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.
HORNETS AT RAPTORS
The Hornets (12-24) are still struggling to score points as they rank 25th in the NBA (25th overall). They head into Toronto to play the Raptors (24-10), who have lost three games in a row. The Hornets have been playing better of late with two wins in a row, although their current tiny two-game winning streak will likely be squashed on Thursday evening. Point guard Kemba Walker has been playing fantastic basketball of late, so it’s imperative that the Raptors stop his positive play if they expect to shut the Hornets down. The Raptors do struggle defensively at times as they allow 101.6 PPG each night on average, and during their current three-game losing streak they’ve given up almost 118 PPG; however, those were road games against Portland, Golden State and Phoenix. The Raptors are dying for some home cooking, so expect them to blow the Hornets out covering the -12.5 line quite easily.
Line: TOR -12.5, Over/Under: 201
Players to Watch
- Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors – 28th OPRK ($10,200)
- Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets – 18th OPRK ($9,900)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets – 22nd OPRK ($5,400)
- Marvin Williams, SF, Hornets – 22nd OPRK ($4,700)
ROCKETS AT KNICKS
The Knicks (5-32) are probably thinking they’ll never get another win during the 2014-15 NBA season, as they take a 12-game losing streak into Thursday’s game action with the Rockets (23-11). Carmelo Anthony is not expected to shut down his season with the recent trade action GM Phil Jackson has put the club through, but it’s going to be quite some time before he’s ready to go considering injury. I don’t see the Knicks breaking their losing streak, and the Rockets should dominate even playing on the road. Look for the Rockets to cover the -12.0 line.
Line: HOU -12.0, Over/Under: 192.5
Players to Watch
- James Harden, SG, Rockets – 23rd OPRK ($10,300)
- Dwight Howard, C, Rockets – 11th OPRK ($8,500)
- Cole Aldrich, C, Knicks – 13th OPRK ($6,000)
- Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets – 15th OPRK ($5,600)
HEAT AT TRAIL BLAZERS
The Trail Blazers (27-8) have won 15 out of their last 17 games at home, dating back to last season. So, it will be no easy task for the Heat (15-20), who are 3-7 over their last 10 games played, to beat the Trail Blazers in their own house. Chris Bosh is still looking to put together consistent production, but the Heat as a whole are having a difficult time stringing wins together. Bosh is the key to the Heat’s success, although he’ll be challenged heavily by the Trail Blazers stout defense which currently ranks 2nd in the league in points allowed (97.0) and 1st in the league in rebounds (46.6). Don’t expect the Heat to pull this one out, although I do like the +8.5 points they’re being spotted. I like the 197 under as well, so something to think about considering the over is so very tempting. Look for the Trail Blazers defense to squeeze the Heat enough for a victory.
Line: POR -8.5, Over/Under: 197
Players to Watch
- Chris Bosh, C, Rockets – 10th OPRK ($8,500)
- Luol Deng, SF, Rockets – 25th OPRK ($5,900)
- Nicolas Batum, SF, Trail Blazers – 17th OPRK ($5,900)
- Chris Kaman, C, Trail Blazers – 23rd OPRK ($4,400)
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