The Suns had a chance to wrap this series up at home in Game 5, but they ultimately came up short. Now, they’ll have to close things out in Los Angeles in order to avoid a win-or-go-home Game 7.
The Clippers have played their best with their backs against the wall all postseason. They’ve already overcome two-straight 0-2 series deficits, which has historically been incredibly difficult. Teams with a 2-0 series lead win a seven-game series at nearly a 93% clip, so the fact that the Clippers have already fought back from that deficit twice is impressive.
Teams have historically recovered from a 3-1 series deficit at an even lower rate, so the Clippers will need to continue to fight if they want to reach the NBA Finals.
The Suns are still significant favorites to win the series — they’re -560 to advance to the finals on DraftKings Sportsbook — and they’re one-point favorites on the road in Game 6.
From an injury perspective, the Clippers will once again be without Kawhi Leonard (knee). The Clippers continue to leave the door open for him to return at some point in the future, but this will mark his eighth consecutive missed game. Ivica Zubac ($5,600; knee)
is also questionable after failing to suit up in Game 5.
DraftKings is offering up a Showdown slate for this contest, so let’s break down some of the top options to consider for your lineups.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Clippers C Ivica Zubac (knee) has been ruled out Wednesday vs. the Suns.
Paul George ($18,000 CP) – George has gotten more than his fair share of hate for some of his past playoff performances. That said, he delivered an all-time showing when his team needed him most. He racked up 41 points in just under 41 minutes in Game 5, and he shot a hyper-efficient 15-for-20 from the field. He also chipped in 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals, resulting in a whopping 72.25 DKFP. Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of Playoff P jokes being made on Twitter on Monday.
George is likely due for some shooting regression in Game 6, but he still stands out as the clear top target on today’s slate. He owns the highest ceiling among today’s players, and he’s been remarkably consistent from a fantasy perspective. He’s racked up at least 54.75 DKFP in six of seven postseason games without Leonard.
Marcus Morris ($6,000 CP) – If I’m not going with George, I’m paying all the way down for Morris at Captain. Doing so allows you to load up the rest of your roster with studs, and Morris has significant upside for his price tag if Zubac is unable to suit up. He played 38.8 minutes sans Zubac in Game 5 and responded with 31.25 DKFP. Morris is a streaky scorer, so he has the potential to destroy this price tag if he gets hot.
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Chris Paul ($9,600) – Paul is my preferred stud target for the Suns. He’s put up similar shot totals to Devin Booker ($10,200) since returning to the lineup in Game 3, and he’s much more involved as a distributor. Overall, he’s averaged more fantasy points per minute than Booker over the past month, which makes him the superior option given the cheaper price tag.
Reggie Jackson ($8,200) – Jackson is priced very similarly to Deandre Ayton ($8,800), but I think he’s the superior option. He’s taken over as the Clippers’ No. 2 option offensively with Leonard out of the lineup, and he’s returned value in each of his past seven games. He finished with 37.25 DKFP in Game 5, and his shot volume was actually down a bit in that contest. He launched just 14 shots after attempting an average of 17.7 in his previous six games, so he has the potential for a better performance in Game 6.
Nicolas Batum ($3,000) – Batum is in a very similar boat as Morris. He logged nearly 30 minutes in Game 5, and while he’s not as productive as Morris on a per-minute basis, that’s still a ton of potential minutes for someone who costs just $3K. He would be a tough fade if Zubac is out of the lineup once again.
Deandre Ayton ($8,800) – Ayton came crashing back to reality in Game 5, which is always a concern for players like him. He relies on production in two categories to return value — points and rebounds — and he needs someone else to set him up offensively. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does make him more volatile than someone who can create their own shot.
Ayton did see a slight salary decrease following Game 5, but he’s still priced up for the series overall. He continues to look like a fade at his current salary.
DeMarcus Cousins ($4,800) – Cousins is going to carry decent ownership if Zubac is ruled out, but I think that’s a mistake. He scored 24.0 DKFP in Game 5, but his production was extremely fluky. He played just 11.3 minutes, yet he posted a 53.0% usage rate and shot the ball efficiently. The odds of both of those happening again are slim, and he’s been priced up aggressively for Game 6. I’ll let the rest of the field chase his points if they want to.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Suns SF/PF Cam Johnson (illness) has been ruled out Wednesday vs. the Clippers.
Can the Clippers do it again? I’m not willing to bet against them at this point. Tyronn Lue and his squad have been magicians in elimination games so far this season, and they secured a decisive victory on the road in Game 5. Now that they’re back at home, they could easily set up a winner-take-all Game 7.
If that happens, expect George to be at the heart of it. He’s had a tremendous postseason, which should silence any doubters he had following last year’s playoffs. This team could have easily folded up shop without Leonard, but they continue to fight.
The Zubac injury is going to play a huge factor from a fantasy perspective. If he’s out, guys like Morris, Batum and Luke Kennard ($1,800) become very appealing punt plays. However, if Zubac is going to play, those guys could all see fewer minutes than expected. That would increase the appeal for someone like
Cameron Johnson ($3,600) on the Suns’ side.
Overall, I’m banking on some more Clippers’ voodoo magic. They pull out the victory tonight, and then Game 7 is anyone’s ballgame.
Final Score: Clippers 115, Suns 112
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