Thursday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers would normally be one to highlight on the calendar. However, with the Lakers dealing with a couple of key absences, this game may have lost some of its luster. The good news is that it’s the featured DraftKings Showdown contest, which makes things more exciting. Let’s highlight some players to consider as you build your entries.
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Anthony Davis ($16,800 CP): The return of LeBron James (ankle) didn’t last long. He played two games against the Kings and Raptors, only to return to the bench Tuesday against the Nuggets. He’ll be out Thursday, as well, putting the scoring responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Davis. While he recently returned from an injury of his own, he’s averaged 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.6 blocks across his last five games. His floor is as high as anyone’s in this matchup.
Paul George ($16,500 CP): George has had an excellent season, overall, but he’s really turned up his production down the stretch. As the Clippers prepare for what they hope will be a lengthy playoff run, George has averaged 28.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals over his last 12 games. Even though the Lakers have been one of the best defensive teams in the league, George’s ability to contribute in multiple areas still makes him an appealing option for the Captain’s spot.
Kawhi Leonard ($10,200): Leonard had a rare quiet night, scoring just 23.3 DKFP against the Raptors on Tuesday. He scored 13 points on only six shot attempts, which is very surprising given his averages of 25.3 points and 17.8 shot attempts per game for the season. He may still be working his way back from his recent foot injury, but the good news is that his playing time hasn’t been limited. While adding him at the Captain’s spot might be a little too risky, at least having some exposure to him in the utility spot could prove to be a wise move.
Alex Caruso ($4,200): Not only are the Lakers missing James, but Dennis Schroder is in the league’s health and safety protocols. That doesn’t leave them with many play-making options left. Caruso has started both of the last two games with Schroder out, scoring 19.5 and 25.3 DKFP, respectively. With the expectation that he at least threatens to play 30 minutes in this game, he could provide value.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,000): As a result of the Lakers’ limited depth chart of late, Caldwell-Pope has averaged 33 minutes across his last eight games. He scored at least 21.8 DKFP in five of those contests, even topping 35.0 DKFP twice. He can light it up from behind the arc when he gets hot, which makes him someone to have on your radar in tournament play.
Andre Drummond ($8,000): Drummond was hampered by foul trouble Monday against the Nuggets, scoring just 8.0 DKFP across 22 minutes. While he’s normally performed much better than that, it should be noted that he’s scored 28.8 DKFP or fewer in four of his last eight games. Given his salary and how much of your budget some of the safer stars will take up, trying to squeeze Drummond’s high salary into your lineup is risky given his uneven performances of late.
The Lakers are desperately trying to win games to stay out of the play-in tournament, but this is a tough spot with both James and Schroder out. The Clippers should also have both George and Leonard at their disposal. In fact, the only key member of their rotation that they are missing right now is Serge Ibaka (back). With that in mind, look for the Clippers to come away with the victory.
Final Score: Clippers 100, Lakers 94
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.
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