Cavs could have done better

The 2017/2018 NBA regular season is coming to an end. Cleveland Cavaliers were totally outplayed by Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA finals and, as a result, the club owners decided to reinforce the roster in the summer. A number of top-class players joined Tyronn Lue’s team, but former Boston Celtics ace Isaiah Thomas was traded to Los Angeles Lakers after just 15 games. He struggled to fit in after returning from a serious hip injury and it is no surprise he is a new LA Lakers player.

Cleveland Cavaliers occupy third place in the Eastern Conference with 12 games to go until the end of the season, but it has to be noted that Indiana Pacers are breathing down their neck. Cavs have been having their ups and down of late, with the team recording five wins in previous ten league games, but they will have to be at their sharpest in the play-offs if they are to regain the NBA trophy.

As things stand now, Cavs will once again rely on LeBron James, who led Tyronn Lue’s troops to a 124-117 win over Milwaukee Bucks with 40 points earlier in March. “The King James” has been averaging 31 points in previous in March and, no doubt, he has found his best form. Anyhow, his teammates will have to improve their game as well if Cavs are to retain third place in the standings.

Kyrie Irving, who joined Boston Celtics during the summer, has been sorely missed in the 2018 NBA season and seeing that Isaiah Thomas is no longer part of the team, there is every chance Kevin Love will play a very important role in Tyronn Lue’s team in the season finale. You should bear in mind that Kevin Love has 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this term.

The likes of Larry Nance, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson have been struggling with injuries of late, but the quartet should be fully fit for upcoming games. 

Taking everything into account, Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing below expectations in the regular season, with the team already suffering 29 defeats in the process. Cavs are relying too much on LeBron James, who is once again likely to find himself alone against Cleveland’s rivals. The team’s current goal is to finish the regular season in top four in the Eastern Conference as that will earn them home-court advantage in the play-offs.

Cleveland Cavaliers will face the likes of Toronto Raptors (twice), Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks (twice) in the remainder of the season. 

LeBron James gets a taste of his own medicine

There wasn’t a single minute in Game 2 that it felt that Cavaliers will win. Even when they the gap to just 2 points, it felt that it’s just a matter of time. Few good minutes, few stops, few 3-pointers from Steph and Klay, and it’s over.

But that’s not the main problem. What should really worry the Cavs is that neither Steph, Durant or Klay had a superb game (in their standards). You know who had? Lebron. He was everywhere. Spacing the floor, defending, setting his teammates for open shots (half of Love points can be written on Lebron). He drove to the basket again and again, getting fouled almost every time and not getting the whistles. And in the end, it was enough just to keep the Cavs in the game till the middle of the third quarter. Not more than that.

James got tired and Warriors got away. You could see the look on LeBron’s face. He was exhausted. But it’s not just that. He was frustrated. He felt cheated. He knew he was superb and yet it wasn’t enough. And at some part, he knows it won’t be enough tomorrow or on Friday.

LeBron James Game 2 2017 Finals
Jame in Game 2 (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Of course, LeBron will never admit it. To us or to himself. He will keep fighting and playing at the level we have never seen before. And it’s reasonable to believe that Kyrie will generate one of those nights when he just cannot miss. That might be enough to win a game, maybe two. But not more than that.

The Cavs did everything right. They have a superb team, with 3 superstars and solid role players. In 2012-13 Big Three was enough, but now it’s 2017 and GS have The Big Four.

3 pts, 1 – 6 from the field, 2 reb, 0 ast and 3 TO – That’s the combined stats of JR Smith in the first two games. Now replace that with 71 pts, 22 reb, 14 ast, 3 stl, 5 blocks and 3 TO – Kevin Durant’s contribution in the series so far. Do you really think GS could beat that?

But it doesn’t work that way, and LeBron has no one to blame. Maybe himself. He wasn’t the first superstar to gather a Super-team, but he was the first to do so in such a blunt fashion in the peak of his carrier. Apparently, it’s a double-edged sword and now LeBron and the Cavs are on the wrong end of it.

What will happen next? We are not sure. Golden State will win the title, but the main question is not 2017, but 2018, 2019 and maybe more. Will the Warriors manage to resign their star players and build a dynasty? Probably yes.

And if so, is there any player who can become #4 in Cavs Super-team? We’ll have to wait and see.

All the rest, they can prepare for 2019-20.

NBA Title Contenders – What the Bookmakers Say

Golden State Warriors are determined to regain the NBA trophy, but title holders Cleveland Cavaliers should not be written off just yet (despite Cavs poor form since the Allstar).

San Antonio Spurs have been producing scintillating performances in the NBA play-offs, whilst Houston Rockets are regarded as dark horse, speaking of the title race.

Golden State

Golden State Warriors suffered no less than 15 defeats in the regular season, but it is well known that the last season’s runners up were hit by Kevin Durant’s serious injury. KD, though, has recovered in time to face Portland Trail Blazers in the play-offs and he led Warriors to a 109-94 victory over Terry Stotts’ team with 29 points. The former Oklahoma City Thunder ace impressed in Game 2 as well and it is more than obvious that Steve Kerr’s men have more attacking options with him in the starting line-up. Golden State have been in a splendid form of late and it is no surprise they are -160 at Paddy Power to regain the trophy.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers do not seem to be on top of their game at the moment, but they somehow recorded back-to-back wins over Indiana Pacers at the start of their 2017 NBA play-offs campaign. Cavs need to find their best form as soon as possible if they are to defend their NBA title, but given the individual quality of Tyronn Lue’s key players LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, it is no surprise the reigning champions are No. 2 favourites to win the silverware. Over the years Cleveland have turned their Quicken Loans Arena into a real fortress, but it is well known that Golden State Warriors secured home-court advantage for potential NBA final against Cavs. Anyhow, you should bear in mind that Tyronn Lue’s team are +333 at bet365 to defend their title.

San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs have been in Cleveland’s and Golden State’s shadow in recent years, but the 2017 NBA season could be the turning point for Gregg Popovich’s charges. Tim Duncan is no longer part of the team and Kawhi Leonard is considered the team’s key player nowadays. Spurs rolled over Memphis Grizzlies in first two games in the play-offs and they are with one foot in the next round. There is a mixture of youth and experience in Gregg Popovich’s team and that could prove to be their main quality in upcoming challenges. San Antonio won their last NBA trophy in 2014 and they get between +600 to +750 at all online betting sites.

Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets are enjoying a very successful season. Mike D’Antoni’s team were producing splendid displays in the regular season and they continue to impress in the NBA play-offs. James Harden led Rockets to a thrilling 118-87 victory over Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1, but “The Beard” will certainly face an uphill task in matches against title contenders. Anyhow, Houston should not be underestimated as they recorded no less 55 wins in the regular part of the season. Mike D’Antoni’s charges are +1600 at Ladbrokes to go all the way in the NBA play-offs.

Can The Cavs Turn the Switch On

Cleveland Cavaliers are on a quest to defend the NBA trophy, but the reigning champions have been playing far below expectations in 2017. Cavs need to find their best form in the NBA play-offs if they are to retain the title, but that is easier said than done.

Cleveland Cavaliers did remarkably well to shock star-studded Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals last season and they are eager to repeat the success. However, Tyronn Lue’s troops suffered a dip in form in the regular season finale and it remains to be seen if they are capable of getting back on course.

LeBron in familiar pose since the Allstar Weekend (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Despite failing to impress in Game 1 against Indiana Pacers, Cleveland eventually recorded a hard-fought 109-108 victory over Paul George and Co. Lebron James led the team to the triumph with 32 points and 13 assists, whilst fellow superstar Kyrie Irving impressed in Game 2, with the 25-year-old point guard scoring 37 points in a 117-111 win over Pacers.

Cavs had 18 turnovers in Monday’s game and they will have to reduce the number of bad passes if they are to go all the way in the 2017 NBA play-offs. As always, three-point shots were Cleveland’s main weapon in the 117-111 victory over Indiana, but it has to be noted that they had no more than seven offensive rebounds in Game 2. No doubt, Tyronn Lue’s charges need to improve in the said category if they are to make life difficult for fellow title contenders in days to come.

Anyhow, coach Tyronn Lue can count on all of his big guns for the NBA play-offs and the title holders are definitely capable of finding their best form. LeBron James has been taking more shots of late and, as a result, he has been averaging 30.8 points in April. “The King James”, though, can’t win the title by himself and his teammates will have to be at their sharpest in the play-offs as well if they are to give fans yet another reason for celebration.

Cleveland Cavaliers won their first ever NBA trophy last season and, taking everything into account, they have a good chance of defending the title. Speaking of Conference titles, you should bear in mind that Cavs are after their fourth trophy and they are seen as main favourites to go all the way in the Eastern Conference play-offs. 

Cavs Road to Defending the Trophy

Cleveland Cavaliers are on a quest to defend their NBA title, but that is easier said than done. Fellow title contenders San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors have never been stronger and Tyronn Lue’s troops will have to be on top of their game in the play-offs if they are to repeat the success.

Cavs are on the right track to clinch top position in the Eastern Conference, but Boston Celtics are breathing down their neck. The title holders have recorded only two wins more than Brad Stevens’ men, meaning that they should not afford any complacency in the remainder of the season.

Possible rivals

As things stand now, Cavaliers are likely to face Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals. Bucks are led by Greece international Giannis Antetokounmpo and preventing “The Greek Freak” from averaging more than 20 points in the play-off series should be the key to Cleveland’s success in a possible tie against Milwaukee. Yet another man to watch in Jason Kid’s team is Jabari Parker, who has 20.1 points per game this season, but, taking everything into account, Bucks are unlikely to make life difficult for LeBron James and his teammates.

Chicago Bulls are currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and they are definitely capable of booking their place in the play-offs. I believe that Bulls would pose a much bigger threat for Cavs than Bucks as Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg has a number of top-class players to choose from. Jimmy Butler is considered as one of the best shooting guards in NBA, while on Dwyane Wade, who is a household name. The 35-year-old has three NBA trophies and the likes of Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo should not be underestimated as well. Anyhow, Cavs would be considered favourites to beat Bulls in the Eastern Conference play-offs, but avoiding the clash with the United Center outfit seems to be the best option for the defending champions.

Speaking of the Eastern Conference finals, aforementioned Boston Celtics are widely expected to face Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. Isaiah Thomas is enjoying a season to remember and the “little guy” is definitely capable of spoiling Cavs’ party. The 175-cm-tall point guard has been averaging 29.2 points this season and, no doubt, the reigning champions would face an uphill task in the series against the high-flying Celtics.

NBA finals

Golden State Warriors are eager to get their revenge on Cleveland Cavaliers for the loss in the 2016 NBA finals, but they are no longer seen as No. 1 favourites to win the trophy. Key player and top scored Kevin Durant suffered a bone bruise against Chicago Bulls earlier in January and the former Oklahoma City Thunder superstar could be lost for the rest of the regular season. As a result, San Antonio Spurs are widely expected to finish the season in top position in the Western Conference as they will be in position to defend home court in the play-offs. Spurs reinforced the squad in the summer and Gregg Popovich’s men are determined to make amends for the unsuccessful 2016 NBA campaign.

Key to success

The first thing Cavs need to do if they are to defend their NBA trophy is to clinch top position in the Eastern Conference. Coach Tyronn Lue can count on key players LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, whilst Kevin Love is on schedule to return in late March. The bad news for the fans is that latest signing Andrew Bogut broke his leg after spending less than a minute on the court on his Cleveland debut against Miami Heat. It has to be noted that the season is over for the former Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks center. Anyhow, the title holders must avoid serious injuries if they are to repeat the last season’s success. LeBron James will, undisputedly, play the most important role in Tyronn Lue’s team in the NBA play-offs and, no doubt, “The King James” still has an insatiable appetite for winning trophies.

Kevin Durant’ injury definitely strengthened Cavaliers’ title odds and it seems that the race for the NBA trophy has never been more interesting. San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors are among the favourites to go all the way in the 2017 NBA play-offs, but I believe that Cavs have the best chance of winning the major championship.

Cleveland are worthy of title defense

Over the years Cleveland Cavaliers have established themselves as a top-table side in Western Conference. Cavs have been playing an important role in the league ever since LeBron James returned to Quicken Loans Arena and they proved their worth in the 2016 NBA finals. Tyronn Lue’s men outplayed Golden State Warriors in the title game and they are now on a quest to defend their trophy.

Cleveland Cavaliers have been producing fine displays in the NBA so far this season. Cavs are a real force to be reckoned with at home and they put the icing on the cake with a win over Warriors. LeBron James impressed in the 109-108 victory over Steve Kerr’s team and despite the fact that Kevin Love is enjoying probably the best season of his career (21.8 points per game), no doubt, “King James” is still considered the number one performer on the team sheet. LeBron James has been averaging 8.6 assists this season and if we take a gander at the last season’s stats, he has made a lot of progress (6.8) in passing.

Kevin Love is taking more shots than before, he is playing like a superstar again and the former Minnesota Timberwolves power forward has improved defensively as well. Last season he surrendered 1.0 points per possession when defending the pick and roll and he has been giving up no more than 0.69 points per possession this term.

Tristan Thompson is still doing the dirty work and it has to be noted that the center has improved his rebounding. Thompson has been averaging 10.2 rebounds this term and you should bear in mind that he had nine rebounds per game in the 2015/2016 NBA season. It is well known that Tristan is not considered a great shooter and that is the main reason why Cavs score no more than 37.7 points per game in the paint (28th in the league).

Kyrie Irving is yet another superstar in Tyronn Lue’s team and it is more than obvious that he is helping the team improve offensively. Kyrie had 19.6 points per game last season, but he has been producing much better performances in the NBA this term (23.9). “The Uncle Drew” is forcing a quicker tempo when he takes the ball and that is the main reason why the title holders have been averaging 110.8 points this season.

J.R. Smith has been playing below expectations in the 2016/2017 season. The former Knicks man was averaging 12.4 points last season and he has 8.6 points per game this term, but power forward Channing Frye is making progress week in week out.

Richard Jefferson is nearing the end of his playing days, but he is still regarded as one of the team’s best defenders. The 36-year-old small forward is making wise defensive plays and he helped Cavs beat Warriors in December by preventing Kevin Durant from scoring the winner in the dying seconds of the match.

Anyhow, Cleveland Cavaliers are certainly capable of improving defensively as they have been conceding 12.1 fast break points per game this season. On the other hand, Cavs have been scoring 12.7 fast break points per game in the 2016/2017 NBA campaign, but the team’s main offensive weapon are three point shots. Tyronn Lue’s charges score 39.9 points per game from three-pointers and they are second best in the league in said category.

Coach Tyronn Lue is likely to use games against bottom-table sides to rest his key players as the season is quite long, which could give them extra edge over their title rivals. Cleveland Cavaliers are eager to defend their NBA title, but the reigning champions need to keep on raising their form if they are to give fans yet another reason for celebration.

2017 NBA Championship Odds Reviewed

Cleveland Cavaliers did well to get their revenge on Golden State Warriors in the 2015/2016 NBA season. Cavs won the trophy last term, but considering that Kevin Durant then went on to join the Warriors in the summer, defending the title in the 2016/2017 NBA campaign could prove a difficult proposition.

Last season win came as a surprise to many, for sure considering Warriors 73:9 season, but LeBron James proved his worth in the decider and of course Kyrie stepped up and Cavs are now on a quest to defend their trophy. The likes of Chris Andersen (center), Chu Chu Maduabum (forward), Kay Felder (guard) and DeAndre Liggins joined the club in the summer, while LeBron James extended his contract with Tyronn Lue’s troops. It has to be noted that Cavs are +350 @BetVictor to defend their title.

However, it’s impossible to find any online betting site that doesn’t list last season’s runners-up Golden State Warriors are naturally regarded as main favourites to win the 2016/2017 NBA trophy after recruiting Oklahoma City Thunder ace Kevin Durant. The likes of Damian Jones and Zaza Pachulia moved to Golden State as well and seeing that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still part of the team, many people expect that Warriors are going to regain the trophy. Warriors are -125 @bet365 to go all the way.

San Antonio Spurs failed to impress last season and the club chiefs desperately need to make some changes to the team if they are to bring glory days back to Texas. Spurs ace Tim Duncan decided to retire after 19 seasons at San Antonio and Serbian giant Boban Marjanovic will play for Detroit Pistons in the 2016/2017 NBA season. Forwards David Bertans, Livio Jean-Charles, David Lee and Patricio Garino, guards Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Ryan Arcidiacono and Spanish center Pau Gasol joined the club in order to compensate for the absence of Tim Duncan. Fellow center Dewayne Dedmon joined their ranks as well. You should have in mind that Spurs are +750 @Skybet to lift the NBA trophy.

2017 NBA Championship Odds
2017 NBA Championship Odds

Los Angeles Clippers are yet another candidates to win the NBA title. Clippers signed Marreese Speights, Brice Johnson, Raymond Felton, Brandon Bass, Alan Anderson and Diamond Stone, but the likes of Branden Dawson and Devyn Marble are no longer part of the team. Key players Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be the men to watch in Doc Rivers’ team next season and it has to be noted that Clippers are +2,200 @bet365 to win their first ever NBA title.

Oklahoma City Thunder were on the verge of beating Golden State Warriors in the 2015/2016 play-offs, but they eventually failed to eliminate the reigning champions. Kevin Durant was obviously disappointed with the fact that Thunder failed to win the NBA trophy and, as a result, he decided to leave the club. K.D. is hungry for trophies and many people believe that he made a good decision when he signed a contract with star-studded Golden State Warriors. Fellow superstar Russel Westbrook signed a new contract with Oklahoma, while the likes of Domantas Sabonis, Ronnie Price and Alex Abrines joined the team. Thunder are priced at +4,000 @Ladbrokes to produce a major shock and lift the coveted title.

Basketball Star: A Game for the Fans

Basketball is among the most popular sports in the world – but seriously underrepresented in the world of games. Aside from EA’s NFL series, there are just a few of them that are worth mentioning. This is why the release of Basketball Star last December was a welcome addition to the world of casual games. The game is a tribute paid to the world of basketball that you can play at All Jackpots in Canada.

About the game

Basketball Star is the latest addition to the Sports Star, a series of online slot machines inspired by, and paying tribute to, some of the most popular sports in the world. The first game in the series, Football Star, was released at the All Jackpots in 2014, in the wake of the FIFA World Cup. The next two games hit the All Jackpots in 2015, with the occasion of the Rugby World Championship (Rugby Star), and the Cricket World Cup (Cricket Star). Finally, Basketball Star was released in December 2015 to complete the series, for it to cover some of the most popular ball sports of the world.

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Basketball Star can be played free, or for real money, at the All Jackpots Casino. The All Jackpots is a long-standing gaming establishment, with a good reputation and a considerable history. It offers its players not only some of the best sports-themed slot machines out there, but hundreds of other games, great bonuses, and amazing specials, 24 hours a day.

A compelling mechanic

Speaking of a “mechanic” in the case of a video slot machine might seem a bit far-fetched, but this doesn’t make Basketball Star any less entertaining. Usually it functions just like any other video slot machine: players press “Spin”, and wait for the reels to stop. But in this case, winning is not the end, but the beginning: the symbols involved in the winning combination disappear from the screen, allowing others to fall into their place – much like in the case of a reactor-style casual game. This often triggers a cascade of successive wins, especially profitable during the game’s Free Spins feature.

Look and feel

Basketball Star – if it wasn’t obvious from its title – is a game inspired by, and paying tribute to basketball. As such, it has its whole look and feel inspired by the sport. The reels are filled with symbols related to it: players, sneakers, balls, and the entire playfield. The ball is one of the most important symbols on the reels, as it triggers the game’s Free Spins feature. But Free Spins is not the only generous feature of the game – up to two reels can randomly turn Wild during the game, resulting in a guaranteed win.