The NBA playoffs continue on Tuesday night with the opening game of the Western Conference finals. The Denver Nuggets — for the first time in decades — host Game 1 and welcome the LA Lakers. I’m subbing in for Josh Lander tonight on NBA player props.
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Lakers At Nuggets: NBA Player Props
Both of these teams easily disposed of formidable opposition in closeout Game 6s. Now, the Lakers enter as underdogs for this contest. The point total is set at .
Dennis Schroder Over 8.5 Points (-122 FanDuel)
Here are Schroder’s core points, rebounds, and assists props for the game against the Nuggets:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: Over/Under /
Attacking The Paint
Nikola Jokic has proven his regular season credentials do indeed translate to the NBA playoffs. He has been utterly dominant thus far, continuing a trend in past years (that never amount to many wins due to the team’s injuries) of his numbers not falling off much it at all in the postseason.
However, his rim protection still leaves much to be desired. The Suns rather kindly settled for a barrage of mid-range jumpers on offense. While they can convert these at a higher rate than most, the Nuggets were likely more than happy to avoid an excessive amount of Jokic having to protect the rim. Per Cleaning The Glass, Denver allowed a higher-than-average rate of attempts at the rim, and opponents converted at the second-highest rate in the league.
The Lakers do not figure to be so kind. They attacked the rim at the second-highest rate in the league and finished at an above-average rate. If Jokic is to reach his first-ever NBA finals, he and his teammates will have to fend off an opponent that will attack this main weakness.
Can Schroder Contribute?
Pressure on the hoop will come from obvious places — like LeBron James’ drives and Anthony Davis’ rim rolls. Perhaps less obvious will be possible contributions from (usually) backup point guard Dennis Schroder.
Although he started in a final adjustment against Golden State in Game 6, Schroder does figure to start this series off the bench — if the Lakers opt to go defense-first again.
Schroder has his warts, but he got the rim at a 63rd-percentile rate. The finishing could go haywire versus strong interior defense, but he won’t face that here.
Even against the Warriors, who profiled as a difficult matchup for Schroder because of their stronger interior defense, he averaged 10.3 PPG. He also provided legitimately helpful defense against both Stephen Curry and Ja Morant. As long as he continues that trend versus Jamal Murray when he’s given a chance, he will get plenty of run.
Between his solid two-way play and what looks like a decent matchup, I like him to go over his points prop.
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