The regular season is where stars develop. However, the NBA Playoffs are where superstars are born. 2020 bubble star Donovan Mitchell is at it again, morphing into a complete weapon for a Utah Jazz team that managed to get the 1-1 split in Los Angeles. In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton did everything he could to propel his team to a victory in Game 3 against the Brooklyn Nets. Tonight we will have two more rising stars add to their bid for entrance to the realm of superstars.
Trae Young continues to develop at a rapid pace and has his Atlanta Hawks tied 1-1 with the Philadelphia 76ers heading into tonight. Jamal Murray’s injury has given Michael Porter Jr. another chance for some postseason shine. He still needs to become more consistent but has once again proven that he is still the talent that was set to be the first overall pick before a concerning back injury dismantled his lone college season.
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1. Suns +2 | -114 at DraftKings Sportsbook
The Phoenix Suns have looked excellent this postseason and have been a joy to watch. Witnessing Chris Paul pursue the elusive championship that was wrestled from him when the trade sending him to the Lakers was vetoed by the NBA has been a sight to behold. Paul is doing everything he can to make his team believe that they have what it takes to go all the way. And it seems he has succeeded. They have knocked out the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and now have MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on the ropes. Being healthy at the right time is always part of the equation for teams with championship aspirations, and this year is no exception.
The Nuggets are the favorites tonight due to a combination of desperation and probability. Not because they are the better team, but because the odds are always against a sweep and due to Denver being most likely to win Game 3 (if they can avoid the broom). Like the Nets yesterday, the Suns should be the favorite and become a true value with the plus points. Before dominating Game 2, Phoenix appeared to have too much depth and talent for a depleted Nuggets team. After Game 2, we learned that not even the league MVP is good enough to help push Denver to a championship without Murray. Phoenix should win tonight and is worth a moneyline sniff, but follow the value and take the points.
2. Chris Paul Over 9.5 Assists | -134 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Chris Paul has racked up 11 or more assists in each of his last three games and is a strong over bet as long as he keeps playing like 26-year-old CP3 as opposed to the 36-year-old he really is. He has been wonderful to watch, and one can only hope his run ends with at least an NBA Finals appearance. Paul has entered takeover mode, which makes him an excellent bet to score in the teens and drop 10 plus dimes on a nightly basis. The juice here suggests that casuals and sharps alike are slamming this line, so lock this one in sooner rather than later to avoid an even higher number.
3. Joel Embiid Over 32.5 Points | -113 at DraftKings Sportsbook
The Philadelphia 76ers need Joel Embiid to score 30+ on a nightly basis in order to go where they want to go. Ben Simmons is still a great talent, but it appears Doc Rivers has made him come to grips with his limitations and that he is more Jason Kidd than Magic Johnson. Embiid is a superstar. He is putting his team on his shoulders despite a balky knee and has scored 36 or more points in each of his last three full contests. Expect Embiid to put up 18 plus shots tonight, with something closer to 23 looking like the most likely scenario. As he showed in the Knicks series, Clint Capela is still a good defender, but Embiid is simply on another level. If Embiid can shoot close to or better than .500 tonight, only aggravating his injury will prevent him from hitting the 33 points needed for the over to hit. Tap the Cameroonian big man for one unit.
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