The path to the NBA Finals continues Tuesday with two more national TV games on TNT. First the beleaguered Nets try to right the ship against Boston. Then, the Lakers welcome the Bucks to town. Each week throughout the season, TheLines will look at some matchups for the televised slates and try to figure if there are any TNT NBA player props worth a look.
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Boston Celtics At Brooklyn Nets
The Celtics have caught quite a nice scheduling break here. If everything breaks perfectly for them, they might be massive road favorites against the former title favorites Nets.
Kevin Durant is already out, and due to the Nets playing at home, they won’t have Kyrie Irving available either. With James Harden continuing to sit due to
surly pouting hamstring tightness, the Nets could lack all three of their star players. Oh, and LaMarcus Aldridge has yet to return from his ankle injury.
Nets lineups with none of their stars have predictably been among the league’s worst. Even just Harden anchoring a group of role players hasn’t worked out. Per Cleaning The Glass:
- Harden without Irving and Durant: -1.2 per 100 possessions (43rd percentile)
- None of Harden, Irving and Durant: -11.7 per 100 (eighth percentile)
The sample sizes are fairly decent, too — more than 500 possessions in each case. Keep that in mind when it’s time for markets to open and you’re thinking of making a spread or moneyline play on this one.
Cam Thomas Props
Further making life difficult on the Nets — with Harden or without — is Boston’s defense. That unit has inched up to third in the league in efficiency.
Many might expect Patty Mills to take on lead guard duties for Brooklyn, but he has spent most of his career as an off-ball player. He’s thriving in terms of efficiency but that’s heavily based on defenses keying on his star teammates.
Instead, the player who might take the reins is Cam Thomas. The rookie has a higher usage rate than Mills and has played more minutes and taken more shots than him in the last two games. He even fired up 19 in a road game against Utah where Irving played.
You’ll have to use our prop tool above to find markets for Thomas. But look for him to be potentially undervalued in points markets here as a player who will take and make tough shots that Boston forces.
Jayson Tatum And Jaylen Brown Props
As usual, we can expect Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to dominate the usage and the stats for the Celtics. Expect the props markets to reflect this, so will there be value on overs and/or unders for either player?
Sometimes, we can parse through opposing defensive styles or rosters, but nothing really stands out and both of these guys have taken similar numbers of shots in recent games.
The slightest of over leans might be in play simply due to Brooklyn probably pushing the pace a little more than usual here and Boston playing at one of the slowest paces. Brooklyn should struggle to score in the half court, and if their stars remain out, they’ll probably know they need as much transition as possible to put up points here.
Milwaukee Bucks At LA Lakers
At long last, the Lakers have their two superstars back and healthy. The question now is, who do they play who can be effective next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis?
They do catch the Bucks at a good time here. The Lakers come off two days of rest while the Bucks are playing their third in four, though they had Monday off, during a long West Coast trip.
The matchup will not be easy, though, with Milwaukee entering pretty healthy themselves and sporting top-10 efficiency marks on both offense and defense.
LeBron James And Anthony Davis Props
Though Davis has had some big games since coming back, his jump shot remains MIA, frankly since the bubble. His scoring efficiency just isn’t that good outside of the paint, which is a major problem against a Milwaukee team that guards the paint at all costs.
The Bucks are also among the best rebounding teams, so Davis unders will be a market to track.
LeBron James has a little more promise here. He’s increasingly become a 3-point shooter, which can be bad at times. A Bucks team that allows more 3s and more above-the-break 3s than anyone suits his shooting well, though.
Points may be hard to come by in general unless the Lakers can get the Bucks to run with them, but LeBron should be a decent bet to go over his 3s, at least.
Malik Monk Props
Speaking of players who may thrive, high volume gunner Malik Monk has been a bargain signing revelation for the Lakers. He’s in the 95th percentile on his scoring efficiency per shot taken, according to Cleaning The Glass.
Milwaukee may not be planning to leave him open, exactly, but unless they change their defensive scheme — hardly likely for a midweek game in February — Monk should find some looks here.
He should get even more burn than usual with Carmelo Anthony already out and the Lakers needing all the shooting they can muster.
Giannis Antetokounmpo And Jrue Holiday Props
The Lakers this season have been one of the worst teams at preventing shots at the rim, and opponents convert pretty frequently as well. Such is life when you have to play LeBron at center, but could Anthony Davis be changing that equation?
So far, lineups with Davis on the floor have only been about average on defense, so he doesn’t seem to be making a massive difference.
Playing up in pact and against a soft interior group, Giannis Antetokounmpo could put together another big stat line. His rebounding is actually down a bit in some recent games, so it’s reasonable to expect these prices to be lower than they may wind up. The Lakers don’t protect the glass very well, allowing an above average share of offensive rebounds.
Jrue Holiday is also well-positioned to pile up some numbers. He’s been pretty up and down this year, but he gets to the rim pretty often. And once he’s in there, while his finishing can be suspect at times, having Giannis around against a smaller team should enable Holiday to get a few more buckets, lest the Lakers find themselves victims of easy lobs.