Every night the NBA Playoffs just keep getting better and better. On Monday night, the Heat outscored the Bucks by 16 points in the fourth quarter behind a historic performance from Jimmy Butler to rally for a 119-114 victory. That was followed by a thrilling overtime 117-111 victory by the Lakers led by the first 20-20 game in LeBron James’ career. The eight-seeded Heat and seventh-seeded Lakers each took commanding 3-1 series leads, placing two of the NBA’s top four seeds on the brink of elimination.
On Tuesday night, there were three closeout spots each with double digit spreads, all three games were decided by six points or less. The Hawks were the only team able to extend their season by a go-ahead 3-pointer from Trae Young. Tonight, there are four games. Three of them are elimination games and then the night concludes with the best series of the first round.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Julius Randle Under 21.5 Points (-111)
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBATV|
Since entering the league, Julius Randle has been among my favorite players due to the overall tenacity, particularly on the glass, that he brings to the game. It is not easy for me to fade him, but I cannot ignore the trends, even dating back to his first postseason.
In his first postseason series against Atlanta, Randle averaged 18 points in the five game series and shot 29.8% from the field on 18.8 attempts. In this series, he is averaging 14.8 points and shooting 32.3% on 16.3 attempts per game. Randle has gone under this line in three of four games in this series and six of nine games in his postseason career.
The Hawks series was always perplexing to me. Randle had previously and has since dominated his matchups against John Collins and the Hawks usually struggle defensively. In this series, Randle is going against the NBA’s No. 1 defensive team in the regular season and the Cavaliers have a 105.1 defensive rating in this series.
Randle will have the volume to go over this line if he gets 16 shots again, but he has struggled to hit anything. While Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen have underwhelmed offensively in this series, they have done a good job in limiting Randle. Randle is averaging 18.3 points in seven games against Cleveland this season.
Additionally, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau closed game four with Obi Toppin instead of Randle. If Randle struggles early again, he could find his way to the bench once again. That would make his under sweat-free.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 47.5 PRA (-130)
|Time | TV||9:30 p.m. ET | NBATV|
The Bucks may be down 3-1 in this series, but don’t blame Antetokounmpo. He played just 11 minutes in game 1 and did not play at all in game three, both losses. Antetokounmpo has had terrible injury luck against the Heat this season. In addition to game one, he also left a game on February 24th early due to injury. As a result, his season averages against the Heat are out of whack.
Antetokounmpo has completed two games against the Heat this season. In the February meeting, he had 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists in game four. Antetokounmpo has had recorded five triple-doubles in his career against Miami and finished with nine assists in four other games. He is +675 on DraftKings to record a triple-double tonight.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 55 points, rebounds, and assists in the two games he finished against the Heat this season, clearing this line in both games. With the Bucks down 3-1, I expect Antetokounmpo’s usage to be very high. If he scores 32-35 points, he will need around 15 combined rebounds and assists. He is averaging 17.4 rebounds and assists this season, so that should not be an issue. I would not rule out an all-time performance from Antetokounmpo tonight.