The NBA season continues with two more domestic televised games tonight on TNT, Heat at Mavericks and Pelicans at Suns. Every week throughout the season, The lines will look at a few matchups for the TV slates and try to determine if there are any NBA player props worth checking out.
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Heat to Mavericks Matchup and NBA Player Accessories
On paper, it looks like a solid clash between two fringe title contenders who have both got off to a good start this year. Look at the teams they’ve played and the advanced stats, though, and you see a lag.
Dallas has one offense in the last five and average defense while Miami has the league’s best defense (by a mile) and top-five offense. This despite Miami playing and beating a few title contenders while the Mavs got blown up by the two good teams on their schedule.
The Mavs will be without Kristaps Porzingis, but no one knows what that means. The team performed better with Luka Doncic and no Porzingis last season than when the two shared the pitch. Yet the reverse was (barely) true the year before, according to Clean glass. Porzingis has a disastrous net score of -17.7 this year.
Without Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. saw his use rise against the Kings. He was the second clear banana in last year’s playoff loss to the Clippers. However, he might see a defense from Jimmy Butler if PJ Tucker tackles Doncic’s mission.
Speaking of Butler, he carried the Heat with an incredible level of performance. With Dallas at two big men – Maxi Kleber is also out – they could play faster, which could take Butler’s stats up a notch.
Jimmy Butler Accessories
Of course, Doncic will be at the center of the Heat’s defensive strategy and clashes. Since Miami has several more defenders, he may be looking to prepare his recoil game rather than venturing into assisting defense. That could put the upper hand on his three in play.
Accessories from Luka Doncic
And if he’s on the perimeter, he won’t be such a big factor on the glass, especially with Miami gobbling up boards at a leading rate. Bam Adebayo could have a big day there, but he’s also questionable with a knee injury.
On the Miami side, Tyler Herro was the first to stand out. He burns the net by shooting career records from inside and beyond the arc, respectively. He also found teammates with a better career clip (4.5 assists per game, 24.3% AST%).
Pelicans At Suns Matchup and NBA Player Accessories
These teams compare pretty closely across the board in terms of advanced stats, with the Suns just a little stronger in most categories.
Another key injury in this game is creating uncertainty as to who will take the field for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton suffered a bruised leg and left Saturday’s game against Cleveland.
If he sits down, Javale McGee appears to be the next man with Frank Kaminsky to back him up.
This would seem like great news for the Pelicans’ Jonas Valanciunas. McGee is playing an unruly, foul-prone defense and Kaminsky probably just doesn’t stand a chance of keeping him. Valanciunas could feast here against the big backups.
On the other hand, if Ayton plays, Valanciunas could have a rough night. Ayton gets tons of steals, doesn’t foul up and sucks up defensive rebounds at a rate of 88% according to Clean glass.
Valanciunas is also a strong rebounder, so both players could neutralize the other’s advantage on the boards. Potentially look at a few below there.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a player who fired at a staggering rate with Zion Williamson absent. After shooting 10 shots per game, he has managed 15.4 this year. They haven’t gone down (35.3%), but he will surely start scoring more than his 14.1 PPG if he keeps shooting at this rate.
Devin Booker’s effectiveness fell apart as he just hasn’t made any shots this year yet. He’s shooting at the lowest of his career both overall (41.6%) and depth (28.6%). However, it still has a use at the 98th percentile. Against a team that can’t stop anyone, make sure their scoring props don’t reflect their cold start, as it could end at any point.