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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Saturday

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
Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are coming off a tough loss to the Thunder, and they're hoping to close the regular season strong in the final few games. They're among the better defensive teams in the league, giving up just 101.9 points per 100 possessions to opponents. Meanwhile, the Kings have been struggling without Isaiah Thomas (quadriceps) and Rudy Gay (back), and only DeMarcus Cousins has been producing consistently of late. Although Gay is slated to return Saturday, it's still hard to deploy the Kings against the Clippers due to their lack of offensive efficiency.

Offenses to Use
Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks: As the regular season is coming to a close, the seventh and eighth seeds of the Western Conference have yet to been claimed. The Mavericks and Suns are two of three teams fighting for the final two playoff sports, and it's almost certain Saturday's matchup will demand the best efforts from both teams. The Mavericks are the third-best team in terms of offensive efficiency, averaging 109.0 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, the Suns aren't far behind, averaging 107.2 points per 100 possessions. In such a critical stage as this, the Suns-Mavericks matchup is bound to produce solid fantasy lines. Feel free to deploy high-end players in Dirk Nowitzki, Eric Bledsoe, and Goran Dragic (ankle) if he plays, while keeping other options such as Samuel Dalembert, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Gerald Green, and Markieff Morris into consideration as well.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Sacramento Kings
Second game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

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Point Guard
Aaron Brooks, DEN (vs. UTA), PG ($5,800): Brooks has become quite a commodity with Ty Lawson (ankle) suffering the "worst sprain" of his career. Despite Thursday's dud against the Warriors, Brooks is still playing extremely well of late. He's averaging 16.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.0 three-pointers made over the last five games (35.1 FPS) and with Lawson questionable for Saturday, Brooks may put up similar numbers. His high upside is well worth gambling on against a Jazz team that is dead-last in the league in defensive efficiency (109.0 points per 100 possessions to opponents).

Other suggestions: Trey Burke (at DEN), PG ($6,100), Tony Wroten (at CHA), PG ($4,600), Austin Rivers (at HOU), PG/SG ($4,200),

Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley, BOS (at CLE), PG/SG ($3,500): Bradley has played two games since returning from an Achilles injury and he's been posting solid numbers. He's averaging 23.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 4.0 three-pointers made during that span (35.5 FPS) and his price tag is low enough to ride on him for Saturday's game. In two matchups against the Cavaliers this season, Bradley is averaging 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 three-pointers made. Consider him a budget play with medium upside Saturday.

Other suggestions: Dion Waiters (vs. BOS), SG ($6,300), Alec Burks (at DEN), PG/SG ($4,600), James Anderson (at CHA), SG/SF ($4,200)

Small Forward
Vince Carter, DAL (vs. PHX), SG/SF ($4,900): The veteran is fighting for possibly one of the last playoff runs throughout his 15-year career, and Saturday's performance will be a large factor in whether or not the Mavericks can qualify. Carter is averaging just 23.0 FPS for the season, but he's had games where he's exploded for solid all-around production. He's the type of player who has stepped up during important moments throughout his entire career, and the Mavericks could certainly use a high-scoring performance from Carter on Saturday. Consider him a solid play for his modest price tag.

Other suggestions: Anthony Morrow (at HOU), SG/SF ($5,300), Trevor Ariza (vs. MIL), SG/SF ($5,200), Khris Middleton (at WAS), SF/PF ($4,300)

Power Forward
Jeff Adrien, MIL (at WAS), SF/PF ($4,800): Despite a lackluster performance Friday because of foul trouble, Adrien is still a solid buy for his low price tag. He's averaging 15.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks over the last five games (35.1 FPS) and the Wizards are slowly implementing Nene Hilario (knee) back into their lineup. This could allow Adrien to put up a solid performance Saturday, which will make him worth taking up at $4,800.

Other suggestions: Dirk Nowitzki (vs. PHX), PF/C ($8,900), DeMarre Carroll (vs. MIA), SF/PF ($4,700), Josh McRoberts (vs. PHI), PF/C ($4,400)

Center
Timofey Mozgov, DEN (vs. UTA), C ($4,600): Mozgov made quite a loud splash in Thursday's win against the Warriors, exploding for 23 points, 29 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and three blocks (51.25 FPS) in 43 minutes of action. He's not known to be particularly strong in rebounding, but Mozgov is averaging 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.8 blocks over the last five games (31.95 FPS). He has the keys to large minutes in the Nuggets' rotation, and given the Jazz's defensive struggles in the post, Mozgov may be a solid investment for Saturday's slate.

Other suggestions: Enes Kanter (at DEN), C ($5,700), Henry Sims (at CHA), C ($4,800), Samuel Dalembert (vs. PHX), C ($4,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Anthony Davis (back) is out for the season.
Eric Gordon (knee) is out for the season.
Isaiah Thomas (quadriceps) will not play Saturday.
Marvin Williams (knee) will not play Saturday.

Game-Time Decision
Rudy Gay (back) is expected to play Saturday.
Kemba Walker (groin) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Dwyane Wade (hamstring) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Goran Dragic (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Ty Lawson (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Wilson Chandler (groin) is questionable to play Saturday.
Tyreke Evans (knee) is questionable to play Saturday.
Brian Roberts (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Dwight Howard (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Patrick Beverley (knee) is doubtful to play Saturday.
Luol Deng (back) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Rajon Rondo (shin) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Jerryd Bayless (knee) is questionable to play Saturday.
Jamal Crawford (calf) is a game-time decision Saturday.
O.J. Mayo (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.