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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SPURS AT BULLS

Game Analysis

With only four wins in their last 10 games and two wins over their last eight played, the Bulls (27-16) are having a very difficult time overcoming their first major seasonal slump. Most of the Bulls’ issues can be chalked up to poor defense, giving up 100 points or more in their last five games. Opponents are sinking buckets at will against the Bulls lately, and the Spurs (27-16) come into Chicago playing excellent basketball winning eight of their last 10 while winning four in a row. The Spurs have turned their season around after struggling in December to lock down wins. The Bulls will play better than they have of late, although it won’t be enough to beat the visiting Spurs.  Look to take the 198 over in this one with the Bulls defense struggling of late.

Line: SA -5.0, Over/Under: 198

Players to Watch

  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs – 25th OPRK ($8,300)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs – 17th OPRK ($7,800)
  • Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls  – 15th OPRK ($6,100)
  • Boris Diaw, PF, Spurs  – 25th OPRK ($4,000)

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JAZZ AT BUCKS

Game Analysis

The Jazz (14-28) carry the lowest point per game average in the Western conference, only scoring 95.4 per contest, which helps explain their extremely poor record. The Jazz do play solid defense from time-to-time, but it’s not enough to keep them in games when you can’t sink baskets. As a team, they’re shooting an average .451, but the turnovers have been a killer as they’re netting 14.2 per game while being limited in total shots taken from the court, ranking 29th in the league in field goal attempts. The Bucks (21-20) have been playing okay basketball of late, but should still be able to beat the Jazz handily in Milwaukee. I see the Bucks covering the -7.5 line and the game going over 187, although just barely.

Line: MIL -7.5, Over/Under: 187

Players to Watch

  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz – 30th OPRK ($7,800)
  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks  – 10th OPRK ($7,800)
  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz – 7th OPRK ($6,300)
  • Khris Middleton, SF, Bucks – 27th OPRK ($5,100)

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CELTICS AT TRAIL BLAZERS

Game Analysis

Even without LaMarcus Aldridge out of action for this one, and likely many more, the Trail Blazers (31-11) will crush the Celtics (13-26) on Thursday. The Celtics take a 4-13 road record into Portland, while losing eight out of their last 10 played, and are outclassed in every aspect of the game as the Trail Blazers rank in the Top-10 in points, rebounds and assists per game, while ranking 2nd in the league in points allowed with only a 96.9 average. As nutty as it seems, however, the Celtics are only three games out of the No. 8 seed in the ever so weak Eastern Conference. I see the game falling under 202 total, and the Trail Blazers having enough to cover the -7.0 line.

Line: POR -7.0, Over/Under: 202

Players to Watch

  • Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers – 19th OPRK ($9,400)
  • Wesley Matthews, SG, Trail Blazers  – 10th OPRK ($5,700)
  • Chris Kaman, C, Trail Blazers – 25th OPRK ($4,400)
  • Kelly Olynyk, C, Celtics  – 20th OPRK ($4,400)

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NETS AT CLIPPERS

Game Analysis

As much as I like the Clippers (28-14) to beat up on the Nets (17-24), I don’t like the Clippers to cover the 12 points the Nets are being spotted. The Nets will gut it out enough to keep things close enough, so take the Nets and the points. There have been some bright spots in the Nets offensive game of late, namely Jarrett Jack, although as a club they’re still falling short with only two wins in January. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will play a great 1-2 punch yet again in this one.

Line: LAC – 12.0, Over/Under: 200.5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – 22nd OPRK ($9,600)
  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers  – 29th OPRK ($9,800)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets  – 21st OPRK ($6,400)
  • Mason Plumlee, C, Nets  – 21st OPRK ($6,400)

 

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