We head to Game Four with the Lakers up 2-1 in the series and the Nuggets winning Game Three convincingly, 114-106. Vegas has the Lakers as six point favorites tonight.
Some things that stuck out from Game Three:
- The Nuggets out-rebounded the Lakers 44-25 last game, a mind-boggling stat considering the Lakers’ size and that they are generally one of the best rebounding teams in the league. Expect Anthony Davis to make it a point to improve on his paltry two rebounds in 43 minutes.
- Every starter for the Nuggets played 30+ minutes while Jamal Murray played a game-high 44 minutes. In the previous two games, no Nuggets player besides Nik Jokic and Murray had played 30 minutes.
- After struggling the first two games, and struggling often during these playoffs in general, Jerami Grant broke the slate with 26 real points and 35.35 DK points. The strong FG% and 12 FTAs make it unlikely we see a similar score from Grant tonight, but he’s also likely to again see mid-30s minutes.
- I talked extensively in the last article about the situation surrounding PJ Dozier, a popular value option last game. Even though Gary Harris didn’t do a whole lot in Game Three, the Nuggets played well as a team and Harris was a part of that, which helped keep Dozier on the bench, ruining many Showdown lineups. Dozier is really only an option tonight if you build your lineup in a way that would have the Lakers building a large lead and forcing Mike Malone to turn to a few of his bench guys for a lift. A Dozier lineup with LeBron and AD would make sense, though, once again, there’s a chance, even moreso than before last game, that Dozier doesn’t see the floor.
- Danny Green picked up three fouls in the third quarter, came out of the game and never got back in. He ended up playing just 20 minutes, which opened the door for additional minutes for Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo off the bench. I like Green to bounce back tonight and he should take on a little less ownership than KCP.
Pricing for tonight’s slate makes it extremely difficult – though not impossible – to fit three of the four stars into our lineups along with a star in the Captain’s spot. I still think the best strategy is to use one of the studs in the Captain’s spot, with either LeBron or AD being my favorite choices, though any of the four are viable targets.
It’s often a good idea on Showdown slates to try to build our lineups based on a story for what might possibly happen. If, for example, we build a lineup under the assumption that the Lakers will build a large lead and eventually blow out the Nuggets, it would make sense to use LeBron and AD while looking to a Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris for the Nuggets, bench guys who will play no matter what but will likely pick up extra run and be a big part of the offense during a garbage time scenario.
A player like Dwight Howard would fit really well too because he could easily be on the court to finish out a Lakers rout and can rack up a ton of fantasy points in a hurry. In this type of spot, we could even use a guy like Dozier, who didn’t see the court at all last game when the Nuggets were playing really well, but would undoubtedly get run and finish out a game if things were going poorly.
If we’re projecting a very close, back and forth type of game, or one where one team builds a lead but nothing too large, it’s most likely we’d see similar minutes for these Nuggets guys as we did last game with the non-star starters in Harris, Grant and Millsap playing 30+ minutes and Morris and MPJ being the main bench guys. Morris will be popular, but he’s the top value option on this slate at 2800.
For the Lakers, it’s a little more complicated as Danny Green is quite the wildcard and the Lakers can just turn to KCP, Rondo, and Alex Caruso if Green isn’t playing well. I do, however, think that both the Lakers and Green will play better tonight and I see him bouncing back. I like using him over KCP and Caruso in a similar price range and at what should be lower ownership.
Rajon Rondo saw 30 minutes last game and if we decide to use two stars in our lineups instead of three, he makes for a strong play. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Rondo yet in this series and that he has 35+ fantasy point upside like we saw in a couple of those games against the Rockets.
Basically, anyone getting 10+ minutes or with the possibility to get 10+ minutes – especially high per minute producers like Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee- are viable options for a Showdown slate and, as we know, unexpected outcomes happen all the time. Showdown slates are the right place to take chances and a great way to do that is to build lineups based on a “story” of how the game might unfold in way that makes logical sense.