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.

1) PORTLAND AT BROOKLYN HAS BEEN CANCELED TONIGHT DUE TO WEATHER CONCERNS

2) SACRAMENTO AT NEW YORK HAS BEEN CANCELED TONIGHT DUE TO WEATHER CONCERNS

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Minnesota @ Oklahoma City

OKC (-15), 206 Over/Under

Game Analysis

The huge spread in this game raises some concerns to whether or not you can rely on the high-priced studs such as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Durant in particular has played 40+ minutes in each of his last three games and I’d expect Scott Brooks to be a little more wary with him tonight against an inferior Wolves team. Keep in mind that both of these guys had injury problems earlier this year so Brooks knows he’ll need to be cautious. That also means some opportunities may open up for guys like Dion Waiters and Steven Adams. Waiters in particular seems intriguing since the Wolves are well below the league average in defensive efficiency against SGs, and he comes off the bench so his minutes should be relatively safe in the event of a blowout. Adams is interesting but is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game. If he sits, you could see a lot of minutes from Kendrick Perkins who has very little fantasy appeal.

Looking at the Wolves roster, injuries have ravaged them all season and that trend continued this weekend as they lost Robbie Hummel for over a month. Kevin Martin still isn’t ready to return (listed as doubtful tonight) and Shabazz Muhammed remains out on Monday as well. That leaves the Wolves very thin at the wing positions – with only Andrew Wiggins, Chase Budinger and Glenn Robinson III healthy. Wiggins will see a ton of minutes, regardless of the score and Budinger should get plenty of run tonight as well. Robinson will definitely see an uptick in run but he hasn’t played significant minutes all season so I’d be surprised to see him thrust into a major role on Monday. Last, Thaddeus Young can play some small forward so don’t be surprised to see him move onto the wing at some points which could increase his usage in the offense.

Players to Watch

  • Russell Westbrook ($10,300)
  • Dion Waiters ($4900)
  • Andrew Wiggins ($6800)
  • Chase Budinger ($3400)
  • Thaddeus Young ($6000)
  • Steven Adams ($4300)QUESTIONABLE

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Orlando @ Memphis

MEM (-12), 205 Over/Under

Game Analysis

This is a tough game to project since the Magic have played at a much higher tempo of late, leading to some good fantasy value for their opponents but the Grizzlies are a more physical, slow-paced team that will likely enforce their will on Orlando tonight. Again this game has a large spread, indicating the potential of a blowout. With that said, there are a few interesting matchups that you can take a chance on for either team. For the Grizzlies, it’s a decent spot for recently acquired Jeff Green. Green has seen right around 30 minutes of playing time for the past four games and while his fantasy output has fluctuated – the matchup tonight lends itself to Green’s playing style. Orlando has also ranked below the league average in DvP against small forwards and Green has a very manageable price tag. The other exploitable matchup is Zach Randolph against the interior defense of the Magic. Look for Vucevic to have his hands full with Marc Gasol and Randolph should be the forgotten man. On the year, the Magic are allowing 4.3% more fantasy points than the league average against Power Forwards and that rate has jumped to 18.1% higher than the league average over the last 15 days.

For Orlando, it could be tough sledding for their two biggest fantasy threats – Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic has been red hot of late but will have to match up with Gasol on the inside and Marc is one of the best interior defenders in the NBA. Recent play has elevated Vuc’s price tag and this doesn’t seem like the right spot to target him. The same could be said for Victor Oladipo who has a tough matchup against either Courtney Lee or Tony Allen on the wing. Oladipo performs best when the Magic are able to establish a quick pace and I don’t think the Grizzlies allow that to happen tonight. Beyond those two, the other intriguing play is Channing Frye. Frye could pose issues for the Grizzlies because of his ability to stretch the floor. Much like how Randolph should be able to exploit Frye and company inside, Frye should be able to get Randolph out of the paint – making him uncomfortable defensively. Frye’s minutes have consistently been around 30 per game and his price tag is reasonable on what has become a shortened game slate due to weather cancellations.

Players to Watch

  • Jeff Green ($5000)
  • Zach Randolph ($8100)
  • Channing Frye ($5000)
  • Marc Gasol ($8400)

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Philadelphia @ New Orleans

NO (-14), 188 Over/Under

Game Analysis

The over/under here is pretty low with a sizeable spread, but that shouldn’t deter you from finding fantasy value on both ends. Starting with the Pelicans, this is a great spot for Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans – both of whom have taken on increased responsibility with Jrue Holiday out of the lineup. Evans has posted 40+ fantasy points in three of his last 5 games while managing the majority of point guard duties. Davis has been incredibly consistent of late, posting 50+ FPs in four of his last five and 40+ in all five of those games. He is probably the top option on the board tonight after weather knocked DeMarcus Cousins out of the running. On the year, the Sixers are allowing 8.4% more FPs to Power Forwards than the league average. There are also some good fringe value options for the Pelicans tonight given the large spread and the hard-fought matchup last night against the Mavericks. Look for Ryan Anderson to see good minutes off the bench and Eric Gordon has been locked into 34+ minutes in almost every game that Jrue Holiday has missed.

For the Sixers, the biggest name to watch continues to be Michael Carter-Williams, who is out this evening. With Tony Wroten sidelined as well, look for Larry Drew II to take on the bulk of the PG duties. We don’t know much about Drew, but given his cheap price point and potentially big minutes, there is much to be interested in with him. Considering the weather cancellations so far, he might be a core option tonight who should get around 30 minutes of court time. Robert Covington and KJ McDaniels are both reasonable tournament options as well, with minutes that are relatively independent of a potential blowout.

Players to Watch

  • Tyreke Evans ($8200)
  • Eric Gordon ($5700)
  • Anthony Davis ($11,000)
  • Ryan Anderson ($5500)
  • Larry Drew II ($3400)
  • KJ McDaniels ($4300)
  • Robert Covington ($5100)

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Boston @ Utah

UTA (-7.5), 194 Over/Under

Game Analysis

The Celtics are coming off a tough loss in Golden State last night where they pushed the league’s best team to the wire but inevitably came up a bit short. Tonight in Utah they’ll have a chance to get a much-needed road win against a far less talented opponent. What’s unclear is whether or not they’ll have Marcus Smart at their disposal. Smart missed Sunday’s game for a family emergency, but it does look as if he’ll be able to make it back for tonight. If Smart returns, he should be plugged back into the rotation for about 30 minutes per game and it bumps Phil Pressey back to a bench warming role. Smart had put together 4 games of 22+ fantasy points in his last 5 recently and that seems like a pretty safe projection for him tonight. Beyond that, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass both continue to be intriguing PF options. Sullinger is a little riskier, but hasn’t had fewer than 27 fantasy points in any of his last 9 games. The Jazz have been impressive at defending the PF position with their slew of interior defenders, but Sully has decent tournament upside tonight. Bass continues to be relatively cheap but his price point has elevated a bit – to the point where he’s probably not a core value option this evening.

The Jazz have a number of good looking plays tonight, including the narrative of Gordon Hayward wanting to show off for his former Butler coach, Brad Stevens. The Celtics have been stout at defending the SF position but I do have Hayward rated as the 2nd highest projected SF tonight, behind Kevin Durant. After Hayward, I really like the matchup for Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert inside. The three split minutes, which makes it difficult at times to predict their production, but all three are viable tournament options for tonight’s game. The Celtics interior defense is soft at best and they’re allowing 15.1% more FPs than the league average to Power Forwards specifically over the last 15 days. The last potential Jazz player worth considering is Dante Exum whose cheap price tag and recent starting role puts him into relevancy. He has 24 fantasy points in each of his last two games and should continue to see upwards of 29 minutes of playing time.

Players to Watch

  • Marcus Smart ($4300)
  • Dante Exum ($3400)
  • Evan Turner ($5300)
  • Gordon Hayward ($7800)
  • Derrick Favors ($7400)
  • Jared Sullinger ($6600)
  • Brandon Bass ($4400)
  • Rudy Gobert ($6300)

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Denver @ LA Clippers

LAC (-13), 214 Over/Under

Game Analysis

The last game of the night might be the most intriguing for fantasy value. Two uptempo teams square off in LA after both playing last night and traveling today. For the Clippers, I tend to play matchups with this team more than most because their talent is so top-heavy. Basically, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are the cream of the crop talent and there is a huge drop-off beyond that. For CP3, the matchup is negligible at best. The Nuggets are slightly better than the league average at defending the PG position, but Paul did post 51 fantasy points in the only meeting of these two teams earlier this year. Griffin gets a big plus matchup as the Nuggets are 4.7% worse than the league average on the season and 9.2% worse over the last 15 days against the PF position. The problem with Griffin is that he’s only reached value for his huge price tag tonight twice in his last 10 games. The upside is here, but I wouldn’t lock him in as a guaranteed value. That brings us to DeAndre Jordan, who might be my favorite center tonight (dollar for dollar). The biggest worry with Jordan is that since Nurkic has been inserted into the starting lineup (or since Mozgov was traded) the Nuggets have gone from well below the league average against Centers to significantly better than the league average. Still, Denver is thin inside and Jordan had 11 points and 14 boards last time these teams played.

For the Nuggets, their rotations have fluctuated a bit thanks to a series of injuries this season (and the Mozgov trade). Once popular Jusuf Nurkic has become almost unplayable behind quickly diminishing minutes of game action. He’s extremely solid in his fantasy points per minute production, but he has only played 15 and 19 minutes over the last two games. At best, he’s a tournament option tonight against the occasionally lazy interior defense of the Clippers. Beyond a confusing big man rotation, it will be tough to identify too much value for the Nuggets tonight. Ty Lawson, their best player, will have to deal with the pesky defense of Chris Paul and he only posted 35 FPs the last time these two played. I’d leave him in tournament consideration because of his ceiling and usage in the Nuggets offense (had 60 FPs last night), but his price makes it difficult to consider him for head to heads or 50/50s. And last up is Wilson Chandler, who has been a nightmare of inconsistency this season but has a good matchup against the Clippers at a very thin SF position. For his price, I wouldn’t be against rostering him tonight in a high-paced game.

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul ($9600)
  • Ty Lawson ($8800)
  • Jamal Crawford ($4900)
  • Wilson Chandler ($5600)
  • Blake Griffin ($9800)
  • JJ Hickson ($5400)
  • DeAndre Jordan ($7800)

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