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NBA PM: Grizzlies’ Stokes a Diamond in the Rough

The Memphis Grizzlies may have landed the steal of the 2014 NBA Draft by selecting Jarnell Stokes 35th overall. …

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Grizzlies Find Diamond in the Rough in Stokes

Jarnell Stokes had mixed emotions on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft.

On one hand, he was disappointed. He had hoped to be a first-round pick, but he slipped into the second round and was ultimately selected 35th overall. Stokes watched as player after player came off of the board before him, many of whom hadn’t experienced the success that the 6’9 forward had at Tennessee. It was frustrating for the 20-year-old, but he remained patient and waited to hear his name.

On the other hand, when he was finally picked, he was thrilled because he landed in a perfect situation. The Utah Jazz drafted Stokes, but traded his rights to the Memphis Grizzlies shortly after. Once he realized that he was landing in Memphis, where he was born and raised, Stokes cheered up. Now, he could stay close to his family and friends and continue to play in Tennessee. He was also excited about the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies, a playoff team in need of a reserve power forward. Suddenly, slipping to the second round didn’t seem so bad, since he was staying home and entering a situation where he could potentially play from day one.

“On draft night I was able to draw interest from a lot of teams, but apparently no team had been sold on me as their primary guy,” Stokes told Basketball Insiders. “But I really feel like I’m in a very good situation by being drafted by the Grizzlies because that’s the team I really wanted to be on in the first place.”

Stokes’ family is thrilled that he’s staying close to home, and he’s looking forward to remaining involved in his siblings’ lives.

“I feel like out of everyone my little sister was the happiest,” Stokes said with a laugh. “The happiest moment for me is just to be able to be here for my little sister and my little brother, Isaiah, who’s also going to be a highly recruited prospect coming up soon. Tomorrow I have a 6 a.m. workout with the Grizzlies, and I want to have him in the NBA environment at all times.”

Stokes is determined to show teams that they made a mistake passing on him, using the fact that he fell to the second round as motivation. Sure, some players were younger or taller, but few produced on his level in college.

Last season at Tennessee, Stokes averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds. He was even more dominant during the NCAA Tournament, averaging 18 points and 12.75 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field and leading the Volunteers to Sweet Sixteen. He ranked eighth in the nation in win shares and finished second in double-doubles among all Division I players. He feels like his college success should’ve helped his draft stock more, but now he’s prepared to use the slight as a chip on his shoulder.

“I think I’ll definitely be able to use it as extra motivation because, in college, I feel as I was the best power forwards who entered the draft,” Stokes said. “The fact that guys are able draw interest from these teams off of little 11-and-10 numbers – underwhelming numbers – [and based on potential], it kind of bothers me. I produced in college and I still was overlooked by a bunch of teams. But I feel like the Grizzlies really like me. I’m working out every day with some of the coaches for the Grizzlies, developing a great relationship with them.”

During the Orlando Summer League, Stokes scored in double figures in all five games and averaged 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds – strong numbers similar to the ones he put up at Tennessee. While he admits that the 24-second shot clock and tougher competition will take getting used to, he believes his transition to the NBA will be smoother. During summer league, he started to learn the Grizzlies’ offensive and defensive concepts and the coaches worked with him on small details like pick-and-roll coverage. Now, back in Memphis, he’s working with the coaching staff every day and becoming more and more comfortable with the team’s system.

“I feel like the coaches are really giving me a lot of feedback and it’s not always positive feedback, but that means they have an interest in you and care for you,” Stokes said. “I think these coaches are really working with me; they aren’t neglecting me or anything. Right now, I’m just fighting for minutes and that’s the biggest thing. I do whatever they say.

“I think the biggest thing right now for a rookie who’s trying to fight for minutes are the small things. I’ve got Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and guys like that who can score, so there’s no need for me to be trying to do too much right now.”

Stokes can’t wait to be around Randolph and Gasol on a daily basis, so he can pick their brains. Most rookies don’t get the chance to learn from one of the best frontcourts in the league. Stokes knows this, and he’s not going to let the opportunity go to waste.

“I’m very excited to learn from them,” Stokes said. “Zach Randolph is a guy who found a way to make it happen [and have success in the league]. He’s not the prototypical power forward that most teams are looking for, yet night in and night out he still finds a way to get a double-double. He’s definitely a guy who I have looked up to. I’m just looking forward to being on the same floor as those guys and just learning. … Randolph was a guy who, similar to me, was doubted throughout this process. Guys said he couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that, but he just continuously proves guys wrong. There is no such thing as being undersized. Every team I talked to said, ‘You’re not tall enough to play the power forward position.’ I think Zach Randolph is a master at the power forward position. That’s someone I’m looking forward to learning from. I was watching tapes on Zach Randolph and how he gets rebounds without jumping, how he is able use leverage and use his body, it amazes me.”

With Ed Davis leaving the Grizzlies to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, Stokes may be in the rotation backing up Randolph right away. He hasn’t talked about his role with Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger yet, but he’s hopeful he can prove himself and earn minutes.

“I hope I can contribute right away,” Stokes said. “Honestly, I feel like I’m good enough, but until I’m able to prove myself to Joerger and his coaching staff, I can’t say. It’s too early. I know right now my job is to rebound, set hard screens, run the floor and just work to get in the best shape of my life. I just have to show that I’m not an offensive liability and continue to improve within those areas. I think in time, I’ll be ready.”

Stokes couldn’t be happier in Memphis and his first impression of the Grizzlies organization has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone has welcomed him with open arms, from the players to the coaches to the executives.

“I’ve talked to the GM [Chris Wallace] here a couple times,” Stokes said. “It’s been great, I feel like he’s been really helpful as I go through this process. He’s taking steps that most GMs wouldn’t do; he’s almost like a friend to me right now. He really cares about his draft prospects, as I’m learning. As far as Coach Joerger, he told me he would like to see me just compete and be an energy guy and work my way up from the bottom, along with Jordan [Adams]. He said we’ll both have to work our way up from the bottom. I think those guys just want to win; they’ll put out the best available players on the court.”

While draft night didn’t go as Stokes planned, he’s just happy that the pre-draft process is over and he can finally focus on his NBA career.

“It feels good; I’m happy I don’t have to live out of a suitcase anymore, I don’t have to be stuck on middle-row seats on airplane rides across the country,” Stokes said with a laugh. “I’m able to find a home and get to know the GM and get to know the coaches. As long as they like me, that’s what matters right now. I’m not really thinking about the draft right now. I’m just trying to get in good with the guys I’m going to be around for the next couple years.”

Bulls Excited to Bring Mirotic Into Fold

Ever since the Chicago Bulls selected Nikola Mirotic with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, fans have been anxiously awaiting his arrival in the United States.

He was widely regarded as one of the best players competing overseas and it was hard for people in Chicago to temper their excitement while Mirotic was winning multiple championships in Spain and filling his trophy case with honors like Euroleague Rising Star (twice), 2013 MVP of the Spanish League and 2014 MVP of the Spanish King’s Cup.

Now, Mirotic is finally on the Bulls’ roster after paying his buyout to Real Madrid and inking a three-year, $16.6 million contract with the team that drafted him. Mirotic will finally be able to play against the best players in the world, and be a part of one the NBA’s best frontcourts playing alongside Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson.

“What we feel we’re getting in Nikola is a guy that’s a real fit,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman told SLAM. “He’s a big that’s really skilled. He’s a spacing four that shoots the three very well. He’s versatile and can play inside and outside. He’s got a high basketball IQ. He’s got a motor. He’s got the type of makeup and character that we look for in players.”

“I’m excited to be here, to be part of this great historical team,” Mirotic told SLAM. “Finally I’m here. This is my first time to be in Chicago so to see every paper journalist here for me is a great feeling. I’m happy to be here and I want to start the preseason to do my job and my job is to play and work hard. … I think it’s a perfect time and moment to do one step is this year. I think that I can improve more things here in Chicago. I did a lot of things in Madrid. I won five titles so now I think it’s the moment to do the great job in Chicago. I think it’s a perfect group for me to improve and learn a lot of things, so I’m excited to be here.”

Mirotic is looking forward to playing with stars like Derrick Rose, Noah and Gasol in his rookie season.

“For me it’s a big pleasure to play with [Rose], Noah, and somebody with experience like Pau Gasol,” Mirotic said. “I think I can adapt good on the team. I think I can help them to play better and to open the court. I’m young so I know I have a lot of things to improve, especially my body. So I think we can do a great season, just we need to start good. I’m happy and I want to meet my new teammates. I’m in a great city, so I’m happy. … I like to create for the team. I like to put the ball on the floor. I like to run the court. I like to play pick-and-pop to the three-point line. This is the strongest thing in my game. Sure, I know that Chicago is a great defensive team so I need to help them in the defense. I need to improve so I think that I can help them a lot.”

One thing that Mirotic will have to get used to is a reduced role. He has been a star and focal point overseas, but that won’t be the case in Chicago, especially considering the Bulls have a loaded frontcourt. When asked if he’s prepared to come off of the bench, Mirotic seems hesitant to accept the role, before saying the right things.

“I don’t know,” Mirotic said. “It depends. It depends how coach wants to use me. I’m ready to accept my role on the team. In Madrid I’m always starter. For sure this is different. This is NBA. I don’t care if I start or don’t start. I have to do my job and I play, so that’s it.”

Everyone within the organization is excited about Mirotic’s arrival, as are the fans who have been tracking him since draft night in 2011. Now, the 23-year-old will finally don a Bulls jersey and show what he can do on basketball’s biggest stage.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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NBA Daily: Milwaukee Bucks Face Unique Situation

Despite a successful season, Tristan Tucker looks at why the Milwaukee Bucks face uncertainty regarding their future.

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Despite beating the dominant Brooklyn Nets in seven games, the Milwaukee Bucks face more uncertainty about their future than any other team in the playoffs. Last season, the Bucks accrued a 56-17 record that was good for best in the league. However, the team disappointed and saw a second-round exit at the hands of the Miami HEAT.

After that disappointing finish to a season that many believed would lead to an NBA Championship, the Bucks faced many criticisms. In response, Milwaukee rushed to fix many of those issues. Eric Bledsoe and a boatload of first-round picks were traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for defensive stalwart Jrue Holiday. The team then swapped out its bench rotation, filling it out with players like P.J. Tucker, Bobby Portis and Bryn Forbes. The Bucks even got older rookies Sam Merrill and Mamadi Diakite to play quick spot minutes.

But Milwaukee’s biggest criticism was one that was left unresolved: the coaching situation. Head coach Mike Budenholzer is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year winner. Budenholzer first won the award after getting the Atlanta Hawks over 60 wins in 2014-15. Then, he did it again with the Bucks two years ago. Despite his metal, Budenholzer’s rotation decisions were met with criticism and confusion during the heartbreaking loss to Miami in 2020. Many fans around the league noticed that many stars were playing well over 40 minutes in big games and never played less than 36. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s big names sat for extended periods of time.

For reference, Anthony Davis and LeBron James for the Los Angeles Lakers played over 36 minutes per game in the playoffs last season. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo did the same for the HEAT. Both of those teams moved on to the Finals. On the other hand, Khris Middleton led the team with 35.5 minutes per game in the playoffs while Giannis Antetokounmpo played just 30.8 minutes a night.

Despite this, Milwaukee’s brain trust kept Budenholzer into the 2020-21 season. And so far, that seems like the right decision. The Bucks came back in a big way in the playoffs, being the only team to sweep another team, Miami, in the first round. Then, the Bucks battled back into the series against the Nets, evening the series twice after falling back the same number of times before eventually overcoming the then-title favorites. The team is now matched up with the scorching-hot Hawks and has gone down 1-0 in the series.

All seems to be going relatively well for the Bucks despite the current series. Budenholzer seems to have learned his lesson, his stars are all playing over 37 minutes per game. In fact, the whole rotation seems to be clicking.

Middleton in particular put together the best postseason performance of his career in Game 6 against the Nets. The former All-Star ended that contest with 38 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, missing just five of his 16 shots. This isn’t new for Middleton, who is the face of consistency in the league. Outside of an injury-marred 2016-17 season, Middleton has averaged around 20 points per game for almost six straight years.

In each of the last two seasons, Middleton came within inches of securing a 50/40/90 season. Both seasons have seen a respectable amount of attempts from deep and the charity stripe. Middleton even became the go-to guy on offense for the Bucks. Just watch his and his teammates’ confidence in him as he buried a four-point play to ice Game 6 against Brooklyn:

It isn’t just Middleton. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing more aggressively as of late, securing 30 points on 20 field goal attempts in Game 6 against the Nets. “The Greek Freak” followed that performance up with a 40-point showing to clinch that series, officially avenging last year. In Milwaukee’s Game 1 loss to Atlanta, Antetokounmpo put up 34 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists in 41 minutes.

Holiday hasn’t had the best playoff stint of his career, but there’s no denying how absurdly better the team’s perimeter defense is with Holiday substituting for Bledsoe and George Hill. The team’s faith in Holiday paid off with a 33-point, 10-assist showing that saw the middle Holiday brother connect on five 3-pointers.

Some of the most notable changes came from Milwaukee’s bench. Forbes and Portis in particular took the next step as players this year. Both players took one-year bets on themselves in the offseason that are sure to result in paydays this summer. Portis and Forbes ranked third and fourth in the regular season in three-point percentage, respectively. Forbes in particular became notorious for how he torched the HEAT in the first round from deep.

And yet, despite the positives, the Bucks still face one of the biggest crossroads of any team in the playoffs. And it all depends on how deep this team can go.

Despite beating the Nets, Budenholzer is still on the hot seat. While Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the series win over Brooklyn will go a long way in determining Budenholzer’s future, the two-time Coach of the Year still hasn’t made the Finals as a head coach. If Budenholzer and the Bucks lose to the Hawks, who they are much better than on paper, it could have a ripple effect on the franchise. In fact, several reports indicate that the team is already looking at potential replacements if things go south.

It’s an odd turnaround for a team that is experiencing the high of knocking off the title favorites. Middleton had a poor Game 1, and the team likely doesn’t lose that game if he is clicking. But Budenholzer’s questionable rotation decisions still plagued the team, with seldom-used Jeff Teague seeing six critical minutes against Trae Young.

Firing a head coach especially one as successful as Budenholzer has been in the regular season is no small task. The move would likely come with several other staff and roster changes.

Despite how great Portis and Forbes have been for the team, it’s unlikely Milwaukee can afford either moving forward. Portis and Forbes both have player options for next season, Portis at $3.8 million and Forbes at $2.4 million. There’s no way either remains on the Bucks at that price with a weak free-agent class on the horizon. And unfortunately, the Bucks don’t have the money to re-sign either to a huge number.

That path would lead to the team being extremely aggressive with what money and assets it does have. The team reportedly agreed to trade Donte DiVincenzo — who is now out with injury — for Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade before Bogdanovic refused to be traded there. Other players like Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton have tradeable salaries and could help bring in another impact player.

If the Bucks went the distance, Budenholzer would most likely stay and the franchise would avoid a culture reset. Forbes and Portis probably still depart, but other free agents like Tucker would likely be more inclined to re-sign for a smaller salary.

In that case, the team would be more inclined to sit back and watch internal growth. Players like Jordan Nwora, Merrill or Diakite could fill the holes left by potential Forbes or Portis departures. That isn’t to say the team wouldn’t be aggressive, but there isn’t a team left in the playoffs that would see such a huge change if they were eliminated. 

Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns was a Coach of the Year finalist. The Suns have the assets for internal and external growth if eliminated. The Hawks vastly improved from the last season, and have a direct pathway to getting better through guys like De’Andre Hunter and Onyeka Okongwu. And the Los Angeles Clippers will likely retain Tyronn Lue and Kawhi Leonard this offseason, even if things go awry.

Unfortunately for Budenholzer, this is a unique situation. There haven’t been many do-or-die cases involving jobs this deep into the playoffs involving contenders. For Budenholzer, winning the title secures his job. If he fails to do so, it could spell the end of his Milwaukee tenure.

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Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers Game 3 predictions, picks and betting tips: Bet Home Court Dogs on Friday Night

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Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals takes place at 9pm ET on Friday. Our experts have made their predictions and betting picks for the Clippers vs Suns at the Staples Center.

Register an account with Bovada and bet on the 2021 NBA Finals with a $750 Free Bet.

Cynics will tell you that L.A. is a city of a million shattered dreams, and if Deandre Ayton’s last second alleyoop slam-dunk is anything to go by, those cynics aren’t exactly wrong.

The Phoenix Suns marched into a 2-0 series lead vs. the Clippers as a result of Ayton’s heroics. The 104-103 victory meant Monty Williams team now takes a firm grasp of the Western Conference finals.

Despite being down 2-0 in the series, it appears the average American bettor hasn’t given up hope on the Clippers staging part one of a comeback in game 3. Indeed, why would they? We’ve seen way over 400 teams return from a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs over the years. Plus, if Paul George (26 pts in Game 2) decides to wage war again, the Clippers do have half a chance, even without Leonard…

Besides, why wouldn’t you place a couple wagers on a mild underdog on the NBA betting lines?

All odds from Bovada Sportsbook. New customers get $750 free to bet on Suns @ Clippers

Western Conference Finals – Game 3: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns Moneyline Odds 

Phoenix Suns: -115

Los Angeles Clippers: -107

Western Conference Finals – Game 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns Spread (DraftKings NBA Playoff Odds)

Phoenix Suns -1

Los Angeles Clippers -1

Los Angeles Clippers Preview

Other than the pain of a last second defeat, the big news coming out of the Clippers camp remains the fact that the team’s best player, Kawhi Leonard, is still out injured.

Leonard had averaged over 30.0 points per game during the playoffs until going down with a knee injury towards the end of Game 4 vs. Utah in the last round. The current prognosis is not good – he will almost certainly miss out again.

There is series-hope for Clippers fans in the form of SG Paul George, who himself is averaging 26.6 points per game in the postseason; not to mention the fact that L.A. has twice before returned from a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. But they have to get something going in Game 3 – no team has ever returned from 3-0 down in NBA playoff history.

Nevertheless, what hope is left is dangling by a thread at present. Up against a full-strength Phoenix team that’s riding high on the confidence of a last-minute win, it’s going to be tough evening’s work for George, Jackson and co. come Thursday night.

That said, L.A. does have home-court advantage and di just lose by the 1 point. So, it’s little surprise the two teams have been given similar odds – Game 3 is anyone’s game.

Phoenix Suns Preview

The Suns did what they needed to do, took advantage of being at home for games 1 and 2 and now take a lead to LA. Game 2 was on a knife edge throughout, so they’re not as dominant over the Clippers as some may have thought, but the 2-0 lead is huge. As mentioned above, they’ll be hoping that Leonard can’t make it to the court on Thursday night, but even if he does, they can rely upon the likes of Devin Booker, Cameron Payne and game 2 hero Deandre Ayton to stifle the Clippers. They’ve now won 9 straight in the playoffs and they’ll take some stopping to make it 10.

Chris Paul is expected back from a stint on COVID protocol soon. But Game 3 might come too early. Expect Paul to miss out again.

Other than that, the Suns are surely shining bright en route to Los Angeles following Ayton’s heroics in the previous clash. The Clippers have caused them problems throughout the first two games, but the Suns seem to have that little bit extra in the tank: more guile; more nous, and, even if Leonard could take to the court with the Clippers, – arguably – more talent.

Devin Booker has been in superb form in the series thus far, putting up 40 points over the course of the first two contests – look for him on the player prop market.

Overall, there’s a reason the Suns have been made favorites by the NBA oddsmakers, and there’s no reason to expect anything other than a continuation of the their dominance in Game 3…

Western Conference Finals – Game 3: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction

We’ve spent all this time waxing lyrical about Phoenix, but the Clippers deserve a result. They have pulled out all the stops in the absence of Leonard and, in our humble opinion, eventually hard work pays off.

We are vouching for the homecourt underdogs on the moneyline: Clippers to win at -107

Register an account with Bovada and bet on the 2021 NBA Finals with a $750 Free Bet.

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NBA Finals Betting Odds : 2021 NBA Championship Odds Update as Conference Finals Continue

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The 2021 NBA Conference Finals are now underway and so look at the updated Championships odds for the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.

Register an account with Bovada and bet on the 2021 NBA Finals with a $750 Free Bet.

Few expected to see the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks L.A. Clippers, and Phoenix Suns make up the final four of the NBA Championship Playoffs. But each team has made it this far on merit, and the performances don’t lie – the cream always rises to the top.

In the Western Conference Final, DeAndre Ayton broke Clippers hearts last night when, with 0.5 seconds remaining in the fourth, he came up trumps with a sublime alleyoop dunk. Those 2 points put the Suns 104-103 ahead, as they took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

The Hawks are all set to travel to the Bucks for the first game of the Eastern Conference finals tonight, in a game that will see two of the NBA’s finest talents, Atlanta G Trae Young and Milwaukee PF Giannis Antetokounmpo come face to face.

2021 NBA Championship Odds

With games coming thick and fast and players bouncing into and out of form and IR in this year’s epic conference finals, it’s about time to check in and see what the sportsbooks make of all the action, as we take a look at the 2021 NBA odds for the 2021 national championship.

Clippers NBA Championship Odds Continue to Dwindle Without Kawhi Leonard

It’s hard not to feel bad for Clippers fans: without their superb small forward Kawhi Leonard, and the 25 points per game he tends to put up, life was always going to be tough vs. the Phoenix, even without the Suns having their electrifying playmaker Chris Paul out on court. And so, it has proven.

After that tough final second loss, the Clippers have seen their odds drop from +440 at the start of the playoffs to between +1500 (FanDuel). If they lose again on Thursday (June 24), expect to see the odds reach into the +infinity category, since no NBA team has EVER come back from 3-0 down in the playoffs.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue must now be thinking about just wheeling Kawhi Leonard out there in a wheelchair for one final assault. But don’t write his team off just yet: L.A came within 1point and they did that without their best player – there’s still a chance; they make it through and we’ll find out for sure come Thursday.

Los Angeles Clippers NBA Finals Odds: +1500 – Click HERE to bet with Bovada Online

Suns’ Odds to win NBA Championship Continue to Rise

The bad news for the Clippers is that Chris Paul is expected to be back in action for the Suns quickly. The diminutive playmaker broke COVID protocol, which was stupid, but did get himself vaccinated beforehand (not so stupid) and will be available sooner rather than later as a result.

Plus, Devin Booker more than carried the mantle in Paul’s absence during last night’s second meet. Booker put up 40 points in total as the Suns asserted their dominance.

It’s the strength in depth and the team’s ability to hurt its opposition all over the court that has seen the odds on the Suns continue to shorten. Monty Williams’ team began the playoffs as massive outsiders at +2500. But their odds are now just +115.

Phoenix Suns NBA Finals Odds: +115 – Click HERE to bet with Bovada Online

NBA Betting Lines not Favoring the Hawks

Atlanta’s incredible 4-3 series defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers is the stuff of legend and the Hawks deserve a tremendous amount of credit for pulling that result out of the bag; even if the 76ers were missing Joel Emblid for a few games.

Enough about that though. With players like G Trae Young to boast among the ranks, you’d give the Hawks a chance against anyone, including vs. the Bucks this evening.

That said, Milwaukee is a big ask for Nate McMillan’s team. During the regular season, the Bucks posted the highest field goal accuracy (91.8), the 2nd most rebounds per game, and the 5th most 3-pointers per game – they are a team that can punish you if given just half-a-chance.

Sorry Atlanta fans. But it seems likely to us that the McMillan Cinderella story ends here.

Then again… we’ve been wrong before and at +1300, it’s worth a Hail Mary for sure!

Atlanta Hawks’ NBA Finals Odds: +1300 – Click HERE to bet with Bovada Online

The Bucks are the Betting Favorites to be NBA Champions

The Bucks began the playoffs with NBA Vegas odds of +800 on the moneyline. If you are one of the lucky ones who picked them up on those odds, hold tight: you’re looking good right now; Milwaukee fans are dreaming of being NBA Champions for the first time in 50 years.

Greek sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on fire throughout the Bucks’ postseason run, putting up 30 points in six games thus far! With Middleton and Brook Lopez, in particular, among the supporting cast, the Bucks offense puts up big numbers and rarely turns the ball over without something to show for it.

It’s not that the Hawks don’t have playmakers of their own – they do. But defensively, they don’t touch this Bucks team that features both Jrue Holiday (DPOY) and Antekounmpo (2X DPOY). That’s why the odds are so short on Milwaukee and so long on Atlanta – the sportsbooks don’t fancy the Hawks to score enough.

Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA Finals Odds: +105 – Click HERE to bet with Bovada Online

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