There have been a lot of storylines in this year's NBA playoffs. Can Nikola Jokic lead the Denver Nuggets to an NBA championship in a year where he is finally healthy? Jimmy Butler has been phenomenal in carrying the Miami Heat through the Eastern Conference as the eighth seed. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker might be arguably the best scoring duo we've ever seen in the postseason.
All of the above are fascinating stories, but none of them compare to LeBron James and stephen curry facing off in a post-season series for the fifth time. Two of the greatest players of our generation faced off in Golden State on Wednesday as L.A. took a 3-1 lead in the series on Monday night. But Game 5 goes back to the Bay, and it's hard to imagine Curry quietly going on his home floor. Here's where I'm going to capitalize on Curry, along with two other players, when the Warriors host the Lakers.
The Lakers' length on the perimeter has made life difficult for the Warriors in this series, but I've seen Curry doubt this spot too many times. He is at his best at the Chase Center, where he completed the season shooting 45.3% from beyond the arc. Curry has hit at least five 3's in seven of his last eight home games, with the only miss coming in Game 2 of this series. The low volume can be attributed to only playing 30 minutes in the 27-point blowout win.
Curry's 50% shooting from deep (9 of 18) in the first two games of the series has me confident that he'll find his shot quickly after an uncharacteristic 3-of-14 night in Game 4. The Lakers can't cover the entire floor, and my money is on Steph being ultra-aggressive with everything on the line.
Don't mistake betting on LeBron James as discrediting his importance to this team. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the catalysts that make everything go on.
However, the most impressive part of this run for the Lakers is that James and Davis don't need to do it all by themselves like in previous years. Austin Reeves and Lonnie Walker IV delivered on Monday night, while D'Angelo Russell shone with 21 points in Game 3. James has a solid squad and is confident enough to give them their share of opportunities.
I think two factors are important to this prop. From a player's point of view, James has fallen below this total in nine of the last 10 games. There's also a big difference in motivation between the Lakers and Warriors, with LA holding a 3-1 series lead. Los Angeles was in the same spot in the opening series versus Memphis (up 3–1 playing Game 5 on the road) and came out flat. The Lakers fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter, and were never competitive in a 17-point loss. James was 5 for 17 and 1 for 9 from 3-point range. I'm not saying this game will follow exactly the same script, but it does support the strong contrast in motivations between the two teams.
Wiggins played a huge role in Golden State's championship last season, and I think they go to him in winning games. In Monday night's loss to the Lakers, Wiggins and Thompson went missing on offense in the fourth quarter. With Klay Thompson shooting 36% or less in three out of four games, I wouldn't be surprised to see Wiggins get more volume. He has hit at least two 3-pointers in the last three games, while shooting 42.8% from beyond the arc. He's the most reliable fighter (outside of curry), and I think it makes sense to play him to sink at least two and eclipse this total once again.