This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Our three-game playoff slate kicks off at 7 PM ET on Wednesday, so we can focus on making our selections the usual way, targeting three players for each position (although I will only make two picks at center today). As we saw with games like the TOR/ORL game yesterday, the playoffs offer each team a unique opportunity to focus on aspects of their previous win or loss and develop a strategy for beating one specific opponent, placing extra responsibility for the head coach to provide a winning formula. While Toronto looked asleep at the wheel in Game 1, coach Nick Nurse found a way to exploit Orlando's defense to a convincing victory in their second matchup.
While one of the games (DET/MIL) might prove to be a lost cause for Detroit, both Jazz coach Quin Snyder and Pacers coach Nate McMillan need to come into Game 2 with a recalibrated strategy in approaching their opponents. You'll often see closely-matched teams in this position swap wins early in the series, and both of these matchups should be hotly contested. We have to give pause to endorsing the IND/BOS matchup due to the dreary 159 points scored in Game 1, leaving the HOU/UTA as the most stackable option on the slate.
The only thing that can tilt the momentum for Detroit would be the return of Blake Griffin, who's fighting team doctors to get on the floor as soon as possible. His outcome tonight is still in doubt, but the situation should be monitored throughout the day. A return from Griffin could provide a glimmer of hope for the Pistons in this series, and his presence would immediately make this game a more palatable target.
James Harden, HOU vs. UTA ($10,700): No secret here. Harden put up a convincing 29-point, 10-assist line on the way to 58 DKFP and on this small slate I think you have no choice but to spend up on the Beard. The total of this game should end up as the highest for the night, and while the Jazz should show up with a bit more mettle on defense, I think you can consider Harden virtually matchup-proof.
Eric Bledsoe, MIL vs. DET ($6,500): Bledsoe only saw 25 minutes of action versus Detroit in Game 1 blowout, but I suspect that we will see a bit more from him tonight as they make their best effort to put this game away early. While the Bucks have alluring second-unit options at the wing positions, their backcourt offerings aren't as reliable, so look for Bledsoe to end up as the most attractive option at this price point.
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. UTA ($4,800): With that scary pace in the IND/BOS contest staring us in the face with an assortment of options at this level, I think Gordon should end up as the most sensible bargain play below 5K. He saw 31 minutes and scored 17 points in Game 1, and will probably enjoy a higher total if Houston can pull away here.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. DET ($10,500): The Bucks may end up in a situation where they elect to give Giannis a bit more rest in this series, but I don't think we'll see that happen quite yet. Despite playing only 23 minutes, he managed to score 24 points and grab an impressive 17 rebounds in short order. An emergence from Griffin could result in a closer game, and that means more points and more production from the Greek Freak.
Sterling Brown, MIL vs. DET ($4,900): I slide down to Brown and use him with forward eligibility due to his notable multi-category contribution in Game 1. He will lose some minutes to Ersan Ilyasova against other opponents, but it appears Brown feels right at home against Detroit. While he won't produce eye-popping totals, he will see more than enough minutes to remain relevant.
Marcus Morris, BOS vs. IND ($4,600): I have no problem moving over to P.J. Tucker ($4,200) if you have a fear of the slow pace of this game, but overall Morris was a bright spot in an otherwise ho-hum game for the Celtics. Even though they have the lead in the series, the Celtics need to start thinking about increasing the tempo if they want to be competitive. If Morris can come close to replicating his 20-point, seven-rebound stat line, they should be able to ramp up production more effectively.
Clint Capela, HOU vs. UTA ($7,000): I have no problem with Rudy Gobert, but for $800 less you should see similar totals from Capela, who managed to produce 37 DKFP against Utah. Houston was effective in all aspects of the offense, so Capela got a lot of looks, and defensively he replicated Gobert's rebound total.
Brook Lopez, MIL vs. DET ($5,800): The Bucks destroyed the Pistons in Game 1, and Lopez looked great opposite Andre Drummond, who couldn't defend in the paint at all. He almost got to 30 DKFP on the night, and although he has a bit of competition on the roster, it isn't enough to expect anything less than 25 minutes from Lopez tonight.