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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Wednesday

Chris Winkler

Chris Winkler

Master's candidate in mass communication at the University of South Carolina. Covering NBA and college football for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat: The Nets have been one of the more efficient offenses this postseason, but as is evident from the final few minutes of Game 4's loss, in which Brooklyn solely went with isolations for Joe Johnson, the Nets simply don't have enough weapons to spread Miami out. They're averaging just 92 points per game in this series (only 84 per game at Miami) and face the unenviable task of beating the Heat in a closeout game. Since the Big 3 came together in 2010, Miami is 12-3 in closeout games, including 8-0 at home in American Airlines Arena.

Brooklyn's best bet at coming away with a road win is to follow the blueprint of their regular season success by making the Heat play a slow, grind-it-out game. There are some intriguing cheaper options such as Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston, and Mirza Teletovic, but overall, the Nets just don't have an offensive option that can consistently be counted on for big fantasy numbers in daily games.

Offenses to Use
Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs: Game 4 notwithstanding, the Spurs have pretty much had their way with the Blazers' defense, but Monday's poor showing should be taken as an anomaly, especially with San Antonio returning home with a chance to close out the series. After all, it looked like a difficult matchup for Portland, who finished 16th in defensive efficiency during the regular season, against San Antonio's well-oiled offense.

Not coincidentally, the Spurs' struggles on Monday came at the same time as Tony Parker's worst game of the postseason. Look for him to shake off that clunker while at home, where he's averaging 22.8 points and 6.2 assists per game during the playoffs.

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Point Guard
Tony Parker (SA) vs. POR, PG ($8,300): Although the Spurs are arguably the deepest team in the league, they seem to go as Parker goes. He's been excellent at times during this postseason, all of which have turned into San Antonio blowouts (Games 1 and 3 against Portland, Game 7 against Dallas), but his Game 4 clunker on Monday could scare some people off. In any event, he is without question the best play at the point guard slot on Wednesday night and doesn't carry the type of salary to butcher the rest of your lineup. Cheaper options are extremely limited as Mario Chalmers - and the rest of the Heat - have hardly made a mark during this entire postseason. Deron Williams has certainly looked old in this series, but his assists are up lately, and he's pretty much a lock to score about 15 points.

Other suggestions: Deron Williams, BKN (at MIA) PG ($6,600)

Shooting Guard
Kawhi Leonard, SA (vs. POR) SG/SF ($7,100): The do-it-all forward is averaging 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.3 steals while shooting 55 percent in the series. He seems to elevate his game in the postseason, and he's finding soft spots in the Portland defense to get open shots - namely the left corner. Elsewhere, Shaun Livingston is a cheaper option to consider as he's scored in double-figures in three straight games and chips in both on the glass and on the defensive end. He'll play about 35 minutes, and if he can keep his turnovers down, he'll put up a decent stat line. Also, Will Barton has logged big minutes since Mo Williams (groin) left midway through Game 2, and if Williams misses his third straight game, Barton is probably a must-play at this salary.

Other suggestions: Manu Ginobili, SA (vs. POR) SG/SF ($6,000); Shaun Livingston, BKN (at MIA) PG/SG ($5,400); Will Barton, POR (at SA) SG ($3,500)

Small Forward
Nicolas Batum, POR (at SA) SG/SF ($8,000): Yes, LeBron James is fresh off a 49-point game, and while James is always worth the salary, don't overlook Batum. He's become a key part of Portland's offense and has been shooting particularly well. Over his last three games, he's scoring 18.3 points per game on 59 percent shooting. Add in 10.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists over that same stretch and the result is one of the best all-around fantasy players during the last week. Elsewhere, if the Nets are going to win, they'll likely require a big game from veteran Paul Pierce. While he won't fill the stat sheet, his modest salary and potential for 20 points makes him worth a look.

Other suggestions: LeBron James, MIA (vs. BKN) SF/PF ($11,000); Paul Pierce, BKN (at MIA) SF/PF ($6,000)

Power Forward
LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (at SA) PF/C ($8,900): He scored at least 25 points in five of his first seven postseason games but has now been held below that number for three consecutive games. The Spurs have done a good job focusing on Aldridge defensively, but it's hard to think the All-Star forward will go down without a fight. Even with his relative struggles, he's been steadily picking up about 30 fantasy points on DraftKings, and a double-double on Wednesday wouldn't be too far-fetched. His matchup, Tim Duncan, might be the smarter selection if you're convinced the Spurs will end Portland's season, but there's no doubt Aldridge offers a much bigger reward. If you're desperate to save a few bucks, Mirza Teletovic is boom-or-bust with his outside shooting. He had a clunker in Game 4 and could be due to knock a few down on Wednesday.

Other suggestions: Tim Duncan, SA (vs. POR) PF/C ($7,500); Mirza Teletovic, BKN (at MIA) PF/C ($4,300)

Center
Robin Lopez, POR (at SA) C ($5,800): He really won't get many looks in the offense, but Lopez has been a model of consistency during this series. He's averaging 10.0 points and 9.8 rebounds and has picked up at least 23 fantasy points in every single game. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has been doing his best to push the clock back, and he's been playing fairly well this postseason. His ceiling is relatively low, but a 10-point, 8-rebound game is always in order. At Garnett's salary, you could do a lot worse.

Other suggestions: Kevin Garnett, BKN (at MIA) PF/C ($5,300)

INJURY REPORT

Out
None.

Game-Time Decision
Mo Williams (groin) has missed each of the last two games.
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