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The Nuggets Could Really Use A Gary Harris Reemergence As They Face Another 3-1 Deficit

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Back in October of 2017, the Denver Nuggets opted to reward Gary Harris with a lucrative contract on the heels of a promising third year in the league. Harris, a former standout at Michigan State, put forth a few career-best marks that season — 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while connecting on 42 percent of 4.5 threes a game — and as a result, Denver gave him a four-year, $84 million extension.

He made that look quite good the following year, upping his scoring to 17.5 a night while hitting a tick under 40 percent of his threes, and then, injuries began to hit. The list of knocks he’s picked up in his career have particularly escalated since December of 2018, when he picked up a pesky hip injury against the Raptors. He’s had plenty of highs and lows, with his defense long being a bright spot, but he’s struggled to consistently look like the guy who got paid a pretty penny.

Another hip injury held Harris out of the Nuggets’ seeding games and the team’s first five postseason tilts in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble, and when he returned to the series against the Utah Jazz, he very much looked like someone who hadn’t played in five months because of a mix of a pandemic and an injury. And then, after an unspectacular first game against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round, something clicked. Here’s some numbers:

NBA.com/Stats

Harris, quite literally, went from the least-efficient shooter on the team by both effective field goal percentage and True Shooting percentage to the most-efficient shooter on the team by both metrics. Only Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic had better net ratings in games 2-7 against the Clippers than Harris, and only Jokic had a better offensive rating. He is not the reason that they were able to beat a Clippers team that a whole lot of people picked as the title favorites, but man, did it help Denver a lot that Harris started to look a whole heck of a lot like he did on his best days, giving them a very solid contributor on offense and a floor-spacing threat who will use his 6’4, 210 pound frame on the other end of the floor to pester opposing players.

That defense, by the way, was something to behold. Harris is a Michigan State player in every positive sense of the word, something that Paul George in particular learned the hard way. According to NBA.com‘s matchup data, Harris was the primary defender against George in each of Denver’s wins in that series. Only once did George score more than three points in a game in that matchup, and he shot 5-for-15 against Harris in those games.

With Will Barton out due to an injury, Harris being able to give the team even 80 percent of what he is at his best is a really big boost. We saw that against the Clippers, but unfortunately for the Nuggets, that hasn’t exactly been the case in the conference finals against the other team that normally calls Staples Center home.

Harris has gone back to being the guy who struggled in his first three postseason games. His net rating of -13.5 is the second-worst on the team, ahead of only Jerami Grant, and his offensive rating of 101.5 is the worst among Denver’s players. That’s also the case for his eFG% (34.8 percent) and TS% (37.7 percent). He’s scoring 4.5 points in 25.2 minutes per game while hitting 26.1 percent of his shots from the field and 36.4 percent from three.

In the ultimate “it’s a make or miss league” statement, the big difference between that hot stretch against the Clippers and his ongoing struggles against the Lakers has been Harris’ inability to hit the relatively easy shots from deep. He’s still competing his ass off on defense, because I simply do not think he can fathom doing otherwise, but his three-point shooting, particularly on shots deemed “wide open” (the closest defender is 6+ feet away), hasn’t been up to par.

NBA.com/Stats

On one hand, yes, you are right, making these sorts of statements about 36 total shots over 10 games is risky. On the other, it’s not like he’s getting buckets elsewhere, either — those two types of triples made up 55.5 percent of Harris’ field goal attempts in the games against the Clippers and 47.8 percent of his shots against the Lakers. This is what he’s being asked to do more than anything else on offense and the shots just are not going in. And besides, it’s not like the other shots he’s been given are going in, either, as Harris is 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) on two-point field goal attempts against the Lakers, too.

Being able to give the Nuggets something is huge. Keeping defenses honest means that the guy who has primarily guarded him in this series, Danny Green, is unable to provide the help defense against Jokic and Jamal Murray that he is so good at providing. Green (or whomever is checking Harris at the time) would have to be more willing to stay home, giving Jokic more space to orchestrate the Denver attack and Murray more room to attack when he decides he’s going to take over a basketball game. For how good those two are, the Nuggets are at their best when they have a few options on offense, if only because Jokic can somehow find anyone who is even a little open without trying all that hard. Harris needs to give them that sort of option.

Denver has come back from a pair of 3-1 series deficits this postseason, an absolutely stunning accomplishment that makes the uphill battle they currently face against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and co. seem ever so slightly less insurmountable. Still, to make lightning strike a third time, Harris looking like the guy who deservedly got a big money extension is crucial. We know he has it in him, as evidenced by what he did against the Clippers, and if he shares the sense of urgency we’ve seen out of his team when their backs have been against the wall in the playoffs, Saturday night’s Game 5 will be quite the platform for him to rise to the occasion.

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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