It’s a light six-game slate Tuesday night, but we’re still playing props on Thrive Fantasy.
Let’s quickly analyze what happened last night. It might be time to adjust our process just a bit. Draymond Green was an easy hit on the Over of 13.5 REBS + ASTS, while Myles Turner fell short of his 7.5 REBS goal. I can live with that miss (although it is frustrating that the Pacers played into overtime and Turner still missed the mark).
It’s Harrison Barnes who requires reflection. I’ll still continue playing good players against Brooklyn (more on that below), but Barnes’ role has changed more than I realized. He played 28 minutes but took just eight shots and scored four points. That’s now five straight games attempting fewer than 10 shots after averaging 10.4 shots per game in January and 13.0 shots per game in December.
So, we’re staying away from Barnes for awhile. But we’re not staying away from these guys below.
17.5 PTS vs. Brooklyn — OVER (110 PTS)
Let’s check the flow chart. Are the Nets playing? Is there a prop related to points on the team the Nets are playing? Is the player halfway decent? If you’ve answered yes to all three questions, then lock in the Over on that player.
On Tuesday night, that player is Chris Paul. The veteran point guard is averaging 16.7 points per game, and we know he isn’t the same scorer he once was. But he’s up to 19.6 points per game in February, highlighted by 34- and 28-points games.
He’s been exceptionally efficient this month (55.7 percent from the field), including 45.7 percent from deep. And he’s still automatic from the free-throw line, though he could stand to get there a bit more.
All of this is to say that Paul will be hovering right around 20 points Tuesday night. Lock in his Over.
Michael Porter Jr.
1.5 BLKS @ Boston — UNDER (115 PTS)
Is Michael Porter Jr. suddenly a shot-blocker? He’s had a nice five-game stretch, blocking 10 shots in that span. But he had two blocks in the five previous games and three in the previous seven. I’m banking on this just being an outlier.
Yes, his minutes have gone up. Yes, he’s an athletic 6-10 wing. But I’m just not confident blocking shots is suddenly part of his repertoire. He averaged just a half-block per game last season, though that was in just over 16 minutes per contest. It also doesn’t help to look at his numbers at Missouri because he only played three games there.
The Nuggets’ roster is littered with day-to-days or other, more severe injuries, so Porter will see plenty of time on the floor. And maybe I’m undervaluing his athleticism and defense. But until I’m proven long in a larger sample size than five games, I’m not banking on many more blocks from him.
Take the Under.
20.5 PTS + REBS vs. NO — UNDER (100 PTS)
I’m not too confident in Ja Morant Tuesday night, and I say that knowing that it will probably blow up in my face.
But this is more about opponent than Morant himself. New Orleans is tied for 21st in the league in pace (100.8 possessions per game), tied for second in the league in rebounding rate (52.7) and seventh in the league in offensive efficiency (111.6 points per 100 possessions). These add up to very few chances for rebounds, a stat category Morant already falls short in.
Plus, with the pace theoretically slowed, Morant will have fewer chances to score. New Orleans defense is actually horribly inefficient (113.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, third-worst in the NBA), but I’m not sure how well Morant can capitalize if the pace is slowed.
Paced on the points total, it looks like a 50-50 shot either way. I’m leaning toward the Under.
For more sports opinions and other rants about things you probably don’t care about, follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter.
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