This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Friday brings us an intriguing two-game slate featuring two series that appear headed in different directions based on how they've gone so far. The 76ers and Hawks seem destined for Game 7 while the Suns are threatening to run away from the Nuggets. However, oddsmakers concur both Game 3 matchups will be wire-to-wire battles, as the line is just 1.5 points for each favorite as of this morning.
Here's a closer look at the two games:
Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 225.0 points)
The first two contests have finished with totals of 252 and 220 points, and oddsmakers apparently feel the first might have been more of an outlier based on tonight's projection. Each squad certainly has the ability to pile up points when at full strength, while Atlanta is averaging a robust 115.1 points per game on its home floor. However, the Hawks have actually proven to be one of the better home defenses in the league (108.3 PPG allowed) and Philly is a much less potent offensive team when traveling (110.5 PPG scored per road contest), lending some credence this could tilt toward the under.
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets (Projected total: 223.5 points)
This series has seen combined scores of 227 and 221 points thus far, with Phoenix scoring over 120 points in each. The Nuggets should certainly be more competitive now that they're back on their home floor, where they're averaging 117.9 points per game - including the postseason. The Suns average a solid 113.2 per road contest, but both sides surrender less than 111 points per game in the home/road splits that apply. So this total, which lands more or less right in between the first two results, could be right on target.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Embiid appears destined to be saddled with this designation the rest of the postseason considering he's dealing with a partially torn meniscus, but he's been able to log 38 and 35 minutes in each of the first two games and perform brilliantly. He's likely on the probable side of questionable again for Game 3, but Mike Scott and Dwight Howard would be the most direct beneficiaries were he to sit out.
Michael Porter, DEN (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
Porter is dealing with ongoing lower-back soreness, but is expected to continue playing through it tonight.
Other notable injuries:
De'Andre Hunter, ATL (knee)/ Status: OUT
Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
Abdel Nader, PHO (knee)/ Status: OUT
Jokic has been his usual self so far with totals of 48.3 and 49.6 FD points, which falls slightly short of a 5x return on current salary. However, with such a limited player pool, he remains nearly indispensable. Jokic will also be home, where he produced better numbers in multiple key categories this season than on the road.
Embiid's status will once again need to be closely monitored, but if he has the green light, there's no reason to shy away considering the Hawks seem to have no answer for him even at less than full strength. Embiid has averaged 64.2 FD points over the first two games of the series while logging a full workload.
Three other players with salaries in the high four figures capable of delivering elite scores are Trae Young ($9,700), Tobias Harris ($8,800) and Ben Simmons ($8,600), with each undoubtedly set for high usage. Young has seen a bit of a salary drop after "only" posting 40.1 FD points in Game 2 on a rough shooting night, but he's back on his home floor and should once again thrive. Meanwhile, Harris and Simmons are both enjoying strong series thus far and should continue to be heavily involved as complementary sources alongside Embiid.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Chris Paul, PHO ($8,200)
Paul looks back to his old self after an uneven first round, posting 46.7 and 48.5 FD points in the first two games against Denver.
Devin Booker, PHO ($8,200)
Booker has been quiet in comparison with totals of just 35.8 and 34 FD points, but he naturally offers a 60-plus FD-point ceiling.
Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7,400)
Ayton is averaging 29 FD points over the first two games of the series and seems to be a more viable option than Clint Capela if you can't afford Jokic or Embiid.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL ($6,800)
Bogdanovic's salary continues to hold steady and he's posted over 30 FD points in every postseason game but one so far.
John Collins, ATL ($6,500)
Collins has been steady throughout the postseason save for one clunker against the Knicks.
Jae Crowder, PHO at DEN ($5,500)
Crowder is averaging 26.2 FD points since Game 2 of the opening series against the Lakers while shooting an impressive 38.5 percent from three-point range on an average of 7.4 attempts from distance per contest. He's scored in double digits in each of the first two this series and three straight overall while operating as a consistent presence on the boards. With Crowder's salary holding firm and the Nuggets still ranked last in offensive efficiency allowed to power forwards (27.7 percent), the floor-spacing big man remains very much in play.
Seth Curry, PHI at ATL ($5,500)
Curry has been wielding a hot hand throughout most of the playoffs, shooting 54.8 percent through seven postseason contests, including 45.5 percent from behind the arc. He seems to be heating up as well, averaging 24.0 points and shooting an incandescent 61.9 percent from three-point range in his last three postseason contests on the way to an average of 28.4 FD points during that span. With the Hawks clearly having trouble slowing Curry down over the first two games, he appears to be a strong bet to once again take double-digit shot attempts and drain enough of them to generate another strong return on investment.
Will Barton, DEN vs. PHO ($4,900)
Barton made his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury in Game 2 and encouragingly didn't show much rust while producing a quick 18.7 FD points over 16 minutes. His playing time should be set for a boost tonight and he certainly has the ability to quickly pile up production. He could struggle to offer more than a 4.5x-5x return on salary due to minutes restrictions, but he still makes for a cost-effective tournament play that can give you plenty of flexibility elsewhere.