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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Rockets @ Cavs

Game Analysis

Lebron is definitely out and Kyrie is still Questionable, so it’s tough to give you a definite view on this one. Both teams are struggling lately as the Cavs have lost 5 of their last 6 and the Rockets have tasted defeat in 4 of 6 as well. Two teams many picked for the finals preseason. The Cavs problems are lack of depth and injuries. The two go hand in hand as every time a star goes down the replacement for them is no where near as productive on either end of the floor. The Rockets problems all stem from the rotation being out of whack. They added Brewer and Josh Smith to a team that was rolling and since the change we have seen some growing pains as they try to gel. The key to the demise has been on the defensive end. The normally stout Rockets defense has starting seeing plenty of opponents get over the triple digit mark recently. The additions of Brewer and Smith were suppose to be for defensive reasons, so this is not a positive change. Overall though I think an undermanned Cavs squad will have trouble staying with this Rockets team. If Kyrie is healthy they may be able to keep it close for 48 minutes, but sans Kyrie I am really not sure it is a game. Due to poor defense recently from both sides I think we could see some points here, but make sure you check injury reports before tip as a lot will be riding on whether or not Kyrie suits up.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Kevin Love, PF, Cavs ($10700)
  • JR Smith, SG, Cavs ($4300)
  • James HArden, SG, Rockets ($10200)
  • Dwight Howard, C, Rockets ($8600)

Injury Update

Kyrie is going to play as per Basketball Monster website, so he becomes a solid option as long as he is not limited. I think this ticks down K. Love a little bit as well, especially at his price tag.

 

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Pelicans @ Hornets

Game Analysis

New Orleans has played to the under in three straight games on the back of solid defense that is allowing only 90 points per over that span. Charlotte has a two game win streak going at the moment, but has not been playing well without Lance Stephenson and Al Jefferson who are both out with injuries. They are having a little trouble scoring and definitely are much weaker on the interior on both ends of the floor without them. With New Orleans defending well and Charlotte struggling to score, I can see this game being lower scoring and playing to the under. The pace ticks down for the Pelicans and the stingy defense of New Orleans counters the pace uptick, so I don’t think either team is in for an unusual upside night. With a 13 game slate I would be cautious about going heavy here, although there are a few interesting plays.

Line: Pelicans -4, O/U 193.5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11000)
  • Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans ($5600)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets ($5300)
  • Gerald Henderson, SG, Hornets ($5300)

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Bucks @ 76ers

Game Analysis

Milwaukee has been up and down in the win column lately going 4 wins in their last 7, but all 7 have been under due to the strong defense the Bucks are back to playing. The Sixers had 5 straight losses before finally getting a win over the injury riddled Cavs last time out. Philly tends to give up a lot of points and when they score the games tend to be over and when they don’t they play to the under. They have basically alternated between over and unders over the last few games, so there’s no real pattern to discern from it. If the Bucks can hold the Sixers offense down which I think is likely, then the game should stay well below 200 total points and even on the road should translate into a Bucks win. Bucks are on the tail end of a back to back and have a short bench due to illness and injury, so that may factor in, but I am not overly concerned about it to be honest.

Line: Bucks -6, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks ($7500)
  • Kris Middleton, SF, Bucks ($4700)
  • Robert Covington, PF, Sixers ($5600)
  • Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($5800)

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Knicks @ Wizards

Game Analysis

The Knicks have gone over only once in their last seven and the Wizards have only done it twice. The difference is the reasons for it as the Wizards lock down defense has kept opponents from scoring and the Knicks putrid offense has kept them from scoring. Merge the two trends together and -13 is a generously low amount of points for this train wreck. Wizards are one of the best teams in the East, the Knicks roster would be mid pack in the East if we were talking about the Big East. The collection of healthy players they have currently is scaring nobody. Cole Aldrich and Quincy Acy holding down the 4 and 5. Hardaway likely starting and starring at the SG spot now that Shump and JR have been shipped out. Calderon at point and then somebody else because the rules say you need to play 5 at a time. Nothing about that line up scares me, except if I was taking any Wizards tonight for DFS. I do not see the Wizards needing to give the starters heavy run today and I fear they will all play less minutes then usual. I would touch no Wizards in this one at all and as bad as the Knicks are the value in this game may be on their side of the ball. On a large Slate I am looking elsewhere for my main plays, but you can find a flyer or two here at a low cost if you need one.

Line: Wizards -13, O/U 190

Players to Watch

  • Tim Hardaway Jr, SG, Knicks ($5000)
  • Quincy Acy, PF, Knicks ($4100)
  • Kris Humphries, PF, Wizards ($4000)
  • Otto Porter, SF, Wizards ($3600)

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Celtics @ Nets

Game Analysis

Boston has one win in their last eight games and have been playing to the over more recently due to the uptick in pace and lack of defense. The Nets have won six of ten and are playing to the over more often recently as well. This has the potential to be a higher scoring game above the 200 total mark. Garnett should be back tonight, but the Nets will most likely still be without PG Deron Williams who is listed as doubtful for the game. That puts Jarret Jack squarely in play if so and I think that is a good thing for him with the expected hot pace. I like the Nets in a faster pace game here today against a suspect defensive squad. I try to steer clear of train wrecks, so I will probably not have any Celtics tonight, but a few are interesting.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Jarret Jack, PG, Nets ($6500)
  • Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($6400)
  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($6600)
  • Jeff Green, SF, Celtics ($5600)

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Grizzlies @ Hawks

Game Analysis

This should be a very competitive game between two of the NBAs best teams. Word is Z Bo practiced yesterday and has a good chance to play tonight. That’s good news for a Memphis team who has won 4 of the last 5 games without him and are going up against a Hawks team that has won 9 of it’s last 10. The Hawks are the top team in the East currently and have good balance throughout their roster. I think we see a few more points here than Vegas expects and the Hawks should prove to be the victors. The DvP match ups for most of the stars are sub par, so I think you need to be careful who you play from this one. Z Bo status is worth monitoring as Conley and Gasol have been shouldering more of the load without him. My fear is his return makes all three solid cash game options but really hurts the upside.

Line: Hawks -3

Players to Watch

  • Demarre Carroll, SF, Hawks ($5700)
  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks ($8300)
  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($8300)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($9300)

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Jazz @ Bulls

Game Analysis

The Bulls at home and relatively healthy should have a tighter game then Vegas expects against a surging Jazz team. Chicago has looked great winning 9 of their last 10 and scoring 110 points per over the last three with Mirotic getting SF minutes for the injured Dunleavy. They also have been worse defensively which accounts for the recent run of overs. The Jazz have also been pretty good winning 6 of 10, but playing to the under 70% of the time in those. They have averaged right around 100 points in their last five and given up about the same. The low O/U tonight makes me think it’s possible we see it hit the over. The big injury for the Jazz was SG Alec Burks which so far has ticked up the production of Trey and Gordon Hayward filling in. Rudy Gobert is in line for another start with Kanter still listed as Doubtful and Joe Ingles is likely to get another start at SF after he had a huge game last out in relief of Rodney Hood. I think the Bulls still win this game, but the scrappy young Jazz team we see out there has a chance to be really good a few years down the road. Tonight though, they will fall short of the Bulls, but with the low price tags could be the better fantasy plays.

Line: Bulls -9, O/U 195.5

Players to Watch

  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5000)
  • Joe Ingles, SF, Jazz ($3500)
  • Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls ($9400)
  • Nikola Mirotic, PF, Bulls ($5200)

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Pistons @ Mavericks

Game Analysis

This line was very curious to me. Pistons have played really well lately and despite being on the back end of a road trip that saw them play last night to the end for the win, I don’t see them getting blown out here. Both teams have won six straight, are averaging over 100 and keeping opponents in the mid 90s. What I really like about this game as well is the match ups. Drummond has been an offensive force since Josh Smith was jettisoned and he draws Tyson Chandler who is own of the premier defensive big men in the NBA. Rondo and Jennings get to match up and that too should be fun to watch them go at each other.

Line: Mavericks -10, O/U 211

Players to Watch

  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($7000)
  • Jodie Meeks, SG, Pistons ($4500)
  • Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavericks ($8200)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7200)

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Magic @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

Ty Lawson is listed as questionable but reports say he practiced yesterday so I would think he is going to play. If he is out that changes a lot, but for now we will go on the assumption he plays. If he does against what has been bad PG defense from the Magic I can see him having a big game. The Nuggets seem to be tweaking their rotation recently so pay attention to the last few game logs and yo could find some good value even in an easy victory like many expect here. I think this game has a chance to play to the under as the Magic are not a high paced team and do play solid defense occasionally. The best Value play based on recent performance of the night might be Nuggets C Jusuf Nurkic. Take a long look at him as he has helped some sharp players win some real nice money recently.

Line: Nuggets -8, O/U 200.5

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($9200)
  • Jusuf Nurkic, C, Nuggets ($4900)
  • Victo Oladipo, SG, Magic ($5800)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8400)

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Suns @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Both of these teams like to play fast and only one of them really plays any defense, so this line from Vegas seems spot on to me. It could be a little closer dueto Minnesota being at home, but I can see Suns blowing them out too which is just as likely. Both of these teams routinely see O/U in the range we have today and play to it more often then not, so at the very least I think you can expect a lot of points, especially on the Phoenix side. We should see full amount of playing time for the stars here and I think you would be crazy not to use at least a little bit of this game in your line ups.

Line: Suns -8.5, O/U 215.5

Players to Watch

  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($9200)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6500)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6400)
  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolves ($7300)

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Thunder @ Kings

Game Analysis

OKC is 5-5 over their last 10, but the losses have been to Western conference Powers like Golden State and Portland. The have only gone under in 2 of their last 10 and that has a lot to do with a healthy Westbrook and Durant combo. Sacramento has 3 wins in their last 10 and have played over in 7 of those due to high pace and bad defense. This sets up as a very high scoring game for OKC and a probable win. I’m hoping Sacramento can keep it close because it should be a fruitful game for the OKC team if it stays that way.

Line: Thunder -7.5, O/U 212

Players to Watch

  • Darren Collison, PG, Kings ($7000)
  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10700)
  • Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder ($11100)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10200)

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Pacers @ Warriors

Game Analysis

Warriors have been so good and so explosive at home that despite a slower paced team that plays solid defense coming to town they are still expected to score about 107 points. The Pacers have a few injuries that have shuffled minutes and usage rates around a bit, so check the injury reports and the game logs to see who might benefit. Hill out has been good for guys like Sloan, Stuckey, and Miles. It is a different name every game recently, so just be aware those minutes and production are tough to predict. I do think we see a few points in this one, but I would not really tick either team up from their current averages too much as I think they both score around what they average.

Line: Warriors -11, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($6300)
  • CJ Miles, SF, Pacers ($5000)
  • Draymond Green, SF, Warriors ($8500)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7000)

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Lakers @ Clippers

Game Analysis

I know Kobe is listed as questionable but no way he does not play tonight in my opinion. Same goes for ronnie Price making Wes Johnson really the only guy the Lakers should be without. It’s good too, because the Clips really struggle to guard perimeter players and the way the Lakers struggle to guard PGs and Bigs the DvP match ups in this one for the stars on both teams is phenominal. The O/U is high and it doesn’t matter whose home game this is as they both play in the Staples Center. Overall I think this stays a little closer then Vegas does and think it is every bit as high scoring as they expect. We should see some fast paced basketball which also is good for the volume shooter in Kobe and the floor general and his finishers on the Clips. Definitely need some exposure to the Battle of LA in my opinion.

Line: Clips -10.5, O/U 215

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clips ($9700)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clips ($8100)
  • Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers ($8800)
  • Nick Young, SG, Lakers ($4600)