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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Monday

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes covers the Oklahoma City Thunder and writes weekly NBA columns for Rotowire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks: The Clippers rank eighth in defensive rating this season, and while they're just 14th in points allowed per game and have actually been slightly below average defensively over their past five games, should be fine playing against the offensively disastrous Bucks. Milwaukee is averaging a league worst 91.3 points per game this season, with the Bulls being the next worst team at 93.0 points per game. Over their last 10 games, however, the Bucks have managed to lower their scoring even more to a pitiful 86.0 points per game, including just one win and only three games scoring 90 points or more and four games of scoring 80 points or less. The Bucks rank 25th in rebounding, so Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the league leader in rebounding, should be able to give the Bucks some trouble on the glass and possibly gain a few extra possessions by hitting the offensive boards. The Clippers might not be on the same level as the Spurs or Bulls defensively, but don't look for the Bucks to perform better than they have been lately.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks: With the Bucks struggling on the offensive end, they haven't done much better defensively. For the month of January, they're ranked 26th in defensive rating and have won just one of their 12 games since the start of 2014. The Clippers, on the other hand, are rolling offensively and lead the league in offensive rating for the month with a whopping 113.5 points per 100 possessions. In their 12 games this month, the Clippers are averaging 119.1 points per game despite scoring 92 or fewer points in three of those games. The Clippers will be looking to close out a seven game road trip Monday against the Bucks and will bring all the energy they have left to finishing the trip with a 5-2 record. After floundering offensively and losing to both the Pacers and the Bobcats in the past eight days, don't expect the Clippers to struggle again, especially against such a defensively troubled team like the Bucks.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First night of a back-to-back: None
Second night of a back-to-back: Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings

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Point Guard
D.J. Augustin CHI (vs. MIN), PG ($6,100): While not the greatest source of assists from a point guard, Augustin has made the most of the lack of depth at point guard in Chicago lately. In the past 10 days, Augustin is averaging 20.4 points on 51.6 percent shooting, 2.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steals, and 3.7 threes per game at a scorching 55.3 percent rate, all in 33.6 minutes per game. While he's playing over 30 minutes a game, Augustin is also averaging just 1.3 turnovers per game, which only further increases his value. As long as Kirk Hinrich remains injured, look for Augustin to continue to dominate the share of minutes at point guard. He should be a great value at his price for as long as he continues his hot shooting, particularly from three.

Other options: Deron Williams BKN (vs. TOR), PG ($6.600), Brandon Knight MIL (vs. LAC), PG/SG ($6.400)

Shooting Guard
Gordon Hayward UTA (vs. SAC), SG/SF ($6,600): Hayward has looked solid since returning from his hip injury, averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 threes in 37.2 minutes per game. It doesn't appear like he's being eased back into the lineup at all, so Hayward should continue to see heavy minutes like he has all season. With his ability to score, rebound, pass, and defend, Hayward's production in multiple categories makes him a valuable fantasy option, particularly his steals.

Other options: Mike Dunleavy CHI (vs. MIN), SG/SF ($4,600)

Small Forward
Kevin Martin MIN (at CHI), SG/SF ($6,500): Unless you want to shell out $11,500 for Durant, there aren't that many quality small forwards on the market for Monday, but Martin could provide a good number of points along with threes, a couple rebounds, assists, and great percentages. If Griffin and Jordan struggle in the post against Boozer and Noah, it may be up to Martin to find ways for Minnesota to put points on the scoreboard.

Other options: Rudy Gay (If he plays) SAC (at UTA), SF/PF ($7,100)

Power Forward
John Henson MIL (at CHI), PF/C ($6,200): Henson has been playing very well lately, averaging 11.3 points on 55.4 percent shooting, 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.8 blocks in just 25.3 minutes. He's doing very well in the minutes he's being given and could potentially be a valued fantasy player if he saw his role with the team increase and this rate of production continued. Henson is a particularly good source of rebounds and blocks, although he struggles at the free-throw line and is just 6-17 from there in his past six games. With the Bucks struggling offensively, Henson doesn't seem to be too big a part of that problem, and his role with the team should be safe despite their struggles.

Other options: Serge Ibaka OKC (vs. ATL), PF/C ($7,400), Taj Gibson CHI (vs. MIN), PF/C ($5,500)

Center
Joakim Noah CHI (vs. MIN), PF/C ($8,200): Noah is a bit on the expensive side, but his production has been fantastic lately, and his ability to produce in several categories has been on display over his past few games. In the past seven games, Noah is averaging 15.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting, 15.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.3 steals in 38.1 minutes per game. Noah's impressive rebounding skills, combined with his great passing ability for a big man, can lead to some very pleasing stat lines like the one just listed. When he's on top of his game like he is right now, Noah is hard to beat at the center position for fantasy value.

Other options: DeAndre Jordan LAC (at MIL) C ($7,100)

INJURY REPORT

Out
DeMar DeRozan (ankle) will miss Monday's game.
John Jenkins (back) has missed the past 16 games is is unlikely to play Monday.
Pero Antic (ankle) will be out 2-4 weeks with a stress fracture.
Zaza Pachulia (foot) is getting closer to returning.
Chris Paul (shoulder) hopes to be back by the All-Star Break.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) hopes to return at some point this season.
Landry Fields (wrist) will be out for at least three weeks.
Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) should return within a week.

Game-Time Decision
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) did not play Sunday.
Rudy Gay (achilles) did not play Sunday.
Patrick Patterson (nose) is expected to play Monday.
Ekpe Udoh (ankle) did not play Saturday.
P.J. Tucker (hand) sprained his wrist Saturday.
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