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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
Los Angeles Lakers at Indiana Pacers: The Lakers' constant injury issues have led to some nice daily bargains throughout the year, but a road game against a healthy Pacers team is as bad as matchups get. Indiana still leads the league in points allowed per game (90.9), defensive rating (94.1), and opponents' field-goal percentage (41.3). Furthermore, the Lakers' rotation is in a state of post-trade deadline transition, and with the team starting to get a bit healthier, the opportunities for bargain-bin value are drying up.

Offenses to Use
Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets: All three late games look like potential shootouts, so don't get too excited if you jump out to an early lead in a tournament on Tuesday night. The Trail Blazers have a particularly excellent matchup against the dreadful Denver defense, and LaMarcus Aldridge's absence means there are more shots to go around for everyone else. Aldridge ranks second in the NBA with 21 field-goal attempts per game, behind Carmelo Anthony (22) and just ahead of Kevin Durant (20.5). Denver's season-long defensive statistics are bad enough in their own right but actually understate how poorly the team has played lately. The Nuggets haven't beaten a team besides the Bucks since Feb. 3 and have allowed a whopping 110.3 points per 100 possessions in February. Since the beginning of the month, only the 76ers have allowed more points per game than the Nuggets' 112.2.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set

First game of a back-to-back: Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Houston ROckets
Second game of a back-to-back: N/A

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Point Guard
Aaron Brooks, DEN (vs. POR), PG, ($3000): Brooks logged 28 and 32 minutes, respectively, in his first two games with the Nuggets. He started the second game, and it's fair to expect 25-30 minutes from Brooks on Tuesday, if Ty Lawson (ribs) doesn't return from a six-game absence. Brooks isn't worth playing unless Lawson sits, so you'll probably want to go in another direction if the former Tar Heel isn't ruled out.

Damian Lillard, POR (at DEN), PG, ($8300): There are a lot more shots to go around with LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) sidelined, so it should come as no surprise that Lillard is averaging 22 field-goal attempts per game (season average: 16.1) in three contests since Aldridge exited the lineup. Tuesday's fast-paced, defensively challenged opponent furthers boosts Lillard's value, and a possible matchup against the aforementioned Aaron Brooks is icing on the cake.

Other suggestions: E'Twuan Moore, ORL (at WAS), PG/SG, ($3100), Kirk Hinrich, CHI (at ATL), PG/SG, ($4500)

Shooting Guard
Victor Oladipo, ORL (at WAS), PG/SG, ($6400): Oladipo still isn't consistent in any stat category, yet he typically produces one way or another when he gets enough minutes. Orlando is pressed for wing depth with Aaron Afflalo (out), so Oladipo should see plenty of playing time Tuesday. The rookie logged 35 minutes Sunday against Toronto, after playing 49 minutes in a double-overtime thriller versus the Knicks on Friday.

Goran Dragic, PHO (vs. MIN), PG/SG, ($8200): Dragic saw his hot streak end with a pair of weak performances last week, before bouncing back for 35 points against the Rockets on Sunday. His price has dropped back down a few hundred dollars, and Tuesday's game should be high scoring.

Other suggestions: Wesley Matthews, POR (at DEN), SG/SF, ($6000), Evan Fournier, DEN (vs. POR), SG, ($4200)

Small Forward
Terrence Ross, TOR (at CLE), SG/SF, ($3900): Ross scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting against the Cavs on Friday, and he should be able to turn in another solid performance against a defensively-challenged backcourt that's missing Dion Waiters (knee) and C.J. Miles. With Cleveland's Luol Deng likely to spend a good portion of the game guarding the more threatening DeMar DeRozan, there should be an opportunity for Ross to match-up against 6-foot-3 Jarrett Jack.

Other suggestions: Wilson Chandler, DEN (vs. POR), SG/SF, ($5400), Rudy Gay, SAC (vs. HOU), SF/PF, ($8100), Tony Snell, CHI (at ATL), SG/SF, ($3400) if Jimmy Butler (ribs) doesn't play

Power Forward
Thomas Robinson, POR (at DEN), PF, ($3400): With a slew of injuries in the frontcourt, Portland started Dorell Wright ($3600) at power forward in a small lineup Sunday against the Timberwolves. The plan was quickly abandoned, and Wright logged just seven minutes, while Robinson had 14 points and 18 boards in a season-high 33 minutes. Wright may get the start again Tuesday and is a mildly interesting (albeit very risky) discount option in his own right, but it's hard not to take Robinson at $3400 while he's one of two true big men the other being Robin Lopez ($6500) healthy for the Trail Blazers. Robinson probably only needs 20-25 minutes of playing time in order to provide good value for his price. If he tops the 30-minute mark again, he should be one of the best plays of the day.

Kevin Love, MIN (at PHO), PF/C, ($11,200): With Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and Kevin Martin (thumb) sidelined lately, the T-Wolves have lacked capable scorers. In three games since the All-Star break, Love is averaging 21 field-goal attempts, 9.7 free-throw attempts, 9.3 three-point attempts and 36.7 points. His outlook dampers a bit if Pekovic and/or Martin return Tuesday, but the matchup is still a favorable meeting of two fast-paced teams. With more valuable plays available than you'd normally expect from a seven-game slate, Love's massive salary becomes much more palatable.

Other suggestions: Kenneth Faried, DEN (vs. POR), PF, ($5800), Mike Scott, ATL (vs. CHI), PF, ($4300)

Center
Elton Brand, ATL (vs. CHI), PF/C, ($4300): Assuming Pero Antic (ankle) doesn't make a surprise return, Brand will have a good chance to play 30-plus minutes for the fourth time in five games. With Paul Millsap (knee) out and Gustavo Ayon (shoulder) unlikely to play, the Atlanta frontcourt is completely decimated, meaning that 30 minutes actually represents a low-end estimate for Brand on Tuesday. The matchup is obviously difficult, but the Bulls' tough frontcout should force the Hawks to leave Brand on the court. Dexter Pittman ($3000) is the backup center for Atlanta and probably won't see much playing time unless Brand runs into foul trouble. Given the current state of the frontcourt, 6-foot-8 stretch four Mike Scott ($4300) also looks like an attractive option, after scoring 50 points over the last two games.

Other suggestions: Joakim Noah, CHI (at ATL), PF/C, ($8700), Channing Frye, PHO (vs. MIN), PF/C, ($5400)

INJURY REPORT

Out
C.J. Miles (ankle) is not close to a return.
Dion Waiters (knee) is expected to miss at least a couple more games.
Kobe Bryant (knee) will be out for at least three more weeks.
Xavier Henry (knee) is making progress but won't be ready Tuesday.
Aaron Afflalo (ankle) is out Tuesday.
Nene (knee) suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday and is out 4-6 weeks.
Paul Millsap (knee) is out Tuesday and Wednesday, at the very least.
Ronny Turiaf (knee) is out for three weeks.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) returned to team practice Monday, but he's expected to log a few more practices before returning to game action.
Jason Terry (knee) is out for the season.
LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) is expected to miss at least another game or two.
Joel Freeland (knee) is likely out until mid-March or later.
Meyers Leonard (ankle) is expected to miss at least 1-2 more weeks.
Pero Antic (ankle) hasn't played since Jan. 22 and will not play Tuesday or Wednesday.
Gustavo Ayon (shoulder) will not play Tuesday.

Game-Time Decision
Amir Johnson (ankle) is officially questionable, but he's expected to play.
Anderson Varejao (back) doesn't have a timetable to return and seems unlikely to play Tuesday.
Steve Nash (back) missed the past four games.
Jimmy Butler (ribs) is questionable after missing Sunday's game.
Kevin Martin (thumb) hasn't played since Feb. 7 but was scheduled to see a specialist Monday. Martin is considered day-to-day.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) hasn't played since Jan. 27, but the center recently said that he's nearing a return.
Leandro Barbosa (toe) missed Sunday's game, but swelling in his toe went down.
Ty Lawson (ribs) missed the last six games and is questionable for Tuesday.
Darrell Arthur (hip) suffered a hip strain Friday and didn't play Sunday.
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