Fri, Mar 2, 1:37am by Staff Writer
Anyone drive down the I480 this week near Cleveland? If by any chance you were in the area checking out the sights you may have noticed the ‘Three Billboards in Ohio.’
A not too subtle message went out to LeBron James to help him along with his decision that will come at the end of the season. The King may be looking for a new home and a few fans in Philly want him to join the city of brotherly love. Now with the message plastered all over the highway in Ohio, it may be a sign with the 76ers in town. We get treated to Cleveland 2.0 playing LeBron James 3.0 aka. Ben Simmons. Ben may not have a jump shot just yet, but he is a Melbourne lad, with skills that put Big Ballers to shame.
Ouch! I know Magic Johnson is cringing at what he is missing, and instead getting the father/son pick instead. Don’t feel bad for Magic, in between his tourism ad for California and the ASG sales pitch, he may just get a marquee player or two.
Speaking of the Lakers, Luke Walton’s boy band wannabees head to Miami to take on a Heat side that are hanging onto their playoff hopes. The Lakers are winning more than they are losing, and even Lonzo Ball is hitting his jump shot. The Lakers simply need to block out the LaVar Ball white noise and keep on winning. If Magic keeps the Big Ballers in Lithuania, he may have a chance at fitting out LeBron with that max cap contract slot for next season.
Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat
Friday 1 March 2018, 10.30am at American Airlines Arena
When Lakers coach Luke Walton sits down to close the chapter on the season, he’ll be getting a cigar from GM Magic Johnson. Everyone has a least one friend in their circle that is a Lakers fan. He’ll be the guy that talked about seeing ‘Mike’ play that time at the Staples Center. To be honest it’s hard to not jump on the Lakers train, if Jack Nicholson is on board then how bad can it be? The Lakers are not quite back to the showtime years or even the Kobe chronicles, but they are on the way. You can dare to dream of Paul George, Anthony Davis or even LeBron!
Coach Walton’s charges chalked up a significant milestone this week by equalling last season’ win total of 26-34 with a solid effort against the Hawks (123-104). Before we get excited, let’s just breath and take in the fact that the Hawks are jockeying with Mark Cuban’s Mavs for those precious lottery picks.
There were a few positives for the Lakers, with nine players ending up in double-figures. The last time that happened the Lakers line-up included the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Billy Thompson and Adrian Branch; against the 87 Nuggets the Lakers put on a show!
The Heat (32-39) have been disappointing since the break, but have managed to hang onto eighth seeding through the class of veteran Dwyane Wade. The former Cleveland journeyman’s deadline day trade has added that finesse to the bench rotation, with Wade averaging 11.7 PPG.
The Heat under normal circumstances travel well at home, but will struggle to back up against a younger team after a high tempo game against the 76ers. The Lakers are good value in the market at $2.47 for the win.
Off the back of Lonzo getting on board with the program and finding some range with his jump shot, the Lakers are not in the showtime league yet, but Luke Walton’s boys will be on the way to the big time with a solid win on the road to extend their streak.
Best Bet: LA Lakers $2.47 for the win at Sportsbet
Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers
Friday 1 March 2018, 11.00am at Quicken Loans Arena
The new version of the Cavs has stumbled ever so slightly after the resumption of duties after the All-Star Game.
The Ohio faithful will be starting to walk on eggshells, with another decision from LeBron looming in the postseason. It’s difficult to imagine that LeBron would walk on Cleveland for the second time in his career, but not completely inconceivable. This period of 20+ games will make or break his decision.
LeBron has been averaging a triple double for the month of January, and by coincidence gets a glimpse of what his future could hold for next season.
With the 76ers in town, LeBron gets a chance to renew his friendly rivalry with Aussie Ben, and listen to Joel Embiid’s sales pitch on completing the process. The 76ers seem like a viable option for LeBron if he does decide to walk on the Cavs, with one of the hottest young line-ups in the league.
The 76ers need to refocus after the disappointment of a 102-101 loss to Miami in Florida. They can ill-afford to drop easy games like that with Miami and the Pistons all creating a logjam for the last two seedings in the playoffs.
Don’t be surprised to see the Cavs drop the hack-a-Shaq strategy on Ben Simmons. Simmons doesn’t have a three-point shot or a mid-range jump shot. Crowding Simmons with shooters and forcing him to the line is a viable strategy as he has the second lowest shooting percentage in the league from the charity stripe.
It’ll take a super human effort for the 76ers to cause an upset, as the experience of LeBron will drag the Cavs across the line.
The Cavs will win this in the clutch off the back of a LeBron triple double.
Best Bet: Cleveland Cavaliers to win by 1-10 points at Sportsbet
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