NBA 2023 Season so far

NBA 2023 Season so far

...By Pelumi Emmanuel for TDPel Media.

We are now well into the NBA playoffs after yet another exhilarating regular season. NBA Finals Odds currently have the Boston Celtics as the slight favorites to bring home the championship come the end of the postseason. Let’s take a quick look at the five teams from each conference that make up the top 10 in the league.

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Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks narrowly topped the Eastern Conference by just one game with another incredible season for Giannis Antetokounmpo helping them gain the top seed. Whilst far from a one-man team, it is clear that they are much better off with ‘The Greek Freak’ on the court.

Boston Celtics

Finishing just below the Bucks was the Celtics who emerged as one of the early favorites for the playoffs and never really let up. Jayson Tatum led the regular season in points scored with 2225 overall, ahead of second placed Joel Embiid by 42. The Celtics are not far off a superteam roster. 

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers were not far from the top seed themselves. Joel Embiid has been their standout player this season, entering into the discussion from league MVP with his heroics on the court. James Harden also had a decent season and they deserve their place in the playoffs.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland finished with the best defensive rating in the entire league and picked up some impressive victories. This included three unprecedented overtime victories against the highflying Celtics and the Cavs are proving there is life after Lebron. 

New York Knicks

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The Knicks are still in search of their first post-merger championship having not one since 1973, but they took a great step in doing so this year. The 5th seeded Eastern team had a great season with Julius Randle the standout having averaged 25.1ppg in 2022-23.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets topped the Western Conference with he second best home record across the entire league, losing just seven of their games in Denver. Nikola Jokic had yet another MVP-worthy season and deserves to finally get his hands on a ring.

Memphis Grizzlies

The best home team in the league, the Grizzlies just narrowly missed out on top seed in the East. Ja Morant has continued to go from strength-to-strength in his burgeoning career despite his controversies off the court. They are a major player in the playoffs.

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Sacramento Kings

Maybe the biggest surprise package of the season, Sacramento finished 3rd in the East and did so relatively comfortably. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been their standouts and as of writing they hold a 2-0 series lead over defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

Phoenix Suns

After missing out on the Finals in 2022 following their 7-game-series loss to the Mavericks, the Suns are still in search of their first championship as a franchise. There is no doubting they have the talent for it in 2023 however with Kevin Durant, CP3, and Devin Booker among the ranks.

LA Clippers

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The Clippers and the Warriors finished level in the East with LA gaining 5th seed only on points for. Kawhi Leonard was of course the standout player for the Clippers this season though Russell Westbrook impressed with his defensive and playmaking efforts to.

Highlights

There have been tons of huge games this season, but of course we can’t name them all so let’s take a short look at some of the best.

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Cavaliers 145 – 134 Bulls · 3 Jan 2023 – In this game, Donovan Mitchell put up an incredible 71 points, the highest single-game total since Kobe Bryant scored 81 on the Raptors in 2006.

Celtics vs Cavs Quadrilogy – Despite topping the West, the Celtics almost found their own personal Boogeyman in the Cavaliers this season. They lost three times in the regular season series all in overtime with their only win a narrow 117-113.

Wild Ending to Lakers/Timberwolves – The play-in tournament has added an extra layer of excitement to the postseason and this game was real heart in mouth stuff. Dennis Schroder scored a three-pointer with just 1.4 seconds remaining, seemingly wrapping up the game for the Lakers. However, Anthony Davis would foul Mike Conley with just 0.1 seconds remaining whilst in shooting motion, allowing him three free throws to tie the game. He made all three with ice in his veins sending the game to overtime where the Lakers would eventually win.

Top Performers

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Nikola Jokic

Jokic is the likely MVP winner for the third year in a row and his contributions to the Nuggets were integral to their finish at the top of the East. He leads the league in triple-doubles by quite some way and has completely dominated once again in 2023.

Joel Embiid

With 33.3ppg, Embiid was the NBA Scoring champion for the second season in a row. His performances towards the back end of the season were nothing short of remarkable and if anyone is likely to put pressure on that MVP spot of Jokic’ it’s the towering Cameroonian.

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Paolo Banchero

The number 1 pick in the draft in 2022, Banchero delivered in his rookie year. He finished the season with 20.0ppg along with around 7 rebounds and 4 assists— those are All-Star worthy numbers. He is the most obvious choice for the Rookie of the Year award and the Orlando Magic Power Forward may well sweep it up.

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