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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Friday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors: The Pacers and Raptors are both among the best defensive teams of the league, boasting a 95.9 (Pacers, best) and a 101.8 (Raptors, seventh-best) defensive rating. Although the Pacers have been playing horrendously over the past month, they're still considered a force to reckon with defensively. Both teams play at a slow offensive pace, with the Pacers and Raptors averaging 95.15 and 94.45 possessions per game, respectively. In three of the teams' matchups this season so far, neither has exceeded the 95-point mark, and Friday's matchup looks to be another bloodbath of trudging, clawing, and little reaping of fantasy gold.

Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls: The battle the Bucks and Bulls is one to avoid in fantasy Friday night. When you have one of the league's worst offensive teams (Bucks, 99.6 offensive rating) face off against a premier defensive team (Bulls, 97.8 defensive rating), things will get ugly. In three matchups this season so far, the average scores represent a stringy 82.0 (Bulls) and 80.0 (Bucks) points per game. With too many games to count Friday night, daily players can shift their eyes elsewhere.

Offenses to Use
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: In yet another high-fueled showdown in the West, the Thunder will face the Rockets at Houston. Both teams are among the best offensive machines in the league, and each have a pair of superstars—one on fire, and one hobbled—heading into Friday's contest. Kevin Durant and James Harden will face off head-to-head in the effort to solidify advantageous playoff seeding, and fantasy fireworks will be the byproduct. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook (knee) and Dwight Howard (ankle) will both be out, giving way to Reggie Jackson and Omer Asik to continue their solid play. Look for the Thunder-Rockets matchup to provide a variety of players for strong daily play Friday.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
Second game of a back-to-back: Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder


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Point Guard
Reggie Jackson, OKC (at HOU), PG/SG ($5,200): With Russell Westbrook (knee) out of the lineup, Jackson figures to start in Friday's matchup. He's recently returned from an injury of his own, though he appeared to be more than fine in 30 minutes of action Thursday, posting 14 points (6-8 FG, 2-2 3Pt) to go with four rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Jackson is averaging 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 three-pointers made as a starter this season, and he could be in line for similar production Friday night.

Other suggestions: Ray McCallum (at GSW), PG ($5,800), Jameer Nelson (at CHA), PG ($5,200), Mario Chalmers (vs. MIN), PG ($4,300)

Shooting Guard
Greivis Vasquez (vs. IND), PG/SG ($4,700): Vasquez may see an opportunity to play well if Kyle Lowry (knee) sits again. He put up 15 points, four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and four three-pointers as a starter in Wednesday's game against the Rockets. In spite of the fact that he'll face the Pacers on Friday, Vasquez will be worth a ride as a starter. Be sure to check RotoWire's updated Daily Lineups page before tip-off to check on Lowry's status before deploying Vasquez for fantasy play.

Other suggestions: Monta Ellis (at LAL), PG/SG ($7,800), Joe Johnson (vs. DET), SG/SF ($5,800), Jodie Meeks (vs. DAL), SG ($5,300)

Small Forward
Kent Bazemore, LAL (vs. DAL), SG/SF ($4,800): Bazemore continues to shine, now back in his role as a starter for the Lakers. He's averaging 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.5 three-pointers made over the last four games, and it doesn't appear he'll be benched anytime soon. With news that Xavier Henry (knee) may be out for the remainder of the season, Bazemore will have less competition for minutes. His price tag is certainly worth the gamble, as he has upside in multiple categories, and the Lakers have been freely firing away in coach Mike D'Antoni's system. Consider Bazemore a solid low-end option for Friday's slate.

Other suggestions: Tobias Harris (at CHA), SF/PF ($6,200), James Anderson (at BOS), SG/SF ($4,700), DeMarre Carroll (vs. CLE), SF/PF ($4,400)

Power Forward
Jordan Hill, LAL (vs. DAL), PF/C ($5,200): It's becoming extremely frustrating trying to predict whether Hill will put up a dynamite performance or a dud. He's had two monster outings over the last five games (18 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks against the Kings, and 28 points, 16 rebounds, and one steal against the Bucks). To balance the scales, he's also had two duds and one DNP during that span. Given his recent outburst, it may be hard to expect him to repeat a strong performance. However, in light of recent news that Pau Gasol (vertigo) may be shut down for the season, and with Chris Kaman (calf) questionable to play, Hill may very well be a deciding factor (for better or worse) in daily contests Friday.

Other suggestions: Serge Ibaka (at HOU), PF/C ($6,700), Paul Pierce (vs. DET), SF/PF ($5,700), Cody Zeller (vs. ORL), PF/C ($3,600)

Center
Omer Asik, HOU (vs. OKC), PF/C ($4,900): Dwight Howard (ankle) is slated to sit Friday, which means Asik can continue his rebounding rampage on thunderous grounds. He's averaging 11.0 points, 16.3 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks over the last three games as a starter, and it's a shame that his price tag is still stuck below $5,000. Asik will have to watch out for early foul trouble against Kevin Durant, but as long as he remains in the game, he's got good upside when provided with the minutes. Consider Asik a solid play for Friday's slate.

Other suggestions: Spencer Hawes (at ATL), PF/C ($6,400), Samuel Dalembert (at LAL), C ($4,800), Henry Sims (at BOS) C ($4,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Russell Westbrook (knee) will not play Friday.
Dwight Howard (ankle) will not play Friday.
Patrick Beverley (knee) hopes to return within a week.
Pau Gasol (vertigo) may be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Xavier Henry (knee) is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Nene Hilario (knee) hopes to return within a week.
Andrew Bynum (knee) is out indefinitely.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.

Game-Time Decision
Anthony Davis (back) is a game-time decision Friday.
Isaiah Thomas (quadriceps) is doubtful to play Friday.
DeMar DeRozan (hand) is expected to play Friday.
Amir Johnson (ankle) is a game-time decision Friday.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Luol Deng (back) is questionable to play Friday.
Anderson Varejao (shoulder) is questionable to play Friday.
Dwyane Wade (hamstring) is expected to play Friday.
Ray Allen (illness) is expected to play Friday.
David Lee (hamstring) is doubtful to play Friday.
Andrew Bogut (pelvis) is questionable to play Friday.
Andre Iguodala (knee) is expected to play Friday.
Eric Gordon (knee) is doubtful to play Friday.
Wilson Chandler (groin) is a game-time decision Friday.
Rajon Rondo (soreness) is expected to play Friday.
Avery Bradley (Achilles) is questionable to play Friday.
Terrence Jones (illness) is a game-time decision Friday.
Raymond Felton (back) is expected to play Friday.
Josh McRoberts (ankle) is doubtful to play Friday.
Chris Kaman (calf) is questionable to play Friday.
Steve Nash (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
O.J. Mayo (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Kevin Garnett (back) is questionable to play Friday.
Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Byron Mullens (ankle) is a game-time decision Friday.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.