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 SUNDAY

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

 

______________________________________________________________

Hawks @ Grizzlies

Game Analysis

Atlanta has won nine of the last ten. They are averaging over 110 points and giving up just a tad under 100. They are one of the hottest teams in basketball and have the best record in the east. They can win up tempo games like they did against Golden State and can also play slow and dominate like the did against the Wizards. They have been scoring pretty well and with the slower pace Memphis pays I would think they get a slight tick down today, but not much. Memphis on the other hand would probably get a tick up in pace but I think the solid Hawks defense basically makes it a wash for them. The Grizzlies have won eight of their last nine and have done it by getting back to the lock down defense they have played in the past. They have slowed the pace of play and controlled the clock with their two stud big guys. These teams have met twice this season with the winner both times being the home team and the under hitting in both games. I;m not sure if that trend continues, but I do expect to see the under hit again today.

Line: Grizz -2, O/U 192.5

Players to Watch

  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks ($7600)
  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies, ($6600)
  • Paul Milsapp, PF, Hawks ($7600)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($8300)

______________________________________________________________

Pacers @ Hornets

Game Analysis

The Hornets dealt with a rash of injuries earlier in the season and it looks like that trend is reemerging for them. Kemba is and has been out for awhile, but MKG went down yesterday and missed the second half. He is looking likely to miss this game today and that creates a big problem for the Hornets. Indiana has some injury concerns of their own as Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahini are both banged up.. They are down to three healthy big men who should all see a few extra minutes as well. Both teams have won four of their last six. Charlotte has been playing very paced down and solidly defensively as they have only allowed one of the past six opponents to reach 90 points. Indiana has been scoring it pretty well lately so that trend may be in danger today. The Hornets have seen straight straight unders with totals in the mid to high 180s each game. The Pacers tend to see totals just shy of 200 points and have played over and under that number. Today’s game is the lowest total on the day, but I do like a few of the underpriced guys here and a couple of the big guys who should see a few extra minutes.

Line: Hornets -2, O/U 184

Players to Watch

  • Gerald Henderson, SG, Hornets ($4500)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($7600)
  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($5000)
  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($5700)

______________________________________________________________

Timberwolves @ Pistons

Game Analysis

The pistons have won three of their last four and seem to be back on the winning track after slipping a little following the massive win streak they embarked on after Josh Smith was let go. They have been paced up again and have hit the over in 3 of their last four as well. The Timberwolves are 2-0 in recent games with a full healthy squad. Pekovic, Rubio, and Martin are all back and while that definitely helps the team’s depth it hurts a lot of guys for fantasy purposes that will lose minutes now.

Line: Pistons -6.5, O/U 201.5

Players to Watch

  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolves ($5500)
  • Thad Yound, PF, Timberwolves ($6100)
  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($7000)
  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($8400)

______________________________________________________________

Bulls @ Magic

Game Analysis

Chicago has lost seven of it’s last ten games and played to the under in seven of them. They are very up and down as they have scored 118 points and 72 points in consecutive games over this stretch. You never really know which Chicago team is going to show up. We have seen the totals in their games gradually tick towards the upside, but either due to their offense struggling or the random game where their defense shows up they have been playing to the under most often. Orlando has only won one of it’s last five games, but they have been playing better, getting healthy, and are up in pace. They have played to the under more often, but are also seeing much higher totals lately. The Bulls are favored in this one, but we should see it stay close and have a lot of points scored. This is a game where you should look to target for some solid fantasy numbers and I think it is definitely one you want to use today.

Line: Bulls -6.5, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($6300)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8500)
  • Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls ($9300)
  • Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls ($7500)

______________________________________________________________

Spurs @ Raptors

Game Analysis

The Spurs have won five of their last six and really tightened up the defense during this stretch. The Raptors have won seven of nine and are playing up more in pace and scoring. They are really tough on their home floor lately and this game started with them as a slight favorite in Vegas. Both teams are back to full strength and I think this game ticks up the Spurs a tad due to the higher pace of play the Raptors have shown lately. I would tick the high flying Raptors down a tad as well as the Spurs solid defense has been keeping opponents under their usual totals. This game should remain close throughout and allow for the starters to see a full amount of minutes. I’m not sure who winds up winning, but the total is nice and I think this is another game you have to take a long look at today.

Line: Spurs -1.5, O/U 202

Players to Watch

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7700)
  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($7400)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($7200)
  • DeMar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7000)

______________________________________________________________

Trailblazers @ Rockets

Game Analysis

The Blazers have hit a rough patch wining only two of their last five games. Their scoring is down and their opponents scoring is up, so it’s not a surprise they have struggled. The Rockets have won six of their last seven and played towards the under in most of those. I think that has a lot to do with their defense which has picked up lately. Even without star center Dwight Howard they have been tough to score on. The spread here says the game should stay close and the O/U is another one on the useable side, so you should have some exposure to this game. Other than Howard everyone is healthy, so injuries are not a big concern here.

Line: Rockets -4, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($8700)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6100)
  • Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets ($5600)
  • Robin Lopez, C, Blazers ($4600)

______________________________________________________________

Suns @ Kings

Game Analysis

Vegas has no lines posted yet due to the questionable tag placed on Kings center DeMarcus Cousins today. If he fails to play and Darren Collison remains out the Kings will be woefully under prepared to play with this fast paced Suns team today. The Suns only have three wins in their last seven and the under has hit every time. They routinely see numbers in the 215 range for totals so any downtick in pace, scoring, or uptick in defense could be the reason. While they are not off the charts anymore this should still be a game which sees a lot of points. The Kings have been losers of five of the last six and are also seeing the unders hit more often. That was before the injuries to both Collicon and Cousins as well, so this one could get really ugly if those two do not play. Sans Cousins and Collison I think the blowout risk in this game is very high. If Boogie is in against a weak Suns front court who just lost Alex Len to an injury I would think that he should dominate today against Miles Plumlee and Morris brothers defense in a higher paced game. If he is in it may stay close and that makes this game useable. If not, I think you have to look elsewhere today as a blowout is a real possibility.

UPDATE: Cousins has lost the Questionable tag and is now a full go. Fuire him up as you always would. He makes a great play against a very weak interior defense for the Suns without Alex Len.

Players to Watch

  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10500)
  • Ramon Sessions, PG, Kings ($3000)
  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($7800)
  • Marcus Morris, PF, Suns ($3700)