Let’s start this Friday column by acknowledging a misstep in the process.
I was confident in the Over on Montrezl Harrell last night — spoiler alert: he fell well short of his prop total — thinking that the absence of Anthony Davis plus the fact that Brooklyn was his opponent would lead to a big night. What I failed to take into consideration was that without Davis against Brooklyn, the Lakers opted to go small for a significant chunk of the game.
Marc Gasol got 20 minutes as the starter, but Harrell got just 15 off the bench. In that limited time, he scored 10 points and grabbed just three boards.
Harrell will have his time in the spotlight (I think) at some point while Davis is hurt. Brooklyn just wasn’t a good matchup.
Here’s who we’re playing during Friday’s nine-game slate.
0.5 BLKS vs. Chicago — OVER (110 PTS)
Just like White, Dwight Howard only needs one. This time, it’s one block. The big difference here is that Howard is still capable of blocking shots, even if he’s not as dangerous in the paint as he once was. He’s averaging 0.9 rejections per game this year.
He ended January with a block in eight straight games, and he blocked multiple shots in four of those games. He’s slowed significantly in February, but it’s obvious he can still get it done defensively.
Chicago and Philadelphia both rank in the top five in terms of pace, so this should be a back-and-forth contest that gives Howard plenty of opportunities to get a block or two. It also means he might need a breather every now and again, but I’m not concerned.
Play the Over.
0.5 STLS @ Philadelphia — OVER (120 PTS)
For someone who plays as many minutes as Coby White does, it’s baffling that the ball doesn’t conveniently bounce his way more than it does.
White plays 33.5 minutes per game but averages just 0.4 steals, meaning he’s stolen the ball just 10 times in 27 games. But for 120 points, I’ll play the game of chance.
All White needs to do is come with one steal. One! And Philadelphia turns the ball over on 13.9 percent of its possessions, the third-highest mark in the league. This is still the riskiest play we’re making tonight, so let’s just hope the ball rolls White’s way.
I’m taking the Over.
22.5 PTS vs. Toronto — OVER (110 PTS)
This prop total is shockingly low. Karl-Anthony Towns gets minutes and opportunities and he scores efficiently. He’s one of the most talented players in the NBA. He hasn’t played a ton this season, so he’s probably still working to find his stride. But even an out-of-sync Towns is capable of more than 22.5 points.
Consider this. In Towns’ last game against Toronto on Feb. 14, he scored 20 points but only went to the free-throw line four times (he made just two of the attempts). This season, when he gets to the line six or more times, he’s hit 25 points or more each time.
More so than anything, I’m banking on KAT’s talent to be enough to blow past 22.5 points. I’m taking the Over.
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