Check out a quick breakdown of every game on Friday’s NBA slate. We’ll take a look at the Vegas lines and totals, recent trends, and a few players you can be targeting for tonight’s action.


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Philadelphia 76ers @ Charlotte Hornets

Over/Under: 195.5

Line: Hornets -10.5

Currently, the Hornets are at exactly .500 through twelve games, good for 11th in the East. Something right around .500 will likely have them in contention for the final playoff spot later on, if they keep it up. The Sixers meanwhile are .000 through twelve games, and in the running for another #1 pick.

All that being said, Noel and Okafor is the beginning of a better team than this. That solid front court should be able to put together useful fantasy production against this Charlotte lineup. They also should be able to play good enough defense that for the Hornets you might want to focus more on their perimeter players than guys like Big Al.

Targets

– Jahlil Okafor ($7,100)
– Nicolas Batum ($7,000)
– Kemba Walker ($6,700)
– Nerlens Noel ($6,500)


Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics

Over/Under: 201

Line: Celtics -8.5

There probably isn’t a game Celtics fans will want to win more than any against the Nets this season. At 2-10, Brooklyn is primed to give Boston a pretty high draft pick at the end of this season, so this is my impression of a Celtics fan every night all season long: “Yes! Nets lost! Now what is wrong with the Pelicans?”

You have to appreciate the pace the Celtics play with as a fantasy owner, because their style of play just creates more opportunities for everyone involved. They do have a lot of bodies to throw at big men, but they don’t really have anyone to match up with Lopez, so basically anyone you would normally consider playing on either of these two teams is in play tonight as well.

Targets

– Isaiah Thomas ($7,300)
– Brook Lopez ($7,200)
– Thaddeus Young ($6,400)
– Jared Sullinger ($6,200)


Detroit Pistons @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Over/Under: 201.5

Line: Pistons -1

The primary reason you tune into this one is to watch Andre Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns do battle down low. These are two of the best young centers in the game… or, probably more accurately, just the two best. Drummond is averaging a completely absurd 19 rebounds a game, which basically makes him a lock for a double-double every time out. Towns isn’t quite at that level yet in his rookie year, but he is basically averaging 16-11 himself, not bad at all 12 games into a career.

Targets

– Andre Drummond ($9,900)
– Reggie Jackson ($7,700)
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($7,300)
– Andrew Wiggins ($6,800)


Houston Rockets @ Memphis Grizzlies

Over/Under: 201

Line: Grizzlies -4.5

So, tonight we find out if Kevin McHale was the problem. To my eye, they don’t have a single player playing up to his ability so far this year, and that could be a coaching problem. Of course, it might also be a player problem. Harden is the unquestioned leader of this team, the upper-echelon elite player that drives their championship hopes and dreams, and if he’s not motivated and playing hard – not just well – no one else will be either. But he is coming off a game in which he finally found his stroke and it led to an 80-point fantasy performance. So good luck J.B. Bickerstaff – I hope you can get through to him better and more consistently than the Hall of Famer who preceded you could.

The Grizzlies, on the other hand, are pretty much exactly what we expected, being driven by Gasol and Randolph primarily, with a little Mike Conley (and now Courtney Lee) on the side. From a fantasy perspective, the fear is just that Dwight Howard has been rebounding well enough of late to limit the upside of everyone down low, because no one player is going to dominate the boards.

Targets

– James Harden ($10,400)
– Zach Randolph ($6,300)
– Mike Conley ($6,200)
– Ty Lawson ($5,000)


New York Knicks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Over/Under: 206

Line: OKC -7

So, let’s just get this out of the way: the Knicks don’t have a soul who can even pretend to be able to stop Westbrook. With Durant out, that means Westbrook is going to be awesome in this game, especially if the Knicks can manage to hit some shots and keep it close. Glad we covered that.

The centers in this game are a bit of an enigma, with Kanter and Adams taking turns getting the bulk of the minutes. But tonight they are going up against Lopez, which is not a great matchup and frankly, their best attribute is their ability to make it a bad matchup for Lopez, too.

Targets

– Russell Westbrook ($12,300)
– Carmelo Anthony ($8,500)
– Serge Ibaka ($7,000)
– Langston Galloway ($4,300)


San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

Over/Under: 200

Line: Spurs -9

The big question: Anthony Davis. Still listed as questionable, there really is no consensus opinion yet on whether he will be available for tonight’s game. In a practical sense, though, there is really only one way that matters. If he does play, it’s at less than 100% against the best frontcourt in basketball. And based on how New Orleans has looked even with Davis, him being there doesn’t really determine if you think the Spurs are going to win (you do), or by how much. So this is how it matters: it could determine how hard the Spurs have to try to win. And since I have written before about how the Spurs are so efficient in the way they execute their plans that they have the most direct-line correlation to minutes equaling fantasy value. If I told you exactly how many minutes Duncan or Kawhi were going to get in advance, you could probably come within  a point or two of predicting their production. Unfortunately, I am not going to tell you. I am just going to warn you – the Pelicans could lose this game by 30 with or without Davis.

Targets

– Kawhi Leonard ($8,200)
– Tim Duncan ($6,300)
– Eric Gordon ($6,500)
– Ish Smith ($5,900)


Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks

Over/Under: 192.5

Line: Mavs -2

The Mavericks are probably the surprise of the season so far for me, starting off strong at 8-4. I was expecting a .500 or so finish for this team, and it still might come to fruition at some point, but right now they have a lot of pieces that are working well together. You’ve got Dirk still averaging almost 19 a game, Zaza Pachulia averaging a double-double and a squadron of guards all playing a moderate amount of minutes and, so far anyway, Rick Carlisle is pushing all the right buttons.

For the Jazz, you’ve got Derrick Favors and… yeah, you’ve got Derrick Favors. Gordon Hayward is starting to pick it up lately, averaging about 3 more points a night in November than he was in the first month of the season, and the Jazz need it. Favors has been great, giving them 16-9 on well over 50% shooting with occasional 20-25 point scoring upside that could net you 50-60 fantasy points if you time it right.

Targets

– Derrick Favors ($7,600)
– Dirk Nowitzki ($6,400)
– Zaza Pachulia ($5,500)
– Rodney Hood ($4,900)


Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets

Over/Under: 205.5

Line: Suns -2.5

This line and total expects both of these teams to be valuable fantasy commodities in this one. The question then becomes, if the Suns and the Nuggets are both going to put up 100+ points, who is going to be doing all the work?

The question is a bit easier to answer for the Suns: it’s Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. Those two have combined for no fewer than 45 and as many as 70 points in each of the Suns’ last four games, and there is no reason to think that’s stopping tonight against the Nuggets. For Denver, you’re not always sure where the points are coming from, or if they’re coming at all. Faried can be a big factor, and so can Gallinari as long as he stays healthy and his shot is falling, but the key for them right now is Mudiay. The talented rookie has fluctuations in his performance, like anyone does 12 games into their pro career, but when he is on top of his game, the Nuggets are a much more dangerous team.

Targets

– Eric Bledsoe ($8,500)
– Brandon Knight ($7,500)
– Danilo Gallinari ($6,300)
– Kenneth Faried ($6,000)


Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trailblazers

Over/Under: 210.5

Line: Clips -3.5

Well, apparently Chris Paul is back. After being a game-time decision, he made his best effort at taking down the defending champs, going off for 35 points, eight assists and three steals in 22 minutes. Blake and DeAndre had a little bit of a tougher time, both coming in just under their season-long fantasy point averages. That should not be the case in this one, as Griffin and DeAndre are both very enticing plays against this frontcourt. The strength of Portland’s team, for whatever it is, lies in Lillard and McCollum, both of whom are averaging over 20 points per game to lead the Blazers.

Targets

– Blake Griffin ($9,600)
– Damian Lillard ($8,800)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,500)
C.J. McCollum ($6,500)


Chicago Bulls @ Golden State Warriors

Over/Under: 206.5

Line: Warriors -9

I mean, come on. The Clippers had them, right? But not, because this team can put together a 12-0 run in about 90 seconds. It is honestly amazing that Curry costs $1,500 less than anyone, because he has a floor around 40 and as much upside as anyone. Curry got a lot of support last night from Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes in particular, but on the second night of a back-to-back, a team tends to lean on it;s superstar. I love Curry in this game, despite the tougher-than-average matchup on paper. The Bulls are 10th in the league against point guards only because they haven’t played Steph.

For the Bulls, it’s Jimmy Butler, and that’s about it. Everyone else is either banged up, playing poorly or getting guarded by Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. No thanks.

Targets

– Stephen Curry ($10,800)
– Jimmy Butler ($7,900)
– Draymond Green ($7,400)
– Andre Iguodala ($5,000)


Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Lakers

Over/Under: 202

Line: Raptors -6

Geez. It’s like this: the Lakers play terrible defense, especially down low, and the Raptors have no one to exploit it. Pillow fight! DeMarre Carroll is a decent play, because even though he is listed at SF, he has the bulk to take advantage of the complete lack of rim protectors, and could even grab a few extra rebounds. Kobe is expected to be active in this one, so no finding huge values in a Lakers backcourt suddenly flush with minutes and shot attempts to spare whenever he sits. This game comes in at 202 for a total because of the complete and total lack of defense that will be played, and the fact that both teams like to rush through their offensive sets. But that could also just mean a ton of rebounds being available as the “scorers” on hand try and fail to find the bottom of the basket.

Targets

– DeMar DeRozan ($7,100)
– Jonas Valanciunas ($5,700)
– DeMarre Carroll ($5,600)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,100)