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 matchups.
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KNICKS AT BUCKS
You know the Knicks (5-35) just wish they could let the 2014-15 NBA season swallow itself, end things now, while they prepare for next season, but unfortunately they have to endure another 40 games or so. They head into Milwaukee to face the Bucks (20-19), who are still teeter-tottering around the .500 mark. The good news is that the Bucks have won two out of their last three games, while having an excellent shot of beating the Knicks on Thursday. You’d have to be a crazy man to lay money on the Knicks, even if they were being spotted a grip of points – but they’re not. The oddsmakers realize they’re just wouldn’t be enough action on this game, or at least that’s my most educated opinion. Look for the Bucks to win in fine fashion, and don’t be surprised if Brandon Knight has a fantastic game – assuming he gets to play the entire contest and there isn’t an early blowout at hand.
Line: None, Over/Under: None
Players to Watch
- Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks – 30th OPRK ($8,800)
- Brandon Knight, PG, Bucks – 11th OPRK ($7,600)
- Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks – 13th OPRK ($5,800)
- Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Knicks – 24th OPRK ($4,900)
THUNDER AT ROCKETS
Anytime you’ve got Kevin Durant and James Harden on the same court you have to get a little excited, right? And, throw in Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Rockets (27-11) then it’s really time to get geeky-happy. While the Thunder (18-19) carries a poor road record of 7-12 into Houston, the game should be very tight with both teams playing solid defense. The Rockets don’t allow teams to score many points on average, so Durant and Westbrook will need to be on top of their game. Serge Ibaka is the key, however, for the Thunder. If he’s able to contribute enough the Thunder have a shot of edging out the Rockets, albeit a big “if”. Take the Rockets to cover the -2.0 being spotted to the Thunder, while expecting two solid defenses to keep things under 206.5 total.
Line: HOU – 2.0, Over/Under: 206.5
Players to Watch
- Kevin Durant, SF, Thunders – 11th OPRK ($10,700)
- James Harden, SG, Rockets – 17th OPRK ($10,500)
- Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunders – 19th OPRK ($6,400)
- Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets – 25th OPRK ($5,600)
CAVALIERS AT LAKERS
The Lakers (12-27) shot a measly 31.5% from the floor on Tuesday night as they lost to the Heat 78-75, in a game that sent most viewers to bed early. The Lakers will follow up their horrible showing on Tuesday with a Thursday contest facing the Cavaliers (19-20), who have lost six in a row and nine out of their last 10 games. LeBron James is back in action as he put up 33 points on Tuesday in the Cavs loss, but getting a consistent showing from him will likely swing the Cavs run of bad play. The Lakers should do enough in the game to keep things close, so I’m taking the 6.0 points being spotted with both clubs keeping things under 204 on the night.
Line: CLE – 6.0, Over/Under: 204
Players to Watch
- Kevin Love, PF, Cavaliers – 23rd OPRK ($9,900)
- Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavaliers – 30th OPRK ($9,000)
- Tristan Thompson, PF, Cavaliers – 23rd OPRK ($6,200)
- Jeremy Lin, PG, Lakers – 22nd OPRK ($4,800)
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