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A Look Ahead In The NBA Playoffs

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As the regular season enters its final days, there are still as many questions as answers when it comes to how the playoffs will shape up. Only one playoff game is set in stone in either conference, so unlike some years, these final matches are of vital importance. Let’s see what is in store.

Three crucial games in the Eastern Conference

The sixteenth playoff spot is a direct battle between the Detroit Pistons, who are currently at 40-41 and the Charlotte Hornets on 39-42. For the sports betting fraternity, those looking to make the best use of free bet offers from their online bookmakers might find the constantly shifting odds a little difficult to keep up with. Right now, those looking for a safer bet but at shorter odds are backing the Pistons, as all they need is to either beat the Knicks in their last regular season game or for the Hornets to lose to the Magic and they will be through. The Hornets, on the other hand need a little help from fate, as both a win for themselves and a loss for Detroit is what is needed in order for them to scrape through.

Those two games are, therefore, the ones that will be truly under the microscope, but there are other factors at play in working out the final seedings. Seeds one to five are now established, and we know the Celtics will face the Pacers in round one. Beyond that, however, much depends on the result of the games mentioned above, and also how the game between the Heat and the Nets pans out.

The Heat are no longer in contention, but they can still affect the playoffs. If they win and if Detroit make the playoffs, the Nets will be seeded seven. A win for the Nets, on the other hand, will guarantee a sixth seed berth and will mean they face the third seeded Philadelphia 76ers.

Seeding in the Western Conference down to the wire

The eight teams from the Western Conference have been set in stone with almost boring predictability for some weeks. However, who will play whom in the playoffs is still far from clear, even at the eleventh hour, and if the deadlock is not broken, we could end up in the convoluted world of NBA tiebreaker rules.

There are four games that will be instrumental here, and these are as follows:

  1. Nuggets at Jazz
  2. Rockets at Thunder
  3. Timberwolves at Nuggets
  4. Jazz at Clippers

If the Nuggets win games 1 and 3 above, they will be guaranteed number two seeding, while the Jazz need to win either game 1 or 4 to finish at least fifth seed. If the Rockets lose and the Blazers win their final two games against the Lakers and the Kings, then the Blazers are guaranteed the number three seed.

Prepare for some classic playoff games

While it might be a case of the usual suspects, the open field as far as seedings are concerned shows just how tightly fought these playoff games will be. Settle back and enjoy, as this year, the NBA is set for one of the most thrilling conclusions to the season in memory.

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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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