David Richard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LeBron James
- We're giving away $1,000 cash to the winner of our NBA Christmas prop contest.
- Rob Perez (aka @WorldWideWob) and Matt Moore (aka @HPBasketball) came up with the 10 questions on the prop sheet and run through their picks for each.
Hey, Rob Perez and Matt Moore here … Don’t know if you heard — we’re giving away $1,000 on Christmas. For free. All you have to do is complete our gauntlet of prop bets below and beat the field.
Since we can’t win, here’s our advice — take it or fade it, the choice is yours.
1. Who will make the Rockets first 3-pt field goal attempt??
- James Harden
- Eric Gordon
- P.J. Tucker
Wob’s pick (James Harden): Well it’s certainly not going to be Chris Paul. And it’s up to James Harden to decide who gets to shoot as he’s going to be back at point guard with a usage rate around 40% while CP3 is out. And knowing James Harden, he’s probably going to make sure it’s James Harden who gets the most shots.
Moore’s pick (James Harden): I’ll go Harden. He’s going to have to come out firing and the Rockets give up a decent amount of corner 3’s, Tucker’s spot.
2. How many free throws will James Harden (HOU) attempt in the 4th quarter?
- 4 or more
Wob’s pick (4 or more): I don’t think you can make this number high enough, honestly.
Moore’s pick (4 or more): The only way this doesn’t happen is if the game is so far out of hand he sits the fourth, which given the way D’Antoni has managed his minutes, would have to mean either team up by about 80 points.
Harden will seek out switches onto guys like Terrence Ferguson or even Jerami Grant, and while OKC is brilliant defensively, Harden will know that getting to the line either helps slow down a team to save a lead or slow down a team to facilitate a comeback.
3. Which player will lead the Sixers/Celtics game in field goal attempts?
- Joel Embiid
- Jimmy Butler
- Kyrie Irving
- Jayson Tatum
Wob’s pick (Joel Embiid): No Horford. No Baynes. Jaylen Brown and Tatum looking for their talent like a scene out of Space Jam. Open season for Joel Embiid to dominate these mere mortals.
Moore’s pick (Jimmy Butler): Kyrie seems like a sucker bet here. He continues to try and play playmaker/floor general, which is like a kid playing dress-up. It’s not who he is.
Instead, Jimmy Butler has to be the pick. The Celtics missing Aron Baynes makes life easier on Joel Embiid, but Embiid still chooses poor looks less frequently than Butler … because Butler makes a ton of bad looks.
This is Jimmy on Christmas. He’s going to give himself many presents.
4. Will Lonzo Ball (LAL) have more turnovers + assists vs. Warriors than the distance of Ben Simmons’ (PHI) longest field goal attempt vs. Celtics?
Wob’s pick (Lonzo Ball): Will Lonzo record one assist or turnover? Why yes I think he will. The moment that happens, Lonzo wins. Easy money.
Moore’s pick (Lonzo Ball): Lonzo’s usage rate is lower, and Rajon Rondo is back. I’d put Lonzo somewhere in the range of seven combined assists and turnovers. Simmons has made 23 shot from seven or more feet this season, less than one per game.
So yeah, I’ll go with Lonzo. There’s a much higher chance of Lonzo racking up seven easy assists on simple “toss to a shooter in transition” plays than there are of Simmons feeling confident in knocking down a mid-range J.
5. How many free throw attempts will LeBron James (LAL) miss?
- 4 or more
Wob’s pick (4 or more): How many times will he use a different form? Until that answer gets answered, give me the max.
Moore’s pick (3): The Warriors know how to contain him without fouling and he likely gets a rough whistle. Only reason I’ll take three is to fade Wob and the possibility the game might be out of reach (either way) and he sits the fourth.
6. Will Stephen Curry (GSW) attempt a field goal of 30 feet or more?
Wob’s pick (Yes): Is the pope catholic?
Moore’s pick (Yes): Jesus, of course, yes, come on. It’s Curry.
7. How many field goal attempts will Donovan Mitchell (UTA) miss?
- 5 or fewer
- 12 or more
Wob’s pick (12 or more): Monta Ellis + Christmas Day = Monta Ellis.
Moore’s pick (9-11): Well, he’s missing 11 per game so I’m going to go with that 9-11 range. That gives me a decent spread in the range, and I don’t trust Portland’s defense to contain him.
The Jazz are playing better, which will make things easier for him to find high efficiency shots. Can’t go below that, he’s just not an efficient enough shooter this season.
8. How many technical fouls will be assessed in the OKC-HOU, PHI-BOS, LAL-GSW and POR-UTA games?
- 3 or more
Wob’s pick (3 or more): Draymond + Giannis revenge + Durant + Rondo + Westbrook = we’re good for at least 3 or 4.
Moore’s pick (3 or more): I’ll go you one further and call my shot: Brad Stevens, Draymond Green and someone on the Sixers.
9. How many triple-doubles will be recorded in the OKC-HOU, PHI-BOS, LAL-GSW and POR-UTA games?
- 3 or more
Wob’s pick (3 or more): LeBron, Giannis, Donovan Mitchell points/missed shots/turnovers. I’ll take 3 or more again.
Moore’s pick (3 or more): There are too many options here. Possible triple-doubles: LeBron, Russ, Harden, Simmons, Lonzo, Draymond, Curry (he always rebounds well vs. LeBron for some reason), Ricky Rubio, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler.
Too many options means I’m taking 3 or more.
10. How many players will score 40 points or more in the OKC-HOU, PHI-BOS, LAL-GSW and POR-UTA games??
- 4 or more
Wob’s pick (3): LeBron’s gonna have to do it if that game plans on being somewhat competitive. Giannis is going to do it in the first half because Hezonja pissed off Godzilla. Harden getting up 40 shots minimum against the best defense in the league. 3 is the answer here.
Moore’s pick (1): Guess how many players have had a 40-points-or-more performance on Christmas in the past 20 years?
Tiebreaker: How many total points will the Rockets and Warriors score on Christmas Day?
Wob’s pick: 222
Moore’s pick: 205. LONG LIVE THE CHRISTMAS UNDERS!