There are only two games on the NBA Playoff slate for Tuesday, with a close-out opportunity on the horizon for the Utah Jazz against the listless Denver Nuggets.
In this column, we'll give an analytical preview of a few of the day's top games and give game notes on the rest to help bettors with their wagers.
Utah Jazz (-3, 220.5) at Denver Nuggets
At some point, Denver has to play defense. The Nuggets are allowing 131.1 points every 100 possessions to the Jazz during this series, and the perimeter has been a particular point of contention. Utah is shooting 43.3 percent on 39.3 3-point attempts per game, while allowing 44.8 percent on 36.3 attempts per game.
However, it’s not just the perimeter that has been an issue for the Nuggets. The Jazz are shooting 68.1% (64-of-94) at the rim in the series, with 12 drawn shooting fouls over the four games, which has led to the Jazz scoring 49.5 points in the paint per contest. Denver also has no one to defend Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 39.5 points per game on 56.3 percent from the floor.
There’s value in the number with Denver, but who could be comfortable taking the points after seeing this defense the last four games?
Lean: Nuggets (+3)
Gary Harris, Hip (Questionable)
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers (-6.5, 236)
The Clippers have shown they need Patrick Beverley on the floor for this series. In the last three games without Beverley the Clippers have a 117.1 defensive rating, and Dallas is shooting 50.2% from the floor and 39.8% from deep on 36.0 3PA per game during this stretch. Other than Luka Doncic, Dallas’ role players have been torching Los Angeles. Trey Burke has averaged 17.0 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the floor and Tim Hardaway Jr. is scoring 19.5 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting.
Kawhi Leonard also needs some more help. Kawhi is averaging 33 points on 50 percent shooting, although he has yet to find his 3-point shot. Other than that, Marcus Morris has been the most consistent scorer outside of Leonard, averaging 14.0 points per game on 51.2% shooting.
If Paul George wakes up, and this defense buckles down, this team is capable of covering the spread. However, bettors have to see it at some point to believe it.
Lean: Dallas (+6.5)
Kristaps Porzingis, Knee (Questionable)
Los Angeles Clippers
Patrick Beverley, Calf (Doubtful)