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NBA – Week 15 Review

From funny ejections, painful blown calls in the dying stages and All-Star snubbings, it’s been a week of controversy in the NBA.

Lakers Robbed, LeBron Loses It

The Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics is one of the biggest in all of sport. Despite the struggles of the Lakers in general, LeBron James is still worth tuning in for and the NBA world focused in on this one.

The game didn’t disappoint until which should have been the very last play. James drove to the basket with the scores tied and time expiring. As he tends to do, he made it through contact, got his arm free, and looked to win the game with a lefty layup. Jayson Tatum made a desperate play to stop James but caught his arm instead of the ball. The glaring foul in the biggest moment of the game went uncalled before the Celtics went on to win 125-121 in overtime.

It’s the latest in a growing list of late-game blunders working against the Lakers. Dennis Schroder mentioned their desperation to win and the need for the officials to get it right. Patrick Beverley received a technical foul for showing an official a photo of the foul his teammate missed.

Frustration is growing, and it isn’t only around refereeing. The game took another turn for the worst when Darvin Ham sent Russell Westbrook back onto the floor in overtime. Turnovers, missed shots and a lack of intensity in defence leading to crucial Jaylen Brown free throws all but ended it for the Lakers.

James sat with a look of dismay on his face by the end. Much of the fan base will have done the same sitting at home, too.

All-Stars Named

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been named as captains for the NBA All-Star Game but we won’t know who is in their team until shortly before tip-off. The league recently announced that the captains will pick their teams on the day in a new twist on the event.

The 2023 All-Star Game makes it 19 for James as he goes level with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most in NBA history.

East Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving
West Starters: LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic

The usual cries of “robbed” have circulated in response to the starters being named. In the case of Joel Embiid and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, however, the cries are fairly justified. Embiid’s exclusion is the best argument for removing positions in years while Gilgeous-Alexander missing out seems to be more of a reflection of the market he plays in than his form on the court.

Coaches around the NBA will decide on the reserves in the coming days.

Sixers Sizzling

Joel Embiid is one fire and the Philadelphia 76ers are among the NBA championship contenders having won 21 of their last 25 games.

They’ve been talked about as contenders for years but never really lived up to the billing. Now, with expectations lower than they have been for some time, the 76ers are 32-16 to be second in the Eastern Conference and $13 to win the chip. FiveThirtyEight puts Philly’s chances to win the championship at 12% behind the Grizzlies (13%), Nuggets (14%) and Celtics (24%).

Embiid is leading the NBA in scoring at 33.8 points per game – which now famously – isn’t enough to feature in the All-Star game.

He made sure to put on a show in a nationally televised game against Nikola Jokic – the $2.10 favourite to win the Most Valuable Player award.

47 points
18 rebounds
5 assists
3 steals
2 blocks

Embiid is the star but James Harden is playing his role to 11.2 assists per game and limiting the number of those Harden shots that frustrate fans and teammates. His usage rate – an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while they’re on the floor – is the lowest it has been since the 2011-12 NBA season.

Ranking 5th in offence and 7th in defence for the 4th-best net rating in the NBA, the 76ers shouldn’t be ignored as potential championship contenders.

Curry’s Comical Ejection

The man himself won’t have found it very funny, but when watching Jordan Poole take a shot so bad that it ended up with Steph Curry getting tossed was funny for the rest of the NBA.

Poole put up a prayer from deep as Curry demanded the ball. On his way back down the court following the miss, Curry threw his mouthguard into Row H giving the officials no other choice but to toss the Golden State Warriors point guard.

To Poole’s credit, he knocked down the game-winner for the Warriors to secure a 122-120 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Again, the Grizzlies fall to a team they’ve chirped at…

NBA Championship Odds

We don’t need to check in on the teams towards the bottom of the NBA championship list. Here, we keep an eye on those inside the Top 10 each week.

The Philadelphia 76ers are the only major movers in the NBA championship market this week. As the rest of the list goes unchanged, the 76ers are making waves to be into $13 to win the championship from $17 last week. We’re still keeping an eye on the Pelicans who might be able to make a move of their own if they can ever spend a lengthy period entirely healthy.

Top 10 Odds

TEAMWEEK 14 PRICE
WEEK 15 PRICE
Boston Celtics$4.50$4.50
Milwaukee Bucks$6.50$6.50
Brooklyn Nets$8$8
Denver Nuggets$9$9
Golden State Warriors$9.50$9.50
Memphis Grizzlies$11$11
Philadelphia 76ers$17$13
Los Angeles Clippers$14$14
Phoenix Suns$15$15
New Orleans Pelicans$19$19

 

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