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The first round of the NBA Play-In Tournament begins on Tuesday evening! In the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks face the Miami Heat. In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Clint Capela will be a threat on the glass when the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat face off. Jimmy Butler's all-around play will be the focus of the Heat's success. Playmaking from Mike Conley and D'Angelo Russell will be the spotlight for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers.
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Clint Capela is the force in the paint for the Atlanta Hawks, and he'll need to be productive if his team hopes to make the NBA Playoffs. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Capela is a +100 to collect 11 or more rebounds when he faces the Miami Heat. Capela's rebounding has been weaker against the Heat, but in a one-off chance to win the seventh seed, the Swiss big man will have plenty of opportunity.
On the season, Capela is averaging 12.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks on 65.3% shooting from the field. In his last five games before the end of the season, Capela averaged 10.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks on 68.8% from the field. Through three games against the Heat, Capela averaged 13.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks on 87.0% from the field - he collected double-digit rebounds twice.
In his last five games of the season, Capela cleared 10.5 rebounds twice. Through his 65 games played, Capela grabbed at least 11 rebounds 33 times. Capela is the best rebounder in this matchup, so in an elimination format and a shortened rotation, Capela should at least meet his season average.
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Jimmy Butler remains the focal point of the Miami Heat's game plan, and he'll be crucial for their Eastern Conference Play-In first-round matchup! At PointsBet, Butler is a +100 to collect 14 or more assists and rebounds combined. Given Butler's role as a playmaker and his excellent production against the Hawks this season, Butler looks set to make this bet hit!
On the season, Butler is averaging 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 53.9% from the field and 35.0% from three-point range. In his last four games before the end of the season, Butler posted averages of 24.5 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds on 70.0% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range. In three games against the Atlanta Hawks, Butler posted averages of 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 63.2% from the field.
Given the Hawks' lack of defensive resistance to Butler and the shortened lineup and extended playtime for the Heat star, clearing 13.5 is on the cards for Miami's most reliable player. Butler cleared 13.5 assists and rebounds combined twice in his last four games. Butler has also collected 14 rebounds and assists combined in 18 of his 64 appearances this season.
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Mike Conley remains one of the savviest point guards in the NBA, and his contributions to the Timberwolves this season have been invaluable to their success. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Conley is a +104 to collect six or more wins when he faces the Los Angeles Lakers. With the Timberwolves' injuries, expect a longer run for Conley in this do-or-die game.
On the season, Conley has averaged 11.9 points, 6.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on 42.8% from the field and 38.5% from three-point range. In his last five games, Conley posted averages of 18.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.2 rebounds on 54.2% from the field and 50.0% from three. In four games against the Lakers this season, Conley has averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds on 60.0% from the field and 52.4% from three.
Given the Timberwolves' shorthanded roster and Conely's success against Los Angeles this season, expect his playmaking to be on point. Conley has cleared 5.5 assists in just three of his last five games. Of his 67 appearances this year, Conley has collected six or more assists in 47 of them.
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D'Angelo Russell has fit in well since returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, and his playmaking has been a big part of their success. At Caesars Sportsbook, Russell is a +116 to clear 5.5 assists when he faces the Minnesota Timberwolves. While his passing numbers have been limited in his last three games, his record since rejoining the Lakers is promising.
On the season, Russell is averaging 17.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds on 46.9% from the field and 39.6% from the three-point range. In his last three games of the season, after returning from injury, Russell posted averages of 18.7 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on 52.5% from the field and 47.8% from three. In his one game against the Timberwolves this season, Russell posted just 12 points but also ten assists.
Russell collected six or more assists in just one of his last three games. Of his 71 appearances this season, Russell cleared 5.5 assists 44 times. With the shortened rotation and Russell's role as both shooter and playmaker, expect the improved tempo to help him clear 5.5 assists with ease.
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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