This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Dennis Schroder OVER 23.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists (-107) at PHX – DraftKings (1:21 PM CT)
The expectation is that Anthony Davis won't be playing in this game, and that if he does play, that he'll be quite limited. That should open up more playmaking responsibilities for the only other two reliable playmakers on the roster – LeBron James and Schroder. I don't like LeBron's P+R+A as much, so I'm leaning on Schroder. Per 36 minutes with Davis off the court this season, Schroder averages 29.1 P+R+A. Since we're getting 23.5, I'm confident playing the over.
Suns alternate spread -9.5 (+185) vs. LAL – DraftKings (8:39 PM CT)
I'm adding this bet after the news of Anthony Davis (groin) officially being ruled out. Am I being greedy by increasing the spread to need the Suns to win by double-digits? Yes. Could this backfire? Absolutely. But the more I've thought about this matchup with the Lakers sans AD, the more I anticipate a slaughter by Phoenix at home. The crowd has been raucous for the Suns up to this point, and I think both the crowd and the team smells blood, especially with Chris Paul looking better in Game 4. This team around LeBron is just not equipped to handle the pressure without Davis.
Suns -5.0 vs. LAL – DraftKings (12:32 PM CT)
We've seen LeBron James backed into a corner time and time again, and more often than not, he responds with a monster game to take control of a series. But this isn't 2012, 2016 or 2018 LeBron – it's not even 2020 LeBron. Since returning from injury, James has looked very good but rarely great. His athleticism has returned, but James hasn't been playing with his usual combination of aggressiveness and confidence. With Anthony Davis likely out, the Lakers will need one of those vintage efforts from the four-time MVP. But even if James has his best game of the series, Los Angeles will need some contributions from its role players – almost all of whom have been glaring negatives through the first four games of the series. As a team, the Lakers are shooting under 30 percent from three, including just 9-of-41 (22%) on what NBA.com/stats defines as "Open" threes. Even with a healthy Davis, the Lakers have struggled to score with James off the floor, so it's hard to imagine that turning around for Game 5. Unless LA gets a lucky night from Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Marc Gasol or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, I think the Suns take control and head back to Staples Center with a chance to close out the series.
DeAndre Ayton double-double + Suns win outright (+105) – DraftKings
Ayton has cruised to double-doubles in all four games thus far, and the Lakers will likely be down their best interior defender. I just laid out the case for why I like Phoenix to win the game, and with Andre Drummond and Marc Gasol shadowing Ayton for most of the night, he should have a clear path to a fifth consecutive double-double.
LeBron James OVER 2.5 made three-pointers (+130) at PHX – DraftKings
James is just 2-of-12 from deep over the last two games, but his confidence from beyond the arc rarely wavers. The Lakers will need a huge game from James to stay afloat Tuesday, and in these situations, he tends to settle in with a few early threes in an attempt to unlock driving lanes. With (likely) no Anthony Davis, James will have no choice but to play a more selfish brand of basketball, so I wouldn't be surprised if he creeps up on double-digit attempts for the first time since February. In Games 1 and 2 of the series in Phoenix, James combined to go 7-of-16 from three.
Marcus Smart OVER 15.5 Points (-106) vs. BKN – FanDuel (4:32 PM CT)
Smart has been a star against the Nets all year, scoring at least 16 points in five of the six matchups. A majority of Smart's points come from behind the three-point arc, and even in an inefficient 2-of-9 performance from deep in Game 4, Smart was still able to score 16. With Kemba Walker doubtful for Game 5, expect Smart to step up and take on a larger role offensively for the Celtics.