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 matchups.

CLIPPERS AT HORNETS

Game Analysis

While the Chris Paul-led Clippers (7-4) are playing well for the most part in 2014, they are still allowing teams to dictate the flow of the game especially when they are defending their own basket. Defensively, the Clippers are struggling on the outside perimeter but the good news is that they get to face the Hornets (4-9) on Monday who rank 26th in the league in points scored. The Clippers will shut down the Hornets without too much effort, even if they aren’t playing their best defense. Look for the big men in the middle, DeAndre Jordan (three double-double’s over his last four games) and Spencer Hawes, to really give the Clippers a boost so superstars Blake Griffin and Paul won’t have to do all the work. I’ve got the Clippers winning this one handily, covering the -4.0 spread quite easily.

Line: LAC -4.0

Players to Watch

  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9,500)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($7,900)
  • Jamal Crawford, SG, Clippers ($5,500)
  • Spencer Hawes, C, Clippers ($4,400)

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MAGIC AT CAVALIERS

Game Analysis

The Cavaliers (5-7) have all the talent in the world, but just can’t seem to get things together as a team as they have now lost four in a row, getting embarrassed by the Raptors most recently in a game where they went from an 18-point lead in the first quarter to being down by 19 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavs will eventually turn things around, but even the Magic (6-9) aren’t a club to be looked over. It’s a good game for the Cavs to break their losing streak, and I expect that with LeBron James leading the way. What about the 10 points the Magic are getting in this one? Yeah, with the way the Cavs have been playing I’m taking the Magic and the points, but still expecting the Cavs to win. You’ll see the Cavs defense, ranked 25th in the league in points allowed, come through in this one.

Line: CLE -10.0

Players to Watch

  • LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers ($11,300)
  • Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavaliers ($8,800)
  • Channing Frye, PF, Magic ($5,200)
  • Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($3,400)

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TRAIL BLAZERS AT 76ERS

Game Analysis

The 76ers (0-13) are a team in dismay, falling forever towards a black hole of nothingness. Okay, maybe it’s not that bleak, but you get my point. They’re not good, we all know that. And, we all know that the 76ers post no real challenge to the Trail Blazers (9-3), one of the better teams in the league. I won’t be surprised if the Blazers cover the -12.0 point line, and, in fact, I’m going that route. Sorry, 76ers fans, but I’m piling on with your team allowing 105.2 PPG while only scoring 88.8 PPG. Sure, there’s a future with the 76ers and some of the players they’ve got on roster, but this one will be a lopsided loss. Don’t cry, dry your eye.

Line: POR -12.0

Players to Watch

  • Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers ($9,300)
  • Nicolas Batum, SF, Trail Blazers ($6,900)
  • Wesley Matthews, SG, Trail Blazers ($6,500)
  • Steve Blake, PG, Trail Blazers ($3,000)

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SUNS AT RAPTORS

Game Analysis

The Raptors (11-2) are on their best run as an organization, over the first 13 games of the year, and while they’re likely not going to continue at this pace for the rest of the season (duh), they are winning due to an efficient offense which has scored 110.4 points per 100 possessions (2nd best in the NBA). Plus, defensively they’re getting things done by forcing 17.5 turnovers a game, while making sure they don’t turn the ball over on offense. Look for the Raptors to see their incredible run put to the challenge against the Suns (9-5), who have also been playing great ball. The Suns have won four in a row and will test the Raptors defensive skills with the underrated Markeiff Morris doing his scoring and rebounding thing . I’d be wary of putting money on this game, if playing the line or the over/under. If you’re going to twist my Popeye-arm, however, I’ll take the Suns and the five points.

Line: TOR -5.0

Players to Watch

  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($8,000)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6,700)
  • Amir Johnson, PF, Raptors ($5,200)
  • Miles Plumlee, C, Suns ($4,700)

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KNICKS AT ROCKETS

Game Analysis

We’ve got another mismatch game with the Knicks (4-10) going into Houston to play the Rockets (10-3), as both teams are heading in different directions through the first sixth of the season or so. The Rockets are dealing with injuries right now, most notably Dwight Howard who is out indefinitely, although superstar James Harden will continue to be the go-to guy that the Rockets can count on in Howard’s absence. We’ll see the Rockets defense, which only allows 92.2 PPG, shut down the Knicks, although I still see Carmelo Anthony getting his numbers. Don’t be afraid to get Anthony in your lineup, even at his 9.5K salary – he’s one of the most consistent players in the game netting 37.5 FPPG. I’ve got the Knicks losing by 15 points at least.

Line: None

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10,300)
  • Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks ($9,500)
  • Amare Stoudemire, PF, Knicks ($4,800)
  • Tarik Black, PF, Rockets ($4,500)

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PACERS AT MAVERICKS

Game Analysis

Except for the Raptors/Suns game, Monday night’s theme should be “The Eve of the Mismatch” with the Mavericks (10-4) facing the Pacers (5-8) in another game that should be easy enough to predict. The Mavericks currently lead the league in points-per-game with 109.9, while the Pacers rank 28th in the league with only 90.9 PPG. So, you see the mismatch, dontcha? The Mavs have a slew of players on the offensive side that will contribute in this game, including Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons. Get the Mavs in your DFS lineup on Monday!

Line: None

Players to Watch

  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7,600)
  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks ($6,200)
  • Chris Copeland, SF, Pacers ($5,500)
  • Solomon Hill, SF, Pacers ($5,200)

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BULLS AT JAZZ

Game Analysis

The Jazz (5-9) may have a decent shot of sticking with the Bulls on Monday, as they play fair ball at home with a 3-3 record. Plus, the Bulls (8-5) have some injury issues and may not have the services of Taj Gibson (ankle), Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Pau Gasol (calf). And, then there’s the possibility that the Bulls won’t have Kirk Hinrich (chest contusion) either. I like the Jazz to give the Bulls their third straight loss this season, which they haven’t done since December of last year. The Jazz need to bring back their early-season scoring ways, as they’ve been shut down defensively for a nice, long stretch. Look for Jimmy Butler to lead the Bulls, although he doesn’t exactly have the best OPRK matchup. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors should be the Jazz’ saving grace in a close win, but give Alec Burks some consideration even with his awful OPRK matchup. Nikola Mirotic is a fantastic snag for your lineup on Monday considering all the injuries and what he did last game out.

Line: None

Players to Watch

  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz ($7,600)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($7,100)
  • Enes Kanter, C, Jazz ($6,200)
  • Nikola Mirotic, PF, Bulls ($4,300)

 

Good luck on Monday and don’t forget I do the Twitter thing @TheRolyPolyBoy!