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Jusuf Nurkic, 25.5 Points + Rebounds
|Prop||Over 25.5 PTS + REB (-115)|
|Matchup||Clippers vs. Trail Blazers|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
For tonight’s mini three-game NBA slate, I’m keying in Portland Trail Blazers center, Jusuf Nurkic, in his matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nurkic is putting together yet another solid season manning the middle for the Blazers. He’s averaging 24.6 combined points and rebounds (P+R). However, in the eight games he’s played without superstar teammate, Damian Lillard, Nurkic’s average jumps to 28.5 P+R, eclipsing this line in six of those contests.
In fact, it’s Nurkic who is the biggest beneficiary when Lillard is off the court, with a bump of 2.0 points per 30 minutes. Over the past four games, all without Lillard, Nurkic has averaged 7.5 post-ups and 43.5 front-court touches, compared to the 6.0 post-ups and 33.2 touches he averaged previously.
The Clippers are a sound defensive team with the second-best Defensive Rating (108.7), per Cleaning the Glass. Their strength is the length and athleticism they possess on the perimeter. Nurkic will be matched up with Ivica Zubac down low, and that’s a matchup he’s been able to exploit in the past.
Nurkic notched 26 points last season with Zubac as his primary defender, shooting 10-of-16 from the field against him. Overall, in four total matchups against the Clippers, the ‘Bosnian Beast’ accrued 36, 28, 31, and 14 P+R, with the sole outlier due to limited minutes in a blowout.
His usage rate of 29.5% against the Clippers last season was Nurkic’s third highest against any opponent. It’s clear that Portland coach Chauncey Billups looks to Nurkic to exploit his matchup against the Clippers.
Returning home after a four-game road trip, I like the emotionally driven Nurkic to feed off the Moda Center crowd’s energy. I have the big man projected at 29 P+R.
Pick: Over 25.5 P+R (-115). Play up to 26.5
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