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.

BUCKS AT HORNETS

Game Analysis

Both the Bucks (15-16) and the Hornets (10-21) have been struggling of late, only winning four out of their last 10 games played. You can count on the Bucks improving as the season wears on, although Brandon Knight, who is currently averaging 17.7 PPG, will need to continue to lead the team offensively. The Bucks do struggle defensively, with difficulty snagging rebounds as they rank 28th overall in the league only averaging 40.4 RPG as a team. The Hornets, who have a 7-10 home record, do play much better at home than on the road, but I don’t see them stopping the Bucks from snagging a victory as the Hornets just don’t hold up enough defensively. Take the Bucks and the +3.5 points in this one.

Line: CHA -3.5, Over/Under: 196

Players to Watch

  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets – 18th OPRK ($9,100)
  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks  – 28th OPRK ($7,000)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG, Bucks – 16th OPRK ($5,600)
  • Jerryd Bayless, PG, Bucks  – 28th OPRK ($4,800)

_________________________________

BULLS AT PACERS

Game Analysis

The Bulls (21-9) are one of the better road teams in the NBA as they currently hold a 13-4 record away from the United Center. You have to chalk up their success on the road to their stifling defense, as the Bulls control the rebounding game (45.5 RPG, 4th overall) and overall  play with defensive guru’s Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler really handling teams well. The Bulls are in the midst of a six-game winning streak as they’ve gone 9-1 over their last 10 games played. The Pacers (11-20), who only score 94.7 PPG as a team (27th overall in the NBA), don’t have enough on offense to overcome the Bulls defensive dominance. Look for the Bulls to easily cover the -5.5 line, while keeping the Pacers under 90 points in the game. In fact, I dig the under 194 total as well in this matchup.

Line: CHI -5.5, Over/Under: 194

Players to Watch

  • Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls – 23rd OPRK ($7,100)
  • Joakim Noah, C, Bulls – 20th OPRK ($6,800)
  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers – 24th OPRK ($6,700)
  • David West, PF, Pacers – 17th OPRK ($6,300)

_________________________________

KINGS AT NETS

Game Analysis

This is an evenly matched game if you’re looking at overall team records, although I’m giving the slight edge to the Nets (13-16) at home. Even with DeMarcus Cousins back in action, I don’t see the Kings (13-17) doing enough to pull this one out. The Kings rank 26th in the league overall allowing 103.9 PPG to opposing clubs. The Nets will have a tough time containing Cousins, who can even split double teams quite easily. Still, I expect both offenses to play a back-and-forth game with the Nets pulling away midway through the fourth quarter.

Line: BKN -2.0, Over/Under: 205

Players to Watch

  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets – 25th OPRK ($6,500)
  • Darren Collison, PG, Kings – 26th OPRK ($6,400)
  • Jarrett Jack, PG, Nets – 25th OPRK ($5,300)
  • Jason Thompson, PF, Kings – 29th OPRK ($4,400)

_________________________________

MAGIC AT HEAT

Game Analysis

The Heat (14-17) would love to have Chris Bosh back in their lineup for Monday’s game after he participated fully in Sunday’s practice. Right now there’s a pretty good shot Bosh will suit up for the game, so his participation certainly plays into the outcome of this game. The Heat have a pathetic home record (6-11), although their competition in the Magic (12-21) on Monday should give them a good shot of picking up a home win, especially if Bosh returns. Look for a sloppy game as each team will struggle with their shot, with both teams sticking around their 94 PPG mark. The Heat and the Magic are two of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA this season, which plays into the overall “sloppy” factor in  my mind.

Line: None, Over/Under: None

Players to Watch

  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic – 17th OPRK ($9,000)
  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic – 17th OPRK ($7,200)
  • Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat – 27th OPRK ($6,000)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic – 21st OPRK ($5,700)

_________________________________

WIZARDS AT ROCKETS

Game Analysis

This is my favorite game of the night, with both teams looking like title contenders to this point. The Wizards (21-8) are 8-2 over their last 10 games played with a +3.9 average point differential, while the Rockets (21-7) are 7-3 over their last 10 games played with the same exact +3.9 differential. It doesn’t get more even that that, right? Both clubs also rank right near each other in points allowed per game as the Rockets allow 96.8 (4th overall), while the Wizards allow 96.6 (3rd overall). The difference maker on the Wizards side of the ball is of course point guard John Wall, although he’ll need added help from Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal if the Wizards expect to contend with the depth of the Rockets overall roster. I like the 195.5 under in this game, although I’d stay away from the line.

Line: HOU -4.5, Over/Under: 195.5

Players to Watch

  • John Wall, PG, Wizards – 12th OPRK ($10,200)
  • Dwight Howard, C, Rockets – 15th OPRK ($8,900)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets – 16th OPRK ($7,300)
  • Paul Pierce, SF, Wizards – 24th OPRK ($5,300)

_________________________________

JAZZ AT CLIPPERS

Game Analysis

The Jazz (10-20) are coming off two victories in a row and four victories out of their last five games played. Albeit one of the wins came against a lesser opponent in the 76ers, the others have been solid road victories against the Heat, the Magic and the Grizzlies. The Clippers (20-11) have been struggling of late, losing three out of their last four games as they struggle defensively to keep teams from scoring (342 points allowed in their last three losses). Although both clubs are heading in different directions of late, look for the Clippers to get right at home beating the Jazz; however, I’m taking the +11.0 points being spotted to the Jazz considering their strong play of late. They won’t win the game but they’ll do enough to stay within 11 points.

Line: LAC -11.0, Over/Under: 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers – 24th OPRK ($11,100)
  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – 18th OPRK ($10,500)
  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz – 27th OPRK ($7,700)
  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz – 14th OPRK ($4,800)

 

Don’t forget you can catch me on Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy