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.

Tuesday’s Contests

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Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat

Game Analysis

By this point in the season, it is very tough to figure out who will be playing and who will not. There are nine guys in this game listed as out or questionable at the moment. Without knowing who is in and at what ability they can play, it makes it tough to gauge. Big Al is the top guy I am concerned with here. It is a huge downgrade from him to Biyombo (also questionable, but likely to play), so that alone would tip the scales in the Heat’s favor. Whiteside is expected back, but Deng, Birdman, and Beaseley are likely out. If Big Al and Cody Zeller are out, that opens up minutes for Marvin Williams again. Still, I think this game will be dominated by the guards on both sides. The total here is high and the spread is close, so I would look for a few big games out of the backcourts.

Line: Heat -3, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat ($6800)
  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($7100)
  • Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets ($7800)
  • Mo Williams, PG, Hornets ($5500)


Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks

Game Analysis

The Hawks have basically clinched the top spot in the east, and a loss today (or a Pelicans/Thunder win), basically knocks the Suns out of contention. Alex Len, Brandon Knight, and Paul Millsap are all likely to miss this game. That creates some value for a few of the bench guys. Teague still has a tender ankle, but Schroder is back and should help alleviate that problem with a good amount of minutes. Without Millsap, the Hawks will likely use a combination of guys from Antic to Muscala to Scott in order to cover those minutes. The Suns are not a particularly big team, so the guy I think gets the biggest bump is Scott. The total here is pretty high, and we should see the Hawks near 105 in this one. They do play some solid defense, but I’d like to see how well that goes if the starters get some rest to ready themselves for the playoffs.

Line: Hawks -8, O/U 204

Players to Watch

  • Dennis Scroder, PG, Hawks ($5000)
  • Mike Scott, PF, Hawks ($3000)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6000)
  • Brandan Wright, PF, Suns ($5200)


San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Game Analysis

The Thunder and Pelicans are in a tight neck and neck race for the final playoff spot in the West. With about 5 games left, every one of them counts. Both teams have tough matchups today, and they both really need to win. I do not know if the Spurs will be resting anyone yet, but it is a possibility based on their M.O. OKC needs this game to stay in contention, so I know they are going to come out hungry. If everyone does play, I have to think Pop puts Kawhi on Russ in this one. As a basketball fan, that should be a fun matchup to watch. The problem is it should make this a tough game for Russ. The Thunder need to win to stay in the hunt, so they will not quit in this one. The total is high and they are at home, so I expect this to be one of the more targeted games on this slate tonight, and with good reason.

Line: Spurs -5.5, O/U 216

Players to Watch

  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($11800)
  • Enes Kanter, C, Thunder ($7600)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7800)
  • Danny Green, SG, Spurs ($5400)


Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans

Game Analysis

The other team in that tight race for the last playoff spot has it no easier with the Warriors coming to town. Golden State dropped it’s first game in about a month last time out against San Antonio, so they should be eager to get back on the winning track after having that double digit win streak snapped. They had the lowest output they put up in over 10 games with only 92 points against the Spurs. Their previous low was 106, and they routinely play in the 110-120 range.  New Orleans has also been hot, as they have won four of their last five games. Their scoring has been up, and it has carried them to those victories. With two teams scoring and playing at the pace these two enjoy, I expect this game to be over the 205 mark Vegas predicts. Again, we expect the home team to fight to the end with the playoffs on the line, so I think this game is useable for fantasy purposes.

Line: Warriors -5, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7900)
  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11200)
  • Steph Curry, PG, Warriors ($9200)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7300)


Minnesota Timberwolves @ Sacramento Kings

Game Analysis

Vegas has no total on this game, because neither team has anything but draft position to play for, and about half the guys on both teams are hurt. Minnesota has no one to stop Boogie Cousins, and Rudy Gay is possibly out again. If that happens, Cousins should have another huge game. It looks like Hamilton and Payne will be the guys who see the most big man minutes for the Timberwolves, so good luck with those guys not getting into foul trouble. LaVine is likely starting at the point again, and Wiggins is always an option when the other scorers are out. The Kings are favored to win this game comfortably, and the only way that happens is a big game by Cousins. He’s really the only guy I like here, but there’s some value options you can use if you need to.

Line: Kings -8

Players to Watch

  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10300)
  • Ray McCollum, PG, Kings ($4600)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6800)
  • Chase Budinger, SF, Timberwolves ($5100)


Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers

Game Analysis

This game has “blow out” written all over it. The Clippers are in a battle with four other teams that are all between 50-53 wins for the middle spots in the playoff picture. They will make sure they win this game for that and the pride of being the best team in LA. They were the second straight team to beat the Lakers by thirty in their last game a few days ago. The Lakers have now lost by almost 90 points in their last three combined, so do I really need to go on here? Basically, I do not like the Lakers, who should struggle in this one and would shy away from high priced Clippers who should see less minutes. I’ll be avoiding this game as much as I can on this slate, as we have some obviously better spots to target.

Line: Clippers -17, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Deandre Jordan, C, Clippers ($8200)
  • Austin Rivers, PG, Clippers ($3000)
  • Ryan Kelly, PF, Lakers ($4000)
  • Wesley Johnson, SF, Lakers ($5000)