NBA – Week 34 In Review

The NBA Finals are tied at 2-2 and with a Game 7 looking likely, there is some value to be found in the series’ Most Valuable Player market.

Series Tied

The NBA Finals are going down to the wire.

Having bounced back following a Game 1 win to win Game 2, the Golden State Warriors dropped Game 3 to the Boston Celtics before levelling the series at 2-2 with a win in Game 4.

Steph Curry’s 31 points in Game 3 wasn’t enough to overcome Boston’s trio. Jayson Tatum had 26 points, Marcus Smart 24 points and Jaylen Brown 27 points in the 116-100 win. Two nights later, however, Curry took no chances despite nursing a foot injury. In a vintage Curry performance – the sort you can only revel in – he dropped 43 points on 14-26 shooting to lead the Warriors to a 107-97 win. The Celtics did well to keep up with Curry across the first three quarters and contained the typical Warriors 3rd quarter of domination, but the offence couldn’t keep it up in the 4th. Notably, Tatum managed only one basket in a 4th quarter the Warriors won 28-19.

It’s been a series of runs for four games as both sides go back and forth, neither dominating quite enough to put a game out of reach until late in the piece. The NBA Finals now head back to California where the Warriors enter Game 5 as $1.58 and -3.5 favourites to take a 3-2 series lead.

NBA Finals MVP

With the series so tense, the NBA Finals MVP is still up for grabs.

Curry is a considerable $1.65 favourite. It was always going to take something outrageous from another Warriors player, possibly Draymond Green, for Curry not to be the Golden State candidate. However, assuming the winning player comes from the winning team, it’s not so clear-cut for the Celtics.

Tatum is the $2.80 favourite but Brown is at an appealing $7.50. If we get into Game 7 ($1.87 for the series to go to seven games) and Brown is the one to lead the Celtics to victory, he will surely close the gap. Tatum has already produced a couple of poor periods. As he said after Game 4, he’s “got to be better.”

Meanwhile, Brown already led the Celtics to victory in Game 3 with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He’s more than capable of leading the Celtics again in the biggest game of the NBA season. While Tatum is the more likely winner, the value looks to be in Brown’s $7.50 should Boston end up on top.

Lakers Starting Fresh

Darvin Ham only took the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching position last week but is already making his presence felt in the franchise. He’s clearing out the coaching staff that struggled to get anything out of this roster last season and replacing them with his own. Interestingly, Rasheed Wallace will be on the Lakers bench beside Ham throughout the next two NBA seasons. Ham and Wallace played two seasons together for the Detroit Pistons including the 2004 NBA championship.

Hornets Hire Atkinson

It’s business as usual for the NBA teams not featuring in the Finals. For Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, he’s juggling this season and the next having just signed on to be the next coach of the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets don’t have a favourable history and it’s not a job coaches have always rushed towards, but following an encouraging 2021-22 NBA season and taking on a team led by LaMelo Ball, Atkinson seems to have taken over the role at the right time.