The NBA season is deep into its second half, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every key moment from the night before in one place.
1) NBA championship odds with one month to go
With just one month to go in the NBA regular season, nothing feels settled — at least when it comes to the NBA championship. This is the most wide-open race in years, with even the defending champs in Los Angeles and the stacked roster in Brooklyn facing questions of health and chemistry. It feels like anyone’s race.
For clarity, we turn to Las Vegas.
Well, not exactly Vegas — it’s not a city built on a foundation of clear-eyed decisions by visitors — but we are turning to bookmakers, who don’t mess around with their money and make analyzed, thought-out decisions. What are the bookmakers saying about the next NBA champion?
Brooklyn Nets +225
Los Angeles Lakers +350
Los Angeles Clippers +500
Milwaukee Bucks +650
Utah Jazz +800
Philadelphia 76ers +1200
Phoenix Suns +2000
Miami Heat +2500
Denver Nuggets +3000
Boston Celtics/Dallas Mavericks +4000
(PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.)
• Remember, betting odds reflect the market more than a bookmaker’s thinking alone (a lot of money on a team will move the line).
• The Nets and Lakers are the deserving favorites out of each conference, but a bet on either is a bet on them getting and staying fully healthy.
• Not much love for the 76ers; oddsmakers and betters do not seem to believe in them.
• The longer odds for Utah and Phoenix should not be a surprise considering both rosters are untested on the biggest of stages (this Utah roster has seen the playoffs before but still has a lot to prove).
• Denver would have been a good longer-odds bet before the Jamal Murray injury.
Read into these odds as much or as little as you wish, but this is where the betting lines stand with one month to go in a murky and hard-to-predict season.
2) Bam Adebayo hits game-winner; Kevin Durant leaves with injury
For the Nets, this game started with a “not this again” moment.
It ended with Bam Adebayo and the Heat celebrating.
Adebayo deserved to celebrate. He made the play. Miami had the final shot in a tied game, and with Jimmy Butler out, it fell to Adebayo. He got the ball, faced up and isolated against Jeff Green, drove left and got to his baseline spot 13 feet out, pulled up, and nailed the game-winner.
Adebayo finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Heat win. Goran Dragic added 18 off the bench for the Heat.
Landry Shamet led the Nets with 30, but the big story was another injury to Kevin Durant.
This is the same leg where a sore hamstring recently had Durant out for 24 games. He will be re-evaluated on Monday to see the severity, but hopefully he is just day-to-day.
3) Resilliant Knicks keep on winning… and Stan Van Gundy is pissed
The final seconds of regulation say plenty about the teams in this game.
New York was down 103-100 but with the ball and 7.8 seconds left to find the equalizer. The never-say-die team got it when Derrick Rose drove the lane and kicked it into the corner to an open Reggie Bullock, who drained the shot and forced overtime.
REGGIE BULLOCK IN THE CLUTCH pic.twitter.com/ryRF5UkKaE
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 18, 2021
From there, the Knicks took charge and went on to win 122-112.
It’s a victory that’s a testament to the resiliency of the Knicks.
Unless you’re Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy, then it’s just maddening.
Van Gundy gave specific instructions to his team in the timeout before Rose’s drive to foul — give up two free throws, just don’t let New York take a three. Not only did Eric Bledsoe and the other Pelicans not foul Rose, but also Lonzo Ball left Bullock in the corner to help on Rose’s drive to the rim — a Rose layup would have had the Pelicans still up by one, but Bullock’s three forced OT. It was a series of errors, and after the game Van Gundy was not forgiving.
“Today is simple. Nobody had to make a play. Nobody had to make a play, make a shot, make a pass. You didn’t have to do anything. You just had to do what the hell you were supposed to do. High school guys could’ve executed down the stretch. With 7.8 seconds, high school guys could’ve done what they’re supposed to do.”
With the loss, the Pelicans now sit as the 11 seed, three games out of the final play-in spot. That’s not easy to make up with a month left in the season.