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April 7th NBA news ... Basketball Betting Now at basketball-betting-now.com

Kobe Bryant falls short of MJ's scoring mark, but helps Lakers beat Spurs
2014-12-13

He also acted, for long stretches, as stereotype late-career Kobe Bryant. It was fascinating.

The kicker is the fact that had Kobe Bryant played the sort of shot-happy, inefficient ball that has marked his 2014-15 season, he could have passed his model Michael Jordan and moved into third place on the NBAs all-time scoring list. Instead, Bryant held back and made the correct plays that he usually anticipates before any other mere mortals, plays he often disregards prior to tossing up another jumper.

Kobe finished with 22 points on 22 shots as a heretofore terrible Lakers team knocked off a Spurs squad working with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and even Tony Parker for a spell. Kobe entered the game needing 31 points to top MJ, but he sat huge chunks of the second and fourth quarter without a complaint, and his work down the stretch helped an active Lakers squad retain their lead in the win.

His absence, for whatever reason, also saw the Lakers building that lead. This team is so strange.

Bryant made expert pocket and screen-and-roll passes, hitting the sorts of teammates he recently denigrated in full and knowledgeable view of the media on Thursday afternoon. Kobe may have missed 15 of 22 shots, but he had ample opportunity to gun for Jordans scoring mark several times in this contest, but instead chose to make the intelligent and proper basketball play that suits his basketball genius obvious passes he often ignores in order to launch yet another shot.

Bryant routinely found big men Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill, and swingman Wesley Johnson for great looks with gorgeous passes on his way toward nine assists in 40 minutes of action. In the games deciding play, with Kobe barking at guard Jeremy Lin (who had sat about 30 minutes of real time prior to the play after being pulled to the bench) late in overtime, mercurial Lakers scorer Nick Young hit a 3-pointer with just under eight seconds to go in overtime. Young actually finished the contest with a team-high 29 points, two short of what Bryant needed to top Jordan.
Bryant didnt always play up to the competition. His shooting percentages were obviously poor and his rookie-like turnover late in regulation helped San Antonio overcome what seemed to be an insurmountable late-game deficit, but the movements were telling. Kobe mixed in equal parts the attributes that allow NBA observers to both revere, admire and shake their damned heads at him he forced shots, he sat willingly, he made pinpoint passes to teammates who were open and he hit a killer clutch 3-pointer late in regulation that nearly put the game away.

[ Related: Revisiting Kobe Bryant's matchups with Michael Jordan ]

Kobe Bryant finished with a -1 plus/minus in a two-point Lakers win, he took and missed more shots than any other teammate, and he turned the ball over more than any other teammate. And yet he looked like the best Laker on the court on Friday night, while declining the chance to fire away and top Jordans career output in front of a nationally televised stage against the defending NBA champions.

This is peak Kobe Bryant. And its so much fun.

Bryant is nine points away from moving past Jordan, and the Lakers play against the similarly lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. Find somebody with NBA League Pass that evening, because youre going to want to tune in. Even while defining his stereotypes in full view of a national audience, Kobe Bryant still finds a way to defy them.




BROOKLYN NETS (50-34) at CHICAGO BULLS (46-38) Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Chicago -3.5 & 181.5
2013-04-27

The Bulls looked miserable in March Madness Challenge Game 1, but responded with an eight-point victory, 90-82, over the Nets in Game 2. That is how the season has looked all season. It hasnt been pretty at times for Chicago, but the club eventually finds a way to get the job done. The Nets are 4-2 ATS (1-5 SU) at United Center over the past three seasons, and have also been a great road team at 23-18 (SU and ATS) overall this season. The Bulls have struggled to put teams away on their home court, going 13-28 ATS (32percent) despite a decent 24-17 SU mark. Brooklyn is 7-5 SU (8-4 ATS) with exactly two days' rest, but Chicago has been horrible in this scenario, going 7-13 SU (6-14 ATS). And as poor of a wager that the Nets have been after an SU loss this season (14-19 ATS, 42percent), the Bulls are only 16-29 ATS (36percent) following an SU win.

The Nets looked great in Saturday's Game 1, but were horrendous in Monday's Game 2. They were out-rebounded 44-39 and shot just 35.4percent from the field (4-of-21 threes) as a team. PG Deron Williams must do a better job on Thursday, because as he goes, the team goes. In Game 1 he was brilliant (22 points), but in Game 2 he couldnt hit a shot (1-for-9 FG) nor was he aggressive enough in finding his rhythm, finishing with just eight points, but also dishing out 10 assists with a mere two turnovers. C Brook Lopez continues to play well for Brooklyn as he tallied 21 points (7-of-14 FG), five rebounds and three blocks in Monday's loss. PF Reggie Evans didnt rebound the ball like he normally does though, finishing with just eight rebounds and a minus-12 rating on Monday. The Nets are going to need SG Joe Johnson to perform better if they are going to take control back in this series. Johnson went 6-for-18 against the Bulls in Game 2 for 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. He will need to start shooting the ball better to give the Nets a second go-to option on the wing. SF Gerald Wallace also needs to show up on Thursday after a horrendous Game 2 where he scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting with a game-worst, minus-16 rating.

The Bulls responded well to the 106-89 beating they took in Game 1, and came back and won Game 2 by holding Brooklyn to 82 points. Chicago dominated the third quarter of the game, winning that period 22-11 and never looking back after that. SF Luol Deng stepped up on Monday after he was seemingly absent in Game 1. Deng went 7-of-17 from the field with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. His defense was also superb, as he finished with two blocks and one steal. PF Carlos Boozer continued to play well for Chicago with 13 points and 12 rebounds, giving him 19.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the series. The X-factor in this series is C Joakim Noah, who has been playing despite a nagging foot injury. Noah was non-existent in Game 1 with four points and five rebounds, but played very well in his 25 minutes in Game 2, tallying a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. If the Bulls can get more positive minutes from C Nazr Mohammed, who scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting Monday, it will really ease the burden on head coach Tom Thibodeau. PG Nate Robinson has also had a strong series offensively with 14.0 PPG on 52percent shooting.



March Madness Bracket
2015-02-15

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NBA: Game 4 Bettors looking for Heroes and Goats
2010-06-10

Maybe Boston’s Paul Pierce will be right after all, the Celtics might not be going back to Los Angeles, just for all the wrong reasons. Boston was outhustled, outplayed and coughed up home court advantage In Game 3. Once again, it appears that if you bet the Lakers to win the NBA championship, the odds are mostly certainly stacked in your favor. Boston will at least try to even the series at two games apiece when it hosts the Lakers Thursday night as 3.5-point favorites according to Sportsbook.com.

After L.A. won the opening game, Phil Jackson’s imposing size and demeanor was appearing even larger with his team’s 47-0 record leading 1-0 in a series. After losing the second game at the star-studded Staples Center, the Lakers added one more to 18-6 ATS record when they are tied in a series and the team that wins the crucial third game of a NBA Finals best of seven is 28-4 to be crowned champs.

Lakers Heroes

Think back, way back to the opening L.A. and Oklahoma City series when Russell Westbrook of the Thunder was making Derek Fisher look older than Emmett Smith in the “Just for Men” commercials. Fisher overcame disastrous playoff start and has increasingly become more a factor in each series. With Kobe Bryant not his usual self, Fisher took it upon himself to close-out the Celtics, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the final 12 minutes.

“He won the game for them,’’ said Boston coach Doc Rivers. “Derek Fisher was the difference in the game.’’

Another reason for why Los Angeles was able to emerge victorious at TD Garden and move to 37-20 ATS as underdogs was the continued appearance of Lamar Odom. After being saddled with five quick fouls the first two tilts, Odom scored 12 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting and snaring five rebounds.

“I was able to get into a nice rhythm,’’ Odom said. “I stayed composed. I took what they gave me.’’

Celtics’ Goats

NBA coaches continually preach in the playoffs – The last game is the last game, put it behind you.

Ray Allen suffered that lesson the hard way and has to follow that advice moving forward. After unprecedented three-point shooting display in Los Angeles, Allen returned to Boston and put up an unlucky 13 shots, none that went thru the net. Fortunately, he missed being in the record books two games in a row, as Dennis Johnson, then with Seattle, was 0-14 in a NBA Finals game.

All of his shots looked flat,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t think he had any legs. Of his 13 shots, he had eight great looks. But all of his shots were short. And all of them were flat.’’ Allen’s inability to score left his team flat, as the Celtics fell to 18-29 ATS as a home favorite this season.

Pierce proved like the CEO of British Petroleum, talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. His 13 for 36 shooting in the Finals speaks volumes for Boston’s chances of winning this series.

Who’s thrown into the spotlight next?

Sportsbook.com has the Celtics as 3.5-point favorites to comeback and even the series with total of 190. In order for this to occur Boston’s Big Three has to stay out of foul trouble (which could be difficult with the horrible officiating towards both teams) and be collectively productive. The C’s are 6-1 ATS after SU loss and Kendrick Perkins has to start putting in the same kind of effort Glen Davis is.

Pierce and teammates have to better execute on screen and rolls, because Ron Artest is in Pierce’s grill otherwise. Rajon Rondo was a non-factor starting halfway thru the second period, that can’t happen again. Though it seems opposite, Boston has played better at faster tempo in this series and is 17-7 OVER off an upset loss as a home favorite.

Andrew Bynum reinjured his ailing knee Tuesday and it would seem doubtful he will be much of a factor, thrusting Odom more prominently into the next contest. The Lakers are 8-4 ATS off a triumph and were somewhat fortunate Fisher was there to bail them out.

The good news is Bryant seldom has two games in a row this time of year where he isn’t clutch, but Tony Allen does give him fits. Gasol could use more than 11 shots like the last contest, but needs to work harder to demand the ball. His team is 9-1 UNDER after allowing 85 points or less this season.

ABC has Game 4 at 9:00 Eastern and the club that shoots the higher percentage is 7-1 and 6-1-1 ATS in previous eight meetings.

The StatFox Power Line shows Boston by 4, only slightly higher than the actual price.