Around the Association: Conference Finals Reset

Around the Association: Conference Finals Reset

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Welcome to another edition of Playoff Reset where we recap all the fantasy-relevant news and notes of the postseason. The four series going on have all been incredibly thrilling and full of breakout performances. Here is all you need to know:

The East 

Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Series tied 2-2

  • Miami took advantage of Joel Embiid being sidelined for the first two games of the series, but the MVP runner-up's return has brought the 76ers back to life. Since coming back into the lineup, Embiid is averaging 21.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. The dominant big averaged 30.6 points per game over the regular season so it is quite encouraging to see Philadelphia even with Embiid not playing anywhere close to his best ball. Miami's defense has been stifling throughout the playoffs, but it will be hard for the Heat to continue to contain one of the more dynamic players in the league to nearly 10.0 points under his regular season average. I will be monitoring Embiid's player prop point-line going forward.
    • James Harden has seemed to benefit from Embiid's return looking much more like his normal star self over Philadelphia's contests at home. The 32-year-old quieted the doubters with perhaps had his best game as a 76er during Sunday's Game 4 win, totaling  31 points (8-18 FG, 6-10 3Pt, 9-10 FT), seven rebounds, nine assists and one steal over 41 minutes. I have no fear inserting either Embiid or Harden in DFS lineups going forward.
  • Despite coming up short in both games in Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler shined in his former arena. The star forward averaged 36.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game over Games 3 and 4. 
    • Something interesting to note about Butler's improved play in Philadelphia is that it seems to come at an expense of Tyler Herro's production. The Kentucky product averaged 34.3 FanDuel points over Games 1 and 2, but just 23.0 over his last two outings. With only such small DFS slates remaining, I am planning to avoid pairing Herro and Butler in lineups going forward.
    • Embiid wasn't the only notable player to come back from injury this series. Kyle Lowry made his return to the court in Philadelphia, but the veteran point guard struggled mightily in his hometown. Lowry averaged 3.0 points,3.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his first two outings back. There has been much talk about Duncan Robinson not seeing the court this series with his $90 million contract, making it almost seems that Lowry severely underplaying his lofty contract is going a bit too unnoticed.

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks lead 2-1 

  • I would consider this series the biggest wildcard of all the Conference Final games based on the fact that literally, no outcome would surprise me. I could easily see Milwaukee running away to win the series in five games but also wouldn't be shocked at all to see the matchup to extend to seven games. Boston was just a few milliseconds away from having a lead in the series, but regardless, we enter Monday night's contest with the Bucks looking to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been his typical dominant self averaging 31.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists over the series. The Greek Freak is almost a must-play in all DFS formats at this point of the season.
    • With no Khris Middelton, Jrue Holiday has picked up his play tremendously for the Bucks. The veteran guard has averaged 23.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.7 steals across the first three outings of the series. If Holiday can keep this strong play up, Milwaukee has one darn good shot at winning yet another ring.
  • Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have been solid over the series, but not amazing. After Brown recorded just 12 points in Game 1, the 25-year-old has topped 27 points in his last two appearances. Tatum on the other hand shined over the first two contests, averaging 25.0 points over Games 1 and 2 but was shut down in Game 3 with just 10 points (4-19 FG, 0-6 3Pt, 2-3 FT), one rebound and three assists, There has been one game this series where both Brown and Tatum have scored over 25 points, Boston's Game 2 win. It is pretty clear that if the Celtics want to walk away from this matchup victorious, both of its stars need to be on their A-game.
    • Are we sure Al Horford's Gatorade bottle isn't being dipped in the Fountain of Youth? Despite his game-tying attempt being just a little bit too late, the 36-year-old has had a fantastic series averaging 15.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game thus far.

Western Conference

Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks

Series tied 2-2

  •  We've got a series on our hands. Phoenix was fully in the driver's seat heading into Dallas with a 2-0 lead, but the Mavericks were able to defend their homecourt and tied the series up. Luka Doncic has been unbelievable in the matchup, posting averages of 33.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists throughout thus far. However, I do find it pretty interesting to see that Doncic has averaged 40.0 points per game in Dallas' losses this series compared to his 26.0 average during its two wins.
    • Dorian Finney-Smith played hero for the Mavericks in Game 4 with a three-point masterclass. The forward who is mainly known for his defensive presence erupted for 24 points (8-13 FG, 8-12 3Pt), eight rebounds, one assist and one steal in 38 minutes. Looking at wins and losses once more, Finney-Smith is averaging 15.3 points in victories compared to 10.5 points in defeats this postseason. 
  • While surely the Suns would like to be in a better spot than they are in right now, there is no need to panic yet. Phoenix still has the homecourt advantage and Devin Booker is playing some of the best basketball of his career. The 25-year-old finished with a game-high 35 points (10-22 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 12-13 FT), four rebounds, seven assists and one block over 43 minutes during Sunday's Game 4 loss.
    • While Booker shined, Chris Paul had one of the worst playoff outings of his career during Sunday's loss. The veteran point guard ended with just five points (2-4 FG, 1-1 3Pt), five rebounds, seven assists and one steal while fouling out in 23 minutes.
    • Paul's assist numbers have been down recently, with the 36-year-old averaging just 6.0 dimes over his last five contests. I wouldn't worry too much though, it's only a matter of time before Paul is back posting his usual double-doubles.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors

Warriors lead 2-1

  • Golden State finds itself in a very favorable spot entering Monday's Game 4. Ja Morant went down with a knee injury in Game 3 and is not expected to be active for Game 4. While this Memphis team proved time and time again this year that it's more than capable of winning without their star leader, they are certainly in store for a tall task on the road Monday. To make matters worse for the Grizzlies, Stephen Curry is officially back and rolling averaging 29.3 points over his last seven games.
  • Jordan Poole has come off the bench this series, but it hasn't mattered. The rising guard has averaged 26.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists over the first three games of the series. I know who I will be betting on to win Sixth Man of the Year next season.
  • With Steve Kerr opting to bring Poole off the bench and Gary Payton (elbow) out, Kerr threw Jonathan Kuminga into the starting lineup for Game 3. The rookie responded with 18 points (8-10 FG, 2-4 3Pt), two rebounds and one assist over 18 minutes.
    • Kuminga is priced at $4,200 on FanDuel for Monday's slate. If Kerr rolls with the rookie once more in the starting lineup, Kuminga emerges as a solid DFS value play but most likely will be highly owned.
  • It is truly a shame that Morant finds himself injured right now with the 22-year-old playing some absolutely dominant basketball. With Morant most likely on the sidelines Monday, expect Memphis to rely more on the likes of Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson in Game 4. After launching 31 apiece in Games 1 and 2, Morant is averaging nearly 28 field goal attempts per game in the series.
    • Tyus Jones is the favorite to enter the starting lineup for Morant and is listed at just $3700 on FanDuel. The former Duke star is a great cheap option to roll with for Monday's slate but is sure to have a loft ownership total. I personally like paying up for De'Anthony Melton at $4700 as more of a contrarian play. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
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