With only four games on tap this evening, we’re headed west for a smaller NBA slate. We’re targeting a premier west coast matchup on TNT for our favorite NBA Props for Thursday night’s games.
The Golden State Warriors are playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers — tipoff is at 10:00 ET. The 2022-23 NBA season has been highlighted by injuries to star players, and Golden State is no exception. Stephen Curry is missing his 10th straight game due to a leg injury, which should continue to open up more looks for the team’s other stars.
Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson have shouldered the load in Curry’s absence lately. They’ve led the Dubs to a 5-4 record since the two-time MVP’s injury. And, tonight’s matchup provides an especially great scoring opportunity for Poole in particular.
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NBA Props for Thursday (3/2)
Jordan Poole Over 23.5 Points (-120 @ DraftKings)
Whenever Steph Curry is sidelined, we can always count on Jordan Poole to get his shots up. I was expecting his line to come in at 25.5 for tonight’s contest against the clips, so I’ll happily take the 23.5 that DraftKings is giving us.
One reason we may be getting a discount is Poole being listed on the injury report with a knee issue. But, this shouldn’t be a problem. The fourth-year pro was present at Golden State’s shootaround this morning. And, he scored 17 points in 16 minutes during the second half of Tuesday’s win over Portland. That stellar performance came after he briefly went to the locker room to get his knee checked out, so we shouldn’t be too worried about his health.
No Steph, No Wiggins
In addition to Curry missing his 10th straight game, Andrew Wiggins will be sidelined for his 6th straight game due to personal reasons.
These absences have resulted in a dramatic increase in usage for Poole in the past. He boasts a sky-high 35.2% usage rate without both Curry and Wiggins this season. For reference, only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, and Joel Embiid have recorded 35.2 USG% or higher this season.
In 19 games without Curry and Wiggins, Poole has scored over 23.5 points in 14 of them. He’s averaged 26.5 PPG in these games while averaging a highly-encouraging 20.7 field goal attempts and 7.3 free-throw attempts.
But, that’s not all. Sure, Poole sees more looks without Steph and Wiggs. But, he gets even better looks when sharing the court with other stars. That’s where Klay Thompson and Draymond Green come in. Klay takes some of the pressure off of the younger Poole, so he won’t force bad shots. Meanwhile, Draymond’s primary offensive purpose is to get these guys easier looks.
In 10 games alongside Klay and Draymond but without Curry and Wiggins, Poole is averaging 29.1 PPG. That’s what Golden State will roll out tonight, with the low-usage Donte DiVincenzo and Kevon Looney rounding out the lineup.
In other words, it would be a surprise if Poole doesn’t get 20 shots up against the Clippers.
On paper, the Los Angeles Clippers have a great defense. But, in reality, that hasn’t been the case. And, the recent addition of Russell Westbrook certainly hasn’t helped.
You may have seen the Sacramento Kings score 176 points against the Clips last week (no, that’s not a typo). Well, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk dropped 42 and 45 points, respectively, in that game. Los Angeles is also only three weeks removed from giving up 47 points to Cam Thomas and 41 points to Jalen Brunson. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see they’ve struggled against some of the league’s better guards lately.
Over their last 12 games, the Clippers are allowing 14.6 made threes per game (2nd worst in NBA) and a 42.7 3PT% (worst). This is perfect for Poole, who is taking 9.0 threes per game since Curry’s injury.
The Clips are a bottom-10 defense since February 1st, and they’ve been a bottom-8 road defense since January 1st. This is a matchup that Jordan Poole can take advantage of in a Golden State home game.
Jordan Poole showed out with 28 points against the Clippers just two weeks ago, and everything points toward a repeat performance this evening with Stephen Curry still on the shelf for Golden State.
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