Gordon Hayward

With the NBA All-Star set to begin Friday, we only have two games on the schedule Thursday. One of them is an exciting matchup between the Celtics and Clippers that will make up one of the Showdown contests. Let’s discuss how things might play out for both teams in order to assist you in completing your entry.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.

CAPTAIN’S PLAYS TO CONSIDER


Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $20K Excellent 8’s [$5K to 1st]


FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The Clippers have won 19 of their 20 games following a road loss.

— The Clippers have covered the spread in five of their last six games against the Celtics at TD Garden.

— Eight of the Celtics’ last 11 games have gone UNDER the total points line.

— Kawhi Leonard has scored the first basket in two of his last three appearances against the Celtics.

— Jayson Tatum has scored 25-plus points in five of the Celtics’ last six games.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Clippers

The Clippers are expected to have their star duo of Kawhi Leonard ($10,800) and Paul George ($9,600) both available for this tough matchup on the road. George only shot 3-for-15 from the field against the Sixers on Tuesday, but he logged 35 minutes, which was the most playing time that he’s seen in a game since returning from injury. Both players are excellent options with similar upside, so it’s difficult to argue against deploying either in your entry.

One player who won’t be available for the Clippers is Patrick Beverley (groin), who is set to miss his fourth straight game. Lou Williams ($8,000) will likely start in his absence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s someone that you want to add to your entry. He’s largely reliant on points and assists to provide value, both of which could be hard to come by since the Celtics have the third-best defensive rating in the league.

Two more players on the Clippers who present plenty of risk are Marcus Morris Sr. ($6,800) and Landry Shamet ($6,200). Shamet has a paltry 13.2% usage rate and Morris is still getting adjusted to playing with his new team. Don’t expect him to receive nearly the amount of scoring opportunities that he did as a member of the Knicks, even when he is completely up to speed.

If there is a weakness on the Celtics, it’s at the center position. That brings us to Montrezl Harrell ($5,200) and Ivica Zubac ($4,800). Harrell has a much higher ceiling, so it would seem like a fairly easy decision to pass on Zubac. What is a bit concerning is that Harrell has only logged 21 and 24 minutes, respectively, in the two games since Morris has joined the team. Although, the game in which he played only 21 minutes came in a 41-point blowout of the Cavaliers. Outside of Harrell, it’s difficult to have much faith in any of the other cheaper options on the team, especially with Morris now able to assume minutes at small forward, power forward and even spend some time at center when the Clippers go small.


Celtics

The second-most expensive player for this contest is actually Jayson Tatum ($9,800), which illustrates the stellar year that he is having. He’s scored at least 40.3 DKFP in nine of is last 10 games and his 28.1% usage rate ranks inside the top-25 in the league, so he should continue to have a reasonably high floor despite the Clippers’ tough defense. Following him is Kemba Walker ($8,600), who catches a break with Beverley out. With that being said, it might be better to roll with Gordon Hayward ($8,400) instead of Walker considering Hayward is averaging 19.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists across his last 12 games.

The next tier on the price scale for the Celtics consists of Marcus Smart ($7,600) and Jaylen Brown ($7,200). Smart has returned to a limited role off the bench now that everyone on the Celtics is healthy, so deploying him at this price might not be wise. Brown has significantly more scoring upside with his 24.6 percent usage rate that ranks third-highest on the team, making him the more appealing option of these two. The only bit of concern here is that while Brown was listed as probable with a calf injury heading into the day, he is now a game-time decision. If he is ruled out, then Smart could see a significant increase in playing time.

One budget-friendly player that sticks out among both teams is Daniel Theis ($5,800). He’s scored at least 30.5 DKFP in five of his last nine games and is locked in as the Celtics’ starting center right now. Coming off the bench behind him is Enes Kanter ($4,400), who is also at least worth considering with the Clippers ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing centers. If you want to take a chance on anyone else on the Celtics, it’s slim pickings. Brad Wanamaker ($4,600) is one of their more prominent guards off the bench, but Kanter has the better matchup here and is $200 cheaper, so he has the potential to be the better play.


THE OUTCOME

The difference in this game could be the fact that it’s being played in Boston. The Celtics are 22-5 at home while the Clippers are 15-12 on the road, so I’ll give the Celtics the edge to win. With regards to the Captain’s Pick, George ($14,400 CP) is at the top of my list. If you want to take a more well-balanced approach, I won’t argue against Hayward ($12,600 CP) based on how well he is playing right now.

Final Score: Celtics 110, Clippers 107

Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $20K Excellent 8’s [$5K to 1st]


Favorite Prop Bet

Lou Williams, 18.5 Points: Under (-110)

Williams has been in a bit of a funk lately, scoring 17 points or fewer in five of his last six games. Not only are the Celtics a great defensive team, but Williams hasn’t been as potent on the road. He is shooting only 39.4% from the field there this season compared to 42.8% at home. I’ll take him to hit the under, even with Beverley out.

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