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ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suspects that rumors placing James Harden back in Houston are ‘one-giant leverage play’ – Basketball Insiders



Rumors about a possible James Harden reunion with his beloved Rockets keep making the NBA headlines, as reports on the potential move are exciting fans from all over. The current Sixers star played his best basketball in Houston during the decade of the 2010s.

However, after years as a sport insider, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst isn’t naive about it, and decided to share his take on the matter during the latest episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast. The journalist was one of the first to report on the possibility, even declaring a couple of days ago that The Beard might go for a four-year deal.

“The two big names out on the [free agent] market this year are James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Both of them, at $48 to $50-something million, seem like very bad bets. But, there is a scarcity [of star talent] there,” Windhorst assured.

Just like the Mavericks star, the ESPN reporter believes that they are simply looking to negotiate a better deal with their current squads. Harden’s return to Texas or Ivring to Los Angeles, are such huge media stories for the fans that they can both profit off it during their negotiations.

“I also think that both of them, Kyrie showing up to Laker games, James Harden being rumored to be attached to the Rockets, I still think/suspect all of that is one giant leverage play,” the journalist explained. “That, what James Harden really wants is to elicit the biggest offer out of the Sixers even if it isn’t a max [contract].

“Whatever the number of money is, for as long as many years as he can get. And that this slow dance for months and these rumors are all sort of tied to that.”

The ESPN analyst believes that Irving will end up doing the same as Harden, as both will stay in their respective teams

As both stars head into free agency, they know how to play the game of negotiating, not just shooting hoops on court. Windhorst suggests that the media circus around the rumors will keep adding more and more fuel throughout the summer.

“And I think that Kyrie could be doing the same exact thing [with the Mavericks],” the ESPN reporter said. “Just doing all of this, and whatever he may do between now and free agency to try to get the juiciest offer he can from the team he’s on. Cause [the Sixers and Mavericks] face the most damage from losing those guys.”

Even if it doesn’t end up happening, just to keep us excited check out The Beard’s Top 10 plays wearing the Rockets jersey:

Windhorst explained that for now this is all trade speculation, even though Harden’s agents are holding conversations with the Texan franchise. In the past, the NBA insider has proven to be right as he was the first to hint at the veteran star’s trade to the Nets.

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When Is Selection Sunday 2024? Date, Time, & TV Channel




The 2024 college basketball season is winding down and it’s almost time for March Madness. With conference tournament action around the corner, NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will have some difficult choices to make as they narrow down the field of 68. Below, we’ll go over the Selection Sunday 2024 date, time, and TV channel, along with the March Madness schedule and the top 16 seeds.

When Is Selection Sunday 2024?

This year, Selection Sunday will be a bit later in the sports calendar than usual. The committee will reveal the March Madness 2024 bracket on March 17th, 2024 at 6 pm ET on CBS. Meanwhile, the Women’s March Madness bracket will be revealed at 8 pm ET.

March Madness 2024 Schedule

The NCAA Tournament will officially begin with the First Four on March 19th and 20th, followed by the first round on Thursday, March 21st and Friday, March 22nd.

In 2024, the Final Four will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday, April 6th. The national championship game will be played two days later on Monday, April 8th.

The first and second round will be played across eight different cities, including Brooklyn, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Boston. The road to the Final Four will continue with Sweet 16 (March 28-29) and the Elite Eight (March 30-31).

Here is a brief overview of the March Madness schedule:

  • Selection Sunday: March 17 at 6 pm ET on CBS
  • First Four: March 19-20
  • First Round: March 21-22
  • Second Round: March 23-24
  • Sweet 16: March 28-29
  • Elite Eight: March 30-31
  • Final Four: April 6
  • NCAA Championship Game: April 8

March Madness Top 16 Seeds

Recently, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee revealed its top 16 seeds. Led by senior Zach Edey, Purdue earned the No. 1 overall seed in the Midwest Region. Connecticut, Houston, and Arizona rounded out the top seeds in each region. Meanwhile, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas were among the teams that were forced to settle for a No. 2 seed in the committee’s latest projections. Here are the March Madness 2024 top 16 seeds, as revealed by Andy Katz.

Midwest Region (Detroit)

  • Purdue (1)
  • Tennessee (6)
  • Baylor (10)
  • San Diego State (14)

East Region (Boston)

  • Connecticut (2)
  • North Carolina (5)
  • Iowa State (11)
  • Wisconsin (16)

South Region (Dallas)

  • Houston (3)
  • Marquette (7)
  • Alabama (9)
  • Illinois (15)

West Region (Los Angeles)

  • Arizona (4)
  • Kansas (8)
  • Duke (12)
  • Auburn (13)

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Celtics vs Bulls Odds, Picks, & Predictions (Feb. 22)




On Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls (26-29, 29-25-1 ATS) host the Boston Celtics (43-12, 25-27-3 ATS) in the second meeting of the 2023-24 NBA season; preview, odds, picks, predictions, and injuries for the Celtics vs Bulls matchup are here. Sportsbooks show the Celtics as 8-point favorites on the road. BetOnline odds are below.

Celtics vs. Bulls Game Preview

Click the Jazz Sports link below to watch the free live stream.

  • 🏀 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Matchup: Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls
  • 📅 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Game Date: Thursday, February 22, 2024
  • 🕙 What time is Celtics vs. Bulls Game: 8 p.m. ET
  • 🏟 Where is Celtics vs. Bulls Game: United Center | Chicago, Illinois
  • 📺 TV Channel(s): NBA League Pass, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Chicago
  • 💻 Free 2023-24 NBA Season Game Live Stream: Jazz Sports
  • 🎲 2023-24 NBA Season Game Odds: Celtics -8 (-110) | Bulls +8 (-110)

Celtics vs. Bulls Odds

Celtics vs. Bulls Predictions

The Celtics are aiming to keep their six-game win streak alive Thursday when they take on Chicago. Boston is 30-6 against Eastern Conference opponents and 4-4 in one-possession games.

This is the second matchup of the regular-season series. In the first meeting on Nov. 29, Jaylen Brown led the Celtics to a decisive 124-97 victory with 30 points, whereas Coby White scored 19 points for the Bulls.

Jayson Tatum leads the C’s in points (27.1), rebounds (8.6), and assists (4.8) per game. Boston is 8-2 in its last 10 games, averaging 120.1 points, 46.9 rebounds, 28.1 assists, 5.9 steals, and 6.8 blocks per game while shooting 49.3% from the field.

On the other side, the Bulls have gone 15-19 in matchups with an Eastern Conference opponent. Chicago is also 11-23 against opponents over .500. Nikola Vucevic is averaging 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists for the Bulls.

Chicago is 5-5 in its past 10 contests, averaging 117.1 points, 42.7 rebounds, 24.3 assists, 7.3 steals, and 6.6 blocks per game while shooting 49.5% from the floor.

Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Celtics hold a 72.7% chance of defeating Chicago. Since Boston is 17-9 away this season and this is the team’s first game back since the All-Star break, the first half could be slow. If Porzingis and Brown are able to play, the C’s should win.

Celtics vs. Bulls Injuries

Boston Celtics Injury Report

C Al Horford (toe; questionable) | C Kristaps Porzingis (ankle; questionable) | SF Jaylen Brown (shoulder; probable) | PF Xavier Tillman (knee; out indefinitely) | SG Jaden Springer (ankle; questionable)

Chicago Bulls Injury Report

SG Zach LaVine (ankle; out indefinitely) | PG Lonzo Ball (knee; out indefinitely) | SG Torrey Craig (knee; out indefinitely) | SF Patrick Williams (foot; out indefinitely)

2023-24 NBA Betting Trends

  • The Celtics are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games.
  • Boston is 6-0 in its past six contests.
  • Next, the C’s are 8-0 in their previous eight meetings with an Eastern Conference opponent.
  • Meanwhile, the Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five contests.
  • Chicago is 5-2 in its past seven games played on a Thursday.
  • Lastly, the point total has gone over in six of the Bulls’ previous seven games.

Projected Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG Derrick White | SG Jaylen Brown | PF Jrue Holiday | SF Jayson Tatum | C Kristaps Porzingis

Projected Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup

PG Coby White | SG Ayo Dosunmu | PF Nikola Vucevic | SF DeMar DeRozan | C Andre Drummond

Free NBA Expert Picks

Through 55 games, the Celtics are 42-11 as favorites, 1-1 as underdogs, 10-13-3 ATS away, and 13-13 over/under away. The Bulls are 16-9 as favorites, 10-20 as underdogs, 14-12-1 ATS at home, and 14-13 over/under at home. Boston is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games against Chicago.

Our betting experts here at Basketball Insiders are projecting the Celtics to win, the Bulls will cover the spread, and the point total will go over 226. The total has gone over in five of Chicago’s past six home games. The Bulls are 5-10 in their previous 15 games played in February as well.

Pick the Celtics to win! Not only has Boston won eight straight against an Eastern Conference opponent, but they have also won five consecutive road games. Winning on the road has been the Celtics’ Achilles’ heel. If you are new to sports betting, check out our handicap betting guide.

More NBA picks and predictions are on the main page.

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Stephen Curry claims he’s still in the prime of his career




Every year, we think Stephen Curry‘s quality is going to start to wind down, but as the season evolves the veteran only grows in confidence. All we can say now is enjoy the Golden State star while you still can, as he keeps proving he’s still playing some of his best basketball. 

In a recent interview during the All-Star Weekend with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, he was asked if he still thought he was in his prime. “I do,” he said with confidence. “It definitely feels a little different after I finish every game, where you got to do a little bit more recovery, you got to do a little more preparation.”

Despite the Warriors not having their best 2023/24 NBA campaign, the 35-year-old continues to deliver impressive performances that define games even in clutch situations. At this point, the Bay Area club stands 10th in the Western Conference with a 27-26 record.

After 50 matches so far this season, Steph is averaging 28 points, 5 assists and 4.4 rebounds over 33.5 minutes of play. He is currently leading his team in both points and minutes per contest.

Despite the fact that he feels older, and needs more time to recover physically than before, Curry is convinced that he’s still playing as well as he did when he first started to dominate the league a decade ago.

“There’s a little bit more that goes into it, but I know I can still reach that level of impact on the court that I’m used to” the superstar expressed. “So yeah, definitely feel like I am [in my prime], even if you have to be a little delusional, telling yourself who you are.”

The veteran can’t help but show gratitude for his teammates who keep him motivated in Golden State. “Like I said, I work extremely hard, surrounded by people that are pouring into me, and I feel that energy is what keeps me going,” he added.

The 35-year-old still has many years of dominant basketball ahead of him, the only question is, for how long? While we still believe that time is nowhere near yet, all we can tell you is to continue to enjoy the greatness of one of the best players of all time.

The veteran guard explains what the Warriors must do to secure playoff spot this campaign

As the NBA enjoys their All-Star break, the Warriors are taking this time to shift their mindset towards the remainder of the current season, with hopes of climbing in the West’s standings and securing a playoff spot. Curry believes the secret formula starts with not losing games at the Chase Center.

“It starts with just winning at home for us,” he told the ESPN insider. “We’ve always had a strong homecourt advantage. I think we’re .500 at home right now so if we can protect our home court, we understand that we can play better on the road and play better against the top teams, we’ve had some tough fourth-quarter stretches that didn’t go our way and that’s the difference of being 5-6 in the standings versus 9-10 where we are.”

The truth is, Golden State’s mindset has already been changing for good since February started, as they’ve won 8 of their last 10 matches before the All-Star Weekend. However, the 35-year-old knows that their job is far from finished, as they still have a third of regular season left to compete.

“But if we take care of home court, we have 30 games left, I feel like we can steadily climb there,” Steph insisted. “As long as we climb into the playoffs, no matter how we get there, whether that’s the play-in or climbing into the sixth spot, we know we’re a tough out. We know nobody wants to see us when we get there. We just got to get there.”

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