Defenses to Avoid
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls: The Thunder are playing a Bulls squad that averages just 91.2 points per game (28th in the league). On the other side, the Thunder give up the ninth fewest points per game at 98.5 and rank third in the NBA with 9.3 steals per game. With Bulls' starting point guard Kirk Hinrich being a game-time decision, the Thunder backcourt could feast on turnovers against a hobbled Bulls squad. The Bulls have failed to score 100 points in eleven consecutive road games as well.
Offenses to Use
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs: Despite the Spurs being fourth best in the NBA in points allowed (94.1 per game), the Warriors are in the top 10 in the league in points per game (103) and offensive rating (104.1). Combine that with the absence of Spurs point guard Tony Parker (shin) and the Warriors could be poised for a big night especially with Andre Iguodala expected to see more minutes in his second game back from a hamstring injury and Stephen Curry on fire as of late.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: Chicago Bulls
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Stephen Curry (vs. SAS): With just two games on the schedule, Curry is most likely the safest play on Thursday. Other than Russell Westbrook, there aren't really any good value plays for Thursday. Kirk Hinrich is going to be a game-time decision for the Bulls so they'll be shorthanded at point guard (although D.J. Augustin did play well on Wednesday). Tony Parker will miss Thursday's game with a shin injury for the Spurs so Curry will be the safest play. Curry has been on fire in his last five games, averaging 30.8 points, 9.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 three-pointers, and 1.8 steals, so expect another big night from the Warriors' star.
Other Options: Patty Mills (at GSW), Russell Westbrook (vs. CHI), D.J. Augustin (at OKC), Reggie Jackson (vs. CHI)
Jimmy Butler (at OKC): Butler played a team high 35 minutes and led the team in scoring with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in their loss to Houston on Tuesday. With Hinrich's status being unknown for Wednesday, Butler could have another solid night against the Thunder as the Bulls look for production. If you take away his poor four point performance on Tuesday, Butler is averaging 15.67 points per game since returning from his toe injury and shooting 51.1 percent.
Other Options: Klay Thompson (vs SAS), Jeremy Lamb (vs. SAS)
Andre Iguodala (vs. SAS): It will be Iguodala's second game back from a hamstring injury and it is likely that he will see more than the 17 minutes he played on Tuesday. Despite missing time this season, Iguodala has amassed a 110.7 offensive rating and has an excellent three-point percentage of 46 percent. With the Spurs a little banged up, Iguodala will have plenty of chances to score and dish the ball to Curry and Klay Thompson as he looks to have his first big game coming off of the injury.
Other Options: Luol Deng (at OKC), Kawhi Leonard (vs GSW)
Serge Ibaka (vs CHI): Ibaka comes into Thursday's game with a 106.1 offensive rating and will face a struggling Bulls squad who just allowed the Houston Rockets to shoot 54 percent from the floor on Wednesday. That will bode well for Ibaka who was 7-of-11 from the floor in his last game. The Bulls may look to get the ball inside with injuries to their backcourt which could allow Ibaka to get his chance at blocked shots.
Other Options: David Lee (vs SAS), Carlos Boozer (at OKC)
Andrew Bogut (vs SAS): Bogut will go up against Tiago Splitter (although his minutes have been decreasing) who is playing in just his third game back from injury. Splitter has a mere 89.1 defensive rating while Bogut has a 106.7 offensive rating. Over his last five games, Bogut is playing above his season averages (7.6 points and 9.9 rebounds), scoring 8.2 points and grabbing 13 rebounds per game.
Tony Parker (shin) will miss his second straight game on Thursday.
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) is out indefinitely after undergoing wrist surgery.
Kirk Hinrich (back) did not play on Wednesday and will be a game-time decision for Thursday.