked down a contested three ahead of cries of “classic Harden is back”, the question must be asked: Do the 76ers want classic Harden?

Classic Harden hasn’t translated into championship success. If anything it has set the bar too high in the regular season before falling flat in the playoffs.

Are the 76ers in for a repeat if classic Harden is what they have got?

It’s going to be interesting to see how he integrates himself into the offence. Perhaps more importantly, will his defence be up to standard?

The 76ers are on the 5th line of betting in the championship market at $8.50.

NBA Championship Market

TEAMSPRICE
Phoenix Suns$5
Golden State Warriors$5
Brooklyn Nets$7
Milwaukee Bucks$7.50
Philadelphia 76ers$8.50
Miami Heat$11
Utah Jazz$17
Boston Celtics$20
Chicago Bulls$26
Memphis Grizzlies$31

 

More Highlights For Morant

Another week, another highlight-reel play for Ja Morant.

He jumped, spun and completed a reverse layup on his way to a Memphis Grizzlies regular season franchise-record 46 points in their 116-110 win over the Chicago Bulls.

The Grizzlies point guard is untouchable in the Most Improved Player of the Year market at $1.12. His 27.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game – up from 19.1/4/7.4 last season – has led the Grizzlies to a 42-20 record for 3rd in the Western Conference. Considered a fringe playoff team still navigating the early stages of their path to championship relevance before the NBA season tipped off, Memphis is now on the fourth line of betting to win the conference at $16.

Fultz Returns

Markelle Fultz hasn’t had it easy to start his NBA career. Injuries, horror form and moves to different cities have disrupted his development. His latest issue – an ACL injury back in January 2021 – is now behind him and the 23-year-old is preparing to return to the court.

It’s Only A Matter Of Time…

We’ve been through Josh Giddey watch already, now we’re onto Nikola Jokic watch as he looks to record the most triple-doubles by a centre in NBA history.

It won’t take too long.

BET ON NBA FUTURES HERE: