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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Sunday

Adam Wolf

Adam Wolf

Adam began writing for RotoWire in the spring of 2012 as an undergrad student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He primarily serves as the site's day-to-day editor of NHL content, while also working as the Chicago Bears and Colorado Rockies beat writer, managing the site's Closer Grid, and contributing to the football and baseball magazines.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Charlotte at Milwaukee: It's not exactly going out on a limb to caution daily players on minimizing their usage of Bucks players in their lineup, but Milwaukee has actually shown some signs of life lately, surpassing the century mark in scoring in six straight games, before hanging only 97 on the Hawks in a loss Thursday. However, they should revert to their low-scoring ways against the Bobcats, who, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James 60-point explosions aside, have quietly emerged as one of the league's best defenses. Charlotte enters Sunday's contest allowing just 101.2 points per possession on the season (seventh in NBA) and put the clamps on a good Minnesota offense in Friday's game, holding the Wolves to 93 points on 42.7 percent from the field.

Utah at San Antonio: The Jazz will come into San Antonio as losers in eight of their last nine games, largely as a result of a short-circuiting of their offense. Even before the long losing spell, Utah didn't exactly push the tempo, as they rank 28th in terms of pace. That makes every possession even more precious to the Jazz than most teams and could spell trouble against a Spurs team that ranks among the top five in defensive efficiency. The Jazz have already lost their previous three games to the Spurs this season, by counts of 91-82, 100-84, and 109-105.

Offenses to Use
Cleveland at Los Angeles Clippers: With Blake Griffin emerging over the last couple of months as the first runner-up in the MVP race between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the Clippers have destroyed everything in their path of late. Griffin's dominance and the return of Chris Paul has L.A. riding a season-best 10-game winning streak, and it's hard to envision the Cavs stopping them, even though they seemed to turn a corner this week with nine-point victories over both the Suns and Warriors. The Clippers are averaging 113.1 points during the streak and are closing in on the previously untouchable Heat for the league's top offensive efficiency mark.

Phoenix at Toronto: The Suns' downturn in the Western Conference standings the last three weeks has been a byproduct of their suddenly shoddy defense. Since their impressive 106-85 win over the Spurs on Feb. 21, the Suns have dropped seven of their last 11 games, surrendering an average of 109 points. An 87-80 victory over the Celtics on Friday would seem to portend progress, but Boston already entered the game as one of the NBA's more feeble offenses and contributed to their own undoing by shooting a season-low 30.9 percent from the field. The Raptors aren't nearly as much of a dumpster fire on the offensive end, ranking in the top half of the league in both offensive efficiency and true shooting percentage. Look for them to take advantage against the reeling Suns on their own home court.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers
Second game of a back-to-back: Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

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Point Guard
Brian Roberts, NO (vs. BOS), PG/SG ($4,100): Roberts has assumed starting point guard duties for the Pelicans since Jrue Holiday (leg) was ruled out for the season in January and has generally settled into a supporting role in the backcourt, averaging a modest 12.2 points and 3.9 assists in 32 starts this season. While those numbers don't offer much to get excited about, his low price point provides a good return on investment for those choosing to divert most of their funds at other positions. He's helped prop his value recently by tallying double-digit scoring and hitting at least one three-pointer in five of his last six games.

Other suggestions: Russell Westbrook (vs. DAL), PG ($9,600), Ricky Rubio (vs. SAC), PG ($7,100), Trey Burke (at SA), PG ($6,100)

Shooting Guard
Dwyane Wade, MIA (vs. HOU), PG/SG ($7,600): Wade's uncertain health situation seemingly makes him a risk to play most any game, but coach Erik Spoelstra seems to be more liberal with using him of late, as he's played in six straight contests. With the Heat having not played since Friday, Wade would appear to be well-rested and set to suit up again Sunday versus the Rockets. Both Miami and Houston have lost two consecutive games and could surely benefit from a marquee win to regain their edge, so expect to see Spoelstra lean heavily on Wade in this one. He's averaged 35.4 minutes in March, offering his typical across-the-board production with 21.7 points, five rebounds, 3.9 assists and one steal per game. There's probably not a ton of upside to be had for Wade, given his increased reluctance to shoot the three-ball, but few players offer as much stability in their production as the 10-year veteran.

Other suggestions: James Harden (at MIA), SG/SF ($10,000), Nicolas Batum (vs. GS), SG/SF ($7,300), P.J. Tucker (at TOR), SG/SF ($4,700)

Small Forward
Dorell Wright, POR (vs. GS), SG/SF ($3,000): The general assumption might have been that the Blazers would replace LaMarcus Aldridge (back) in the starting lineup with a traditional low-post big in Thomas Robinson, but coach Terry Stotts somewhat surprisingly tabbed another perimeter player in Wright for the appointment. He responded well in his first start Friday versus the Pelicans, scoring 15 points in 28 minutes, while adding four three-pointers, four rebounds, and three assists. Stotts has little incentive to take Wright out of the lineup against the Warriors, with defensive stopper Andrew Bogut patrolling the paint, so expect another heavy minute load for the forward. He may not provide the rebounding numbers typically desired in place of Aldridge, but when given the playing time in the past, he's shown the ability to pour in the threes with regularity.

Other suggestions: Kevin Durant, OKC (vs. DAL), SF/PF ($11,500), Jeff Green, BOS (at NO), SG/SF ($6,400), Matt Barnes, LAC (vs. CLE), SF ($5,400)

Power Forward
Al Jefferson, CHA (at MIL), PF/C ($9,000): With three straight games of 25 points and 10 boards on his ledger, Jefferson seems to be going on a tear again, which makes him a good target in daily formats against a Bucks team that has few answers from him defensively. Milwaukee ranks 26th in points given up to big men, according to the DraftKings scoring standards, and with Larry Sanders (eye) out for the foreseeable future, Jefferson figures to take advantage. Jefferson went off for 26 points, nine rebounds and a block the last time the teams met in December.

Other suggestions: Anthony Davis, NO (vs. BOS), PF/C ($10,500), Amir Johnson, TOR (vs. PHO), PF/C ($5,900), Markieff Morris, PHO (at TOR), PF/C ($5,600)

Center
Serge Ibaka, OKC (vs. DAL), PF/C ($7,700): Like Jefferson, Ibaka has strung together three straight double-doubles but has shot with even greater efficiency, while tossing in more blocked shots. It should be noted that two of those games came against an indifferent Lakers defense, but the Mavericks aren't known for their prowess on the boards, either. Dallas ranks in the bottom five of the league in rebounds per game, and with the likes of Samuel Dalembert and Brandan Wright likely to match up against him for most of the night, it would be surprising, if Ibaka doesn't post another double-double.

Other suggestions: Blake Griffin, LAC (vs. CLE), PF/C ($10,500), DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (at MIN), PF/C ($9,600), Enes Kanter, UTA (at SA), C ($5,700), Robin Lopez, POR (vs. GS), C ($5,300)

INJURY REPORT

Out
LaMarcus Aldridge (back) is expected to miss his second consecutive game Sunday before being evaluated next week.
Ryan Anderson (back) said last week that his herniated disc isn't healing and that he's still experiencing tingling sensations in his fingers.
Leandro Barbosa (hand) is set to miss the next 3-to-5 weeks with a fracture.
Anthony Bennett (knee) will miss the next three weeks, while he recovers from a left knee strain.
Jamal Crawford (calf) has missed the last three games with a strained left calf.
Vitor Faverani (knee) will miss the rest of the season following surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus.
Joel Freeland (knee) is aiming to return in the playoffs due to the slow-healing nature of the MCL sprain in his right knee.
Brendan Haywood (foot) was officially ruled out for the season Friday.
Carl Landry (knee) was ruled out for the remainder of the season last week.
C.J. Miles (ankle) has missed the last three weeks but does appear close to returning.
Patrick Patterson (elbow) is set to be evaluated within the next few days.
A.J. Price (illness) underwent an appendectomy last Sunday and is without a timetable for a return.
J.J. Redick (back) will have his fate for the rest of the season decided by the team in the coming weeks.
Larry Sanders (eye) is about four weeks through the six-week timetable established for him, after he underwent surgery to repair orbital bone fractures in February.
Thabo Sefolosha (calf) is no longer using crutches and was able to resuming working out Monday.
Ronny Turiaf (knee) is expected to begin testing out his knee soon.
Gerald Wallace (knee/ankle) will miss the rest of the season following surgery on his left knee and ankle.
Mo Williams (hip) will miss the next two weeks with a right hip strain.

Game-Time Decision
Andre Iguodala (knee) played 31 minutes, while battling knee tendinitis Friday, and could see limited action Sunday versus Portland.
Jae Crowder (abdomen) has missed the Mavericks' previous two games.
John Lucas (ankle) missed his third straight game Friday.
Chris Paul (ankle) suffered a sprain in the third quarter of Friday's game and returned in the fourth, making him likely to play Sunday versus the Cavaliers.
Nikola Pekovic (knee) left Friday's game to ice his knee after the third quarter and figures to play Sunday, but his minutes could be limited.
Klay Thompson (personal) is uncertain to play Sunday, after he missed Friday's game due to the passing of his grandfather.
Marvin Williams (back) was forced to sit out Friday's game and is questionable for Sunday.

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