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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Warriors @ Hornets

Game Analysis

The Warriors have reeled off 7 straight wins over which they have averaged 110 points and given up an average of about 95. I do not see any of this changing tonight against a Charlotte team that is really struggling. Starting PG Kemba Walker is doubtful tonight, starting SG Lance Stephenson is being benched for not moving the ball enough, and starting SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still questionable as well.  Marvin Williams, PJ Hairston, Jeff Taylor, and Gary Neal are all listed as injury concerns too. I just do not see how the Hornets are going to have enough firepower to score with Golden State or enough fresh bodies to match the breakneck pace the Warriors play at. This should turn ugly and I would not doubt another easy victory for the Warriors. Only question is can the Hornets at home keep it close enough to warrant a few extra minutes for the Golden State starters to make value in?

Line: Warriors -9, O/U 200

Players to Watch

  • Brian Roberts, PG, Hornets ($3900)
  • Cody Zeller, PF, Hornets ($4000)
  • Andrew Bogut, C, Warriors ($5900)
  • Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($9500)

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Pelicans @ Hawks

Game Analysis

After 8 straight games scoring over 100, the Pelicans have failed to reach triple digits in 2 of the last 3. Atlanta has played to the over in 5 of their last 6. A usually controlled pace team has been scoring and giving up triple digits in 4 of those 6. If anything I would expect a very hot pace and tick up the Pelicans a little because of it. The Pelicans did a poor job of getting their best player involved last time out and his 12 shot attempts marked a season low. It’s no coincidence it also marked a season low output for the team. I think they will look to get him more involved today as that was a key point in coach Monty Williams post game press conference. The Hawks are currently in the top 10 in the league in scoring, but are also giving up 104 points a game which makes them one of the league’s worst. I expect a hot pace and a lot of points here, so it’s not a bad idea to have some exposure to both sides of this one.

Line: Hawks -2.5, O/U 206

Players to Watch

  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks ($7000)
  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7000)
  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11200)
  • Tyreke Evans, SG, Pelicans ($7000)

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Mavericks @ Raptors

Game Analysis

If you are looking for a lot of points and a hot pace, this one should be a scorcher. The O/U is already up to 210 from 208 and 85% of the money is still coming in on the over. Dallas has played over in four of the last five while both scoring and giving up 100 points in all 4 of those. The lone exception and under was a 95-92 loss to a good defensive Rockets team a few days back who are having trouble scoring due to injuries. Toronto is also coming off four straight games with combined totals of 203 or higher including a 241 total in their last game against Atlanta. If you are looking for a game that should see a ton of scoring and thus a bunch of nice fantasy stat lines, then this is the place to look. Toronto allows a lot of fantasy points to Centers and Dallas does the same for PGs, so I would assume this could be a good spot for Kyle Lowry and Tyson Chandler. Chandler has had some monster games and the only thing keeping his numbers down is the extra rest he gets when they are winning big. To keep him fresh and healthy he tends to play less minutes when the games are not really close. I expect today to be both high scoring and pretty close so I think it’s a game he gets 30+ minutes and produces a really nice stat line. Definitely make sure you have some exposure to this one as it will likely be one of the highest scoring games on this slate.

Line: Mavericks -3, O/U 210.5 up from 208

Players to Watch

  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks ($6000)
  • Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks ($6800)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($8400)
  • Lou Williams, PG, Raptors ($4900)

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Bucks @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Detroit has played under in 5 of their last 7 due to anemic offense and decent defense. Bucks have been as inconsistent as you can expect from a young team. They played 4 games under with great defense and bad offense. Then the offense picked up and the defense got worse as they quickened the pace for a four game stretch of overs. In the last two they managed to put it together on both ends of the floor against two of the league’s worst teams in Detroit and Minnesota. They get the rematch today of that 98-86 home win vs. the Pistons and I think we should still see them win despite switching out the home court advantage this time. Vegas disagrees with me on the winner but we both expect the score to be low and therefore this is probably not a place to target heavy for your fantasy plays tonight.

Line: Pistons -2.5, O/U 189

Players to Watch

  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($4400)
  • Josh smith, SF, Pistons ($6600)
  • Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ($4100)
  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks ($7100)

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Magic @ Pacers

Game Analysis

The Magic’s stats do not really tell the whole story as they were down three key players until the last game. Kyle O’Quinn, Tobias Harris, and Evan Fournier all recovered at the same time and really made this Magic team look a whole lot different. Indiana has had the opposite luck as three starters from last year’s team (Hill, George, and West) have been out most of the season and were just joined by Roy Hibbert, the teams only remaining starter that was healthy. Indy has somehow managed to continue winning games over this stretch. They beat the red hot Mavericks the other night before falling just short of the defending Champion Spurs in the last game. They have scored the ball very well over that stretch reaching 111 vs. Dallas and 100 against the Spurs. I would expect the Pacers to be the victors here and Vegas agrees with a healthy spread. The O/U is not too high and I would not expect huge fantasy scores in this one, but due to some cheap pricing it still might produce some of the better values on the night.

Line: Pacers -5, O/U 190

Players to Watch

  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($7000)
  • Kyle O’Quinn, C, Magic ($3700)
  • Rodney Stuckey, SG, Pacers ($4100)
  • Luis Scola, PF, Pacers ($5300)

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Clippers @ Rockets

Game Analysis

The Clips have played to the over in all but 3 of the last ten. Those three were against Memphis, San Antonio, and Chicago who are routinely three of the NBA’s best defensive units. Against normal teams they have reached and exceeded triple digits with ease. The problem here is a healthy Rockets team was actually the league’s best defensive unit to start the year. Beverly, Ariza, and Howard are all considered the best or close to it at their positions on the defensive end. Three starters (Beverly, Howard, and Terrence Jones) are all doubtful for this evening and that could be the difference between a comfortable Rockets win and a very close game that could go either way. Without them I think it really benefits the Clips as no Beverly defense on Chris Paul and weaker rebounding and shot blocking without Howard could allow a lot of room for the Clippers best players to shine.

Line: Clippers -3, O/U 200 up from 195.5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9600)
  • Jamal Crawford, SG, Clippers ($5500)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10400)
  • Donatas Motiejunas, SF, Rockets ($4400)

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Knicks @ Thunder

Game Analysis

The Knicks tend to let the other team dictate pace as they have basically played even with the O/U throughout the year. Against a fast paced Dallas team they played in the triple digits and against a slower Rockets squad they played down in the high 80/low 90 range. The Thunder have been playing very slow but the difference tonight is the expected return of Russell Westbrook. That coupled with the doubtful presence of Carmelo Anthony means I expect a Thunder victory. What I do not know is how much playing time Westbrook will get as I expect that to be something that determines the pace. When healthy and playing well, Westy is a one man fastbreak. If he looks 100% than I expect the pace in this one to be high and the Knicks to also tick up their level of play to match. Be careful using too many Thunder players as the insertion of a ball dominating player could really change the whole dynamic of who gets shots and fantasy points. I’ll probably be taking a watch and see approach on the thunder tonight as Westy is not cheap and guys like Reggie Jackson are no longer worth the price tag of a #1 option. As for the Knicks, I can see taking a few punts here or there as no Melo means shots go somewhere. The problem is no one is really making enough shots to get me excited about them getting a few more. I do not see huge scores, but maybe a few decent value plays from the Knickerbockers.

Line: Thunder -8.5, O/U 185.5

Players to Watch

  • Jose Calderon, PG, Knicks ($4800)
  • Samuel Dalembert, C, Knicks ($4300)
  • Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder ($7100)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($8900)

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Kings @ Spurs

Game Analysis

I do not really know what to make of this game. I would like to have seen it at full strength as the Kings were off to a hot start and the Spurs are well, the Spurs. Darren Collison and Rudy Gay are both on the wrong side of Questionable from what I can gather and that is never good when you have to take on the defending champs in their building at less then full strength. Spurs have won 8 of 9 with the lone loss being to this Kings team with a healthy Gay and Collison. Sacramento has won 4 of 6 and in their last two avenged an earlier loss to New Orleans before falling to the Rockets without the services of their second and third best players. I do not see them having enough fire power to stay with the Spurs here, but some of the value guys and their star could still be useful plays. If you think it stays close then Spurs starters are in play too, but if it gets out of hand against the short bench of Sacramento we all know what it feels like to get Popped, so be careful.

Line: Spurs -9, O/U 194.5

Players to Watch

  • Ramon Sessions, PG, Kings ($4700)
  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10600)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7000)
  • Tony Parker, PG, Spurs ($6700)

 

BREAKING NEWS

Word is that Demarcus Cousins may sit out too. If Kings play minus all three of their stars then this game will be a blowout and you should stay away completely unless you want to use a low priced Kings punt and pray for a good outcome.

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Suns @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

We just saw this game played a few days ago and it was a hot pace and a high score. Both teams have routinely seen O/U in the 200+ range and lately both have seen them over 210. Although they are both roughly 50/50 to those numbers lately, they still manage to play games with totals over 200 almost nightly. The last game Wednesday between these two saw over 230 combined points, so I expect more of the same. After losing the other night Denver is now favored by 1 at home, so I would boost up the Nuggets slightly. I honestly think both teams are in play and use the last game as your guide of where to look for points. the only thing that could change that a little is if Suns PG Isiah Thomas is available. He missed the other night and is still listed as questionable. If he is out that definitely ticks up Eric Bledsoe again.

Line: Denver -1 Down from -3.5, O/U 217.5 down from 219.5

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($8600)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($5800)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6700)
  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($7700)

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Grizzlies @ Trailblazers

Game Analysis

This match up features two of the NBA’s best teams. Memphis has won 7 of their last 8 and Portland is currently riding a 9 game winning streak. Good defense from both teams has kept them playing slightly more to the under, but neither has really had any trouble scoring. I think this will be a great game to watch but would caution against using it too heavy for fantasy as both squads tend to hold teams under their seasonal averages. I think all the stars get a full allotment of minutes in what should be a pretty close game, but given the defense of both teams I would shy away from expecting too many, if any, of these guys to reach value.

Line: Trailblazers -4, O/U 192

Players to Watch

  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($7500)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($8700)
  • LaMarcus aldridge, PF, Blazers ($9100)
  • Wes Matthews, SG, Blazers ($6000)

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Timberwolves @ Lakers

Game Analysis

I absolutely love games like this for fantasy purposes. Two of the games highest paced teams with two of the worst DEF rankings. They also happen to be two of the most generous teams for points allowed. That all adds up to some really nice stat lines in an otherwise meaningless late game. A lot of late movement could be seen if you choose the right guys here to roster. I mention a few below, but honestly there’s 6-7 guys worth considering on both sides of this one depending on the injury report.

Line: Lakers -5.5, O/U 214.5

Players to Watch

  • Andrew Wiggins, SG, Timberwolves ($5000)
  • Zach Lavine, PG, Timberwolves ($4200)
  • Jordan Hill, C, Lakers ($6600)
  • Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers ($9200)