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.
Fantasy Basketball World Championship Qualifiers
We have plenty of satellites to the FBWC in the lobby today to win buy ins to the qualifiers for the finals in Las Vegas for later in the week. Tonight could be your night to get one step closer to a million dollar payday. There are no direct buy in tournaments for the FBWC today, but you can get a discounted shot if you are lucky enough to cash in one of the Q’s. They are filling up fast , so check the Qualifiers tab in the lobby for your chances at it. I recommend the $50 buy in rewarding 5 seats to the FBWC Qualifier #11 ($1000) on Wednesday. You can join that satellite here.
Thunder @ Heat
Thunder have won 5 of the last 8 including 3 of 4 with back to back games where they scored 127 points in each. The offense for OKC is clicking on all cylinders at the moment. The Heat have not been clicking, but they have also not been playing with their main weapon as Dwayne Wade is scheduled to return tonight. Without him Miami has been OK winning 3 of the last 4 and that has a lot to do with Chris Bosh stepping up and players like Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside taking bigger roles. The Heat love to slow games down and if they are able to do that today it could mean a lower score than people expect. I still think we see a good game and a probable win from the Thunder but I wonder if there’s enough in this game for Westbrook and Durant to both pay off the huge asking prices. It may even be tough to get one of them over the hump, but in a slower paced game I doubt you get both and that leaves an interesting question to ponder. Both guys are studs and capable of going nuts, but it’s like choosing between the Filet Mignon or the Lobster. Loul Deng may miss this game for the Heat so I’m not sure who they would put on Durant. Westbrook being guarded by a combination of Napier, Chalmers, and Cole does not scare me either so I can see both being a good start. Some may talk about a blowout concern here but I think at home Miami can keep it respectable and honestly neither of these games is a lock to stay close anyway so there’s risk no matter which way you go.
Players to Watch
- Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10200) Draft Him Now!
- Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder ($10700) Draft Him Now!
- Dwayne Wade, SG, Heat ($8300) Draft Him Now!
- Chris Bosh, C, Heat ($8400) Draft Him Now!
Spurs @ Nuggets
San Antonio has won 5 of the last 6, but more importantly since the return of Kawhi Leonard they are winning by an average of 17 points. They get a Denver team that is struggling at the moment. The Nuggets have lost 3 straight and looked bad doing it. They lost by 10 to Dallas and failed to crack 90 points. They followed that up by being one of the few victims of the dreadful Timberwolves and then ended the stretch by getting blow off the court by the Warriors. They have given up an average of almost 111 over that stretch and are scoring only 91. That’s a very large and troublesome point differential. The Spurs seem to be in a good spot to pick up another win here. On a short slate we really need to make sure we hit on the top optimal plays, because with so many line ups and so few options, someone else will if we do not. With that in mind match ups are very important. From the Denver side of the ball, it seems to be an easy choice for me. Ty Lawson looked like the only Nuggets who belonged on the floor with the Warriors last out. He has a solid DvP match up against the Spurs and should be the highest fantasy producing Nugget today. After that we have slim pickings. Afflalo is losing a few minutes to Foye and has not had over 25 in a week. Wilson Chandler is not healthy or producing as he has some 20 fantasy point games with 30/40 minutes on the floor. Jusuf Nurkic has cooled off from his hot post Mozgov trade start and Kenneth Faried has been playing well, but could be in foul trouble trying to check Tim Duncan tonight who I think he will really struggle to contain. JJ Hickson has been seeing a few more minutes and might actually be the second best Nuggets play. For San Antonio the rotations and minutes will be changing a lot now with Kawhi back. He is my favorite play on the Spurs, because he tends to get the most steady minutes as the youngster amongst those old and accomplished legs around him in the starting five. As mentioned I also love Duncan’s match up, but minutes are a concern. Guys like Manu, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Cory Joseph all see a few less minutes now with both Parker and Kawhi healthy. Unless we hear news about guys sitting I’m not sure I am a fan of any of those. Splitter is still pretty cheap, but he has also been playing very few minutes as well, so there’s not much upside anywhere hear. I think this is the higher scoring game tonight, but I’m not loving too much from it. On a two game slate you have to take somebody, so definitely roster a Nugget or two and be very selective when looking at the Spurs.
Line: Spurs -8, O/U 205
Players to Watch
- Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7400)
- Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($8500)
- Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($8900)
- Jameer Nelson, PG, Nuggets ($3400)