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Phoenix Suns now have 8-1 odds to win NBA title after beating Los Angeles Lakers

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Phoenix went from 60-1 long shots to 8-1 contenders to win the NBA title in a week, a meteoric shift that has some sportsbooks wary of the rising Suns.

Phoenix finished off the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to win the series and advance to take on the Denver Nuggets in a Western Conference semifinal. The Suns have been installed as around -200 favorites over the Nuggets in their best-of-seven series, which tips off Monday in Phoenix.

“The Suns are our top liability out west and are now the second-biggest liability for us in the NBA championship outright market,” Kevin Hennessey, communications director for FanDuel, told ESPN on Friday.

The Philadelphia 76ers are FanDuel’s largest liability, Hennessy added.

The Suns, after losing back-to-back games to the Lakers last week, were around 5-1 underdogs to come back and win their first-round series, and their championship odds lengthened to 60-1 at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. Only a handful of NBA title bets on the Suns came in at that point, the largest being $50, a William Hill spokesman said. There were some much larger bets on the Lakers.

Ahead of Game 3, a bettor at the sportsbook at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey placed a $335,000 bet on the Lakers to win the series at -335 odds. The bet would’ve paid a net $100,000, but Phoenix ran off three straight wins over the Lakers, capitalizing on an injury to Anthony Davis and using a 47-point performance from Devin Booker in Thursday’s series clincher.

“The Lakers-Suns series ended up as a pretty good result for us. With being on the East Coast, we don’t necessarily take the same type of Laker money that Vegas does, but they are still a pretty heavily bet team,” said Tom Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata. “They have fans across the country. I believe there was only one game in the series that we ended up needing the Lakers to cover.

“As for the Suns, they are our biggest liability remaining to win the Western Conference,” Gable added. “We have a small amount of liability on them to win the NBA championship at the moment. The Jazz and the Hawks are our two biggest liabilities to win the title.”

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green out for game after straining calf early in Game 3

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Philadelphia 76ers starting guard Danny Green left Game 3 of the team’s Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Atlanta Hawks with a right calf strain and will not return, the Sixers said.

Green exited with 8 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter with Philadelphia up 6-4. Matisse Thybulle subbed in for him.

The three-time NBA champion averaged 4.5 points through the first two games of the second round, shooting just 1-for-9 from 3, but dished a career-high eight assists in Philadelphia’s 118-102 win in Game 2 to help even the series 1-1.

Thybulle scored four points in the first quarter, Furkan Korkmaz poured in 11 and Dwight Howard added two to give Philadelphia’s second unit a strong start after Atlanta’s reserves outscored Philly’s bench 32-0 in the first half of Game 2.

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LA Clippers’ Serge Ibaka undergoes back surgery, to miss rest of playoffs

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LA Clippers big man Serge Ibaka will miss the rest of the playoffs after undergoing back surgery Thursday, the team announced.

Ibaka has not played since Game 2 of the first round due to his back issues. The 31-year-old had been a key offseason acquisition for the Clippers but was limited because of his back, missing 30 straight games near the end of the regular season and LA’s past seven playoff games.

He averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the regular season.

The Clippers trail the Utah Jazz 2-0 in their second-round series, with Game 3 on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

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The truth behind Michael Jordan’s infamous NBA Finals ‘Flu Game’

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If you were to print a book ranking Michael Jordan‘s career-defining moments, you’d run out of ink by the time you reached his first retirement. Despite that, his iconic performance in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals has to be somewhere near the top of the list.

Jordan dropped 38 points in 44 minutes, including the tie-breaking 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 90-88 victory and 3-2 series lead over the Utah Jazz.

After the game, His Airness opened up about battling an ailment throughout the game.

“I almost played myself into passing out,” Jordan said. “I came in and I was almost dehydrated and it was all just to win a basketball game. I couldn’t breathe. My energy level was really low. My mouth was really dry. They started giving me Gatorade and I thought about an IV.”

The “Flu Game” officially turns 24 years old on Friday, but it was brought back to the spotlight when “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 10-part docuseries on the Jordan-led Bulls dynasty, aired last year.

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“The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir says Michael Jordan spat on his pizza out of spite after his teammates ordered dinner without him the night before his infamous “flu game”.

After watching the ninth episode, which highlighted that game, former Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins shared how he was inspired to “Be Like Mike” and compete through an illness:

During the episode, it was revealed the nickname for the game may need to be adjusted as Jordan identified a Utah delivery pizza as the cause of his sickness.

“So, it really wasn’t the flu game,” Jordan admitted. “It was food poisoning.”

While MJ’s performance served as a source of inspiration for Hawkins, there were some varying thoughts about Jordan’s diagnosis.

The cause of Jordan’s illness sparked controversy years before “The Last Dance” aired as two interviews cited food poisoning as the likely culprit.

“You know, Ronnie Harper always thought it was a bad food type of thing,” Phil Jackson said in a 2012 interview.

In 2013, Tim Grover, MJ’s former personal trainer, spilled the beans about what happened that fateful night in Utah.

“So we order a pizza, they come to deliver it, five guys come to deliver this pizza. And I’m just … I take the pizza, and I tell them, I said, ‘I got a bad feeling about this.’ I said, ‘I just got a bad feeling about this.’

“Out of everybody in the room, he was the only one that ate. Nobody else … then 2 o’clock in the morning, I get a call to my room. I come to the room, he’s curled up, he’s curled up in the fetal position. We’re looking at him. We’re finding the team physician at that time. And immediately I said, ‘It’s food poisoning.’ Guaranteed. Not the flu.”

The retelling of the story during last year’s documentary shined new light on the episode.

Although we now know the true story, the “Food Game” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.



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