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NBA Futures – Warriors and Spurs Will Be Titanic
By Charles Jay
As we write this, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are getting ready to meet in the second half of TNT’s Thursday night doubleheader. We know that the Warriors are chasing history, as they are trying to set the all-time record for victories in the season, currently held by the Chicago Bulls with 72 in the 1995-96 season. So Golden State would have to sweep their final four games to get the job done. The San Antonio Spurs are probably less motivated for that contest, not to mention the one that comes after that, which is on Sunday. What they are really focusing on is an NBA championship, and certainly they have been there before. So have the Warriors, but Chinese Bookie customers may ask themselves whether this team, which might be running out of steam at the moment, do it again?
After all, if you are supposed to have an incredible intensity level, you don’t do things like turn the ball over 24 times against the Minnesota Timberwolves, leading to a 124-117 overtime loss. It is fair to say that in these remaining games, whether the Warriors when the mall or not, there is a little bit of tweaking and “cleaning up” that head coach Steve Kerr has to affect in order for Golden State to go into this post-season looking sharp.
We say that because San Antonio has been hot on their trail almost from the start of the season. In fact, these teams are among only 19 in the history of the NBA that of one at least 65 games. And one thing we know about the Spurs is that they know how to pace their own players. Gregg Popovich is a guy who knows how to do that, and he has refined it over the years.
As we take a look at the favorites as far as winning the championship is concerned, look at the NBA futures as they are posted at Chinese Bookie, as we have also included another team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the favorites to get through the Eastern Conference:
Golden State Warriors -135
San Antonio Spurs +300
Cleveland Cavaliers +385
You have to include the Cavs in this listing because either the Warriors or the Spurs, most likely, are going to be facing the East representative, and Cleveland is the team that is the #1 seed.
Between Golden State and San Antonio, these teams seem statistically matched evenly. Both of them, as of this moment, shoot 48.7% from the field, and both of them have permitted 43.6% shooting on the part of their opponents. With the Spurs have done of late is take care of the ball better; in fact, they have committed just a little more than a dozen turnovers per game over their last six.
What will be interesting if indeed these teams hold true to form and meet up in the West finals is that the Warriors, who had won 54 regular-season games in a row at home until recently losing to Boston in Minnesota, can’t really afford to slip at the Oracle Arena, because San Antonio’s record at home is a perfect 39-0. That’s one of the things that isn’t talked about very much, with all of the focus being on the Warriors and their quest for, if you will, “immortality.”
And Chinese Bookie patrons know that this will be a titanic matchup, to say the least. Golden State is first in the league in Offensive Rating, while San Antonio is fourth. San Antonio is first in Defensive Rating, while Golden State is fifth. In other words, they can pretty much both do it at a high level at both ends of the floor. San Antonio has, for years, been known as a team that is completely unselfish and knows how to get the ball around the court to each other. And Golden State leads the league in assists, by a considerable margin.
The top two MVP candidates would be in this series as well. Steph Curry, who won the award last season, currently leads the league in scoring and steals. He is, by any measure, the most prolific three-point shooter, perhaps of all time in the NBA, and he is also second in the league in free-throw accuracy. You simply can’t come up with enough superlatives to describe him. But the rising superstar is Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio, who was decorated over the last couple of seasons, first with an NBA Finals MVP, then with the Defensive Player of the Year award. He was an All-Star for the first time this season, and he not only shoots 45% from beyond the three-point arc, he is also the top ten in free-throw shooting, is close to 50% from the field, and of course anchors the defense. All told, San Antonio has four of the top eight individual players in the category of Defensive Rating.
Make no mistake about it; San Antonio is fully capable of beating Golden State in this scheduled seven-game series, even if they don’t have the home-court advantage. They seem to have a defensive formula to thwart Curry, as they demonstrated on March 19, when they held him to just 23% shooting from the field in an 87-79 victory, which constituted the lowest point total for the defending NBA champions this season. This may be the most highly-anticipated conference final in years and years. Let’s hope it comes to fruition.
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