Check out a quick breakdown of all three games on Thursday’s NBA slate. We’ll take a look at the Vegas lines and totals, recent trends, and a few players you can be targeting for tonight’s action.
Utah Jazz @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -1
The only representative of this game present on Sunday, John Wall, scored 22 points in just 19 minutes in a losing effort for the East. But, amazingly enough, the Utah Jazz play better defense than the Western Conference All-Stars (ok, maybe it’s not that amazing). There are plenty of trade rumors surrounding the Wizards right now, but maybe they want to pull the trigger now, before tonight’s action? Because this one is going to be ugly – I can’t see anyone’s trade value going up very much as a result of what happens here.
But in all seriousness, the Jazz defend all five positions reasonably well, but they’re not pitching a shutout. In that kind of scenario, the opportunities tend to go to the very best creators on the opposition, and tonight, that does just mean John Wall. If Wall’s not doing it for the Wiz on offense, it’s probably not happening, and since he doesn’t always play with that mentality, he could see a value boost in this one. It’s also worth checking out Otto Porter, who entered the break playing well and is going to look to start the second half off right after resting up his injured hip over the past several days.
For Utah, the pressure is going to be on Hayward in this one, because the Wizards have the size to actually contend with the combination of Gobert and Favors. And if those two are getting harassed on every possession, Hayward is going to find himself with plenty of chances – and we are already talking about a guy who played 35 or more minutes in seven straight games heading into the All-Star festivities.
– John Wall ($9,600)
– Gordon Hayward ($7,100)
– Rodney Hood ($6,300)
– Otto Porter ($5,700)
Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cavs -11.5
With Noah and Butler both out, the Bulls are reeling, and now the news is that they are actively shopping Gasol out on the trade market. Once he goes, we will be talking about a dramatically different team on the brink of what looks like a multi-year rebuilding project with Butler as the centerpiece. But for now, we’d just be talking about a virtual fantasy wasteland. At least for tonight, you can expect Gasol to get looks and be able to make shots against this Cleveland frontcourt, and you might be able to salvage some fantasy value from Butler’s injury in the form of increased value for E’Twaun Moore, whose price hasn’t quite caught up to his spike in minutes.
For Cleveland, you’re hoping that the extended break did wonders for everyone involved. Kyrie is still getting back to form, Kevin Love needed some time to recover from a should injury suffered just before the break (and is now considered likely to play Thursday), and LeBron clearly got some well-deserved rest for the entirety of All-Star weekend, including the game on Sunday. They are going to be looking to build towards their peak in the postseason, and a matchup with this depleted Bulls team is as good a place as any to start.
– LeBron James ($9,800)
– Pau Gasol ($8,700)
– Kyrie Irving ($8,000)
– E’Twaun Moore ($5,400)
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Spurs -4
The game of the night, this one features the second and fourth seeds in the West right now. The Spurs are content to just keep doing what they are doing, and likely aren’t going to either catch the Warriors or fall back to the Clips and Thunder. They will continue to limit the minutes of Parker and Duncan in hopes of keeping them fresh enough to contribute come June and wait for Ginobli to return from his latest ailment.
The Clippers, though, are still dealing with the injury to Blake and all the other fallout that has surrounded his absence. He is going to return before the end of the season, and theoretically anyway give the Clips a boost for the postseason. But in case you haven’t noticed (you have), the Clippers have been playing better without him. So now all of a sudden the guy many people would have put in the top five in the league after the playoffs last year is on the block, and the Clips have a chance to bring in that boost right now. If the right pieces come back and mesh nicely with Paul, Redick, Jordan and the rest, this is a team that could make a series out of it with anyone in the league.
– Chris Paul ($9,000)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,600)
– LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,900)
– Patty Mills ($4,500)