The only thing we know for certain about tonight’s NBA Finals Game 6 is that Kevin Durant will be watching on TV … unless the doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York allow him to fly across the country just one day after having his ruptured Achilles tendon repaired.
OK, there’s another thing we know: It will be the final game played in Oakland before the Warriors move across the Bay and relocate to San Francisco next season.
Today, we are going to take a hard look at the Finals MVP. It is not out of the question that the Warriors are going to come back and win this thing in seven games, and somebody is going to wn the award.
Perhaps it will be Klay Thompson, who has been fairly consistent in that games in which he has played. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Thompson is +4000 (40-1) to win the honor. Teammate Draymond Green is sitting at +5000.
At FanDuel SportsBook, the value on Thompson is even greater. Thompson is sitting at +6300, and Green is +4000.
Steph Curry (+230) and Kawhi Leonard (-286) are the prohibitive favorites at both sites, but if this baby goes seven games … this particular award may not be determined until the fourth quarter Sunday night.
Klay is 20-for-35 from behind the arc in this series, whereas Curry has also made 20 3s … but it has taken him 56 attempts. Furthermore, the Warriors live and die by the 3, and in Game 5 they had more 3-pointers (20 3s while shooting 47% from beyond the arc) than 2s (18 of them, shooting 45 percent from inside the arc).
Yeah, Klay qualifies as value.
After Nick Nurse called the worst timeout in NBA history with 3:05 left, Thompson drained a pair of 3-pointers and Curry knocked down another prior to Green blocking Kyle Lowry’s shot on the game’s final possession.
Hitting big shots at big moments is nothing new for either of those players, as Thompson explained Wednesday:
“I don’t think we anticipated that to happen. We just kind of go out there and play. We’re very in tune with each other being that we’ve played with each other for years. So when we hit the open man — Steph doesn’t stop moving; that’s how he got that curl three. Same with me. Draymond sacrificed his body, set a great screen. So it just comes down to having the chemistry we do with the team and just playing that ball movement type of basketball. Then on the defensive end I think is where we won that game, just Draymond and Andre making huge reads, two all-world defenders.
“As far as stepping into those shots, we practice those every single day. I know Steph has been doing it for 10 years with this organization, and me eight. So we know what it’s like to take those, and we can live with the make or miss. It’s just what it comes down to.”
Klay Thompson Game 6 Props
|Most Points in Game 6||+800|
The line for Game 6 opened at Golden State -3.5 and has dropped by a point or a point and a half, depending on the book. Both DraftKingsSportsBook and FanDuelSportsBook have it listed as Warriors -2.5 as of Thursday morning.
The trick, as always, is to find a wager that appeals to the casual gambler who is just getting into the new normal — the legalized sports gambling market that is sprouting across the United States. Finals MVP is one such bet.
Heck, ask anyone who laid money on the St. Louis Blues back when they were struggling whether that flier was worth their effort, and you are going to get a vociferous “yes.”
That’s the thing about sports gambling: There are those who do it for a living and are consumed by it, and there are those who do it on the side and sometimes find themselves with enough surprise money to buy a new car, pay off the mortgage or knock out a tuition bill.
For tonight, the smart thing to do is ride the hot hand … and right now that belongs to Thompson. The over/under on his points is 23.5 at both books. And if he falls short of that number, chances are the Warriors are done for the season.
But here’s the thing: Thompson is not new to this stage, and he has shown himself capable of making a ton of them. He had 14 against Chicago in October. He was 10-for-11 against the Lakers in January. He is shooting at a nearly 44 percent clip this postseason, and his high total in the playoffs was seven (in Game 5 against Toronto and in Game 6 against Houston).
If he beats that number tonight and the Warriors win, you will be glad you read this column … especially if you put some money on him for MVP. Sometimes you’ve got to be lucky, and sometimes you just have to outsmart the oddsmakers. #KTMVP may just be trending on Twitter late Sunday night.