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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
Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz: Over their past 10 games, the Celtics rank eighth in defensive rating while the Jazz rank 25th in offensive rating. Combine those two numbers with Boston being ranked 26th in offensive rating over the same number of games, and this matchup appears to be one without too much scoring by either team. Boston is allowing 97.9 points per game over the last 10 games while scoring just 87.6 points per game, but when taking Utah’s defense into consideration Boston has a chance to buck the trend and score more points than usual.

Offenses to Use
Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks: Over their past 10 games, the Mavericks lead the league in offensive rating with the closest team, the Clippers, nearly two full points back. The Knicks, on the other hand, rank 27th in defensive rating over the same time period. Factoring out their two losses and their low scoring game against the Pacers, the Mavericks are averaging 111.9 points over that same time period. Things are never a guarantee in the NBA, but New York’s defense doesn’t appear to be a likely candidate to stop Dallas’ scoring spree.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None.
Second game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Clippers.

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Point Guard
Brandon Knight, MIL (at PHI), PG ($6,700): There aren’t too many quality point guards available for a good price Monday, but Knight appears to be a solid pick who’s been pretty consistent lately. He’s scored 30+ fantasy points in eight straight games and the heel injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s game doesn’t appear to be slowing him down. He’s averaging 43.6 fantasy points over his last 10 games and looks to be one of the best points guard options for Monday other than Chris Paul and Stephen Curry.

Other options: Rajon Rondo, BOS (at UTA), PG ($7,400), Jamal Crawford, LAC (at NO), PG/SG ($6,200).

Shooting Guard
Jamal Crawford, LAC (at NO), PG/SG ($6,200): Like Knight, Crawford has been a consistent fantasy option lately and is one of the best options available tonight. Crawford as recorded 30+ fantasy points in seven straight games despite playing against top defenses including the Thunder, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Heat. The Pelicans are a good defensive team as well, but Crawford’s track record lately has shown that he should still be able to produce at an elite level.

Other options: Andre Iguodala, GS (at DET), SG/SF ($6,400).

Small Forward
Vince Carter, DAL (at NYK), SG/SF ($5,200): Carter hasn’t been playing especially well lately, but Monday’s game against the Knicks appears to be a prime game for his to shine. In addition to rebounding well over his last few games, Carter could have a good scoring night as well. He has shot well from three lately, but the Knicks have been the worst team in the league at defending the three over the past 10 games. They’re giving up the most threes, nine per game, at the highest rate, 43 percent. With Carter as one of the Mavericks’ best three points shooters, he has a good chance to knock down more shots from downtown than normal in addition to his solid rebounding and passing numbers.

Other options: Ersan Ilyasova, MIL (at PHI), SF/PF ($4,900).

Power Forward
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (at NYK), PF/C ($7,800): Like Carter, Nowitzki stands to benefit from the Knicks’ poor defense of the three and looks to have a good night offensively overall. With Carmelo Anthony starting at power forward lately and playing a fair amount of minutes at that position, Nowitzki could pose as a mismatch at that position and shoot over Anthony for much of the game if given the opportunity. Even if Anthony isn’t defending him, New York’s defense has been bad enough lately that Dirk shouldn’t have too hard of a time getting the ball in the hoop.

Other options: Andre Drummond, DET (vs. GS), C ($7,800), Kris Humphries, BOS (at UTA), PF/C ($4,100) (If Sullinger doesn’t play).

Center
Enes Kanter, UTA (vs. BOS), C ($5,800): With Derrick Favors out with no timetable for his return, Kanter has stepped up as the main big man in Utah with three big games including two straight games scoring 25 points. Utah’s offense seems to be giving Kanter opportunities to score and he’s rebounding well too. If Jared Sullinger doesn’t play for Boston, Kanter could find himself being guarded by Kris Humphries, Brandon Bass, or Kelly Olynyk, none of whom appear to be tall or strong enough to defend Kanter effectively in the post. In short, Kanter could be a serious problem for Boston’s normally solid defense.

Other options: Tyson Chandler, NYK (vs. DAL), C ($6,200), Greg Monroe, DET (vs. GS), PF/C ($7,600).

INJURY REPORT

Out
Derrick Favors (hip) has no timetable for a return.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) did not join the Knicks for the road trip that just ended
Avery Bradley (ankle) did not join the Celtics for their current road trip.
Vitor Faverani (knee) did not join the Celtics for their road trip.
Jason Smith (knee) is out for the season after having knee surgery.
Larry Sanders (eye) is out for at least six weeks to repair bone fractures.

Game-Time Decision
Andrew Bogut (shoulder) hasn’t played in his last seven games but is expected to return soon.
Caron Butler (ankle) traveled with the team but is still questionable for Monday’s game.
Danny Granger (contract dispute) has not taken part in any activities with the Sixers other than a physical.
David Lee (illness) missed Saturday’s game with the stomach flu.
Rajon Rondo (rest) did not play Saturday.
Jared Sullinger (head) did not play Saturday after getting hit in the head Friday.
Nate Wolters (ankle) left Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle and did not return.
Metta World Peace (knee) is in the process of being bought out of his contract.
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