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NBA – Week 26 In Review

The NBA playoffs are in full swing, but so too is the injury report. The Clippers, Bucks and Grizzlies are sweating on the health of their stars to get through the first round.

Give Us 7 Games

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors played out a banger to open their series.

A series social media instantly demanded goes to seven games.

The playoff drought is over, and Kings fans couldn’t have been more eager to see their team play post-season basketball. There were 4th quarter vibes to the sold-out arena 20 minutes before the game even tipped off.

De’Aaron Fox dazzled for his 38 points – a tie for the second-highest scoring playoff debut in NBA history. His 29 points in the second half laid the platform for Sacramento’s 126-123 Game 1 victory.

The dream opener almost came crashing down, though. Andrew Wiggins will have struggled to sleep as he replayed the open three he missed to take the lead over and over. The Warriors are a poor team on the road but showed little signs of those struggles. It looked as though they might run away with it at times. However, the home crowd no doubt helped the Kings work through some of the more difficult periods with Malik Monk, in particular, standing up for his 32 points off the bench.

Despite going down in the opener, the Warriors are still $4.50 to get through this series before winning the West. The Kings, on the other hand, are on the fifth line of betting at $11.

Harden Brushing Of Playoff Blues?

James Harden has a bit of a reputation in the NBA playoffs, and it isn’t a good one. However, up against his former team in Game 1, the Philadelphia 76ers guard looked more than comfortable on his way to 23 points and 13 assists in breezy 36 minutes on the floor.

“There was a stint where I played, I think, 13 minutes straight from the end of the first quarter … and then the whole second quarter. And I felt really good. So the work that I put in, and this is the reason for it.”

21 of Harden’s points came from beyond the arc as he buried seven threes. In doing so, he became the first player in NBA history with 7+ threes and 12+ assists in a playoff game.

Joel Embiid chimed in with 26 points while Tobias Harris took the third-man role in this one for 21 points on 9-14 shooting. Philly did it easy in the end to beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-101 and take a 1-0 series lead. Despite the ease in which they should get through the first round, the 76ers have drifted out to $11 on the championship market from $10 a week earlier.

Lakers Looking Good

The Los Angeles Lakers are into $11 to win the NBA championship and their Game 1 win over the Memphis Grizzlies will be worrying the rest of the league.

There is stacks of potential in the Lakers roster if they can develop the cohesion required to maximise it. LeBron James will do his thing in the playoffs while Anthony Davis seems to be in one of those periods where he’s realised he can be one of the Top 10 players in the NBA if he wants to be. The difference between now and earlier in the season, out side of moving their late-game liability to the LA Clippers, is the depth; the other options away from the two superstars.

In Game 1, the Lakers finished up with four 20-point scorers: LeBron James (21), Anthony Davis (22), Austin Reaves (23) and Rui Hachimura (29). It’s the first time since 1988 they’ve done so in a playoff game. D’Angelo Russell almost joined them with 19 points of his own, too.

James wasn’t asked to do too much in this one but his time will come if the Lakers advance. If they do advance past the Grizzlies, his $18 to win the Western Conference Finals MVP will appeal.

Meanwhile for the Grizzlies…

Ja In Jeopardy

This is the Grizzlies’ season right here…

Looking for a poster as Anthony Davis slid underneath attempting to draw a foul, Morant fell hard and landed on his wrist in the 4th quarter before leaving the court.

X-rays on his wrist were negative according to coach Taylor Jenkins but the Grizzlies medical staff are still to completely evaluate his hand and wrist which was already being nursed heading into this one.

Another One…

Clippers v Suns

“So much of this series depends on the health of Paul George.

With him and the LA Clippers might have enough on the perimeter to make life difficult for Keven Durant with the ball. Without him and it’s difficult to see the Clippers keeping up with this high-powered Phoenix Suns offence with Durant and Devin Booker causing havoc.” NBA Playoffs – Round 1 Preview

An update:

At $12 to win the NBA championship only a month ago, the reality is setting in. George won’t be there for this series, and this series is likely to end the Clippers’ season. As a result, they’re barely a championship consideration at $56.

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 odds are always moving at this time of the NBA season.

While the Milwaukee Bucks remain at $3.50, we’re yet to hear the full extent of Giannis Antetoknmpo’s injury. If he misses any time, even if only a game or two, there will be movement in the market.

The Boston Celtics are the most likely to benefit as they slowly shorten – now $4.40. The Philadelphia 76ers will face an easier path if Antetokounmpo misses an extended period, too. Given the assumption they breeze through the first round, a Game 1 win did little for their championship price. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, continue to impress. Four players scoring 20+ with James and Davis able to cruise has them into $11 from $17 last week.

A Game 1 win worked wonders for the Sacramento Kings as well. It will take a lot for them to truly compete for the championship at $31. Just getting out of the first round will be difficult enough. Still, Fox showed he can lead the team to post-season victories and there is plenty of scoring on the roster. Who knows, if they can learn to defend in the next week or so, they might cause an upset or two.

Not expected to upset anybody: The LA Clippers. Their $56 will continue to drift the longer George is ruled out.

Top 10 Odds

TEAMWEEK 25 PRICE
WEEK 26 PRICE
Milwaukee Bucks$3.50$3.50
Boston Celtics$4.60$4.40
Phoenix Suns$4.80$4.80
Golden State Warriors$9.50$10
Philadelphia 76ers$10$11
Denver Nuggets$11$11
Los Angeles Lakers$17$11
Memphis Grizzlies$20$31
Sacramento Kings$51$31
LA Clippers$41$56

 

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