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NBA – Week 27 In Review

The drama continued in the NBA this week as the Grizzlies tried to talk their way past the Lakers. Meanwhile, the Suns are heating up, 76ers are resting, and Nick Nurse is looking for a new job.

Sixers Cruise

The Philadelphia 76ers will have some extra time to rest and recover after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in the first round. As expected, the Sixers did it relatively easy with Joel Embiid not even playing in the series-clinching Game 4 win. They need the extra time to rest, too. Embiid averaged 20 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.3 blocks in the three games he did play but missed Game 4 with a right knee sprain.

You know that if a guy misses a playoff game – even Kawhi Leonard – that it’s a somewhat serious injury.

Doc Rivers thinks Embiid’s chances of being ready to start the second round are “probably 50% at best.”

The 76ers are now waiting to face the winner of the Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks series. The Celtics currently lead 2-1 and are $1.36/-6.5 favourites to win Game 4. However, the 76ers will be cheering for seven games to give their superstar as long as possible to recover.

Bad Brooks

“Obviously our guys know what DB brings (with) his competitiveness, he’s definitely gonna talk — he’s just gotta be able to back it up. When I say our guys talk, our team has done this for a couple years now for sure. I say now the onus is on us to go in and back it up.” – Memphis Grizzlies coach, Taylor Jenkins

Well, Dillon Brooks backed up all the chat by getting ejected and watching his Memphis Grizzlies lose to the Los Angeles Lakers 111-101 from the locker room.

Grizzlies fans can’t have been happy to hear Brooks call James out after Game 3. He talked about poking bears and talked a lot of talk, but in the end, the bear kept his cool, didn’t respond to the childishness, and led his team to victory. The crowd did the work for James by booing Brooks from 90 minutes before tip off and he didn’t respond well to the jeers. Once again, the chat from the Grizzlies speaks a lot louder than their play on the court.

Anthony Davis has hit a purple patch at the right time. Somewhat frustrating given the fact he always has this level of play in him when he wants it, Davis dropped 31 points while reeling in 17 rebounds and blocking three shots on Game 3. And he did all of that on the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, Jaren Jackson Jr.

It’s all coming together for the Lakers, but is it all coming too late?

They’re into $4.20 to win the Western Conference behind the Denver Nuggets ($4) and Phoenix Suns ($2.40).

Giannis’ Status

Giannis Antetokounmpo is still on the sidelines with a back injury but seems to be nearing a return. He completed an individual workout but remains in doubt for Game 4.

The Bucks will be desperate for their superstar to return as they trail the Miami Heat 2-1. It’s on the defensive end that they are missing him most. The Bucks finished the regular season fourth in defence giving up 111.9 points per 100 possessions. Throughout their three playoff games so far, they’ve allowed 122.7 points per 100 possessions. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves (123.0) have performed worse on the defensive end. The fact the Bucks have struggled this much against a Miami Heat outfit that finished 25 in offence is a major concern and highlights the impact Antetokounmpo has on both sides of the ball.

Nonetheless, the Bucks are still $1.45 and -5.5 favourites to win Game 4.

Nurse Sacked

He led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA championship in his first season in charge but it was all downhill for Nick Nurse from there.

Perhaps he set the bar too high? When you look at the Raptors roster, finishing this season with a 41-41 record doesn’t seem that bad.

Masai Ujiri called it “an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach the goal of winning our next championship.”

Nurse’s response: “Good luck with those guys.”

Paul Has Still Got It

Chris Paul is almost 38 years old.

Few would argue he is playing out the worst season of his NBA career.

Still, when the Phoenix Suns needed some control, composure and a closer in Game 4, Paul produced.

The veteran scored 12 of his 19 points in the 4th quarter of the Suns’ 112-100 win over the LA Clippers. He handed out three assists in the quarter to end up with nine for the game, too.

We’ve talked about the lack of cohesion on the Suns roster and the struggles other teams in similar situations have faced. Paul always seemed like a piece to the puzzle those other teams didn’t have, though.

“As one of the best facilitators in NBA history, Paul is a great option as a floor general if he can get a few more series out of his 37-year-old rig.” First Round Preview

Durant has only played 12 games for the franchise. While they have looked lost at times, they’re improving every game. Paul, in particular, seems to be finding his feet. Like the Lakers, it’s all coming together, but is it too late?

They’re still the favourites to win the Western Conference at $2.40.

NBA Finals MVP Watch

A couple of names stand out in the odds to win the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award.

While he’s injured right now and his team trails in the First Round, Giannis Antetokounmpo appeals at $5. He has played at an MVP level all season and has a history of raising it even further in the post-season. Provided he returns soon, the Bucks get past the Heat and work towards the NBA Finals, Antetokounmpo’s price won’t get any better than this.

LeBron James is another one. The Lakers are playing exceptionally well and look good to get past the Grizzlies at this point. They’ll face the winner of the Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors in another tough series should they get through this one. Still, the longer they stay alive, the better the Lakers should get. If they reach the decider, James will find another leg. It’s a long shot, but $23 for James to win the Final MVP is worth considering this far out.

Most Valuable Player Odds

Jayson Tatum$4.50
Giannis Antetokounmpo$5
Kevin Durant$7.50
Joel Embiid$9
Nikola Jokic$9.50
Jaylen Brown$12
Devin Booker$12
Steph Curry$13
LeBron James$23
Anthony Davis$36




Nuggets on top of the World

Can they Heat up?

The Celtics fall short… Again

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