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Nikola Jokic says Joel Embiid deserved to win the MVP race as he’s been playing ‘extremely tough basketball through the whole season’ – Basketball Insiders

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Nikola Jokic has not only defeated former MVPs like Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns or more recently LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the West’s postseason, he’s currently displaying one of the strongest playoff performances in league history. The Serbian star just picked up his eighth postseason triple-double this week, and just guided the Nuggets to their first ever NBA Finals. 

Nevertheless, Denver‘s center maintains his modesty even while everyone is showering him with praise and glory. Although most fans and analysts believe now more than ever that the two-time MVP deserved to earn this honor for a third time in a row this campaign, Jokic claimed that Joel Embiid is worthy of the award.

Take a look at the big man’s comments on why he believes the Sixers star deserves this recognition:

“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic explained. “I mean, I think it’s — people are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. I think he should have won it. I think he was playing, if you watch it, extremely, extremely tough basketball through whole season … He was really amazing in 82 games or how many games he played.”

After being the frontrunner for the Kia MVP race during most of the season, once the Nuggets had assured their claim for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the team relaxed and in a way took their foot off the gas pedal.

So while Denver lost 1o out of their last 18 matches of regular season, Embiid was growing in confidence and playing some of the best basketball of his career. The 76ers were slowly crawling to the top spots of the Eastern Conference and in the final week of the campaign, beat the Celtics with a powerful 52-point exhibition from the Sixers center.

Coach Michael Malone believes that the negativity around the MVP race affected Jokic





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Clippers vs Warriors Odds, Picks, & Predictions (Feb. 14)

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Tonight, the Golden State Warriors (26-25, 28-23 ATS) host the Los Angeles Clippers (35-17, 28-24 ATS) in the fourth meeting of the 2023-24 NBA season; preview, odds, picks, predictions, and injuries for the Clippers vs Warriors matchup are here. Sportsbooks show the Warriors as 3-point favorites at home. BetOnline odds are below.

Clippers vs. Warriors Preview

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

  • 🏀 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Matchup: Los Angeles Clippers @ Golden State Warriors
  • 📅 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Game Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2024
  • 🕙 What time is Clippers vs. Warriors Game: 10 p.m. ET
  • 🏟 Where is Clippers vs. Warriors Game: Chase Center | San Francisco, California
  • 📺 TV Channel(s): Bally Sports San Diego, ESPN, ESPN2, NBC Sports Bay Area
  • 💻 Free 2023-24 NBA Season Game Live Stream: Jazz Sports
  • 🎲 2023-24 NBA Season Game Odds: Clippers +3 (-105) | Warriors -3 (-115)

Clippers vs. Warriors Odds

Clippers vs. Warriors Predictions

The Clippers are 7-3 against Pacific Division opponents this season. This is the fourth meeting between the Clippers and Warriors this season. Los Angeles won 121-113 in the last matchup on Dec. 15. The Clips are 2-1 against Golden State in their past three meetings.

Kawhi Leonard is scoring 24.1 points per game and averaging 6.2 rebounds for the Clippers. Los Angeles is also 7-3 in its last 10 contests, averaging 118.1 points, 42.5 rebounds, 25.9 assists, 7.9 steals, and 5.1 blocks per game while shooting 48.4% from the field.

Meanwhile, the Warriors enter this Western Conference matchup on a five-game win streak. The Dubs are 4-8 against the rest of their division. Stephen Curry is averaging 28 points on 46.4% shooting for Golden State.

Just like the Clippers, Golden State is 7-3 in its past 10 games, averaging 126 points, 49.2 rebounds, 30.8 assists, 7.0 steals, and 5.6 blocks per game while shooting 49.8% from the floor. The Dubs have a 12-7 record in games decided by 10 or more points.

Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Warriors hold a 54.3% chance of defeating the Clippers. Since P.J. Tucker (undisclosed), Kawhi Leonard (shoulder), and Bones Hyland (undisclosed) are out, Golden State should win at home. The Warriors are only without Chris Paul (hand).

Clippers vs. Warriors Injuries

Los Angeles Clippers Injury Report

PF P.J. Tucker (undisclosed; downgraded to out) | SF Kawhi Leonard (shoulder; downgraded to out) | PG Bones Hyland (undisclosed; downgraded to out) | PF Moussa Diabate (hand; out indefinitely)

Golden State Warriors Injury Report

PG Chris Paul (hand; out indefinitely)

2023-24 NBA Betting Trends

  • The Clippers are 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
  • Los Angeles is 10-3 in its past 13 contests.
  • Next, the Clips are 6-1 in their previous seven road games.
  • As for the Warriors, they’re 5-0 in their last five contests.
  • Golden State is 6-0 at home in its past six matchups with Los Angeles.
  • Lastly, the point total has gone under in the Dubs’ previous five games.

Projected Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup

PG James Harden | SG Terance Mann | PF Paul George | SF Amir Coffey | C Ivica Zubac

Projected Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup

PG Stephen Curry | SG Klay Thompson | PF Draymond Green | SF Andrew Wiggins | C Jonathan Kuminga

Free NBA Expert Picks 

Through 52 games, the Clippers are 34-9 as favorites, 1-8 as underdogs, 14-12 ATS away, and 11-15 over/under away. The Warriors are 20-10 as favorites, 6-15 as underdogs, 12-15 ATS at home, and 17-10 over/under at home. Golden State is just 1-5 in its last six matchups with a Pacific Division opponent.

However, our betting experts here at Basketball Insiders are projecting the Warriors will win, cover the spread, and the point total is expected to go over 236. The Clippers are without Tucker, Leonard, and Hyland. As long as Curry and Klay Thompson stay healthy, the Dubs could make this interesting.

Pick the Warriors to win! The point total has gone over in eight of Golden State’s past 12 games played on a Wednesday. Plus, the Dubs have covered the spread in each of their last five contests. It should be noted that Los Angeles is winless in its previous six road games against the Warriors.

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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What was Chris Holtmann’s Buyout After Being Fired by Buckeyes?

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Ohio State has parted ways with men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann, who was in his seventh season. Despite a contract extension through 2027-28, Holtmann’s tenure ends with the university owing him a significant buyout of $14 million. This decision follows a series of disappointing performances by the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have struggled in recent seasons under his leadership.

Chris Holtmann Buyout

Chris Holtmann’s departure from Ohio State comes with a hefty financial implication – a $14 million buyout.

This figure is a result of the contract extension he signed in the summer of 2022, which was intended to keep him at the helm through the 2027-28 season. However, with the early termination of his contract, Ohio State is obliged to pay this substantial sum.

Chris Holtmann Salary

During his tenure at Ohio State, Holtmann earned an annual salary of around $3.5 million, not including potential bonuses and incentives.

His compensation package placed him among the highest-paid college basketball coaches, reflecting the university’s initial confidence in his ability to lead the team to success. But that failed to pan out, and now the Buckeyes are left holding the bag.

Why Ohio State Fired Holtmann

Holtmann’s firing comes in the wake of a disappointing 14-11 overall record and a 4-10 mark in the Big Ten this season. The decision followed a loss at No. 20 Wisconsin, further underscoring the team’s underperformance.

Under Holtmann, the Buckeyes started strong in his first season but failed to maintain momentum, not advancing past the first weekend in five NCAA Tournament appearances. The past two seasons have seen a notable decline, with the team losing 14 of 15 games in the 2022-23 season, ending the season 16-19, and experiencing a similar downturn in the current season,

It would be hard to justify continuing paying Holtmann with the team on course to miss its second successive NCAA tournament, so now the Buckeyes are on the hunt for a new head basketball coach.

Chris Holtmann Record at Ohio State

Season Overall Conference Standing Postseason
2017–18 25–9 15–3 T–2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
2018–19 20–15 8–12 T–8th NCAA Division I Round of 32
2019–20 21–10 11–9 T–5th Postseason canceled due to COVID-19
2020–21 21–10 12–8 5th NCAA Division I Round of 64
2021–22 20–12 12–8 T–4th NCAA Division I Round of 32
2022–23 16–19 5–15 13th
2023–24 14–11 4–10
Record at Ohio State: 137–85 (.617) Conference Record: 67–64 (.511)



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Suns become last NBA team to acquire G League franchise

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The Phoenix Suns are now officially the last NBA team to have a G League franchise after the organization announced Wednesday that they have acquired the rights to a minor league club that will begin play next season.

The NBA G League is now expanding to a record 32 teams. This also means all 30 NBA teams now own or operate a team in the developmental league. The Suns said the new team would play in the Phoenix metro area.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Suns hold sixth-best odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Furthermore, the G League team will be named in a fan contest to pay homage to how the Suns were named in 1968 through a public contest. This online contest runs from now through Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Fans are encouraged to submit an entry by going to Suns.com/GLeague. The winning submission will receive free tickets for the team’s inaugural season and $1,000.

Phoenix Suns become 30th and final NBA team to acquire a G League club, fan contest to determine name

“It’s all about building our organization,” Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said. Ishbia bought the NBA and WNBA franchises in December 2022 for a record deal of $4 billion.

“We are honored to welcome Mat Ishbia and the Phoenix Suns to the NBA G League and are thrilled to achieve our long-stated goal that each of the 30 NBA teams has an NBA G League affiliate,” NBA G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement.

“The NBA G League has never been more valuable to NBA teams than it is today, and the Suns’ investment only reinforces that reality. I can’t wait to join fans in the Valley next season to enjoy the unique brand of NBA G League basketball.”

Additionally, the G League helps develop young players who possess NBA potential. Fans may refer to it as a “research and development lab.” Over half of current NBA players have G League experience. Eight NBA head coaches started their careers as G League coaches first.

The minor league was founded in 2001 as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL). From 2005 through 2017, the league was known as the NBA Development League (NBA D-League).

Moreover, the Suns announced the formation of Player 15, which will house the Suns, Mercury, and their new G League team. It also includes the Suns’ Footprint Center arena and a $100 million campus and practice facility. The groundbreaking project is expected to open later this year.





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