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The NBA Playoffs resume on Thursday night, and it's a star-studded schedule featuring some of the league's best players.
The Los Angeles Lakers look to go up 2-0 on the Memphis Grizzlies, and the timeless LeBron James is the man to lead them there. Jimmy Butler aims to lead his team to another upset victory when the Miami Heat face the Milwaukee Bucks. And the Denver Nuggets hope to go up 2-0 over the Minnesota Timberwolves when they face
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The Los Angeles Lakers overcame the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series, and in a rare bit of team play, LeBron James could rely on his teammates. By far the Lakers' best playmaker, James will be motivated to keep his teammates involved. At Caesars Sportsbook, James is a +116 to clear 6.5 assists when he faces the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 2.
On the season, LeBron James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists on 50.0% from the field and 32.1% from three-point range. In the Lakers' Game 1 victory over the Grizzlies, James posted 21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals on 50.0% from the field and 37.5% from three-point range. If there's somewhere for James to improve, it's in his ball security, where he produced 5 turnovers on the night.
The Los Angeles Lakers received great production from their role players in Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, but they need help to rely on that in Game 2. Expect LeBron James to return to his role as the first option on the point of attack to create better opportunities for his teammates. With the Grizzlies' defense warier of Los Angeles' shooters, James' scoring intent will only help his playmaking.
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Jimmy Butler led his Miami Heat to an upset win in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and he'll look to do the same when they face off in Game 2. Butler, one of the NBA's best all-around players, always steps up his play in the postseason. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Butler is a +118 to clear 6.5 assists when he faces the Milwaukee Bucks.
Butler led the way for Miami in Game 1, contributing 35 points, 11 assists, and 5 rebounds on 55.6% from the field. On the season, Butler averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 53.9% from the field and 35.0% from three-point range. Averaging 6.0 assists per game in victories versus 4.4 in losses, Butler's playmaking will be vital when Buck's defense keys in on him.
Butler may not be the most heralded player in the NBA, but his postseason performance speaks for itself. The Milwaukee Bucks forced 15 turnovers out of the Heat, but Butler's role at the point of attack was enough to overcome them. As the Bucks' defense will try to limit Butler's scoring output, expect him to be locked in with his playmaking.
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The Denver Nuggets dismantled the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series, and Jamal Murray was the driving force behind their success. After an all-around effort in Game 1, Murray projects to maintain his excellent play. At PointsBet, Murray is a +105 to clear 4.5 rebounds when he faces the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On the season, Murray averages 20.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds on 45.4% from the field and 39.8% from the three-point range. In Game 1 against the Timberwolves, Murray posted 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on 40.9% shooting from the field and 40.0% from three. He was prolific on offense, scoring and assisting in the flow of the offense despite the rim protection on Minnesota's side of the ball.
The Canadian international isn't known as one of the NBA's better-rebounding guards, but his size and athleticism can make an impact. Against the twin center lineup of the Timberwolves, Murray, and the Nuggets guards, made it a point to support Jokic on the glass. No doubt Murray will maintain his production in Game 2.
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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