After a thrilling first couple of weeks, the first round of the NBA playoffs concluded with Game 7 of the Warriors-Kings series. We are officially on to the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals. Philadelphia was the first team to advance to the second round after completing a four-game sweep of Brooklyn. It has had nine days off; however, the rest advantage will be negated since it will likely be without the expected MVP Joel Embiid. Boston’s depth could give it an edge tonight, led by Malcolm Brogdon off the bench.
The Western Conference Semifinals have already gotten underway in Denver. On Saturday night, the Nuggets blitzed the Suns 125-107 to take a 1-0 series lead. Jamal Murray led the way with a big performance as he has continued to torch the Suns throughout his career. The Nuggets will be counting on Murray once again as they look to hold serve at home.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Malcolm Brogdon Over 12.5 Points (-120)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
After averaging nearly 15 points per game in the regular season, Malcolm Brodgon got off to a slow start in Game 1 against the Hawks. He scored five points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field. He followed that up by scoring 13 points or more in each of the next five games. Against Atlanta, Brogdon averaged 13.3 points per game for the series, just enough to clear this line on average.
Though a new series, Brogdon also enjoyed success against Philadelphia in the regular season. In four regular season meetings, Brogdon averaged 14.5 points per game against the Sixers. He scored at least 15 points in three of the four meetings and went over this line in both meetings in Boston.
The Celtics have a lot of depth and had five double-digit scorers against Atlanta en route to averaging 121.2 points per game during the series. However, Brogdon paces Boston’s bench, which is why he won Sixth Man of The Year. Brogdon is effective in leading Boston’s second unit as well as playing with the starters. He gets open looks when playing with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brogdon shot 44% from 3 in the regular season but just 28% against Atlanta. If Brodgon reverts to his regular season form from beyond the arc, and shoots say 2-for-5 on 3s, 12.5 might prove to be a bargain.
Jamal Murray Over 24.5 Points (-125)
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
In 20 career regular season games, Jamal Murray has averaged 21.1 points per game against the Phoenix Suns, but Murray scored 34 points and dished out nine assists in Game 1. Per FantasyPros, the Suns allowed the most points to point guards in the regular season. Russell Westbrook averaged 23.6 points per game in the first-round series despite two terrible shooting nights.
In addition to the success he has enjoyed against the Suns, Murray has also been on a roll this postseason. He is averaging 28.3 points in six games, which is eight more points per game than his regular season scoring average. Murray has hit this line in three of six postseason games, but he was also hooked on 24 in one game that turned into a blowout.
In addition to having a favorable matchup, Murray will also have the volume to hit this line. He is averaging 38.2 minutes per game in the playoffs, with a low of 33 minutes. He is also averaging 21.3 field goal attempts and 8.7 3-point attempts per game. However, Murray is also efficient, shooting 48.4% from the field, 46.2% from 3, and 91.7% from the free throw line.
While Nikola Jokic is the focal point of the Denver offense, Murray plays off him very well. In Game 1, Murray and Jokic picked Phoenix apart in the pick-and-roll. While Phoenix will make some adjustments, I expect another high scoring game. That will help Murray’s chances of scoring 25 points.