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Week 7 In Review – Davis is Him & Celtics Lead NBA Championship Market

The inaugural NBA Cup has been decided. Now, we look ahead to the rest of the regular season and the genuine championship contenders.

Anthony Davis Is HIM When He Wants To Be

The Los Angeles Lakers are the inaugural NBA Cup champions, and Anthony Davis was the star of the show in the decider.

In beating the Indiana Pacers 123-109, David finished up with 41 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

13 of Davis’ 16 made field goals came in the paint. He put Myles Turner in foul trouble and repeatedly got to his points on the court to dominate. The Pacers had no answers. On the occasions they kept the ball out of his hands, he threw players out of the way to clear out for rebounds and Lakers second-chance points.

Remarkably, he was arguably more impactful on the defensive end. Davis anchored a defensive unit that kept the highest-scoring and fastest team in the NBA to only 107 points as the Lakers dominated the paint with a bully-ball approach.

Davis was Him on the night, but where is He every other game?

He’s on the second line of betting to win Defensive Player of the Year at $4.50. That part of his game remains consistent and reliable. With the ball, however, too often, we’re left wanting from Davis. The mean mug he wore after a big defensive play turned into a Cam Reddish dunk is the version of Davis Lakers fans and NBA fans around the league want to see every night.

This version of Davis is a Top 5 player in the NBA. This version is the sort that can reduce the minutes LeBron James is forced to play, conserving his energy for what they hope will be a run towards the championship ($19). Plenty will dismiss the NBA Cup, but it has served its purpose. It’s made basketball in Novermber and December worth watching. For the Lakers, it’s given them a taste of big-game basketball and may have just clicked their season into gear.

NBA Championship Update

As they have done for most of the season so far, the Boston Celtics are on the first line of betting in the championship winner market at $4.50. They’re in the Top 10 in both offensive rating (118.3 – 7th) and defensive rating (109.8 – 4th) to lead the NBA with a +8.6 net rating. While they are only a middling three-point shooting team right now, they attempt and make the second-most in the league to ensure they keep up on that side of the offence.

The defending champion Denver Nuggets aren’t far behind at $5. Nikola Jokic is the best player in the world right now and enough on his own to ensure the Nuggets are contenders despite their recent run of form and current three-game losing streak. MVP voters won’t get it wrong again after last year’s embarrassing result for NBA media members.

The Milwaukee Bucks have quietly kept things ticking over to be 15-7 and $5 to win the championship. They’re dominant with the ball to rank 3rd in offensive rating scoring 119.8 points per 100 possessions. Giannis Antetokounmpo, as expected, is leading the way with 30.5 points per game. His partnership with Damian Lillard is still a work in progress. It hasn’t always looked as good as many expected. Still, they have a long way to go in the regular season to work things out. It’s on the defensive end where the Bucks rank 23rd, that is of most concern.

It certainly hasn’t been the start many anticipated for the Phoenix Suns. They’re 12-10 for 7th in the Western Conference, and we’re yet to see anything close to the final product. Devin Booker has been superb and Kevin Durant is somehow underrated at this point of his career. They’re at $7.50 to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy for a reason.

“I look at the bench and see Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant sitting there, getting ready.”– Devin Booker

Somewhat surprisingly, the Philadelphia 76ers are 14-7 to be at $15 in the championship market. They’ve quietly put together an impressive start to the season behind Joel Embiid’s 33.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and career-high 6.4 assists. There is little question about the James Harden trade resulting in addition by subtraction.

Harden’s arrival in LA hasn’t done anything for the Clippers. They’ve shown glimpses of promise to be 8-3 since the 0-5 start, but their $9 to win the championship after the trade has blown out to $19.

Following their NBA Cup victory, the Los Angeles Lakers are also at $19 in the championship market. At their best and healthiest, the Lakers are among the genuine contenders. Their defence has NBA-best potential if Davis remains healthy and Jared Vanderbilt gets up to the speed he’s capable of after missing time. LeBron James clearly, can dominate a game late and win the championship minutes. Again, it’s health and the impact injury would have on this team that hasn’t the Lakers out as far as $19.

Other NBA Championship Contenders: Golden State Warriors – $23, Minnesota Timberwolves – $23, Dallas Mavericks – $26, Cleveland Cavaliers – $34, Oklahoma City Thunder – $34, Miami Heat – $36, Sacramento Kings – $36.

Elsewhere Around The League

In a relatively quiet week with the In-season Tournament taking centre stage:

– Kyrie Irving suffered a foot injury. There is no timetable for his return.
– Ja Morant is beginning his return to the court after being suspended for 25 games. It may be too little too late for the Grizzlies, who are 6-15 and $8 to make the playoffs.
– The Detroit Pistons went another week without a win. The losing streak is now out to 19 games.
– Zach LaVine is sidelined for three to four weeks as the Chicago Bulls won their third game on the bounce. There is a good chance LaVine is moved before he returns to the court.

– Victor Wembanyama became the youngest player in NBA history to post a 20-20 game with 21 points and 20 rebounds against the Bulls.
– The Minnesota Timberwolves extended their winning streak to six games and lead the Western Conference with a 17-4 record.

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