Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook.
Thursday night’s nationally televised NBA doubleheader certainly won’t lack star power — and that’s with one of the league’s biggest names (Steph Curry) out injured, and another (Joel Embiid) with his status still up in the air.
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But which of the many stars who will be on the court will shine bright?
Here are four NBA player props predictions for Thursday’s marquee 76ers vs. Mavericks and Warriors vs. Clippers matchups.
Odds updated as of 2:30 p.m. ET on March 2.
76ers vs. Mavericks prop: James Harden total assists
Odds: 10.5, Over +112/Under -138 (at FanDuel)
Harden dished out just seven assists in Wednesday’s 119-96 smackdown of the Heat in Miami. It was the third time in the last four games that the 76ers’ shooting guard failed to deliver double-digit dimes.
Still, Harden continues to lead the NBA in assists (10.6 per game). And in his last 29 contests going back to Dec. 23, Harden has cleared 10 assists more often than not (16 times).
During this stretch, Harden has played in 13 road games and eclipsed 10.5 assists eight times.
What about when playing in back-to-back situations? Harden has done that three times this season, and here are his assist totals from the second of the two contests: 11 (at Chicago), 13 (at L.A. Lakers), 6 (at Brooklyn).
Of course, a big reason why Harden is the NBA’s runaway assist leader is because he gets to feed the ball to the league’s second-leading scorer in Embiid. The Sixers’ big man sat out Wednesday’s game in Miami with his nagging foot injury and is probable for Thursday at Dallas.
However, it’s not like Harden never puts up big assist numbers when his All-Star center is on the sidelines. In seven such games this season, Harden has dished out 4, 17, 10, 8, 11, 11 and 7 assists.
With a high-scoring game expected in Dallas, look for Harden to not only fill the bucket himself but also help his teammates do the same at least 11 times.
76ers vs. Mavericks prop: Luka Doncic total points, rebounds and assists
Odds: 48.5, Over -111/Under -115 (at FanDuel)
How much of an impact has Irving had on Doncic’s numbers since the Mavericks acquired the mercurial point guard from Brooklyn? Let’s check the numbers:
The dynamic duo has been on the court together five times, and Doncic has amassed points/rebounds/assist totals of 41, 51, 45, 40 and 53. So he beat Thursday’s 46.5 number twice.
Since the trade, Doncic has played one game that Irving sat out, and the NBA’s leading scorer went for 37 points, four rebounds and nine assists (50 total).
Obviously, when it comes to Doncic and this type of prop, scoring matters most because the Mavs’ star averages nearly twice as many points (33.2) as assists and rebounds (16.9 combined).
Well, Doncic has scored 27, 33, 28, 26 and 39 points with Kyrie alongside him (30.6 per game). In the 11 games Doncic started and finished prior to his new sidekick’s arrival, he averaged 33.5 points.
So as expected, Doncic’s scoring has dipped a bit when playing with Irving.
As for Thursday’s contest, Doncic and the Mavericks will be facing a 76ers team that ranks in the top six defensively in points allowed (third), rebounds allowed (sixth) and assists allowed (sixth).
Philadelphia also has had success containing Doncic. In six career games against the 76ers, Doncic has collected points/rebounds/assist totals of 27, 39, 40, 26, 44, 61.
So he fell short of this FanDuel prop number five out of six times. And Irving wasn’t on the court hogging the ball in any of those contests.
In the end, we see Doncic clearing 40 points/rebounds/assists Thursday night, but falling short of 48.5.
Clippers vs. Warriors prop: Kawhi Leonard total rebounds
Leonard is averaging 6.4 rebounds in his illustrious 11-year career, 6.1 rebounds this season and 6.3 rebounds in 26 all-time regular-season games against the Warriors.
So why is his rebounding prop for Thursday below all those averages? It’s likely because Leonard hasn’t been crashing the glass with a ton of success recently.
The five-time All-Star has snagged 5, 4, 4, 7, 9, 4, 6 and 5 rebounds in his last eight games. However, the seven-rebounding performance came against Golden State on Valentine’s Day — a game the Clippers won 134-124.
True, that represents one of just three times in which Leonard has topped 5.5 rebounds in his last eight outings. However, he was within range in each contest while posting an average of … exactly 5.5 rebounds.
Both teams finished with just 36 team rebounds when they squared off 16 days ago. But that’s what happens when two clubs combine for 268 points. In the previous six Warriors-Clippers battles, the Pacific Division rivals collected a total of 87, 98, 81, 90, 92 and 100 rebounds.
In other words, barring a repeat of Valentine’s Day when the rim seemed as big as a trash can for both squads, the rebounding opportunities figure to be plentiful for everyone Thursday.
We’re betting that Leonard gets more than his fair share.
Clippers vs. Warriors prop: Klay Thompson total made 3-pointers
Odds: 4.5, Over -120/Under -110 (at BetMGM)
One of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history hasn’t exactly been gunshy in his 10th professional campaign.
In 50 games played, Thompson has attempted double digit 3-pointers 30 times. However, he’s made more than four in just 19 of those 50 games. That includes two contests against the Clippers. He went 3-for-7 on Nov. 23 at home and 4-for-7 on Feb. 14 in L.A.
That’s hardly breaking news when you realize Thompson has struggled from downtown against the Clippers for his entire career. In 35 games (32 starts), he’s 88-for-213 from distance when facing Los Angeles.
That equates to 41.3% (below his career number of 41.6%) and 2.5 made 3s per game (well below his career average of 3.1).
Also, since returning to action after missing the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season with injuries, Thompson has faced the Clippers four times and finished with fewer than five 3-pointers in each (going 10-for-28 overall).
Now, you could argue the “due” theory with Thompson — after all, in his last four games against the Clippers, his 3-point numbers increased by one each time (1, 2, 3 and 4).
Then again, if you played that theory with Thompson over the years against the Clippers, your bankroll would have been obliterated. Because Thompson has finished with fewer than five 3-pointers in 19 of his last 20 games against L.A. (playoffs included).
What about recent form? He’s fallen short of this prop number in eight of his last 12 contests overall.
Play the percentages with this one and bet Thompson Under 4.5 made 3-pointers.
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