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 Friday

There’s some big prize pools today on this five game slate and there is something for any size bankroll. The $100K 3ball has a $300 buy in and the Crossover has $120K prize pool with a buy in of only $20. Join them through the links below before they fill up.

$120K Crossover @ $20 buy in

$100K 3-Ball @ $300 buy in

$40K Zone @ $5 buy in

$65K Layup @ $2 buy in

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Knicks @ Nets

Game Analysis

The Knicks have won five of eight and reached the under five times during that stretch. The Nets have had two straight unders in their wins after four straight losses where three of them went over. This is not the smallest total on the day, but there’s better spots to target. It’s actually one of the larger spreads as well and I guess that has a lot to do with the Nets last two victories being over the Clippers and Raptors. Brooklyn won the first match up at home by 11. The Nets are as healthier now than they were in that match up and it’s the opposite for the Knicks. Amare did practice a little yesterday, but it’s still unlikely he plays. There’s some value to be had on the Knicks here in the front court and Melo is always capable of having a big game when he is on. The Nets scare me more despite probably being the winners here. The guys who make the most sense to use are all seeing a few less minutes and the prices have not adjusted. Usage rates have changed with Deron Williams back and no one except for Joe Johnson really has the same role. Of course this is a rivalry game, so you never know how it could turn out, but I’m not going to target it heavy.

Line: Nets -7, O/U 194

Players to Watch

  • Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks ($8800)
  • Jose Calderon, PG, Knicks ($4600)
  • Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($5500)
  • Broo Lopez, C, Nets ($6300)

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Cavaliers @ Pacers

Game Analysis

It’s been over three weeks since the Cavs last lost and they are playing to the under a lot lately due to the defense which has picked up. They have averaged 108 points over the last ten games and have played nine straight without allowing an opponent to score over 98 and most of those teams barely reached into the 90s. Over the last five games Indiana has averaged 103 points and in the five preceding that they barely reached 89. The squad is as healthy as they have been all season, but I doubt they will be able to keep it up against the surging Cavs. Ian Mahini and Lavoy Allen are both banged up and out. That really only leaves Hibbbert, West, and Scola as healthy options down low for the Pacers. Despite playing last night, it did not take long for the Cavs to end that game and the starters were rested in the fourth quarter as they entered with a 20 point lead and the second team brought it home from there. Due to friendly pricing, I would be interested in a few of the Pacers today and due to high pricing I have some pause about the Cavs.

Line: Cavs -5.5, O/U 196

Players to Watch

  • CJ Miles, SF, Pacers ($4000)
  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($5500)
  • JR Smith, SG, Cavs ($4700)
  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10500)

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Lakers @ Magic

Game Analysis

The Lakers are one for their last ten and have played to the under in 5 of the last seven. This is not the same Lakers team that was yielding 200+ totals early in the season either as lately they have played under to totals in the low to mid 190s. The interesting clash in this game is that the Magic have not won a game in almost a month and they have been giving up more points lately. A team that was playing games with totals barely cracking 190 now seems to be seeing totals over 205 nightly. The defensive lapses have a been a big reason lately for this. They have allowed every single one of their last ten opponents to score over 100. They also have reached into the 90s in every one of those games as well, so I would tick up the Lakers in this one as this recent Laker team will probably be up in pace against a defense that has been soft lately. Jordan Hill is out with an injury so there’s some minutes at the big guy spots for LA. I’m not sure what the answer for Vucevic will be in the Middle for LA as neither Davis nor Boozer seem likely to stop him. Sacre may match up best height wise, but he is a lesser player and hurts the team on the other end of the floor. I think all the bigs on both sides are in line for nice games today. The O/U is over 200 and the spread is close, so this game definitely has some potential fantasy goodness.

Line: Magic -3, O/U 201.5

Players to Watch

  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($5800)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8100)
  • Ed Davis, PF, Lakers ($4500)
  • Carlos Boozer, PF, LAkers ($5700)

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Clippers @ Raptors

Game Analysis

The Clippers are seven of their last ten, but only have one win in the last four. They have been playing to the under in six of the last seven despite managing to be over 100 points on most nights. When the defense shows up they are tough to beat and when it doesn’t they get blown out in 3 quarters like they did last night against Cleveland. Toronto is also coming off back to back losses after a 5 game winning streak. They had been playing to the over with DeRozan back, but the last two games they have gone under. Yes the totals on their games is up, but the reason they are staying under has more to do with the lack of offense recently. The Clippers had a bad game last night, but were rested up due to the blow out. Tonight should be a much different result and I would expect a proud team led by Chris Paul to give a better showing on the back end of this road swing. The Spread here is close and the total is very high, so I think this is an excellent game to target for some fantasy gold here today. I would look to the Raptors Wing players and the clippers bigs tonight and hope that combination can led me to a nice high cash.

Line: Raptors -2, O/U 211.5

Players to Watch

  • Jamal Crawford, SG, Clippers ($5200)
  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9400)
  • DeMar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($6800)
  • Terrence Ross, SF, Raptors ($3300)

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Warriors @ Hawks

Game Analysis

If you are a basketball fan you should definitely be watching this game tonight. The best teams in their respective conferences are set to square off in this one and it should be an awesome game. The Warriors have won eight of their last ten, played to the over in seven of those and are averaging over 110 points per game. They are the best offense in the NBA and one of the most fun teams to watch. Atlanta has won 9 of their last 10 games and they do it by scoring just a tad over 100 a game, but limiting their opponents with one of the league’s best defenses. If anything I would think this ticks up the Hawks slightly in pace and puts a small hold on the explosive Warrior squad that should play below their season averages tonight. The game is expected to be close and the total is sky high, so you are definitely going to want some exposure here. It looks like all the key pieces are healthy for this game and it could very well be a preview of your 2015 NBA Finals.

Line: Warriors -1.5, O/U 214.5

Players to Watch

  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($8200)
  • Steph Curry, PG, Warriors ($10400)
  • Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks ($7800)
  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks ($7400)

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Nuggets @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Denver has only won one of it’s last ten and the team looks like they have quit on coach Brian Shaw at the moment. The Pistons only have two wins in their last seven and are also struggling at the moment. This is a game I would have been excited to watch a few weeks back, but lately these two teams have both looked pretty bad. Both teams have been worse on both ends of the floor recently, although the pace of play has ticked up for the Pistons over the last few games. I think the Pistons scoring will help them prevail today against what has been non existent Nuggets defense lately. Everyone is healthy except for Caldwell-Pope who left the last game early in the first quarter with a foot injury. Those minutes should be soaked up by Jodie Meeks at near min price, so keep an eye on him today. It’s one of the better totals on the day and definitely a useful game for fantasy tonight.

Line: Pistons -6, O/U 205.5

Players to Watch

  • Jodie Meeks, SG, Pistons ($3200)
  • Andre Drummond, C, Pistons ($7800)
  • Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets ($6000)
  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($7900)

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76ers @ Celtics

Game Analysis

Philly has won three of their last five and are on one of their better runs of the season. They have played under in eight of ten and finally are looking like a solid team. Their defense has been especially good lately and a big reason for the recent success. Boston has been playing around .500 in the win column and with their totals. They have won two straight and went over in both of those. Hopefully Jared Sullinger does not get stuck in traffic again as this should be a good game for the Celtics bigs. Olynyk is still out with an injury and the remaining big men have a very soft match up with the Philly interior defense that has been generous throughout the season to the opposition. The Sixers are still down a few guards, so MCW should continue to see heavy minutes on the other side, but will likely draw some Avery Bradley defense along the way. The Total on this one is nothing special and the pace may be a tick below today, so while a few guys are interesting, we have much better games to target today.

Line: Celtics -7, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($6500)
  • Marcus Smart, PG, Celtics ($4600)
  • Robert Covington, PF, Sixers ($5700)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Sixers ($7900)

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Bucks @ Rockets

Game Analysis

Houston has won five of it’s last six and are playing well without Dwight Howard. They have played better defense recently as well and have seen the under hit in four of those. The Bucks have won six of their last seven and played to the over more often. They also are capable of playing well in slow down games as they won two recently where the scores were in the low 90s and high 80s. The total today of 203 seems like it may be a tad high and at present I think it ticks up the Rockets most. Injuries to the big men on both sides should open up some value. Guys like Smith, Motiejunas, Middleton, and Henson should all see more minutes today than they average all year and it is no surprise as long as the injured remain out or limited. There’s some potential for nice stat lines here today so you are more than welcome to include a few of these guys on your rosters.

Line: Rockets -6, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10300)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($5800)
  • Khris Middleton, SF, Bucks ($6100)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG, Bucks ($6000)

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Pelicans @ Thunder

Game Analysis

If you notice the ??? next to the O/U that is because we still do not have word on KD yet. It’s likely he will be out again today as will PG Jrue Holiday for the Pelicans which we do know already. Everyone else looks good to go today. OKC has lost four of the last seven and played to the under in six of those. With no Durant it seems the pace of play has slowed as their scoring and their opponents points are both down. New Orleans has also won six of their last eight, but one of those losses was an 11 point win by this OKC team last out. The venue switches back to OKC for the rematch and I think we have a good chance to see more of the same. Use the game log from the last game as your guide here and roster some of these guys accordingly. The Durant news is the key here, but if he is, then go with the guys mentioned below.

Line: Thunder -4.5, O/U ???

Players to Watch

  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10900)
  • Dion Waiters, SG, Thunder ($4800)
  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($10800)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans ($6200)

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Grizzlies @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Memphis has won eight straight games and picked up the defense lately to get there. Minnesota has two wins in their last ten with weak defense and a tick down in scoring. The pace should start to pick up for them with Rubio back, but this is a low total game with a high spread. The minutes are being distributed more evenly for the Timberwolves bigs and the guys like Wiggins and Thad who see the most consistent court time are getting a little pricey while losing a few minute, shots, and touches with the full squad healthy. I’m not a huge fan of either side of this game for fantasy gold today, so just tread lightly.

Line: Grizzlies -8, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7800)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($8500)
  • Kevin Martin, SG, Timberwolves ($5700)
  • Thaddeus Young, PF, Timberwolves ($6100)

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Jazz @ Suns

Game Analysis

The Jazz have had a brutal three game stretch against the Warriors, Grizzlies, and Trailblazers. They have played well going 1-2 while averaging and giving up right around 100 points in over that stretch. Things do not get any easier tonight against the Suns. The Suns have won three of their last five and played to the under in six straight games. Their scoring has been down recently which is a big reason for that. I would not be surprised if the Jazz where able to take advantage and pull the upset tonight or if the total landed on the under. Alex Len went down with an injury yesterday and is unlikely to play tonight. The Suns are thin up front already, so this could give the trio of big men for Utah an advantage today. This game is not one I would target heavy, but I could see a few nice stat lines coming as Utah has struggled to defend guards and Phoenix has allowed some nice games to bigs. I would not go all in here, but you could find some sneaky value tonight from this one.

Line: Suns -6, O/U 203.5

Players to Watch

  • Enes Kanter, C, Jazz ($5900)
  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz ($7800)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($5900)
  • Goran Dragic, PG, Suns ($6100)

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Heat @ Spurs

Game Analysis

This should not be much of a game tonight and certainly not a good spot for fantasy. The lowest total and one of the highest spreads on the day is not the game we want to target. The Spurs will likely use a deep bench tonight and the Heat without Wade and with Chalmers and Shawne Williams likely out are a shell of their best. The silver lining here is that the Spurs have allowed some big men to put up nice numbers, which is likely again today. On the flip side though the guard play is sub par and that is where the Spurs will take advantage. I expect an easy Spurs victory here and I would be weary of the starters on either side seeing full run.

Line: Spurs -10, O/U 186

Players to Watch

  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($8000)
  • Chris Bosh, C, Heat ($7400)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7700)
  • Danny Green, SG, Spurs ($4800)