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.

 

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Pistons @ 76ers

Game Analysis

The Pistons have played two games without starting PG Brandon Jennings who is out for the season. They lost to Toronto and Cleveland but played well enough to stay in both games against two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. They are playing up in pace a tad and giving up a few more points since. Today they get a Sixers team that is without Wroten and possibly missing Michael Carter-Williams again as well. He is listed as questionable and is looking destined to be a game time decision. The Sixers have lost five straight and played to the under in each of them. They have scored 76, 91, 86, 83, and 74 over that stretch while giving up an average of 100 points in each. This one looks destined to be another victory going away for the Pistons. As always with the Sixers, the big issue is whether or not the Pistons starters play the whole game. There’s no doubt they can produce when on the floor, but without MCW I am not sure how many minutes each will see. I feel these guys will be heavily used so there’s definitely a question of whether or not to fade for your GPPs.

Line: Pistons -7, 192 O/U

Players to Watch

  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($5800)
  • Andre Drummond, C, Pistons ($8200)
  • KJ McDaniels, SF, Sixers ($4700)
  • Michael Carter-Williams <—If he plays, PG, Sixers ($8300)

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Trailblazers @ Cavaliers

Game Analysis

Portland is on a slide with only 2 wins in their last 7 games. They have been playing to the over more often due to some bad defense as their scoring averages remain about the same. That’s bad news for them as they travel to take on a red hot Cavs team that has won 7 straight and is also playing to the over more often. The Blazers are likely without Nic Batum which is a huge blow as he would be the guy to try and slow down Lebron James. With the additions of Mozgov, JR Smith, and now a healthy Shumpert the Cavs are deeper and more talented than they were early in the year. With Batum banged up, Aldridge playing through a broken hand, and Robin Lopez out with a hand injury of his own I can not say the same for the Blazers. Lilliard and Aldridge have plus match ups against weak defense from Kyrie and Love, but overall the Cavs just have more talent and are playing better basketball. The Spread is not too high and the O/U is nice so you can definitely roll out a few guys on either side of this one. The pricing of the stars is a little high so be choosey on the top end, but some of the mid range players could be sneaky good starts.

Line: Cavs -5, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Timofey Mozgov, C, Cavs ($5100)
  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10700)
  • Wes Matthews, SG, Blazers ($6100)
  • Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($9300)

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Nets @ Hawks

Game Analysis

This one is not a good fantasy game to target. The spread of 13.5 screams blowout and the O/U of 194.5 says low scoring. A little quick math says that makes the likely score somewhere around 104 to 91, which is about the final score of each of the 16 wins they have had since the beginning of the month. The Nets are still without Deron Williams and word is Joe Johnson is playing through a great deal of pain as well. In the last two contest they managed just 84 and 73 points, which is not enough to beat anyone in a 48 minute game. Half the roster and the team are all up for sale at the moment and there’s a real dead man walking kind of feel to that whole situation. When you match up one of the best in the NBA and one of the worst there’s not much to look forward to and I would recommend fading this whole game. THE ONE CAVEAT here is that we may get some news of guys taking the night off. Last time that happened the remaining starters for the Hawks all put up bigger numbers than usual, so if that does happen you have my blessing to play a few of them who are in. Otherwise there’s not much upside to playing guys who should see less minutes if the game plays out the way Vegas and I expect.

Line: Hawks -13.5, O/U 194.5

Players to Watch

  • Fade, unless guys sit for rest

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Kings @ Raptors

Game Analysis

Toronto has won 4 of the last 5 and has started scoring more and picking up the pace with two straight overs after a run of 6 unders. They tend to control the pace and they play excellent defense so the uptick in points may just be temporary. The Kings have lost six straight and look really bad again. They lack an identity as a team and that’s a big reason why they lose a lot. It can be seen by the scores of their games. They let the other team dictate the pace and try to beat everyone at their own game. When they play a slow team like Miami they lose 90-85 ish and try to out execute a team that has that as a strength. When they play a team like the Warriors they lose 120 to 105 as they try to out run and gun a team that no one can run and gun with. That’s why I think today is a great day to bet the under in this one. I think the Raptors will win this one with a score under 100 from each side. People will be flocking to names like Cousins and Lowry tonight, but I’m thinking this game is not going to be as hot as Vegas expects. Both make solid plays, but the also need to do a lot to pay off the salaries. The Raptors are on a back to back so I can even see a few less minutes for some of the starters. It looks good on paper, but on an 11 game night where you have to take some stands I would not knock anyone who backs off using this one heavy.

Line: Raptors -7.5, O/U 208

Players to Watch

  • DeMar Derozan, SG, Raptors ($6500)
  • Patrick Patterson, PF, Raptors ($4000)
  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10900)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7700)

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Celtics @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

The Celtics have been hot lately winning 3 of their last 4 and doing so by controlling the pace and playing to the under. In fact the one loss was a 114-111 defeat by the Warriors which is nothing to be ashamed of. That was the only game during this run that either they or their opponents reached triple digits and that seems to be a must in Warriors games. The Timberwolves have lost five straight and are averaging only 83 points during that stretch. They are giving up just a tad under 100 as well on average, so the numbers are showing this game likely staying under the total. Minnesota should have an advantage under the basket and they will need it today especially if Mo Williams is out as expected. We have seen them struggle before with Zach Lavine at the point and against Avery Bradley defense and with the Celtics missing Evan Turner as well I just do not see a ton of points here. There’s a lot of interesting starts in this game on both sides. Bradley, Bass, and Sully are in play for Boston and Wiggins, Dieng, and Thad for Minnesota. I wish I had more faith in the total going over, because all are reasonably priced and would have made great starts if the two teams here where still playing at the pace they were earlier in the year. At present though, I just do not see it. This game should have a few highly owned guys, so maybe fading here is the way to go for a GPP. Be careful though because they are all reasonably priced and one or two will definitely make value tonight.

Line: Celtics -3, O/U 202.5

Players to Watch

  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolves ($6900)
  • Thad Young, PF, Timberwolves ($6400)
  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($6600)
  • Avery Bradley, SG, Celtics ($4200)

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Nuggets @ Pelicans

Game Analysis

The Nuggets have lost seven straight and given up an average of 108 points over that stretch. Only twice have they barely managed to score over 100 during this dreadful run, so it has not been a good stretch for them. The Pelicans are playing good basketball winning seven of their last ten including four in a row. They are doing it with solid defense as they tend to play towards the under and keep opponents under 100 points. In 6 of their last 7 games both teams failed to reach the century mark so I think this one could play towards the under as well. Best case scenario here is likely a 105 98 Pelicans win that just barely makes it over. I do like a few options from this one and you should have some exposure here.

Line: Pelicans -6, O/U 202

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11000)
  • Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans ($5500)
  • Aaron Afflalo, SG, Nuggets ($6200)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($6000)

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Mavericks @ Rockets

Game Analysis

Dallas has lost three straight and played to the over in their last two. Both Memphis and New Orleans just hung up 109 apiece on them. Dallas has never been a great defensive team, but their offense has stalled from the machine we saw earlier in the season. The lack of scoring is what has hurt them recently. The Rockets are 7 of their last 10 and two of those losses are to Golden State. They have played to the over in 8 of those 10 and are getting contributions from guys across the board. The only real injury concern today is whether or not Dwight Howard plays. Coming off a back to back for the Mavericks I also wonder if we get news about maybe Tyson Chandler taking it easy as well. I have no knowledge of this yet for certain so please monitor the news throughout the day so you know what the situation is. I would think we see a lot of points in this one and some nice fantasy stat lines. Harden and Monta should both have solid numbers and Dirk may as well for the Mavs. Take your pick amongst the forwards for the Rockets amongst Motiejunas, Smith, Ariza, and Brewer. I think all are priced in a spot whee they can be considered and whichever has the biggest game will reward their owners. Rondo gets Beverly Defense which is tough and Parsons has to contend with Ariza/Brewer so I stand by my choices for the Mavs on offense.

Line: Rockets -4, O/U 208

Players to Watch

  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavs ($7100)
  • Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavs ($6400)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($11100)
  • Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets ($5600)

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Thunder @ Knicks

Game Analysis

The Thunder have won five of their last seven and have played to the under in three straight. The Knicks have actually won 3 of the last 4 and have held four of their last five opponents under 100. While I think they may struggle to do that today I do think this game stays lower scoring. That actually helps the stars more than hurts them in this one as I think you will probably see some KD, Westy, and Melo in the fourth quarter here due to a low spread and low scoring game. If the Knicks can keep it with in ten then I see no reason they won’t each get 34+ minutes or more. I don’t love this game for fantasy and think all these guys are going to be highly owned. I think there’s better spots to find for paying up for superstars tonight, but there are some mid range guys here I love.

Line: Thunder -9, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($4300)
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Knicks ($4900)
  • Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder ($6900)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10400)

 

Game Analysis

Kevin Durant missed morning shoot around today is very unlikely to play. Word is not official yet, but multiple sources reporting this independently. If he is out Russ becomes a good play again and an even better one when those who were burned the other night decide to shun him today.

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Hornets @ Spurs

Game Analysis

The Hornets have gone back to their early season ways with 4 wins in the last five on the back of good defense and a slow pace. In those four wins they let up 71, 71, 80, and 74 points and won three of them without scoring over 90. This may have a lot to do with losing Kemba and getting back Big Al, so we should see more of it going forward. I’m not sure if today is one of those days though as the Spurs have won 8 of 10 and are getting themselves back into championship caliber shape. They tend to win games 100s to 90s and push their tempo on other teams. While I do not expect a ton of points here it could play to the over tonight with the total being so low. I would expect everyone to play for the Spurs but you always have to watch that closely and have a plan for late breaking news. While I am not targeting this game I will be using a few guys from it here and there tonight.

Line: Spurs -12, O/U 189

Players to Watch

  • Brian Roberts, PG, Hornets ($4200)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($6700)
  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($8000)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($8000)

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Clippers @ Jazz

Game Analysis

The Clippers have won eight of their last ten and played to the under in six of those. They routinely see totals in the 210+ range which is why as they have scored triple digits in nine of the last ten. The Jazz have been better defensively recently but still lack scoring punch as well. They tend to play games in the high 180s low 190s so this would be a tick up in pace for them. The spread is not too high and the Clippers bench is not great so I can see them getting a big lead and allowing the hometown Jazz to make a run necessitating the reinsertion of the starters late in the fourth quarter. I do not think this will be a heavily targeted game, but it could be a sneaky good source of fantasy points at low ownership because of that. With the large fields we have tonight for the big money events it might be a good idea to go off the board a little.

Line: Clippers -7, O/U 199

Players to Watch

  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz ($8000)
  • Joe Ingles, SF, Jazz ($3700)
  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9500)
  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9800)

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Wizards @ Suns

Game Analysis

Well so much for the John Wall sitting it out last night. He decided to play last minute and in true LA fashion he messed around and almost had a triple double (1 rebound short). Tonight’s game should feature an even faster pace and I am not sure if that is good for Washington on the tail end of a back to back. Washington has won 4 of it’s last 6 and played to the under in 3 of those victories. It’s their preferred style although I don’t think it is how tonight’s game plays out. The Suns have won 6 of 10 with the losses coming to the Rockets, Spurs, Grizzlies, and Clippers. They tend to score about 110 or more and give up around 100, so there’s going to be a ton of points in this one. Both teams are strong at the guard spot so I expect to see a lot of fireworks here today. The big guys that can rebound and run the floor are probably going to be the ones who factor in to this one so keep that in mind as well. I think you need to have some exposure here based off the Vegas numbers alone, so fade this game at your own risk.

Line: Suns -6, O/U 211

Players to Watch

  • Isiah Thomas, PG, Suns ($5400)
  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($8600)
  • Marcin Gortat, C, Wizards ($5500)
  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9200)