Big Ben Tuesday: NBA and NHL Scorching Takes and Finals Predictions

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I enjoyed Eb’s Hot Takes yesterday. But it wasn’t enough, I need more cowbell. Buckle in for Ben’s Scorching Takes.

NBA Parity and the Celtics

The four teams with the best pre-season odds to win the NBA title remain are the four teams standing. The Rockets were tied for fourth with OKC and San Antonio at 16 to 1, and the next closest team after the top six was 40 to 1. Man, the lack of parity in the NBA sucks. The regular season is a waste of time for most teams.

Philly Bound?

That said, you have to credit the Celtics, who did it without Heyward for the whole season and Kyrie for the second half. What team could survive the loss of their top two players and still end up in the finals (maybe)? Umm, none.

It is inconceivable that Brad Stevens received zero votes for coach of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association. He’ll probably lose to a guy who got fired. Or Mike D (more on him later).

Not that Mike D

The Celtics are fun to watch because they run plays for everybody instead of running everything through a big dog. They play D and can hit threes. Lebron’s run of finals appearances ends this year, I say. Lebron guts out two wins, but the C’s win in six.

Lebron the GOAT?

It’s an odd twist that Lebron’s case for the GOAT over MJ got stronger in the year he doesn’t make the finals. Saysme. But he carried the Cavs to the conference finals with a bunch of role players. I’m still an MJ guy but barely.

It is unlikely he would have made all these finals if he had taken his talents to the Western Conference. We’ll see what he can do for his legacy in Philly. Philly is a perfect fit because the 76ers have young players he can make better, and the team is in the right conference. Plus, everything seems to be coming up Philly these days. The city was due.

The Marquee Matchup

Could they?

The NBA annoys the hell out of me, but who isn’t excited for the Rockets Warriors? The winner of this series is the likely champ and it seems likely to go the distance. It’s hard to take playoff underacheivers Paul and Harden over the champs, but I never thought they would work this well together. Rockets in seven.

Mike D’Antoni can coach after all! You could create the ultimate Weird Science coach of John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, and Casey Stengel and he still couldn’t lead the Knicks to 40 wins.

NHL Surprises

The top teams usually advance is basketball, but in hockey anyone who gets in can make a push. The President’s Trophy winner has only one one of the last ten Stanley Cups.

You throw pucks at the net and sometimes good things happen. Look at the Jets, who got a few soft ones past Pekka Rinne. The Predators pulled the Veniza candidate, and the Jets cruised. It was only two goals, give the guy a chance to right himself. Panic move.

Football!

The Caps Get Over the Hump?

Alexander Ovechkin  really wants a cup, he’s playing hard. Plus, Russians are pretty much running Washington these days. It’s his time to shine.

The Lightning won’t go easy, but these Caps have a different look to them. Caps in six.

Alex and Vlad

Old friend Ryan McDonagh was on the ice for both late second period goals that tilted the game to Washington. I am huge McD fan, and I feel like a traitor for saying this, but I think the Rangers sold high.

Hollywood Ending

The Golden Knights are the team of misfits that come together – the Bad News Bears, Major League’s Indians, the Wildcats, the Mighty Ducks, etc. Our heroes have hit their first serious obstacle. Can they band together for the Hollywood ending? Or do they lose to make the sequel? I say Fleury leads the G Knights to victory in 6.

Come back tomorrow for our own angry misfit, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

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