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Ty Lawson, DEN (at ORL) PG, ($8,900):
Defenses to Avoid
Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans: Nothing entirely new here to report, but the Grizzlies have been spectacular on the defensive end (and it's not coincidentally converting to wins) since Jan. 8. They're 22-7 over that stretch and have been the league's third best defensive team (99.2 points per 100 possessions). Perhaps even more telling, they're 18-4 over that stretch with Mike Conley in the lineup and the catalyst looks as healthy as he's been all year. But they've been ridiculously good down low, limiting teams to the third fewest shots within five feet and allowing them to similarly shoot the league's third worst field goal percentage (55.9 percent) in the same distance. That's of course been large and part thanks to a healthy Marc Gasol. It could be a tough day for Anthony Davis.
Offenses to Use
Sacramento Kings at Philadelphia 76ers: When in doubt, bet against the Sixers. Losers of 17 straight, they've been outscored by an average of 18.9 points per game since their last win Jan. 29 against the Celtics. They've been particular horrendous on the defensive end, allowing at least 100 points in 16 of those 17 games, while allowing more than 110 points in 13 of them. But it's not just the extreme pace they play at that's hurting them; they're dead last in efficiency (111.3 points per 100 possessions) over that stretch, too.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None.
Second game of a back-to-back: Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs.
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Although the Nuggets season seems done, Lawson hasn't missed a beat since returning to the lineup. He's averaging 24.0 points and 10.6 assists per game over his last five games and has a wonderful matchup against the Magic on Wednesday. Orlando has been fairly average defensively this year, but tend to struggle on the perimeter, especially against opposing point guards. They'll excel in the paint, but Lawson's game doesn't really involve that. A high-scoring game is certainly possible, leaving the door open for a double-double from Lawson.
Other suggestions: Isaiah Thomas
, SAC (at PHI) PG/SG ($6,800); Goran Dragic
, PHO (vs. CLE) PG/SG ($8,000); Tony Parker
, SAS (vs. POR) PG ($7,200);
DeMar DeRozan, TOR (vs. DET) SG/SF ($7,800):
Not surprisingly, DeRozan gets to the line a little more at home and picks up his scoring while at it. But that's been especially true lately, as he's gotten to the line at least 10 times in each of his last three home games and in four of his last six. Flat out, the Pistons are at their weakest on the wing and simply do not have the athletic type to match up with DeRozan. Whether it's Kyle Singler
or Josh Smith
, it's an absolute nightmare matchup for Detroit.
Other suggestions: Jeff Green
, BOS (vs. NYK) SG/SF ($6,500); James Anderson
, PHI (vs. SAC) SG/SF ($4,500).
Rudy Gay, SAC (at PHI) SF/PF ($7,500):
Gay hasn't been superb lately, but it seems like a nightly occurrence where a perimeter player is having a career game against the Sixers. Philly can't defend anything at the moment, but Gay is really the ideal mismatch for Sacramento in Wednesday's game. In the Sixers' last five games, opposing perimeter players Trevor Ariza
(40 points), Tobias Harris
(31), Kevin Durant
(42), Gordon Hayward
(22) and Tim Hardaway
Jr. (28) each led their respective teams with monster games. Gay fits the bill.
Other suggestions: Thaddeus Young
, PHI (vs. SAC) SF/PF ($7,200); Andre Iguodala
, GSW (at LAC) SG/SF ($5,800); Maurice Harkless
, ORL (vs. DEN) SF ($4,600).
Kenneth Faried, DEN (at ORL) PF ($6,800):
Fairly bullish about the Nuggets on the road, but Faried has been on fire lately, averaging 21.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game over his last five games. Orlando's power forward position has been in a little bit of flux since buying out Glen Davis
, but it appears second-year Kyle O'Quinn
is going to keep getting starts. Tobias Harris
will get his minutes, but Faried could be geared for another big game.
Other suggestions: Zach Randolph
, MEM (at NOP) PF/C ($7,300); David Lee
, GSW (at LAC) PF/C ($7,700).
DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (at PHI) PF/C ($9,800):
When it comes down to it, a matchup against Henry Sims
, Arnett Moultrie
, Jarvis Varnardo and/or Byron Mullens
is just way too good to pass up, regardless of the increased salary. Admittedly, there are two problems here: 1) opposing teams haven't had to go into the halfcourt offense against the Sixers and 2) it could be a blowout. So while it has its risks, Cousins could be in line for a 30-point, 20-rebound game if he's on the floor enough. Are the Sixers due to finally keep it close at least?
Other suggestions: Marcin Gortat
, WAS (vs. CHA) C ($6,500); Spencer Hawes
, CLE (at PHO) PF/C ($7,300); Jonas Valanciunas
, TOR (vs. DET), C ($5,200).
(ankle) is likely to return Friday against Phoenix.
(back) will not travel for Wednesday's game against Miami.
(knee) will at least miss the next three weeks.
(calf) did not play Monday.
(back) did not play Monday.
(back) is practicing more, but his status is still unknown.
(back) is still without a timetable.
(elbow) could be done for the year.
(personal) did not play Monday.
(hand) is out three-to-five weeks.
(suspension) is suspended for Wednesday's game.
(elbow) should be out until at least the weekend.
(knee) is still at least three weeks away from returning.
(Coach Decision) played 41 minutes on Tuesday, but faces a back-to-back on Wednesday.
(ankle) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Heat.
(calf) said he believes he'll play Wednesday.
(illness) returned to practice Tuesday.
(ankle) did not practice Tuesday and is questionable for Wednesday's game.
(finger) appeared to be injured during Tuesday's game.
(knee) is expected to return Wednesday.