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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams Out Against Celtics

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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (quad contusion) and forward Jalen Williams (ankle sprain) are both listed as out for Wednesday night’s road game against the Boston Celtics.

Gilgeous-Alexander, 25, has missed three of OKC’s last four games, including Tuesday night’s 109-105 loss to Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. This will be only his fifth contest missed overall this season.

In February, Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams became the first pair of Thunder teammates to tally back-to-back games with at least 30 points since Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in 2013.

Per a few NBA betting sites, Gilgeous-Alexander holds second-shortest odds behind Nikola Jokic to win MVP. Sportsbooks are still showing Luka Doncic in the top three.

Jalen Williams, 22, was also absent at Philadelphia. This will be Williams’ ninth contest missed overall. Through 67 games (all starts), he’s averaging career highs of 19.5 points, 4.6 assists, and 31.7 minutes, along with 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Gilgeous-Alexander is on pace for his second career All-NBA First-Team selection. Through 71 games (all starts), the two-time All-Star is averaging 30.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and career highs of 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per contest while shooting a career-best 53.9% from the field.

The University of Kentucky product notched a season-high 43 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 8 and at the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 14. He has five 40-point games this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on pace to join Michael Jordan for an NBA record

Moreover, Gilgeous-Alexander is still on pace to finish with the third season in NBA history with averages of at least 31 points, six assists, and two steals per game on 50% shooting from the field.

Michael Jordan holds the league’s all-time record for the two other seasons. In the 1988-89 season, the Chicago Bulls legend averaged 32.5 points, 8.0 assists, and 2.9 steals per contest on 53.8% shooting.

In the following season, His Airness averaged 33.6 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.8 steals on 52.6% shooting. Jordan averaged a career-high 37.1 points per game in the 1986-87 season.

Additionally, Gilgeous-Alexander is the 13th different player in NBA history to register at least 50 30-point games in a season. The six-year veteran is the first to do it since James Harden in 2018-19.

For interesting betting trends, the Thunder are 4-9 in their past 13 matchups with the Celtics. OKC is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 road games at TD Garden as well. The club is 23-15 away this season.

The Thunder (52-23) have the same record as the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both teams trail the top-seeded Denver Nuggets (53-23) by half a game in the Western Conference standings.

NBA sportsbooks show OKC as a heavy 10.5-point underdog at Boston. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Celtics hold an 87.2% chance of defeating the Thunder.





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Knicks Must Win Final 2 Games to Help Clinch No. 2 Spot in East

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The New York Knicks (48-32) pulled within a game of the Milwaukee Bucks (49-31) for second, with each team having two games remaining. New York hosts the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) on Friday and the Chicago Bulls (38-42) on Sunday.

The Knicks must win both and the Bucks have to lose their final games at the Oklahoma City Thunder (55-25) and Orlando Magic (46-34). This is because Milwaukee has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Knicks hold 12th-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Bucks and Miami Heat (44-36).

New York’s quest for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference is ongoing after winning 118-109 against the Boston Celtics (62-18) on Thursday night. Jalen Brunson scored 39 points in three quarters.

“We made shots and made the right plays,” Brunson said. “Obviously, we know they’re the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it’s always a good measuring stick to see where you’re at. We played pretty well, but we know what they’re capable of doing. We just had their number tonight.”

Cleveland Cavaliers trail New York Knicks by a game in the Eastern Conference standings

The No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (47-33) also sit one game behind New York in the standings. Cleveland hosts the Indiana Pacers (46-34) on Friday and Charlotte Hornets (20-60) on Sunday.

Milwaukee could still lose its final two regular-season games. Last week, the Bucks became the fourth NBA team to lose three straight games against an opponent with 50 or more losses.

Milwaukee joined the 1990-91 Wizards, 2017-18 Magic, and 2021-22 Trail Blazers. The Bucks also became the first team to lose three consecutive games as double-digit favorites.

Through 80 games, the Knicks are 25-14 at home, 23-18 away, and 33-17 against Eastern Conference opponents. Although New York has won three straight, the team is only 6-4 in its last 10 games.

The Knicks rank 19th in scoring this season, averaging 112.7 points per game. However, New York is second in opponent points per game, allowing just 108.1 points.

Of course, the Knicks have suffered five first-round playoff series losses in the 21st century. In the 2023 NBA Playoffs, New York advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2013.

NBA sportsbooks show the Knicks as 10.5-point favorites against Brooklyn on Friday night. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, New York holds a 71.3% chance of defeating the Nets.

Brooklyn has a 13-35 record against teams over .500.





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Draymond Green is convinced Lakers have no chance vs. Warriors in Play-in

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Even though it is still uncertain who will play against each other in the Western Conference Play-in Tournament, as No. 6 through No. 10 seeds are still close by, it does seem most probable that the Lakers will face off against the Warriors. However, the biggest doubt is who will have home-court advantage during this potential clash. 

With three games remaining, there is one thing Draymond Green knows for sure, and that is the he well knows how to beat the purple and gold. On his most recent podcast show, he explained why he’s convinced that their rivals stand no chance against them if they meet in the Play-in, just as they beat them 134 to 120 this past Tuesday.

“We’ve beaten the Lakers the last couple of times,” he said on Wednesday’s episode of The Draymond Green Show. “The Lakers are always a tough matchup, having [Anthony Davis] on the court always makes a difference. I am very confident if we played them in a play-in situation that we could win — that we will win.”

This doesn’t mean the power forward thinks it will be easy. “In saying that, anytime you’re playing against AD and Bron in a one-game situation, it’s tough. They’re always more than capable of putting a great night together, and it’s more likely in a one-game situation that they’re going to put a great night together than a bad night. So it’s always tough.

“Nonetheless, that is where we are and I have total confidence that we can take advantage of some things that they do and win the game if that is the case,” he insisted.

While the Los Angeles club are currently sitting in the ninth spot with a 45-35 mark, their Bay Area rivals are 44-35 as the No. 10 seed. If things remain the same by this Sunday evening, both teams will face each other in a do-or-die scenario.

Coach Steve Kerr believes they can do a lot of damage in the postseason. “And the guys are really connected,” he said last week. “They’re really playing together, supporting each other. It has been a really fun season coaching the group because they’ve all been so great. We’re desperately trying to get into the playoffs because I think we could do some damage if we get there.”

Lakers big man Anthony Davis is “very confident” his team will make it to the playoffs this season

Despite the West enduring one of the most contested regular seasons in years, team star Anthony Davis is convinced that the purple and gold are destined for playoffs this year. “We’re very confident in our ballclub,” he said this past weekend after putting up 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals against the Cavs.

“We laugh about, like, ‘Oh, winning nine out of 10,’ and we haven’t went anywhere [in the standings]. So, it’s how good the West is. But we’re confident, very confident in our ballclub and any time we step on the floor,” he revealed about the general feel in their locker room.

Despite losing to Golden State on Tuesday, the center says the purple and gold are enjoying their basketball and should be able to overcome the Golden State menace.

“I think the biggest difference is just that we’re just having fun,” the big man said about his team’s recent success. “We’re holding each other accountable. If somebody messes up we’re yelling, screaming at him. But nobody is taking it personal. Because we all know what we’re here for, to try to win. So we’re having fun, we’re having a great time out there playing basketball, and we’re staying together.”





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Kyrie Irving’s Streak of 31 Consecutive Games Played Ends Tonight

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Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving’s streak of 31 consecutive games played will end tonight against the Detroit Pistons due to left hamstring soreness. The eight-time All-Star played in a career-high 42 straight games with the Cleveland Cavaliers from Jan. 2, 2016, through March 24, 2016.

The Mavericks are also 16-2 over an 18-game span for the first time since their championship season in 2011. Dallas has the league’s No. 1 defense during this run with Irving and Luka Doncic on the court, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Mavericks hold sixth-best odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kyrie Irving, 32, will earn a $1 million bonus since the Mavs’ earned their 50th win. Dallas is 39-19 with Irving in the lineup, including 24-7 during his streak of 31 consecutive games played. 

Through 58 games (all starts), Irving has averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 35 minutes per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 41.1% from 3-point range, and 90.5% at the free throw line.

In Dallas’ 147-136 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the 13-year veteran recorded a season-high 48 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 44 minutes of action.

Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving entered the top 100 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 17,199 points

With the Mavericks’ 111-92 win against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Dallas secured a playoff berth for the 25th time in the franchise’s 44-year history. The Mavs also secured their fifth division title in team history (1987, 2007, 2010, 2021, 2024).

Dallas has now made the playoffs 19 times in the last 24 years. The Boston Celtics (20) and San Antonio Spurs (19) are the only teams with as many postseason appearances in that span (since 2000-01), per Mavs PR. This is the sixth consecutive season that Dallas has finished with at least 30 wins as well.

Moreover, Kyrie Irving with 17,199 career points passed Chris Bosh (17,189) for 100th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with his 25-point effort at Miami. He is one of 20 players in NBA history with at least 17,000 points and 1,700 3-pointers.

Additionally, the Mavs are scheduled to play the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. However, it has yet to be determined which team will host as the No. 4 seed.The 2024 NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, April 20.





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