NBA – Week 21 In Review

The NBA regular season is winding down but LeBron James has needed to ramp up his scoring again. Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic keeps doing MVP things and Klay Thompson catches fire.

MVP Carousel

And around in circles we go…

The race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player is once again a talking point. Ja Morant featured here last week and DeMar DeRozan the week before. This week it’s Nikola Jokic after he scored 32 points in 15 minutes and 20 seconds of game time to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 138-130 overtime win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Nobody is dominating games quite like Jokic at the moment. Few would question his standing as the best and most impactful player in the NBA right now. To many, that means MVP. However, with a teams record weighing so heavily in the minds of voters, Jokic may yet miss out. Missing his star point guard and dragging the Nuggets to 6th in the Western Conference is unlikely to be enough given the history of the award.

James Doing It All

We made sure to highlight LeBron James and simply appreciate his greatness last week. He snapped a four-game Los Angeles Lakers losing streak by scoring 56 points – the second-most points after turning 35 in NBA history. The way he is able to keep playing at a high level is incredible. The problem for the Lakers, however, is that they need him to drop 50 points if they’re going to win games.

James hung 50 points on the Washington Wizards as the Lakers pulled away in the second half to win 122-109. It was another superb display from King James, but a worrying sign for the Lakers. How is this team so bad that 37-year-old James has needed to score 50+ points for the Lakers to win their only two games since the All-Star break?

Almost anything is possible when James is fit and firing. A championship seems out of the question, though. The Lakers are all the way out to $81 in the championship market.

Klay’s Bouncing

Klay Thompson has bounced out of his shooting slump to shoot 15-24 from the field while knocking down eight threes on his way to a season-high 38 points.

It’s undoubtedly the best game he has played since returning from two years on the sideline. It’s also a massive statement for the rest of the NBA.

The championship race is wide open right now. No team is truly head-and-shoulders above the rest and there is a core group at the top of the standings all capable of stringing it together and lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. No group, however, has the championship experience of the Golden State Warriors’ key trio.

The Phoenix Suns lead the NBA with a 53-14 record but are working through a handful of injury issues right now. The Miami Heat top the Eastern Conference but have the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and big-potential Philadelphia 76ers clapping at their heels. We can’t forget about the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz as contenders in the Western Conference either.

Get ready for one of the best post-seasons in NBA history.

NBA Championship Odds

TEAM PRICE
Suns $4.50
Warriors $5.50
Nets $6.50
Bucks $8
76ers $8.50
Heat $11
Celtics $17
Jazz $19
Nuggets $26
Grizzlies $31

 

Irving, Simmons and Durant

Ben Simmons is yet to suit up for the Brooklyn Nets but is said to be close to getting on the court. All eyes will be on how he integrates into the Nets system and whether or not there are any reasons for their current $6.50 to win the NBA championship to suddenly dip.

The problem is the Kyrie Irving ‘thing’. While there is optimism around protocols changing and Irving being allowed to play in home games sooner rather than later, right now, he is only going to be available for four of their remaining 15 games of the regular season. That doesn’t leave long for the new Big 3 to get to know each other. Maybe three games on the court together…

There is so much potential in the group. Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers in NBA history and is at the top of his game right now. His combination with Irving is still deadly as we’ve seen in recent games. Add the defensive element of Simmons’ game and his creativity with the ball, and you’ve got a three-headed monster.

The question is, will they all be there and at their best in the postseason? If they are, the Nets will be championship favourites.

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