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NBA Finals Game 5 Preview, Windy Has Words & Bronny James Draft Odds

There might only be one game left in the 2023-24 NBA season as the Celtics prepare to close the Mavericks out in Game 5. Meanwhile, the rest of the league has one eye on the upcoming draft.

NBA Finals: Game 5 Preview

The Dallas Mavericks thumped the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Not only did they win to extend the series, they made a statement. Boston took their foot off the gas and failed to take their chance to win the NBA Finals in a sweep. You could forgive a loss on the road against a desperate Mavericks team. However, to be dominated in a 122-84 fashion is a cause for concern.

Dallas found their defence. They suffocated the Celtics and forced them into tough shots. Importantly, Boston shot only 34% from beyond the arc. It’s alarming that it took the Mavericks this long to take defence seriously, but if they can reproduce that effort in Game 5, we might have a series on our hands.

Luka Doncic is going to find ways to be effective on the offensive end. Kyrie Irving is finally finding his shot in this series. It’s up to the rest of the group to make the difference on the defensive end and continue forcing the Celtics into difficult looks. Boston relies heavily on three-point shooting. It’s the chassis to the chaos engine of their offence. But as we saw in Game 4, it can be vulnerable, and they’re not always able or willing to find different ways to score if the shots aren’t falling from long range.

It took Dallas producing a 128.4 offensive rating to get their first win of the series, so it’s little to surprise to see the Celtics as significant $1.40 and -6.5 favourites for Game 5. The Mavericks will struggle to reproduce their offensive performance from Game 4. Their team total is set at 101.5 for this one. Still, Luka Doncic is the $1.75 favourite to be the top point scorer of the game and $1.88 to go Over his 32.5 points total. He will likely need Kyrie Irving to finish Over his 23.5 points ($1.86) for the Mavericks to extend the series to six games.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are unlikely to shoot quite so poorly from deep. Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will surely tighten things up and improve on their ten turnovers, too.

Holiday, in particular, has been fantastic. Plenty questioned his value in the team throughout the regular season but he’s proven it in the NBA Finals. Before committing two turnovers in Game 4, Holiday became the first player in NBA history to play 100+ minutes and hand out 10+ assists without a turnover. However, his value doesn’t always show in the box score. His Points+Assists total is set at 18.5 for Game 5 – a total he’s only hit once throughout the series. With an opportunity to win it at home, expect Tatum and Brown to take control of this one.

Tatum’s 42.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists total demands attention given how likely he is to play with a high usage rate. Brown has shot the ball well which leads into his Over 24.5 points at $1.88.

A lot depends on Kristaps Porzingis who is officially tagged as ‘questionable.’

Porzingis, as we’ve seen when he’s out there, makes a huge difference to how the Celtics use the ball. He causes havoc for the Mavericks defence and provides a touch more space for Tatum, Brown and Holiday to work their magic.

Boston has been the better team throughout the series. They should go on to win it from here. However, following their big win in Game 4 and the prospect of returning home for Game 6, the Mavericks will come out firing. They’ll look to test the Celtics early through their defence, setting up the game early for Doncic and Irving to win it late.

While Boston are deserving favourites to make this the last game of the NBA Finals, Dallas should make things difficult to start.

Best Bet Celtics 1st Quarter Total Points - Under 27.5 @ $1.98*

Oh My, Windy

Brian Windhorst absolutely tore strips off Luka Doncic following Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

In desperate need of a win to add some life to the series, Doncic fouled out and failed to finish the game – one the Mavericks had a chance of winning late in the piece. He looked to draw fouls on his own shots, falling to the ground and demanding a whistle, while the Celtics scored in transition too often.

Doncic approached Game 4 with a lot more focus on himself and less on the officials. It translated into 29 points, five rebounds, five assists, a +30 plus-minus and a win. If he can hold that focus in Game 5, his $5.40 to record his second triple-double of the series is work exploring further.

Lakers HC Search Continues

Dan Hurley rejected the Lakers’ six-year $70 million offer last week.

Or he never intended on taking it and instead used it as leverage…

The reporting around Hurley and the Lakers’ search for a coach has been fishy overall. Where the NBA’s best reporters have a fairly good reputation for delivering accurate information, there seems to be a bit playing out in the media.

Hurley has denied any suggestion of using the Lakers role to improve his bargaining power with UConn:

“One of the worst takes I’ve heard is that this is a leverage play by me to improve my situation at UConn. I don’t need leverage here. We’ve won back-to-back national championships at this place. This was never a leverage situation for me.”

That isn’t to say the Lakers weren’t using it themselves…

Whatever the case, JJ Redick is the favourite to land the job.

R.I.P Logo

He’s the most recognisable player in the history of basketball, whether people realise it or not.

The inspiration behind the NBA logo, Jerry West, passed away during the week.

Bronny & The NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is approaching and Bronny James is making more headlines. He spent the week training at the Los Angeles Lakers facility with his father and has generated positive commentary throughout his time working out for teams.

Still, he is $1.77 to be drafted after the 40th pick in the draft with plenty looking at the Lakers and the 56th pick. One scout already has an NBA comp for Bronny and expects him to land with his dad on the night:

“I think Bronny will go in the draft because of who he is, and some team will really think LeBron will come if the draft him. If the Lakers keep their pick, they won’t pass on him. He’s a decent player. He’s better than some guys who may get picked ahead of him. He’s solid, not spectacular. He knows how to play. He can handle the ball well enough. If you leave him alone, he’ll drill a three. He reminds me of Austin Rivers as a player, and he’s stayed in the league for over a decade.”

While much of the discussion revolves around James towards the bottom of the draft, Alexandre Sarr remains the favourite to go with the No.1 overall pick at $1.72, with Zaccharie Risacher not far behind at $2.63.

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