NBA Finals Game 2 player props: Can Tatum, Poole rediscover their shot?
We went 1-1 on our two player props ahead of Game 1, losing our under bet on Stephen Curry's scoring total but cashing big on Jayson Tatum's paltry assist total. This time, we're riding the Celtics star in another stat as part of our best bets for Game 2:
Jayson Tatum over 26.5 points (-120)
Before Game 1, we loved the value on Tatum as a facilitator against a Warriors defense that seemed likely to trap him. Sure enough, he set the NBA record for assists in a Finals debut (13). This time, we like his chances to bounce back in the scoring column after a pedestrian 12 points on Thursday.
It's not as though the Warriors did anything special in holding Tatum to 3-of-17 (17.6%) from the floor, which was the worst shooting night of his postseason career. He missed a handful of open shots, including a pair of airballs, and when the Dubs sent a help defender, he picked them apart and set up Boston's myriad shooters to bury Golden State in the fourth quarter.
That's not a strategy the Warriors are likely to employ nearly as often on Sunday, which should free up Tatum to attack more in one-on-one situations. He's also proven capable of adjusting to defenses in these playoffs. After putting up fewer than 20 points in his previous three games, he scored 39 points (vs. Brooklyn), 30 points (vs. Milwaukee), and 31 points (vs. Miami). He can hit this mark against Golden State, too.
Jordan Poole over 13.5 points (-110)
I'm surprised oddsmakers are dealing this low on Poole. He scored just nine points in his NBA Finals debut, but he's still averaging 17.8 points this postseason and is primed for a big game on Sunday.
With the way the Celtics are playing Curry defensively, the Warriors need someone in their backcourt to step up as a shot-maker and secondary ball-handler. Nobody is better equipped for that than Poole, who had scored at least 14 points in 11 of his 16 career playoff games before Thursday.
Whether due to nerves or lack of preparation, Poole looked tentative against Boston's defense and took just seven attempts in Game 1 - his third-fewest in these playoffs. I'd expect Poole to assume a much more prominent role for Golden State's offense in Game 2, which should help him clear this mark.