Six games on the NBA schedule Tuesday, the night after the end of the college basketball season, and each has some relevance on playoff positioning. Here are some player prop recommendations from three of the matchups.
Hornets vs. Heat Props:
Dwyane Wade 'Over/Under 28.5 Points + Assists
Wade O/U 4.5 Made Free-Throws
Goran Dragic O/U 16 Points
Miami (34-43) is tied with Indiana for the No. 9 spot in the East, a game behind Boston. The Hornets (33-43) are No. 10. The Heat apparently will catch a few breaks in this game because Charlotte center Al Jefferson, center/forward Cody Zeller and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are all expected to sit out with injuries. That should open the paint up in a big way for Wade and Dragic -- MKG is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Wade and Dragic might have to really carry the load because the Heat have four guys questionable: Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside, Chris Andersen and Michael Beasley (actually he's doubtful). As NBA odds makers know, the Heat have lost four straight, but Wade has scored at least 24 points in the past two. In two games against Charlotte, he's averaging 21.0 points and 5.5 assists. This is the first time Dragic will face the Hornets as a member of the Heat.
NBA Free Picks: 'Over' on all of them.
Spurs vs. Thunder Props:
Kawhi Leonard 'Over/Under' 25 Points + Rebounds
Will Leonard Miss A Free-Throw: Yes -165, No +120
Russell Westbrook O/U 47.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists
Westbrook O/U 9 Made Free-Throws
If Oklahoma City loses this game, which is highly possible with how hot San Antonio is right now, and New Orleans upsets visiting Golden State (which I predicted here at SBR), then the Pelicans would take over the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. OKC has dropped three straight because its defense has been porous. During that skid, Westbrook is averaging 29.7 points, 10.3 assists and 9.7 rebounds and has two triple-doubles to give him 11 on the season. He is also getting to the line a ton, attempting at least 11 free-throws in each of the past five games. He has made at least 10 in three of those. In two games against the Spurs, Westbrook is averaging 25.0 points, 9.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds. Leonard is probably going to get some of time guarding Westbrook because Leonard is so good on that end. Leonard has faced OKC just once this season and had 14 points and 5.0 rebounds. He's a good but not stellar free-throw shooter, hitting 78.9 percent.
NBA Free Picks: 'Over' Leonard, yes he misses a free-throw. 'Under' on both for Westbrook with your NBA picks.
Lakers vs. Clippers Props:
Chris Paul 'Over/Under' 31.5 Points + Assists
Blake Griffin O/U 23 Points Or O/U 7.5 Rebounds
DeAndre Jordan O/U 27 Points + Rebounds
What Will Jordan Do First: Make (+120) or Miss (-165) Free-Throw
The Clippers have won six straight and 10 of 11 against the Lakers. And while the Lakers have nothing whatsoever to play for other than perhaps not getting swept again by their city rivals, the Clippers still are shooting for the West's No. 2 seed. I fully expect the Clippers to blow out to a big lead and then get their stars on the bench for rest even though they don't play again until Saturday. No use risking injury or adding minutes against a terrible opponent. These teams just played Sunday as well with the Clippers winning 106-78. No Clippers starter played more than 31 minutes. Paul had seven points and 11 assists and averages only 14.3 points vs. the Lakers this season (but 12.0 assists). Griffin had 18 points and five rebounds; he averages 28.0 points and 7.0 rebounds vs. the Lakers in 2013-14. Jordan had 16 points and 11 rebounds and was 2-for-8 from the free-throw line, his personal house of horrors. He averages 12.3 points and 12.3 rebounds vs. the Lakers.
NBA Free Picks: 'Under' on all due to limited minutes and Jordan misses his first from the charity stripe.