Defenses to Avoid
Golden State Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks: Owners of the NBA's fourth-best defensive rating (98.5), Golden State is also the hottest team in the league. They've allowed more than 100 points just three times during their ongoing nine-game winning streak, with one of those occurrences coming in an overtime game. The Warriors have a top-10 ranking in opponent's points per game, opponent's field-goal percentage, opponent's three-point percentage, and rebound percentage. The Bucks, meanwhile, rank 29th in points, 27th in field-goal percentage, 24th in three-point percentage, and 29th in rebound percentage. Milwaukee has lost 10 of its last 12, with their only wins coming against the Lakers and 76ers.
Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks: Coming off an ugly 137-115 loss to the Nuggets, it's clear that the Lakers just don't have enough competent bodies remaining. The team has been absolutely ravished with injuries, leaving expected bit players to handle starring roles. It thusly comes as no surprise that the Lakers have struggled on defense this season, ranking 22nd in defensive rating (104.7) and 28th in points allowed. With the likes of Robert Sacre, Kendall Marshall, and Ryan Kelly expected to handle significant minutes Tuesday, look for the solid Dallas offense (105.7 rating) to capitalize. The Lakers are particularly poor at stopping opponents from getting to the rim, as no team has allowed more field goals within five feet of the basket.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers
Second game of a back-to-back: Philadelphia 76ers
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Isaiah Thomas (vs. POR): As good as he's been on the offensive end, Portland's Damian Lillard has struggled to contain opposing point guards all season. The Trail Blazers make for a tricky real-life opponent but aren't generally a bad matchup for fantasy purposes. A red-hot Thomas may be exposed defensively, but he should also be able to pile up points and assists. The Kings' 5-foot-9 point guard has averaged 22.0 points and 9.0 assists over the last five games, while hitting 46 percent of his field-goal attempts and 48.4 percent of his three-point attempts. Both Thomas and Lillard have a nice opportunity to fill up the stat sheet Tuesday night.
Other options: Kendall Marshall (at DAL), Jose Calderon (vs. LAL), Damian Lillard (at SAC)
Monta Ellis (vs. LAL): With the Lakers struggling to protect the rim this season, Ellis is the Maverick most likely to capitalize on a poor defense. His 5.5 free throw attempts per game easily lead the team, as Ellis has done a nice job of finding efficient looks, after shooting just 41.6 percent from the field in Milwaukee last season. Tuesday's game should be relatively fast-paced, while the Lakers' projected starting backcourt of Kendall Marshall and Jodie Meeks doesn't figure to offer a ton of defensive resistance. The only thing not to like is Ellis' recent performance, with the nimble guard averaging just 16.0 points on 40.8 percent shooting over the last five games.
Other options: Jodie Meeks (at DAL), Klay Thompson (at MIL), Jimmy Butler (vs. PHO)
Mike Dunleavy (vs. PHO): With Luol Deng headed to Cleveland in a trade, Dunleavy and Tony Snell figure to see increased playing time. The Bulls also need to replace the shots from Deng, their leading scorer, as the only player they received in Monday's trade was Andrew Bynum, who is expected to be released. Deng is gone, and Carlos Boozer (knee) is questionable for Tuesday, making Dunleavy as good a choice as any to carry the Chicago offense against Phoenix. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson are also intriguing, as Butler is the team's top remaining wing, while Gibson could see upwards of 30 minutes, by default.
Other options: LeBron James (vs. NO), Gerald Green (at CHI), Evan Turner (at CLE)
David Lee (at MIL): Lee has been on a tear lately, posting 24.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over the last four games, while shooting an incredible 67.2 percent from the field over that stretch. He's done all of that damage on the road, and the Warriors head into Milwaukee on Tuesday to play in one of the NBA's least-hostile environments. The Bucks sport a rather weak bunch of power forwards, a group highlighted by the likes of Ersan Ilyasova, 6-foot-8 Khris Middleton, and Ekpe Udoh. Even with rim-protector Larry Sanders appearing healthy, the Bucks present Lee, among other Warriors, with an excellent matchup.
Other options: Dirk Nowitzki (vs. LAL), Kevin Durant (at UTA), Tristan Thompson (vs. PHI), Taj Gibson (vs. PHO) if Carlos Boozer (knee) sits
Anderson Varejao (vs. PHI): Facing off against the fast-paced 76ers, Varejao will be seeking his sixth consecutive double-digit rebound game. He posted 10.2 points and 14.6 rebounds over the last five contests, albeit with just four and seven points in his two most recent appearances. The 76ers are a friendly opponent for opposing big men, as they rank first in pace (102.68), 20th in rebounding percentage (49.3), and 27th in defensive rating (105.9). Furthermore, Philadelphia is one of 10 teams allowing opponents to shoot better than 60 percent on shots within five feet of the rim. That bodes well for Varejao, who is known for his limited range and touch. Even if he doesn't score many points, the Brazilian big man is an excellent bet to pile up rebounds in a game that should have plenty of missed shots.
Other options: Alexis Ajinca (at MIA), DeMarcus Cousins (vs. POR), Andre Drummond (at NYK)
Ryan Anderson suffered a potentially serious neck injury Friday.
Jason Smith (shoulder) is not expected back soon.
Pablo Prigioni (toe) has not played since Dec. 16.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) is expected to miss at least a few more games.
Tiago Splitter (sprained shoulder) is out three-to-five weeks.
John Henson (ankle) is out Tuesday.
Jordan Farmar (torn hamstring) is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks.
Xavier Henry (knee strain) will be re-examined next week.
Mario Chalmers left Sunday's game with a right Achilles injury.
Shane Battier (quad) missed the last two games but hasn't been ruled out Tuesday.
Tyson Chandler left Sunday's game with an upper respiratory infection.
Raymond Felton (groin) has missed the last six games but hasn't been ruled out for Tuesday.
Amar'e Stoudemire tweaked his hip Sunday.
Kyrie Irving (knee contusion) has now missed four consecutive games.
Jarrett Jack (back spasms) did not play Sunday.
Tyler Hansbrough (ankle) missed the Raptors' last two games.
Carlos Boozer (knee) did not practice Monday and is questionable for Tuesday, after missing Saturday's game.
Luol Deng was traded to the Cavaliers late Monday night, putting his status for Tuesday into question.
Boris Diaw (strep throat) has been cleared to play Tuesday.
Tony Allen (hand contusion) missed both Sunday's game and Monday's practice.
Draymond Green (sprained ankle) is day-to-day, after exiting Sunday's game early.
Shawn Marion (ankle) was limited in practice Monday, after tweaking his ankle during Sunday's loss to the Knicks.
Kris Humphries (ankle sprain) did not practice Monday.
Courtney Lee may be sidelined due to trade rumors.
Andre Miller had his suspension rescinded, but didn't appear in any of the last three games.
Steven Adams (ankle) surprisingly played in Sunday's game but saw just five minutes of court time.
Nicolas Batum (finger) is probable for Tuesday, and he'll be wearing a protective cast on his left middle finger for the next six weeks.
CJ McCollum (foot) will be activated for the first time all season Tuesday, after averaging 19.0 points in two D-League game.