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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
Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic: The Pacers hold the league's top defense with a 94.1 defensive rating and allowing just 90.6 points per game, with only the Chicago Bulls within five points of that mark. The Magic, on the other hand, just capped off a 3-14 record for the month of January and ranked 27th for the month in offensive rating. In Orlando's past five games, they averaged just 92.8 points per game with their only game scoring over 92 points coming against the Milwaukee Bucks. Even with Nikola Vucevic returning from a concussion at the end of the month, the Magic should still struggle against the top defense in the league.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets: While the Trail Blazers have been the league's best offense for much of the season, the Clippers were the top offense in January, averaging 109.1 points per game and finishing with a 12-4 record. Their record even drew a direct correlation to their scoring: 12-0 when scoring over 100 points, and 0-4 when scoring less than 100. Against Denver's middling defense (ranked 16th in defensive rating for January), the Clippers should be able to continue their high scoring ways.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls.
Second game of a back-to-back: Orlando Magic.

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Point Guard
D.J. Augustin, CHI (at SAC), PG ($6,200): Augustin has thrived in the role of starting point guard for the Bulls during Rose and Hinrich's injuries, and it looks like he will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Hinrich recently returned from a four-game absence but didn't appear to have any impact on Augustin's playing time. Even if Augustin doesn't average 38 minutes per game like he has over his past six games, he's proven that he can still be productive and valuable in many formats averaging around 30 minutes. Augustin struggled with his shot in early January but appears to have stabilized a bit and has also improved his shooting from three over his past few games. Unless Augustin sees a substantial drop in minutes and his production dives too, he should continue to be a valuable fantasy piece for his price.

Other options: Randy Foye (vs. LAC), PG/SG ($5,600), Victor Oladipo (at IND), PG/SG ($6,500).

Shooting Guard
Trevor Ariza, WAS (at POR), SG/SF ($6,400): Ariza isn't always a big scorer, but he's a good rebounder who can hit a few threes, hand out a couple of assists, and grab a couple steals as well. His numbers don't jump out of the box score, but his overall value is good, especially for his price. He's also facing off against the Trail Blazers, who are definitely not one of the better defensive teams in the league, so Ariza has a good chance at having a productive night.

Other options: Jamal Crawford (at DEN), PG/SG ($6,700), Brandon Knight (vs. NYK), PG/SG ($6,200).

Small Forward
DeMar DeRozan, TOR (at UTA), SG/SF ($6,900): DeRozan has been a great fantasy player lately other than two games of bad shooting and a game with shortened minutes thanks to a blowout. He's scored 23 or more points in six of his past nine games and scored 35 or more three times in that same span. In addition to scoring, he's also got an ability to rack up rebounds or assists every once in awhile. He doesn't make or take many threes, but he gets to the foul line a lot and is also pretty good at getting steals as well. His price tag is a bit hefty compared to the other names in this column, but his fantasy production has been very good lately, and since he's matching up against the Utah Jazz on Monday, who are last in defensive rating this season, there's a good chance he'll continue his nice run.

Other options: Wesley Matthews (vs. WAS), SG/SF ($6,000), Paul Pierce (vs. PHI), SF/PF ($6,200).

Power Forward
Nene Hilario, WAS (at POR), PF/C ($6,100): Nene isn't a flashy player, but he's consistent and efficient. In each of his past six games, he's recorded 15-20 points and 5-10 rebounds, as well as getting some assists and a steal and block each game. The only real knock on his game is that he isn't a good free throw shooter, but he doesn't get the the charity stripe very often, so he shouldn't hurt owners there too badly. He's matching up against a Trail Blazers team that gives up a lot of points, so Nene should continue to see his normal production Monday night.

Other options: J.J. Hickson (vs. LAC), PF/C ($5,900), Derrick Favors (vs. TOR), PF/C ($6,500).

Center
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (at UTA), C ($5,800): Valanciunas has been a bit inconsistent lately, but he's had three great double-doubles in his past five games and is a solid shot from the field as well. He is the biggest player on Toronto's roster, and going up against a Jazz team with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, Valanciunas will likely get good minutes to put a big body up against them. Even if Favors ends up not playing, that will just mean more minutes for Kanter who is just as big of a body. Valanciunas doesn't produce much in terms of steals or blocks, so he's really just a two category producer but he can do those two categories pretty well when given the opportunity.

Other options: Marcin Gortat (at POR), C ($6,100).

INJURY REPORT

Out
Danny Green (finger) is expected to return in the coming week.
Jameer Nelson (knee) did not travel with the team for their two-game road trip
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) traveled with the team but is still wearing his protective boot.
Mike Conley (ankle) suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain and will be reevaluated in a week.
Chris Paul (shoulder) is hoping to return within a week.

Game-Time Decision
Andray Blatche (hip) did not play Saturday.
Ty Lawson (shoulder) hopes to play Monday but will see how he feels after warmups.
Tony Allen (hand) could return Monday.
Beno Udrih (illness) has missed his past four games.
Derrick Favors (hip) did not play Saturday against the Clippers.
Greivis Vasquez (illness) did not play Saturday against the Trail Blazers.
Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) is now listed as day-to-day.
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) did not play Saturday.
Jeremy Evans (back) had X-rays come back negative Saturday.
O.J. Mayo (illness) could return Monday.
Kemba Walker (ankle) reportedly suffered a setback and did not play Saturday.