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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Tuesday

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies: With Mike Conley (ankle) absent the last five games, the Grizzlies’ mediocre offense fell apart, averaging just 86.8 points per contest against a friendly slate of opponents. The Memphis defense hasn’t missed a beat, however, surrendering a league-best 90.6 points per game since Conley went out with the injury. The Grizzlies were surprisingly bad in Memphis earlier this season, but they have a 4-2 record and 99.2 defensive rating in six home contests since Marc Gasol returned from a knee injury. The home/road profile never looked like anything more than a fluke, anyway, and it likely had something to do with the fact that 15 of the 23 games Gasol missed were played in Memphis. As an added bonus for the Griz defense, Conley may return for Tuesday’s game.

Offenses to Use
Miami Heat at Phoenix Suns: The Suns own the NBA’s eighth-best offensive rating (106.8) and are fifth in points per game (105.1) this season, but they’ve been even better than that in recent weeks. They’re fifth in offensive rating (108.6) and fourth in points (107.2) since Jan. 1, a date that coincides with the beginning of Eric Bledsoe’s (knee) absence. The Suns have won six of their last eight, including a road win in Indiana on Jan. 30 and a 122-point performance against the Warriors on Saturday. Goran Dragic has been the spark behind the offensive improvement, with his excellent play making up for Bledsoe’s absence on at least one end of the floor. Dragic made 64-of-102 (62.7 percent) field-goal attempts and shot 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) from beyond the arc in his last seven games, averaging 26.9 points and 6.1 assists over that span. Meanwhile, the Heat have been playing lackadaisical defense for weeks now, with an ugly 107.4 defensive rating over their last 10 games to show for it. Both teams are humming on offense and struggling on defense, so Tuesday’s game has some nice daily plays on both sides.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Bobcats, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz
Second game of a back-to-back: N/A

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Point Guard
Kemba Walker, CHA (vs. DAL), PG, ($7100): Walker’s price went down after a lousy first return from his ankle injury last week, and the price only recovered a little bit following the point guard’s more encouraging second contest—an 18-point, eight-assist performance in 40 minutes against the Spurs on Saturday. Walker only missed two weeks with the sprained ankle, so he should be just fine in his third game back from the injury. A matchup against the defensively challenged Mavs provides the Bobcats’ point guard with a nice platform for his first big game since mid-January.

Other suggestions: Devin Harris, DAL (at CHA), PG/SG, ($3400)

Shooting Guard
Gerald Green, PHO (vs. MIA), SG/SF, ($4900): After starting February with a rough three-game stretch, Green bounced back for 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting in Saturday’s win over the Warriors. 49.9 percent of his points have come from treys this season, while the Heat have surprisingly allowed more three-pointers per game (8.6) than every team besides Philadelphia and Cleveland. Grab Green before his price goes back up—he was in the $5500 range before Tuesday.

Other suggestions: Goran Dragic, PHO (vs. MIA), PG/SG, ($8300)

Small Forward
Wesley Matthews, POR (vs. OKC), SG/SF, ($5900): With Nic Batum likely to spend a good chunk of Tuesday’s game guarding Kevin Durant, Matthews should be the more active Portland wing on the offensive end. Matthews has shown no signs of slowing down in his breakout season, as he’s averaging 17.6 points and 2.8 treys per game through five February contests. He always seems to offer solid but not spectacular value on DraftKings, making Matthews a good choice when you’re struggling to find an option at shooting guard or small forward.

Other suggestions: P.J. Tucker, PHO (vs. MIA), SG/SF, ($4300)

Power Forward

Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (at CHA), PF/C, ($7700): The Mavs are 5-0 with a sky-high 120.6 offensive rating over their last five games, and the team has boasted an efficient offense all season. As one might expect, Dirk has been fantastic lately, averaging 24.6 points on 56.8 percent shooting during the five-game winning streak. The Bobcats have been better on defense the last two weeks or so, but they don’t have anyone capable of guarding Nowitzki one-on-one. In the first matchup between these teams this season, Dirk seemed to figure the Bobcats out, hitting 9-of-11 second-half shots after a 1-for-10 first half. Tuesday’s game figures to look more like the second half of the first contest.

Other suggestions: Marvin Williams, UTA (at LAL), SF/PF, ($5000)

Center
Derrick Favors, UTA (vs. LAL), PF/C, ($6600): The Lakers have been a godsend for opposing big men this season, and that was before Pau Gasol (groin) got hurt. Los Angeles is now left with Chris Kaman and Robert Sacre at center, providing Favors with a juicy matchup Tuesday night. Utah’s starting center has been quiet in two games since returning from a hip injury, but there haven’t been any indications that he’s still hurting, and he logged 27 minutes in each of the two games.

Other suggestions: Chris Bosh, MIA (at PHO), PF/C, ($6500), Tyler Zeller, CLE (vs. SAC), PF/C, ($3200) if Anderson Varejao (back) doesn’t play.

INJURY REPORT

Out
Pero Antic (ankle) is expected to miss two more weeks.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) is almost certainly out through the All-Star break.
Russell Westbrook (knee) is shooting for a post-break return.
Kobe Bryant (knee) will be evaluated after the break.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) will also be evaluated after the break.
Pau Gasol (groin), you guessed it, will be evaluated after the break.
Xavier Henry (knee), much like his injured teammates, is out through the break.
Jodie Meeks (ankle) is also out through the break.
Nick Young (knee) is out through the break with a non-displaced patella fracture.

Game-Time Decision
Monta Ellis (hamstring) logged a full practice Monday but said afterwards that his hammy feels a bit tight. Ellis suffered the injury Friday and still played Sunday.
Ben Gordon (illness) hasn't played since Jan. 10 but also hasn't officially been ruled out for Tuesday.
Isaiah Thomas has been playing through a sprained right wrist but isn't expected to miss Tuesday's game.
C.J. Miles has a foot injury and his status for Tuesday is uncertain.
Anderson Varejao (back) underwent an MRI on Monday, leaving his status for Tuesday uncertain, despite the MRI coming back negative.
Carlos Boozer (calf) missed the last two games and is considered day-to-day.
Mike Conley (ankle) is day-to-day and seemingly has a shot to return Tuesday.
Tony Allen (hand) hasn't played since Jan. 5 but is now considered day-to-day.
Mo Williams (personal) missed the last two games, and it's unclear when he will return.
Trey Burke (back) felt better in practice Monday after playing through pain in Saturday's game.
Steve Nash (leg) is probable and said that he will play Tuesday.
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