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.

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat

Game Analysis

It’s hard to believe, but this game still means something to both clubs, as the Bulls (46-32) head into Miami to take on the Heat (35-43). The Bulls are fighting for playoff position, while the Heat are scratching for their playoff lives, as they remain one game out (tied with the Indiana Pacers) behind the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Yes, there are still two spots up for grabs in the Eastern Conference, so that means the Heat must improve upon their 28th ranking in scoring (94.6 PPG). The Heat have only reached the 100-point threshold twice since March 20th.

The Bulls have lost two games in a row, but this should be a close contest overall. I don’t think this game hits the O/U of 191.5, as I have a difficult time believing Dwyane Wade and the Heat will score enough to push things over.

Line: MIA -1.0, Over/Under: 191.5

Players to Watch

  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Bulls – 20th OPRK ($7,800)
  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat  – 27th OPRK ($6,900)
  • Joakim Noah, C, Bulls – 18th OPRK ($6,000)
  • Udonis Haslem, PF, Heat  – 14th OPRK ($4,400)

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors

Game Analysis

I bet you’d like to think there’s some deeper meaning behind this game, but the Warriors (63-15) and the Trail Blazers (50-27) really don’t have much to play for on Thursday. Look for LaMarcus Aldridge to possibly sit out this matchup, since he played Wednesday, and he’s had a difficult time staying healthy all season long. The Blazers want him Ready-Freddy for the playoffs. While Stephen Curry looks to be the play with his 22nd OPRK, there’s a chance he could see his minutes cut in this game as well.

Will the Warriors cover the -9.0 line at home? Tough call, and it’s a line I’d normally stay away from, but, if you insist, with Aldridge likely sitting, the Warriors are likely to win by at least that number (9). Don’t be surprised, though, to see a combined 215 score or more, with the Blazers and Warriors amongst the NBA best in points per game.

Line: GS -9.0, Over/Under: 209

Players to Watch

  • Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors – 22nd OPRK ($9,200)
  • Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers  – 13th OPRK ($7,900)
  • Nicolas Batum, SF, Trail Blazers – 20th OPRK ($6,400)
  • Andrew Bogut, C, Warriors  – 6th OPRK ($5,200)

Catch me on Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy. I just might answer your questions if I don’t have anything better to do.