The Western Conference Finals continue Tuesday night. Over the weekend, the Phoenix Suns got off to a 1-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Clippers thanks to another huge game from superstar Devin Booker. Let’s look at some interesting lines ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2.
As I stated, Booker was incredible in Game 1, scoring 40 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists. He took on an even larger role with the Suns missing Chris Paul, who remains in the league’s COVID protocols. Booker’s usage rate hovered around 36%, while he also averaged a healthy 5.65 seconds per touch. He also attempted 29 field goals, so it will be hard to not smash the over on his points prop of 30.5 if Paul is again ruled out. Over the course of the season, Booker is sporting a 35% usage rate with Paul off the floor while averaging 1.28 fantasy points per minute.
Sticking with the Suns' young stars, I also like the over on Deandre Ayton’s points for Game 2. It opens at 14.5 points and with the Clippers playing so much small ball during this postseason, the matchup is enhanced for Ayton, who saw 15 paint touches in Game 1. Over the course of the playoffs, Ayton is averaging 12.6 paint touches, the most among any player in basketball during that span. He also saw five post-ups in Game 1, a trend I expect to continue to see for as long as Paul is out of the lineup.
Finally, let’s look at the Clippers side. They continue to rely on veterans such as Nicolas Batum to play huge minutes in the absence of Kawhi Leonard. Batum has been solid, especially on the glass. His rebound prop opens at 6.5, which is enticing considering he’s hauled in at least seven boards in each of his last five games. Los Angeles used Ivica Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins more in Game 1 than they had to end the Utah series, but it isn’t enough that it’ll take minutes or substantial rebounding opportunities away from Batum.