With just one game, let’s discuss tonight’s NBA showdown slate. Remember, playing a showdown slate requires a slightly different mindset. Read on to see my top NBA plays, focusing on showdown strategy. Good luck!
The Lakers used a slightly different strategy in game four. They moved Anthony Davis to the five, sending JaVale McGee to the bench. Consequently, Marcus Morris started at the power forward position and played quite well. I love Morris in a starting role because he’s aggressive and can’t accumulate points on the defensive and offensive side of the court. James Harden has been struggling slightly as he shot 18% from the field in their last game. Moving Anthony Davis to the center position significantly halted Harden’s ability to drive to the basket. So, where does Westbrook come in? The Houston Rockets will need Russell Westbrook to take control of this game. Westbrook performed well in game three, but in games one and two he struggled mightily with only 34 combined actual points. Westbrook’s minutes are consistently high and he’s averaging 41.6 DK points over his last 5 games. With Anthony Davis protecting the paint, look for Westbrook to keep the Rockets close with hustle and mid-range consistency.
Other PG Option: Rajon Rondo - LA Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
Kentavious Caldwell Pope - Los Angeles Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
As I mentioned above, with the Lakers moving Anthony Davis to the five, Marcus Morris starting at the four, and JaVale McGee on the bench Harden should have another tough night. What does Harden do when he can’t penetrate the defense? He passes it out to either Robert Covington, Eric Gordon, or PJ Tucker. These three players should see an increase in usage if Harden struggles. Just to be clear, I am fading James Harden tonight. So, who do we play at shooting guard? It depends on what site you’re playing on, but I do see value at Kentavious Caldwell Pope. We all know that his minutes will be there as he is tasked to defend James Harden. In Pope’s last game, he totaled 15.0 DK points over 30 minutes played. I know his production has been limited. It’s just hard not to invest in a minimum salary player who is guaranteed 30 minutes. Caldwell Pope will allow you the roster flexibility to invest in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
Other SG Option: Eric Gordon - Houston Rockets (vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
In game four, Lebron totaled 53.75 DK points with 16 points and 15 rebounds. He was one assist away from a triple-double. Lebron played his fewest minutes in the series in his last game with 34 minutes. He was 0-5 from three, but shot 41% from the field. The truth is Houston doesn’t have anyone to maintain Anthony Davis in the paint nor do they have a player as physical as LeBron James. This series boils down to match-ups and Houston, although offensively talented, cannot match-up with LA’s big two. The Lakers are favored by -6.5 points with a 215 under/over.
Other SF Option: Danny Green - LA Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
Anthony Davis - Los Angeles Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
Anthony Davis clearly cannot be stopped in this series. In my last writeup, I mentioned Jeff Green as a potential defender for Davis and he actually played well. In 26 minutes, Green totaled 20.75 DK points while attempting to maintain Davis. While Green remains solid value, Anthony Davis still totaled 54.5 DK points off 29 actual points. The Lakers big man shot 55% from the field over 40 minutes of play. One reason that I’m slightly more confident with LeBron James over Anthony Davis is because Davis played 40 minutes while Lebron 34 minutes. I know six minutes difference seems insignificant, but the worst thing Lakers coach Frank Vogel can do is to burn out his superstars, especially with such a commanding lead in the series.
Other PF Option: Robert Covington - Houston Rockets (vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
PJ Tucker - Houston Rockets (vs. LA Lakers)
With Harden as a hard fade tonight, Tucker will be one of the beneficiaries. Tucker will benefit off of rebounds and three pointers as Houston will be going small. For those of you who don’t know PJ Tucker, his strengths are three pointers and taking the charge. He is by far the toughest player in the NBA having only missed a handful of games over his career. If/when Harden is not able to penetrate Anthony Davis in the paint, he will dish it out to PJ Tucker. Tucker is a much more valuable play on FanDuel as steals and blocks are worth three points compared to DraftKings where they’re only worth two. Tucker is reasonably priced around the industry and his last game was unimpressive. He shot 0-4 from the field totaling 5.75 DK points. Look for Tucker to produce in a similar fashion to game 2 of the series where he totaled 42.25 DK points over 34 minutes. In this game, he also shot 70% off ten shots with 11 rebounds. If Houston is going to have a chance at winning this series, role players like Tucker, Covington, and Gordon will need to step up.
Other C Option: Jeff Green - Houston Rockets (vs. LA Lakers)
Alex Caruso - LA Lakers (vs. Houston Rockets)
Alex Caruso hasn’t been playing particularly well this series until their last game. He scored 16 actual points with two blocks and one steal to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Caruso totaled 29 DK points over 30 minutes. If Caruso is on, he’s worth the GPP look, his minutes are high enough to produce and his overall usage in the offensive isn’t bad. I would not roster Caruso and Rondo together, but one or other the might likely be the GPP of the day.
Other Bargain: Austin Rivers - Houston Rockets (vs. LA Lakers)