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NBA Championship Contenders at the Quarter Pole

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The season is roughly a quarter of the way through and we’ve had more than our fair share of surprises thus far. If we would have told you before the season began that the Golden State Warriors would be ambling along in fourth place in the West would you have asked suggested that another round of cocktails might not be the wisest choice? We certainly couldn’t blame you but here the defending champions sit at 16-9, matching their loss total for the entire season back in 2015-2016.

Without further ado, let’s give a couple of quick hits as well as the corresponding NBA odds for a championship title being dealt by the best online sportsbooks found all over at Sportsbook Review.

Fab Five

  1. Golden State Warriors (-150) – Only a team like Golden State could still be considered the prohibitive favorite with three other teams above them in the Western Conference standings. Draymond Green has been on the shelf since November 15th, suffering from a sprained right toe, and the Warriors have gone 6-6 straight up without the six-year veteran in the lineup and won’t likely see him dress for another week or more. In addition, center Damian Jones is out for the season with a torn left pectoral muscle, which has left the champs thin in the post. But that hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from making GSW the favorites to repeat as NBA champions.
  2. Toronto Raptors (+800) – The Raps were viewed as paper tigers by many before the season started after tearing through the 2017-2018 regular season with 59 wins and garnering the top seed in the East before they were swept in the second round by the Cavaliers. Toronto was not content and fired their Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey, and promoted Nick Nurse to take the helm. The Raptors are proving the pundits wrong and the NBA odds seem to back that up as they currently own the best record in the league and have won 10 of 13 in front of their rabid fans at Scotiabank Arena.
  3. Boston Celtics (+1100) – The Celtics were supposed to be a force of nature this season with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to claim the East and make a charge at the Warriors. Well, things haven’t exactly turned out that way as Hayward has just now found his groove as a valuable sixth man off the bench as opposed to an underachieving starter. Jaylen Brown has been hindered by injuries and is not playing up to par while backup Terry Rozier, who looked silky smooth in Irving’s stead late last year, is grumbling that he’s no longer in the spotlight. However, the Green Machine has won three straight and seems to be turning the corner.
  4. Houston Rockets (+1200) – If you want to know how long the NBA season is, imagine a team that is currently under .500 being tagged as having the fourth-best chance to win the NBA championship. If the season ended today, the Rockets would not even be in the postseason but as we all know, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But a healthy Houston team is a winning Houston team as evidenced by the fact that the Rockets have lost all five games when Chris Paul has been out of the lineup while dropping two of three when Harden was sidelined with a hamstring injury. When healthy, the Rockets are very much a team to beat.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (+1500) – A one-hundred dollar bill will net you $1500 if you bet the Sixers to win the title six months from now. Philadelphia’s bevy of high draft picks are bearing fruit and after adding the talented Jimmy Butler to their roster, they are officially for real. Nevertheless, the Markelle Fultz experiment continues with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft being hindered by shoulder issues. It’s too early to tell whether this pick has bust written all over it but the Sixers are certainly talented enough to get by and challenge without him.

The next evolution of basketball news, information and rumors.

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The Fight Against NBA Geo-blocking

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Historically, soccer has been the undisputed sport of choice for most of the world to play and watch. With very few exceptions such as North America and a few cricket countries, the popularity of soccer has been basically without challenge. But in recent years, this dominance has been subject to serious competition.

The rise of basketball and its popularity has taken some experts by surprise. Originally confined to North America since its inception in Canada around a century ago, basketball is fast gaining a massive international following. Indeed, the NBA has been keen to capitalize on this trend, not only performing exhibition matches around the world, but also taking in players from popular markets.

With the rise in popularity of online streaming worldwide, the NBA has also jumped on the bandwagon, with its official streaming site now the premiere outlet where fans can stream NBA games for their viewing pleasure.

Unfortunately, not everything smells like roses. Even the NBA is not immune from the scourge that is geo-blocking. Far too often, fans in the United States and around the world look forward to watching their favorite team play a long-standing enemy team, only to find out that their market has been restricted from viewing the game live, thereby depriving fans from catching their favorite player or team at the time of their choosing.

How Does This Happen?

Many have wondered how this frustration came into being. Indeed, just about every major streaming service practices some degree of geographic discrimination, but it seems odd to many that the NBA would do the same seeing as they are the ones who own the rights to the games their players play in.

Sad to say, there is more to this than meets the eye. What the NBA usually does is it sells these broadcasting rights to cable or streaming networks for a handsome royalty. They will have the exclusive right to broadcast the game live and even the NBA will have to resign itself to posting the game at least three hours after the fact.

To make matters even more complicated, most of the networks that purchase these exclusive rights do so only for certain geographic locations. Most of these networks are not fully national in their broadcasting reach and therefore purchase regional exclusivity. What this means is that viewers outside this exclusive zone are still able to use their NBA league pass to watch the game live on the NBA site. Only those who fall within the zone’s exclusive domain get greatly inconvenienced by this.

VPNs to the Rescue

This is where VPNs come into play. The main features of a good VPN service will be more than sufficient in ensuring that netizens will be able to not only stream any NBA game they wish, but also stay out of trouble while doing so.

This is generally done in a two-step process. The first step is through the use of alternate IP addresses. Once you have installed your VPN service on your device and have it activated, simply go to the list of alternate IP addresses the VPN has to offer. A good VPN service will have a good variety of addresses to choose from in anticipation of customers looking to bypass geo-blocking.

Be sure to choose an IP address that falls outside the exclusive broadcasting zone of the local network. Once you have finalized and locked in your selection, the VPN will then reroute any and all exchanges by default through one of their servers located in the IP address location you chose.

What this will do is give the impression to anyone looking from the outside that you indeed reside where your alternate IP address says you reside. In fact, the internet will be so convinced that you indeed reside in your alternate IP address that you will be shown ads that are specific to that region.

For example, if you reside in the Midwest and choose an IP address somewhere in the Deep South, you might very well be shown ads of Waffle House even though you only have IHOP where you live. This is because the alternate IP address feature is so convincing that no one is the wiser to it.

The second step that makes sure you can consistently get away with this is the encryption protection feature. What this basically does is it covers every exchange going in and out of your device in a layer of high-quality encryption. The main purpose of this was to ensure that even if the exchanges were intercepted by unscrupulous hackers, the information would be so scrambled that their efforts would have been for nothing.

VPN`s Are Essential To Overcome The Geo-Blocking Hurdle

This feature is very important for the purposes of overcoming geo-blocking because of the disciplinary measures that NBA and most other streaming services have put in place. In most cases, the steaming services have some sort of firewall designed to catch people in the act of faking their IP address.

This is where the encryption software becomes so indispensable. The encrypting of all information going in and out of the protected device means that no one can decipher the information as long as it remains scrambled by the encryption program.

This means that no one knows exactly what you are up to simply because they cannot interpret anything. The most anyone can know about what you are doing is that you are using a lot of bandwidth, but they cannot accuse you of anything because they have no proof whatsoever.

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The Greatest NBA Scorer of 2019: James Harden

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The NBA star James Harden is today the closest scorer to beat the world record imposed by Wilt Chamberlain, who shocked the world with 100 points in one game; that was on April 3 of 1962, the day that Chamberlain made history in the basketball world.

After retirement, many good scorers have passed by the NBA, just like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Kevin Durant. They have marked the NBA’s history in the past decade. Right now, the one who is closest to brake that record is James Harden, known as “The Beard”.

James Harden from the Rockets has the best scoring average in NBA right now, 36.1 points per game; and he keeps growing his potential. 

James Harden’s Games

There are many good reasons to bet James Harden’s Rockets, the first of them is the good progress they are getting in this season. If you want to know more numbers, in his latest plays he got 55 points against Cavs and 54 against the Magic; these are 109 points in only two games.

If Harden keeps improving, he could be able to beat Chamberlain’s 100 points per game record. Otherwise, if we talk about other records in Harden’s season, we could see that he scored 60% of field shots, 60.6% for triples and 100% in free shots. Records have always been the weakness of this basketball player, but he has improved even that; the reason why we can believe he is really the best NBA scorer of all history; the numbers speak for their own.

In this season, Harden has played in at least 24 games and the total average of his season is 39.3 points per game. If we compare those records with Wilt’s best records in the Warriors, we find that the major average of the legend was 50.4 points per game.

Harden’s good performance has improved the statistics of the Rockets in the season; that’s why bets in favor of this particular basketball team have increased on the best online casinos and sports betting websites reviewed at sites such as Casinoshark.com

What can we expect from James Harden’s NBA Career?

We have many reasons to think that we can expect good things from this basketball player in the future. He has beaten many other scorers that, in the past decades were the main sensation of the NBA.

James Harden has the world’s eyes over him and many expect a lot from him. So, if he does beat Chamberlain’s record, he will become the second player in making history as the way the legend Wilt Chamberlain did by his time.

If everything goes well for him, there is no reason to believe he is not able to do it.

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Can Miami Heat Sustain Hot Start?

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The Miami Heat continued their impressive start to the 2019/20 NBA season with an overtime victory over the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, proving themselves as surprise contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Erik Spoelstra’s men missed the playoffs last season and were not expected to make a charge this term. However, Jimmy Butler has been an astute signing following his move to the franchise during the off-season, while rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn have hit the ground running.

Miami are keeping pace with the leaders in the Eastern Conference that were anticipated to be in contention to reach the NBA Finals. The question now is whether they will be able to maintain their strong start amid tough competition from the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and the Raptors.

Consistency

The Heat will base their surge for the playoffs on the basis of their performances at American Airlines Arena. At the time of writing, Spoelstra’s men are 8-0 on home court, which is easing the pressure on their displays on the road. They were able to play with freedom in their win over the Raptors as confidence has been flowing through the team. As a result, it could be worth considering their odds of 10/1 with Betway to win the Eastern Conference given the value and the fact they’ve also conquered the Bucks this term. It has been a stark contrast to their performances last season.

In the last campaign, the Heat struggled in front of their supporters, with a 19-22 record. The team has found the consistency to their displays, although there has been a pattern to their victories and their defeats. When the Heat has scored over 100 points they’ve have ended on the winning end more often than not – dropping two games to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets.

Their other defeats have come when they’ve been held under 90 points to quality outfits on the road. The Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers have been able to stop their flow, although it’s a good sign for the future that the only blemishes on their record to date have been against the elite of the NBA, proving once again that the Heat are in it for the long haul.

Sustaining Performance Levels

Butler is a proven commodity in the NBA and has lived up to the billing since he arrived in Miami, with Josh Richardson moving in the opposite direction. The 30-year-old is thriving on being the centerpiece under Spoelstra, supporting the younger members of the roster alongside Goran Dragic.

The Heat do not have a lot of experience in their side, making the performances of Butler essential to their success. It’s no surprise to see when he has not performed to a high level the team has tended to struggle. Butler has been exceptional thus far at both ends of the court, but he cannot be expected to carry Miami through the rigors of an 82-game season and the playoffs.

Bam Adebayo is developing into a solid presence on the court in the defensive third. He has been a key factor in getting the ball back for the Heat, averaging 10.4 defensive rebounds per game. It needs to be the standard for the 22-year-old, while Justise Winslow also needs to take his game to the next level after a solid start to the term. The two players have enough experience in the NBA to know their games, easing the pressure on the rookies.

Herro and Nunn have been excellent in their opening burst of games, with the latter catching early attention for the rookie of the year award after being named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for November. It’s encouraging for the Heat to see such performances from their two rising stars, although it remains to be seen whether they can match those performance levels throughout the season.

Verdict?

The Heat are a team on the rise after years of underachievement. Spoelstra is proving that he can coach without elite talent on his team. However, given the quality of competition in the Eastern Conference, it might be a year too soon for Miami due to them being dependent on the performances of their rookies, who are untested in the heat of intense matches down the stretch.

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