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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Friday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards: The Bulls are the league’s second-best defensive team, allowing opponents to just 98.0 points per 100 possessions. Despite giving up 125 points in an overtime win against the Magic on Wednesday, the Bulls had allowed just 84.4 points over their previous five wins. The Wizards are below-average in offense, scoring just 101.4 points per 100 possessions, making it hard to invest in John Wall and company. With the exception of a possible value play in Nene ($5,600), the Wizards will be hard to count on in Friday’s slate.

Offenses to Use
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Warriors boast the fourth-fastest offensive pace in the league, averaging 99.19 possessions per game. They are averaging 107.1 points over their last seven games, with multiple players going off for strong performances. The Thunder have struggled without Russell Westbrook (knee), going just 4-4 in the New Year. With Kevin Durant focused on picking up the slack on offense, it will be hard for the Thunder to shut down Golden State’s many scoring options.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Second game of a back-to-back: New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder

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Point Guard
Kyle Lowry, TOR (vs. MIN), PG ($7,400): Lowry has been playing exceptionally well over his last four games, averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 3.5 three-pointers made during that span. He will face the struggling Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves, who surrender an average of 28.7 points (worst), 6.5 rebounds (seventh-worst), 10.6 assists (sixth-worst), 2.3 steals (twelfth-worst), 0.5 blocks (seventh-worst), 2.9 three-pointers made (fourth-worst), and 44.8 percent FG (worst) to opposing eligible point guards. While Lowry’s price tag isn’t exactly low, he’ll have the opportunity to make his money’s worth if he can get into his groove early on.

Other suggestions: Tony Parker (vs. POR), PG ($7,600), Trey Burke (at DET), PG ($5,500), Mo Williams (at SAS), PG/SG ($4,700)

Shooting Guard
Dwyane Wade, MIA (at PHI), PG/SG ($6,900): Wade has missed several games this season, notably on tail ends of back-to-back games, inevitably frustrating owners in fantasy. Although the Heat did not play on Thursday, be sure to keep up on Wade’s status for Friday’s game before deploying him for daily play. If he suits up, Wade may have a chance to produce better than his price tag indicates, as the Sixers give up a whopping 41.8 points (worst), 12.4 rebounds (worst), 10.4 assists (third-worst), 4.0 steals (worst), 1.3 blocks (worst), and 5.6 three-pointers made (worst) to opposing eligible shooting guards. While Wade hasn’t been the most consistent player over recent games, it will be extremely tempting to play him against the atrocious defensive of the Sixers defense, especially considering that Wade has played just one game over the past week.

Other suggestions: Wesley Matthews (at SAS), SG/SF ($5,500), J.J. Redick (at NYK), SG ($5,000), Wesley Johnson (at BOS), SG/SF ($4,500)

Small Forward
Richard Jefferson, UTA (at DET), SF ($4,400): Jefferson comes as a budget option at this position, and his performance depends on whether or not Gordon Hayward (hip) suits up. He has averaged 15.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.8 steals, and 2.6 three-pointers made over his last five games. Helping his case even more is that the Jazz will face the Pistons, who give up 35.6 points (worst), 12.2 rebounds (tenth-worst), 6.9 assists (worst), 3.2 steals (third-worst), 4.3 three-pointers made (second-worst), and 47.3 percent FG (second-worst) to opposing eligible small forwards. Even with Hayward in the lineup, Jefferson will likely remain in the starting lineup, as he has been averaging 27.6 minutes per game this season in 40 contests, all starts. However, check Hayward’s status before tipoff if you’re taking the cheap route, as this could greatly affect Jefferson’s performance. Otherwise, consider a few safer, more expensive options.

Other suggestions: Kevin Durant (vs. GSW), SF/PF ($11,400), Luol Deng (at DEN), SF/PF ($6,100), James Johnson (vs. SAC), SF/PF ($4,300)

Power Forward
Tobias Harris, ORL (vs. CHA), SF/PF ($6,700): Harris has been on a tear over his last five games, averaging 16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.8 three-pointers made. Despite a rather slow start to the season, coming back from a high ankle sprain, Harris appears to be returning to his last-season form, as he’s now playing the power forward position with Nikola Vucevic (concussion) out. He’s coming off a massive 22-point, 16-rebound performance on Wednesday. With Vucevic (concussion) highly doubtful for Friday’s game, Harris looks to build on Wednesday’s strong outing as the Magic faces Al Jefferson and the Bobcats at home.

Other suggestions: Greg Monroe (vs. UTA), PF/C ($7,600), Dirk Nowitzki (at PHX), PF/C ($7,200), Nene (vs. CHI), PF/C ($5,600)

Center
Andre Drummond, DET (vs. UTA), PF/C ($7,600): Drummond has been banging the drums in the New Year, playing some inspired basketball in the month of January so far. He’s averaging 11.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 3.2 blocks in five games in 2014. Meanwhile, the Jazz are among the worst in the league in defense against opposing eligible centers, giving up 18.6 points (worst), 10.8 rebounds (sixth-worst), 1.8 blocks (worst), and 53.7 percent FG (worst) per game. Drummond has yet to face the Jazz this season, and he should have the perfect opportunity to continue improving in his sophomore season. Consider him a player worth picking up for Friday’s matchup.

Other suggestions: Anderson Varejao (at DEN), PF/C ($6,500), Andrew Bogut (at OKC), C ($5,600), Miles Plumlee (vs. DAL), PF/C ($5,000)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Chris Paul (shoulder) is out for another four-to-six weeks.
Russell Westbrook (knee) is expected to be out until after the All-Star break, though recent reports suggest he could return earlier.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) could be back in four-to-six weeks.
Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the season.
Kobe Bryant (knee) hopes to return by January 28.
Steve Nash (back) hopes to return by January 28.
Nick Young (suspension) will serve a one-game suspension Friday.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) is still at least two weeks away.
Steve Blake (elbow) is able to work out, but is still at least three weeks away.
Xavier Henry (knee) will be sidelined for at least one more week.
JaVale McGee (leg) is still without a timetable to return.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) fears that there’s a possibility of missing the entire season.
Tony Allen (hand) will be out for another week.
Quincy Pondexter (foot) is out for the season.
Danny Green (finger) will be out for four weeks.
Tiago Splitter (shoulder) will be out for another four weeks.
Amar’e Stoudemire (ankle) will miss a few games and will not play Friday.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) will miss a few games and will not play Friday.
Jeff Taylor (Achilles) is out for the season.
Glen Rice (wrist) is out without a timetable to return.
Carl Landry (hip) could return to action within two weeks.
Devin Harris (toe) could return soon.
Jermaine O’Neal (wrist) hopes to return in two-to-three weeks.

Game-Time Decision
Arron Afflalo (ankle) said that he intends to play Friday, but consider him a game-time decision.
Nikola Vucevic (concussion) has yet to be cleared by the league’s protocol, making him doubtful.
Tyson Chandler (illness) played through Thursday’s game with an illness and is probable Friday.
Gordon Hayward (hip) is a game-time decision.
Rajon Rondo (knee) is slated to make his debut Friday, but will be limited to 18-20 minutes.
Avery Bradley (hand) missed practice with a bruised hand and is a game-time decision.
Mario Chalmers (Achilles) felt good after Thursday’s workout and is questionable to play Friday.
Trevor Ariza (illness) missed practice Thursday with an illness and is a game-time decision.
Ben McLemore (ankle) sprained his ankle Wednesday and is questionable to play Friday.
Leandro Barbosa (shoulder) is questionable to play Friday.
Tyler Hansbrough (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Chris Andersen (knee) is questionable to play Friday.
Greg Oden (knee) reported no swelling in his knee and is questionable to play Friday.
Pablo Prigioni (toe) is questionable to play Friday, though it’s unlikely.
Tim Hardaway (wrist) sprained his wrist but isn’t expected to miss any time.
Reggie Bullock (ankle) is likely going to be active for Friday’s game.
Arnett Moultrie (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Lavoy Allen (calf) is questionable to play Friday.