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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
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks: After giving up 101 points to the Hawks in Game 1 of the series, the NBA's best defense was back to normal in Game 2, only giving up 85 points to Atlanta. Any problems that the Pacers may have had at the end of the season, seem to have worked themselves out with the playoffs in full gear. Game 3 should see that the Pacers, who own the NBA's best defensive rating at 96.7, will battle Atlanta in another low-scoring affair that will struggle to reach 100-points for either team.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors: Even if there were more than three games on the slate for Thursday, the Clippers would likely still be the best option for an offense to use. Their 138-point performance goes to show just how potent this offense can be. With Chris Paul facilitating to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, while J.J. Redick, Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford, and Matt Barnes all contribute as well, it's not hard to see why they're one of the best, if not the best, offenses in the playoffs and the NBA overall. Don't expect another 138-point performance on Thursday, but expect more of the same with the Clippers' offense as they will likely push past the century mark once again.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: None

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Point Guard
Mike Conley, MEM (vs. OKC) PG ($7,800): If unwilling to spend big on either Stephen Curry ($10,400), Chris Paul ($10,200), or Russell Westbrook ($9,000), then Conley will be a solid fantasy option at a somewhat cheaper price. In Game 2 of the Grizzlies' series against the Thunder, Conley nearly notched a triple-double putting up a stat line of 19 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds. In Game 1, he put up 16 points with 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals. It appears as if Conley is taking advantage of his defensive opponent, Russell Westbrook, who has a less-than stellar 102.5 defensive rating, so it looks like Conley could be in line for another double-double Thursday.

Other Options: Jeff Teague, ATL (vs. IND) PG ($7,500); George Hill, IND (at ATL) PG ($4,800)

Shooting Guard
Lance Stephenson, IND (at ATL) SG/SF ($6,000): Stephenson scored just seven points with five assists and three rebounds in Game 2 on Tuesday night in 25 minutes. However, in Game 1, he played 35 minutes, scoring 19 points with seven rebounds, three three-pointers, one assist, and one steal. His drop-off in minutes on Tuesday could stem from the Pacers pulling away in the fourth quarter of the game. Stephenson could increase his production back to his Game 1 level on Thursday with the Hawks still giving up the 26th most points to opposing guards. He averages 30.9 fantasy points per game, which is more than Klay Thompson (28.8), yet his cost is $900 cheaper.

Other Options: J.J. Redick, LAC (at GSW) SG ($5,400)

Small Forward
Klay Thompson, GSW (vs. LAC) SG/SF ($6,900): Thompson, like many others in the Warriors huge loss to the Clippers in Game 2, played just 20 minutes and took only four shots and one three-pointer. However, in Game 1, Thompson had a productive 22 points (4-for-7 from three), with seven rebounds, five assists, and one block. As Game 3 will likely not be a blow-out of the 40-point variety, Thompson should see his usual run of minutes on Thursday. He'll look to continue a hot April overall in which he averaged 20.7 points per game on 49.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Other Options: DeMarre Carroll, ATL (vs. IND) SF/PF ($5,100)

Power Forward
David Lee, GSW (vs. LAC) PF/C ($7,900): In Game 1 of the Warriors' series against the Clippers, Lee turned in a solid performance of 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Game 2 wasn't quite as productive, with the Clippers blowing out the Warriors and Lee only playing 20 minutes, compared to the 36 he logged in Game 1. The ball will still go through Lee, as the Warriors have the second-most points in the paint thus far in the playoffs with 102, which includes 54 -- over half of their 98 total -- in Game 2. As Andrew Bogut remains sidelined with a rib injury, Lee should continue to see a small bump in production, as long as the Warriors don't get blown out, which would be surprising on Thursday as the series heads to Golden State.

Other Options: Luis Scola, IND (at ATL) PF/C ($4,600)

Center
DeAndre Jordan, LAC (at GSW) C ($7,900): Jordan has done what's been expected of him thus far in the playoffs. In Game 1 he had 11 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks. Much like David Lee, with the Clippers blowing out the Warriors in Game 2, Jordan didn't quite have as strong of a game, but still managed 11 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks. At a $7,900 asking price for Jordan (averages 35.7 fantasy points per game), he averages one more fantasy point than Lee, who is at the same price, and is $300 cheaper than Zach Randolph who averages 35.5 fantasy points per game. With the Warriors taking plenty of shots in the paint and allowing the 25th most fantasy points to opposing center, Jordan is a near lock for another double-double with a solid amount of blocks on Thursday.

Other Options: Marc Gasol, MEM (vs. OKC) C ($7,400)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Nick Calathes (suspension) was suspended for 20 games for violating the league's drug policy and is out Thursday.
Al Horford (shoulder) has a slim-to-none chance of returning to the Hawks' lineup if they were to make a deep run in the playoffs, but is definitely out Thursday.
Andrew Bynum (knee) has been ruled out of the Pacers' first round series against the Pacers.
Andrew Bogut (ribs) is out indefinitely and will likely miss the entire playoffs.
Festus Ezeli (knee) is out indefinitely and like Bogut, will likely miss the entire playoffs.