Sometimes it’s difficult to find something interesting to say about these Showdown contests. Like, the Lakers were featured on these one-game slates a lot this season. There’s honestly only so much one man can write about Kyle Kuzma.
Anyway, this is not one of those occasions. Game 3 of the Warriors-Clippers series is filled with more intrigue than I think anyone really could have predicted. Does anyone with half a brain actually think Los Angeles has a chance to take this thing down in seven? Of course not. However, after a 31-point come-from-behind victory Monday night, the Clippers did what the Clippers have done all year long; fight to the bitter end. How will Golden State respond after such a careless loss? How will it pivot following the news of DeMarcus Cousins’ quad injury? How can we expect Lou Williams ($9,400) to keep making these shots?
Let’s get into it.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— The Warriors have won each of their past 22 games against Pacific Division opponents after losing as favorites
— The Clippers have failed to cover the spread in each of their past 10 games as underdogs following a road win
— Lou Williams has scored 25+ points in four of his past five appearances against the Warriors
— Montrezl Harrell has scored 24+ points in each of his past three outings
— Klay Thompson has scored 19 points or less in nine of his past 10 appearances against the Clippers
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Los Angeles Clippers
Through the first two games of this series, we’ve seen Los Angeles’ offensive hierarchy look very similar to how it’s run all of 2018-19. There’s Williams and then there’s everyone else. Sweet Lou is the owner of a 33.3 percent usage rate in the playoffs; a slight jump from the 32.4 percent figure that trailed only James Harden, Joel Embiid and Devin Booker during the regular season. In that sense, he already feels like a value at his price point below $10K — especially if he continues to play even half as efficiently as he did in Oakland. Despite the fact Williams is averaging a massive 24.2 field goal attempts per 36 minutes, he still has managed to uphold a pristine 64.9 percent true shooting rate to go along with scoring 1.52 DKFP per 60 seconds. He’s been fantastic, and he’s been so at a level of volume that keeps him as a high-floor fantasy piece. That’s about all you could ask for.
Yet, not all hyper-efficient performances can be heralded. Sometimes we’re forced to bake in a little regression. That’s certainly the case with Montrezl Harrell ($8,000). Remarkably, the reserve big man is shooting 20-for-24 from the field through a pair of contests — a set of numbers that equate out to a mind-bending 82.3 percent true shooting rate so far in the playoffs. Now, it’s not as if Harrell wasn’t an effective scorer throughout 2018-19, but, generally speaking, the Warriors have done a pretty solid job shutting down players of his archetype. Golden State actually surrendered the ninth-fewest DKFP to the center position all season long. A big part of that was paint defense. The Warriors allowed only 47.0 opponent points in the paint per game, with teams averaging the third-fewest attempts in the restricted area (26.1), while also owning the third-lowest field goal rate on paint shots in the non-restricted area (37.5 percent). Considering Harrell scored 77.9 percent of his points in the paint during the regular season, I think he’s due for some harsh normalization in the immediate future. Golden State simply has been consistently stout in this facet of the game. JaMychal Green ($4,400) is a little bit of a different case. Though he won’t sustain a 71.9 percent true shooting rate, either; he’s at least only scored 34.8 percent of his playoff points in the painted area. With a much cheaper price tag and a diversified offensive attack, he’ll continue to be a viable source of value on this slate. Ivica Zubac ($4,000), on the other hand, remains untouchable with his current workload.
Danillo Galinari ($8,800) almost seems like the only Clippers player who isn’t shooting well through two contests in this series. Still, that can be viewed through a positive lens. Despite going just 12-for-32 from the field, Galinari is averaging 1.16 DKFP per minute logged so far against the Warriors. That’s crucial to think about as the Italian’s 64 minutes played are tied with Williams for the second-most on the team. He’s been able to provide decent value as an inefficient offensive option, placing the 30-year-old in the category of “high-floor.” Yet, that’s not to suggest he possesses a low-ceiling, either. Galinari is coming off a campaign where he set career-bests in field goal percentage (46.3 percent) and 3-point rate (43.3 percent) on a career-high number of attempts in each category. The man can shoot. He won’t be held down forever.
Finally, there’s the battle at point guard. Surprisingly, as a rookie, it’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,800) that leads all Los Angeles players in minutes logged through a pair of games. However, it’s not like the gap is all that wide. SGA has been on the court for roughly five minutes more than Patrick Beverley ($5,400), with the latter only having seen four fewer offensive possessions in that span of time. Both have shot below 39.0 percent from the field and each has a usage rate below 15.0 percent. Yet, Beverley’s presence on defense has been immeasurable and, when push comes to shove, you’d have to assume he gets the call over the 20-year-old Canadian. Even if their roles stay relatively untouched, nothing Gilgeous-Alexander has done warrants a $1.4K price disparity between he and Beverley.
Golden State Warriors
While it might be easy to dismiss the loss of Cousins — as, you know, Golden State was already the defending NBA Champion without his services — it can’t be ignored how his presence altered the offensive strategy of the Warriors. Since making his debut for the team Jan. 18, Cousins actually led Golden State in both usage rate (28.5 percent) and DKFP per minute played (1.43). Those are no small feats. Now, obviously, there is a main beneficiary to the injury news. Andrew Bogut ($4,800) will be tasked with starting alongside the Warriors’ four All-Stars, but, to be fair, I wouldn’t be expecting anything close to an offensive showcase. In the eight minutes Bogut has played this series in a five-man unit that includes Stephen Curry ($11,400), Kevin Durant ($10,600), Draymond Green ($8,600) and Klay Thompson ($7,600), he’s owned an underwhelming 10.3 percent usage rate. That sounds about right; though, it actually might be a little higher that I initially anticipated seeing, if we’re being honest. Still, Bogut doesn’t really need touches to be an effective DFS asset. He grabbed nine rebounds in just 16 minutes of work during Game 2 and has averaged 1.45 DKFP per minute logged throughout the series as a whole. It’s a small sample, yet, on a slate this top-heavy, I’ll take any easy value I can get my hands on. Kevon Looney ($4,600) also should see an increase in utilization, though I severely doubt we see anything approaching his 19-point effort from Monday again.
The other big effect the Cousins injury has is on the upside of Curry and Durant. It’s actually a little interesting who has seen their usage rate the most affected by Boogie’s presence, however. You’d assume, considering Durant’s inconsistency as a DFS contributor in the latter third of the regular season that he’d seen the largest shift, but you’d be incorrect. Once again going back to that Jan. 18 start date — exactly four months prior to Game 3 — you’ll notice Curry’s usage rate with Cousins on the floor is just 20.3 percent in the 500 minutes the duo shared. In the 730 minutes Curry was freed from Boogie, his usage rate was a team-leading 34.2 percent. Now, Durant’s utilization also was impacted by Cousins being on the court, yet, not nearly to the extent of the Warriors’ starting point guard. Combine that fact with Curry averaging a robust 1.66 DKFP per 60 seconds across the past two games, and I believe you’ve got a pretty simple answer to whether you should be rostering Steph or KD this evening.
In terms of Golden State’s mid-tier options, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Andre Iguodala ($5,000). Though he hasn’t quite handled the workload of Green or Thompson, the veteran has averaged more fantasy points per minute than the pair of starters so far in this series, and he’s done so as one of only five Warriors seeing in excess of 50 minutes of floor time. His price point also happens to fit within the lineup structure I’m most looking to employ on this slate. Unless you get super creative and risky with your Captain’s Pick, you merely will be able to afford two of the three players with salaries above $9K, and even that strategy leaves you with little capital leftover. Still, I think I’d rather have a combination of Curry and Iguodala than the freedom to use a more frugal, high-floor trio like Green, Gilgeous-Alexander and Thompson — especially considering the latter is only putting up 0.77 DKFP per minute through the first two contests of this series. If Iguodala can remain steady, he’s a lynchpin piece of this slate.
This is going to be a high-scoring, uptempo affair. Really, I’d be shocked if Golden State is ever held under 115 points for the entirety of its matchups with Los Angeles. I think the Warriors bounce-back tonight in front of a “road” crowd that still likely will feature at least 10,000 loyal fans. However, I don’t believe the Clippers will just roll over. As such, Williams ($14,100 CP) and Galinari ($13,200 CP) make for fantastic high-end, yet fairly priced Captain’s Picks; while the possibility of saving big with Golden State options like Iguodala ($7,500 CP) or Bogut ($7,200 CP) is tempting in a true stars-and-scrubs build.
Final Score: Golden State 124, Los Angeles 109
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.