Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One

Heat, Thunder favored by oddsmakers to return to the Finals


The season hasn’t even been over for 24 hours yet, but you can already get some action down on who will win the 2013 NBA title. And not surprisingly, at this ridiculously early stage, the Heat and the Thunder are equal 5-2 favorites to win the championship next season.

The Bulls are next in line at 5-1, followed by the Spurs at 7-1, Lakers at 12-1, and Mavericks at 15-1. After that, we start to get into some pretty far-fetched territory, with the Celtics and Pacers at 20-1, and the Nuggets, Clippers, Magic, and Grizzlies all at 30-1.

Even further from the title in Vegas’ eyes are the Knicks, Sixers, and Hawks at 60-1. Everyone else stands at 100-1, which likely isn’t tempting enough to put even a dollar down on teams like the Kings or the Hornets.

If you’re psychotic and like throwing money in the trash, then betting the outcome of the NBA season a year in advance without knowing what teams’ rosters will ultimately look like after trades and free agency is definitely the way to go. But if you’re determined to get something down — or even make a choice for, you know, entertainment purposes only — there are a few interesting ones to look at.

The Lakers at 12-1 isn’t bad from a value standpoint, considering they are a virtual lock to get to at least the second round of the playoffs even if they do absolutely nothing to improve the talent on their roster. The Mavericks are an even better value, but only if you believe the buzz that Deron Williams will end up there in free agency.

Beyond that, only the Clippers seem like a team on the fringe that could make that type of run. But again, with so many variables in play, not to mention the injury factor, it’s virtually impossible to make a compelling case for anyone at this point.

Except maybe the two teams we just saw play in the Finals, which is why it’s no surprise they’re the favorites to make it back next season.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.