The NBA playoffs are going as expected with the favourites leading their respective series if they’ve not won them already. However, the Jazz might have one last thing to say. They’re too good to be swept at home without putting up a fight.
Movement In The NBA Championship Market
The Warriors have drifted out!
They’ve been at $1.45 for most of the season but an injury to DeMarcus Cousins has seen the price move out just a little bit.
This is probably season-ending for Cousins, but he and the team will see how he responds within the first two weeks of rehab that is not expected to require surgery, sources said. https://t.co/OctIgrMHOS
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 16, 2019
As expected, the Warriors have handled the Clippers comfortably in the first round. Up 3-1 through four, this one will be over after Game 5. A win will give the Warriors a nice break between their mouthwatering series against the closest thing they have to a rival in the Rockets in the second round.
Up 3-0 on the Jazz, the Rockets are set to fly into the second round and come in hot.
Not so much James Harden, though.
He started Game 3 missing 15 consecutive shots. He’s not missed that many in a row throughout his whole career. Getting through until just seven minutes were left to play in the 4th quarter, Harden then scored 14 of his 22 points to seal the 104-101 win.
Harden had no idea he started Game 3 shooting 0-for-15.
His reaction to finding out 🤣 pic.twitter.com/fjH8YHUL34
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 21, 2019
Harden and the Rockets may get away with that sort of night against the Jazz. There’s no chance the Warriors allow him to shoot like that and win the game. As it stands, the Rockets are at $5.50 to win the NBA championship. If they can find a way through the Warriors, they’ll be significant favourites the rest of the way.
They’re worth a look.
Brooklyn’s Bad Beat
Nets punters on the +3.5 in Game 4 will be looking a the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report and shaking their heads.
In L2M report, NBA agrees w/Nets coach Kenny Atkinson: Tobias Harris should have been called for foul for wrapping Jarrett Allen on Nets' final possession, restricting his freedom of movement.
(L2M also notes refs missed Dinwiddie carrying the ball with 1:45 left.) pic.twitter.com/phUlhwRpdE
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) April 21, 2019
Jarrett Allen looked set to tie the game at 110-110 with five seconds to play before being hounded by three defenders and losing the ball. However, the NBA has since said Allen was pulled back when rolling towards the basket.
While nobody can ever be sure, the pull appears to have held him back for long enough that it allowed the help defence to come in and affect the shot. Had the referee’s called it and allowed Allen two shots from the free-throw line, there’s a good chance Nets punters will have cashed in.
Instead, the 76ers took possession and hit the free-throws themselves to push it out to 112-108.
Jazz Need To Find Their Rhythm
The Jazz are a good basketball team.
They don’t deserve to be swept in the first round as though they’re an Eastern Conference bottom-feeder that would otherwise have missed the playoffs in the West.
Winning 50 games in the West is no joke. Average teams don’t fluke their way to 50 wins. You’ve got to have something about you to make it that high in the standings.
After a slow start to the season defensively, the Jazz re-found their identity to finish the season second in the NBA in defensive rating (105.7). The Donovan Mitchell slander dissipated as he once again became one of the best offensive threats in the league by the end of the season.
But now they’re getting embarrassed.
The Jazz have no answer for Harden even when they did for three-and-a-half quarters in Game 3.