This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a two-game slate that tips off with a mid-afternoon opening salvo between the Clippers and the Suns, while the nightcap is a Game 7 clash between the Hawks and 76ers in Philly. Each contest certainly will hold plenty of intrigue with the Western Conference battle having each squad start the series without a critically important player while the Eastern Conference showdown carries sky-high stakes.
Here's a closer look at the two games:
Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns (Projected total: 221.0 points)
The fact Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul will both miss out naturally tempers each team's scoring expectations to an extent, although LA did manage 119 and 131 points without Leonard in the last two versus the Jazz. The Clippers won two of three regular-season contests from the Suns while finishing with totals of 219, 216 and 210 points. Therefore, the projection could actually be a bit of an overestimation, especially since there's also a chance of sluggishness for Phoenix after having been off for a week.
Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers (Projected total: 216.5 points)
Defense has clearly taken over in the series, as the last three have finished with totals of 203, 215 and 203 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic is also questionable for the Hawks with knee soreness that forced him from Friday's contest. The rest of the major stars from both sides are healthy and accounted for, but the caliber of defensive performance in recent contests certainly lends credence to the notion this total may not be met.
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.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Embiid is once again listed as a game-time decision. But as has been the case throughout the series, he's fully expected to suit up and play a normal workload.
Chris Paul, PHO (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Trae Young, ATL (shoulder)/ Status: PROBABLE
Young is fully expected to continue pushing through his shoulder strain and log a normal amount of minutes.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Other notable injuries:
Danny Green, PHI (calf)/ Status: OUT
Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
Embiid posted a series-low 37.1 FD points over 38 minutes in Game 6, but he's certainly worth paying up for considering he's averaged over 60 FD points in four of the first six contests and with everything is on the line tonight.
George is averaging 44.7 FD points per 36 minutes without Kawhi Leonard on the floor and finished the series against the Jazz with tallies of 67.7 and 54.3 FD points. PG13 was also excellent versus the Suns during the regular season averaging 32.3 points (on 56.3 percent shooting, including 60.7 percent three-point range), 6.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals across 36 minutes over three outings.
Young's shoulder issues have led to 39.2 percent shooting across the last three, but he's still averaged 59.5 FD points due to his massive usage. He's also averaging 26.3 attempts while dishing out 12.3 assists to help him overcome his shooting inefficiency.
One other player with a salary in the high four figures capable of delivering an elite score is Devin Booker ($7,900). Booker boasts a massive 34.8 percent usage rate and is averaging 43.8 FD points per 36 minutes with Chris Paul off the floor this season while already eclipsing 50 FD points in three postseason efforts.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Ben Simmons, PHI ($7,800)
Simmons scored over 30 FD points in three straight before falling to 25.3 in Game 6, but he should still be in plenty of lineups on the small slate.
John Collins, ATL ($7,500)
Collins stumbled to 17 FD points over 37 minutes in Game 6, but he averaged 32.1 FD points over the first five games of the series.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($7,200)
Harris bounced back from a Game 5 clunker with 33.0 FD points to provide an average over 30 FD points this series.
Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7,000)
Center is always at a premium on such a small slate and Ayton is averaging 30.7 FD points over his first 10 postseason games.
Terance Mann, LAC ($4,400)
Mann will be on everyone's mind after his memorable 39-point performance in Game 6 against the Jazz, but there's certainly risk in that he's unlikely to take 21 shots again.
Nicolas Batum, LAC at PHO ($6,200)
While Batum's salary is $1.8K higher than Mann's, he's been a reliable contributor with tallies of 30.4 to 41.4 FD points over his last four games and an average of 26.6 FD points in 13 overall during the postseason. The veteran is shooting an impressive 50.0 percent - including 41.4 percent from three-point range - during that span and shot 55.0 percent overall across 27.0 minutes in three regular-season encounters with the Suns. Batum has also played no fewer than 32 minutes in each of his last four and should be in for another heavy workload with the formula of starting him at center working well so far.
Seth Curry, PHI at ATL ($6,200)
Curry has been excellent against the Hawks by averaging 31.3 FD points this series on 21.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting a scalding 61.5 percent - including 59.6 percent from behind the arc. The veteran sharpshooter is encouragingly putting up 13 shots a night, with 7.8 of those coming from long distance. With the Hawks surrendering 57.5 FD points per game to shooting guards over the last 10, Curry is certainly in play for a contest where he'll undoubtedly remain aggressive.
Reggie Jackson, LAC at PHO ($5,500)
While Terance Mann's aforementioned 39-point explosion naturally stole the headlines Friday, Jackson turned in 53.6 FD points across 38 minutes. Although he's certainly endured a couple of downturns in the playoffs, he's scored 23.6 FD points or more nine times, a sample that includes four tallies over 30. Jackson is also shooting 50.3 percent and 43.5 percent from three-point range over the entirety of LA's playoff run. And with Chris Paul not factoring into the equation for the Suns in Game 1, Jackson should be an extremely popular value option as his salary hasn't budged despite his most recent effort.