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.

 

Friday Contests

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New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Game Analysis

The Knicks have lost seven of their last nine games. The two times they managed to score 100 points over that stretch were the two victories they did have. They have struggled to score as they failed to crack 90 points in six of those nine and that is a big reason for them playing towards the under more often. The Sixers have not been much better. They have lost seven of their last ten and only reached the 100 point plateau in three of those games. This should be a lower scoring contest between two bad teams. On a twelve game slate a 188 total is not one you should look towards for numerous plays, but we do have some good numbers coming from both teams backcourts if you want a lower owned flyer.

Line: Sixers -5, O/U 188

Players to Watch

  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($4800)
  • Alexey Shved, PG, Knicks ($6600)
  • Ish smith, PG, Sixers ($5000)
  • Nerlens Noel, C, Sixers ($7300)

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Portland Trailblazers @ Orlando Magic

Game Analysis

Portland has only won three of their last six and played to the over in five of those. There defense has been suspect lately as they have not allowed less than 97 points in any of those six. They are playing fast and putting up a lot of points, but their totals have not caught up to their increased pace yet. The Magic have struggled through six straight losses. Their scoring has been an issue lately, but their defense has also let them down. Orlando is likely to be without four key rotation pieces tomorrow as Fournier, Green, Harris, and Dedmon are all listed as out or questionable. They make for sneaky plays tomorrow as their rotation is short and the healthy guys should all see big minutes in a paced up game. I still think the Blazers win this one easy, but with so few healthy bodies I expect heavy workloads from a lot of the Magic starters.

Line: Trailblazers -6.5

Players to Watch

  • Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($6500)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($7800)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Blazers ($8900)
  • Nic Batum, SF, Blazers ($6900)

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Denver Nuggets @ Miami Heat

Game Analysis

Denver has won four of it’s last six games. With the exception of the 81 points they scored against a stout Memphis defense, they have scored over 106 in the other five of their last six. They are playing at a very high pace and both scoring and allowing more points than they were earlier in the season. Miami has also been playing well lately winning six of their last nine and scoring over 100 in six of those games. They had been a slow paced team who had a stellar defense, but lately they have played fast and allowed more points. Their average total is up over 15 points in the last two weeks and they have easily reached totals over 200 in recent games. I think this one turns into a hot pace with a lot of points scored. Denver is coming off a tough fast paced game with the Rockets yesterday, so they may be a little tired in this one. The Heat are tough at home and despite the injuries, they have been battling. This game should stay close, be played fast, and provide some nice upside. Definitely worth including a few guys in your line ups from this one.

Line: Heat -6.5

Players to Watch

  • Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat ($7900)
  • Goran Dragic, PG, Heat ($6600)
  • Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets ($6900)
  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($6600)

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Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Game Analysis

The Pacers have lost three in a row. They had reeled off a bunch of victories before the losing streak on the back of their strong defense. That defense has failed them in the last few games as they have allowed an average of 104 points over this stretch compared to 92 in the wins proceeding it. Struggling on the defensive end is not a good thing to work out on the road in Cleveland. The Cavs offense has been explosive lately as they have scored 117 points or more in four of the last five. They tend to see high totals and blow by them anyway. The Pacers defensive struggles lately will be exploited in this one and I think the pace stays hot. The only chance this game has of staying under is if the Cavs defense shuts down the Pacers, so fire up your Cavs as they should again top 110 points today.

Line: Cavaliers -11, O/U 211

Players to Watch

  • LeBron James, SF, Cavs ($10300)
  • Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($7800)
  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($6600)
  • Rodney Stuckey, SG, Pacers ($6400)

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Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks

Game Analysis

The Nets have lost six of their last eight games and the Bucks have dropped four of six, so neither team is playing well. The Nets definitely enjoy the faster pace as they have played over in four of their last five with every one of those totals being higher than they see today. Milwaukee has been up and down lately against the total. They have played some games in the 80s and others where each team topped 100. Based on the Vegas line I would assume they think this one plays more towards the low 90s. It is one of the lowest totals on the day and a lot of the useable players are a tad pricey, so limited exposure here seems like the smart play.

Line: Nets -3, O/U 191

Players to Watch

  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($5600)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($6400)
  • Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($4400)
  • Ersan Illyasova, PF, Bucks ($5200)

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Atlanta Hawks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Game Analysis

This should be a very exciting contest. Two of the league’s best square off in this one and the pace should be high. There’s a lot of injury news that will affect the outcome here, so let’s start with that. The Hawks will again be without sharpshooter Kyle Korver who has been ruled out. The Thunder will also be missing their sharpshooter, Kevin Durant, as well as Serge Ibaka. The real question mark is whether or not Enes Kanter plays after leaving the last game early with an injury. With Ibaka already out, that would push McGeary and Steven Adams into huge minutes. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are one of the league’s best big man tandems, so they should be able to dominate a second string frontcourt for the Thunder. Both teams enjoy playing fast, so I expect a lot of points in this one and some value as well with the injuries creating opportunity and increased usage for the remaining players.

Line: Hawks -1.5

Players to Watch

  • Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks ($7700)
  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($6600)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($12500)
  • Steven Adams, C, Thunder ($4500)

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Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls

Game Analysis

Toronto has won three of it’s last four. They are averaging over 105 points per game and playing fast. Chicago has lost five of it’s last seven. They too have been scoring and allowing more points recently. This game could easily play to the over based on recent results. The big news here is a pair of players on opposite ends of the questionable tag. Taj Gibson looks set to make his return and Kyle Lowry appears ready to sit this one out. Both situations effect the useable plays here, so they need to be monitored. If Gibson is back it will cut into some of Mirotic’s production. I still think he sees time at both the SF and PF spot and plays decent minutes, but he’s expensive now off his recent run and should be left alone. Greivis Vasquez and Lou williams should benefit most if Lowry can not go. Vasquez should handle most of the PG duties with Williams spelling him and being expected to shoot more. Both guys should see a nice bump up in production as well as Demar DeRozan, who should be the main beneficiary.

Line: Bulls -1.5

Players to Watch

  • Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7400)
  • Greivis Vasquez, PG, Raptors ($3100)
  • Joakim Noah, C, bulls ($6100)
  • Mike Dunleavy, SF, Bulls ($4000)

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Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs

Game Analysis

Both teams have been red hot. Boston has won seven of the last ten and the Spurs have won eight of the last ten. Both teams are seeing high totals. The Celtics had shown a little more defense in a run of five unders before the recent two games and the Spurs offensive explosion has carried them to the over just about every night. This one has the potential to see a lot of points. My biggest concern here is the minutes on San Antonio. Everyone is healthy for the most part. Ginobili is still sitting out for the Spurs as is Isiah Thomas for the Celtics. Both have been on the injury report recently and the teams have played without them, so it effects little. There’s shots, minutes, and usage to go around in the Celtic back court and the guards have been taking turns stepping up. I am always hesitant to use Spurs because of erratic minutes, but there’s a lot of points expected here, so it’s worth a look.

Line: Spurs -9, O/U 208

Players to Watch

  • Evan Turner, PG, Celtics ($5800)
  • Avery Bradley, SG, Celtics ($5900)
  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($6800)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($8300)

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Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks

Game Analysis

Dallas has won three straight, played to the over in each of them, and averaged 119 points in the process. Memphis has been up and down playing .500 ball recently without the services of Mike Conley. Conley will likely miss this contest too and it’s going to have an impact. This is a contrast in styles between a high paced Mavericks attack and the defensive minded approach of the Grizzlies. Conley would be the guy to control that tempo for the Grizzlies, but it’s unlikely he will play tomorrow. The Grizz have slowed down some other fast paced teams when healthy, but both the Pistons and Warriors cracked the 100 point mark against them in the last week, so as presently constructed I think they will struggle to stop the Mavs. While I think the score and pace stay to the high side, I also think the game stays close, so there’s definitely some guys to use here.

Line: Mavericks -3

Players to Watch

  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7300)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7500)
  • Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavericks ($5900)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($6700)

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Charlotte Hornets @ Sacramento Kings

Game Analysis

Charlotte has lost five straight and looked bad doing it. Twice they failed to reach 70 points over this stretch and their defense has been giving up over 100. They are playing at a very slow pace and have failed to reach even some pretty low totals lately. Sacramento is the polar opposite. They have seen nine overs in their last ten games. They have only failed to reach 100 twice during that run and they have given up over 110 in each of the last nine games. I think at worst they pace up the struggling Hornets, which should be good for their fantasy value. The big question mark here is the health of Boogie Cousins. Vegas has not released a line here, because that news would swing the money drastically depending on how it came down. If he is out then you have to look to upgrade the whole rest of the starting five as his production is a void that can not be filled by one player.

Line: No Line

Players to Watch

  • Jason Thompson, PF, Kings ($3800)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7700)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($6900)
  • Mo williams, PG, Hornets ($6800)

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New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors

Game Analysis

The Pelicans have won four of their last five. They are comfortable playing fast or slow and tend to let their opponent dictate the pace. They have scored over 110 in three of their last four games, so they can hang with the Warriors in that respect. Of course the big question is will Anthony Davis play? The Pelicans are on the tail end of the back to back set and he missed the first game due to injury. If he is out tonight I think the Warriors win this one going away as the Pelicans starters played heavy minutes yesterday and are going into battle without their biggest weapon. The spread is high and could creep up if Davis is ruled out. The total is nice, but there’s better games to target tonight.

Line: Warriors -9, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Alexis Ajinca, C, Pelicans ($3900)
  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7600)
  • Draymond Green, PF, Warriors ($7600)
  • Harrison Barnes, SF, Warriors ($4300)

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Washington Wizards @ Los Angeles Clippers

Game Analysis

Washington has won five straight games. They have been playing faster and scoring more points than they were earlier in the year. The defense is still strong as they have not allowed any of their last ten opponents to reach 100. That streak will be put to the test today against a Clippers offense that can put up points in a hurry. With a healthy Blake Griffin back in the mix, the Clippers are firing on all cylinders. They are averaging over 100 points per game so far in March and have only played to the under due to a mixture of good defense and high totals. The total here today is not sky high. The Washington defense and pace probably ticks down the Clippers and gives a slight boost to the Wizards. This is not a stay away game for me, but I also would not look to target it heavily today.

Line: Clippers -7, O/U 201.5

Players to Watch

  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9000)
  • JJ Reddick, SG, Clippers ($6600)
  • Paul Pierce, SF, Wizards ($4900)
  • Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards ($5800)