2020 NBA – Getting back to action after All-Star break

Sports

2020 NBA – Getting back to action after All-Star break

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, February 21, 2020

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With two-thirds of the 2019-2020 NBA regular season played, the annual February break took centre stage last weekend in Chicago and culminated with the All-Star game on Sunday last when Team LeBron (James) narrowly bettered Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) 157-155.

Since 2018, the leading vote-getters for each conference are designated as team captains.

They are allowed to choose from the pool of All-Star reserves to form their teams regardless of conference - Team LeBron remains unbeaten during the three years since this format was adopted.

The festivities of the weekend were overshadowed by the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on January 26, 2020. However, as expected, there were tasteful and fitting tributes to the basketball icon culminating with the renaming of the All-Star MVP trophy in his name.

Fittingly, just months off his NBA Finals win and his NBA Finals MVP achievement, Kawhi Leonard added the inaugural Kobe Bryant Kia NBA All-Star Game MVP Award to his recent honours. In a star-filled game, he stole the show with an impressive three-point shooting effort, finishing with 30 points and seven rebounds.

Another highlight worthy of mention was the controversial finish to the AT&T Slam Dunk contest last Saturday night. Kudos to the Miami Heat's Derrick Jones Jr for rising to the challenge and outlasting the field to claim the title, but the masses were convinced that Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon was robbed of the trophy. In the spirit of the weekend, Gordon appeared to take the decision in stride.

Up to the All-Star break, the top five teams in both conferences were pretty much where they were expected to be. Possibly, the only overachiever would be the Denver Nuggets.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1 Milwaukee Bucks 46-8

2 Toronto Raptors 40-15

3 Boston Celtics 38-16

4 Miami Heat 35-19

5 Philadelphia 76ers 34-21

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1 Los Angeles Lakers 41-12

2 Denver Nuggets 38-17

3 Los Angeles Clippers 37-18

4 Utah Jazz 36-18

5 Houston Rockets 34-20

Each team has less than 30 games left to play, and the race remains very close. The win difference between number one and number five in the Eastern Conference is only 12 games while the same comparison in the Western Conference is even less – seven games.

There is more parity in the league this year and the team that has dominated in the win column for the past half-decade, presently has the worst record in the NBA – The Golden State Warriors are 12-43.

The next few months should be fascinating for NBA fans, and an internal poll by ESPN's panel of experts revealed their predictions for the Conference Finals matchups. In the Eastern Conference, the vote was unanimous for the team with the best record in the NBA while in the West, the LeBron-led Los Angeles Lakers got the most nods.

Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors - 37.1 per cent

Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics - 34.3 per cent

Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat - 14.3 per cent

Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers - 11.4 per cent

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers - 85.7 per cent

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets - 5.7 per cent

Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz - 2.9 per cent

Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets - 2.9 per cent

Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz - 2.9 per cent

With fun and games aside, the serious business of the NBA restarted last night with six matchups and are set to continue this weekend with exciting contests. The JustBet odds offerings for these games will be available on game dates along with those for all other popular sports and events. Please visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit mobile.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…Get in the GAME!

Date Time Event 1 2
21/02/2020 19:00 Orlando Magic vs Dallas Mavericks TBA TBA
19:00 Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers TBA TBA
19:30 New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers TBA TBA
19:30 Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns TBA TBA
20:00 Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics TBA TBA
20:00 OKC Thunder vs Denver Nuggets TBA TBA
21:00 Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs TBA TBA
22:30 LA Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies TBA TBA
22:30 Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans TBA TBA
22/02/2020 15:30 LA Clippers vs Sacramento Kings TBA TBA
19:00 Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets TBA TBA
19:30 Atlanta Hawks vs Dallas Mavericks TBA TBA
20:00 Chicago Bulls vs Phoenix Suns TBA TBA
20:00 Miami Heat vs Cleveland Cavaliers TBA TBA
20:30 Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers TBA TBA
21:00 Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets TBA TBA
23/02/2020 15:30 LA Lakers vs Boston Celtics TBA TBA
18:00 Denver Nuggets vs Minnesota Timberwolves TBA TBA
18:00 Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers TBA TBA
19:00 Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards TBA TBA
19:00 OKC Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs TBA TBA
20:30 Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Pelicans TBA TBA
21:00 Portland Trail Blazers vs Detroit Pistons TBA TBA
*Betting odds, limits and handicaps are subject to change


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