Defenses to Avoid
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers: With just three games scheduled for Monday night, the Clippers have the best defensive rating at seventh overall, while the Magic rank 24th in offensive rating. Perhaps more telling than the ratings, however, are both teams' home/away records. The Clippers are 14-3 at home, one of the best home records in the league, while the Magic are just 3-12 on the road. Orlando holds the 28th ranked offensive rating on the road, and average 97.5 points on 45.5 percent shooting at home, while averaging just 94.1 points on 43.1 percent shooting on the road. The Clippers are also better defensively at home, with a 100.3 defensive rating at home and a 101.9 defensive rating on the road. While the Clippers may not stifle Orlando defensively, the Magic's offensive numbers should be considerably lower than average. Obviously, with Chris Paul (shoulder) out for the Clippers, some things may not be the same, but Darren Collison is a starting-caliber point guard, lessening the drop off.
Offenses to Use
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers: It's not often that the best defense and best offense are on the same team, but that very well may be the case Monday. While Orlando isn't a bad defensive team, ranking 11th in defensive rating and 14th in points allowed per game at 100.2 points, the Clippers are significantly better at home than on the road, which should be enough to give them a distinct offensive advantage in this game. Los Angeles ranks 13th in offensive rating on the road at a 102.9 rating, but ranks third in offensive rating at home with a 109.6 rating. Additionally, the Clippers average 100.3 points per game on 45.4 percent shooting on the road but average 109.7 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting at home. Look for Los Angeles to bring out their highly charged offense like normal Monday night.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First night of a back-to-back: Philadelphia 76ers
Second night of a back-to-back: None
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Darren Collison (vs. ORL): With Chris Paul out with a separated shoulder, Collison will pick up the majority of the minutes at point guard for the upcoming weeks. Collison has played a total of 71 minutes in the two games since Paul was injured and shot above 60 percent in both games. He's unlikely to put up the same scoring and assist numbers as Paul, but Collison should be a solid fantasy option due to his increase in minutes and will provide solid scoring with a good number of assists and steals to go with a good field goal percentage. The biggest rub? Collison doesn't shoot or make very many threes.
Other options: Jeff Teague (at BKN), Ricky Rubio (at PHI)
Evan Turner (vs. MIN): Turner fell into a bit of a shooting slump for much of December, shooting just 40.2 percent from the field for the month after shooting 46.1 percent from the field throughout November. In his past five games though, Turner is averaging 23.0 points on 47.4 percent shooting to go with 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks. When he is playing well, Turner can be one of the best mid-priced fantasy options on the wing. He ranks top five among small forwards in points, rebounds, and assists, while also providing a solid shooting percentage as well.
Other options: Kevin Martin (at PHI), Jamal Crawford (vs. ORL)
DeMarre Carroll (at BKN): There aren't many high-quality small forward options available Monday, but after missing two games with a thumb injury DeMarre Carroll has come back strong and should continue playing well for some time. Saturday against the Bulls, Carroll racked up 10 points on 4-8 shooting, one three made, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block. Facing off against a Brooklyn team that is weaker than the Bulls defensively, Carroll should continue to provide solid contributions in scoring, percentages, rebounding, and steals at a low price.
Other options: Tobias Harris (at LAC)
Blake Griffin (vs. ORL): Griffin has been playing very well lately and is averaging 26.0 points and 9.8 rebounds in his last five games. He has been particularly aggressive in his scoring and should continue to do so with Paul sidelined. It's possible that the Clippers offense may be out of sync for a bit with Paul being gone for at least a few weeks and the team figuring out how to play together long-term without one of the best points guards in the league. It's also possible that Griffin will see more touches and get the opportunity to take a few more shots per game with Paul gone, although it might be harder for him to do so efficiently without Paul feeding him the ball.
Other options: Paul Millsap (at BKN), Kevin Love (at PHI),Thaddeus Young (vs. MIN)
DeAndre Jordan (vs. ORL): With Nikola Vucevic, one of the best rebounders in the league, possibly missing Monday's game, Jordan may once again have the opportunity to rack up big numbers in the rebounding department. Over his last five games, Jordan is averaging 14.2 rebounds and 8.2 points on an excellent 67.9 percent shooting. He is now ranked second in the league in rebounding and is also one of the best offensive rebounders in the league.
Other options: Pero Antic (at BKN), Nikola Pekovic (at PHI)
Chris Paul (shoulder) does not need surgery but will miss at least six weeks.
Al Horford (shoulder) is out for the season with a torn right pectoral muscle.
John Jenkins (back) did not travel with the team for their road trip that began on Saturday.
Brook Lopez (foot) had successful surgery Saturday and will spend the rest of the season recovering.
J.J. Redick (wrist) is expected to return within the next two weeks.
Kevin Garnett (rest) did not play Saturday but is expected to play Monday.
Nikola Vucevic (ankle) did not play Saturday but warmed up with the team and should return very soon.
Reggie Bullock (ankle) is expected to return soon.
Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (groin) did not play Saturday.