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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
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder: The Spurs rank fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency giving up just 97 points per game. Their defensive rating of 99.5 is also good for third best in the league. With Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha, and Reggie Jackson all injured and either out or a game-time decision, the Thunder could be a little short-handed on Thursday which would bode well for the Spurs and their fourth ranked defense in the NBA.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks: The Los Angeles Clippers, statistically, have the best offense in the NBA. They average the most points per game, 107.6, and own the second-highest offensive rating at 109.3. The Mavericks' defense gives up 102.8 points per game, which ranks as the eighth most in the league. In addition, the Clippers have owned the Mavericks in their their matchups this season, scoring 109, 119, and 129 points in those three games, so the Clippers could push 120 points once again on Thursday.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks
Second game of a back-to-back: San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers

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Point Guard
Tony Parker, SAN (at OKC) PG ($6,500): Before Monday's game, Parker scored just six points combined in his previous two games. On Monday, he bounced back, scoring 22 points on 55.6 percent shooting with four assists. Thursday, he'll face the Thunder, who he has had great success against this season. In three games, Parker has averaged 25.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game. The Thunder don't rank particularly well against opposing guards, giving up the 26th most fantasy points to them.

Shooting Guard
Monta Ellis, DAL (at LAC) PG/SG ($7,700): On Tuesday, Ellis had a strong performance, scoring 27 points with six assists, two rebounds, and two steals. The encouraging note with Ellis is that he's played more than 40 minutes in three of his last five games. Although that may add a small amount of wear and tear, he's capitalized on the increase in minutes, scoring 17, 27, and 32 points. So, as long as Ellis gets his normal amount of minutes, which he should, he may be the best option at shooting guard on Thursday.

Small Forward
Kawhi Leonard, SAN (at OKC) SG/SF ($7,000): Unlike power forwards, small forwards are lacking on Thursday night other than Kevin Durant. Leonard may be the most reliable player after Durant on Thursday at $7,000. There have been times where his minutes have subsided when the Spurs play lesser opponents, but that shouldn't be the case with the Spurs playing the Thunder on Thursday. Expect Leonard to be right around his season averages of 12.4 points and 6.3 rebounds tomorrow night in Oklahoma City.

Power Forward
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (at LAC) PF/C ($8,600): The power forward position is loaded with big names on Thursday, as Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Tim Duncan are all in action. Unless you're willing to pay big for Durant or Griffin, Nowitzki could be another solid option at a somewhat cheaper price. Over his last four games, Nowitzki averaged 26.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per contest. His matchup on Thursday, the Clippers, don't fare well against opposing team's front lines, giving up the 26th most fantasy points to opposing team's forwards, so Nowitzki could cash in on a favorable matchup Thursday.

Center
DeAndre Jordan, LAC (vs. DAL) C ($8,000): Jordan has had a strong stretch of three games, averaging 15.7 points, 17.0 rebounds, and 5.0 blocks per game. On Monday, he tallied his seventh game with at least 20 rebounds when he dominated the glass, hauling in 24 rebounds, 10 of which were on the offensive end. The Mavs are middle of the road when it comes to defending opposing centers, giving up the 15th most fantasy points to centers. But with few quality options at center on Thursday, Jordan should be the safest play.

INJURY REPORT

Out
Thabo Sefolosha (calf) hasn't practiced this week, has been out over a month with the injury, and is out for Thursday.
Matt Bonner (calf) will be out for about another week with a calf strain.
J.J. Redick (back) hopes to be back before the playoffs begin but is out for Thursday.

Game-Time Decision
Kendrick Perkins (groin) participated most of the Thunder's practice on Wednesday and should return to the lineup in the next week, possibly even Thursday.
Reggie Jackson (back) completed in most of practice on Wednesday after missing the Thunder's last two games. Game-time decision for Thursday.
Austin Daye (back) did not play in the Spurs' game on Wednesday.
Aron Baynes (ribs) hasn't played in the Spurs' last two games with a rib injury.
Danny Granger (hamstring) missed the Clippers' previous road trip but could return on Thursday.
Jamal Crawford (calf/Achilles) has missed the Clippers' last two games, including Wednesday.