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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Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers

Game Analysis

Hornets have only won three of their last seven, but have scored triple digits in five of those games. They are playing fast and seeing more points being scored on both ends of the floor. The Pacers have also been paced up. They have seen the over hit in eight of their last ten games. Both of these teams have been scoring and neither of them has been playing much defense. I was surprised to see this spread as low as it is. The way both teams have played I think the over is in play and this one could be close to the end. Despite the low Vegas total I think this is a sneaky game to target for fantasy with a lot of the players having reasonable price tags.

Line: Pacers -5, O/U 193.5

Players to Watch

  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($6500)
  • Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets ($7700)
  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($7500)
  • David West, PF, Pacers ($5800)


 

New York Knicks @ Washington Wizards

Game Analysis

There’s really not a lot to say here. The Knicks have been horrible lately. They have a very weak starting five and no bench depth at all. Vegas is being kind by only putting the spread at 15 here. The O/U is also one of the lowest on the day, so there’s not much need to overdo it here. I am hesitant to use many of the Wizards and would actually prefer a few Knicks here. Still I would not be stacking this game by any stretch and would shy away from Washington starters.

Line: Wizards -14, O/U 192.5

Players to Watch

  • Andrea Bargnani, PF, Knicks ($5900)
  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($5300)
  • Otto Porter, SF, Wizards ($3600)
  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9000)


 

Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics

Game Analysis

Milwaukee has won three of it’s last five and has played to the under in four of those games. Boston has also won four of it’s last six and played to the under in four of those. Both of these teams have seen their scoring down, which has been the reason for the unders lately. Milwaukee took the only other meeting between these two this year. It was a game in the low 190s total wise and fits with the Vegas spread tonight. This game is in Boston as opposed to Milwaukee and the Celtics have looked better than the Bucks lately, so I think Vegas pegged this one right. It’s not the best or worst total of the evening, so while useable, it is not a game to target heavily.

Line: Celtics -5, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Evan Turner, PG, Celtics ($5900)
  • Tyler Zeller, C, Celtics ($4300)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Bucks ($6300)
  • Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($5900)


 

Toronto Raptors @ Brooklyn Nets

Game Analysis

This is an interesting game. For starters it looks like Kyle Lowry will be out. If he is not, than that changes a lot of this analysis. Toronto has managed to win three in a row without him and they have kept the opponents under 100 points. They are also playing slower, which is why the scoring has dipped as well. The new philosophy will be put to the test against a Nets team that is playing much faster. The Nets have won eight of their last ten and scored over 100 in seven of those games. The opponents scoring is also up which is how I know they are playing at a much higher pace and want to sustain it. Brooklyn went into Toronto and won by sixteen about seven weeks ago. This one has a high total and a close spread, so if you agree with Vegas, it should be a great game to target.

Line: Nets -2.5, O/U 207

Players to Watch

  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($6100)
  • Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($6100)
  • Jonas Valaciunas, C, Raptors ($6000)
  • Lou Williams, SG, Raptors ($5400)


 

Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls

Game Analysis

The Pistons have won six of the last nine with seven overs. The key to the turn around has actually been the loss of one of their best players. With Greg Monroe out, we have seen Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all step up. It looks like we should be in that situation again tomorrow and this time hopefully they all stay out of foul trouble. Today they get a Bulls team that has won five of their last seven. They have only allowed two opponents to score over 100 against them during this stretch, but one of those was the Pistons. This time the game is in Chicago and the Bulls are back to full health. All the bigs are healthy and Butler is back too. I think Vegas nailed this one with the Bulls being heavy favorites. The way their defense has been playing, I can see why they also have the total lower. There’s some interesting match ups here with Reggie having an edge over Brooks and Pope having to struggle with Butler. I do not think we should use this game heavy, but I can see including a few guys here.

Line: Bulls -9, O/U 196

Players to Watch

  • Reggie Jackson, PG, Pistons ($8500)
  • Anthony Tolliver, PF, Pistons ($4300)
  • Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls ($8200)
  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Bulls ($8000)


 

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies

Game Analysis

Despite the heroics of Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have lost three of the last four. They lost to Dallas, Utah, and San Antonio so it is not exactly anything to be ashamed of. With that said, things get no easier for them with Memphis. The Grizz have struggled to score in recent games with an average of barely 90 over their last four. They have lost three of those games and the health of Zach Randolph is a big reason. He may sit tomorrow, so keep an eye on that. Due to the uncertainty of it, Vegas is slow to post a total on this one. Conley is one of the better defensive Point Guards in the league and Westy is one of the most unstoppable forces, so that’s an interesting match up. Same goes for Gasol with Kanter. The Memphis defense is normally pretty stout, but lately they have been giving up points. Vegas still likes Memphis in this one and if that is the case I think you have to figure they like Gasol in this one. DFS players should like that he is the cheaper option vs. Kanter in this one.

Line: Grizzlies -4, O/U

Players to Watch

  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7200)
  • Jeff Green, SF, Grizzlies ($5900)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($12500)
  • Anthony Morrow, SG, Thunder ($4300)


 

Orlando Magic @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Somebody has to win this game according to the rulebook. Orlando has lost nine of it’s last ten. They are averaging only about 96 points over that stretch. Seven of the last eight games they have allowed their opponent to score triple digits. Add those two facts together and you can see why they are struggling. The Timberwolves have lost six of their last seven. It’s very close to being the same story. Their scoring is down and their opponents are putting up big numbers. They play a little faster than does Orlando, so that should tick up the Magic if anything. I do not think this turns into a track meet, but we could see a few points in this one. Minnesota has been a source of value with a lot of cheap options playing big minutes, so if the injury report stays filled up, we should see more of that.

Line: Magic -3, O/U

Players to Watch

  • Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($7500)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($7600)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6800)
  • Zach Lavine, PG, Timberwolves ($6100)


 

Denver Nuggets @ San Antonio Spurs

Game Analysis

This is another one of those games with a little bit of blow out risk. Spurs are favored by 12 with a really high spread here. The Spurs have been rolling out the full line up lately, even at this point in the season. They are within two games in either direction of about 5 teams all fighting for playoff position with under 10 games each to go. Denver has been losers of six of their last eight. They still like to play fast and put up a good amount of points. The Spurs on the other hand have been putting up points and limiting their opponents. They have won eight of their last nine, have held score triple digits in seven of those games, and held opponents scoring average under 90 during this stretch. When the Spurs get a big lead, Pop tends to rest some of the old warriors on that team. There’s always a chance that happens tonight, which makes using this game tough.

Line: Spurs -12, O/U 206

Players to Watch

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7900)
  • Boris Diaw, PF, Spurs ($4300)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($5800)
  • Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets ($7000)


 

New Orleans Pelicans @ Sacramento Kings

Game Analysis

New Orleans really needs this game to keep their glimmer of playoff hopes alive, so I think they will be firing on all cylinders. They are currently two games back of OKC after reeling off three straight wins and are looking to narrow the gap. In those last three games they are averaging 109 points and limiting opponents to under 90. They are going to need some help to get in the playoffs, but all they can do is worry about winning their own games at this point. Sacramento had won four straight games and scored over 100 in each of them. Recently though, they have dropped their last three. Their scoring is down, but the pace is still up. That is bad news as the opposition have still been putting up points on them. Ever since they switched to the more up tempo style, the results have been more to the downside. With New Orleans having something to play for, and Sacramento being out of it, I would expect a Pelicans victory today in what should be a higher scoring affair. Definitely think we have a few decent options in this one for fantasy purposes.

Line: Pelicans -6, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10000)
  • Omri Casspi, SF, Kings ($4000)
  • Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans ($4600)
  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11400)


 

Portland Trailblazers @ Los Angeles Lakers

Game Analysis

Portland has won four of it’s last five. In the slower paced games, they tend to limit opponents under 90 points, but they also have the firepower to put up 115 or 120 against some of the faster paced teams they face. This is another one of those games with a decent total and some blw out potential due to the high spread. Portland is a playoff bound team jockeying for position and the Lakers are basically tanking so they do not lose their lottery protected pick. Not only do I think the Blazers win this one tonight, but I think it may get out of hand. You can never predict a blowout, but just be careful not to use this game too heavily tonight.

Line: Blazers -10, O/U 201

Players to Watch

  • Jordan Clarkson, PG, Lakers ($6400)
  • Wes Johnson, SF, Lakers ($4700)
  • Nic Batum, SF, Blazers ($6700)