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NBA Player Prop Picks (5/3/23)
After a shocking Game 1 loss at home to the Philadelphia 76ers without Joel Embiid, the Boston Celtics will look to bounce back and even the series at 1-1 on Wednesday night. Stopping James Harden will be priority No. 1 for the C’s. but can they get it done? Additionally, Embiid’s status still looks grim, so take a look below to see which other players we are high on for this matchup in his absence.
James Harden o37.5 PRA (-125)
Harden’s Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Boston Celtics was vintage and will be remembered for years to come. Despite being without Joel Embiid and being on the road in a hostile environment, Harden went off for 45 points on 17-30 shooting from the field; he also dished out six assists and pulled down a rebound. In short, Harden slaughtered this line last game in his 39 minutes on the floor.
What’s even more promising for Harden in this spot was his usage rate in Game 1; he had an unfathomably high usage rate of 42.3%. Harden’s usage might not be quite this high in Game 2, but with Embiid likely out again, he will have the ball in his hands a ton.
Boston did not defend Harden well and will have to make major adjustments in Game 2. If the C’s don’t change anything, Harden will continue to hunt those high-ball screens with big men to exploit mismatches. Even if Boston does make changes, it will likely be an overcompensation, resulting in Harden picking apart double teams for easy three-point looks for the highest percentage team from deep in the NBA.
Al Horford o1.5 Blocks (+120)
Let’s run it back with another Al Horford player prop. This time, we will highlight only his blocks, as his “stocks” prop is somewhat juiced up on DraftKings. Horford has been an absolute stud defensively for the Celtics recently, providing terrific rim protection.
As a matter of fact, Horford has logged at least two blocks in six of his past eight games. Further, in his past three games, Horford has averaged an astounding 3.7 blocks per game, displaying his impressive prowess, IQ, and athleticism around the rim.
Embiid should be out again for the Sixers, and their less experienced frontcourt depth could continue to underestimate Horford around the rim. There’s a lot to like about this plus-odds bet, as we continue to ride Horford’s defensive output until the wheels fall off.
Malcolm Brogdon o13.5 Points (-120)
The Boston Celtics have one of the best benches in the entire league, and Malcolm Brogdon, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year recipient this season, is one of the key reasons why that is the case.
Brogdon averaged just shy of 15 points per game on a 48/44/87 shooting split, and he has not skipped a beat in the postseason; he has now scored at least 14 points in five-straight games and on terrific efficiency. Further, it is promising to see him reach double-digit FGA in six consecutive games, too.
While the Sixers have been terrific against opposing guards (allowing the second-fewest points, second-fewest rebounds, and fourth-fewest assists to opposing point guards) and defending the perimeter (4th in opponent 3P%), Brogdon has had their number this season.
In four regular season games against the Sixers this year, Brogdon went over this line three times, boasting a 51/50/78 shooting split. In the sole game that he didn’t reach 14 points, he barely eclipsed 20 minutes played. With the way he has played in the past handful of games, that should not be an issue for Brogdon.