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.

 

Fantasy Basketball World Championship Qualifiers

$20 FBWC Qualifier #10

$1000 FBWC Qualifier #11

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Jazz @ Cavaliers

Game Analysis

The Jazz have only won 1 of their last 5 and played to the under in four of those games. In their defense those losses were to Hou, SA, GS, and OKC who are four of the best teams in the west. Cleveland has started to heat up as they have won 3 straight all with totals over 200. The Cavs have averaged 114 points over this stretch. The only question mark going into this game (and it’s a big one) is Lebron James health. James sat out practice yesterday with flu like symptons. Obviously this is something to monitor as it would change everything if Lebron is out. I’m going to assume he does play, but if not then it’s time to fire up Kyrie again as that was the play last week when Lebron was sidelined. As for the Jazz we finally saw something many have clamored for last game as Rudy Gobert was given the bulk of the minutes at center. He put up another 47 point DK effort and despite Quinn Snyder saying it has no long term effects on guy’s roles, it really mucks u the front court rotations for the Jazz. It’s tough to say if this was a one game thing or an emerging trend, but it’s tough to deny when given the chance that Gobert has produced and then some. I think the Jazz are going to need a big game out of their front court to keep this one close, but how the minutes get split between Kanter, Gbert, and Favors is anyone’s guess right now. The total here is average and the spread is on the high side, so on paper it’s not the best spot for fantasy goodness.

Line: Cavs -9.5, O/U 198.5

Players to Watch

* Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz ($6300)
* Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5600)

* Timofey Mozgov, C, Cavs ($4900)

* Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($9000)

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Heat @ Hornets

Game Analysis

The Heat welcomed back Dwayne Wade last night, but will be without Loul Deng and Hassan Whiteside for today’s game as neither traveled with the team. For Charlotte they welcomed back Big Al Jefferson last out and looks like they will be getting Kemba Walker back today after he was a full practice participant yesterday. With Lance Stephenson and MKG healthy now it could be the first time we see the whole Hornets team together since very early in the season. Miami has seen 8 straight unders and the Hornets have 3 in a row as well. Both teams enjoy the slow down and set up type of game so I expect this one to be on the lower scoring side. For Miami I would tick up guys like Wade and Bosh with a few injuries to a top rebounder and a high usage guy in Deng. That means more touches and potential rebounds for those two. With everyone relatively healthy I think it ticks down all the Hornets, especially when you factor in pace. Big Al is not 100% yet and will be on a minutes limit from what I am seeing, so steer clear there. This should be a lower scoring game and I would shy away on a large slate night from too much exposure here.

Line: Hornets -6, O/U 187

Players to Watch

* Dwayne Wade, SG, Heat ($8300)
* Chris Bosh, C, Heat ($8400)

* Lance Stephenson, SG, Hornets ($5300)

* Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($5500)

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Knicks @ 76ers

Game Analysis

The 76ers are favored to win this game. Let that nugget of information sink in for a minute. The 76ers are favored to win this game. Sorry for the redundancy but for those who follow the NBA that is a very rare thing to see. Philly has won 4 of it’s last 9 with 8 unders during that stretch. As I mentioned before this is a new and different Sixers team from the fantasy goodness one we aw last season. Pace is down and DEF is up so be careful stacking against them. The Knicks are starting to get healthy again as Melo and Amare are working back into game shape. They only have one win in their last 10 but it was last out against the Pelicans. This game should be both ugly and low scoring, but there’s a few interesting lays amongst the cheap options and high usage guys on each team.

Line: Philly -1, O/U 190.5

Players to Watch

* Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Sixers ($8400)
* Nerlens Noel, PF, Sixers ($5300)

* Carmelo Anthony, PF, Knicks ($8800)

* Amare Stoudemire, PF, Knicks ($4300)

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Magic @ Pistons

Game Analysis

The Pistons have won 7 of the last 10 and look like a new team. Scoring is up above the triple digit mark after being on of the lower scoring teams early on. Pace is up and yet the defense has also improved with opponents scoring fewer. That has helped everything from margin of victory to the ultimate goal of increased wins. The Magic are two of their last 10 and are likely going to be without Tobias Harris once more. He has gone through some workouts and practice things, but has not practiced fully and is still listed as questionable. While he has been out, Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye have played pretty well. I would think Orlando continues to rely on those two for a lot of the scoring. Both have seen and should maintain the uptick in usage unless he is back. Still I do not think the Magic have enough to beat the Pistons on the road.

Line: Pistons -9, O/U 206

Players to Watch

* Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6900)
* Channing Frye, PF, Magic ($5000)

* Brandon Jennings, PG, Pistons ($7900)

* Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($8100)

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Pacers @ Hawks

Game Analysis

What more can be said about the Hawks right now. They just keep winning and doing so in different ways every night. They can beat you in an up tempo game or slow it down and play rock solid defense. They are one of the league’s best kept secrets as well as the casual fan does not realize how good they are. This can be seen in ownership rates as they never are as owned as you would think a team as dominate as they have been should be. The entire team is reasonably priced across the board and they have made for great cash game plays this season. The Pacers are struggling at the moment. they have five straight losses including defeats at the hand of the Timberwolves, Sixers, and an undermanned Charlotte squad recently. On Paper this looks to be a big mismatch and we could see a blowout with the game being in Atlanta. My biggest concern here is whether or not a few of the Hawks get a night off. Follow the twitter feed for any information and bump up the remaining starters if word breaks late.

Line: Hawks -11, O//U 196

Players to Watch

* Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7200)
* Kyle Korver, SG, Hawks ($5100)

* CJ Miles, SF, Pacers ($5000)

* Donald Sloan, PG, Pacers ($3500)

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Raptors @ Grizzlies

Game Analysis

The Grizzlies are tough at home and get a good Toronto team today in what should be a very competitive game. Toronto is only 3 for their last 6 and have 5 unders during that stretch. Even after welcoming back DeMar Derozan recently they have struggled to put up points. Memphis has to be happy they got back floor general Mike Conley as well last game and will need him against Kyle Lowry today. Randolph/Gasol have been on a tear each averaging over 42 DK points during the last 4 games. Memphis is always tough at home and they are winners of four of their last 5 so I think Vegas got this absolutely right. The total is neither small or large for today so I would think we see normal production from both squads, but would not expect a high scoring shoot out with two solid defensive teams squaring off here.

Line: Memphis -5, O/U 198.5

Players to Watch

* Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7700)
* Jeff Green, SF, Grizzlies ($5000)

* Amir Johnson, PF, Raptors ($4600)

* Lou Williams, SG, Raptors ($4400)

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Mavericks @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

This should be a very high scoring game between two teams that like a hot pace. No definitive word yet on whether Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic are back from injury, but it looks like we may see one or both tonight. I don’t think that matters much as I expect the Mavericks to win this anyway, but it does effect fantasy stats if they do. Dallas has won 3 of their last 4 and averaged about 103.5 points while doing so. Minnesota is 2 of their last 4, but both games against higher paced teams they hung up at least 110 during this stretch and are very up and down as they scored 99 and 8- points in the other two games. As capable as they are, like most young teams they lack consistency. When you take two fast paced high scoring lack defensive teams and throw them together you could see a lot of points here. I would think having some exposure to this game is a good idea tonight. I like some other spots as well and would not use too many of these guys, especially on Dallas where they tend to spread the wealth. Target your favorites for a GPP and be mindful that there’s a bunch of solid cash game options here at attractive prices.

Line:

Players to Watch

* Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($700)
* Thad Young, PF, Timberwolves ($6000)

* Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7100)

* Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks ($6300)

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Lakers @ Pelicans

Game Analysis

Line is slow to get posted on this one for two big reasons. Kobe Bryant looks unlikely to play and Anthony Davis is likely back. This game would be brutal if both were out and honestly I’m not excited for it with only one of the two actually in. Until we get more clarity I am operating under the assumption Kobe is out and Brow is in. The Lakers are struggling as they have won 1 of 8 games and played mostly to the under. This has a lot to do with them not being able to score like they were doing especially with the rash of injuries. The Pelicans are maddening to follow. In their last six games they have been Jekyl and Hyde. in the 3 wins they have beaten Toronto, Memphis, and Detroit and then turned around and lost to the Knicks, Sixers, and Celtics. Talk about playing to your competition. When I say I have no idea what to expect from them sometimes this is why. You beat 3 of the top 10 teams in the league at the moment and then lose to 3 of the bottom five next out. Tell me which Pelican team shows up and I can give you the read on the situation. I don’t think either team is good enough to blow out the other, so for now I will wait and watch how this plays out. We could see a few points on the NO side so I would take a shot on a gy or two there. With all the injuries the usage rate for the Guard spots on LA is up in the air, so we could see one or two of their guards or small forward types make value on minutes alone.

Line: Pelicans -8, O/U 204

Players to Watch

* Jeremy Lin, PG, Lakers ($5000)
* Nick Young, SG, Lakers ($4300)

* Tyreke Evans, SG, Pelicans ($8400)

* Omer Asik, C, Pelicans ($4600)

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Thunder @ Wizards

Game Analysis

This should be a great match up to watch for the casual and fantasy basketball fan. High total and low O/U is a good indicator of a target game for fantasy and when you get two of the better teams in the league going at each other it just makes it better. OKC has won four of their last 5, but tend to go under when they have totals lower then 205 like they do today. Washington has won 7 of it’s last 9 and they tend to play towards the under mostly because of their defense limiting opponents. I think this ticks down the Thunder a little and bumps up the Wizards. Especially when you consider OKC is on the tail end of a Back to back game. This one is going to come down to the wire and DvP suggest Durant has the better match up, so he would be my #1 option on OKC, but Westy is always a good 1A.

Line: Wizards -1.5, O/U 204

Players to Watch

* Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder ($10700)
* Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10200)

* Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards ($6200)

* Marcin Gortat, C, Wizards ($5900)

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Trailblazers @ Suns

Game Analysis

This should be a high scoring shootout chock full of fantasy goodness. The big news here is LaMarcus Aldridge is likely out with a broken hand suffered in the last game. After his absence it became the Damian Lilliard show as I expect to see happen again today. Phoenix has been hot lately winning three in a row on this homestand and looking to make it four today. They are scoring over 110 points and giving up just under 100 during this stretch. I’m not sure if Portland has enough fire power to take them on now without LMA, but I do know no LMA and a faster pace will tick up some of the Blazers players. I expect this to be high scoring and not get away from either team, so full run for all the stars seems like a reasonable expectation. Could see a few very nice stat lines in this one and I would definitely be using a few guys from here throughout my rosters.

Line: Suns -6.5, O/U 211

Players to Watch

* Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($9500)
* Wes Matthews, SG, Blazers ($5700)

* Goran Dragic, PG, Suns ($6900)

* Markief Morris, PF, Suns ($6600)

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Nets @ Kings

Game Analysis

The good news for the Nets is Deron Williams has joined them on the road trip, but the bad news is he is still questionable to play. Jack has been very good in his absence recently. The Nets as a team though have struggled winning only 1 of their last 9 games so far. The have played to the under often and in fact only cracked 100 once in their lone win. Sacramento has also lost 5 of it’s last six and played towards the under more often. Neither team is playing well and I would not be surprised if this game stays under as well as the total has already dropped 1.5 points and the money is heavy on the under. Cousins and Gay are both listed on the injury report although it looks likely both will play. I think the Kings should be able to take this one at home, but the Nets have already beaten them this season so it’s anyone’s guess. The O/U here is not unreasonable but I do think it stays under and therefore I am shying away from playing a lot of guys in this one.

Line: Kings -5.5, O/U 197.5

Players to Watch

* Jarrett Jack, PG, Nets ($6300)
* Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($6100)

* DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($11100)

* Rudy Gay,, SF, Kings ($7700)

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Rockets @ Warriors

Game Analysis

This game has a total that started at 219, so despite it dropping since then, 217.5 is still an obnoxious amount of points. I doubt this game turns into a blowout, so we should see full run and usage for all the studs and this game has a bunch of them. These two teams played in Houston last week and put up a total of 237 points so I can see another monster score today. GS won that last game @ Houston by 20, so there is a chance this does become a blowout if the Rockets can not find a way to score a few more and improve on defense this time. The Warriors have won 9 of their last 10 and averaged 118 points over that stretch. Houston is 6 of their last 8 while averaging around 100, but they give up more points then Golden State does and therefore with their current lack defensive effort I would think you tick up the Warriors a little bit. There’s going to be a ton of points scored here so you would be crazy not to have a piece of the highest total game tonight, especially when just this past week these two teams scored almost 240 points in a game with a slow ending.

Line: Warriors -7, O/U 217.5

Players to Watch

* Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7700)
* Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($10200)

* James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10800)

* Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Rockets ($5500)