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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Thursday

Eric Kohlbeck

Eric Kohlbeck

Eric Kohlbeck writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs: Both the Spurs and Heat have strong defenses. The Spurs and Heat rank sixth and seventh respectively, in points allowed per game, giving up 98 and 98.4 points per game. So, both defenses might want to be avoided but the offensive edge may go the Heat. Both teams have 100-102 defensive ratings, which rank in the upper-half of the NBA, so Thursday's game in San Antonio could be a low scoring battle.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers: Thursday's matchup at the Staples Center has the potential to be fairly lopsided. The Clippers enter Thursday's contest scoring the second most points per game at 107.2 while shooting 47.3 percent from the field. The Lakers, on the other hand, give up the second most points to opposing teams, letting teams score 106.9 points against them. In their lone meeting against one another this season, the Clippers put up 123 points, so it could be another big night for the Clips on Thursday.

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

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Point Guard
Jordan Farmar, LAL (vs. LAC) PG ($5,500): Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said he is considering starting Farmar over Kendall Marshall for Thursday's game. Marshall was benched in the fourth quarter during the Lakers' most recent game against the Pelicans on Tuesday in favor of Farmar. He has been hot as of late and in his last five games, Farmar is averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 three-pointers, 6.0 assists, and 1.5 steals on 55.3 percent shooting from the field and 88.9 percent shooting from the line. If D'Antoni decides to start Farmar, the increase in minutes should bode well for his totals on Thursday and keep him at a strong pace.

Shooting Guard
Gerald Green, PHO (vs. OKC) SG/SF ($6,200): With Eric Bledsoe out, Green has capitalized and been a strong fantasy play, shouldering much of the scoring for the Suns. During the eight games since the All-Star break, Green has played well, averaging 20.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 three-pointers, and 1.8 assists per game in 32 minutes of action. Bledsoe has been participating in 5-on-5 drills as of late so a return could be coming up soon, but as long as he remains out of the lineup, Green could be a nice value play on Thursday.

Small Forward
Kawhi Leonard, SAS (vs. MIA) SG/SF ($6,100): Leonard has played well in the four games he's played since returning from a broken finger. He's averaging 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2 blocks per game, while shooting 59 percent from the floor, including a 65 percent mark from beyond the arc. The Heat allow teams to shoot fairly well from inside the paint, so Leonard could find some nice scoring lanes on Thursday, and continue his hot streak.

Power Forward
Chris Bosh, MIA (at SAS) PF/C ($6,400): Bosh has failed to hit the seven-point mark in two of his last four games. But, before that, he rattled off three straight 20-point games against good competition in the Bulls, Thunder, and Mavericks. So, if anything, Bosh is due for a return to the 20-point marker, and it could come on Thursday against the Spurs. In the Heat's other meeting with the Spurs this season, Bosh had a solid night, chipping in 24 points, five rebounds, and three assists. There really aren't too many value plays at power forward on Thursday, so if you're not going to spend large at PF, then $6,400 isn't a bad price tag for a guy that averages 30.2 fantasy points per game.

Center
DeAndre Jordan, LAC (at LAL) C ($7,500): Opposing big-men have found great success against the Lakers as of late. In their last three games, the Lakers gave up a total of 75 points to the Kings' starting front court, 57 to the Trail Blazer's, and 56 to the Pelicans' front court on Tuesday. So, needless to say, opposing forwards and centers have done quite well against the Lakers. This can also be seen in the Lakers giving up the most fantasy points to opposing centers, so the almost certain double-double performance you can expect out of Jordan, could be even better on Thursday against the Lakers.

INJURY REPORT

Out
Eric Bledsoe (knee) has been ruled out of Thursday's game but should return to the Suns' lineup within the week.
Leandro Barbosa (hand) is our 4-to-6 week with a fractured left hand that he sustained in Tuesday's game.
Steve Nash (back) is unlikely to return to the court this season.
Kobe Bryant (knee) won't return until mid-March at the earliest.


Game-Time Decision
Greg Oden (rest) sat out Miami's game on Tuesday but will be available for Thursday.
Goran Dragic (side strain) missed practice on Wednesday but is listed as probable for Thursday's game.
Miles Plumlee (knee) didn't practice Wednesday and is questionable for Thursday.
Jamal Crawford (calf) is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game.
Jared Dudley (back) left Tuesday's game with back spasms and is questionable for Thursday.