Tag: Toronto Raptors

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.

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics
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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Early Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates

The NBA season has been full of surprises, we have seen the rise of the Denver Nuggets and the fall of the Houston Rockets. Questions remain with all the surprises in the NBA, who will be the MVP this season?

The NBA MVP race has been interesting this season. We have seen remarkable plays and emergence of many players. Here are the 5 players who are the top candidates to win MVP this season:

5. Anthony Davis

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 14-15
Stats: 27.4 Points 12.2 Rebounds 4.8 Assists 2.8 Blocks

Anthony Davis has been an MVP caliber player for the past four seasons, but his team hasn’t produced the wins for Davis to be a serious candidate. Davis is doing it all for the Pelicans this season. He is producing on both sides of the court, offense, and defense.

The Pelicans are 4-6 in their last 10 games falling to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. For Davis to win MVP this season, his team has to start winning. Davis has MVP caliber stats but unfortunately is not winning games to back up his case for MVP.

Davis does have a decent supporting cast to pull out wins but the Pels haven’t found a way to win games consistently. The Pelicans as a team rank 2nd in both points per game and assists per game. The offense is there for the Pelicans but they must be consistent on this end and also on the defensive end.

4. Stephen Curry

Team: Golden State Warriors
Record: 19-9
Stats: 30.1 Points 5.8 Assists 5.2 Rebounds 1.1 Steals

Stephen Curry is always an MVP candidate every year since 2015. His tremendous shooting ability, playmaking, and overall offensive abilities have helped lead the Warriors to a winning culture.

Curry is currently having a 50/50/90 season. The last person to achieve this historic stat for a season is his coach Steve Kerr in the 1995-1996 season with the Chicago Bulls. Curry is shooting 51% from the field, 50% from the 3, and 93% from the free throw line. These historic shooting numbers from Curry will help elevate his case for MVP this season.

Curry’s MVP case might be tarnished due to early season injuries as well as being on a super team with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Curry is having a historic season and is easily the best player on the Warriors. He will have plenty of nods to be in the MVP conversation this year.

3. Kawhi Leonard

Team: Toronto Raptors
Record: 22-7
Stats: 26.1 Points 3 Assists 8.3 Rebounds 1.9 Steals

The Toronto Raptors are currently the best team in the NBA, holding the best record in the league. This is in large part due to the remarkable play by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is the best player on the raptors and affects the floor both on offense and defense. With the help of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors may find themselves in the NBA Finals in June.

After his dramatic departure from San Antonio during the offseason, Leonard is reminding everyone that he is a Top 5 player in the league.

With the Raptors rolling this season, Leonard is a top MVP candidate this year.

2. Lebron James

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 17-10
Stats: 28.3 Points 7.1 Assists 7 Rebounds 1.3 Steals

A 33-year-old Lebron James is leading the Lakers to a 5th seed in the Brutal Western Conference. James is averaging close to a triple-double and producing wins for this Lakers roster whose next best player is Kyle Kuzma.

James is on a tear this season and has been the sole reason this Laker team is winning games. He has the best chance to take the MVP trophy home this season if he continues to produce more wins for his team. He has played in every single game this season and it seems like he is getting better with age.

The Lakers have won 7 games in their last 10 games. James continues to exceed expectations year in and year out as he is leading this team who has struggled the past 5 years to the playoffs. The Lakers are 1.5 games behind from being the number one seed in the conference. With how the Lakers are playing, they might be the first seed by Christmas.

James is leading the Lakers in Points, Rebounds and assists for the Lakers. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is the highest on the team at 27.4. Next highest is Kyle Kuzma at 16.1 PER.

1. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 18-8
Stats: 26.5 Points 13.3 Rebounds 6 Assists 1.3 Blocks

Giannis Antentokoumpo is doing everything for the Bucks, scoring, grabbing rebounds, playing defense, dishing out assists. 2019 is the year of the Greek Freak as he has lifted the Bucks to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis is the best player in the Eastern Conference. He is a nightmare for any team. Giannis hasn’t quite figured out his shooting ability in the NBA yet, only shooting 11% but is still finding a way to score buckets and be a force in the league.

The Bucks are a scary team to face as they currently rank 1st as a team in points per game and rebound per game. They also rank 4th in assists per game being one of the more unselfish teams in the league.

Giannis is leading the team in Points, Rebounds, assists and steals basically every statistical category other than blocks which Brook Lopez currently leads the team in.

Giannis is 4th in PER, ranking only behind Steph Curry, Boban Marjanovic and Anthony Davis.

The Bucks are a difficult and scary team to face this season and that is due to the rise of Giannis Antentokoumpo. Giannis has the best chance to win MVP this year as he doing everything and winning with the Bucks.

Kyrie Irving Erupts for 43, in Celtics Win over Toronto Raptors Friday night

Coming into Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors we somehow knew the Celtics had this game circled on their calendar after losing to this team by 12 in their first encounter. Although this time around things were different, the Celtics were at TD Garden and Kyrie Irving seems to be back in basketball shape as he dropped a season high 43 points in the win.

Celtics vs. Raptors Overview

Both All Stars for both clubs put on a show in Friday’s game, Raptors Kawhi Leonard dropped a team high 31 points and 15 rebounds, while Irving had 43 points and 11 assists. Second year player Jayson Tatum chipped in with some clutch plays down the stretched, he finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Boston’s struggles on the offensive end affected the game through three quarters, as the Raptors were in full control. Boston was outscored 30-24 in the third quarter, which helped the Raptors hold a four point lead heading into the fourth. Things looked to be going in the same direction as it did in their first meeting, but Irving had other plans. Irving scored 23 of his 43 points in the fourth and overtime periods.

“It’s just not too often during the regular season you get to have games like this,” Irving said. “So you want to take full advantage of them. They’re a great test for your team on both ends of the basketball floor. A great player in the other locker room. So you’ve just got to be on your P’s and Qs for the unknown, and that’s the competition.”

Attacking the Rim

The difference for the Celtics in the fourth quarter was their aggressive play at attacking the rim. Through three quarters Boston was settling for outside and tough contested jumpers, which hurt them on the scoreboard. Toronto on the other hand had attempted 25 free throws before the start of the fourth quarter, the Celtics had only taken 12.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens emphasized the teams need to get to the hole, “We need to do a better job at attacking the paint, period,” said Stevens. “Kyrie’s ability to get in there is so unique. We just need to be better at that.”

In fact Irving’s unique ability was on full display during the fourth as he was attacking the basket at ease with multiple Raptor defenders clogging the paint. This included a fast break layup with three Raptors around him and a tough one handed shot over Serge Ibaka. “It’s just a mindset,” Irving said. “It’s a mindset that we just have to ingrain in all of us.”1062681706.jpg.0

“Just find that happy balance of the 3-pint line as well as getting to the rim and then not taking tough 2’s but taking 2’s that are off the second-side action or just driving to the rim and being aggressive.”

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!

NBA Free Picks for February 8th, 2018

Last night we saw the Rockets fight the strong Miami wave of attack as the Rockets covered by 8. We also saw the Spurs absolutely destroy the Suns. What I tell ya? Booker makes that team. At one point the Suns were down by 40. The Pelicans somehow rained out being postponed.

2-0 since yesterday. I have 4 picks again tonight. I feel like tonight may be the strongest for the favorited teams.

Raptors -13.5 vs the New York Knicks

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The Knicks are coming off the heart breaking game against the Bucks where they lost their superstar Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks have gone 3-7 the past 10. The Raptors have gone 7-3. If Porzingis didn’t get hurt, the spread would be a little outrageous. Without KP, the Knicks are an even worse team that struggles to find a main point in scoring for their offense. They struggled even with KP. I expect the Raptors to continue their dominance at home possibly by a 20 point blowout here. The Raptors are 22-4 at home.

Hawks +1.5 vs the Orlando Magic

The Magic and the Hawks enter on a 2 game winning streak. The Magic have a terrible record going 17-36 this season. They are their “best” at home going 10-14. The Hawks also have a terrible record going 17-37. They are 8-21 on the road this year.

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Apparently Elfrid Payton was just traded. That impacts the Magic on offense terribly. They acquired a pick in exchange from the Suns, which will help the Magic next season just not this season

The Magic will be without Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and possibly Jonathon Simmons as well so do your own research before the game. Without all of these players, the Hawks have a good shot to beat the Magic tonight in what should be a close gam between 2 struggling teams.

Celtics+1.5 vs the Washington Wizards

The Wizards have been playing absurdly better without John Wall. The Wizards have won 4 out of the last 5 games, the same for the Celtics. This matchup honestly could go either way here.

kyrie-irving-24e90a39cddeba23Kyrie Irving is rumored to come back tonight. If he does, the Celts should win this in a back and forth game.

It will definitely be a challenge as the Wizards have been hot as of late. They are home tonight too. The Wizards will cool off eventually, maybe starting tonight against the East’s best in the Celtics. The Celtics main concern is the big man game. The Celts will need heavy production from their bench to top the Wizards tonight.

Mavericks +13.5 vs the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA right now. However, every once in a while the Warriors find themselves at times dazed from teams that are awful. The Kings upset last year, this year against the Nuggets.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Mavs are 2-8 the last 10. The Warriors have also struggled considering their talent going 6-4. The Warriors are looking to stop a 2 game skid, which should probably happen against an injury riddled Mavs team. KD is also questionable for tonight but as I stress, you should always do your own research. I see Dub nation getting the W easily here, but will they cover the spread? The Warriors are bad this year ATS going 23-30-1 this season. I say the Warriors win by 8 or 9 with the Mavs losing the entire game while coming back to threaten the Warriors slightly. If you can take the points, add them here against the NBA’s best team.

good-luck

Free NBA Picks for January 30th, 2018

Last night we saw the Pacers win by 9 easily covering the spread. We also saw the Celts top the Nuggets by 1, not needing the spread which went up to +2 on some sites for the Celts.

The Suns started off good, but fell hard in the 2nd after giving up 42 points in a quarter.

I have 4 Pick suggestions for tonight’s card

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Thunder -3.0 vs the Washington Wizards

The Thunder are continuing to dominate the NBA in the month of January.

They are 5-0 past 5 games, 8-2 past 10. John Wall was declared out for the next couple weeks as well. The Wizards have been noted to play worse against teams that are worse than them, but without Wall; the Wizards may be screwed for those 2 weeks.

Westbrook, Pg13, and Melo are going to eat tonight.

Timberwolves +6.0 vs the Toronto Raptors

Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors

Both teams enter tonight’s matchup looking to get back on track. The Raptors are 5-5 the past 10 along with the T-Wolves. The Raptors at home however are 18-4 at home this season.

The T-Wolves beat the Raptors at home by 6 on January 20th, which isn’t long ago.

I have a feeling that the T-wolves could be losing the elite game, but should be able to push hard enough to cover the spread, possibly losing. Wouldn’t surprise me if the T-Wolves upset tonight as well.

Cavs -5.5 vs the Detroit Pistons

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The Cavs are having their worst season under LeBron James as the entire team just looks off. It shouldn’t be a surprise to readers; the dissension going on in Cleveland is real.

The Pistons are coming off a blockbuster trade in which they acquired Blake Griffin from the Clippers, in order to make a push for the East. Griffin won’t be in the lineup tonight and same with Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris as they also have been traded in part of the deal.

The Pistons are 1-9 the past 10 games.

Take the Cavs and the points to beat the Pistons. The Pistons will need a great game from everyone if they aim to take down the second best in the East.

 

Trail Blazers -2.5 vs the Los Angeles Clippers

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The final pick is of course my favorite matchup of the night, the late night game.

The Clippers traded Blake Griffin yesterday in order to soften the landing spot for LBJ in the offseason. It’s also rumored that Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan may be on their way as well, as the Clips look to move on from Griffin and Chris Paul.

The Clips are 7-3 the past 10, compared to Portland who is 6-4.

With Griffin on another team, I think the Clips will have to learn how to play without that constant production forever, as opposed to a short duration of time. The shooters on the Trail Blazers are amazing consisting of Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum.

Jursuf Nurkic has a big matchup tonight as he’ll be matched up with DeAndre Jordan who averages almost 15 RPG.

The Clips could perform better without Blake Griffin. But that feeling in the locker room that no one is safe should play a major part in the mental game for tonight which is why I love the Trail Blazers at -2.5.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

Free NBA Picks: January 26th, 2018

Last nights card we saw the Thunder cover and win outright against the Washington Wizards, covering by 9. We also saw the Nuggets beat the Knicks, covering the spread by winning by 12. The past 2 cards have won out of 3.

I have 3 matchups I like today that I’d like to share with y’all

Raptors -7.5 against the Utah Jazz

The Toronto Raptors return home after a way on the road, to face the 20-28 Utah Jazz. The Raptors are 6-4 the last 10, opposed to the Jazz who are 4-6 down the stretch The Raptors will have stars such as Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas.

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The Jazz are just coming off a OT Win against the Pistons who have been on and off all season in their performance.

The Jazz could poise a threat to the Raptors tonight as the Raptors team has been underperforming considering the talent they have. Kyle Lowry will try to and find his steps tonight at home, which is why I like the matchup.

Bulls -3.5 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers

The Bulls and Lakers clash as even teams. The Bulls come into the matchup 18-30 while the Lake show is 18-29.

Lonzo Ball is out tonight, the Lakers are 0-8 without Lonzo in the lineup

The Bulls will have to get off to a good start as the Lakers will be looking for a W against one of the leagues worst

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Lauri Markkanen is averaging 15.4 PPG and 7.6 RPG. He’ll have to have a fantastic day in order to fully top the Lakers.

Nikola Mirotić has also been doing great this season. Averaging 17 PPG and 6.5 RPG. He has been a nice surprise for the Bulls as they attempt to get even younger possibly this offseason. Behind the forces of Markkanen, Levine, and Kris Dunn.

Rockets -3.5 vs. the New Orleans Pelicans

This matchup will be very close as the Pelicans look to keep riding under the performances of Demarcus Cousins. Boogie is averaging 25.4 PPG and 12.9 Rebounds per game.

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James Harden isn’t putting up MVP type performances like last year as often, but for tonight’s matchup, the world may see one tonight.

I don’t think that will be enough to beat the Rockets. I think Harden and Chris Paul will heavily outperform the PG/SG is the Pelicans. It will be close but take the Rockets here, if the points are available to take; take them here.