LetsRUMBL NBA Picks: Harden vs. Durant takes center stage
The NBA Playoffs are nearing the Conference Finals stage, although there is still one pesky Conference Semifinal to be decided. The Cleveland Cavaliers currently await the winner of the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers playoff series. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the NBA's two best teams are about to battle. The Houston Rockets, who had the best record during the regular season, will now take on the Golden State Warriors. Can the Rockets knock Golden State off its pedestal? We will find out.
LetsRUMBL 3 Star Value Pick
Terry Rozier – Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics must still put away the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the team can reach the Conference Finals. If the Celtics can't beat their rivals in Game 5 on Wednesday night Boston will have two more opportunities.
Terry Rozier has starred in the Celtics' first and second round playoff games. Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford have made plenty of Beantown fans forget about Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward with their stellar play. This season has seen Rozier get his first real chance to excel in the playoffs and he has taken the opportunity and run with it. The guard is averaging 18.7 points per game, 6.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds. Those are all career highs along with his 37.1 minutes a night.
Rozier's nearly 19 points per game in the playoffs is tied for the Celtics' lead with Tatum. Against the 76ers in the playoffs, Rozier is scoring 19.5 points per game. He is a top pick for daily fantasy sports players this weekend, just like his big three partners.
LetsRUMBL 3 Star Value Pick
Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics
Tatum is Boston's co-leading scorer along with Rozier with 18.3 points a game. The third pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is proving just why he was rated so highly after his one and done season at Duke. Tatum is playing just under 35 minutes per game, third most for the Celtics in the playoffs. He is the third man in Boston's new and highly unexpected big 3 and will be a major force in the coming seasons.
Every game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals has seen Tatum score 20 or more points. The 76ers have continually failed to stop Tatum as he is averaging 23.3 points per game. He has added 3.5 rebounds and three assists. Tatum's play has prompted former Celtics great Paul Pierce to claim the small forward is a "version" of the No. 34. It may take some time for him to get to Pierce's level, but for now, Tatum is making waves and DFS players should be ready to draft him into their teams.
James Harden vs. Kevin Durant
The NBA Western Conference Finals will see former teammates James Harden and Kevin Durant play for the privilege of playing in the NBA Championship series. Like Harden, Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Harden left after being given an 11th hour contract offer for $52 million by OKC to stay, Durant's move was motivated more by rings and trophies. Both have proven leaving OKC was the right move as the Thunder have failed to live up to expectations with just Russell Westbrook as the team's big star.
Harden had a career year with 30.4 points per game in 2017-18. The guard's scoring made him the NBA's scoring champion during the regular season. It wasn't just scoring that Harden excelled out as he dished out 8.8 assists per game, the second-best figure of his career. Harden has definitely benefited from having Chris Paul play next to him. It has taken pressure off the bearded sharpshooter.
Durant is averaging the second lowest playoff points total of his career. The small forward is scoring 28.0 points per game during the postseason. Being that it is the second lowest he has tallied; the figure shows just how well he plays in the playoffs. Harden is averaging slightly more points than his former teammate at 28.5 points per game.
With both former OKC players scoring points consistently, it could be the players around them that really dictate the Western Conference Finals. Steph Curry and Paul could be the real factors in the Conference Finals.
The Houston Rockets-Golden State Warriors series should be fantastic as two great teams will compete for the opportunity to play in the NBA Finals.