Fact or Fiction
April 9, 2013
By Mike Rose
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NBA Fact or Fiction is back here at VegasInsider.com, and we're taking a look at some of the most pressing questions at hand and asking whether they are totally legitimate or complete bunk.
The Los Angeles Lakers aren't going to make the playoffs: Sorry, Lakers fans. You aren't going to get into the dance. You've got five games left going into Tuesday night, and those games are against New Orleans, at Portland, Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston. You might go 4-1 in those games, and even if you do, Utah has to go 2-2 in its last four for you to still get into the second season. The Jazz have Oklahoma City on Tuesday, at Memphis, and a home-and-home with Minnesota.
The Trail Blazers are now the worst team in basketball: It's tough to say that a team that has 33 wins on the season is the worst in the league, but the Blazers are doing what they can to prove that we are right. They don't have Nicolas Batum for the rest of the season, and that really takes away one of the three formidable players that they have on their roster. Portland has lost eight straight games and has gone just 1-7 against the spread in those games. Each loss has come by double digits, and many of the games have ended in ATS losses of epic proportions. There isn't a team in the league that we would rather see on the schedule for the last few games of the year than this one.
Carmelo Anthony is the league's MVP: Is Carmelo Anthony really going to win the MVP Award? Probably not. But should he? Absolutely. There's no doubt that LeBron James is the best player on the planet at the moment, but he isn't necessarily the most valuable. Even without both James and Dwyane Wade in the fold, the Heat have proven that they are good enough to play in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks have won 12 games in a row down the stretch because of the play of Melo. Anthony now has four straight games with at least 36 points scored, and he is now right there for the league lead in scoring. In our opinion, on a team with very little talent around him, Anthony should be the league's MVP, just for the way that he has played down the stretch of the season.
The No. 2 seed in the West is in a lot of trouble: Many think that the team that finishes No. 2 in the Western Conference is going to be in huge trouble. The No. 1 seed is going to likely end up getting Utah and then either the Clippers or the Grizzlies en route to the Western Conference Finals, while the No. 2 seed is going to be stuck with either Golden State or Houston and Denver. Yikes! We really don't think that the Spurs or the Thunder should be all that worried, though. These are the two teams that are going to be in the Western Conference Finals, and the biggest punishment for finishing at No. 2 instead of No. 1 is going to be having to go on the road for the first two games of that series. Oklahoma City survived the same situation last year, and there's no reason that it couldn't do so again if that were the predicament that it ended up in again in 2013.
Boston's ATS struggles: We really think that the Celtics are playing possum right now. They have only gone 6-10 SU and 6-10 ATS in their last 16 games, but the truth of the matter is that they haven't had anything to prove. Boston knows that it is going to be an underdog in the playoffs, and it doesn't matter whether it has to play the Pacers, the Knicks, the Bulls, or the Nets. It's all the same. In the end, the C's are going to have to beat at least Miami and either New York or Indiana to win the East. There's a reason that the minutes for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have decreased drastically in recent weeks. This is still the most dangerous of the bottom five seeds in the Eastern Conference as we see it.
The Denver Nuggets are legitimate contenders: For as well as the Nuggets have played in the second half of the season, we still aren't all that sure that they are going to get out of the first round of the playoffs, let alone contend for the NBA title. We see this every year in the postseason with Denver. You can run and gun your way into perhaps the second round, and you can run and gun your way to a win or two at home, but when push comes to shove, all that running and gunning doesn't get the job done against the big boys. Now, with Danilo Gallinari out for the season, there is no hope as we see it for Denver to knock off Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the second round of the playoffs.
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