Tag: nba betting lines
I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say that the winning streak of the Miami Heat is just as valuable as winning a National Championship. One thing is for sure, for a team that has had to take a lot of criticism for not been aggressive enough, for not living up to their true potential (let’s not forget we are talking about the NBA defending championship) they are really proving they are for real. Let it there be no doubt, they want to keep this streak alive just as much as they want to win their second championship in a row.
These guys are determined to do whatever they need to prove they are the team to beat right now. Yes, on the one hand, we have to realize that few players have needed to prove themselves as much as the Heat biggest star, LeBron James. He’s been in the league for ten years, and despite multiple regular season MVP’s and a couple of trips into the NBA Finals, he always came up short. That was until he joined Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami to for the latest Big Three. And in a short but extremely intense lockout-season, the boys from South Beach took the National Title. Still there was huge animosity against James and the Heat, although they are now going into their third season straight playing in a full house at Miami. They might be quite unpopular everywhere else, but the South Beach fans loves this new force.
Now, facing the Orlando Magic, a team that desperately needs to pull off big wins in a season that is certainly going to end as soon as the postseason kicks off, things were looking quite difficult at one point. With the Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson three pointer in the 3rd quarter, the game was tied at 68 points a piece, and considering that the Heat were playing without Dwight Howard for the second game in a row, it seemed as if James was not going to be able to deliver and the streak was going to be cut short. And it was just about that next play that LeBron James got a bit mad and started playing like he was on fire. He started the turnaround with a phenomenal highlight reel worthy dunk, followed with an easy jumper over three Magic players only 30 seconds later, and guided the Heat on a dominant 4th quarter to take a 108-94 win at Orlando.
James would go on to lead the Magic for the second night in a row, scoring 24 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists against Orland. “We are not taking this team for granted,” James said in the postgame press conference. “I continue to always say that in professional sports, wins are hard to come by and teams like this are really rare. To be part of a team like this, we do not take it for granted.” The Magic gave it all they could, but then again, it is clear that at 18 and 53 for the season, these guys are not at their finest. Jameer Nelson guided the Magic with 27 points and 12 assists while Tobias Harris had 20 points for the home team.
Sure enough the Chicago Bulls are once again trying to cope with what looks like a full season without their biggest star: Derrick Rose. If you look at their numbers, at 33-25 for the season, the Bulls are doing quite well, considering their circumstances. Now, this time, head coach Tim Thibodeau has figured out how to keep his team motivated and just do without Rose. And that doesn’t seem to be a difficult task, considering that his backup can quite deliver when needed. Let’s consider Joakim Noah’s terrific game in the Bulls 93-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks for his third career triple-double. It was enough to fuel the Bulls past a feisty 76ers squad and to put an and to a two-game losing streak.
Now, a triple-double, well, that’s a hard feat to accomplish. To reach a triple-double the hard way, that is, by blocking, now’s that one rare occasion. As a matter of fact, this is so rare that Noah tied the Bulls record for blocks in a regulation game, previously set by Artis Gilmore in 1977. His head coach described his performance as spectacular. And he was quite right about it. He made it all look too easy, too effortlessly and it was a beautiful game. “His will from the start of the game until the end was just incredible,” Thibodeau said about his best player right now in the postgame press conference. “He was everywhere — blocked shots, switching, guarding everyone. Big-time multiple efforts.”
But it took an all-around effort from the Bulls to win this game. Carlos Boozer chipped in behind Noah with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while there was plenty of offensive prowesses to come via Kirk Hinrich and Loul Deng who had 15 and 12 points each. Truth is that Philadelphia quite clearly had nothing to throw at him. No matter what sort of man-to-man defense or zone defense, it made no difference. Noah was there to break lose and clear havoc. The 76ers gave it a try. They fought the battle but came in short.
Jrue Holiday paced the Sixers with 22 points, Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Evan Turner had 12 points. The loss was Philadelphia’s season-high seventh in a row. “We were very competitive,” Collins said. “(But) the Bulls front line was tremendous … Between Noah and Boozer they had 44 points and 33 rebounds and Noah’s 11 blocks and those guys were 18 for 21 from the foul line. That ended up being the difference in the game.”
Now, just to put this Joakim Noah feat in the right perspective, let’s consider for a moment that Joakim Noah became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks and shoot at least 65 percent from the field in a single game. Yeah, that is quite a phenomenal start, a great way to get this team moving forward, into the winning lane. Perhaps this time they’ll be better equipped to win in the postseason without Rose and they could become a menace for the Heat’s ruling of the Eastern Conference.
At the beginning of the year, we had some high hopes for the Boston Celtics. Sure enough we were well aware of the usual concerns: the core is getting too old, they have too much mileage in their legs and they won’t be winning another title anytime soon. Then we realized there was a bit more than that when Ray Allen decided to move on with his career and leave the Celtics for the Miami Heat. That’s right, he went on to play with their rival team for less money and with far less guarantees. So, yes, on the one hand, we could tell that there were some internal issues going on in what seemed to be Doc Rivers perfect ship. Now, don’t get me wrong here, the Boston Celtics are still a team that can put on a fight and on a good day, they have the talent, the experience and the prowess to defeat any team in the league. The issue here is that those good days are not happening as often as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo would wish they did.
And that ultimately makes a big difference and that’s sort of what happened in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings when the Celtics just failed to stay in contention and Isaiah Thomas just broke hell lose on the C’s defense and helped the Kings take a 118-96 win over Boston. At 11-19 for the season, the Sacramento Kings are certainly not the sort of team that is turning a lot of heads this season. But even when their usual lineup was pretty banged up and on the injury list, (Aaron Brooks has an injury in his left ankle and Tyreke Evans hurt his left knee) head coach Keith Smart managed to find a way to make it all work. And work they did. This was their second-best scoring effort of the season. And even though at 14-16 for the season and with their three game skid behind them the Celtics are not at their best, the Kings certainly looked quite empowered handing a loss like such to Boston.
The biggest surprise of the night came via the small-framed point guard Isaiah Thomas who had 27 points and 5 rebounds against Boston. The 5’’9’, 185 lbs rookie got things rolling early on the game. He really revitalized the team, gave them a good lift. “That guy has an infectious personality,” said Keith Smart about his rarely used point guard. “He has that magnetism that brings players and people around to him. He brought that energy to start the game off right with him in the starting lineup. All our guards do a great job, but what he’s been able to do is kind of give us a little injection of the steam that we need. He’s done that, plus he’s making his shots.”
DeMarcus Cousins came back from his team-mandated suspension with a bit of anger. And he made the Celtics pay for it, finishing the night with a triple-double that included 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. The Kings took a six-point lead midway through the third quarter and they never looked back. The Celtics were just simply out of it and the Kings made the most out of the situation.
So, considering how everything has evolved this season, it shouldn’t surprise that teams are a bit out of rhythm. The market has changed, things are a bit more competitive and even the teams that once dominated the league, are actually struggling to keep a positive record for the year. The LA Lakers, for example are struggling quite a bit, the Atlanta Hawks, for example, were able to take a 92-75 win at the Phillips Arena over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, incidentally a team that defeated the New York Knicks, at the Madison Square Garden, just a few hours before. So what’s up with this inconsistency? Is it making it harder to take some action on the NBA betting lines?
I mean, we all know that because of the tight schedule, wagering on Basketball has always been a bit tricky. But it’s hard to take into accounts flips like this one. For example, the Chicago Bulls led 31-28 before Atlanta took off on a 25-6 run over the final 6:58 of the second quarter to build a 53-37 lead by halftime. It was as if in the middle of the second quarter the exhaustion simply caught up with them. But it wasn’t only a matter of physical exhaustion, there was a bit of emotional tension from their last game. The Bulls and Knicks combined for nine technical fouls and four ejections in that one. Things went smoother this last game. No rough-style play. But heck, the Bulls were just shut down in the second half. Nothing was happening for this crew.
Loul Deng and Joakim Noah took over the tasks of leading the Chicago Bulls. Not quite brilliantly, I might say. Deng had 11 points for the night, way off his 29 and 13 rebounds he had last game, and Joakim Noah, who was ejected against the Knicks, had 10 points for the night. These, however, are the only two players in Chicago who managed to be in double digits. Now, compare that to the fact that all of the Hawks starting players were in double digit. So, now, Atlanta’s five starters outscored Chicago starters 72-39. “Tough loss. The highs and lows of this thing are unbelievable,” Noah said. “One night you feel great because you won a big game, and then the next night you come out with the wrong mindset and you lose. Our energy was bad.
Things got so bad at one point that even the coach Tim Thibodeau opted to sit down his starters in the fourth quarter. After all there was no point in risking injury knowing quite well that there was no chance to turn this game around. Al Harford, on the other hand, had a brilliant game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Lou Williams chipped in with 16 points and 4 rebounds. The Hawks point guard, Jeff Teague, had 11 points and 8 rebounds, certainly an improvement over his performance on Friday against Philadelphia. Now, at 15-11 for the season, the Bulls are still strong. But you need to consider that all of this has been done without Derrick Rose.