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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Houston Rockets @ Washington Wizards

Game Analysis

Houston has won six of their last seven. They are averagin about 108 points during this run and are giving up just shy of 100. They play fast and the game totals are generally high when they are involved. Washington had been the complete opposite. They have given up 108 on average over their last five games, and their already weak scoring has dipped as well. It has been so bad that the point differential per game over that span is -13. They have struggled on both ends of the floor and paid for it. A team with a struggling defense going up against the Houston Rockets mighty offense is a recipe for disaster. They Wizards have picked up the scoring in their last two, and they will need that to continue if they plan on avoiding a lopsided loss.

Line: Rockets -2, O/U 205.5

Players to Watch

  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($8600)
  • Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards ($5700)
  • James HArden, SG, Rockets ($11500)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6500)

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Los Angeles Lakers @ Brooklyn Nets

Game Analysis

The Lakers have lost six of their last eight. They have played to the under in five of those games, and only managed to reach 100 in three of them. The Nets have won six of their last eight and are consistently playing to totals around the 200 level we see today during that stretch. The only real hiccup here for the Nets is that Deron Williams missed practice Saturday with an illness and is questionable for tomorrow. It looks like he will play though, and that’s good news since he has elevated his game and the Lakers struggle to contain PGs. The NEts are playing faster, but the Lakers have slowed themselves down, so I think the pace factor is in LAs favor, but should not affect the game much. I expect the Nets to win the way they have won the last few games. By pounding the rock down low to Lopez and playing off of him.

Line: Nets -7, O/U 202

Players to Watch

  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($7500)
  • Alan Anderson, SG, Nets ($3400)
  • Jeremy Lin, PG, Lakers ($5500)
  • Tarik Black, PF, Lakers ($4100)

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Minnesota Timberwolves @ New Orleans Pelicans

Game Analysis

The Wolves are a mess right now. They have lost eight of their last ten and their locker room looks more like the waiting room at the Hospital. Pekovic is out, Rubio and Garnett are doubtful, while Kevin Martin is a true game time decision. Wiggins is the one clear beneficiary if any of them are out. The other guys to target depends on who sits. New Orleans has not been good lately either. They have lost five of their last seven and by good margins. Their offense is sputtering and their defense has been suspect. It’s always tough to gauge how this inconsistent squad will fare. They can play games with 150 point totals one night and then come back and play games that touch 210 the next. They tend to let other teams dictate the pace, so this could be a higher scoring game based off Minnesota’s recent history. Either way the spread here is pretty big, so I would assume a stall offense is how the last few minutes of this one play out.

Line: Pelicans -12, O/U

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11400)
  • Tyreke Evans, PG, Pelicans ($7900)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6800)
  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolves ($5700)

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Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Game Analysis

The spread and Total on this game are screaming blowout. At the very least it screams an easy fourth quarter with rest for at least some of the Cavs starters. They have been very good lately with some explosive offensive showings and some solid defense. They do play fast, which has buoyed their scoring and the opponents scoring, but they are just too talented for any of that to matter against the Sixers. Philly has lost three of it’s last four. They have scored a respectable 96 points per game, but have given up closer to 103. There’s better places to target high priced stars today. I would be weary of using the expensive options because of minutes.

Line: Cavs -16, O/U 201

Players to Watch

  • Tristan Thompson, PF, Cavs ($4000)
  • JR Smith, SG, Cavs ($5500)
  • Nerlens Noel, PF, 76ers ($7800)
  • Ish Smith, PG, 76ers ($5900)

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Los Angeles Clippers @ Boston Celtics

Game Analysis

The Clippers have won six in a row. They are playing fast and efficient. They are scoring over 110 points per game and limiting opponents to under 100. They are fresh off of two blowouts against the Knicks and Sixers, so they should see more of a test today. The Celtics have won two of their last three since welcoming back Isiah thomas. They have limited all three opponents to under 92 points. The once fast paced Boston squad seem to be turning over a new defensive leaf. They have not seen an offense as explosive as the Clippers lately though so we will see if they revert to their old ways and get into a shoot out. This is one of the higher scoring games on the day and the Celtics should make a game of it at home before ultimately falling short. I think most of the starters see ful run and we get some nice fantasy stat lines from this one.

Line: Clippers -5.5, O/U 205

Players to Watch

  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers ($8300)
  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9600)
  • Avery Bradley, SG, Celtics ($5800)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics ($5200)

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Detroit Pistons @ Miami Heat

Game Analysis

Detroit has won five of it’s last six and played to the over in all five wins. Without Monroe they are playing way up in pace and are averaging 108 points in those five wins. Miami on the other hand has lost three of their last four. They have some injuries they are dealing with, but they are compensating by slowing down the pace. Neither team has reached 100 in any of their last four games and I think they sit on the ball and take the air out of the Pistons sails. Whiteside is probably out tomorrow and their is no telling what Wade may do. It’s a tough game to target on either side as the recent Pistons run has jacked up the prices on some of their starters.

Line: Heat -4, O/U

Players to Watch

  • Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat ($4100)
  • Loul Deng, SF, Heat ($5600)
  • Andre Drummond, C, Pistons ($8600)
  • Reggie Jackson, PG, Pistons ($8300)

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Dallas Mavericks @ Indiana Pacers

Game Analysis

Dallas has lost three of their last four and the scoring is down. Monta Ellis left the last game early with an injury and is extremely doubtful for this one. That is not a good sign for a team that has been struggling to score already. Indiana only has one win in it’s last eight contests. They have played to the over in six of those games because of shoddy defense. They also have an injury concern in Rodney Stuckey who is likely out again Sunday. I never thought I would say it looks like the Mavericks pace will tick down the Pacers and vice versa, but that’s what a few injuries can do to a team’s style of play.

Line: Dallas -1, O/U

Players to Watch

  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($7300)
  • CJ Miles, SF, Pacers ($5000)
  • Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavericks ($5500)

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Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs

Game Analysis

Memphis has lost three of it’s last six and given up over 100 points in four of those games. For a solid defensive squad like Memphis is, that is a very high number. San Antonio has won four of it’s last five and have been holding opponents to under 95 points during that stretch while putting up closer to 110. Memphis took two of the first three meetings this season when the Spurs were dealing with some injuries. The defending champs are on a roll now and with everyone healthy I think they are going to win this one. The Total here is very low, so be cautious going too heavy here.

Line: Spurs -7.5, O/U 193.5

Players to Watch

  • Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs ($4300)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($8100)
  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7300)
  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($6100)

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Oklahoma City Thunder @ Phoenix Suns

Game Analysis

OKS is on the tail end of a back to back that saw them in a hard fought battle with the Jazz last night. They had won four straight before dropping these last two games. The stingy Utah defense helped keep the total down in the last game, but this team has routinely forced a hot pace and put up over 110 points repeatedly. They have actually reached over 120 in three of their last five, so you know they are playing fast. Phoenix was once thought of as a fast paced team, yet have played under in nine of their last ten. They have a new focus on half court execution and defense which has left them below 100 points scored in each of their last three. The Thunder may be a little tired on the tail end of this back to back. The Suns are at home and if fully healthy they can keep this one close. It is a total over 210 with a spread under 2, so we need to keep an eye on this one for fantasy purposes.

Line: Thunder -1.5, O/U 214

Players to Watch

  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($12900)
  • Enes Kanter, C, Thunder ($7500)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6400)
  • Marcus Morris, PF, Suns ($6000)