NBA Booming Ballers, on PredictionStrike

The NBA Playoffs are heating up! What’s up, everybody! My name is Jalon Dixon, your friendly neighborhood NBA super fan and new Prediction Strike expert here with the weekly scoop on the biggest news across the association and how these things could influence Prediction Strike’s NBA Stock Market.

Sixers in 4

“You’ve got to take care of your business. Don’t play with your meat.”

These were the infamous words of Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers before last night’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Although the word choice could use some work, Rivers’ point is valid, considering his checkered past when it comes to closing out playoff series.

2003, blew a 3-1 lead as the head coach of the Orlando Magic with Tracy McGrady against the Detroit Pistons. 2015 with Clippers to ironically James Harden ($5.65, -9.35%) and Rockets and again in 2020 against the Denver Nuggets. That doesn’t even include going up 2-1 against the Atlanta Hawks before falling in Game 7 two seasons ago. Need I go on?

Nonetheless, Sixers fans should rejoice as their team was able to handle a scrappy Brooklyn Nets team and do so in a Game 4 without MVP candidate Joel Embiid ($16.02, -9.45%). They are the only team to advance so far aside from the Denver Nuggets, who have an opportunity to close out their series against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Sixers now get some much-needed rest as they wait for the winner of Bucks-Heat, in which Miami currently leads the series 2-1.

Bad Knees & Injuries

When it comes to injuries, it has been an eventful first week as superstars and key role players continue to drop like flies. Here is the updated injury report from Week 1 of the postseason:

  • Sixers big man Joel Embiid missed Game 4 with a right knee sprain that he suffered in Game 3 after landing awkwardly after contesting a Cam Johnson ($2.96, +6.76%) shot. Doc Rivers does not seem optimistic about Embiid’s status heading into the semifinal round, as reports say Embiid is “probably 50 percent, at best.”
  • After erupting for 69 combined points in Games 1 and 2, LA Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard ($8.17, +6.78%) has since missed the series' last two games against the Phoenix Suns. Leonard is out with a right knee sprain with no real timetable on when he can return. Mind you this is piled onto the Paul George ($4.89, +0.01%) injury (right knee sprain), who has missed all four games of the series and is not set to return anytime soon either.  The Clippers are now down 3-1 with more questions than answers and it looks like they might be one of the next teams booking their flights to Cancun.
  • Tyler Herro ($0.71, -6.71%) successfully underwent surgery for his broken hand and will miss the entirety of the postseason, but Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo ($3.63, 0.00%) now is also out with a left knee injury suffered in Game 3’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The severity of the injury is still in question, but Oladipo is set to undergo further testing today (Sunday).

Kings Giving the Warriors Serious Trouble

We don’t often call the three seeds an “underdog,” but the Sacramento Kings fit the description. Heading into this series against the Golden State Warriors, many assumed the youth and lack of experience would be a huge hindrance in a series against Stephen Curry ($16.08, -2.96%) and the defending champions. But here we are three games in and despite a tough loss in Game 3, the Kings are up 2-0 with one of the most outstanding home-court advantages we have seen in the NBA in quite a long time.

Through three games, De’Aaron Fox ($4.67, +14.94%) has stepped up big time averaging 29.3 points, 7.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds. Now the efficiency has been a bit rough, but for a postseason debut, he has finally announced his name to the NBA world in a big way. The Kings have the chance to take the torch away from the Golden State Warriors by handing them an L at Chase Center tonight.

We all have seen the insane stats regarding how horrible the Warriors are on the road compared to when they are home. The Kings have a chance to flip this series in their favor if they can steal Game 4 on the road and go up 3-1 heading back to the Golden 1 Center. Game 4 is typically not considered a “must-win” for the team up 2-1.

But if the Kings have any hope of closing out the Warriors, taking Game 4 is pretty crucial if they don’t want to breathe any life into a Warriors team that knows how to get hot at the right time.

Nick Nurse is Out of Toronto

After a rough 41-41 finish to the regular season and a first-round Play-In tournament to the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is now out of town.

Nurse has either missed the playoffs or seen a first-round exit since his illustrious claim to fame was the 2019 run to the NBA Finals. Nurse now joins the fired coach graveyard of Steve Nash, Nate McMillan, and Dwayne Casey. Former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has been lying in wait and rumors are spiraling that he could be next in line for the Raptors’ job.

In terms of Nurse’s future, he built his reputation off of player development with the Raptors 905 G-League affiliate and the early stages of the post-DeMar DeRozan ($3.17, -0.03%) teams. It would be nice to see him go to another young team like the Detroit Pistons where he can help develop guys like Cade Cunningham ($20.84, 0.00%), Jaden Ivey ($8.65, -0.02%), Jalen Duren ($4.88, 0.00%), and others. Detroit basketball could use a revitalization and Nurse could bring them a much-needed spark. Plus, it would just be ironic to see him yet again replacing Dwayne Casey as the head man in charge.

NBA Awards Announced

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. ($0.65, -5.91%) = Defensive Player of the Year
  • Mike Brown = Coach of the Year (UNANIMOUS)
  • De’Aaron Fox = First Ever Clutch Player of the Year
  • Malcolm Brogdon ($2.43, +3.17%) = Sixth Man of the Year (3rd winner in Celtics history alongside Kevin McHale and Bill Walton)

Still waiting on Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year (likely Paolo Banchero ($12.84, -0.06%)), Executive of the Year, and Most Valuable Player. Who you got winning these awards? Did the NBA get the awards winners right so far? Let us know!

Well, that is all the news I have for this week. Thanks, everyone, for joining us! I am super excited. to bring you more NBA commentary every week. Have any ideas as to what else you would like to see from this newsletter? Let me know! Till next time, peace!

Happy trading, Jalon

Looking for more weekly in-depth analyses and reactions to the latest NBA news? Then feel free to subscribe to my podcast, Routine Jumper Radio. Every Monday and Wednesday I go live on the AMP Live Radio Show app at 10:30 am to discuss the hottest storylines around the association. The live shows are recorded and later posted on all podcast streaming platforms!

It would be great if you could subscribe as it keeps me motivated to create valuable content for you all!

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