The Celtics and Thunder are both down 2-0, which means they are essentially win-or-go-home games. It is compounded for the Celtics, though, because they are on the road and facing a team led by former Celtic Rajon Rondo, who would love nothing more than to put his former team out of the playoffs. Thus, this game shapes up to be sharp on both sides. In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook should still be in video game mode but his teammates may be liable to play better in front of their home crowd. The Clippers and Jazz are tied at one game apiece, with the series moving back to Utah, and the winner of this game has the inside track to taking the series. Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball contest now | Free NBA Yahoo Cup entry
Russell Westbrook, OKC vs HOU ($66) and Rajon Rondo, CHI vs BOS ($25): Westbrook is the most expensive player in the game, but he’s very close in price to James Harden and not that far away from Jimmy Butler ($51), Chris Paul ($46) or Isaiah Thomas ($45). Meanwhile, Westbrook had 89.5 fantasy points and has a very reasonable expected value over 75 in this game. He’s the best buy among the elite. Meanwhile, Rondo is still priced as a borderline value play, when he’s clearly playing like a superstar. He’s coming off 49.8 fantasy points in Game 2 and is averaging about 43 per game in the series, better than Thomas and comparable to Paul.
Note: Rondo was ruled out with a broken thumb after this article was posted.
Victor Oladipo, OKC vs HOU ($22): Oladipo has the lowest price among likely impact shooting guards, and he’s also a solid bet to produce. In the regular season, Oladipo had a strong four-game average against the Rockets, and he had 26.8 fantasy points in Game 2.
Guard to Avoid
James Harden, HOU at OKC ($62): There is really no player to avoid, outside of injury, once the stakes get this high in the playoffs. Anyone has a solid chance to produce in a given game. Harden, then, ends up in this spot for one reason: at his price, it is practically impossible to get him and Russell Westbrook on the same team. And Westbrook, with his team down 0-2 and playing at home, seems likely to have the better game of the two of them. Thus, this slot is less an “avoid Harden” than it is a “play Westbrook.”
Andre Roberson, OKC vs HOU ($13): Gordon Hayward
($37) almost got this spot because he’s the best current player on a team that lost their defensive anchor and presumably would need Hayward to play at his best in Game 3 to have a chance. However, he’s averaging 31.6 fantasy points per game through two playoff games on the road while Roberson is averaging 34.8 and he’s $24 cheaper. Hayward is likely to have a better game overall, but if Roberson stays at the level he’s been, he'll be the better value.
Bobby Portis, CHI vs BOS ($12):
The power forward position breaks down to one impact player (Blake Griffin
, $41) and several potential value plays. Of those value guys, Favors and Nikola Mirotic
($22) are the ones who have played the best this postseason. Like in the regular season, Portis and Mirotic have essentially taken turns having good games. Mirotic is the safer bet Friday, but he also costs twice as much as Portis.
Forward to Avoid
Jimmy Butler, CHI vs BOS ($51):
Harden and Butler could very easily have good games Friday, but rostering them likely take away the ability to roster Westbrook. In one sample lineup, the choice came down to Westbrook and Hayward vs. Butler and Paul. That’s a tough choice, but Westbrook is such a disruptive force that he’s the elite player recommended today, which means Butler, like Harden, are artificially recommended against (when in reality they really are potentially good plays).
DeAndre Jordan, LAC at UTA ($33):
With Rudy Gobert
out, there is no one on the Jazz who can counter Jordan. He has grabbed 15 boards in both of the first two games, and when he was able to game plan for Gobert being out, he stepped up to make nine of 11 shots in Game 2. There’s no reason to expect him to slow down in Game 3.
Robin Lopez, CHI vs BOS ($13):
Lopez has been inconsistent all season, so this pick comes with risk. However, he has been great in the first two games of the series, averaging 16 points and nine rebounds per outing. The Celtics lack a strong interior presence, and point guard Rajon Rondo
has been breaking down the defense and getting easy looks for Lopez. Neither of those dynamics seem likely to change in Game 3.
Center to Avoid
Enes Kanter, OKC vs HOU ($15):
Kanter could pick things up at home in a must-win game. However, he has been largely invisible in the first two games of the series, averaging 11.7 fantasy points in only 12 minutes. With Steven Adams
, Taj Gibson
and even Domantis Sabonis getting minutes for the Thunder, there haven’t been enough left for Kanter to be effective.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.