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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WIZARDS AT HORNETS

Game Analysis

The Wizards (35-28) have continued their unexpected slide, running their record to 2-8 over their last 10 games played, as they haven’t been able to put consecutive wins together since the early part of February. Fortunately for the Wizards, other teams within the Eastern Conference are playing equally bad, so they should be able to hold onto their grasp on a playoff spot.  Shooting guard Bradley Beal is still fighting injury issues for the Wizards, although he is expected to suit up for Monday’s contest against Charlotte. The Hornets (27-33), who have won four games in a row, are still playing solid defense as a team but continue to struggle to put up points on the season. Even so, the Hornets are fighting to secure a playoff bid as they battle five other teams for three playoff spots. As of January, the Hornets are 17-10 and are a slight favorite at home against the Wizards. I like the Hornets to cover the -1.5 points, with Washington sucking a bit too much wind of late.

Line: CHA -1.5, Over/Under: 188.5

Players to Watch

  • John Wall, PG, Wizards – 24th OPRK ($8,500)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets – 10th OPRK ($7,700)
  • Mo Williams, PG, Hornets  – 21st OPRK ($7,500)
  • Nene Hilario, PF, Wizards – 21st OPRK ($4,600)

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KINGS AT HAWKS

Game Analysis

The Hawks (49-13) have separated themselves nicely in the Eastern Conference, now sitting 10 1/2 games above the Bulls and Cavaliers, while holding tightly to the No.1 seed. Atlanta takes a +6.1 point differential into the game on Monday as they host the struggling Kings (21-40), who hold a -4.0 point differential on the season, which points to an obvious mismatch on the night. The Hawks should run away with this game, as they rank in the top third in the league in points per game (102.4 PPG) and points allowed (96.3 PPG). Paul Milsap is expected to return to action after being rested on Saturday, along with Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll. The Hawks managed to take it on the chin on Saturday facing the 76ers, with Millsap and company out of the game. But don’t expect the Hawks to lose consecutive games in a row, something they’ve done only three times this season. Take note that DeMarcus Cousins does have a tough matchup facing the Hawks and their inside defensive presence (1st OPRK), although it’s difficult to get through this writing without slapping Cousins’ name in the below “Players to Watch” section. Regardless of matchups, there are just some players that I don’t mind slotting into my DFS lineups. Take the 205.5 under in this one.

Line: ATL -11.0, Over/Under: 205.5

Players to Watch

  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings  – 1st OPRK ($9,700)
  • Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks  – 13th OPRK ($8,000)
  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks – 29th OPRK ($6,600)
  • Dennis Schroder, PG, Hawks  – 29th OPRK ($4,900)

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CELTICS AT HEAT

Game Analysis

The Heat (28-34) are doing their best to try to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, although injuries are taking their toll. As Miami tries to get healthy, they host the Celtics (25-36) on Monday night. Boston has played much better basketball compared to the early part of the season, but as a team they still struggle to maintain any sort of consistent production (5-5 over their last 10 games). The Celtics also find it difficult to win on the road this season, even with improved offensive production; however, their defense leaves a lot to be desired as they currently rank 25th in the league in points allowed (102.4). Keep in mind that Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng are both fighting injuries and may not play on Monday, so be sure to check news on both players leading up to the start of games. The Heat, as a club, is struggling in a huge way to field a healthy team but I do like them to beat the Celtics by a slim margin. Jae Crowder is the only Celtics player I truly dig on Monday, even with his matchup being highly unfavorable.

Line: None, Over/Under: None

Players to Watch

  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat  – 21st OPRK ($8,700)
  • Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat  – 3rd OPRK ($7,200)
  • Luol Deng, SF, Heat – 26th OPRK ($5,800)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics  – 1st OPRK ($5,200)

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GRIZZLIES AT BULLS

Game Analysis

The last time the Grizzlies (44-18) faced the Bulls (39-25) in December, they took a tough loss as they were only able to shoot 39.4 percent in the game. Marc Gasol, who faces his brother Pau, will be a huge cog in the Grizzlies offense on Monday night, but Mike Conley will need to be on top of his game if the Grizzlies expect to pull out a victory. While the Bulls do have a 19-12 home record this season, they are certainly beatable at the United Center. Look for this game to be a tight defensive battle as both teams lead the league as top defending clubs in the NBA. The Bulls are an excellent club defending against field goals, ranking in the top 10 so far this season, while the Grizzlies hold opponents to 95.6 points per game on average which is a league-leading best. I’m tempted to go with the under in this game considering defensive presence from both clubs, but give me the over and the Bulls plus the points.

Line: MEM -4.0, Over/Under: 183.5

Players to Watch

  • Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls – 7th OPRK ($8,800)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies – 28th OPRK ($7,400)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies – 17th OPRK ($7,100)
  • Jeff Green, SF, Grizzlies – 14th OPRK ($4,800)

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PELICANS AT BUCKS

Game Analysis

The Pelicans (34-29), who got superstar power forward Anthony Davis back in action last week, have won seven out of their last 10 games played. How are they doing it? They’re stepping up against tough opponents, like Memphis and Toronto, while also beating teams they should beat. The Bucks (33-29) managed to lose four in a row before beating the Wizards on Saturday, although they are struggling as a team after winning nine out of 10 games from January 27th through February 20th. The Bucks will have a tough time with the Anthony Davis, who has averaged 30.3 PPG and 12.3 RPG in the three games since returning from injury, as they struggle in and out of the paint bringing down rebounds (25th in the NBA with 41.5 RPG). I like the two points that are being spotted to the Pelicans, so take New Orleans on Monday as you build around Davis for your lineups. Eric Gordon makes for a nice under-the-radar play.

Line: MIL -2.0, Over/Under: 187.5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans – 18th OPRK ($10,700)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Bucks – 19th OPRK ($6,500)
  • Khris Middleton, SG, Bucks – 18th OPRK ($6,000)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans  – 15th OPRK ($5,300)

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KNICKS AT NUGGETS

Game Analysis

In an Ugly vs. Ugly game, the Nuggets (22-41), hold the worst record in the NBA since the middle of January. After a five-game losing streak at the beginning of January, the Nuggets lost nine out of their last 10 during the month. Then, when you think a team has hit rock bottom, the Nuggets only win three games in the month of February. Yep, three games. Let’s just say that the Nuggets are happy to be hosting the Knicks (12-49), who happen to hold the worst record in the NBA, while only pulling down four wins on the road this season (4-26). If you’re looking for some yuck-ball to watch on Monday, then this is your bag. Are there any DFS players to take advantage of here? Sure there are. Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani are decent values to look at, with Bargnani’s 30th OPRK matchup especially enticing. Bargnani has averaged 18.6 PPG over his last five games played.

Line: DEN -9.5, Over/Under: 203

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets – 15th OPRK ($7,000)
  • Danilo Gallinari, SF, Nuggets – 10th OPRK ($6,000)
  • Andrea Bargnani, PF, Knicks – 30th OPRK ($5,600)
  • Will Barton, SG, Nuggets – 24th OPRK ($4,200)

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WARRIORS AT SUNS

Game Analysis

With the way the Suns (33-31) played in the month of February (3-8), it’s difficult to believe they still have a shot at locking down a playoff spot. As they hover around the .500 mark, the Suns do hold some recent success over the Warriors (49-12) at the US Airways Center, where they’ve won the last three meetings. The Suns do face a dominant club in the Warriors, so it won’t be easy to snag a win. The Warriors have had a very nice run on their 3-point shot since the All-Star break, sinking a cool 42.6 percent beyond the arc. The Suns must slow the Warriors deeper shots, while keeping them far below their 109.8 PPG average. On paper, the game should go to the Warriors who have a very deep roster of players that can sink baskets. The Suns rank 28th in the league in points allowed, giving up 104.8 per game on average. My money is going on the Suns and the 5.5 points they’re being spotted.

Line: GS -5.5, Over/Under: 218

Players to Watch

  • Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors – 25th OPRK ($9,500)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors – 23rd OPRK ($7,000)
  • Brandon Knight, PG, Suns – 18th OPRK ($6,200)
  • Markieff Morris, PG, Suns – 23rd OPRK ($6,100)

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TIMBERWOLVES AT CLIPPERS

Game Analysis

It’s highly possible that the Clippers (40-23) rest Chris Paul on Monday after suffering a knee injury. It was reported that X-rays were negative, but the Clippers could still rest their superstar player just to be on the safe side of things. The Clippers, who have played solid basketball while suffering through injuries to Blake Griffin and now Jamal Crawford, will not give up the fight. Even if Paul does sit on Monday night, the Clips shouldn’t have a problem shutting down the Timberwolves (14-47). Minnesota has a 5-23 record on the road this season and would be playing against heavy unfavorable odds in netting a win. Look for J.J. Redick to clean up a bit with his minutes, which makes him a very nice value at 5.1K for your lineups.

Line: None, Over/Under: None

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – 11th OPRK ($10,600)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers – 13th OPRK ($8,800)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves – 30th OPRK ($6,800)
  • J.J. Redick, SG, Clippers – 29th OPRK ($5,100)

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