Tag: OKC Thunder

Are the Boston Celtics Finally Ready to Steamroll through the East?

Last night’s showdown between two red-hot Eastern Conference teams seemed to be no problem for the Boston Celtics as they rolling through the Indiana Pacers 135-108.

The four game home stand was something the Celtics needed after winning one out of four games on their West coast road trip two weeks ago. Boston have now won four straight and are 15-5 at TD Garden. They play a back-to-back today as they take their talents to South Beach and play the Miami Heat.

Boston’s Depth on Full Display

At the start of the season the talk around the league was the amount of talent the Celtics have, they have eight legit starting caliber players and last night’s victory showed that. The Pacers were out gunned yesterday, even with their talented duo of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Boston had seven players that reached double figures, which now makes it four consecutive games where at least five players have scored in double figures.

The team was led by Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown, who each scored 22 points to go along with eight and seven rebounds. Jayson Tatum showed out offensively as he scored 20 points while shooting 60 percent from the field on 9-of-15 shots. Another positive takeaway was the performance of Gordon Hayward, who has been more consistent on the offensive end over the last couple of games. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field.

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Starters, Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart celebrate with teammates as they cruise by the Indiana Pacers. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

It was one of those games that allowed Kyrie Irving to take a break offensively, he played only 24 minutes and scored only 12 points. Al Horford also had a laid-back night, playing only 18 minutes and chipped in with six points and eight assists.

The True Test for Boston Begins in the Coming Weeks

Since airing out their frustrations after the loss to Milwaukee back in December, the Celtics are now 7-2 over their last nine games with their only losses coming to the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. The home stretch provided an extra boost of confidence for the Celtics, but in the upcoming weeks they will play legit championship contenders like the Toronto Raptors, the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Celtics and Raptors will square-off on Wednesday at TD Garden. Their even at 1-1 over their last two meetings with Boston taking the second game in overtime when Irving exploded for 43 points.

A potential NBA Finals match-up with the Warriors will take place on Saturday the 26th, as both teams continue to get back to playing championship level basketball. Although the Celtics could be one of the first teams to face a returning DeMarcus Cousins with Golden State, as he’s scheduled to return from an Achilles tear in mid-to-late January.

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Is Kevin Durant-OKC Reunion Possible in the 2019 NBA Free Agency

In the 2016 NBA Offseason, 9x All-Star Kevin Durant shocked the entire world when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were just coming off two finals appearances and the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green already achieved a championship back in the 2015 Finals and was out for revenge after losing to a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by Lebron James back in the 2016 Finals. 

Durant’s decision sparked disappointment and anger from the fans of Oklahoma City and general fans around the league. Fans labeled him as a “snake”, “cupcake” and a “coward”. With recent videos of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showing friendly gestures such as hugging and shaking hands, all might be forgiven in OKC. The question rises could a possible reunion between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant happen come this year’s free agency?

 

Durant, in his time with the Golden State Warriors, went on to captured 2 NBA Championships as well as 2 NBA Finals MVP’s in back to back years. Durant finally captured the championship he has been chasing his whole career. At this point, it seems highly unlikely he leaves the Warriors.

With the recent clash of Durant and teammate Draymond Green, it seems that Durant may have his foot out the door in Golden State. Draymond, in an interview with ESPN, expressed uncertainty but support in the future of his teammates Durant and Klay Thompson’s decision in free agency:

“You know, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, whatever who decides to do, we had great years together and I support everybody wholeheartedly, 100 percent,” Green Stated. “Because as a man, as a human being, you got the right to do what you want with your life. So I will never question that.”

In a scenario that Durant joins OKC in free agency, the team would be complete and the Thunder would have everything to be championship contenders. The core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, and Kevin Durant sounds like a dream come true for Thunder fans.

Ultimately, this scenario does not seem likely to happen and this is due to OKC not having the cap space to make this happen. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams are the top paid players on the team and with Westbrook and George earning over 30 million a year, there is no flexibility that the team has to bring in Kevin Durant unless they trade one of those three guys.

Durant is looking for a big payday come free agency and teams such as the Lakers, Nets, Knicks, Mavericks, and Clippers have the cap to give Durant big time money. Durant’s decision comes down to how satisfied and happy he is. It doesn’t make sense leaving a situation where he is winning championships in Golden State unless he is unhappy with the team.

Durant may possibly be interested in rejoining the team that drafted and molded him at some point in his career but the odds seem low due to OKC’s lack of cap flexibility. But from history, we have learned that the NBA is unpredictable and a scenario such as this doesn’t sound too far-fetched.

What’s Next For Carmelo Anthony?

In the span of a year, Carmelo Anthony has been on the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, and the Houston Rockets. Recent reports from the Rockets organization say that Melo may be on his way out of Houston.

With the Rockets slow start to the NBA season, losing 4 straight games at the start of the season and currently being the 12th seed in the Western Conference, fingers and blame are being pointed at Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo, 34 years old, has not adapted to the Rocket’s head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive scheme of 3-point shooting, pick and rolls, and spreading the floor type of offense. Carmelo’s role on the Rockets has been questioned numerous times through the season and his stint with the Rockets may be ending very soon cause of his lack of adaptability.

Carmelo should be recognized as a gifted scorer. He was a ten time all-star and scoring champion in his career but the reality of his current situation is that father time has finally caught up with him. He has not improved in any facet of his game in the past six years. In addition, he has been the scapegoat and odd man out for the teams he has played on the past couple of years and it seems like that trend will continue.

“You know what? I honestly think Melo should retire, I really do,’’ said NBA Hall Of Famer Tracy McGrady. “I don’t want him to go through another situation like this, and people are just pouring negativity on this man’s legacy. I really think because it hasn’t worked out the last two teams, just go ahead and, you have a Hall of Fame career, just go ahead and let it go.’’

It should be noted that McGrady brings up the point of stopping the bleeding for Carmelo and not continuing his current path. Carmelo has a few options since he is still on the pursuit of winning a championship. Options are signing with the Golden State Warriors or possibly the San Antonio Spurs or as Tracy McGrady said, retirement. The ideal situation for Carmelo would sign with Golden State, win a ring on that team and then retire. Melo retires on a good note as he can still be a productive and non-problematic scorer on a stacked, 3-peat bound Warriors team.

Carmelo came into the NBA after winning an NCAA Championship at Syracuse University straight to the NBA in 2003. He was recognized as a winner and someone who can lift a team into a winning culture. His friends in that draft Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh have all went onto to have winning careers, challenging for championships and also winning but Melo has never seen a championship nor has he went to a conference finals or NBA finals.

Carmelo’s career at this point has been stained by the media, fans, and even NBA organizations and it’s tough to see him go through this. A gifted player who was at a point the toughest guy to guard in the league may never win a championship or play in the NBA after this season.

Carmelo, this season is averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and shooting 40% from the field. Melo can still be an effective player that can give you buckets, only thing is it has to be the right situation.

NBA Playoff Picks for April 27th, 2018 / LeBron take

The NBA playoffs have been an absolute rollercoaster keeping fans drawn to the TV

Creds to theshadowleague.com

LeBron’s game winner against the Pacers was epic. No matter what you consider LeBron to be, #1 or #2; he’s an absolute national treasure. Is he supremely cocky? Of course, I would be too if I was rich by the time I graduated high school. Being considered an all time great just fuels the fire as well. LeBron pulling the struggling Cavs team along just proves his dominance as well. We’ll see just how far he can take it..

Washington Home against the Raptors

The Raptors are insanely good at home. They’ve had no problem whatsoever handling the Wizards at home in the series. On the road, it’s a scary sight. Losing by 19 on 4/20 as well by 8 on 4/22.

WIZARDS -1.5

I think since the Wizards are home, roles will reverse just for tonight. I think it’ll be a close game considering the Raptors skill level. They will probably just miss a ton of shots. I can see the Wizards by 4 or 5 let’s find out.

Pacers at home vs. the Cavs

Creds to yardbarker.com

PACERS -1.5

The Cavs are coming off a nice last minute game winner from LBJ to put them ahead in the series 3-2. It’s a great thing for the Cavs, giving them some breathing room to win the series.

I think they will lose one however, tonight. The Pacers in Cleveland controlled the game in the first half, ultimately losing it in the second half. I think if the Cavs struggle to score, the Pacers will win and tie the series, setting up a pivotal Game 7.

Jazz at home vs. the Thunder

OKC +6.5

The Jazz at home in the playoffs are 7-3 the last 10. The Thunder definitely have the firepower to try and beat this in-form Jazz team, but I still think it won’t be enough to win tonight against the Jazz. I can see the Jazz sending Russ and company home, in a terrible fashion. The Thunder will hopefully keep it close, considering they are facing elimination on the road. Take the points if needed.

Good luck!

Free NBA Picks for January 25th, 2018

Last nights card we saw the Sixers win outright covering the spread by more than 5 points. We also saw the Pelicans not needing the spread, winning outright by 5. A nice little comeback from a series of bad beats.

We also saw the Celts do their thing over the Clips, not needing the +1.0 considering they beat them by 11.

Thunder -5.0 vs. the Washington Wizards

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The Thunder have been on a nice 7 game winning streak since figuring out the chemistry needed to take it to the next level. The Wizards are average on the road, but if the Thunder push it against the Wizards, the should be able to sustain their winning streak by winning at home, where they are 17-7 this year.

John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Marcin Gortat will have to bring their top class performance if they want to outpace the core 3 of the Thunder. The Wizards have their best chance to top the Thunder considering the winning streak, calling question to the factors of durability and fatigue for the Thunder.

Nuggets -5.5 vs. the New York Knicks

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The Denver Nuggets at home have also been a force to deal with. The Nuggets are 17-6 at home with stars Nikola Jokic who is averaging a double-double per game; putting up 16.2 PPG and 10.4 RPG. For the Knicks, I expect Kristaps Porzingis (Knee) to return tonight to the lineup.

Kristaps Porzingis is averaging 23.3 PPG and has taken up the main scoring role for the Knicks. Porzingis is only averaging 6.7 RPG, which could easily be outmatched by Jokic which is why I like this matchup.

Jamal Murray has also been a key factor for the Nuggets, dropping 30+ for the Nuggets the past 2 games. The Knicks are also 6-18 on the road this year, another consideration to factor in.

Both teams have been struggling as of late as Denver comes in 4-6 the past 10 games, followed by the Knicks coming into the matchup 3-7 the last 10.

Safe to say the Nuggets should be able to cover, if you take points off or not. Barring an epic NYK comeback.