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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Monday

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes covers the Oklahoma City Thunder and writes weekly NBA columns for Rotowire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic: With just three days left in the regular season, the Bulls are tied with the Toronto Raptors for the third seed, with the loser of the two-way battle drawing the fourth seed and a tough first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls likely won't be letting any players sit out unless they have to, so they should be out in full force Monday against the Magic. The Bulls' defense has been as good as ever, ranking fourth in defensive rating for the month of April and allowing just 89 points per game in their first five games of April before giving up 100 points to the Knicks on Sunday. The Magic, on the other hand, are averaging just 90 points per game for the month, outside of their 115-point outlier against the Nets. Jameer Nelson is questionable and Nikola Vucevic is out, plus the team is on the second night of a back-to-back. The Magic could easily struggle against Chicago's stifling defense.

Offenses to Use
Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks: For the month of April, the Raptors' offense has been one of the best in the league. So far, they're 5-1, lead the league in offensive rating by nearly a three point margin, and are averaging over 108 points per game for the month. Their resume for the month includes wins over the Pacers and Rockets, as well as a win over the Bucks a little over a week ago. With the Bucks' roster struggling with injuries, it's possible they may only play eight players like they did Saturday night, and the Raptors' offense could be poised to exploit a set of Bucks starters likely to play heavy minutes.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors.

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Point Guard
Ramon Sessions, MIL (at TOR), PG/SG ($6,300): Sessions has been playing heavy minutes lately, averaging over 40 minutes per game over the Bucks' last five games, and took over starting point guard duties on Saturday with Brandon Knight out with a hip injury. Obviously, Sessions' value will be high if Brandon Knight sits out Monday, but he should be valuable even if Knight does play, and should be a good source of points and assists although his shooting percentages have struggled, and he doesn't really provide threes. He's good at getting to the charity stripe though and has scored 20 points in each of his last three games.

Other options: D.J. Augustin, CHI (vs. ORL), PG ($6,000), Austin Rivers, NOP (vs. OKC), PG/SG ($4,800).

Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley, BOS (at PHI), PG/SG ($4,800): After coming back from an achilles injury Bradley has been playing fantastic, including scoring at least 22 points, making 4+ threes, and shooting 50+ percent in each of the three games he's played in since returning. The Celtics will play the Sixers Monday, who currently have the worst defensive rating in the league for April and look to be a prime target for a fourth straight good game from Bradley. At the price he's going for, Bradley's production could be a serious steal.

Other options: Jodie Meeks, LAL (at UTA), SG ($5,600), Bradley Beal, WAS (vs. MIA), SG ($6,300).

Small Forward
Jeff Green, BOS (at PHI), SG/SF ($6,200): Green might not be the most productive small forward playing Monday night, but at his price and against one of the worst defensive teams in the league, he could easily be a good add. Green is averaging nearly 18 points per game to go with five rebounds, two assists, and one block in his past five games. He's also a good source of threes, although he's not always a very efficient shooter and doesn't get to the line too often. Still, he provides a good mix of points and rebounds at the guard and forward positions and can usually provide a couple blocks or steals.

Other options: Jeff Adrien, MIL (at TOR), SF/PF ($4,900).

Power Forward
Jordan Hill, LAL (at UTA), PF/C ($6,500): With Pau Gasol confirmed out for the rest of the season, Hill should continue to get plenty of playing time as the season comes to a close. Over his past five games he's averaging 16.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 30.4 minutes. Hill has three double-doubles in his last five games and can put up good points and rebounds even in under 30 minutes a game. He adds to his value by providing blocks and steals very well and if Chris Kaman doesn't return for Monday's game, that should leave even more minutes available for Hill against the Jazz.

Other options: Kyle O'Quinn, ORL (at CHI), PF/C ($5,000).

Center
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (vs. MIL), C ($6,400): Valanciunas has been fantastic lately, averaging 19.8 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in his past four games. He's also shooting over 60 percent in that same time span and put up good numbers despite facing off against some tough frontcourts. He recently grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds and should do well against an injury ravaged Bucks' team, featuring a starting frontcourt of Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Adrien, that may not have more than eight healthy players for Monday's game.

Other options: Gorgui Dieng, MIN (at GS), C ($6,400), Marcin Gortat, WAS (vs. MIA), C ($6,900).

INJURY REPORT

Out
Pau Gasol (vertigo) is out for the season
Nikola Vucevic (achilles) is out for the season
Brian Roberts (ankle) did not play Saturday
Jarvis Varnado (heel) did not play Saturday

Game-Time Decision
Jerryd Bayless (knee) suffered a bone bruise on his knee and is a game-time decision for Monday
Jameer Nelson (groin) did not play Sunday
Reggie Jackson (neck) passed all medical testing after suffering a neck injury Sunday
Tyreke Evans (knee) missed Saturday's game after being declared active
Brandon Knight (hip) was a late scratch Saturday.
Ronny Turiaf (knee) left Sunday's game with a knee game and did not return
Patrick Beverley (knee) returned Sunday was was holding his knee at the end of the game
Pero Antic (ankle) was available but did not play Saturday
Nene Hilario (knee) did not play Saturday
Chandler Parsons (wrist/hip) did not play Saturday
Greg Oden (illness) did not play Saturday
Kemba Walker (groin) did not play Saturday
Rajon Rondo (leg) did not travel with the team Saturday
Marvin Williams (knee) did not travel with the team Saturday
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) did not play Friday
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