NBA Betting Preview: Celtics deserve to be championship favourites (By


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Dec 2, 2008

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Nick Shiambouros reflects on a magnificent comeback, is baffled by the Lakers price to win the title and looks ahead to this weekend's action.

The Orlando Magic beat the Portland Trailblazers 109-108 with a magnificent comeback on Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to four in a row.
The Magic were down eight points with two minutes left but never gave up and fought back to within two points with only five seconds remaining. With only .3 seconds left in the game Hedo Turkoglu made an impossible shot off the glass to stun the home crowd and the Magic are now a clear third in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic are a team to follow but they have even surprised me with their "never give up " attitude. Speaking of which the Boston Celtics have now won 13 in a row in the east with a demolition of Washington 122-88 late Thursday night. At half time the Celtics were trading at 1.01 leading 63-39.

Over in the Western Conference, the Lakers hold a three-and-a-half game lead but Denver and New Orleans both have a record of 7-3 in the last ten games.
I can offer no explanation as to why the Lakers are 3.25 to win the title and the Celtics are 4.3. Boston are playing the best ball at the moment and they are clearly the best team in the country. In my opinion it really should be the other way round.

On Friday night, I will be backing the Orlando Magic against the Phoenix Suns in Arizona with the handicap. The Suns signed the very talented Jason Richardson from Charlotte on Wednesday in another complex trade involving five players. Richardson was signed for his scoring ability which has been missing from this team recently. Suns GM Steve Kerr has acted quickly but this team looks out of sorts at the moment and the Magic will play them very tough. Richardson is young and talented but he did not come cheap at $12m per year on a progressive yearly salary.

The good news for the Suns is that they wont have to put up with Raja Bell's constant whining as he was traded to the Bobcats in this deal.

On Saturday night the Denver Nuggets host the Golden State Warriors and I really like the look of Denver and the points in this one. Chauncey Billups has really helped turn this team around this season defensively and Carmelo Anthony scored an astonishing 33 points in the third quarter over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Anthony equalled the record for most points scored in a quarter that has stood for 20 years. This performance was the best performance anyone will ever see in a 12 minute period. I have seen a lot of games in my life but I have never seen anything like this in one period of basketball. Carmello Anthony had the entire arena looking on in disbelief at this display.

Golden State are sitting at the wrong end of the west and have won two games in a row but Denver have built up a lot of momentum and I think they will have too many weapons for the Warriors.

Recommended Wagers:
Friday: Orlando - Back with advertised handicap
Saturday: Denver - Back with advertised handicap
NBA Championship: Back Boston at 4.3

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