This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We have a pretty busy night for a Saturday in the NBA, with eight games on tap. There are multiple teams on back-to-back sets, yet several of them are still part of the games with the night's highest projected totals, as detailed below. Oddsmakers are projecting a night that evenly split between potential blowout scenarios and more competitive matchups, so it has to at least factor into our lineup-building process to an extent since some of the higher-salaried players may not be playing their full complement of minutes.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on DraftKings Sportsbook for Saturday's slate:
Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 239.0 points)
This one has all the underlying numbers to support it being the game with the highest project total of the night, as Sacramento allows a Western Conference-high 118.5 points per contest, including 119.1 per home game. Meanwhile, the Bucks allow 114.5 points per road game in their own right and are putting up an NBA-high 119.0 per contest. Sacramento checks in with 115.3 points scored per home game, and the Bucks play at the league's fourth-fastest pace on the road (105.8 possessions per game), both of which are additional ingredients for an offensive shootout. The fact Milwaukee is on the second night of a back-to-back may potentially have some influence on how much spring they have in their step, but they didn't have to struggle much while walloping the Blazers by a 127-109 score Friday.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 227.5 points)
As just alluded to, Portland took one on the chin Friday night at the Bucks' hands, but all key offensive players still played well over 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the Blazers should be on a mission to quickly right the ship at home Saturday, although the Thunder squad they're facing does play much better defense on the road. OKC is giving up just 110.0 points per away contest, while Portland allows 115.8 points per home contest. The roles are reversed on offense, where Dame Lillard and teammates are putting up 113.6 per Moda Center game, and the Thunder musters just 105.2 points per game when traveling. There is one 247-point game between these two squads already this season, however, so this total may not be far-fetched.
Dallas Mavericks at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 227.0 points)
This is arguably a modest total for a Wizards game, as Washington is allowing an NBA-high 119.3 points per game, including 120.9 per home contest. The Wizards are essentially as prolific on the offensive end with 118.2 scored per home tilt, but the Mavericks are a tough draw and the principal reason why this total is somewhat tempered. Dallas is giving up just 109.3 points and 44.5 percent shooting per road game, and the Mavs play at the league's third-slowest pace (100.8 possessions per game). How that interacts with Washington's league-high pace remains to be seen, and the Mavs do put up a solid 113.5 points per home game, so some of the better point-per-dollar plays could be on Dallas' side here.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Embiid does have a chance to return from his 10-game absence Saturday but would likely be on a minutes restriction if he does. Therefore, Dwight Howard could still play a solid number of minutes even if Embiid's return does come to pass.
Bradley Beal, WAS (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Beal misses a fourth straight game, Russell Westbrook should continue to enjoy even more elevated usage than usual.
Domantas Sabonis, IND (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Sabonis was able to play through a quadriceps issue Friday but then exited the game against the Hornets with an ankle sprain. If he sits out Saturday, Doug McDermott and JaKarr Sampson would be in line to handle power forward minutes, and the remaining healthy members of the first unit would all enjoy boosts in usage.
Jarrett Allen, CLE (concussion)/ Status: OUT
Allen's fourth straight absence is expected to lead to a start for Kevin Love at center.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Brogdon was a late scratch from Friday's game against the Hornets. Edmond Sumner would likely be in line for another start at point guard should Brogdon sit out a second straight contest.
Other notable injuries:
Terrence Ross, ORL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (illness)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Khem Birch, ORL (illness)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Larry Nance, CLE (illness)/ Status: OUT
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT
Luguentz Dort, OKC (concussion)/ Status: GTD
Ricky Rubio, MIN (back)/ Status: GTD
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (knee)/ Status: OUT
Jeremy Lamb, IND (toe)/ Status: GTD
JJ Redick, DAL (heel)/ Status: GTD
Darius Bazley, OKC (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Marvin Bagley, SAC (hand)/ Status: OUT
We have five players on Saturday's slate carrying five-figure salaries – Russell Westbrook ($11,100), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900), Luka Doncic ($10,600), Joel Embiid ($10,400) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000).
Westbrook could once again be in line for an ultra-high-usage game with Beal questionable, while Antetokounmpo could be even more highly rostered than usual after his spectacular performance versus the Blazers on Friday night, as well as his highly appealing matchup against the Kings. Doncic is also in an enviable spot against the Wizards, which have the potential to give Luka a good number more possessions than he usually works with. Embiid's status will naturally have to be monitored carefully. There's a very strong chance he doesn't play a normal allotment of minutes if he does suit up, so he could have difficulty paying off his salary. Finally, Towns is in a difficult positional matchup whether Embiid or Dwight Howard oppose him down low. Still, it's worth noting he's delivered over 5x his current salary in five consecutive games and eight of the last 10 overall.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four figures that have the ability to deliver elite scores, including Damian Lillard ($9,900), Julius Randle ($9,400), Jimmy Butler ($9,000) and De'Aaron Fox ($8,900).
In addition to the names just detailed in the Elite Players section, other likely chalk plays include the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert and Myles Turner if Sabonis sits out, and the latter too even more so if Brogdon joins Sabonis on the bench; Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway due to the appealing matchup versus the Wizards; Washington's Rui Hachimura based on his recent strong play, and especially if Beal is also ruled out; Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton with Milwaukee in the game with the night's highest projected total and a plum matchup versus the Kings; Theo Maledon in a strong matchup against the Blazers following his spectacular Friday night showing.
Theo Maledon, OKC at POR ($6,000)
As just alluded to, Maledon went off Friday night to the tune of 45.8 DK points on the strength of a career-high 33 points. However, that's far from his only strong effort thus far in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's (foot) stead, as Maledon had also scored 22.5 to 43 DK points in the three prior contests. The emerging guard gets another appealing matchup that could facilitate a strong return Saturday, as the Blazers check in allowing the highest offensive efficiency (31.9 percent) to point guards, along with the fourth-most DK points per game (62.3) to players with point guard designations this season.
Derrick White, SA vs. IND ($6,000)
White is coming off an excellent recent showing in his own right, as he drained seven three-pointers on his way to 43.3 DK points against the Hawks on Thursday. The fourth-year pro has scored 26.8 to that 43.3 in his last four games overall, and he remains very aggressive from three-point range with a career-high 6.5 attempts from behind the arc per contest for the season. That dovetails well with the Pacers' weaknesses, as Indiana allows the seventh-highest three-point shooting percentage (37.7) in the league, including 38.1 percent on the road. Additionally, the Pacers check in allowing 51.8 DK points per game to players with shooting guard designations, placing them in the bottom 10 of the league.
Donte DiVincenzo, MIL at SAC ($5,800)
DiVincenzo makes for an interesting pivot off likely more popular Bucks on Saturday. He comes in having contributed 21.0 to 45.0 DK points in a nine-game stretch before a clunker against the Blazers on Friday, a stretch during which he shot an impressive 40.0 percent from three-point range. While his production can vary, he makes for an interesting large-field tournament play versus a Kings team that's allowed the eighth-most DK points per game (53.9) to shooting guards, along with NBA-high 39.4 percent three-point shooting, including 40.4 percent on its home floor. DiVincenzo has been an excellent three-point shooter on the road (41.7 percent across 22 games) and put up a solid 25.5 DK points versus Sacramento the first time he saw them this season.