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.

 

Big Money Wednesday

It’s a Larry Bird appreciation day on Wednesday over at Draft Kings and the crown jewel is the $33 Bird tourney. There’s also a $3 tourney in honor of him winning the 3 point title on all star weekend and the winner should tweet out a picture of him/herself walking away from their computer with one finger in the air as PMR runs out in his honor. For those with larger bankrolls there’s also a $333 Money ball tourney that night. Draft Kings has satellites to all these running this afternoon, so be sure to take a shot and pick up some tickets on the cheap. Links to them all are below so reserve your entries today:

$100,000 Sharpshooter $3 buy in

$150,000 Bird $33 buy in

$200,000 Money Ball $333 buy in

 

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Knicks @ Magic

Game Analysis

The Knicks have lost five of their last six and played to the under in four of those games. They have given up over 100 points to four of those six opponents which also means the reason for the unders is their own struggles to put the ball in the basket. The Magic have not been much better playing to the under in seven of their last ten and losing nine of those games. They have held the last three opponents to an average of 97 points. This has a lot to do with the slower pace they have played lately, because their scoring is down as well. The two big questions here are whether Carmelo Anthony and/or Tobias Harris play tomorrow? I think Melo is probably going to play, but I have no idea about Tobias. Overall I think this will be a lower scoring game and would shy away unless one or both of those guys are out and some value opens up.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Jason Smith, PF, Knicks ($4900)
  • Amare Stoudemire, PF, Knicks ($3900)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8300)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6700)

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Wizards @ Raptors

Game Analysis

Washington has played to the under six times in their last eight games. They have a three and five record over that run which includes a 120-113 lose to this Raptors team two weeks ago. The Raptors have won eight of their last ten, but have played to the under in three of the last four and in those three scored 93 points or less. Both teams tend to play very solid defense which is why this under is lower than both usually see and well below the last time they met. That last game was in Washington and Toronto won it, so I have to assume the fact they are playing better basketball lately and get this game in their home court means they should come out on top. Bradley Beal is likely out tomorrow and John Wall is not 100% having re-sprained his ankle last game. Wall is looking likely to play, but it is not exactly confidence inspiring to hear him talk about the pain. With the All Star game quickly approaching and NBA stars dropping like flies lately, I am very concerned about using Wall. He usually plays well with no Beal, but Lowry defense and a bum ankle raise a lot of red flags. This is a very solid total and two good teams playing, so I can see having some exposure to this game, but be forewarned rostering Wall may bring a lot of uneasiness with it.

Line: Raptors -5, O/U 199.5

Players to Watch

  • Garrett Temple, SG, Wizards ($3000)
  • Marcin Gortat, C, Wizards ($5100)
  • Jonas Valanciunas, C, Raptors ($5000)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($7200)

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Spurs @ Pistons

Game Analysis

San Antonio has won seven of it’s last ten and played to the under in seven of those games. They have only allowed three opponents to score over 100 and two of those times they lost. They have struggled defending PGs and PFs lately, so this match up is not ideal for them. The Pistons have only four wins in their last ten and have played to the over more often. They struggle with Centers and I think Duncan could have a field day and get Drummond in some trouble. Overall It’s neither the best or worse game for fantasy targets and while I think you can use a few I would not go all in here. The Spurs are favored to win, but I expect a good showing from the Pistons in front of their home crowd and a close game to the end with full run for all the starters on both sides.

Line: Spurs -6.5, O/U 197

Players to Watch

  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($7200)
  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($8300)
  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($7400)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7500)

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Hawks @ Celtics

Game Analysis

Hawks win eight of ten games and played to the over in seven of those. Except for two games against slow paced Memphis and Philadelphia, they have scored over 100 in every other game. The Celtics have also won three of the last four and hit the over in each of those wins. They have been putting up a few more points than usual lately and the combination of both teams doing so should mean a high scoring game. It seems both teams are fairly healthy at the moment so there’s no real injury concerns. Olynyk is still out for the Celtics which keeps the minutes high for other big guys like Sully, Bass, and Zeller for them. The Hawks have the ability to play at any tempo and any style, so I think the higher scoring Celtics will try to keep the tempo up and although I like the Hawks to win I think the home team can keep it close enough to force the Eastern Conference leaders to have to keep the starters in during the fourth quarter. That should mean full run for both teams and make this a usable game to target.

Line: Hawks -7.5, O/U 204

Players to Watch

  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7900)
  • Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks ($7800)
  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($6700)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics ($3500)

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Grizzlies @ Thunder

Game Analysis

This is a very tough game to figure for me. The Grizzlies have won nine of ten and played to the under in eight of them. The Thunder have won four of five and played to the over in four of them. This is a true meeting of one of the best defenses and one of the best offenses in the west. The problem I have here is the defense does not equate as well to the stars on OKC. I discount the stats from earlier this year as the OKC team we see now is a far cry from that one. I instead think back to a playoff series last year which saw OKC come out on top. Westbrook is handful for any team and OKC has no answer for Durant. Those two things lead me to believe that the Thunder are likely to win this one. They are at home, they are hot, and frankly they are desperate for wins if they want to make sure they get into the playoffs. The Grizzlies are on the tail end of a back to back and they will have a clear advantage at the big guy spots. Gasol and Z Bo are both playing well and they are clearly more talented than the Thunder bigs. My problem though is the Thunder bigs do play tough defense lately. They have a few big bodies they can run out there after the two guys from Memphis and I just do not think Memphis is going to have an easy time slowing down the OKC stars. It’s never a good idea to start studs or anybody against Memphis, but someone is going to have a big game if the Thunder want to win. If you want to be contrarian than you can roster any of the studs in this one. I think they will all go off lower owned than you would expect.

Line: Thunder -6, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder ($10300)
  • Mitch McGary, PF, Thunder ($3800)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7600)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($8300)

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Kings @ Bucks

Game Analysis

Sacramento has only won two of the last nine games and saw the under hit in six straight. They have not scored close to 100 in those six games and the unders are a direct correlation to their lack of scoring. Milwaukee has also won seven of the last eight and played to the over in five of them. On paper this looks like an easy victory for the Bucks. The Spread is high and the total is low, so it also looks like a good game to stay away from. I’m not sure how or if the Bucks can stop Boogie, but it’s going to take more than one guy to win a game. I’m steering clear of this one, but feel free to go against the grain if you want to.

Line: Bucks -11, O/U 193

Players to Watch

  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10500)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7300)
  • Giannis Antetekounmpo, SF, Bucks ($7000)
  • Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks ($7400)

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Heat @ Cavs

Game Analysis

Miami has only won two of their last seven. They have played to the over more often lately, but they routinely see spreads in the mid 180s so it is not hard to do. Cleveland has won nine of ten. They played to the under in seven of those and the reason is the increased focus on defense. The Clippers 105 in their last game was the only time they have let up 100 points over those last ten games. The heat are one of the slowest paced and lowest scoring teams in the league. They do not have the firepower or the defense stoppers to stay in this game with Cleveland and they are still missing their best player with Wade sidelined. I will be steering clear of this one as there’s too many high priced stars on both sides I doubt reach value. The interesting question today is how highly owned Hassan Whiteside will be and if he pays off that salary or not?

Line: Cavs -11.5, O/U 193

Players to Watch

  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($7700)
  • Chris Bosh, PF, Heat ($7500)
  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10300)
  • Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($8200)

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Pacers @ Pelicans

Game Analysis

a 215 O/U with a 9 point Pacer spread seems a bit odd, but let me explain why. Anthony Davis is still questionable after taking a nasty fall on a missed Dunk attempt. Jrue Holiday remains out and likely Ryan Anderson as well. That means we should see more minutes from Omer Asik, Jeff Withey and Alexis Ajinca. What it also means is Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans are going to be asked to do a heck of a lot more on the offensive end. Indiana has won three of their last four and played to the over in each of those wins. They have a shortened bench in the front court due to injuries to the back ups. That means the three headed monster of David West, Roy Hibbert, and Luis Scola are seeing plenty of minutes. They have a slew of perimeter layers below the $5K cost line and all of them are capable of a big game. George Hill, Stuckey, CJ Miles, and even some of the other ones are all in play. They are expecting a ton of points here and even with the big men hurt I think it stays closer than expected today. This game is usable for fantasy provided you do not think it gets out of hand, which I doubt the Pelicans let it do at home.

Line: Pacers -9, O/U 215

Players to Watch

  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($8200)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans ($5900)
  • David West, PF, Pacers ($6500)
  • C.J. Miles, SF, Pacers ($4300)

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Warriors @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Golden State has won five of the last six with the only loss coming to the Hawks. They have played to the under in most of those games and the scary part is their scoring has remained pretty steady. The unders have been a function of locking teams down on defense while they still score upwards of 110 and 120 points. The Margin of victory in those last five wins is over 14 points per game, so they are not only winning, but dominating opponents. The Timberwolves are on the upswing as well winning three of the last four games. They are finally healthy and both the scoring and pace of play are up. They are deeper than they have been at any point in the season and can match up with any team now based on the pieces they have to mix and match. They can go big with Pek and Dieng and Thad on the floor or move Thad to the 4 and let Martin/Wiggins handle the perimeter. Rubio seems to be pretty healthy at the moment as they just pulled off a deal to send Mo Williams over to Charlotte to free up some more minutes for him. I think the Warriors are going to be too much for the upstart Timberwolves to handle, but the T-Wolves got some shot makers as well and if one of them gets hot this game could stay close to the end. A lot of points are expected and the game is in Minnesota, so do not dismiss it easily as I think that would be a mistake.

Line: Warriors -9, O/U 215

Players to Watch

  • Kevin Martin, SG, Timberwolves ($6100)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6200)
  • Steph Curry, PG, Warriors ($10300)
  • David Lee, PF, Warriors ($4700)

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Jazz @ Mavericks

Game Analysis

This Jazz team has alternated wins and losses with overs and unders in recent games, but they tend to play to totals around the high 190s whether they win or lose. This probably ticks down the Mavs slightly as they are used to seeing totals over 200 and getting to them most of the time. I am having a tough time with this game because the Mavs are the walking wounded at the moment. Rondo, Monta, and Tyson Chandler are all out today so looking at past performances really is a moot point. The fact that they are favored in this one makes very little sense to me when they are rolling out their B team today. The biggest loss might be Chandler today as the Jazz have a trio of big bodies that now get to go up against Dirk and Aminu defense which I think they can exploit. The good news here is there should be a lot of value spread around, the bad news is I’m not really sure who steps up the most. Parsons had a great game last out when Monta and Tyson went down, so I would think he is the biggest beneficiary today. Definitely a usable game, but tough to give a lot of certainty on it.

Line: Mavs – 3, O/U 197.5

Players to Watch

  • Chandler Parsons, SF, Mavs ($6500)
  • Charlie Villanueva, PF, Mavs ($3800)
  • Enes Kanter, C, Jazz ($5800)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($7200)

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Lakers @ Trailblazers

Game Analysis

The Lakers have lost five straight games. They are giving up close to 110 and scoring right around 100, so the pace has been high. Portland has won three of four while scoring about 110 and giving up just under 100 which means the probable score here should be about that level. If that is the case I think the total here is a little low and would not be shocked to see the over hit. The big red flag to me is the spread here as Vegas thinks this one could get ugly and with the Lakers on the tail end of a back to back and playing on the road I could see that happen. If it does, then the starters for the Blazers should see less run. I tend to think that may be the way this plays out and I would shy away from this game all together tonight.

Line: Blazers -13, O/U 195.5

Players to Watch

  • Jordan Clarkson, PG, Lakers ($5100)
  • Carlos Boozer, PF, Lakers ($5500)
  • Robin Lopez, C, Blazers ($4800)
  • Damian Lillard, PG, Blazers ($8400)

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Rockets @ Clippers

Game Analysis

This is one of the games we should all be looking to target heavy. With Blake out the Clippers have had to rely more on Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford to score the ball. Both of those guys should see that continue for the near term. DeAndre Jordan had a monster rebounding game and ticked up his scoring as well. Add in Matt Barnes getting a few more looks and some if not all the Clippers big guns look cheap. For Houston Harden is on a tear lately. With Howard out Josh Smith, and Motiejunas have played well down low. They see increased run if Terrence Jones misses again tonight as well so they are in play. Ariza has also picked his game up lately and with Smith seeing more time at the PF spot, it alleviates some of the log jam at SF and ticks up minutes there for Ariza and Brewer. I do not see why the Clips are favored here with no Blake, but I do agree we see a lot of points and a close game, so all the studs are in play.

Line: Clippers -3, O/U 212.5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9600)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers ($7800)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10300)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6400)