Check out a quick breakdown of every game on Thursday’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 games. Good luck!
Memphis Grizzlies @ Indiana Pacers
Line: Memphis -2.5
Both of these squads are coming off a loss last night, and will be looking to rebound. The Grizzlies are favored on the road in this one, despite their 30-point loss to Cleveland last night, likely in large part because Indiana’s record was not great last year, and then they lost a few pieces in the offseason. But they also only had Paul George for six games of the 2014-2015 season, and he looked like himself last night, posting a 17-12 while playing with a ton of energy on the defensive end. Monta Ellis also got his first run with his new squad, but shot only 3-for-11 for nine total points. He is no longer the only offensive threat in his backcourt, which, combined with his own inherent streakiness, could mean his already modest fantasy value has taken a serious hit since last year.
On the Memphis side of the equation, they got handled by the Cavs last night, with nobody really accomplishing much of anything (they were led in both points and rebounds by Randolph, who went for 12-8). If they are favored to win this game, apparently Vegas is expecting 20 or so more points out of them in this one, which will have to come from somewhere – my best guess is more Z-Bo and a little Mike Conley throw in for good measure. Jeff Green started this game, but Tony Allen played more minutes, so it is tough to trust either of them at this point. Monta Ellis won’t likely match up directly with Conley, but he brings the entire perimeter defense of the team down a notch, and while the Pacers may have lost Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi looked like the real deal last night, especially on the defensive end, which could leave Gasol struggling to improve on last night’s numbers.Targets
- Paul George ($8,200)
- Zach Randolph ($7,000)
- Mike Conley ($6,800)
- Ian Mahinmi ($3,900)
Atlanta Hawks @ New York Knicks
Line: Atlanta -2
I am going to be honest – it’s hard to get behind anyone in this game with too much conviction. The Knicks came out and blasted the Bucks last night, putting up 122 in maybe the most surprising result of the night. But even more surprising was how they did it – Carmelo wasn’t yet at full strength, so they managed with fantastic performances out of their three power forwards, all of whom played more than Robin Lopez. On that one hand that tells me to start my bigs against Milwaukee, but on the other hand, I don’t know how successful O’Quinn, Williams and Porzingas are going to be against some of the better frontcourts out there. Such as, you know, Atlanta’s.
For Atlanta, Millsap was the big contributor in their opener, getting you 19-8. But they lost a tough game to the Pistons, who have the size to keep throwing bodies at Millsap and Horford, much like the Knicks. I am going to want to see Atlanta produce and win a couple of games against perceived lesser opponents before I am ready to get on board with them performing anywhere near at the level they did last year. Dennis Schroder getting 25 minutes and 14 shot attempts off the bench was definitely interesting, so that is something to monitor going forward. Derrick Williams put up 24 last night, but I wouldn’t expect that to continue based on his 21 minutes of playing time.Targets
- Paul Millsap ($7,800)
- Al Horford ($7,600)
- Dennis Schroder ($4,700)
- Derrick Williams ($3,200)
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers
The highest projected total by far, this is clearly the game with the best potential for fantasy production out of, basically, everyone. This line and total is expecting the Clippers and the Mavericks to each put up north of 100 points, more than the projections for even the favorites in the two earlier games. I’ll make this simple for the Clippers: Chris Paul is good, Blake Griffin is good, DeAndre Jordan is good, and the Mavericks don’t have the defenders up front or on the perimeter to contain any of them. But one interesting note is that, other than those three and Reddick, Paul Pierce had more minutes than anyone else on the team. In his 24 minutes of run, he had 12 points and seven boards, including a three-pointer made. Rivers certainly trusts him, so as long as he is healthy, you can probably expect similar types of opportunities for him going forward.
For the Mavericks, a bench player had an even more striking amount of run in Game 1, though. Raymond Felton, a $3,000 player, led the team in both minutes and shot attempts last night, finishing with 18 points, 6 assists and 4 boards. Overall, the Mavs really spread the production around in this one, with eight players scoring in double-digits, which might make it hard to trust any of them too consistently, but for $3,000 I can learnt o trust anyone who is going to be out there for 30+ minutes.Targets
- Chris Paul ($9,600)
- Blake Griffin ($9,500)
- Paul Pierce ($4,000)
- Raymond Felton ($3,000)