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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Charlotte Hornets @ Washington Wizards

Game Analysis

Charlotte has lost five of it’s last six games. They have played to the under in five of those, and the offensive woes have been the reason. They have only managed to score 100 points once during this stretch and have two scores in the 60s, three in the 80s, and one in the 90s to go with it. Washington has also lost four in a row and are struggling to score. What is worse, though, is that they are no longer defending like they were. They have allowed the last four opponents to average 108 points, with none scoring under 103. For a slower paced team like Washington, it will be tough to win that way. Both Cody Zeller and Mo Williams are questionable tonight, and if they sit, look for Kemba Walker to be the biggest beneficiary.

Line: Wizards -3.5, O/U 187

Players to Watch

  • Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets ($7200)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($6700)
  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($8600)
  • Marcin Gortat, C, Wizards ($5700)

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Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic

Game Analysis

The Pistons have won four of their last five games, and they have played to the over in that many, as well. They have averaged 106 points in those wins and held opponents to an average of 95. Orlando has lost eight of their last nine, with their scoring down and their opponents scoring up, so this could go the same way as most of Detroit’s recent victories. The only injury news of note here is Greg Monroe who has been out for a few games. Jackson and Pop have really picked it up in his absence, so I would look for more of that tomorrow. The Pistons look to be in a good spot, and Orlando has struggled recently. I would tick up the Pistons a tad, but this is not a high total game, so be careful.

Line: Pistons -2, O/U 197

Players to Watch

  • Reggie Jackson, PG, Pistons ($8000)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons ($5200)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($7900)
  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($6800)

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Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers

Game Analysis

The Clippers have been playing well and blowing people out. They have even beaten up on some good teams recently. The 76ers are not a good team. They have struggled with injuries and poor play on both ends of the floor. Vegas has a high total and high spread here, so I am thinking a blow out is very likely. The Clippers stars are great players, but all are expensive. In order to pay off, they need to play well in a game where they see a full amount of usual minutes. I doubt they get that today, and it is a real concern. If this game stays close I expect some huge stat lines from both sides, but the likely scenario is more playing time for the bench guys, and an easy Clippers victory.

Line: Clippers -11.5, O/U 203

Players to Watch

  • Robert Covington, PF, Sixers ($4500)
  • Nerlens Noel, PF, Sixers ($7800)
  • Deandre Jordan, C, Clippers ($8300)
  • JJ Reddick, SG, Clippers ($6500)

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Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks

Game Analysis

The Knicks look Dreadful. They have lost five straight. They are only scoring about 83 points per game and giving up close to 102. Alexey Shved and Tim Hardaway are both out for a little while longer, and the Knicks are starting guys like Shane Larkin and Lou Amundson. At this point, they are doing little more than playing out the remainder of the season. Boston, on the other hand, has played better of late. They have won six of their last ten and played a bunch of those games to the under, thanks to their commitment on the defensive end. They dropped a few games recently to some solid teams, but they should have little trouble in this one. The spread is high and the total is low, so it’s not a game I would target heavy on a large slate.

Line: Celtics -9.5 O/U 194

Players to Watch

  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($5100)
  • Cleanthony Early, SF, Knicks ($3000)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics ($5200)
  • Tyler Zeller, C, Celtics ($4000)

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Cleveland Cavaliers @ Brooklyn Nets

Game Analysis

Cleveland has been red hot of late. They have won eight of their last nine and played to the over in six of those games. Cleveland is routinely putting up 110-125 points per game. This offense has a lot of weapons and they are very high powered. The Nets have also been playing well of late. They are winners of five of their last seven and are also hanging a lot of points up on the board. Cleveland has trounced them in all three previous meetings this year, though, and I think the Cavs are better now than when they played previously. The most recent game was a few weeks ago, and the Cavs handled them easily. The total here is high, and it is not expected to be a blowout with the Nets at home, so the Cavs are worth consideration. Some of the Nets have nice match ups as well, so this game is definitely in play.

Line: Cavaliers -8, O/U 207

Players to Watch

  • Timofey Mozgov, C, Cavs ($4600)
  • Kevin Love, PF, Cavs ($7000)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($7100)
  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($5600)

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Los Angeles Lakers @ Toronto Raptors

Game Analysis

Kyle Lowry has already been ruled out, but Vegas doesn’t seem to care. They still have the Raptors as almost a double digit favorite today. Toronto has actually lost three of it’s last four and is giving up a ton of points in those games. I think the spread says more about how bad the Lakers have played than it does about the strength of the Raptors. The Lakers have two wins in their last seven games and have been playing at a much slower pace. They sat a few of the older statesmen in Hill and Boozer recently, so the rotation is a little unpredictable at the moment. I tend to shy away from dumpster fires, and this game has all the makings of one. There’s better spots to look tonight, but a few cheap value plays are interesting.

Line: Raptors -9.5, O/U 202.5

Players to Watch

  • Greivis Vasquez, PG, Raptors ($4400)
  • Lou Williams, SG, Raptors ($4500)
  • Jordan Clarkson, PG, Lakers ($5300)
  • Tarik Black, PF, Lakers ($3800)

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Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks

Game Analysis

Miami has won five of it’s last eight games. They have played to the under in six of those games, as their pace, scoring, and opponents averages are all down. They are also really banged up, as they just lost Whiteside and Wade for this one. Atlanta has struggled with a few losses recently, but against an undermanned Heat squad at home, I think they win easy. Dragic and Deng should benefit the most as the only healthy starters left, and be weary of some of the Hawks who may be in the game, as they may not see full run. I think this one stays lower scoring, slow and is a “stay away” for fantasy purposes.

Line: Hawks -13, O/U 193

Players to Watch

  • Goran Dragic, PG, Heat ($7000)
  • Loul Deng, SF, Heat ($5600)
  • Denis Schroeder, PG, Hawks ($4600)
  • Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks ($7300)

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Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies

Game Analysis

The first thing to notice here is that Golden State is actually playing in a game with a total under 200. The only other time that has happened during their last ten was against Utah who has become the most dominant defensive team in the league recently. They did hit the over in that game and score 106, so the over is definitely a strong possibility anyway tonight. This is a great match-up between two of the best in the league with completely opposite styles. They played this game once already in December, and Memphis held the Warriors under 100 and walked away with a seven point victory. I think the Grizzlies get ticked up because of the expected pace, and the Warriors get a slight knock against a very stingy defense. This should remain close and be an entertaining game, though, so it is in play.

Line: Warriors -3, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($9400)
  • Draymond Green, PF, Warriors ($7500)
  • Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7300)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7500)

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Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets

Game Analysis

Minnesota is ravaged by injuries. Rubio, Martin, Garnett, and Pekovic are all banged up and questionable/doubtful tonight. The Timberwolves have struggled to win games even with some of them healthy, but they are really thin right now with a core of 8 guys playing all the minutes. The Rockets are without Terrence Jones, but they did welcome back Dwight Howard in a limited role last outing. They are playing well, and this is the biggest spread on the day, so I would not write off the chances of a blow out. That scares me enough to be off some of the Rockets big ticket guys, but if you think it stays close, then they should produce.

Line: Rockets -12, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Trevor Ariza, Sf, Rockets ($6200)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6100)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6500)
  • Zach LaVine, PG, Timberwolves ($5300)

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Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans

Game Analysis

This should be a high scoring game with a lot of fantasy upside. Both teams have been paced up lately, and the total here is pretty high. The Pelicans are favored at home, but I think Sacramento can keep this close. Both teams appear to be pretty healthy heading into this one, as the Questionable tags on Evans, Cousins, and Gay are all gone. The Kings have been playing faster recently, and with guys like Evans and Davis, New Orleans has no problem playing that game, too. I expect some monster stat lines, as the match ups here are pretty solid all around.

Line: Pelicans -7, O/U 205.5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11200)
  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7600)
  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($9600)
  • Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($7700)

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Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs

Game Analysis

Dallas has won four of it’s last six games, including a 101-94 win over the Spurs last time out. They have scored over 100 in five of their last six, so the offense is leading the way. The Spurs have also won four of their last five, with the Mavericks being the only team to hold them under 100. They are averaging 115 points in the other games they have played. Both of these teams are fighting for playoff seeding, so this should be a good one. Despite the Vegas lines and this game being in San Antonio, I think it stays close tonight. It should be high-paced and feature a lot of scoring, so I think players on both sides are in play.

Line: Spurs -8, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($8100)
  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($6900)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Maavericks ($6600)
  • Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks ($6100)

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Utah Jazz @ Denver Nuggets

Game Analysis

This is another clash of styles that I think hurts the fantasy value of the Nuggets. Utah has been one of the best defenses in the league since the Kanter trade. Gobert and Favors are one of the best young front court tandems in the association. They have been holding teams to season lows in points on a regular basis. This is the complete opposite of the new run and gun Nuggets style. While Utah routinely sees totals in the 180/190 range, the totals for the Nuggets are usually well over 200. Utah plays a slow pace and have shut down some higher powered offenses recently, so I would tick down all the Nuggets in this one. The Nuggets pace should provide a few more possessions and missed shots, so the Jazz big men get a bump (in my eyes) against a weak front court. This game should stay lower scoring, but there’s a few interesting fantasy options here.

Line: Nuggets -2, O/U 189.5

Players to Watch

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz ($8100)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($8100)
  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($7000)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($5700)

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Portland Trailblazers @ Phoenix Suns

Game Analysis

Portland has lost five of it’s last six games. Injuries have been an issue lately, and they are falling apart at the worst time. They have lost by a good margin in many of those games and do not have an easy task tonight against a deep Suns team. Phoenix has won four of it’s last five and relied on defense to do it. They are playing at a slower pace and scoring a few less points, but they are also doing a better job of rebounding and limiting second chances lately. The spread here is close and the total is high, so I think it is a great spot to have exposure in tonight’s Hammer game.

Line: Blazers -1, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($7800)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Blazers ($8700)
  • Marcus Morris, PF, Suns ($5800)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6400)