We have another Game 7! The Rockets and Thunder play tonight to determine who moves on to face the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs.
Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Game 7 Special [$100K to 1st] (OKC vs HOU)
- The Rockets have won the first quarter in each of their last seven games against the Thunder.
- Russell Westbrook has recorded seven or more rebounds in 20 of his last 23 playoff appearances.
- The underdogs have won 11 of the last 14 games between the Thunder and Rockets.
- The Thunder have covered the spread in 10 of their last 12 games as underdogs against the Rockets.
- Chris Paul has scored 26+ points in three of the Thunder’s last four games.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Of the top options on OKC, Chris Paul ($9,400) stands out as the safest play. In Game 6, he carried the Thunder down the stretch and finished with 48.75 DKFP. CP3 has at least 42 DKFP in four of the six games this series and it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Thunder keep this game competitive without Paul playing well. If he stinks the bed, it stands to reason this game ends in a blowout.
Of the secondary guard options the Thunder, I think we have to give Paul credit for the success of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($8,200) and Dennis Schroder ($7,600). Both have thrived under the tutelage of Paul. Of the two, I lean towards Schroder as the stronger play. SGA has struggled as of late and is only averaging 17.13 DKFP in the last two games. Coming off the bench, Schroder is being tasked with a higher usage rating.
In the frontcourt, Steven Adams ($6,800) looks like a reliable play to his rebounding numbers. Playing against an undersized Rockets frontcourt, Adams is feasting on the glass. He has double-digit rebounds in five of the six games in the series and has back-to-back games with 14 boards.
Also in the frontcourt, Nerlens Noel ($2,200) is one of the better value plays in this game. While he isn’t likely to play big minutes, Noel is a solid per minute fantasy producer and doesn’t need to score a ton of DKFP at his price tag to deliver a good game. Coming off the bench, he averages 17.7 DKFP in 17 minutes per game. We need to roster somebody with a cheap salary to fit in some of the stars in this game and Noel fits the bill.
Luguentz Dort ($4,200) finally hit a couple of shots last game. The Rockets have no trouble leaving him wide open and it’s actually led to Dort put up a usage rating north of 30% in consecutive games. Add this to the fact that Dort has played as many as 36 minutes when avoiding foul trouble and he’s worth looking at.
The top Captain’s play in this game has to be James Harden ($18,600 CP/$12,400). He is averaging nearly 60 DKFP for the series and should play massive minutes since this is Game 7. I expect him to play over 40 minutes tonight and it’s possible that Harden plays nearly the entire game. He’s scored over 30 points in three straight games and the high-stakes nature of the game could mean more usage for the former MVP.
As confident as I am in Harden putting up a big game, I have the opposite amount of confidence in Russell Westbrook ($10,200). He’s been nothing short of terrible when playing and I actually think the Rockets would already be in the second round if Russ wasn’t active last game. After missing the start of the playoffs because of a quad injury, I don’t think Westbrook is 100%. Both his play and continued minutes restriction are clear evidence of that. In limited minutes, he’s a weak DFS option tonight although there is upside if the Rockets change course and remove his restrictions. As poorly as Westbrook is playing, he’s still a great fantasy producer when on the court.
Last game, almost all of Jeff Green’s ($5,800) minutes went to Robert Covington ($7,200). Playing time was split between the two for most of the series and this was not the case on Monday. Covington played 38 minutes and Green only saw 18 minutes of action. I assume something similar today. The only clear path to extended minutes for Green is if Covington gets into foul trouble. Covington is clearly the stronger play of the two and Green isn’t a player I am considering rostering.
It’s tough to find any value on the Rockets’ side of this game. I expect them to run a tight rotation with the starters playing almost all of the minutes tonight. I only project eight players to see the court for Houston. P.J. Tucker ($4,800) is okay if you are in a pinch and need to save salary, but his upside is extremely limited. For the season, Tucker plays 34 minutes per game and averages 21.37 DKFP. He’s one of the weaker per minute fantasy producer playing extended minutes in the playoffs.
I am going with the slight upset here and pick the Thunder to take Game 7 outright. I am not totally confident in this, but the game should be close, and at the very least, the 5.5-point spread on DraftKings Sportsbook seems a bit too wide. The Thunder finished the regular season ranked second in offensive efficiency in the clutch. In addition, Chris Paul scored more points in the clutch than any other player in the league. I think this could be enough to make the difference in Game 7. OKC played in tight games all season and came out on top more often than not.
Final Series Score: Thunder 110, Rockets 107
Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA Showdown $300K Game 7 Special [$100K to 1st] (OKC vs HOU).
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