Three Things to Know: Latest NBA championship, MVP odds

2021 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics
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Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.

1) Here’s the latest NBA championship, MVP odds

Everyone still fears the potential of the Brooklyn Nets.

Despite the recent slump (and Kevin Durant being out), despite Kyrie Irving being in and out of the lineup, despite the fact we have seen the “Big Three” for just two games, when it comes to betting on winning the championship, it’s still all about the Nets.

Let’s look at the latest championship odds via our official sports betting partner PointsBet.

Brooklyn Nets +250
Golden State Warriors +475
Phoenix Suns +650
Milwaukee Bucks +700
Utah Jazz +1000
Miami Heat +1400
Los Angeles Lakers +1600
Philadelphia 76ers +2000
Los Angeles Clippers +2200
Chicago Bulls +2500

The smart and safest bets right now would be the Suns and Bucks — Phoenix is the best team in the NBA right now, and the Bucks are putting together a run in the East that makes them the most likely to advance (at least in my eyes). Those two teams have proven they will be there in the end.

My favorite bet on the board is the Heat at +1400 — that is a team built for playoff basketball. They have the star who can get them there in Jimmy Butler, a versatile and athletic All-Star big in Bam Adebayo, the veteran point guard who has a ring in Kyle Lowry, plenty of shooting, and a large cast of versatile and outstanding role players that allows Erik Spoelstra to match up with anyone. With the Bucks and the Nets not blowing our doors off yet, the Heat look like a team with a legitimate shot to come out of the East and win it all.

If you’re thinking of betting on either Los Angeles team to win a title, donate that money to charity where it can do some good.

Let’s take a look at the latest MVP race odds, here are the top five:

Giannis Antetokounmpo +275
Stephen Curry +275
Joel Embiid +375
Nikola Jokic +400
Ja Morant +1600

Jokic at +400 seems a good bet among those if he and the Nuggets can win enough games to get voters — some of whom consider team wins a factor — to consider him for the top spot.

The best bet is not on that board: LeBron James is +4000. That seems high. It will be hard for him to win it with the Lakers hanging around .500, but if you’re in the Kevin Love “they can turn this around” camp then LeBron’s odds look very good because he has played at an MVP level.

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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.

2) Kevin Love makes his Sixth Man of the Year case against Knicks

Speaking of betting, the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love is a long shot at +8000 at Points Bet to win NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Those odds are too long, he has played himself into the conversation at the very least. (Tyler Herro is the runaway favorite at PontsBet at -601, and while he should be the betting favorite, he’s not running away with it to the point there are no other good options on the board).

Love made his case at Madison Square Garden scoring 20 — including nine straight in a 3-point barrage at one point — to lead the Cavaliers to a 95-93 win over the Knicks Monday night.

Runaway Rookie of the Year favorite Evan Mobley scored 15 points with 12 rebounds, and Isaac Okoro added 14 points for the Cavaliers. Don’t look now, but Cleveland is hot again and has won 7-of-8.

The Knicks were down by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, but rallied to make it a game and give themselves a chance with a Julius Randle long 3 at the buzzer, but it fell short.

3) Zach LaVine returns, Bulls hang on for win against Thunder

While there are legitimate concerns about the Bulls and their defense with Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball both out, there was good news Monday night:

Zach LaVine was back.

He scored 23 after missing five games with a bruised knee, and he looked comfortable out there.

Well, at least until the fourth quarter. LaVine was part of a late-game meltdown by the Bulls that made this a game late. The Thunder upped their defensive pressure and it was evident how much the Bulls missed Ball and Caruso as ball handlers (plus DeMar DeRozan had the night off for rest).

OKC had trailed by 28 in the third but got it to the point Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a chance to tie it in the final seconds with a 3 but missed the shot.

The Bulls had lost 6-of-7 and needed that win, and the spark LaVine brings.

Highlight of the Night: Javonte Green dunks over two Thunder defenders

This dunk by the Bull’s Javonte Green is impressive, but it’s Stacy King’s reaction on the broadcast that makes this awesome.

Last night’s scores:

Cavaliers 95, Knicks 92
New Orleans 117, Indiana 113
Chicago 111, Oklahoma City 110
Phoenix 115, Utah 109