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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Hawks @ Hornets

Game Analysis

The Hornets usually play well on their home floor and they also usually play down a bit in pace. Charlotte tends to play games in the low 90’s where both their season average and opponents scoring average currently lie. The Hawks ten to play a little more in the upper 90’s, but neither team is really a high power offense. I would expect a methodical 94-92 kind of game here and 84% of the early money on the under would seem to agree with that.

Line: Hornets -1.5 down from -3.5, O/U 193

Players to Watch

  • Jeff Teague, Pg, Hawks ($7200)
  • Paul Milsapp, PF, Hawks ($7700)
  • Lance Stephenson, SG, Hornets ($6500)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets ($3700)

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Timberwolves @ Magic

Game Analysis

So far this season Minnesota has failed to reach an over above 200 in 4 games. Orlando has not had one this high all season, so there’s a lot of merit to 97% of early money coming in on the under here. I still think you will see a game in the 90s, but probably not the top scoring game on the slate here.

Line: Timberwolves -3, O/u 201.5 up from 197

Players to Watch

  • Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($4700)
  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($6300)
  • Kevin Martin, SG, TWolves ($5700)
  • Thad Young, PF, TWolves ($6700)

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Bulls @ 76ers

Game Analysis

Noah should be back for Chicago and Rose is a true game time decision. I would think they may rest him again as his services will not be needed against a lowly Sixers squad. The Sixers are below their league worst scoring pace from last year at 90 per game and the Bulls are holding teams to an NBA low 91. This is going to be a low scoring game for the Sixers at the very least.

Line: Bulls -11, O/U 189.5

Players to Watch

  • Tony Wroten, PG, 76ers ($7600)
  • Brandon Davies, PF, 76ers ($3000)
  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Buls ($5200)
  • Joakim Noah, C, Bulls ($6100)

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Pacers @ Celtics

Game Analysis

These two teams are a combined 7 for 9 hitting overs this season. The Pacers defense has gone from one of the best in the NBA to one of the worst this season due to all the injuries. The Celtics on the other hand have an Eastern conference high average of 109 points per game so far. If I were a betting man I would take the over in this one and expect a high scoring affair.

Line: Celtics -4.5 down from -6.5, O/U 194 up from 191

Players to Watch

  • Kelly Olynyk, C, Celtics ($5000)
  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($6900)
  • Chris Copeland, PF, Pacers ($5100)
  • Donald Sloan, PG, Pacers ($5600)

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Knicks @ Nets

Game Analysis

The Knicks have looked better on defense this year which is a plus, but they are struggling to score. The new look triangle offense has really hampered Carmelo and that is a big reason the Knicks have the second lowest scoring average in the league, below 90 points a game. Brooklyn on the other hand is off to a hot start averaging over 104 per game. They also recently added back their star center Brook Lopez and for the first time in recent memory are playing the cross town rivals with a full arsenal. The rivalry is intense between the owners and players, so I expect this game to hit the over and stay relatively close. No one wants to get blown out and be on the back pages with their heads down tomorrow.

Line: Nets -5.5, O/U 191 down from 193

Players to Watch

  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($7400)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($6100)
  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Knicks ($4100)
  • Amare Stoudemire, PF, Knicks ($5000)

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Bucks @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Both teams here struggle to score with a few players off to a slow start. They have played under more often then not so far and I would expect a sloppy game filled with missed shots and bad decisions. Greg Monroe back off suspension and into the starting line up is the one bright spot on either side to me. Brandon Knight revenge game against his old team could also have him motivated. Both are the lead dogs for their teams when things are going well.

Line: Pistons -4.5, O/U 192 down from 194

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks ($7400)
  • Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ($5,600)
  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($7000)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons ($3700)

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Wizards @ Raptors

Game Analysis

These two teams have gone over in a combined 8 of 10 games this year, so the pace and scoring have a chance to be hot and heavy in this one. Raptors may be without all their big men this game and if that is any indication we should see a lot of Lowry and Derozan to compensate. Washington’s bigs should be able to control the paint though, so it will be an interesting chess match.

Line: Raptors -3.5, O/U 194.5 down from 197

Players to Watch

  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9000)
  • Garrett Temple, SG, Wizards ($3700)
  • Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7800)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($8000)

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Grizzlies @ Thunder

Game Analysis

This was a game many would normally circle on the calendar, but with all the OKC injuries it is not what we hoped for. They are basically down to Reggie Jackson and Sebastian Telfair getting 30 minutes or more at the guard spot with Ibaka and a cast of bench players rounding out the rotation. Memphis on the other hand is their usual  slow, methodical, and incredibly efficient selves. I think this is low scoring, Ugly, and an easy W for the Grizz.

Line: Grizz -7, O/U 183.5 down from 185

Players to Watch

  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7800)
  • Courtney Lee, SG, Grizzlies ($3800)
  • Sebastian Telfair, PG, Thunder ($4100)
  • Steven Adams, C, Thunder ($4000)

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Kings @ Suns

Game Analysis

The Kings new commitment to defense will be put to the test against a Suns team that plays fast and can flat out score. What Phoenix big men lack in size they more then make up for with speed and skill which could create tough match ups for Sacramento if they get lazy on defense, which a few of their stars have been known to do. On the opposite end though there is no one in that building that can stop Demarcus Cousins except for Demarcus Cousins. If he is focused and motivated and not picking up incredibly dumb offensive foul calls on multiple back to back possessions then this could stay close.

Line: Suns -5, O/U 206.5 down from 209

Players to Watch

  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($9900)
  • Rudy Gay, SG, Kings ($7700)
  • Markieff Morris, Pf, Suns ($6800)
  • Isiah Thomas, PG, Suns ($5600)

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Mavericks @ Jazz

Game Analysis

Guess who is leading the NBA in team scoring at the moment? I bet even with two choices in this game most of you did not say the Mavericks. In fact both of these teams routinely see O/U above the 200 mark and are still a combined 6 for 10 on overs. Utah has a bad defense, but they too have been pushing pace and putting up points. They have a lot of confidence fresh off a Gordon Hayward buzzer beater to knock off the Cavs, so this should be an entertaining game filled with a lot of fantasy goodness.

Line: Mavs -3.5, O/U 206 up from 204

Players to Watch

  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz ($7600)
  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5300)
  • Devin Harris, PG, Mavs ($4600)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($7400)

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Cavs @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

I really do not know what to make of this game as both teams are struggling to find themselves. If I knew which Cavs team was going to show up and whether or not these guys were going to play better I could make some assumptions here, but so far they just look horrible. I honestly have no idea when they will gel, but based on recent performance this should be an ugly game and I would not be shocked to see the Nuggets win a close one or the Cavs blow them out. I don’t think there is an inbetween. It all depends on if Cavs decide to show up and play to the back of their basketball cards.

Line: Cavs -4.5, 209 O/U

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($6900)
  • Aaron Affalo, SG, Nuggets ($5000)
  • Andersen Varejao, C, Cavs ($4300)
  • Kevin Love, PF, Cavs ($9000)