Check out a quick breakdown of every game on Thursday’s NBA slate. We’ll take a look at the totals, recent trends, and a few players you can be targeting for tonight’s action. Good luck!
Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers
Line: Pacers -8
With Jordan Hill out, and Ian Mahinmi leaving last night’s game with a knee injury, and C.J. Miles missing the last couple of games, the Pacers are suddenly extremely thin up front. Look for Lavoy Allen and Myles Turner to pick up the slack where they can, but that change is definitely a downgrade, on both the offensive and defensive ends.
Part of what this means is that they are going to turn to Paul George for more productivity, so they must have been encouraged by his game last night – his best fantasy performance in a couple of weeks (19-5-4 with 4 steals). After seeing his price drop over the past few games, he could prove to be a serious value in this one. The Bucks just don’t have anyone with the combination of athleticism and length to stop him from getting his shot when he wants it.
- Paul George ($8,600)
- Greg Monroe ($6,500)
- Jabari Parker ($4,700)
- Lavoy Allen ($3,500)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons -7
The Timberwolves are sitting at 12-20, tied for 10th in the West, but their fans have got to enjoy watching this. They beat up on a shorthanded Jazz team last night behind great performances from Towns (25-10 with a pair of blocks) and Wiggins (17-6-4, with a steal), two of the more exciting young players in the league. Most nights, for fantasy purposes, Towns is the better bet, but he is squaring off with one of the best pure centers in the NBA tonight, which could limit both his scoring and rebounding chances and make securing another double-double more difficult.
For Detroit, they, as always, will need that kind of dominating performance out of Drummond, because with minimal threats from the perimeter other than Jackson, his play pretty much determines the outcome of their season. When he is on his game, he clears the glass, changes the way the other team can play defense, and slows down penetration. There is no reason to think he won’t be doing all of that in this matchup.
- Andre Drummond ($9,400)
- Reggie Jackson ($7,500)
- Andrew Wiggins ($6,100)
- Gorgui Dieng ($4,800)
Golden State Warriors @ Houston Rockets
Line: Rockets -2
Never thought you’d see the Rockets favored in this one, but Curry is listed as doubtful, and that did not go well for Golden State last night in their 114-91 loss to the Mavs. If Curry misses too much more time, and this team can’t adjust, they’re going to be in second place looking up to the Spurs before they know what happened. And the track record doesn’t suggest their going to figure it out – they are 1-6 without Steph over the last three seasons, and have actually been outscored during his time on the bench during this current season so far.
Nobody on the Warriors had a great game last night (Draymond was best with 11-9-4 with two steals), but not surprisingly, Draymond and Klay had the most minutes and shot attempts, and I would expect that to continue.
- James Harden ($10,300)
- Draymond Green ($9,300)
- Klay Thompson ($7,500)
- Ty Lawson ($4,000)
Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: OKC -15
The Thunder are now 22-10 and have won two in a row, but they have been playing well longer than that. Westbrook and Durant look the way they did went Russ first burst onto the scene and everyone went from thinking: “sweet, KD finally has a sidekick” to “oh my god, did you see what he just did? Is KD his sidekick?” It is just not possible for teams to have an answer for both of the simultaneously on defense.
The Suns continue to be a team dominated by their guards, but with Bledsoe out, Devin Booker is replacing him in the starting lineup, but the additional scoring responsibility falls to Knight more than anyone else.
- Russell Westbrook ($10,600)
- Kevin Durant ($10,100)
- Brnadon Knight ($7,500)
- Devin Booker ($4,000)
Los Angeles Clippers @ New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Clippers -1.5
The Clippers won their fourth straight last night with a victory over the Hornets. They put up 122 points without Blake Griffin, and with no one scoring more than 26 points. In other words, everyone picked up a little bit of the slack, and they’ll be looking for more of the same as they attempt to make it five in a row. J.J. Redick has been at 25 points or more in two of their last three, and Paul Pierce has been averaging 3.5 more shot attempts per game over the same span, for example.
The Pelicans have underperformed by everyone’s standards this year, and so has Anthony Davis, but against the Clippers, who are going to keep the pace up and the score high, but who are gutted by injuries and have no one left who has a shot against Davis, this could finally be the game where he breaks out his real serious upside.
- Anthony Davis ($10,400)
- Chris Paul ($9,100)
- DeAndre Jordan ($7,600)
- J.J. Redick ($5,200)
Portland Trailblazers @ Utah Jazz
Line: Utah -3.5
Obviously the big story for this game remains Damian Lillard. He still hasn’t played since December 20th, but he has apparently begun to practice this week, so there is some hope he sees the floor tonight. The injury will keep his ownership % down, so if he does play, he could be a good GPP option. But you also have to be aware of his potential to play if you are considering looking for cheaper options from among the guys who would replace him and his shots.
On the other side of the court, the issue is about the same – Derrick Favors has missed three straight, but hasn’t been ruled out completely. Whether he plays or not will determine who you want to use in this one, whether it’s him, potentially, or someone like Rodney Hood who might get more looks with him out (or even more simply, just Trevor Booker, in line to replace him in the lineup again).
- Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,000)
- Rodney Hood ($4,900)
- Allen Crabbe ($4,800)
- Trevor Booker ($4,600)