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.
Grizzlies @ Pistons
Memphis has won three of their last five games and played to the under in three of those. The most telling part of that stat is they routinely see spreads in the mid 180 range, so playing under those numbers means the games are very slow and low scoring. Even the two games that went over fell well short of the 200 point total mark. The Grizzlies play at a slow pace and their solid defense tends to keep games towards the downside. Detroit has really fell apart recently. They have not won a game in almost a month and have looked bad. They have only cracked the 100 point mark twice in their last ten and the offense is the reason for their recent struggles. This is bad news for them today against a Grizzlies team that is one of the best defensive squads in the league. Detroit is used to seeing totals slightly higher than today, but I think Vegas has it right here with the combination of bad Detroit offense and stingy Memphis defense. Normally I would shy away from this game, but the other lines are pretty ugly and this is the closest contest based off Vegas predictions today. While I would not go heavy here, it is a game you need to look at on such a small, ugly slate.
Line: Grizzlies -4.5, O/U 189.5
Players to Watch
- Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7200)
- Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7400)
- Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($7600)
- Reggie Jackson, PG, Pistons ($6400)
Update: Greg Monroe has been listed as ‘Out’ for tonight. Look for Anthony Tolliver to gain some extra minutes with Monroe out of the lineup.
Spurs @ Knicks
There’s a lot of high spreads and low totals today that give me pause when looking at the games with an eye towards fantasy production, and this is the worst of them all. The Spurs are rounding back into championship form. They have won seven of their last eight and the offense is clicking. The lone loss was the OT thriller against Cleveland a few back, but besides that game this offense has been putting up over 110 a game and playing at a high pace. The defense has let up a decent amount of points as well in recent contests due to that pace, but I struggle to see the Knicks keeping up tonight. New York has lost six of their last seven games and only managed to score 100 once during that stretch. They really lack NBA caliber talent and do not have many guys on the roster that are even capable of scoring the ball. Add in the recent injuries to rotation guys like Hardaway and Early and it gets even tougher to make a case for them.There’s no doubt in my mind that the Spurs starters will see below average minutes today and that this one will be an easy victory going away for San Antonio.
Line: Spurs -13, O/U 197
Players to Watch
- Alexey Shved, PG, Knicks ($6200)
- Andrea Bargnani, PF, Knicks ($6100)
- Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs ($3600)
- Boris Diaw, PF, Spurs ($3500)
Bucks @ Pelicans
Milwaukee has lost seven of it’s last nine games. They have never been a high scoring team, but the recent losses have more to do with their defense being an issue. Milwaukee was a top defense earlier in the season, but lately they have been giving up too many points. The Pelicans have been winners of four of their past six and should present trouble for a struggling Bucks defense as they have scored 111, 111, and 114 in three straight games. The Pelicans have been playing faster over the last week as they have blown by their recent totals even after seeing them rise dramatically. They are at home today against a banged up Bucks squad that could be without the services of MCW, Bayless, Mayo, and Dudley. The biggest name there is obviously Michael Carter-Williams who missed practice yesterday, but is expected to suit up tonight. Either way the Bucks are thin on the wings, so we should see big minutes out of the healthy options. The Pelicans struggle a little to defend wing players so that is the way the Bucks should look to attack them. Overall though this is not expected to be a very high scoring game and the spread does not inspire me to think this will be close to the end.
Line: Pelicans -7, O/U 193
Players to Watch
- Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11400)
- Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7500)
- Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($4000)
- Khris Middleton, SG, Bucks ($6800)
Magic @ Rockets
Orlando has lost four straight games. They are averaging about 93 points in each and the big reason for the recent struggles is their defense. They are giving up over 104 points per game during this stretch. Houston has been winners of three of their last five and are playing towards the under more often. They are still putting up around 100 point per game, but they are seeing totals well into the 210s so I can give them a pass for the recent unders as they games are still higher scoring than the league average. Houston has been known to allow opponents to put up some points as well, so the scoring is usually related to their hot paces. The spread on this one is rather large, but it is a nice total, so you have to look at it today. On a five game slate you can not shy away from too many games, so hopefully this one stays close enough to the end to allow the starters to play the end of the fourth quarter.
Line: Rockets -11.5, O/U 203.5
Players to Watch
- James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10800)
- Trevor Ariza, SF, Rockets ($5800)
- Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($6200)
- Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8300)
Hornets @ Clippers
Charlotte has lost three of their last four and looked bad doing it. The Hornets have failed to score even 70 points in two of their last four games. They are still playing at a slower pace as they have only allowed around 98 points per game over this stretch. That is not a ton of points given up, but it creates a rather large margin of victories for opponents when they are scoring under 70. The Clippers have no problems scoring points. They are averaging over 100 a game during their last ten and routinely see totals in the 210+ range. They have lost 4 of their last nine games, but all those are to surefire playoff teams in the west. When they play an inferior opponent, like they have today in the Hornets, they tend to play well and take care of business. This is the second highest total on the day and the third spread in double digits. Figuring out which of those high total games will stay close enough to allow full run and maximum upside for the stars looks to be the key to cashing tonight.
Line: Clippers -10.5, O/U 200
Players to Watch
- Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9000)
- DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers ($8800)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets ($6200)
- Mo Williams, PG, Hornets ($7000)