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.
CAVALIERS AT THUNDER
The Cavaliers (13-7) head into Thursday’s game against the Thunder (8-13) with a stout eight-game winning streak in hand, with LeBron James leading the way as he is currently averaging 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists over his last five games played. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back in action for the Thunder, James will need to continue his dominant ways against a pesky Cavs club that refuses to give up. Early on, they have dealt with personnel issues, inconsistencies and lack of general motivation at times, but things couldn’t be better for the highly talented Cavs. I’ve got Durant and the Thunder keeping things very close and pulling out a tight victory, covering the -2.5 they’re being spotted. Why? I like the home court advantage (3-0 at home in their last three home starts), Durant and Westbrook are a formidable duo and the Thunder has got some bodacious uniforms. Okay, scratch the uniform thing-y. It would be nice, however, if I could build some consistency with my line bets, but it’s a nagging issue for me right now with the way some of these teams have played this season in the wacky NBA. Yeah, that’s right – wacky. Still, look for the Thunder to end the Cavs win streak on Thursday with Westbrook being the guy to put in your DFS lineup if looking to take advantage of individual matchups.
Line: OKC -2.5, Over/Under: 203.5
Players to Watch
- Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder – 25th OPRK ($10,700)
- Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder – 24th OPRK ($8,500)
- Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder – 25th OPRK ($6,100)
- Anderson Varejao, C, Cavaliers – 20th OPRK ($5,000)
ROCKETS AT KINGS
It’s starting to look like both the Rockets (16-4) and the Kings (11-11) will be without their super-Dee-duper stud players in James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins. We already knew that Cousins would be out of action, and while there’s still hope that Harden may see the start on Thursday (he’s slated to play Wednesday as of this writing, but you never know about setbacks, etc), you shouldn’t count on him. The Kings level of play over the last bunch of games without Cousins has certainly taken a hit as they go up against one of the better defensive clubs in the game right now in the Rockets. Cousins hasn’t played since November 26th, and the Kings are 2-5 since then which points to no coincidence. It’s a bit concerning how a team can rely so much on one player for victories, but it’s certainly the case here. I expect the Rockets to shut the Kings down handily, mainly since they’ve got an incredibly deep roster. Harden will be missed if he doesn’t play, but others will be able to pick up the slack if that’s the case.
Line: None, Over/Under: None
Players to Watch
- Rudy Gay, SF, Kings – 24th OPRK ($8,900)
- Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets – 20th OPRK ($8,500)
- Patrick Beverley, PG, Rockets – 22nd OPRK ($5,600)
- Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Rockets – 25th OPRK ($5,400)
Catch me on Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy! Good luck on Thursday!