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 match ups.

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Nets @ 76ers

Game Analysis

Brooklyn has played to the under in 5 of their last 6, while Philly has done it in 5 of their last 7. Philly is 0-14 to start the season and the Nets have lost 5 of the last 6, so this is not exactly a potential playoff match up here. Both teams have struggled to score somewhat and if anything I would tick up the Nets a little bit, because Philly has also struggled to stop anyone. Guards have done well against the Nets this season, which plays into one of the few strengths Philly does have with MCW and Wroten paired up in the backcourt now. The 76ers struggle against 2 guards, so this might be a good spot to fire up a contrarian Joe Johnson. Philly has not been the source of fantasy points it was last season, so be careful rostering too many guys from this game as that run and gun offense we saw has slowed down enough recently to play quite a few games in the 80s/90s.

Line: Nets -8, O/U 197.5

Players to Watch

  • Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($6500)
  • Mirza Teletovic, PF, Nets ($5500)
  • Tony Wroten, PG, 76ers ($5600)
  • Nerlens Noel, PF, 76ers ($5700)

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Wizards @ Cavaliers

Game Analysis

Cleveland has struggled in the early going. They have played to the under in the last 5 games, which includes a 91-78 loss to this same Washington team. They do get the bump of facing them on their home floor tonight and I think the Cavs have been licking their chops ever since Washington took it to them in that contest last week. Vegas seems to agree as they have this game with a 20 point swing from a 13 point Cav loss to them being favored by a 6.5 margin today. The Wizards tend to play at a little slower pace. They play pretty good defense and have a solid rating across the board at almost every position. The Cavs really struggle to defend Power Forwards, but I don’t see any match ups on either side that stand out as imminently exploitable. Overall I think this should be a tight game with a chance that Cavs starters play a few extra minutes to send a message. I see Cleveland winning this one, but I am worried about a low pace, low scoring game. The upside is I do think starters may play 30-35 minutes or more each.

Line: Cavs -6.5, O/U 199

Players to Watch

  • Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards ($6000)
  • Kris Humphries, PF, Wizards ($4800)
  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($11400)
  • Anderson Varejao, C, Cavs ($5300)

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Warriors @ Magic

Game Analysis

Here’s the deal with this game. Orlando is ravaged by injuries. Kyle O’Quinn and Tobias Harris are both out and Evan Fournier is questionable with a thigh contusion. They are giving up over 104 points a game in the last 10 and playing a Warriors team averaging 110 points per game in their last 10. Due to the injury concerns on Orlando, I think they have safer plays to use for fantasy tonight because those guys are going to get minutes no matter the score. Golden State is on the tail end of a back to back that saw the starters get extended run in a 21-2 4th quarter explosion to blow open last night’s game with Miami. I would not doubt the Warriors get a comfortable lead and give the starters a few extra minutes of rest, so despite the great match up on paper I would be cautious of running out too many players on the Warriors.

Line: Warriors -9, O/U 202

Players to Watch

  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8800)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6400)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7400)
  • Harrison Barnes, SF, Warriors ($5000)

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Trailblazers @ Hornets

Game Analysis

Portland is 4-1 to the under in the last 5 and except for a 114-104 victory over Philly they have held opponents to 89 points. During that stretch they are also scoring about 105 points a game so the winning streak is real and so is this Blazers team. With Swingman Nic Batum back from injury the whole starting five is in place and the results are impressive so far. The normally stout Charlotte defense has been anything but this season. Except for the 88-86 loss to Indy and the 94-93 loss to the Heat, Charlotte has allowed opponents to reach 100 in the other 8 of their last 10 games and are giving up an average of 104 points during that stretch. The combination of good Portland defense and suspect Charlotte offense against suspect Hornets defense and very good Blazers offense means this should be an easy victory for the road favorites and the winning streak should roll on. I would be cautious about using too many Hornets tonight, but I think you can roll out a few of the Blazers although some blowout risk exists.

Line:Blazers -6, O/U 195 down from 198

Players to Watch

  • Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets ($7400)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($7900)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Blazers ($9500)
  • Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($9300)

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Clippers @ Pistons

Game Analysis

The Clippers are 7-2-1 to overs hovering around the 200 level in their last 10. The Pistons are 1-5 to the under in their last 6 without cracking 100 consistently or giving up that many. The Clippers had a rough patch, but since the rocky start they have consistently been putting up triple digit scores in recent wins with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin starting to pick up their level of play. The Pistons were without the services of PG Brandon Jennings last night, but whether he or DJ Augustin run the point tonight for the Pistons, it is a tough match up against Chris Paul who is one of the league’s best all around PGs.

Line: Clippers -8, O/U 197

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9500)
  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9200)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Pistons ($6400)
  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($4100)

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Raptors @ Hawks

Game Analysis

Over their last 6 games the average combined scores for both teams is right around 200. If you back out the games against notoriously slow paced teams like the Grizzlies it becomes more like 204. Vegas expects it to stay close and I think that is a reasonable assumption. The Hawks struggle to contain shooting guards so this may be a game for a rather quiet Demar DeRozan to break out. The Raptors have had trouble with bigs, so maybe the same can be said for Al Horford on the other side. Both make god contrarian plays for a GPP.

Line: Raptors -3.5 up from -1, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7100)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($8000)
  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7000)
  • Paul Millsapp, PF, Hawks ($9200)

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Knicks @ Mavericks

Game Analysis

The big news here is the Knicks may be without Carmelo Anthony. That’s not good news for a team struggling to score and playing against one of the league’s highest powered offenses. Dallas is averaging close to 115 points over the last 8 games and seeing margins of victory in the 15+ point range in over half of them. Even with a healthy Melo the Knicks have failed to reach triple digits in 7 of their last 10, so this one could get out of hand early. I would be cautious about using too many Mavericks given that they should see a light workload tonight. I think without Melo, all the Knicks are going to get a bump up in usage. They make more sense to me for fantasy purposes, despite a high likelihood of them being on the wrong end of a blowout.

Line: Mavericks -12.5, O/U 200

Players to Watch

  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Knicks ($5000)
  • Quincy Acy, Pf, Knicks ($3000)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7900)
  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks ($6100)

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Bucks @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Talk about a team ravaged by injuries. The Wolves are without their starting backcourt of Rubio and Martin, as well as their starting center Nikola Pekovic who is questionable again tonight. Reserve Big man Ronny Turiaf just had a set back and now emergency starter Mo Williams filling in for Rubio is also Questionable tonight after missing a few practices this week. It has really hurt them on defense as the current streak of one win in 8 games includes keeping an opponent under 100 points only once with a 99 against the lowly Knicks. In fact 6 of the 8 teams have scored over 110 with Dallas and New Orleans reaching the 130s and Sacramento getting into the 120s. They have lost 7 of their last 8 by an average of over 21 points, so this is your big potential blowout game, despite the bucks not exactly being world beaters. The Bucks have been over in four of their last five, but are also playing a little shorthanded. The big injury concern is PG Brandon Knight who is questionable tonight. If he can not play then the game becomes a little more interesting and the injuries on both sides could open up some extreme value plays. Some of these minimum priced guys could see big minutes on both teams this game, so check the Injury report before you get your line ups finalized. Vegas expects this to be close and somewhat high scoring, I just do not know where those points are going to come from though.

Line: Bucks -1.5, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Wolves ($6500)
  • Zach LaVine, PG, Wolves ($3900)
  • Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ($3900)
  • Thad young, PF, Wolves ($6400)

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Kings @ Rockets

Game Analysis

Finally amongst all these slow paced and high spread games we find a spot that should provide some fantasy goodness at the high and low end of the price spectrum. The average score for Rockets/Kings games over the last two seasons is 217 points. The key here though is the Rockets are a more defensive minded team this year with 8 of their last 10 playing to the under. If Beverly, Jones, and Howard were all fit to play tonight I would say to pump the brakes, but with Isiah Canaan, Donatas Motiejunas, and Tarik Black taking their places I am not so sure. Sacramento has some injury concerns as well with Rudy Gay definitely out and Darren Collison a questionable. Demarcus Cousins had a big game last night and he is fit to play, as is James Harden who also had a huge game his last time out. Throw in some of the minimum priced guys with a clear path to extra minutes tonight and you can see many plays from this game paying off. Despite the somewhat lower O/U then expected I still think the usage rates of Harden and Cousins with all the injuries make them top options.

Line: Rockets -5, O/U 192.5

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10400)
  • Donatas Motiejunas, SF, Rockets ($4400)
  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10500)
  • Omri Casspi, SF, Kings ($3000)

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Jazz @ Thunder

Game Analysis

Utah is not exactly a powerhouse of an offense and OKC has been playing consistently under in very slow paced games. I do not see a lot of great fantasy stat lines coming from this one. OKC is 8-2 to the the under in it’s last 10 and Utah has hit a few overs, but it had more to do with the porous defense against some good offenses. Vegas expects it to stay close, but the game has one of the lower O/U on the evening, so definitely not a game I would use a lot of players from. PF tend to do well against the Jazz and OKC has let PG have some big games, so there’s a little bit of sneaky value in the guys who benefit from that on each team, but I still think you should stay away from this game for the most part with that low O/U.

Line: Thunder -4, O/U 184

Players to Watch

  • Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder ($7000)
  • Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder ($7700)
  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5500)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($7200)

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Pacers @ Spurs

Game Analysis

The Pacers have been playing to the under a lot recently as they failed to crack triple digits in 9 straight before the 111 point explosion in the recent road win vs. Dallas. They managed to accomplish that without the services of the only healthy starter they had left from last year in center Roy Hibbert. While I do not like the match up, we do have some cheap options on the Pacers worth considering who should get some big minutes. The defending champion Spurs have been as advertized this season as they go about their business and continued domination. The hallmark defense has been on display as they have only allowed exactly 100 points twice to the high scoring Warriors and Pelicans during their last 10 games. This one is looking like a blow out from Vegas point of view, so be careful about using guys as we all know Pop will rest his stars if he can. The one spot for sneaky value may be PG on the Spurs. Patty Mills is out and Cory Joseph is doubtful after leaving last game with an injury. Parker played 39 minutes in that one as they really do not have a back up PG. Manu could see a few extra minutes there today and even maybe a Boris Diaw will have the ball in his hands more. I really do not know for sure how they will handle it, but figuring it out can be the key to unlocking some sneaky value here in a low O/U game with a high spread.

Line: Spurs -12.5, O/U 189

Players to Watch

  • Donald Sloan, Pg, Pacers ($5000)
  • Luis Scola, PF, Pacers ($5300)
  • Tony Parker, PG, Spurs ($6700)
  • Danny Green, SG, Spurs ($4600)

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Nuggets @ Suns

Game Analysis

Here is another game where the O/U dictates we have to look for some fantasy goodness. Both teams play at breakneck pace and despite a good week, Denver is still giving up a ton of points on the season. Denver has won five in a row by scoring an average of 109 points and limiting opponents to 99. They have played under numbers closer to 220 as they have pulled off this impressive run. Therefore while I usually knock teams for playing under too often I can make an exception here as those final scores all added up to over 200 points and the high O/U is what has kept their numbers from looking better against the Vegas lines. Phoenix is no stranger to scoring points either as they have put up triple digits in four of the last 5 with 122 and 118 games along the way. They have also defended better as they have limited teams to 96 points over that stretch and those numbers are skewed higher by a 118-114 win over a hot paced and high scoring Boston team. Back that number out and the scoring average against drops to right above 91. I could see the under hitting due to the defensive initiative both teams are starting to show, but I still think we see over 200 points total here and that means some nice fantasy stat lines.

Line: Suns -7, O/U 216

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($8500)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($5800)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6800)
  • Isiah Thomas, PG, Suns ($5700)

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Grizzlies @ Lakers

Game Analysis

The best defense against one of the highest paced offenses and the worst defense against one of the slowest paced offenses. Which style will prevail is going to determine how this game plays out. While most people will assume the Grizzlies are the better team and therefore will dictate terms, just remember these guys played a few weeks back to a 107-102 Memphis win. This time the game is in LA so I like this game to stay relatively close and be higher scoring then many expect. It might be a very nice place to look for some under used stars that can put up a big number. Kobe had 53 DK points the last time these two teams met. He and Tony Allen have always had a little bit of a Love/Hate relationship. Not that Kobe ever needs an extra reason to toss up 30 shots, but he seems to take it personal whenever Allen is guarding him. Be careful about the DvP for Grizzlies as Courtney Lee is now out and he was a weak defensive player. Still I think Kobe has a plus match up against one of the league’s best defenders because he is motivated to play well. A motivated Kobe is always a scary thing as any of you who watched his clutchness at the end of the last square off with these two teams can attest to.

Line: Grizzlies -6.5, O/U 201.5

Players to Watch

  • Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers ($9200)
  • Jeremy Linn, PG, Lakers ($5300)
  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($7800)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7900)