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. The NBA Game Breakdown will offer daily fantasy basketball strategy for each game in today’s slate.

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Charlotte Hornets @ Toronto Raptors

Game Analysis

Toronto is firmly locked into the playoffs and Charlotte is completely out, so there is not much for either team to play for here. So far, the big news is Demar Derozan is out. Amir Johnson, Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are all questionable, as well as Lance Stephenson and PJ Hairston. It seems Lowry is going to play, though, but all the starters for the Raptors may play limited minutes. The Spread here is huge, and the total is nice, but it’s not the best target for fantasy purposes.

Line: Raptors -12, O/U 199.5

Players to Watch

  • Lou Williams, SG, Raptors ($5700)
  • Tyler Hansbrough, PF, Raptors ($4500)
  • Brain Roberts, PG, Hornets ($3500)
  • Marvin Williams, PF, Hornets ($5400)


Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls

Game Analysis

Vegas has and likely may not post lines on many of these games until right before tip off. This is one of those games. Both teams are firmly in the playoffs and there’s no telling how much if any the starters will be playing today for either side. At this point in the season we want to look for certainty, so follow the news flow and upgrade the guys you can be the most sure of minutes for. Here are some idea’s based on what I expect.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Shelvin Mack, PG, Hawks ($3900)
  • Mike Mascala, C, Hawks ($4300)
  • Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls ($5300)
  • Nikola Mirotic, PF, Bulls ($6000)


Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks

Game Analysis

Both teams are firmly in the playoffs. Boston’s win on Tuesday means this game is meaningless for both. The Bucks are locked into the 6 seed and Boston is clear in the 7 slot now. This could be a case where the coaches rest players after fighting for weeks to save their spot. Avery Bradley is almost definitely out and no word has come down on anyone else. I’d think the starters will stretch their legs, but doubt they see their normal minutes.

Line: Bucks -2, O/U 200.5

Players to Watch

  • OJ Mayo, SG, Bucks ($4200)
  • John Henson, PF, Bucks ($3900)
  • Jonas Jerebko, SF, Celtics ($3100)
  • Kelly Olynyk, C, Celtics ($3800)


Detroit Pistons @ New York Knicks

Game Analysis

This game means nothing to either team, but I think the usual suspects still see plenty of run here. The Knicks are basically playing their bench anyway, so there’s no one else to really evaluate here. Bargnani is likely still out, so that may open up some minutes, but the production bump will probably go to the guards as it recently has. Detroit is using a lot of the starters a normal amount of minutes. With the exception of Greg Monroe, they have all been pretty good. The price also reflects this, so I probably would not pay that much.

Line: Pistons -6, O/U 196.5

Players to Watch

  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($5800)
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Knicks ($4000)
  • Caron Butler, SF, Pistons ($3100)
  • Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons ($5200)


Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers

Game Analysis

Miami is officially out right now, so there’s a chance on the road that some of the older players rest in this one. The 76ers are another one of those teams that has already been in evaluation mode, so their minutes should stay steady. The one question that could change a lot is whether or not Nerlens Noel plays. He missed the last game, but could be back for this one. Either way this should not be high scoring, so on a 14 game slate I would use it sparingly at best.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Robert Covington, PF, 76ers ($5900)
  • Jerami Grant, SF, 76ers ($3700)
  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($7500)
  • Goran Dragic, PG, Hat ($6800)


Oklahoma City Thunder @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Game Analysis

The Thunder needs to win to stay alive, so they will be playing hard and not letting up. This is the kind of thing we want to target on the last day of the season with so much uncertainty. I am certain Russell Westbrook does not want to lose. I am certain his default mode is to do it himself and I am certain we will see that at some point during this game. With so many value options and so much uncertainty, I am also certain that he will put up numbers. On a day with so many question marks, it pays to be certain. Minnesota is a banged up team who is already looking forward to next year, so I don’t see them putting up much of a fight.

Line: OKC -14

Players to Watch

  • Robbie Hummel, SF, Timberwolves ($3200)
  • Zac Lavine, PG, Timberwolves ($6700)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($12000)
  • Enes Kanter, C, Thunder ($7800)


Orlando Magic @ Brooklyn Nets

Game Analysis

The Nets are going to need a Pacers loss to leave the door open for them to make the playoffs, but they also need to win. Therefore I think they are going to be going all out to try and handle their part of the equation. They have been playing fast and scoring points, so I expect an uptempo pace here. Both teams are pretty healthy and I can see Orlando trying to play the spoiler role. I think this is a hard fought, hard scoring affair and should be used for fantasy purposes.

Line: Nets -8, O/U 204

Players to Watch

  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($7500)
  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($6600)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($8100)
  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($6900)


Portland Trailblazers @ Dallas Mavericks

Game Analysis

Both teams are in the playoffs and locked into their spots. The large number of outs and questionables on both sides leads me to believe a lot of the starters will rest. If you need some cheap plays who are certain to see 30+ minutes, then this is the game to look for them in.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Charlie Villanueva, PF, Mavericks ($3300)
  • JJ Barea, PG, MAvericks ($3300)
  • Myers Leonard, C, Blazers ($4300)
  • Joel Freeland, C, Blazers ($3200)


San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

Game Analysis

This game has a lot to digest, so let’s start with New Orleans. They are tied with OKC for the final playoff spot, so they need to win. Therefore they will be playing this like it is already their first playoff game. Starters should see extra minutes and will be playing hard until the end. The Spurs need to win this game in order to win the division and get a higher seed. They are one of five teams in contention for all the middle spots in the playoffs, so they could end up anywhere between 2 and 6 depending on the outcome. This should be a close back and forth type of game with the starters getting full run, so I think it is definitely one you need exposure to on this slate.

Line: Spurs -5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11000)
  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7700)
  • Tim Duncan, C, Spurs ($6700)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($8400)


Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets

Game Analysis

This is a meaning less game in the overall scheme of things for Utah, but has big playoff implications for the Rockets. Hayward and Motiejunas are definitely out of this one, and Burke, Favors, and Howard are all questionable. There’s no reason for the Jazz to rush guys out there, but I can see these Rockets players all give it a go in a meaningful spot for them. I think the Rockets have too much firepower for a banged up and undermanned Jazz squad, but their defensive scheme may slow down the normally high powered Rockets a little bit. It’s not the worst idea to target a Rocket or two, but it’s not an easy match up for them.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz ($8000)
  • Trevor Booker, PF, Jazz ($5000)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6400)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10500)


Washington Wizards @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Game Analysis

Neither team can move anywhere with a win or loss and both are in the playoffs. I think this is another game where starters see limited run and the bench gets to shine. Be careful using anyone here for Fantasy purposes.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Cavaliers ($3800)
  • Tristan Thompson, PF, Cavaliers ($4400)
  • Ramon Sessions, G, Wizards ($4200)
  • Otto Porter, SF, Wizards ($3700)


Indiana Pacers @ Memphis Grizzlies

Game Analysis

While Memphis can improve their playoff positioning a tad with a win, it is not needed for them. Indiana on the other hand is likely out with a loss and solidifies their spot with a win. they have more to play for, but both teams should be going all out. Gasol and Conley are both listed as questionable. I think if they sit, Z BO may too and the Grizzlies will just reload for the playoffs. That would be fine by Indiana who would have no problems solidifying their spot if that is the case. I think the Pacers are in play here as the starters should see full run to try and clinch their spot.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Beno Udrih, PG, Grizzlies ($3400)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Girzzlies ($7000)
  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($5000)
  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($7200)


Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors

Game Analysis

This game has a lot of problems with it for fantasy. For starters, there’s a ton of questionable tags, so it’s tough to gauge minutes. A San Fransisco beat writer is already saying the starters will play limited minutes, so they are out at high prices on Golden State. That leaves a mess of bench players an injury replacements to decide the outcome here. The Total is huge, so Vegas expects points and a fast pace. Follow the news flow for Denver and see if you can make sense of the minutes. Should be high scoring although it’s tough to guess where the points come from on either side here.

Line: Warriors -11, O/U 215

Players to Watch

  • Randy Foye, SG, Nuggets ($5000)
  • Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets ($7000)
  • Shaun Livingston, PG, Warriors ($3200)
  • Andre Igoudala, SF, Warriors ($4400)


Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers

Game Analysis

Rudy Gay is out and so is Demarcus Cousins. That basically draws all attention away from this one for me. The Lakers are also likely without Clarkson and Lin with Wes Johnson also questionable. There’s a close spread, a lot of points, and a ton of usage open on both sides with the main threats all out. There should be some good games at low prices if you can figure out who steps up.

Line: Lakers -3, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Ray McCollum, PG, Kings ($5000)
  • Ben McLemore, SG, Kings ($4800)
  • Jordan Hill, C, Lakers ($4800)
  • Ryan Kelly, PF, Lakers ($4800)