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Proof That Defense Matters In The NBA 0

Posted on January 25, 2020 by Dan Karpuc

As of Thursday night, the eight teams that lead the NBA in Defensive Rating have a combined 245-111 (.688 winning percentage). The bottom eight teams in that metric have a combined 120-235 (.358 winning percentage). Every bottom-eight team has a sub-.500 record and just one team (Orlando Magic: 21-24) has a sub-.500 mark from the top-eight group. Therefore, even in today’s offensive-oriented, perimeter-centric NBA, defense matters… a lot.

The top-eight teams (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Magic and Utah Jazz) share some of the most crucial components of a sound defense. It is no surprise that the people who give out NBA expert picks are making a killing betting these teams this season. All of these teams do a great job with limiting high-percentage shots in the paint, creating turnovers, box out and grab boards and, in turn, limit opposing second-chance points. In many ways, their defensive prowess sets the tone for their offense. Creating turnovers often times leads to fast-break opportunities and high-percentage shots around the rim or wide-open looks on the perimeter. Repeatedly getting stops leads on defense also leads to some impressive scoring runs on the other end of the floor, where the offense can feed off of the momentum. 

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NBA – Our Favorites for the MVP 2020 Title 2

Posted on December 11, 2019 by Sarah Whitman

With the 2019/20 NBA season well underway, it is time to focus on one of the most debated topics each season: the Most Valuable Player trophy. While the NBA awards several trophies every year, none is as fiercely contested and coveted as the MVP. So, let’s take a look at its history and how it all works, and more importantly, at our 2019/20 favorites.  

Whats the MVP trophy?

The MVP trophy has existed since 1956 and the coronation of Bob Pettit, then a leading player for the Saint-Louis Hawks. It rewards the player who, both individually and collectively, has achieved the most solid season. Rewarded each year, it has allowed many players to build their respective legends. 

Thus, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar (formerly Lewis Alcindor) was appointed MVP six times during his extensive career. That is the record. A record that, let’s be sure, is not about to be equaled. Behind Jabbar are Bill Russell and Michael Jordan, who have each lifted the Maurice Podoloff trophy five times. Finally, there are Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James, with four titles. 

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Are the Lakers the Western Conference Favorites? 0

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Dean Hybl

With the NBA season nearly a month old it seems safe to say that after nearly a decade of struggles the Los Angeles Lakers are back on top of the NBA and the Western Conference. Of course, adding Anthony Davis to a squad that already included one of the all-time greats in LeBron James certainly helped hasten their rebuilding.

Currently 17-3, the Lakers are clearly among the betting favorites and you can get your list of all betting offers to back them up. Other betting sites are anticipating the Lakers to win the playoffs at 3/1 in average, meaning stakes are high. You could use this fact to your early advantage and place a bet now on the LA Lakers.

In many ways, the start of this season is a reminder of how quickly things can change in professional sports.

After being the dominant team in the NBA over the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have been devastated by injury and are off to a league worst 4-18 start. With Klay Thompson likely out for the season and Stephen Curry expected to be sidelined for at least three months with a broken hand, their chances of returning to the playoffs is very doubtful and bookies are giving them odds as low as -450.

In a complete contrast, the Lakers were 37-45 last year and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. However, their off-season acquisition of Davis has paid immediate dividends.

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How Fashion Has Taken Over the NBA 1

Posted on February 04, 2019 by Scott Huntington

Perhaps no sport is more associated with fashion than the NBA. The competition among players to dress the best is fierce, and it’s become a big part of the news cycle surrounding the league.

Players receive a lot of chances to flaunt their fashion choices. The most notable is the pre-game walk through the tunnel. Traveling to and from games, press conferences and other events provide opportunities as well.

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Over the last few decades though, the story of the NBA and fashion has moved beyond just pre-game and press conference outfits. Players such as Russell Westbrook and James Harden make regular appearances at world-famous fashion shows and on the covers of style magazines. Many players also have their own fashion lines and brand collaborations. Westbrook even wrote a book, titled Style Drivers, about his relationship with fashion.

In 2017, the NBA officially recognized the importance of fashion for the league by introducing the NBA Style Award, which the league gave out alongside awards for most valuable player and rookie of the year. Westbrook took home first place, followed by Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert and Chicago’s Dwyane Wade. Read the rest of this entry →

Iron Man Randy Smith 0

Posted on February 02, 2019 by Dean Hybl

Randy Smith-BravesThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month may have had a pretty common name, but his iron man streak as an NBA player was anything but ordinary.

In a streak that lasted more than a decade, Randy Smith played in 906 consecutive NBA games to establish an NBA iron man record that lasted more than a decade.

That Smith made it to the NBA at all was somewhat of an underdog story.

A three-sport standout at Bellsport High School in Long Island (basketball, soccer and track), Smith also was a three-sport All-American at Division II Buffalo State College. He helped lead the Bengals to three straight basketball conference championships and a spot in the 1970 Division II Final Four. Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Toronto Raptors the NBA Title Favorites? 0

Posted on December 14, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Kawhi Leonard is averaging a career-high 26 points per game for the Toronto Raptors.

Kawhi Leonard is averaging a career-high 26 points per game for the Toronto Raptors.

When the Toronto Raptors made the blockbuster trade during the summer to bring Kawhi Leonard to the Eastern Conference there was an expectation that it could help them “get over the hump” after getting close in recent years, but even live betting with Novibet couldn’t have predicted that a quarter way through the NBA season they would be the favorites to claim the 2019 NBA Championship.

Not only do the Raptors have a league-best 23-7 overall record, but they have swept the season series from the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. Their 113-93 win at Golden State earlier this week was impressive not just because of the dominant nature, but because the Raptors played the game without Leonard while the Warriors were at full strength with their four All-Stars all in the starting lineup.

With Leonard, who is averaging a team-best 26 points per game, out of the lineup, the Raptors had a balanced attack that proved too much for the Warriors to overcome.

Leading the way for the Raptors was four-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. He scored a team-high 23 points while also dishing out 12 assists, grabbing five rebounds and securing three steals.

Another player who has been great all season and continued that trend against the Warriors was center Serge Ibalka. The 10-year veteran is averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game this season and had 20 points with 12 rebounds in the victory.

The other three starters, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, scored 15, 13 and 10 points respectively to give the Raptors five double-digit scorers. The bench also played an important role with 32 points divided amongst six players.

That boxscore is consistent with how the Raptors have been winning throughout the season.

They have five players who are averaging at least 12.8 points per contest and then another six averaging between 5.0 and 9.6 per contest. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Blanda: NFL’s Great Old Man
      December 15, 2019 | 3:07 pm
      George Blanda

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

      George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

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