We have a six-game Wednesday NBA slate lined up this evening, and we’re bringing you two NBA props for tonight.
The Boston Celtics have been on a massive tear since the halfway point of the season and are in Chicago to face the Bulls. The Cs are 31-9 in their last 40 games, good for second-best in the league during this stretch. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been powering Boston’s recent success, and Brown is in a terrific spot to put up a strong performance tonight.
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are already eliminated from the 2022 postseason. A silver lining to the Knicks’ failures has been Obi Toppin‘s emergence in the absence of Julius Randle. With a soft matchup on tap, the second-year Knick is set up nicely to have a good game of his own this evening.
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NBA Props for Tonight (4/6)
Jaylen Brown Over 25.5 Points (+100 @ Caesar’s)
Jaylen Brown has been instrumental to Boston’s recent success, going on a tear over the last month. He’s hit at least 25 points in nine-straight games, averaging 28.9 points in this stretch. Jaylen also hit the over on this 25.5 mark in eight of these nine contests, putting together his best three-week run since December.
Boston is currently in a three-way tie for the Eastern Conference’s No 2 seed and can lock up first-round home-court advantage with a victory tonight. Given the standings gridlock among the East’s contenders, it’s likely Brown sees a full complement of minutes this evening. And, Boston enters tonight’s contest with three days of rest after beating the lowly Wizards by 42 on Sunday. Boston’s second option only played 28 minutes in that one, so he should be plenty fresh for tonight.
This is key for the Cal product, who has reached this over in 23 of 37 games when seeing at least 34 minutes this season. With Zach LaVine back in action for the Bulls tonight, it would be a surprise if the Celts blew Chicago out in a road victory, which bodes well for Jaylen.
Chicago hasn’t been an intimidating defensive unit this season. And, they’re certainly not scaring any opponents with Lonzo Ball now done for the season. The Bulls’ largest defensive weakness comes against front-court scorers. Plus, given Patrick Williams‘ recent return, he’s all but guaranteed to be Tatum’s primary defender this evening. That leaves a mix of DeMar DeRozan, LaVine, and others to stick the red-hot Jaylen Brown.
- Brown hasn’t had any trouble against Chicago lately, as he’s scored 24.0 PPG on 52% shooting from the field in four games against the Bulls since last season
- Chicago also concedes the ninth-most PPG to small forwards this season
The 2016 first-round pick dropped 28 on Miami, a far tougher opponent, just six days ago. He followed that game up with back-to-back 32-point games. I anticipate a similar scoring outing from the Celtics’ star second option this evening.
Obi Toppin Over 2.5 Assists (+135 @ DraftKings)
Obi Toppin has finally been given a fair chance to shine in New York. The Knicks’ highest draft selection of the last two years has been forced to play behind Julius Randle throughout his young career thus far. But, with Randle shut down for the season, Toppin is locked into a large role.
Julius Randle’s Absence
Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has essentially refused to play Toppin alongside Randle since last season. He also played Randle more than almost any other player in the NBA this season, running the one-time all-star 35.3 minutes per game.
Randle’s 29.0% usage rate since 2021 also results in the lefty becoming a black hole in the offense fairly often. Now that he’s sidelined, there is a surplus of ball-handling and shot-creating duties for New York. And, that’s where Toppin comes in to soak up much of the workload.
Since January 1st, the second-year pro has reached the over on this assist line in five of six games without Randle. With increased playing time, Toppin has capitalized and at +135, there is some obvious value here.
Thibodeau is clearly granting Toppin a longer leash with New York’s failure of a season coming to a close. Thibs even spoke glowingly on Obi’s improvement in an interview this week.
“I think his experience is now something,” Thibodeau said. “He’s seen different things. He’s gotten stronger. That’s a big plus.”
Anyone that knows Thibs’ history dating all the way back to his time in Chicago knows that he’s not quick to dish out compliments. The New York HC’s belief in his young forward has resulted in a new level of confidence, too.
“When you’re in the game, and you have the opportunity to get the reps in, to mess up a couple of times and learn from those mess-ups, I feel like that helps a lot,” explained Toppin.
There’s obviously a mutual agreement between the two that Toppin has more freedom in New York’s offense right now, and it’s showing up in the stat sheet. Look for Toppin to be a key factor in a capable Knicks offense tonight.
Jaylen Brown will look to help the Celtics lock up a top seed in the East with the playoffs right around the corner, and is in a great spot ot continue his red-hot scoring streak. Meanwhile, Obi Toppin should see somewhere in the neighborhood of 32-36 minutes for a Knicks team whose current primary focus is developing their young talent.
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