Injuries continue to rear their ugly head this postseason, but that has not stopped the healthy players from putting on a show on a nearly nightly basis. The Brooklyn Nets were set to be down two superstars for their Game 5 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks but instead saw James Harden make a triumphant return. While Harden was uneven on the night, his presence on the floor for a full complement of minutes helped provide Kevin Durant and Jeff Green extra space to do their thing. The Nets battled back from down double digits behind a legacy-defining performance from perhaps the most talented player the NBA has ever seen. While we cannot expect the same type of dazzling showings tonight, we have two exciting Game 5 matchups that will give us 3-2 series leads.
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1. Jazz +7.5 | -107 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Wow! How quickly things change, I had already finished my write-up for tonight’s game, picking the Clippers to pull out the victory and the cover. Now we have learned that Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 and that his availability for the rest of the series is in question. Kawhi suffered a knee injury late in Game 4.
Los Angeles will be playing a road contest without the services of their best player. Now at +7.5 at DraftKings, the Clippers do have a semblance of value due to a possible overreaction pushing the number from +6.5, but Utah now looks more appealing (it was +2.5 before the announcement). While they do not have a true superstar, the Jazz were and are the better ‘team’ and simply outclass the Kawhi-less Clippers.
Donovan Mitchell is now arguably the best player on the floor, which is another thing that should help swing the psyche pendulum the way of the Jazz. Utah won both home games in this series but did so by three and six points. No Kawhi likely pushes those victories to seven and 10 at a minimum. Tap the Jazz for one unit, but consider waiting a few hours to ascertain if a more favorable spread can be had.
2. Ben Simmons Under 13.5 Points | -134 at DraftKings Sportsbook
As echoed here before, Ben Simmons is no longer under any illusions regarding his limits and upside as a player. He can do certain things extremely well and will focus on those areas while trying to minimize the impact of his obvious flaws. Understanding his lane will allow the 76ers to soar to new heights. Simmons will take fewer than 12 shots tonight and will shoot portly from the line. That much we can be fairly certain of. His efficiency from the floor will determine whether he goes over or falls under the listed total. Simmons has actually gone over in five of his nine playoff games but will likely have to make several trips to the line or shoot over .600 to hit 14 points. Tap the under for one unit.
3. Trae Young Over 9.5 Assists | -159 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Ice Trae has had a coming-out party in his NBA Playoff debut and is averaging an elite 28.3 points and 10.7 assists per game. He has hit double-digit assists in all but one game this series and is a strong bet to do so once again. Trae hit 10 and 11 assists in the first two games in Philadelphia before going bonkers in Game 4 by handing out an incredible 18 dimes. How incredible was it? No player since Tim Hardaway (Sr.) has posted a 25 and 18 stat line in the postseason. In other words, a good seven years before the budding superstar was even born. While no one expects a repeat performance, it appears bettors largely believe that An uber-confident Trae is almost a lock for another double-digit night in the assist category. The juice here is harsh, so no one will fault you for eyeing the partial unit return over the full. Whatever route you choose, make sure your action is on the over.
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