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Eric Bledsoe Gets Second Chance With Clippers – Basketball Insiders

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All eyes in the basketball world were on Los Angeles this summer after the Lakers made the blockbuster deal to acquire All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. With apologies to the former MVP, it is the other point guard addition in LA that is rather intriguing.

Ten days after the Westbrook deal went down, the Clippers acquired a familiar face in Eric Bledsoe. The veteran point guard began his professional career with the Clippers more than a decade ago and has played for three different teams since his three-year stint with the Clippers ended.

When LA traded Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns in 2013, his career really took off. He signed a multi-year contract with Phoenix and spent the next four seasons putting up incredible stat lines. The individual success was there as he entered the prime of his career, but the team was not winning. Ultimately, he had enough of the losing.

Ironically enough, two of his previous teams met in the NBA Finals last season. Now he is back on a championship contender, but this situation is much different. In fact, the name on the front of the jersey still says “Clippers” but that is about the only thing that hasn’t changed since he last played for the organization.

The biggest change is obviously Steve Ballmer taking ownership of the team and cleaning up the franchise. Tyronn Lue is the head coach and they will soon have their very own arena to play in.

The Clippers finished 32-50 in Bledsoe’s rookie year, with Vinny Del Negro slowly turning the team around. Bledsoe and Blake Griffin entered as rookies together and were thought to be the faces of the franchise going forward. Chris Paul entered the picture the following year and Bledsoe saw his playing time cut in half. He appeared in 41 games during his second season, playing just 11.6 minutes per game.

Looking at the point guard situation in LA now, Bledsoe has another opportunity to learn. When Reggie Jackson joined the team last season, he was in a very similar spot that Bledsoe finds himself in now. Jackson was waived by the Detroit Pistons, which enabled him to sign with the Clippers. Just when it looked as though his career was about to come to a dead-end, he became a valuable addition to the roster.

Jackson performed brilliantly during their playoff run and was awarded with a new multi-year contract with the team this summer. Now Bledsoe is hoping to follow a similar path as he works to get his career back on track.

The Clippers are clearly a title-contender but that comes with an asterisk. Kawhi Leonard is likely to miss most of this season as he recovers from his knee injury suffered in the playoffs this past year. His absence looms large, and it will take a group effort from everyone on the roster to keep them in contention this season.

Paul George is the obvious go-to guy for this team now, and LA has an abundance of talent on the roster that all have well-defined roles. Although Jackson has cemented his place as the starting point guard for this team, Lue believes that Bledsoe can play alongside him.

“He is gonna be a big boost for us,” Lue said of Bledsoe, who averaged 12.2 points per game last season. “I think he’ll be able to push that pace and push that tempo, and get guys easy shots. That’s what we have to do in transition.” Bledsoe echoed those comments and made it known that he is a different player now.

“Just help the team out the best way I can,” Bledsoe said. “Whether guarding the best player one night, spot-up next night, get downhill, whatever the case is, cheering my teammates on. So whatever the case may be, that’s what I’m going to do.” Lue understands the situation Bledsoe is in, having played for seven teams himself during his NBA career.

Jackson welcomes Bledsoe with open arms, as does the rest of the veteran Clippers roster. Without Leonard in the lineup, Bledsoe will be needed to put pressure on the opposing defense and to attack the paint. He isn’t at the level of Patrick Beverley but he is aggressive on defense. His mid-range shooting will also be something the Clippers could use without Leonard operating in that area.

Last year during the regular season, the Clippers were 12.3 points per 100 possessions better with Leonard on the floor (+12.2) than they were with him out (-0.1). That was the third biggest differential among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.

George will play a larger role this season, but it will take more than just him playing at an MVP-caliber level in order for this team to have success. They have some raw young talent in rookie Keon Johnson, and breakout candidate Terance Mann. This is still a team led by veterans like George, Serge Ibaka, Marcus Morris, and Nicolas Batum but they will need young legs over the course of the grueling 82-game season.

One area where Bledsoe will need to improve is his shooting from behind the arc. He is a career 33 percent shooter from deep and shot 42 percent from the floor overall last season in the 71 games he played. The Clippers were the top-ranked three-point shooting team in the league last season, hitting more than 41 percent of their attempts. Los Angeles also led the league in free-throw shooting as a team, another area where Bledsoe struggled last season, shooting just 69 percent from the line.

This role that Bledsoe finds himself in now should alleviate any pressure on him. He is no longer going to be looked at as the engine of the offense or asked to do too much of anything. Each night could be something different that the team needs from him, and Lue has already had those discussions with him.

Leaning on Jackson for advice and experience in certain situations could prove to be fruitful for the former Kentucky product. This is more than just a second stint with the franchise, this is a second chance to revive his basketball career.

The Clippers are confident that there could very well be a case of deja vu at the point guard spot again this year. If they can get solid production from their 18th overall pick from 11 years ago, it would go a long way towards where the team hopes to be once the playoffs roll around.





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Preview, Prediction and Betting Odds

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The Houston Rockets opens a new season sans James Harden for the first time since 2012, going up against the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 20, 8:00 P.M EST at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. BetOnline odds are posted below.

Game Information

Start time: 8 p.m. ET

Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

TV channels: NBA League Pass, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Fox Sports North

Live stream: fuboTV (seven-day free trial)

Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Lines

Point Spread: Rockets +6.5

Money Line: Wolves -245/Rockets +205

Total: Over/Under 231.5

Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves News

The Rockets have made minor roster changes just before they kick off their 2021-22 NBA season campaign. Houston waived forward Anthony Lamb. Filling in his place is Garrison Matthews, whose contract was converted to a two-way from Exhibit 10.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, picked up the third-year option of Anthony Edwards and Jordan McDaniels, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Edwards, the No.1 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, bucked off a less than stellar start to put up explosive numbers after the All-Star break, during which he exploded for 23.3 points per game to shore up his season average to 19.3 PPG with 4.7 RPG and 2.9 APG.

Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Injury Report

The Rockets will head into Wednesday’s matchup with the Wolves, with almost all key players available to play. Danuel House Jr. is listed questionable due to personal reasons, but the sharpshooter might eventually suit up for the up and running Rockets. 

On the other end, the Wolves will be starting the season with defensive specialist Patrick Beverley serving the one-game suspension assessed on him following a shoving incident with Chris Paul in the minutes of the Clippers-Suns Western Conference finals series. Beverley spent the past few seasons with the Clippers before he got shipped this offseason to the Grizzlies and again to the Wolves in exchange for Jarret Culver and Juancho Hernangomez. Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Noelle are questionable for the season-opener with groin and back injury, respectively.

Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview

The Houston Rockets will be parading a collection of young players like Jaylen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., and Kenyon Martin Jr. in the first full season without perennial All-Star and former MVP James Harden. The Rockets gathered a 1-3 slate over four preseason games; nevertheless, this series of exhibition matches had shown the immense potential of their young players. Beginning this season, Houston will focus on acquiring young talent, developmental and chemistry-building in the hope of becoming a relevant team again within the next 2-3 years. 

Meanwhile, it’s playoff or bust for the Timberwolves coming into the season with Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Rookie of the Year runner-up Anthony Edwards forming a solid triumvirate. This season, the Wolves will also have a deep roster as they expect improvements from their young guys such Josh Okogie and Jaden McDaniels and contributions from veterans like Beverley and Malik Beasley.

Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction

The Wolves are 2-1 against the Rockets over their last three meetings, averaging 109.33 points on 42 percent shooting. These numbers are set to improve with the group of offensively gifted talent they have this season. 

The Rockets will push the basketball in every opportunity they will have, given the fresh legs on their side. Jaylen Green is looking like an athletic scorer with two-way potential at this stage of his pro career, so is Kevin Porter Jr, who showed out since he got traded to the Rockets midway into last season. Together, they will form the newest wing combo for the Rockets, just over a year removed from the forgetful James Harden-Russell Westbrook reunion. 

The Rockets will show flashes of potential early on, capitalizing on every fastbreak situation and putting their explosive athleticism on display. However, the Wolves will not miss the chance of making a bold statement in the season-opener. Towns, Russell and Edwards, are primed to chalk up big numbers in this game, especially against this inexperience and defensively challenged Rockets squad.

Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Picks

Pick the Timberwolves to win outright and cover the 6.5-point handicap. The smart bet is on the over as well since neither of these teams is known for defense. For more NBA odds, visit BetOnline.



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Milwaukee Bucks reveal their fancy 2021 NBA Finals championship rings

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Before Tuesday night’s home opener of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks revealed their championship rings at the Fiserv Forum. The top of the ring features 360 diamonds. Each side of the ring features 16 diamonds. The organization decided on 16 diamonds because the Bucks won 16 postseason games during the 2021 Playoffs. Plus, the team won their 16th division title last season.

Next, on one side, the team’s “Fear The Deer” motto is visible. As the viewer can see below, “Antetokounmpo” is there, along with the number 34. In the 2021 NBA Finals, the Greek Freak averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. Against the Suns, Giannis displayed a LeBron James-esque performance. The words displayed on the other side of the ring are “Bucks In 6.”

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TMZ Sports

Additionally, not only are the rings for the fingers, they can also be used as pendants. Jason of Beverly Hills designed the rings. When asked about his design decision, Jason replied, “We sought to create something that had a bit more versatility than rings of the past.” Jason also designed rings for the Lakers, Heat, Warriors and other NBA teams.

“As championship rings have gotten bigger, they have become less and less practical to wear,” he added. “We addressed this by developing a push-button system that allows the player to wear the top of the ring as a pendant, making it a piece of jewelry they can wear every day around their neck to celebrate their tremendous season.” Jason operates jewelry businesses at other locations in Las Vegas, Miami and Tokyo.

Bucks reveal their championship rings

TMZ Sports

Second championship in 50 years

For the best part, the 4.14 carats of emeralds for each individual ring symbolize Milwaukee’s 414 area code. Furthermore, there are 50 round stones on the inner bezel. This marks the team’s first championship win in 50 years.

Moreover, since the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets in the 1971 NBA Finals, the Bucks had failed every year until last season. Though, Milwaukee did play the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Finals. Unfortunately, they lost that series in Game 7.

Milwaukee Bucks reveal their fancy 2021 NBA Finals championship rings

Of course, the 2021 Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, admired the appearance of the ring. After the Milwaukee Bucks players gazed in awe at the rings prior to playing the Nets, they knew they had to quickly get down to business. Hours later, Milwaukee defeated Brooklyn 127-104 on their opening night.



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Chicago Bulls vs Detroit Pistons 2021-22 NBA Season Preview, Predictions and Picks

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On Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, the Chicago Bulls are playing the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. This is the first regular season contest for both teams of the 2021-22 NBA season. BetOnline odds are listed below.

Game Information

Start time: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Little Caesars Arena; Detroit, Michigan

TV channels: Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports Indiana, NBA League Pass, NBC Sports Chicago

Radio broadcast: WXYT, WSCR

Live stream: fuboTV (seven-day free trial)

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons news

Heading into tonight’s regular season opener, the Bulls are 3-0 in their previous three head-to-head meetings versus the Pistons. On May 9, 2021, the last time these teams faced off in the regular season, Chicago won 108-96. The Bulls are 7-3 in their last 10 games played against the Pistons as well.

Aside from injuries, the top news story concerns expectations this season for both teams. When asked about Chicago’s performance during the preseason, Zach LaVine stated, “The preseason showed the potential we have and the room to grow. It’s on us to out there and prove people wrong.”

Injury Report

For the Bulls, they have only two players on their injury report. Small forward Troy Brown Jr. is listed as questionable to play in tonight’s matchup. He is recovering from an undisclosed illness. And Coby White is out indefinitely due to a shoulder injury.

As for the Pistons, Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes are listed as probable to play against Chicago. Though, Isaiah Livers is out indefinitely. This is because of a foot injury he sustained in the final preseason game versus Philadelphia. To add to the list, Cade Cunningham is also out tonight.

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons betting lines

Chicago Bulls vs Detroit Pistons 2021-22 NBA Season Preview, Predictions and Picks

Over/Under: 218.5

Point spread: Bulls -5 (-105)

Best moneyline: Bulls -195, Pistons +170

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons preview

Moreover, the Bulls ended their 2021 preseason with a flawless 4-0 record. Last Friday, the Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 118-105 at home. Guard Zach LaVine scored a team-high 31 points in 34 minutes on the court. Guard Nikola Vucevic ended his performance with 23 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31 minutes played.

During Chicago’s offseason, the front office made several notable moves. In a sign-and-trade agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans, Lonzo Ball was signed. Plus, forward Al-Frouq Amino was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for DeMar DeRozan and Thaddeus Young. Not to mention, the organization signed Tony Bradley, Alex Caruso, Daniel Oturu, Tyler Cook and others.

Meanwhile, the Pistons concluded their exhibition games with a mediocre 2-2 record. Last Friday, the Pistons defeated the 76ers 112-108 at home. Forward Jerami Grant led Detroit in scoring, putting up 24 points in 35 minutes played. Center Isaiah Stewart closed out his night with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes spent on the court.

In the offseason, all eyes were on first overall pick Cade Cunningham. Aside from having the number one pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, the organization signed Isaiah Livers and Trey Lyles. Chicago also signed Luka Garza, Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph. Expectations are low this season. So, at least the pressure is off.

Next, for the Bulls’ projected starting lineup, they have PG Lonzo Ball, SG Zach LaVine, SF DeMar DeRozan, PF Patrick Williams and C Nikola Vucevic. The Pistons’ projected starting lineup consists of PG Saben Lee, SG Frank Jackson, SF Kelly Olynyk, PF Jerami Grant and C Isaiah Stewart.

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons prediction

Furthermore, the total for tonight’s season opener is set at 218.5. Regarding the spread consensus, 86% of bettors are expecting Chicago to cover the spread in this one. And, pertaining to the total consensus, 58% of gamblers are leaning towards picking the under for this matchup. In the 2020-21 NBA season, Detroit finished 20-52 (.278). Therefore, it makes perfect sense why the under is the superior option.

For betting trends, Chicago is 5-2 against the spread in the team’s last seven games. The total has also gone under in five of the Bulls’ past six contests. And, the Bulls are 5-2 straight up in their previous seven games played. Not only is Chicago 7-0 versus Detroit in the team’s last seven contests, the total has gone under in five of their past six games played against Eastern Conference opponents.

As for the Pistons, they are 0-5 ATS in their last five games. Also, the total has gone under in five of the team’s previous five contests. And, Detroit is 0-6 SU in their last six games played versus Eastern Conference opponents. With all things considered, the total will likely go under 218.5.

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons betting pick

Pick the Bulls to win on the road, they will cover the spread and the total will go under 218.5. Chicago is a five-point favorite with BetOnline.





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