Check out a quick breakdown of every game 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. Good luck!
New York Knicks @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons -5.5
With all the key players healthy, you have to imagine that Detroit is favored here for the same reason they are five games up in the loss column: they have the size to punish a smaller team up front, while New York is that smaller team. The Knicks just doesn’t have the defense to hang with players like Drummond and even Ilyasova, who aren’t going to run into a lot of resistance here. The onus, therefore, is going to be on the Knicks to consistently knock down shots from the perimeter all night. Basically, Afflalo and Galloway are going to need to outperform Jackson, or Carmelo is going to have to go on a scoring binge that keeps his production on pace with the entire Pistons frontcourt. So if you’re in a GPP, Afflalo and Carmelo might both be great choices, as their ability to create their own shot could quickly become the best chance the Knicks have to keep up. But if you want a safer play, they are pretty much all on the Detroit side of the ball.
– Andre Drummond ($8,600)
– Carmelo Anthony ($8,500)
– Ersan Ilyasova ($5,500)
– Arron Afflalo ($4,700)
Houston Rockets @ Phoenix Suns
Line: Houston -8.5
The highest total on the board, it’s some kind of testament about what Vegas thinks of Houston’s defense that they’re predicting 100+ points for the Knight and Bledsoe-less Suns. Phoenix’s entire identity has been wrapped up in their two starting guards all season long, and honestly, that hasn’t changed. Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin are both averaging just about 35 minutes a game in their absence, and both of them are turning that chance into a consistent 25+ DK FP night in and night out. For their price tags, they are solid options – both of them – in either cash games or larger tourneys.
Houston is favored by eight, though, and it’s in large part because of how Harden has been scoring the ball. He has been over 50 DK FP in 7 or 8, over 60 in 4 of 8, and over 70 in 2 of 8. He has had four double-digit assist games over that span, and three double-digit rebounding performances as well, all while averaging 30 points a night. He looks more like the player who closed out last year than the guy who started this year – and THIS player has as much upside as anyone in the league, from a fantasy perspective.
– James Harden ($10,800)
– Devin Booker ($6,000)
– Archie Goodwin ($5,900)
– Patrick Beverley ($4,900)
Los Angeles Lakers @ New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Pelicans -10.5
The Pelicans are 11 games under .500 and favored by double-digits. It doesn’t happen often, but this is the perfect set of circumstances: the Pelicans have been playing better, winning seven of their last eleven, and more importantly, they’re playing the 10-41, last-place Lakers.
The recent winning ways from New Orleans have, of course, been driven by Anthony Davis, the kind of guy who can win games by himself. They lost to San Antonio last night, but there is no shame in that – it’s happened to better teams. And Davis acquitted himself nicely in the defeat, going off for 28-10 with 4 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks. He is capable of that and more against LA. Julius Randle has been steadily improving as the season has progressed, and is someone you could have relied on as a great value choice in your fantasy lineup several times before, but it is easy to imagine him being outclassed in this one. Someone has got to do some scoring for LA at some point, though, and with no other plan, expect plenty of jump shooting. There’s value just in the opportunity, so don’t ignore the Lakers’ guards.
– Anthony Davis ($10,000)
– Jrue Holiday ($7,200)
– Lou Williams ($5,800)
– Jordan Clarkson ($5,500)
Toronto Raptors @ Portland Trailblazers
You might think the second team in the East would be getting a few points against the eighth seed in the West, even on the road. And there is no doubt that with even with DeMarre Carroll out, the Raptors still have more talent, but the two all of a sudden match up pretty well. Toronto has been relying on a lot of DeRozan and Terrence Ross playing together, trotting out an undersized group as often as not, similar to the kinds of lineups Portland relies on out of necessity as well. At least Carroll is coming back eventually.
Portland has actually taken that model and turned it into five wins in a row and ten of twelve, but only one of those wins came against a team with a winning record. Like I said before though, they match up well with Toronto as long as a guy like Carroll remains unavailable. Toronto doesn’t have anyone other than Valanciunas to beat them up down low and Lillard and McCollum should be able to do their thing against a Toronto team that doesn’t play lock-down perimeter D, and that should be plenty to keep it close.
– Damian Lillard ($8,900)
– DeMar DeRozan ($8,000)
– C.J. McCollum ($7,000)
– Jonas Valanciunas ($6,100)