A couple of big games in the NBA on Thursday, with the Bucks looking to show a pulse against the Nets, and the Clippers trying to avoid going down 2-0 in Utah.
If the Bucks get a game in this series, I think this is the one, so I’m a little nervous to bet the Nets leading into tonight’s action. But I also think the start will show us everything we need to see about this game. If the Bucks come out and dominate the first quarter, they likely hang on and win the game. But if the Nets keep things close, I think they are worth backing on the live moneyline at plus-money. Brooklyn’s made fantastic adjustments all series, and Kevin Durant has been unguardable.
The Clippers got torched by Donovan Mitchell down the stretch in Game 1, refusing to make a substitution for Luke Kennard, who was getting switched onto D-Mitch (and failing) time after time. Kawhi Leonard only scored 23 points, and didn’t make all that much of an impact. Paul George and Marcus Morris shot a combined 8-for-31 in Game 1. And yet, the Clippers lost by just three points. Look for the Clips to make adjustments and have more shots fall, sending this thing back to Los Angeles tied 1-1.
The play on the Clippers kind of explains how I think we see more points in this game. I expect them to shoot better as a team, particularly the stars. On the other side, I think Mike Conley’s absence really helps, as it gives Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson more minutes — players who should help with the over on both ends of the floor. Game 1 stayed under by the hook with the Clippers having an awful second half, and the Jazz missing 20-straight shots in the first quarter. Both things that shouldn’t happen in Game 2.
George is averaging just over nine boards per game in the playoffs, and as the Clippers have switched to predominantly smaller lineups, that number has only gone up. PG has double-digit rebounds in three of his last four, and has gone over 7.5 in five of his last seven overall. Despite his poor performance in Game 1, George still pulled down 10 boards, and that was with Ivica Zubac playing 20 minutes. I think this prop is fine even if Zubac continues to play an increased role, but there’s also a chance Ty Lue goes to more small lineups here, which would give a boost to the over.
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