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Orlando Magic acquire Gilbert Arenas
After having a lackluster performance this month, the Orlando Magic decided to revamp their roster, acquiring former all-star point guard Gilbert Arenas in a deal that sent sweet-shooting forward Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards on Sunday 18 December.
Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith said that they felt that they have to make a move in order to stay in the hunt for an NBA title after having poor performances this month, while seeing how their Eastern Conference rivals, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, destroyed their opponents.
Smith also said that Dwight Howard was on board with the deal, saying that Howard also felt that they need to make necessary changes to their roster in order to compete for the title, and Smith expressed his excitement after announcing the deal.
“Gilbert Arenas is a proven All-Star in this league and we’re excited to add him to our team,” said Smith. “He is one of the top scoring guards in the game, he can create scoring chances for his teammates and he is as tough as they come.”
Smith also added that he is not bothered by the “bad image” of Arenas while he was still with the Wizards, where he was involved in a gun incident last season.
“We have a tendency not to forgive people in this country,” Smith said. “We have a tendency to hold onto things a little bit longer, particularly if they play professional sports. And I always say that sometimes good people do stupid things, and that one's right on the top of the list. But I feel comfortable with who he is, knowing him since he was 19 years old.”
Arenas, on the other hand, was also thrilled upon hearing that he was traded to the Magic, where he would form a deadly combo with arguably the best center in the league right now, Dwight Howard.
“This is a new beginning for me,” said Arenas, who is averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 assists in 21 games this season. “This is a true new beginning. Changing my number was a new beginning, but this is a real new beginning with a new city, new people and new team, and I get to start fresh.”
Arenas, who has been sidelined by several injuries in the past three years and was suspended for the rest of the season last year after the infamous gun incident, also said that he’s glad to be back in playoff hunt after three-straight dismal seasons with the Wizards.
“I'm just glad to be back in the playoff hunt,” Arenas said. “I've been out of it for a while and just glad to be back in competitive basketball with a group of guys who now hope to win, so it's just great.”
With Arenas in their fold, the Magic would have an additional firepower, but it remains to be seen whether they would jell quickly to be a threat to the East leader Boston Celtics and the star-studded Miami Heat, who have been destroying their opponents as of late. With this big deal the Magic are +1800 to win the NBA championship according to the Basketball Odds at sportsbook.com the home of NBA betting.
NBA: Series shift favors the Celtics2010-06-08
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drama of the NBA Finals? Everything is overanalyzed, everyone is seeking a unique storyline and all the conjecture goes right to the top. One day the Lakers are invincible, the next they might not play another game this season in Los Angeles. Such is now the case after the Celtics dismantled the Lakers in Game 2 of the best-of-7 series. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Boston and the hosts are 2.5-point favorites according to Sportsbook.com.
Boston is in the same predicament as Doc Rivers noted. “We lose and were old, we win and we have veteran experience.”
The easiest aspect to lose sight of is this is a series, a best of seven. That alone usually means twists and turns, especially when it is The Finals.
Face the facts, Boston has too much leadership and experience to go down like a Cleveland, they have players that will find a way to contribute, even if a part of their game is not working 100 percent perfectly.
The Celtics return home where they are 31-19 and 19-30-1 ATS this season (7-2 SU & ATS in the playoffs). While Boston fans and backers are psyched that they can end the series at home, it’s extremely unlikely to happen. As noted, the Celtics are far from a sure thing or bet at home and the Bryant surly attitude after Sunday’s loss would suggest he will come with a vengeance, if the referee’s let both teams play.
Both games in the Finals have gone Over the total, however not based on level of skill shown, rather by referee’s enjoying the tweeting of their whistles and evidently TV time. As compared to the Stanley Cup Finals where penalties are down compared to the rest of the playoffs, the basketball fouls are coming faster than Twitter ‘tweets”.
As John Hollinger of ESPN.com points out, after two contests the numbers show an average of 56 fouls and 67 free throws compared to regular season average of 41.7 and 49.1 per game, respectively. Though playoff basketball tends to be slower and more physical and a few more fouls would be expected to be called since teams will not concede layups as often. Nonetheless, the fouls for a four quarter Finals confrontation are up over 20 percent compared to the rest of the postseason.
NBA fans are not turning on The Finals to see Bryant, Ray Allen and several other players on the bench with ticky-tacky fouls that are not even called during the regular season.
In spite of the defeat, the Phil Jackson and company can’t be totally depressed. It took the best deep shooting performance ever by Allen and a triple-double by Rondo to knock off the Lakers with Bryant and Lamar Odom glued to the bench with fouls for lengthy periods. Though it is earlier than a couple of the other series they’ve played, L.A. is 18-6 ATS when tied in a playoff series since 1996.
Boston will look to keep the pressure on with Rondo forcing the issue with the ball and feeding the C’s big guys in the paint, to keep Pau Gasol and others busy, opening up the mid-range jump shooting game the Celtics prefer.
Sportsbook.com has Rivers club as 2.5-point favorites with total of 193. It will be worth watching how both teams react in the first half traveling across the country and playing a game of this magnitude less than 48 hours after completing the prior conflict and losing additional three hours for time zone shift.
The rest aspect could be important for sports betting purposes with Boston 7-2 ATS with one day between contests and the Lakers 5-14 ATS.
Los Angeles is 13-3 UNDER in road games revenging a straight up loss as a home favorite, while the home team for Game 3 is 7-3 UNDER as playoff favorite.
The starting time moves back to 9:00 Eastern, with the Celtics 4-2 and 4-1-1 ATS when the Lake Show makes an appearance in Bean-Town the last three years.
The StatFox Power Line shows Boston by 6, but oddsmakers couldn’t possibly put out a number that high.
NBA: Chicago at Orlando on TNT2010-03-11
In their last two games, the surging Orlando Magic posted wins against one of the league’s best teams and one of the worst. Their next opponent is playing more like the latter. The Magic look to win their season-high seventh straight game Thursday night when they host the slumping Chicago Bulls. The Magic are listed as a heavy 12.5-point favorite at Sportsbook.com.
Orlando (45-20, 32-39-4 ATS) has matched its longest win streak of the season, giving itself a small cushion over Boston for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. It still trails first-place Cleveland by five games. The Magic beat the Lakers on Sunday in an NBA finals rematch and followed that victory with a 113-87 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Orlando led by 26 points at the half and cruised the rest of the way. Dwight Howard, who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds, did most of his damage in the first half, going into the break with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “I liked the way we approached the game coming off a big win the other night,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “There was no letdown, especially in the second half.” The Magic have covered five of their last seven home games.
The Magic have a good chance at extending their winning streak against a Chicago team that has lost five in a row (0-5 ATS). Orlando hasn’t won seven straight (4-2 ATS) since Jan. 6-17, 2009.
Improved production from point guard Jameer Nelson has provided a boost for the Magic, winners of five straight at home. Nelson is averaging 12.6 points this season, but 16.4 in the last 10 games. He had 17 points and eight assists Tuesday, shooting 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Nelson and the Magic will try to take advantage of the Bulls’ defensive struggles. Chicago equaled its longest losing streak of the season Tuesday with its fifth straight defeat, 132-108 to Utah. It was the most points the team has allowed this season.
The Bulls (31-32, 30-31-2 ATS) are giving up 115.0 points per game during the skid and their last two opponents have averaged 127.0 points and shot 55.3 percent. All of those losses came without defensive presence Joakim Noah, who is out with plantar fasciitis. Chicago is 5-10 ATS after allowing 100 or more points, including failing to cover last five in a row.
Howard will look again to dominate inside with Noah sidelined. He had 18 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes of a 107-87 win Feb. 10 with Noah out. In the previous matchup with Noah in the lineup, Howard was held to nine points and 12 rebounds in a 101-93 loss Jan. 2.
Thursday continues a difficult stretch for Chicago, which in a tight battle with five teams for the final four playoff spots in the East. The Bulls play their next four on the road and their next five opponents are all playoff contenders. “It’s the NBA, you can always change things around,” said Derrick Rose, who had 25 points and 13 assists Wednesday. “Now we go on the road for two big games. We need them.” The Bulls are 19-14 and 15-15-3 ATS on the road and have covered five of last six against teams with winning home records.
It won’t help, however, if the Bulls don’t have Luol Deng, who sat out the fourth quarter with a strained right calf. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI before Thursday’s game. Deng is second on Chicago, averaging 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Sportsbook.com has Orlando as decided favorites, however they have been unsafe bet on Thursday’s of late, failing to cover four in a row and are merely 2-7-1 ATS off a win by double digits. Chicago on the other hand is 6-2-1 ATS after a butt-whuppin’ of 10 or more points at home and is 9-4 UNDER facing teams with winning records.
The Bulls, who haven’t lost six straight since Nov. 14-24, 2006, have lost four in a row (1-3 ATS) in Orlando by an average of 19.3 points. This TNT matchup starts at 8:00 Eastern and the last five meeting have played UNDER east of Disney World.
The StatFox Power Line shows Orlando by 16 , indicating oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com might not have given the Magic enough credit.