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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Raptors @ Cavaliers

Game Analysis

Cleveland has won 7 straight after a slow start only failing to score triple digits in their 90 to 87 victory over the slow paced Knicks. The have also played some lock down defense allowing only Milwaukee to score over 100 during that 7 game run. Toronto has really picked up the pace since losing DeRozan as they have basically scored and given up over 100 in 7 of their last 9. The one game they failed to reach 100 was when they last played Cleveland at home and the one game an opponent failed to reach 100 was when they beat Cleveland on the road. Cleveland went into Toronto four days ago and hung a 14 point defeat on them, so I think we see something more along those lines again here today. Due to the high scores the Raptors have been seeing and the faster pace they have been playing at I would expect Cleveland to finish with 105-110 points tonight and keep the Raptors at or below 100. I think this ticks up the Cavs and ticks down the Raptors for daily fantasy purposes. This is currently the highest O/U on the slate today so I think you have to consider a bunch of these guys tonight.

Line: Cavs -6, O/u 206.5

Players to Watch

  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($11200)
  • Dion Waiters, SG, Cavs ($3600)
  • Jonas Valanciunas, C, Raptors ($5600)
  • Patrick Patterson, PF, Raptors ($4700)

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Trailblazers @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Portland has won 9 of their last 10 and Detroit has lost 10 straight, so you already know who I think is going to win this game. The question becomes how do we see it playing out? Detroit has struggled to score and struggled to stop people on the other end. Blazers have been scoring over 100 routinely and if anything I would say the knock on them lately has been giving up a few too many points. The Blazers play at a higher pace, so I would think that favors the Pistons being ticked up a little bit for fantasy purposes tonight as they should see more possessions then usual. The problem is the poor shooting of Detroit does not inspire confidence that they can take advantage of the extra possessions. There is also a blow out risk here, so be careful.

Line: Blazers -7.5. O/U 197.5

Players to Watch

  • Robin Lopez, C, Blazers ($5400)
  • Lamarcus Aldridge, PF, Blazers ($9900)
  • Andre Drummond, C, Pistons ($8100)
  • Brandon Jennings, PG, Pistons ($7000)

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Mavericks @ Grizzlies

Game Analysis

A close game with a high over under between two consistently good teams is a nice recipe for fantasy goodness. For starters I think the pace Dallas plays out will mean an uptick in production for Memphis players and the defense and pace of Memphis will be a slight downgrade for Dallas guys. Dallas has scored over 100 in 9 of the last 10 with an average of about 113. Memphis, known more as a defensive team has also averaged over 100 points in it’s last 10 although barely. The difference is that Memphis allows a league low 93.5 a game while Dallas allows closer to 103. The Mavs advantage is they have averaged a league best 110 points a game compared to only 100 for Memphis. This is truely a game of strength vs. strength as the best scoring offense takes on the best defense. The game is in Memphis where the Griz rarely ever lose although Dallas did beat them there last season and they did just lose the first home game in about 9 months to San Antonio there a few nights back. Pace favors the Griz, but I think this is a game which should be one of the higher scoring on the slate and deserves your attention.

Line: Grizzlies -3, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($7400)
  • Jon Leuer, PF, Grizzlies ($3700)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7900)
  • Tyson Chandler, C , Mavericks ($6900)

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Knicks @ Pelicans

Game Analysis

This is a sneaky one to target for fantasy goodness and let me explain why. Despite losing five straight games, the Knicks have been close in all of them. The average final margin has only been 4 points with 7 being the largest margin of defeat in that span. While I do not think the Knicks win this one on the road at New Orleans, I do think they can keep it close enough to see some extra minutes for the Pelican starters. I would temper my expectations slightly though, because the Knicks do play at a slow pace so I doubt the final is 120 to 115 in this one. The Pelicans are looking to get back on track as they are only 1-5 at home in their last six games there. All of those losses have been to potential playoff teams though (LAC, GSW, Was, Atl, and Den) so I can give them a pass for it, but it is still alarming. I do not think the Knicks are that caliber and Pelicans, despite being a buzzsaw in the first few games, seem to have come back to earth now. They alternate playing games in the 100s and games in the high 80 or low 90s so I definitely think they tend to let opponents dictate pace. That is a drawback here because the Knicks play slow, so I would not use a lot of guys in this one, but I think a few targets are interesting.

Line: Pelicans -7, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11600)
  • Tyreke Evans, SG, Pelicans ($7300)
  • Amare Stoudemire, PF, Knicks ($6100)
  • Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks ($10000)

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Bucks @ Thunder

Game Analysis

You guys are going to think i am crazy, but I am calling for a good showing from Jason Kidd and his team of young Bucks tonight. Bucks have lost four of their last five and played to the over in 4 of those. If you are wondering why that makes me think they have a shot tonight, just look at those losses. A three point loss to the red hot Cavs on the road is nothing to be ashamed of and neither is losing by two to a Dallas team that has been rolling. Those two games are sandwiched between losses to Dallas and Houston who are two of the best in the conference and they smashed Miami in the fifth game of that recent set. I’m not sure they have enough to beat the Thunder, but I don’t see OKC blowing them out either. OKC stats are still not anything to really dig deeper into. Mostly because they were without two of the best players in the entire game until a few days ago. Since then they have won 4 of their last 5 and despite the return of the two stars still seem to be struggling a little bit to score. I still think OKC wins this one, but I predict the Bucks and under parlay will pay off.

Line: Thunder -9.5, O/U 200

Players to Watch

  • Jabari Parker, SF, Bucks ($5000)
  • Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ($4800)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($00)
  • Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder ($7100)

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Spurs @ Jazz

Game Analysis

San Antonio has one loss in it’s last ten and that was a two point defeat in Brooklyn at the hands of the Nets last week. Utah has lost 9 straight since beating an OKC team devoid of any of it’s best players. This one has all the earmarks of a blowout. Spurs have been putting up a good deal of points and limiting teams to the second lowest point totals in the league next to Memphis. Tony Parker will sit tonight and Manu is on the wrong side of questionable with a bum shoulder, but honestly we already know it does not matter. Bellinelli had 20 the other night after being horrible all year so far. Kawhi, Baynes, Duncan, Green, and Joseph are all guys who have put up really nice fantasy games in the last few weeks when called upon to do so. The biggest mystery with the Spurs is not if they play well, but who exactly plays well and should be targeted. Utah welcomed back SG Alec Burks the other night, but it made little difference for them. They struggle to both score points and stop people, so that is never a good recipe. It’s even worse against the Defending champs and I would be very cautious about using this game heavy with a high spread and a low O/U.

Line: Spurs -9, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Cory Joseph, PG, Spurs ($4700)
  • Marco Bellinelli, SG, Spurs ($4000)
  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5300)
  • Alec Burks, SG, Jazz ($5900)

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Heat @ Suns

Game Analysis

This is not a match up I think the Heat are looking forward to. They are on a five game losing streak and have been scoring very few points and giving up way too many over this stretch. They are on the road and facing a Suns team that has been playing well against much better teams and is looking to get back in the win column itself. The Heat’s defense has been epically bad. Teams are making close to 60% of their shots against them which is well above league average. While many would argue that is because teams dominate the Heat inside, the truth is the Heat are one of the worst in the league at giving up open looks from 3 point range. While Phoenix does not really have a lot of high percentage 3 point gunners, they do put up a ton of shots from behind the arc and NBA players can always make open looks, especially if they get a lot of them. If this game was in Miami I could see the spread being low and close, but to me if this game even sees 202 points it will be 110 of them for Phoenix and around 90 or so for Miami. I would be fine running out a few Suns tonight and I really do not like the Heat on current form. This could turn into a blowout and I think Vegas has this one all wrong.

Line: Suns -4.5, O/U 202.5

Players to Watch

  • Goran Dragic, PG, Suns ($7900)
  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($8200)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6700)
  • Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat ($6000)

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Kings @ Lakers

Game Analysis

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Lakers made the line up change to finally put in Ed Davis over Carlos Boozer who plays less defense than, well I do not even have a comparable it has been so bad. Ditto for PG Jeremy Linn who was replaced by Ronnie Price. None of this matters as long as the Lakers continue to struggle to score though as well. Kobe has been below his averages lately and shooting a horrendous percentage. Swaggy P is also ice cold as he either goes for 30 points and hits everything, or goes for 10 points and shoots 30% from the field. Sacramento started as one of the hottest teams in the league, but have struggled over the past week after star center Demarcus Cousins went out with a case of viral Meningitis. Since then they have struggled on both ends of the floor and are below their season averages for scoring and well above for points allowed. At full strength I take the Kings in this one without thinking about it, and honestly I still like them more here which is why this line has me perplexed. I do not know which way this goes, but Vegas expects it to be close and high scoring. Due to the lack of defense both teams play at this point I would think it sets up as a good spot to roll out the usual suspects and hope Vegas is right. With one of the highest O/U on the day and a close game expected you really are doing yourself a disservice not having at least some exposure to this game.

Line: Lakers -4, O/U 206.5

Players to Watch

  • Jason Thompson, PF, Kings ($4300)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7900)
  • Jordan Hill, C, Lakers ($6400)
  • Ed Davis, PF, Lakers ($4100)

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