Can the Oklahoma City Thunder pull off the upset against the defending champs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

This season has been an amazing one to say the least for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they have gone from arguably one of the worst teams in the league to playoff team.

Not only have the Thunder increased their win total by 27 this season, but they have also started to get a lot of recognition for their impressive season.

Coming into the league about three years ago, Kevin Durant was thought to be one of the NBA’s most promising players. It was rough start for Durant as the Seattle Supersonics were one of the struggling franchises in the league and seemed to have no hope for the future besides having the kid out of Texas leading the way.

Fortunately, as the years rolled on the Seattle Supersonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder and the team kept getting considerable upgrades to their squad in the NBA Draft. With the additions of point guard Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and James Harden over the last couple of seasons the Oklahoma City Thunder have gone from a struggling NBA franchise to arguably one of the best young teams in the league.

Last season the Oklahoma City Thunder witnessed Kevin Durant starting to become one of the league’s dominant scorers, but they never would have anticipated experiencing the amount of success they have during this season.

As if making the playoffs for the first since moving to Oklahoma City wasn’t impressive enough for the Thunder, Kevin Durant became the youngest player in league history to win the scoring title. With dominant scorers like Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in the league that is definitely saying something.

There have been plenty of young players that have won the scoring title before, but almost all them have been on terrible teams and depended on them scoring 30+ points a night just to save face. Michael Jordan and Tracy McGrady are good examples of this as that is exactly the situation they were in with the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic early in their careers. When MJ started out with the Chicago Bulls they were awful and the only highlight was his high scoring nights and highlight reels dunks. McGrady had exactly the same experience as all he did was score as much as possible, but the Orlando Magic were still amongst the worst teams in the league at the time.

Kevin Durant on the other hand is in a completely different situation as he is a dominant scorer, but he makes his team better and this season success is the perfect indication of that.

Now the Oklahoma City Thunder have a daunting task ahead of them as they face the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. They have played extremely well so far, but a favored to go home early as the defending champs will not go down without a fight.

The key to this series is point guard Russell Westbrook as the Los Angeles Lakers have absolutely no answer for the versatile and extremely fast guard in the backcourt.

Derek Fisher is a great defender, but he is really starting to show signs of his age as Westbrook continues to blow straight past the four-time NBA champion.

Ultimately, I can’t see the Oklahoma City Thunder beating the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven game series. The Lakers are just too experienced and extremely resilient which leading me to believe that the Thunder will show their inexperience at some point during this series, but I have to say they have played much better than anticipated.

Who is the dark horse in the Eastern Conference playoffs?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

There is no doubting that right now the Cleveland Cavaliers are by far the favorite to come out of the Eastern conference and represent the East in the NBA finals. No team in the East has a player like LeBron James who can just take over again whenever he feels he needs to. Few players in the league have ever been tagged with the distinction of being unguardable, but LeBron James pulls that off quite nicely.

The one team that seems to give them the most trouble with the past two seasons is the Orlando Magic who have arguably the best collection of offense of weapons in the NBA today and the best defensive player in the league in center Dwight Howard.

After the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, the competition in the Eastern conference drops off fairly drastically as the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics become the next two teams to beat in the conference.

Even though the top four teams in the Eastern conference will be the only teams in the East that most people keep their eyes on in these playoffs, there is one team that I believe could shock one or more of these great teams in the conference during the postseason.

Throughout this NBA regular season we’ve seen a few surprises for certain players in certain teams exceeding expectations and becoming legitimate playoff teams.

In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder who have gone from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the promising young teams in the future in just one season. Not only has the Thunder been able to become a playoff team for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City, but Kevin Durant has gone from just a good player to arguably the best score this week today. As a result, the Texas product has one scoring title and become the youngest player to do so in NBA history.

In the Eastern conference, the Milwaukee Bucks are the team that have really surprised people as they have had nothing but disappointment over the last few seasons with their superstar guard Michael Redd going down in consecutive seasons with serious knee injuries.

Despite Michael Redd going down once again with a knee injury and quite possibly claim his last game as a Milwaukee Buck, the team has been able to rally around point guard rookie phenom Brandon Jennings.
Even though a lot of people questioned whether or not Brandon Jennings couldn’t play the NBA level after playing in Italy for one season due to his in eligibility to enter the NBA draft because of age, young kid has completely turned around his franchise and looks like a future superstar in this week with the help of All-Star caliber center Andrew Bogut.

Not only has Brandon Jennings almost single-handedly brought interest back to the Milwaukee Bucks fan base, but he has helped lead the team back into the playoffs and in my opinion given them a solid shot at competing with the best the best in the conference.

I do believe for the Milwaukee Bucks might be able to surprise some people in the playoffs, but they will have their work cut out for them against another young and upcoming team in the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks by no means will go down without a fight, but in my opinion this will be the most entertaining first round matchup in the playoffs.

Is Kevin Durant this season’s MVP?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

Every single season in our heated debates on which player is the NBA MVP was the league’s best all around player. Usually the same names seem to pop up like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James.

These three players are arguably the best players in the league and will always be in the MVP conversation unless they are sitting out with injury. This season is no different, Dwyane Wade might not be getting as much consideration with the Miami Heat struggling this season, but Kobe and LeBron are definitely in the mix for the award is Kobe has displayed late game heroics all season long and LeBron has led his team to the best record in the NBA.

Even though Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are both legitimate candidates for the award, there is one player that is just been playing out of his mind and will most likely get some much needed recognition when the time comes to award this season’s MVP.

That player is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant who has completely turned around his franchise this season almost single-handedly. There are some great players on this team like point guard Russell Westbrook, but Durant has been playing like a man possessed as he is lead his team to a legitimate playoff contender and the possible Cinderella like story the season.

Ever since Kevin Durant came in the league out of Texas University, lot people speculated whether or not he was as good or better than Ohio State’s center Greg Oden who was picked number one overall by the Portland Trail Blazers. I believe the question is answered now as Durant as the Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting in fifth place in the very competitive Western Conference and seem to be poised for a first-round meeting with the Utah Jazz come playoff time.

As if that isn’t an impressive enough, Kevin Durant has really stepped up his game when it comes to scoring as he is second in the league just behind the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James with 29.6 points per game and could quite possibly passing to win his first scoring title if LeBron’s numbers start to dip in the second half of the season.

With the thunder be and are arguably the most surprising team in the league this season and to read challenging LeBron for the scoring title, there is no question that he is a legitimate MVP candidate this season and should get some much needed recognition for the award at season’s end.

Now would be hard to argue that Lebron James isn’t the front runner for the MVP award as he is scoring 30 points a game and dishing out 8.5 assists on top of that, but if Kevin Durant can pass King James in the race for the scoring title, I believe he could very well win this award as many voters might see him as being the most viable player in the league this season.

Scoring Title Prediction: Kevin Durant

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan

Staff Writer:  Ryan Ward

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Over the past decade or so there has no other scorer in the league as dominant as the reigning NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant.

With players like Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum playing alongside Kobe, the Black Mamba no longer has to light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis just to make the Lakers a title contender.

With that being said, Kobe Bryant’s numbers have started to decline, but his chances at winning multiple NBA titles have risen as a result.

The Los Angeles Lakers look like they have a really good chance of repeating this season and Kobe has been on fire in clutch situations, but he will not win the scoring title as he is a couple points behind with 27.6 points per game as of right now.

Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

In the first month or so of the NBA season, the Denver Nuggets were arguably the best team in the league and the main reason for this was the impressive play of Carmelo Anthony who was getting some much deserved consideration for the MVP award.

There are only a handful of games left in the season and the Denver Nuggets are the number two seed in the Western Conference just behind the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Melo sat out for a few games with an ankle injury which hurt his numbers a bit, but he is still averaging 28.8 points per game and is just short of the league lead.

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

With every passing season the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar forward LeBron James just seems to improve in every aspect of his game and this season is no different as his points per game have reached 29.7 per game.

Even though LeBron has led the league in scoring the majority of the season, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder as been able to catch up to King James and looks like he could quite possibly surpass him when the NBA regular season comes to an end.

The Cleveland Cavaliers might be on their way to an NBA title and LeBron is the favorite to win his second straight MVP award, but I believe Durant will edge him out in the race for the NBA scoring title.

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

No team in the NBA this season has made more of a turn around this year than the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ever since the team made the move from Seattle and changed their name to the Thunder, Kevin Durant and company has really struggled and have been among the league’s worst teams, but this season the team has done a 180 and have become one of the best teams in the league with Durant leading the way.

No matter how many people doubted Kevin Durant this season, the young kid out of Texas University has quickly become the most dynamic scorer in the league and looks like a lock for the NBA scoring title if he can hold off LeBron James for the rest of the NBA regular season.

Is Kevin Durant a legitimate MVP candidate?

Staff Writer for Basketball Betting - A true Lakers Fan
Staff Writer: Ryan Ward

At the halfway point in every NBA regular season, the MVP talk starts the heat up as all the legitimate candidates for the NBA award start to narrow down to a small few. This season is no different as we have at least three players right now are playing at such high level that it looks to become a three man race in the second half of the season.

The first of these three players that are legitimate candidates for the MVP award this season could be champion Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant who is arguably playing the best clutch basketball of his Hall of fame caliber career in the NBA.

Along with having arguably the best team in the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant has been held to lead his Lakers through his own injuries and the injuries of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum. During the time without these key players for the Lakers, Kobe has altered his game to more the low post presence and instead of being a perimeter player and made the transition seamlessly.

Not only has Kobe five game-winning shots this season, which is extremely impressive to say the least, but please played through injuries like broken finger on his shooting hand, painful back spasms and the most recent was an ankle sprain that kept him out of five games and the All-Star game in front of a record 108,713 people at the billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

So with five game winners, the best record in the Western Conference and battling through injuries that no one dare try, I believe Kobe Bryant will be one of the players in contention for the MVP award at season’s end.
The second player I believe that should give some serious consideration for the MVP award this season is the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James.

Along with being arguably the best player in the league today with some unbelievable athletic ability that has never been seen in the NBA before, LeBron has outdone himself this season alongside Shaquille O’Neal as he’s played brilliantly in the first half of the NBA regular season by lighting up scoreboards with his point production, getting teammates involved with his passing ability and driving opposing defenses crazy.

As of right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA and could quite possibly keep that for the rest of the season and go into the playoffs with home court advantage of who play a big part of they get to the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers who they have beaten twice this season already.

At this point in time, LeBron is the front runner for the NBA MVP, but there is one more player that is quickly getting some serious consideration for the award as he’s come virtually out of nowhere this season and turned from a just a great score to one of the best leaders in the NBA today.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been arguably the surprising team in the NBA this season as they have just been red hot coming into the second half of the regular season and look like a legitimate playoff team for the first time since moving to Seattle.

At 29 points per game, Kevin Durant has turned into one of the best scores in the league just behind LeBron James and 30 points a game. At just three years in the NBA, Durant has gone from college phenom to NBA superstar and quite possibly NBA MVP.

Weekly MVP rankings

Staff Writer: Jeremiah Ira Yap

1. LeBron James

James may pick-up his second MVP award this season. He led the Cavaliers to a thirteen game winning streak before losing a close game to fellow 2003 draftee Carmelo Anthony. He currently leads the league in scoring. With the acquisition of Antawn Jamison, James has enough weapons around him to lead Cleveland to its first ever NBA championship.

2. Carmelo Anthony

Anthony showed why he belongs in the conversation of the league’s elite after hitting the go-ahead bucket in the face of LeBron James during the final seconds of the Nuggets win in Cleveland. Many doubted that the Nuggets could win a championship with Anthony as the No. 1 guy – until he effectively defended James and hit seven of his last eight shots in regulation.

3. Kevin Durant

The second leading scorer has the Oklahoma City Thunder riding an eight-game winning streak. He has developed into a reliable clutch player and capable defender. The Thunder are currently fifth in Western conference and have a fairly easy schedule ahead of them. It is hard to believe that Durant is just 21 years old.

4. Dwight Howard

Howard still hasn’t learned any post moves during the offseason and remains one of the worst free throw shooters in the league. But despite all of these shortcomings, he is Orlando’s most important piece. He leads the league in blocks and rebounds.

5. Kobe Bryant

A sore ankle has forced the 2008 MVP to miss the Lakers’ five last games. He was a strong candidate early in the season with his string of game-winning shots. But what hurts Bryant’s chances the most is that the Lake Show has won four of their last five games without him in the line-up.

6. Tim Duncan

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have lost much of their magic. Despite averaging only 32 minutes a game, Duncan’s presence sets the tone for the Spurs offense. His great positional defense also helps his teammates out on the perimeter. In a season full of inconsistencies for the Spurs, Duncan is the only constant.