It’s Thursday, which means we’ve got a short, yet action-packed three-game NBA slate to watch. With a marquee matchup like Lakers-Bucks on the card, and the red-hot Warriors playing, let’s survey for some player props, totals and sides to take on DraftKings Sportsbook. You can follow me on Twitter (@KennyDucey) for any late adds.
Here’s what jumps out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Bucks’ flaws were exposed in the bubble this summer, and while they did add Jrue Holiday to try and fix their issues over the offseason, it’s come at the expense of their defense, which ranks 11th this season after leading the league a year ago. The Lakers own the best defense in the league, and I expect them to deploy some of the same tactics Brooklyn did a few games ago against Giannis, which is to give him space around the perimeter. Antetokounmpo seems uncomfortable when given space, shooting the basketball instead of just taking the head start and driving in.
Speaking of shooting, the Bucks take the fourth-most threes in the league, and the perimeter is exactly where the Lakers do their best work on defense. I don’t see this is as a positive offensive matchup for Milwaukee.
This one is pretty simple; on one side, you’ve got the fifth-best defense in the league, and on the other, you’ve got the fourth-best defense since Draymond Green got back up to speed nine games ago. Both teams have locked up the paint well, which should take away the Knicks’ biggest offensive threat in Julius Randle, and force both teams to shoot more, which they actually haven’t been doing all that much this season. This Golden State team isn’t like those of the past; it ranks just 13th in percentage of points scored via the three-ball. This smells like a grindfest, and as an added bonus the Knicks’ rotation should be a mess with Alec Burks coming back into the fold tonight.
New Orleans has now lost six of seven — including falling to the Jazz in its last game — and over that span they’ve rated as the third-worst defense in the NBA, allowing 116.9 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz, meanwhile, have one of the five best defenses in the league and have won six in a row. While matchups are never this easy to predict, the Jazz now have Joe Ingles back and add him to an offense which has the fifth-best true shooting percentage in the league over the past six games. Jordan Clarkson has emerged as a legitimate scoring threat off the bench, Royce O’Neale is playing lockdown defense on the wing, and it just seems like it’s going to be really difficult for the Pelicans to get anything done on either end of the floor. The Pelicans went just 6-26 from three two nights ago, highlighting just how great this Jazz defensive attack is.
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