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NBA

PlayLine NBA Picks, Thursday 12/13

Josh Engleman

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Awesemo.com Presents: $1,000,000 Perfect Line Bonus + $6,250 GTD – Run N’ Gun

Players: James Harden, LeBron James & DeMar DeRozan

Stats: Points, rebound & assists


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Today, we’ll be projecting the expected points, rebounds and assists for three players, James Harden, LeBron James & DeMar DeRozan, in the “Awesemo.com Presents: $1,000,000 Perfect Line Bonus + $6,250 GTD –  Run N’ Gun ($1,500 to 1st!)“ PlayLine contest.

Your PlayLine predictions are scored according to the chart below. It’s really simple. The closer your PlayLine is to the athlete’s actual performance, the more points you get. The more points you get, the better your chances of winning!

You will receive PlayLine points each time the featured athlete registers a stat that you predicted will occur. Once the athlete’s actual stat total in a particular category goes over your prediction, you will no longer receive additional per stat PlayLine points.


James Harden

PTS 30.0 | REB 5.3 | AST: 8.1

The Houston Rockets snapped their three-game skid with a victory of the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday. It was a much-needed win for a Rockets team that currently sits 14th in the Western Conference, with a record of 12-14. It hasn’t been pretty for the Rockets early on this season, but they’re one of those teams that will likely find their way eventually and begin to climb up in the standings.

James Harden hasn’t been his usual productive self of late. He’s been scoring without issue, it’s just his production across the board that seems to be a little absent in the past week. When playing at home, Harden’s numbers are up slightly, and he’s proven to be more efficient, averaging 30.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 8.2 assists on 47.6 percent shooting from the field and 42.6 percent from three. They’ll need Harden at his best to get past LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, who are 7-3 over their last 10 games.

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Harden will probably be defended by a combination of guys. Josh Hart will spend the most time guarding him, but Lonzo Ball and James could also find themselves on Harden throughout the night. The Lakers come into the game with a defensive rating of 107.5 (8th), so unlike in seasons past, they aren’t going to give up a ton of points.

Harden will no doubt be motivated to have a big night against LeBron and company, so don’t be surprised if he comes out swinging.

Predicted stat-line: 36 PTS, 5 REB, 9 AST

LeBron James

PTS 28.3 | REB 7.7 | AST: 7.1

After a shaky start to the season, LeBron James has helped steady the ship and move the Lakers up the standings in the Western Conference. They’re currently 5th with a record of 17-10 and, as previously mentioned, have won seven of their last 10 games.

LeBron has flirted with triple-doubles in each of his last three games, and in two of those three games, he’s recorded at least 10 assists. He’s really starting to get comfortable in Los Angeles, and that’s a scary prospect for his opponents and other conference foes. In his last five games, James is averaging 29.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 9.2 assists on 52.8 percent shooting from the field and 36.7 percent from three.

These two teams met in the first week of the season, and it was the Rockets who ran away with a 124-115 victory. James posted a 24-5-5 line in that one, but there’s a different vibe around the team now and you can probably expect a more productive LeBron James tonight. They may be playing on the road, but the Rockets are very beatable right now and there’s nothing stopping James from taking over this game. P.J. Tucker will be guarding him for most of the night and he’s known as a fantastic defender, but he’s a little undersized and James has exploited that in the past.

Predicted stat-line: 32 PTS, 8 REB, 10 AST

DeMar DeRozan

PTS 24.1 | REB 5.6 | AST: 6.2

The San Antonio Spurs might have finally found their footing this season, winning their last three games, and they’ll be looking to continue their success tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs are in the midst of a five-game homestand, and they’ve got a fantastic chance to go 5-0 with a win tonight.

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DeMar DeRozan has been playing incredibly well, barring his last game against the Phoenix Suns where he managed just five points, two rebounds and nine assists. The game against the Suns can probably be swept under the rug as it was a blowout, but prior to that, DeRozan had scored at least 30 points in two of his last three games and was doing a bit of everything across the board.

While the Clippers have some individual talent defensively, they’ve actually leaned more on their offense for success this season. They’re 5th in points per game (115.3), but allow 113.2 points per game, which is the 24th worst mark in the league. Los Angeles might throw a couple of different players at DeRozan to try and slow him down tonight. Avery Bradley and Shae Gilgeous-Alexander are both solid options. Bradley is undersized for a two-guard but has a great reputation defensively, while Gilgeous-Alexander is 6-foot-6 and has length. SGA would likely be more effective given DeRozan’s style of play, so we’ll how Doc Rivers decides to work it.

Their defense as a team may not be great, but it’s the individual defense of a few guys that could be enough to somewhat restrict DeRozan. It’s unlikely that he goes for over 30 points, but he’ll still find ways to be productive.

Predicted stat-line: 25 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST

Josh is Contributor for Awesemo.com where he hosts video and writes content regularly across the primary sports of MLB, NBA, and NFL as well as contributing to the development of models and projections for soccer. He originally started producing projections & articles for Reddit's r/DFSports in 2014 where he built a loyal following that brought him to where he is today. Josh is most known for his elaborate Excel spreadsheets, which he shares in all of his video content. You can find him on Twitter or hanging out in Awesemo's Premium Slack. You can contact Josh by emailing [email protected].

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