Wednesday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contests feature a choice between two NBA games: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 p.m. ET) and Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers (10:00 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the late game. Kawhi Leonard (knee) is questionable for the Clippers, while Marcus Smart (ankle) is probable for the Celtics.
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, including Leonard’s playing status, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up-to-the-minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Leonard and Smart are expected to play in tonight’s game.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
— The Clippers have won each of their last 10 games as favorites against Eastern Conference opponents.
— The Clippers have covered the spread in six of their last seven home games.
— Kemba Walker has scored 26-plus points in four of his last five appearances vs. the Clippers.
— Each of the last four games between the Celtics and Clippers have gone OVER the total points line.
— Jaylen Brown has recorded seven of more rebounds in each of the Celtics’ last four road games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
This is a high-quality matchup between two of the NBA’s best teams. Both the Clippers and Celtics rank in the top six in point differential and points scored per possession. Boston’s defense has been better, ranking sixth-best by points allowed per possession, although the Clippers are expected to have a top defense once they are fully healthy. The Clippers have yet to deploy their top lineup due to injuries to Kawhi Leonard ($10,600; knee) and Paul George ($9,200; shoulders). George missed the Clippers’ first 11 games of the season and made his season-debut three games ago, which also is the first game of Leonard’s recent three-game absence due to a knee issue. Leonard and George have yet to share the court together this season. Patrick Beverley ($4,800; calf) has also missed time recently and played in a lineup with George for the first time in Los Angeles’ most recent game. A starting lineup of Leonard, George and Beverley gives the Clippers a killer perimeter defense, although it’s uncertain whether or not fantasy owners will see that lineup on Wednesday as Leonard enters the day with a questionable tag.
George has been monstrously productive in limited minutes since his return three games ago, posting a ridiculous player efficiency rating of 38.1 and averaging 45 DKFP per game despite playing just 24 minutes per game. George played through shoulder injuries last season, which appeared to hurt his shooting in the second half of the season, and a return to full health is promising. George played 29 minutes in the Clippers’ most recent game and is a candidate to expand past the 30-minute mark on Wednesday. George’s fantasy value for this game can be tied to Leonard’s status, as Leonard remaining out of the lineup would give George clearance for more volume. George’s usage rate is a heavy 37% in his three games, but adding Leonard to the fold would likely cut that down given Leonard’s 36% usage rate, which ranks second highest among qualified starters behind only Houston Rockets PG/SG James Harden (40%). Likewise, adding George to the fold makes Leonard’s volume a candidate to drop in the event he is healthy enough to play on Wednesday. If Leonard remains out, George is an excellent player to build fantasy lineups around given his potential increase in minutes as he builds his stamina back up from missing time.
While Boston has been excellent offensively and defensively, ranking third-best in the league by point differential, their one glaring weakness has been on the glass. The Celtics rank as a bottom third rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound, which gives the Clippers a substantial edge on the glass. Los Angeles ranks as the league’s second-best rebounding team by that metric. In addition to George and potentially Leonard, Clippers bigs who can take advantage on the boards include Montrezl Harrell ($8,200) and Ivica Zubac ($6,200). Other options on the Clippers include Moe Harkless ($4,000), who has started recently with Leonard out, and Lou Williams ($7,600), who can provide scoring punch off the bench staggered from the heavy usage of George and Leonard.
During the 2017-18 season, the Celtics were on the brink of an NBA Finals appearance in part due to their exciting young core of Jayson Tatum ($9,000) and Jaylen Brown ($8,600), who stepped up into prominent roles due to injuries. Neither Tatum nor Brown took the leap in 2018-19 that many were expecting, but each has played well in the early part in 2019-20 on the back of expanded volume.
Both Tatum and Brown are averaging about five more shots per game this season, contributing to each boosting their points scored per game. By player efficiency rating, Brown has taken the bigger leap, posting a PER of 19.1, a substantial boost from 13.5 last season. Brown has also significantly boosted his facilitating, creating about six potential assists per game, double the three potential assists he created per game last season. Tatum and Brown rank second and third on the Celtics in usage rate behind Kemba Walker ($9,400), who leads the team in volume and fantasy points. Walker, Tatum and Brown are Boston’s top fantasy options. Marcus Smart ($7,000) is expected to play given his probable tag, but if he’s unable to play or is limited, Brad Wanamaker ($5,400) is a candidate for an expanded role.
THE OUTCOMEIf Leonard ($15,900 CP) remains out of the lineup, <strongGeorge ($13,800 CP)</strong> is an excellent Captain’s Pick choice with his large volume combined with expanding minutes. <strong>Harrell ($12,300 CP)</strong> could also take advantage of the Celtics on the glass, making him a Captain’s Pick option. <strong>Walker ($14,100 CP)</strong>, <strong>Tatum ($13,500 CP)</strong> and <strong>Brown ($12,900 CP)</strong> are the top Captain’s Pick options for Boston, but they could run into a very difficult matchup on the perimeter, especially if Leonard is back in the starting five.
Leonard’s status obviously is significant in picking a winner in this game, as him being available gives Los Angeles much greater margin for error. However, the Clippers are home and have the rest advantage, as the Celtics are playing their third game in four nights, including their fourth straight road game. The circumstances are in Los Angeles’ favor on Wednesday, especially if Leonard is able to return.
Final score: Clippers 110, Celtics 105
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