This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have two games Friday to settle both No. 8 seeds. Both should offers appealing DFS environments, even though neither lists a particularly elevated projected total. The injury report is had been fairly light as of late Thursday night as well, but Friday morning brought the seismic development that was the placement of Paul George into COVID-19 protocols.
Atlanta Hawks (-1.5) at Cleveland Cavaliers (O/U: 222.5 points)
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers (-4) (O/U: 216.0 points)
The Hawks took three out of four games from the Cavaliers during the regular season, and the last three finished with totals of 239, 240 and 238 points. Three of the four meetings also ended with margins of victory of six, three and eight points. If Jarrett Allen can indeed come back for Cleveland, there's an especially good chance the matchup will be as close as the spread would imply, even factoring in how effective the Cavs were on defense at home this season.
The Pelicans exhibited some particularly stingy defense in their play-in win over the Spurs, and their matchup against the Clippers has a relatively modest total. The Pelicans took three of four from LA during the regular season only allowing 104 points or fewer in three of them. Each of the four games finished with double-digit margins of victory. But given the stakes at play Friday, the four-point spread looks about right.
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 is 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, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section.
Paul George, LAC (COVID-19 protocols): OUT
George was placed into COVID-19 protocols Friday morning, so he will miss tonight's game. Terance Mann and Norman Powell could be the most direct beneficiaries, but the usage of Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac should all see significant boosts.
Jarrett Allen, CLE (finger): QUESTIONABLE
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Luke Kennard, LAC (hamstring): QUESTIONABLE
Other notable injuries:
Kawhi Leonard, LAC (knee): OUT
John Collins, ATL (finger/foot): OUT
Young racked up 47.1 FD points in only 33 minutes against the Hornets in the first play-in game and hasn't been under 40 since March 23. He also averaged 32.5 points on 46.1 percent shooting, including 41.2 from three-point range, in four games against the Cavs during the regular season.
(UPDATE: George will now miss Friday's game due to COVID-19 protocols) George started off shooting poorly against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, but he bounced back to finish with 55.9 FD points, his second straight tally over 50. However, it's worth noting he's experienced issues with efficiency against the Pelicans in three games by shooting just 37.7 percent overall and producing 38.4 FD points or less in each outing.
Other likely chalk plays include:
CJ McCollum, NOP ($9,500)
McCollum was red hot from the field in the win over the Spurs (12-23 FG), leading to 48.7 FD points. However, he only shot 38.8 percent in four games against the Clippers during the regular season.
Darius Garland, CLE ($8,700)
Garland posted 42.7 FD points in the play-in loss to the Nets on Tuesday and is shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range over his last 14 games.
Jonas Valanciunas, NOP ($8,500)
Valanciunas produced 49.3 FD points against the Spurs in Wednesday's win and averaged 22.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in four games against the Clippers this year.
Brandon Ingram, NOP ($8,200)
Ingram didn't seem to show any ill effects from his previous hamstring issue in Wednesday's win over the Spurs, going 11-for-19 from the field on his way to 38.5 FD points. He also shot 47.7 percent, including 46.2 percent from three-point range, across four games versus the Clippers this past regular season.
Clint Capela, ATL ($7,700)
Capela was a force down low against the Hornets on Wednesday with a 15-point, 17-rebound double-double en route to 53.9 FD points. He averaged a double-double of 11.3 points and 14.5 rebounds in four matchups against the Cavs this season while also recording 2.8 blocks per game.
Friday afternoon update: With George now ruled out, Norman Powell ($5,900), Ivica Zubac ($5,800), Reggie Jackson ($5,700) and Marcus Morris ($4,600) are all intriguing values as well for the Clippers.
Kevin Love, CLE vs. ATL ($5,800)
Love delivered nicely at a sub-$6K salary in Tuesday's loss to the Nets with 33.1 FD points in 29 minutes. The playing time was particularly encouraging after he had logged 27 minutes or fewer in each of the prior seven games. Even if Allen returns Friday, the veteran should still receive a solid allotment of playing time. Love should naturally be aggressive with the Cavs' season on the line, and he enjoyed success against the Hawks in the regular season with averages of 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Atlanta is also allowing the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to PFs (27.4 percent).
Herbert Jones, NOP at LAC ($5,500)
Jones has already made his name on the defensive end as a rookie, but he's been a solid complementary offensive contributor and is averaging 23.4 FD points per game overall. The talented wing finished the win against San Antonio with 32.5 FD points over 37 minutes and dropped over 30 FD points in three of four against the Clippers during the regular season. Jones has delivered at least 5x return on his current salary in 28 instances this season, making him worthy of a value-saving play considering he'll also likely see heavy minutes again.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL at CLE ($5,000)
Hunter contributed 22 points for the second straight game Wednesday against the Hornets while registering 33.4 FD points. It was an extension of a solid finish to the regular season, one that saw him score at least 26 FD points seven times over the last 14 games. Additionally, the Cavaliers have been a bit more giving to small forwards of late by allowing 42.5 FD points per game to the position in the last seven. Hunter has already delivered at least a 5x return on his current salary on 20 occasions this season, and given he's averaged 25.8 FD points per 36 minutes without Collins on the floor, he should have a solid chance of at least duplicating that feat Friday.
ALSO CONSIDER: Danilo Gallinari, ATL at CLE ($5,100)