Defining the pick: Best bets for Friday’s NBA slate
No NBA games last night and I felt like that John Travolta meme from Pulp Fiction. But we are back!
The 76ers welcome hometown hero, Kyle Lowry, as the Heat try to get away with this streak.
Joel Embiid is currently listed as missing from the official injury report but has been quoted as ‘really, really wanting to play’. He cleared concussion protocols this morning.
The gap has been on the move reaching up to four points in favor of Miami since the opener.
With Embiid’s status up in the air, all accessories are irrelevant at this time.
Swinging West, Dallas hosts Phoenix at the American Airlines Center as they prepare to defend the home court.
In the first round, the Mavericks were a completely different team defensively at home, a trend that has continued since the regular season.
Even after being routed in the first two games, Dallas is essentially a Game 3 pick.
(1) Phoenix Suns vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks
PHX -1, including 219
1) Is this series just a shootout now?
Phoenix had the third best defensive rating in the NBA in the regular season. Dallas had the seventh. But how these two offenses play out, it all seems irrelevant.
Occasionally, you’ll hear commentators comment, “good D, better O.”
That’s how it’s been all the shows.
The Suns had the best field goal percentage in the regular season and only improved in the playoffs. In eight games, they are shooting 53.5 percent from the field.
Luka Doncic shot 45.7% from the field during the regular season. He’s up 50% in five playoff games.
Some players bend under bright lights, others thrive. Dallas and Phoenix both have standout shooters in the clutch.
The Game 1 total opened at 214.5. It went to 219 for tonight.
Both teams work so well in their half courts; their respective defensive ratings aren’t much of a factor. Add to that the fact that they are the second and third worst quick break points in the semis, and you can see there is still room for more points.
Best bet: Over 219
2) Is anyone other than Doncic leading the Dallas offense?
With each playoff since Doncic entered the league, his minutes, usage and scores have increased.
He averaged 26.4 points per game during his career in the regular season, which climbs to 33.5 in the playoffs.
Luka is simply a superstar.
Even with DPOY finalist Mikal Bridges lined up across from him, he’s somehow unstoppable.
Last article, I suggested taking over on each Luka accessory. Another way to capitalize on this change is to target Jalen Brunson’s unders.
After a magnificent series against Utah, Brunson’s wow factor with an average of 27.8 ppg has been weighing on bettors ever since.
But watching this series, you should have noted how muted its offensive use has been.
When Luka is on the ground, Dallas selects one player to operate in the pick-and-roll while the other three deploy beyond the arc.
Brunson is not a standstill shooter.
His success against Utah was all about his dribbling penetration. There just aren’t as many of those opportunities with Luka playing at this level.
Add to the fact that Brunson’s minutes have gone from 38mpg to 29.5mpg series over series, and that’s a way to double up on Luka Magic.
Best bet: Brunson under 17.5 points