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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Thursday

Eric Kohlbeck

Eric Kohlbeck

Eric Kohlbeck writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks: The Indiana Pacers have by far the best defensive rating in the entire NBA at 92.6. The next closest team, the Bulls, is six points higher at 98.0. Combined with the Knicks scoring only 95.4 points per game while the Pacers only allow 88.1 points per game, it could be a long night for the Knicks' offensive unit on Thursday. It is simply not a formula for success for the Knicks with one of the worst offenses in the NBA going up against Roy Hibbert, David West, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, George Hill and company in Indiana.

Offenses to Use
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Although the Thunder have one of the better defenses in the league, the Rockets might just have the fire-power to push past the Thunder defense. The Rockets rank fourth in the NBA in points per game (105.2) and offensive rating (107.3). In their last ten games they have failed to reach the century mark in points just twice. The Rockets' frontcourt of James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Terrence Jones could spell trouble for the Thunder on Thursday.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder
Second game of a back-to-back: Houston Rockets

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Point Guard
Shaun Livingston, BKN (at ATL), PG/SG ($4,800): With Deron Williams not making the trip across the pond to London due to his ankle injury, Livingston will continue handling point guard duties for the Nets. He ranks as the cheapest starting point guard for Thursday, and using him in your lineup could really free up space to grab more expensive players at other positions. Over his last five games, Livingston is averaging 37.2 minutes per game which is well over his season average of 24.5, and with the added minutes has come increased performance. In the same five game stretch, Livingston is averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 points, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 blocks. Livingston may not produce the highest numbers, but he can certainly fill the box score as the starter and going very cheap at the point guard slot, could help in securing more expensive players elsewhere.

Other suggestions: Raymond Felton (at IND), PG/SG ($5,900), George Hill (vs. NYK), PG/SG ($5,500), Reggie Jackson (at HOU), PG ($5,700), Jeff Teague (vs. BKN), PG ($7,200)

Shooting Guard
Kyle Korver, ATL (vs. BKN), SG/SF ($5,500): Kyle Korver is known for one thing, his ability to shoot the three-ball. The sharp-shooter could be poised for a big day on Thursday in London against a Nets team that allows teams to shoot a league best 38.8 percent from downtown. Korver, who ranks second in the NBA in three-point percentage (47.7), could see more minutes on Thursday as DeMarre Carroll didn't travel with the team to attend the birth of his child. Korver has been shooting the ball well from all over during his last three games, averaging 55.7 percent from long-range and 56.6 percent from the floor. It's a good matchup for Korver on Thursday and for a relatively inexpensive price tag as well.

Other suggestions: Joe Johnson (at ATL), SG/SF ($6,000), Lance Stephenson (vs. NYK), SG ($6,200),

Small Forward
Chandler Parsons, HOU (vs. OKC), SF/PF ($6,100): If you plan on grabbing a high-end player on Thursday night, the small forward position might be the place to do it with Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and James Harden all in action. However, Chandler Parsons could come as a solid value-play given it is only his third game back from injury. He's averaging 32.6 fantasy points per game (according to DraftKings) and has been productive in his two-game return from his knee injury. On Wednesday night, he played a team-high 45 minutes with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals. If you decide to stay away from Durant ($11,300), Anthony ($10,000), and Harden ($10,600), Parsons could provide you with another solid night in what appears to be a positive return from a knee injury.

Other suggestions: Paul Pierce (at ATL), SG/SF ($6,500)

Power Forward
Terrence Jones, HOU (vs. OKC), SF/PF ($5,700): Jones scored a career-high 27 points on Wednesday night, hauling in eight rebounds and blocking six shots as well. Wednesday was just part of a five-game stretch that has seen Jones average well above his season totals. In his last five games, Jones is averaging 15.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 33.2 minutes. Power forward isn't the strongest position on Thursday, so taking Jones at a fairly cheap price could help in saving up for better players at the forward position (see SF), if need be. Regardless, if Jones can continue at the clip he's been on, he should be set for yet another strong performance on Thursday.

Other suggestions: David West (vs. NYK), PF ($6,900)

Center
Serge Ibaka, OKC (vs HOU), PF/C ($6,900): Ibaka has hauled in double-digit rebounds in all but two of his last six games including an 11 point, nine rebound, four block performance on Tuesday. With few options at center other than Dwight Howard, Ibaka could still have a decent night against the Rockets. However, if possible, you might want to shell out the money for Howard and guarantee a safer play. If not, your choice will likely come down to Ibaka or Roy Hibbert.

Other suggestions: Roy Hibbert (vs. NYK), C ($6,900), Andray Blatche (at ATL), PF/C ($5,300), Pero Antic (vs. BKN), C ($3,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Deron Williams (ankle) did not fly to London with the team and will not play on Thursday.
Brook Lopez (foot) is out for the season.
DeMarre Carroll (personal) did not make the trip to London due to the birth of his child.
Pablo Prigioni (toe) is not expected to play until next Monday at the earliest.
Metta World Peace (knee) is out for at least two weeks.
Patrick Beverley (hand) is out indefinitely.
Omer Asik (knee) is out.

Game-Time Decision
Kevin Garnett (rest) did not play on Saturday but should be able to go on Thursday.
Pero Antic (back) practiced on Wednesday and is expected to start on Thursday for the Hawks.
Aaron Brooks (knee) did not play on Wednesday but is probable for Thursday.
Greg Smith (knee) did not play on Wednesday for Houston, and his status is unknown for Thursday.
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