The National Basketball Association is the top men’s professional basketball league in the world. It consists of 30 teams, 29 that are located in the US and 1 in Toronto Canada.
The league is recognized as one of the top sporting leagues in the world as well, with many teams playing in arenas that seat more than 16,000 and much of their 82 game seasons being completely sold out. Fans pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for the best seats at games and the league and merchandise sells in the billions every years.
The NBA has a large international following and the league today is made up of up of international players who come from more than 25 countries including China, where the US holds several exhibition games every year.
The 2018 season has been a strange one for sure making it difficult for bettors on sites like betolimp to pick winners. Due to a flurry of trades at the end of last season, and the emergence of several previously rebuilding teams, there appears to be a shake-up at the top of the standings as we head turn the corner on the season.
The defending champion Golden State Warriors had been coasting along this year, playing their superior brand of unstoppable basketball, when all of a sudden they started having big challenges. Their dynamic trio of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, still look other-worldly most nights, but some nights they look almost mortal. Steph Curry has gone down with a bad ankle sprain and the team has lost two in a row.
Upstaging Golden State of late has been the Houston Rockets who actually are leading the former champs by 2 games and coming off a recent 16 game winning streak. The combination of Harden and new addition Chris Paul has created the best two guard tandem in the league. Harden is the league’s MVP this year and Houston is a threat to take it all.
Two more hot teams in the West include Portland who is on a 9 game win streak and just beat Golden State, and Minnesota who has finally begun to play up to their potential. They are unfortunately without off-season addition Jimmy Butler who is out with a knee injury, but still this team is deep and could make a nice run in the playoffs.
The big story in the East is the uneven play of Cleveland. Might this be the first year in 8 that Lebron James does not make the finals? Right after the all-star break Cleveland blew up the team sending four rotation payers out and taking in four new ones. Normally this is a bad move in the middle of the season, but LeBron has a history of making anything work. The move created new energy for the Cavaliers and made them younger. The team got some quick wins, but as of late they seem to be falling right back into their rut.
They will have considerable challenges from Boston who sits atop the standings and a resurgent Toronto who is playing their best ball of the season right now.
Whether you are sports betting in South Africa or trying to pick NBA winners from the UK, the NBA playoffs this season promise to be thrilling and wide open.