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.

 

Sunday Contests

We have some real nice prize pools today on this weekend slate. Get in on the action here:

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Micro Millions #27: $30K Sunday NBA dollar – $1 buy in

 

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Clippers @ Bulls

Game Analysis

The Clippers have won five of their last seven and have played to the over lately against everybody they play not named Memphis or Houston. The scoring and opponents averages are both up, which points to the higher pace lately having a lot to do with it. Chicago had also been on a roll with only two losses in their last ten games and all but two of them playing to the under. Despite losing Derrick Rose the team is still humming along with guys like Brooks and Hinrich picking up the slack. Match up wise I think this may be tough for the Clippers, but both teams are missing a star player at the position of the other teams best player, so Paul and Pau Gasol should both be in good spots. Injuries will be a big part of this one. The Bulls will be without Rose and very likely without Gibson as well. The Clippers will be missing Blake Griffin obviously which drains some of the star power from this match up. Chicago plays much slower than LA and the Clippers struggled to score against a comparable team recently in the Grizzlies, so I would not be surprised if this one stays in the 190 total range and is close to the end.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9900)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers ($8900)
  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Bulls ($8400)
  • Nikola Mirotic, PF, Bulls ($3800)

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Cavaliers @ Rockets

Game Analysis

The big news here is Lebron is looking likely to play and Kyrie is out. That means we should see the King handling a point forward type of role against the Rockets. James Harden was questionable last game for the Rockets, but ended up playing on his bum ankle. He seemed a tad slowed, but nothing too bad, so I expect him to be ready as well. Scratching the recent lose without Lebron and Kyrie, the Cavs had won 7 of 8. The only opponent they allowed to crack the century mark was the Bulls four game back and they have averaged 113 point per game over that span. The Rockets have also won 7 of their last 10. They have done so with some closer games as they give up almost 100 and score a tad over 105 on average during the run. Houston won by twelve in the first match up a few days into the new year. This Cavs team is much different now and playing with momentum, so I expect a high scoring fast paced game with a lot of fantasy upside.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Terrence Jones, PF, Rockets ($6800)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10500)
  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10200)
  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Knicks ($3700)

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Hornets @ Magic

Game Analysis

Charlotte has lost six of it’s last seven and the defense has been a big reason for the slide. They have never been a high scoring team which matters less when opponents are averaging closer to 90 points per game as they had been. It does matter when they average over 100 as has been the case during this recent slide. The Magic have actually payed better recently while winning three of the last five. They have played to the under in eight of the last ten and look to be on the upswing. The defense and slow pace have been major factors for the string of unders and I would expect that to be the case with two teams who tend to play games that barely reach the 190s.

Line: Hornets -1, O/U 189

Players to Watch

  • Mo Williams, PG, Hornets ($6400)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets ($5800)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8600)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6600)

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Warriors @ Celtics

Game Analysis

This is an excellent game to target for fantasy purposes with the highest O/U on the day. It also happens to feature two of the higher paced teams in the league and should be an entertaining back and forth affair. Interesting enough though I think this game could stay under this huge total. The Celtics have won three straight and played to the over in their last five. Most of those totals had been in the low 200s though and barely above the Vegas total. Today they get a Warriors team that routinely sees totals in the 215 and above range, yet have played to the under in seven of their last eight games. On a bad day the Warriors still manage to reach high 90s, so the defense is what has been doing them right lately to keep these games low. With two hot paced teams in a high total game though I still think the winning roster today will have some exposure to this one.

Line: Warriors -8, O/U 214

Players to Watch

  • Isiah Thomas, PG, Celtics ($6000)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics ($4700)
  • Draymond Green, PF, Celtics ($6800)
  • Harrison Barnes, SF, Warriors ($4200)

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76ers @ Pacers

Game Analysis

Brutal line combo and total on this one gives me a lot of pause. These two squared off last week and Indiana won comfortably by 11 in Philly. The rematch comes back to their home turf and finds the Pacers in better health this time around. Indy has played well knocking off some of the NBAs best teams (Clev, GS) in recent contests. Their loss to the Thunder in OKC was the only time in the last six they let an opponent crack 100 points. They have averaged 101 during this stretch and that means the likely outcome here is probably an under. I say that because Philly has barely averaged over 90 points during their last eight. Neither team is particularly high paced and Indy’s stout defense could be the reason this one turns ugly early. The Sixers are not better after the MCW trade so there’s no reason to sugar coat this. It’s a likely blowout with a lower predicted total. Nothing here that makes me think otherwise. Be cautious with your usage here.

Line: Pacers -11, O/U 189.5

Players to Watch

  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($5800)
  • Rodney Stuckey, SG, Pacers ($5300)
  • Nerlens Noel, PF, Sixers ($6200)
  • Robert Covington, PF, Sixrs ($5600)

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Blazers @ Kings

Game Analysis

The analysis here is going to rely on the assumption that Boogie Cousins is out tomorrow which is looking more likely. If so then Rudy Gay is the clear #1 option on that team. With Collison also banged up though and Sessions gone we have seen Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore also pick up their play. I struggle to see this one being close without Cousins, but there’s a ton of cheap Kings guys to look at if you need punts. The Blazers have been solid lately winning four of their last six. They prefer the faster pace the Kings will likely use tomorrow and have won a few games with totals that reached well into the 210s recently. The faster pace the Kings are trying to play at floats all boats here for fantasy. The thing to remember though is the blow out factor is real. If we see it this game could feature lower minutes for an overworked Blazer starting core and a lot of guys missing value.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • Aaron Afflalo, SG, Blazers ($3700)
  • Nic Batum, SF, Blazers ($5600)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7300)
  • Ray McCallum, PG, Kings ($3400)

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Thunder @ Lakers

Game Analysis

KD is out and now Westy is slated to miss this one too. I guess that means DJ Augustin gets a third team to ride in off the bench and put up 40 fantasy points for tomorrow. The Lakers PG defense is epically bad, so you could not have picked a better spot for it. This is uncharted territory with this core group playing minus the two superstars as many of the current cast were not here when that happened earlier in the year. The one thing I do know is there’s a lot of cheap value to be had in this one. As for the Lakers they have won three in a row and are playing fast and scoring over 100 each game. This should be a close and high scoring affair that is a nice spot for fantasy. I could see a bunch of guys from this one make value and due to the low prices it could be a sneaky place to load up. Enes Kanter is also still listed as questionable so if he too is out there’s a lot of minutes opened up.

Line:

Players to Watch

  • DJ Augustin, PG, Thunder ($4100)
  • Serge Ibaka, PF, Thunder ($7600)
  • Jordan Clarkson, PG, Lakers ($4900)
  • Wayne Ellington, SG, Lakers ($4400)

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Pelicans @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

The Pelicans have won four straight, played to the over in each while averaging 103 points, and holding opponents to 96. The Nuggets have lost nine of ten, played to the under in four of the last five, and only managed to average 87 points. No matter who is injured for the Pelicans I still think they have the edge here. Missing AD and Ryan Anderson is not as big against an undersized Nuggets squad who is also missing Jusuf Nurkic. It seems there are very few healthy big men on either side to play in this one. There’s a few interesting punts, but I am not loving this game. I would look elsewhere for my expensive plays and use some of the guys here as fillers if needed.

Line: Pelicans -5, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Will Barton, SG, Nuggets ($3600)
  • Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets ($5100)
  • Alexis Ajinca, C, Pelicans ($4900)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans ($6000)