Besides the Golden State Warriors who are currently in the top spot in the whole league, and who are the big favorites for clinching this year’s title, there are several teams who are also serious contenders for the NBA trophy. Fans and potential bettors can find NBA lines here to help put our forecast in context.
First , are the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reigning champions seemed to have lost the pace during one part of the season, and at some point, they were even second in the Eastern conference, behind the Boston Celtics. But last night’s “massacre in Boston” when the Cavaliers blew out the Celtics 114-91 showed that LeBron and the boys are best when the situation is tough. They regained the No.1 spot in the conference, and it looks like they are improving their form as the playoffs are approaching. We can expect their best performances in some 3 or 4 weeks. An experienced team like Cleveland knows how to save their energy for the biggest challenges. With Kyrie, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Korver, they are always championship contenders, no matter the position or performances.
When we mention experience, one more team shows up immediately: The San Antonio Spurs. Coach Greg Popovic and the boys successfully finished the transition after Tim Duncan retired. They achieved for the first time in history back-to-back seasons with 60 or more victories.
Kawhi Leonard is the undisputed leader of this team and with LeBron best player in the league when looking influence on both sides of the court. The Spurs have learned the lesson from last year’s playoffs when they were eliminated by OKC. Now, they don’t overextend too much, and their game looks convincing enough to threaten the Golden State Warriors. Also, in our opinion, they have a much easier road to the conference finals because they will avoid Houston (who will be fourth) or the Clippers.
The third team is the Boston Celtics. Despite their loss against Cleveland, Brad Stevens’ players are serious contenders. Especially because when the playoffs start, the referees will allow tougher defense. That is something that will absolutely suit the Celtics. They have a lot of defensive potential, which will be noticed only during the playoffs.
Isiah Thomas proved that he is fantastic in the decisive and clutch moments. He is leading the most successful franchise in the NBA, and for the first time since Paul Pierce, Boston has that kind of player. They had two easy defeats against the Cavaliers, and the champs lead 3-1 in the season series, but as we said when the playoffs start: everything will be different.
These three teams are the most serious contenders (besides Golden State) to win the title this year. Cleveland has LeBron who is chasing his eighth finals in a row. San Antonio is always among the top three or four teams in the league, while the Celtics are searching for their piece of the cake.
But, we can’t forget possible surprises in the playoffs. The Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards are long shots, but keep an eye on them. They have a lot of potential in their game. Utah on defense, Washington on the offensive side of the court.
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