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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Monday-Tuesday Contests

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes

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

[Editor's note: This is the final Daily Games Cheat Sheet article of the season. Thanks for reading us all year, and we'll see you next season. Thanks!]

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers: Yes, the Pacers lit the Heat up for 107 points in Game 1 and won the first game of the series. That might make this prediction a bit risky, but losing by 17 points in the first game of the series will likely act as a wake up call for the Heat and bring out their best defensive effort in Tuesday's Game 2. Indiana finished with six players in double figures Sunday, but that likely won't happen again, especially with them shooting 52 percent as a team. The Spurs and Thunder both have some serious scoring power, so this game seems a good bet to be the lower scoring of the two games even if you think the Pacers may take Game 2 as well.

Offenses to Use
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Sunday's cheat sheet picked the Thunder's offense over San Antonio's, and while picking against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook isn't normally the wisest idea, the Spurs seem set to take full advantage of Serge Ibaka's absence. In the Thunder's four games against the Spurs this season, Ibaka averaged 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks. In addition to his offensive production being taken away, his injury also leaves a hole in the Thunder's interior defense which could be trouble against big men in Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, as well as with guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Nobody for the Spurs may see drastic increases in production due to Ibaka's absence, but the team may share the benefits of a hampered post defense, not to mention the Thunder learning to function without Ibaka for as long as they remain in the playoffs.

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
Tony Parker, SAS (vs. OKC), PG ($7,300): Although Parker sat out a good chunk of the Spurs' last game against the Trail Blazers with a hamstring injury and only played 10 minutes, he's had a few days to rest up now and will remain in the starting lineup for Game 1 against the Thunder on Monday. With the absence of Serge Ibaka, the Thunder's defense will have more trouble defending near the rim, and Parker will likely look to exploit the absence of one of the best shot blockers in the league. Parker will have his hands full defending Russell Westbrook, but he should still be able to get his share of production on the offensive end as well.

Other options: George Hill, IND (vs. MIA), PG/SG ($5,400)

Shooting Guard
Lance Stephenson, IND (vs. MIA), SG/SF ($6,800): Even though the Pacers likely won't be as successful on offense as they were Sunday against the Heat, Stephenson is a player who can have good fantasy value even without scoring lots of points thanks to his passing and rebounding abilities. He finished with 17 points, eight assists, and four rebounds in Game 1 against Miami and should continue to provide all-around production for the Pacers even if their scoring reverts back to what we've become accustomed to over the past couple of months.

Other options: Reggie Jackson, OKC (at SAS), PG/SG ($4,400)

Small Forward
Kawhi Leonard, SAS (vs. OKC), SG/SF ($7,200): Leonard will likely have to expend the majority of his energy trying to contain Kevin Durant, but unless you want to cough up at least another thousand dollars, Leonard is the cheapest starting small forward available. He averaged nearly 37 fantasy points per game in the Spurs' series against the Trail Blazers and shot well from all over the court in addition to averaging nearly eight rebounds and three steals per game. Due to Ibaka's injury though, the Thunder will likely try out a number of different lineups which could affect Leonard's matchups and his ability to produce as well, especially when Kevin Durant spends some time at power forward.

Other options: Paul George, IND (vs. MIA), SG/SF ($8,600), Manu Ginobili, SAS (vs. OKC), SG/SF ($6,100)

Power Forward
David West, IND (vs. MIA), PF ($6,800): After putting up 19 points, seven rebounds, and three assists against the Heat in Game 1, West appears to be one of the Pacers' most reliable scoring threats and should be able to remain a solid option regardless of how the rest of the Pacers play. He averaged 16.0 points in the series against the Wizards along with 6.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists, and should be able to continue to do damage against the Heat, especially if Shane Battier, who West should be strong enough to overpower in the paint, continues to start for Miami.

Other options: Nick Collison, OKC (at SAS), PF/C ($3,100)

Center
Steven Adams, OKC (at SAS), C ($4,300): Even though Adams and Kendrick Perkins normally play strictly at center, and as such may not be affected too much by Serge Ibaka's absence, it should be kept in mind that with Ibaka missing just one game this season the Thunder don't have a lot of experience playing without Ibaka and may change things up and play lineups they wouldn't normally play, especially if their first options don't work out how they might have hoped. The big upside for Adams is that he played a whopping 40 minutes in the Thunder's series-clinching game against the Clippers despite Kendrick Perkins starting and seeming to not have suffered any sort of injury. With the Thunder's coaching staff entrusting Adams with such large minutes in such a key game, it seems possible that he may be in line for more minutes if he continues to perform well.

Other options: Roy Hibbert, IND (vs. MIA), C ($6,000), Tiago Splitter, SAS (vs. OKC), C ($5,100)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Serge Ibaka (calf) did not travel with the team to San Antonio and is likely out for the rest of the playoffs.
Andrew Bynum (knee) will not play this postseason for the Pacers.

Game-Time Decision
Tony Parker (hamstring) will play Monday.
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