Thursday’s single-game slate features the Phoenix Suns traveling to Los Angeles to play the Clippers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Phoenix heads to Los Angeles up 2-0 in the series, with Chris Paul expected to return to the lineup. The Suns grinded out a Game 2 win that ended with a split-second, inbound alley-oop dunk from Jae Crowder to Deandre Ayton.
The biggest injury/illness remaining is Kawhi Leonard, who has already been ruled out for Game 3.
For the third time this postseason, the Clippers will look to climb out of an 0-2 hole to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.
The Suns enter Game 3 as 1.5-point favorites, while the game total is 218.5 points.
Paul George will continue to be the focal point of the Clippers offense. After being limited on drives to the basket in Game 1, George was able to find his way there with regularity in a tightly contested game. He will continue to see a lot of Mikal Bridges and some Jae Crowder. The two have been good, but George is averaging 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and one steal through two games. He is justifiably the most expensive player on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Devin Booker came back to earth after scoring 40 points for the second time this postseason. His role changed with Cameron Payne running more point Game 2, and the return of Chris Paul will continue to limit his upside beyond points. Booker’s 29 Game 1 field-goal attempts were his most in the postseason and should be his cap barring something unforeseen happening to Paul.
Chris Paul will more than likely not see his full workload coming off COVID-19, and our NBA Models project him for 28.5 minutes. In each game Paul hasn’t played at least 30 minutes in the playoffs, he has been a negative in Plus/Minus and failed to score 30 fantasy points.
Deandre Ayton has two 20-point efforts this series after posting four in the previous two series combined. He is 22 of 29 from the field in two game, and had a personal playoff-best 23.3% usage rate Game 2. He has an ideal matchup against Ivica Zubac, and deserves some love as a stud option as the best power forward/center in this series.
Reggie Jackson has scored at least 30 fantasy points in the four consecutive games and has been Los Angeles’ second-best player since Leonard went down. Jackson will continue to see a lot of Booker and can match him point-for-point in the right situation.
For as bad as he has been on defense, Ivica Zubac is the opposite on offense in this series. He had his best offensive output Game 2 and his five shot attempts were his most since Game 1 against the Utah Jazz.
Majority of Jae Crowder’s value comes from hitting 3-pointers. He’s shooting 30% from three in two games and has been a defensive presence first in this series.
Mikal Bridges is going to spend majority of his time and energy guarding Paul George, zapping his fantasy appeal.
In Game 6 against the Jazz, Marcus Morris made 10 shots. In three games since, he has made nine attempts. The knee injury may be bothering Morris more than he’s leading on.
Cameron Payne will maintain some fantasy value if Paul is on a minutes limit. It is difficult to imagine paying up for him, especially if Paul is active.
Rajon Rondo ($2,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): The veteran, who is Patrick Beverley’s backup, is averaging 1.11 fantasy points per minute the past month. He projects to play 17 minutes.
Patrick Beverley ($3,200 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel): He has earned playing time because of his defense and has contributed multiple 3-pointers made in two of his last three games.
Luke Kennard ($2,000 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel): Kennard contributed an offensive spark Game 2 and rendered Terance Mann obsolete.
Dario Saric ($2,200 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel): There are worse stretch-fours than Saric. He can get hot from three and has played double-digit minutes in four of the last five games.