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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Minnesota Timberwolves @ New York Knicks

Game Analysis

There’s only one good matchup on tap for Thursday night, and this is not it. The Timberwolves (14-52) and the Knicks (14-53) will be battling to avoid having the worst record in the NBA, which isn’t a great selling point if you’re looking to tune in on this one. There are some enticing options to lock onto, however, for your DFS lineup, with Andrea Bargnani and Kevin Martin being my favorites on the evening as both carry excellent OPRK matchups. The value isn’t bad either, so certainly something to consider. The Timberwolves take a five-game losing streak into New York, and don’t really present a great case for breaking their streak, as they’ve only scored 95 points per game during their losing streak, while losing those games by an average of 15.6 PPG. The Knicks are playing a bit better having won two of their last four contests, plus, they get do get the very slight advantage of playing on their home court. The game won’t be too bad to watch, assuming you’re a super-fan of either team.

Line: Pick ‘Em, Over/Under: 197.5

Players to Watch

  • Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves – 15th OPRK ($7,800)
  • Alexey Shved, PG, Knicks – 12th OPRK ($6,600)
  • Andrea Bargnani, PF, Knicks – 24th OPRK ($6,100)
  • Kevin Martin, SG, Timberwolves – 25th OPRK ($5,800)

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Denver Nuggets @ Houston Rockets

Game Analysis

While the Rockets (45-22) are trying to position themselves for a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff picture – currently 1.5 games back of Memphis – the Nuggets (26-42) are looking to get back on track after having their four-game win streak busted on Monday against the Grizzlies. The Nuggets, while playing much better of late, still rank towards the bottom of the league in points allowed at 26th (103.6 PPG). I don’t see the Rockets losing this game, with the solid defense they have on court and with their ability to put up points (ranked 7th in the NBA with 103.1 PPG). Houston’s power forward’s, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, offer some intriguing value for DFS owners with both playing solid ball and getting nice minutes.

Line: Houston -8, Over/Under: 211.5

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets – 27th OPRK ($10,800)
  • Terrence Jones, PF, Rockets – 30th OPRK ($6,800)
  • Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets – 19th OPRK ($6,200)
  • Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Rockets – 30th OPRK ($5,500)

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New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns

Game Analysis

The Pelicans (37-30) and the Suns (35-33) are the game of the night on Thursday, with both clubs vying for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This game will prove pivotal down the stretch, so look for top players like Eric Bledsoe and Anthony Davis to be at their best. I didn’t list Davis below in the “Players to Watch” section, but he’s obviously someone you look to if you don’t mind spending the big bucks on. Don’t look for much defense in the game, with the Suns ranking 4th in the league with 104.6 PPG. While the Pelicans prove to be an average team offensively, they’ll bring their A-game on Thursday. Don’t be surprised to see a fast-paced shootout with a combined score over 220 points.

Line: New Orleans -1.5, Over/Under: 198.5

Players to Watch

  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns – 13th OPRK ($8,200)
  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans – 25th OPRK ($7,600)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans – 21st OPRK ($5,800)
  • Omer Asik, C, Pelicans – 24th OPRK ($5,500)

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Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers

Game Analysis

The Lakers (17-49) play host to the surging Jazz (30-36), who have won six games in a row and nine out of their last 10 leading up to Thursday. The Jazz are getting tremendous contributions from Rodney Hood, and they’re even pulling in nice bench help of late. The Jazz offer fantastic options for your DFS lineup, of course at varying salary ranges. Rudy Gobert has turned into a rebounding monster and he’ll again be in line for 15 or so boards. Don’t expect the Lakers to put up much of a fight with their rundown hobo lineup, and with the Jazz playing as well as they are. The Lakers have now lost three in a row, and 15 out of their last 19 games going all the way back to February 1st.

Line: Utah -4, Over/Under: 183

Players to Watch

  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz – 22nd OPRK ($8,100)
  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz – 27th OPRK ($8,100)
  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz – 16th OPRK ($7,500)
  • Rodney Hood, SF, Jazz – 16th OPRK ($4,600)

 

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