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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Sunday

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
Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic: The Pacers have been dominating the league defensively this season, giving up just 94.0 points per 100 possessions. Just one week ago, they held the Magic to just 79 points, taking on a 98-79 victory at home. As always, the Pacers are a wise defense to avoid when deploying daily game players, because of their suffocating defense both from the perimeter and in the post. With eight games on Sunday's slate, consider other options for fantasy play.

Offenses to Use
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers, who have been playing without Chris Paul (shoulder) for over a month, expect their superstar to return to action Sunday. In spite of the fact that Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have been playing excellently with Paul out, the Clippers' offense is undoubtedly more fluid when the point guard is on the floor. His return to the court could be a game-changer, and it comes at a great time with J.J. Redick (back) doubtful for Sunday. Helping the Clippers' case in fantasy is that they'll play the Sixers, who are the fourth-worst defensive team in the league, giving up 106.2 points per 100 possessions. Consider the Clippers solid options for Sunday's slate.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers
Second game of a back-to-back: Memphis Grizzlies

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Point Guard
Chris Paul, LAC (vs. PHI), PG ($8,400): I've always been quick to jump the gun on returning players who have missed court action for extended periods and thus are underpriced for what they're worth. Paul (shoulder) is highly probable to play Sunday, as he "looked great" in practice, according to head coach Doc Rivers. Whether or not he logs 30-plus minutes is a gamble, but his price tag could certainly be cheaper than the numbers he can put up. Helping his case is the fact that the Sixers give up 21.3 points (eighth-worst), 5.6 rebounds (fourth-worst), 9.7 assists (worst), 2.2 steals (fourth-worst), and 2.4 three-pointers made (second-worst) per game to opposing eligible point guards. For daily players who have a high-risk appetite, consider Paul a potential high-reward player if he suits up Sunday.

Other suggestions: John Wall (vs. SAC), PG ($9,900), Steve Blake (vs. CHI), PG/SG ($5,200), Nick Calathes (at CLE), PG/SG ($4,400)

Shooting Guard
Eric Gordon, NOP (at BKN), SG ($5,800): Gordon is averaging 19.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.0 three-pointers made over his last three games. While he doesn't contribute too much outside of scoring and three-pointers, he's a solid pick Sunday against the Nets, who give up 24.0 points (worst), 2.5 three-pointers made (tenth-worst), and 46.3 percent FG (fifth-worst) per game. With fewer elite options at the shooting guard position for Sunday's games, it could be wise to settle for mid-ranged options at the two.

Other suggestions: Monta Ellis (at BOS), PG/SG ($7,700), Jamal Crawford (vs. PHI), PG/SG ($6,700), Martell Webster (vs. SAC), SG/SF ($4,100)

Small Forward
Trevor Ariza, WAS (vs. SAC), SG/SF ($6,400): Ariza has been consistent this season, averaging 14.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 2.3 three-pointers made per game. While his numbers don't jump off the charts, he'll be a solid choice for daily play on Sunday, as he'll be matched up against the Kings, who give up 21.2 points (third-worst), 1.7 steals (eighth-worst), 2.6 three-pointers made (second-worst), and 46.3 percent FG (second-worst) per game to opposing eligible small forwards.

Other suggestions: Kevin Durant (vs. NYK), SF/PF ($11,800), Evan Turner (at LAC), SG/SF ($7,000), Jimmy Butler (at LAL), SG/SF ($6,000)

Power Forward
Blake Griffin, LAC (vs. PHI), PF/C ($10,000): Griffin has been tearing up fantasy over recent memory, averaging 35.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 double-doubles over his last four games. It's certainly no coincidence that his scoring numbers have gone up with Chris Paul (shoulder) out of the lineup, as the Clippers needed someone to fill in for Paul's scoring. However, Paul's return could allow Griffin to play more efficiently, as Paul creates opportunities for everyone on the floor. Griffin's been playing so well that his percentage ownership has been extremely high in daily games, and it would certainly hurt to see him dominate for daily opposition while you decide to go with another option. Additionally, it doesn't hurt that the Sixers give up 21.7 points (sixth-worst), 11.3 rebounds (fourth-worst), 3.9 assists (second-worst), 2.0 steals (worst), 2.1 blocks (worst), 1.4 three-pointers made (fourth-worst), and 49.8 percent FG (fourth-worst) per game to opposing eligible power forwards.

Other suggestions: Dirk Nowitzki (at BOS), PF/C ($8,200), Serge Ibaka (vs. NYK), PF/C ($7,500), David West (at ORL), PF ($6,900)

Center
DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (at WAS), PF/C ($9,200): Cousins has come out strong ever since returning from his ankle injury, averaging 27.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 double-doubles over three games. He's having a career season, and his price tag is well worth what he can produce. With other elite options being in unfavorable matchups, Cousins should be a good choice if you decide to go expensive at the center spot on Sunday.

Other suggestions: DeAndre Jordan (vs. PHI), C ($7,600), Spencer Hawes (at LAC), PF/C ($6,900), Tyson Chandler (at OKC), C ($5,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Russell Westbrook (knee) won't return until after the All-Star break.
Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the season.
Brook Lopez (foot) is out for the season.
Jrue Holiday (leg) is still without a timetable to return.
Ryan Anderson (back) will be re-evaluated in a month.
Mike Conley (ankle) will not play Sunday, but is expected to return soon.
Kobe Bryant (knee) could miss up to another month.
Pau Gasol (groin) is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.
Nick Young (knee) is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.
Jodie Meeks (ankle) won't return until after the All-Star break.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) won't return until after the All-Star break.
Xavier Henry (knee) is expected to miss a couple more weeks.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) won't return until after the All-Star break.

Game-Time Decision
Chris Paul (shoulder) "looked great" in practice and is slated to return Sunday.
J.J. Redick (back) is doubtful to play Sunday.
Rudy Gay (illness) didn't practice Saturday and is a game-time decision Sunday.
Monta Ellis (hamstring) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Lance Stephenson (back) did not play Friday and is a game-time decision Sunday.
Rajon Rondo (knee) is dealing with knee soreness and is questionable to play Sunday.
Avery Bradley (ankle) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Luol Deng (illness) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Carlos Boozer (calf) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Tony Allen (hand) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Kevin Garnett (rest) did not play Friday and is a game-time decision Sunday.