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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
Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic: It's no secret that the Bucks have been an offensive mess this season, scurrying game-by-game to find a hot hand to ride. At nearly the mid-point of the season, they've yet to find that consistent contributor, and it has caused a lot of headaches in fantasy. The likes of Brandon Knight, Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo, and company haven't created for themselves a fixed identity within the rotation that allows them to play their roles effectively. With multiple alternatives in Friday's slate of games, daily players could do better than settling for the Bucks, who are 1-13 in 2014.

Offenses to Use
Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Warriors are an easy choice to ride for Friday's matchup. They're among the better offenses in the league, averaging 103.7 points per 100 possessions and playing at a pace of 99.22 possessions per game. They'll be facing off against the Jazz, who are dead-last in the league in defensive rating, giving up 107.5 points per 100 possessions to opponents. With viable options at every position, the Warriors should make good plays for Friday's tilt.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
Second game of a back-to-back: Golden State Warriors

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Point Guard
Stephen Curry, GSW (at UTA), PG/SG ($10,300): Everytime he's on the second day of a back-to-back, Curry's my main option at the point guard spot. He's built quite an impressive resume in tail-ends of back-to-back games, averaging 28.8 points (48 percent FG), 5.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 2.2 steals, and 3.7 three-pointers made in six games this season. These numbers are better than his season averages across the board, and even with a small sample size, advanced stats could set Curry off to another solid performance Friday. He may hold an expensive price tag, but he'll be worth every penny if he can put up comparable numbers against the Jazz.

Other suggestions: Mike Conley (at MIN), PG ($7,500), Jameer Nelson (vs. MIL), PG ($6,500), Jose Calderon (vs. SAC), PG ($5,400)

Shooting Guard
Monta Ellis, DAL (vs. SAC), PG/SG ($7,500): Ellis has been in a slump recently, averaging just 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.7 steals over his last three games. This has brought his price tag a tad lower, which could bode well for Ellis for Friday's slate. He has a rather favorable matchup against the Kings, who give up 39.5 points (sixth-worst), 9.2 assists (tenth-worst), and 45.5 percent FG (second-worst) to opposing eligible shooting guards. If he can find his rhythm early on, Ellis should be able to put up a strong performance Friday.

Other suggestions: Arron Afflalo (vs. MIL), SG/SF ($6,400), Klay Thompson (at UTA), SG/SF ($6,100), Joe Johnson (vs. OKC), SG/SF ($5,300)

Small Forward
Kevin Durant, OKC (at BKN), SF/PF ($11,700): It shouldn't be a surprise that Durant is listed here, as he has been playing at an astronomical level in 2014 so far, averaging 36.6 points (54 percent FG, 89 percent FT), 6.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 2.7 three-pointers made per game. While there's certainly a (miniscule) chance that he could cool off on Friday, he has been a commodity of late, consistently reaching high ownership percentages in daily games. If Durant falls, then I'd be comfortable letting the 30-percent-or-more owners fall with me if I decide to ride him. But what I'd hate to have, is for Durant to go off for a fantasy frenzy while I sit back regretting my decision not to take him up, for the sole reason of fearing he'd land on earth one day.

Other suggestions: Rudy Gay (at DAL), SF/PF ($7,300), Gerald Henderson (at LAL), SG/SF ($5,800), DeMarre Carroll (at PHI), SF/PF ($4,300)

Power Forward
David Lee, GSW (at UTA), PF/C ($7,800): Lee has been a mark of consistency this season, averaging 19.0 points (52 percent FG, 80 percent FT), 9.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He's had recent struggles because of a shoulder injury, but he's still well worth his price tag, especially considering his propensity to put up double-doubles. Helping his case is that he'll have a favorable matchup against the Jazz on Friday. The Jazz give up 40.3 points (eighth-worst), 22.4 rebounds (tenth-worst), and 49.3 percent FG (fourth-worst) to opposing eligible power forwards, making Lee a solid choice for Friday's slate.

Other suggestions: J.J. Hickson (vs. TOR), PF/C ($5,800), Josh McRoberts (at LAL), PF/C ($4,300), Ryan Kelly (vs. CHA), PF ($3,400)

Center
Nikola Vucevic, ORL (vs. MIL), PF/C ($7,100): Vucevic finally returned to action in Wednesday's game against the Raptors after a long 12-game absence due to a concussion. He had logged just one game in 2014 prior to Wednesday's contest, but managed to post an efficient 16 points (6-12 FG, 4-4 FT), 10 rebounds, and two steals in his return. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said there would be “no restriction" for Vucevic moving forward. While it's hard to take his comment for face value, seeing that Vucevic played just 20 minutes in Wednesday's contest, it's just as hard to resist Vucevic's low price tag for Friday's contest. He has been a double-double machine this season, with upside in steals and blocks, and daily gamers could certainly take a gamble on the center while his price is still low.

Other suggestions: Spencer Hawes (vs. ATL), PF/C ($7,100), Marc Gasol (at MIN), C ($7,000), John Henson (at ORL), PF/C ($5,800)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Russell Westbrook (knee) is expected to be out until after the All-Star break
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) has bursitis in his ankle and will be re-evaluated in 7-to-10 days.
Pero Antic (ankle) has a stress fracture and will miss two-to-four weeks.
Kobe Bryant (knee) could remain sidelined for up to another month, and will miss the 2014 All-Star game.
Steve Nash (back) practiced Thursday but will not play Friday.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) practiced fully Thursday but will not play Friday.
Steve Blake (elbow) practiced fully Thursday but will not play Friday.
Xavier Henry (knee) will sit out a couple more weeks.
JaVale McGee (leg) is without a timetable to return.
Nate Robinson (knee) is out Friday.
Quincy Pondexter (foot) is out for the season.
Jeff Taylor (Achilles) is out for the season.
Brandon Davies (finger) underwent successful surgery Wednesday and will miss 4-to-6 weeks.
Ekpe Udoh (ankle) is not with the team on their current road trip.
O.J. Mayo (illness) is not with the team on their current road trip.

Game-Time Decision
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Pau Gasol (groin) missed Thursday's practice and is questionable to play Friday.
Ty Lawson (shoulder) is a game-time decision Friday.
Kemba Walker (ankle) practiced without setbacks Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Jeff Teague (ankle) is with the team in Philadelphia and is a game-time decision Friday.
DeMar DeRozan (foot) said he's 90 percent healthy and expects to play Friday.
Patrick Patterson (nose) is questionable to play Friday.
Derrick Favors (hip) practiced Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Trey Burke (gastric distress) did not practice Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Richard Jefferson (gastric distress) did not practice Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Shawn Marion (shoulder) is questionable to play Friday.
Ersan Ilyasova (leg) is questionable to play Friday.
O.J. Mayo (illness) practiced Thursday and is a game-time decision Friday.
Tony Allen (hand) could return as soon as Friday.
Arnett Moultrie (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Andrei Kirilenko (calf) is listed as day-to-day.