The NBA Game Breakdown takes an in-depth look at all of the games on the schedule each day in terms of expected pace of play, Vegas lines and defense vs. position matchups.
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MAVERICKS AT THUNDER
The Mavericks (36-19), who currently maintain a decent hold on a playoff spot in the Western Conference, head into Oklahoma City where they will face the Thunder (28-25) on Thursday night, a team that is barely holding on as they fight to get back into the playoff picture. The Mavs signed free agent Amar’e Stoudemire after he was released by the Knicks last week, so they’re hoping the cagey veteran will give them the added depth they need to secure a 2015 playoff slot. The Mavs also should see the return of point guard Rajon Rondo after he broke a bone near his eye, unfortunately missing six games during the process. The Thunder finally have a healthy duo in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, both of whom who will pose as stout competition for the Mavs. The Thunder have currently won three games in a row, with Durant averaging 31.7 points over his last three games played. I’m taking the Mavs and the points; however, I do expect the game to be close down the stretch.
Line: OKC – 5.0, Over/Under: 211.5
Players to Watch
- Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder – 27th OPRK ($10,600)
- Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks – 21st OPRK ($7,400)
- Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks – 21st OPRK ($6,700)
- Chandler Parsons, SF, Mavericks – 23rd OPRK ($6,600)
SPURS AT CLIPPERS
Even with all the injuries and problems the Clippers (35-19) have had over the last couple of weeks, they’ve managed to play good enough basketball to run their record to 5-5 over their last 10 played. Without Blake Griffin for at least another few weeks, the Clippers will have to continue to plug away and fight hard against teams like the Spurs (34-19) who remain one of the better defensive clubs in the NBA as they only allow 96.7 points per game (2nd best in the league) on average each night. The Clippers will need to rely upon their 106.7 points per game average, hoping to find holes in the Spurs defense. Although I give the Clippers credit for staying tough during some rough times, I see the Spurs taking care of business at home and covering the -2.5 line. I even like the over in this game as well, with both clubs doing enough to push over the 203.5 mark.
Line: SA – 2.5, Over/Under: 203.5
Players to Watch
- Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – 10th OPRK ($9,800)
- DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers – 19th OPRK ($7,800)
- Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs – 29th OPRK ($7,500)
- Jamal Crawford, SG, Clippers – 7th OPRK ($5,400)
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