This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a six-game evening slate Sunday night that only features two matchups between viable postseason contenders, with only the Pelicans-Hornets tilt barely qualifying due to New Orleans' relatively remote chances of garnering a play-in spot. A pair of key injuries factor into their dwindling chances, two of several notable confirmed/potential absences for tonight. Oddsmakers also expect some lopsided results, as the aforementioned NOP-CHA battle is the only one with a spread of less than 7.5 points as of early Sunday afternoon.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals:
Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic (Projected total: 229.5 points)
This battle of non-contenders has the potential to get a bit wild on the offensive end, as the Timberwolves check in allowing an NBA-high 120.2 points per road game while the Magic are yielding a robust 114.0 points per home contest. Minnesota also brings a nice bump in pace for Orlando, as the T-Wolves are averaging the third-most possessions per game at 105.7, a figure that bumps up to 106.4 on the road. Finally, consider Minnesota has put up 113.5 points per road contest while Orlando has a better-than-usual average of 109 points over the last three.
New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets (Projected total: 222.0 points)
The Pelicans' scoring upside will be limited by the confirmed absence of Zion Williamson (finger) and the likely one for Brandon Ingram (ankle), which keeps this total arguably about 10 points lower than it otherwise would be. The Pelicans could still facilitate plenty of scoring, as they're yielding 115.7 points per road game. The Hornets haven't been very prolific – they're averaging a relatively modest 108.8 points per home contest – and are also giving up a solid 108.0 per home game, leading to the serviceable but not spectacular total for this interconference clash.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 222.0 points)
There's no questioning the Kings' ability to both put up and give up plenty of points, but there's much more doubt as to how motivated the Thunder will be. OKC has managed just 97.7 points per contest over the last three with under 100 in all of those, including a 99-point tally against this same Sacramento squad three games ago. The Thunder is actually under the century mark in six of the last eight, so this matchup may be more of a one-sided affair in favor of the hosts despite the fact the Kings are allowing an NBA-high 120.5 points per home game.
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.
Anthony Davis, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: OUT
In James' ongoing absence, Anthony Davis should continue to see significant usage and the remaining healthy members of the starting five should also enjoy expanded responsibility.
Zion Williamson, NOP (finger)/ Status: OUT
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (COVD-19 protocols)/ Status: GTD
Brandon Ingram, NOP (ankle)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Darius Garland, CLE (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Tyrese Haliburton, SAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Miles Bridges, CHA (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Gordon Hayward, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT
Devonte' Graham, CHA (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Harrison Barnes, SAC (groin)/ Status: GTD
Dennis Schroder, LAL (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status OUT
Kyle Kuzma, LAL (back)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Alex Caruso, LAL (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Steven Adams, NOP (toe)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Wendell Carter, ORL (eye)/ Status: OUT
Kevin Love, CLE (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Josh Jackson, DET (tooth)/ Status: GTD
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, NOP (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Hamidou Diallo, DET (personal)/ Status: OUT
Doncic had a down game by his standards on Friday against Cleveland, but still scored 35.1 FD points over 23 minutes. The only issue Sunday is there's a very real risk of a second straight blowout in Dallas's favor, which would likely limit Luka's minutes again. Davis will continue to take the floor without LeBron and put up 57.9 FD points against the Blazers in his last outing, demonstrating his calf issue isn't too much of an impediment. The matchup against the Suns is tough, but Davis should get all the run he can handle with Kuzma also likely out for LA and the defending champs desperate for a win.
Healthy players with salaries in the high four figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,800), Nikola Vucevic ($9,700) Zach LaVine ($9,000) and Anthony Edwards ($8,800).
KAT gets an excellent positional matchup against the Magic along with Edwards, and the game does carry the highest projected total of the night. The T-Wolves are also likely to afford Edwards all the opportunities they can for him in his heated race against LaMelo Ball for Rookie of the Year honors. Meanwhile, both Vucevic and LaVine should be pushing hard as the Bulls are still alive for a play-in spot. Vucevic also faces a favorable matchup while LaVine proved he's back to normal after a COVID bout by racking up 25 points versus the Celtics on Friday.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Both players have thrived in De'Aaron Fox's absence, which could end tonight. If that does come to pass, Wright could move back to the bench and likely see his rostering rate go down.
Mo Bamba, ORL ($8,200)
Bamba has been excellent in the absence of Wendell Carter and should draw another start.
Lonzo Ball, NOP ($8,000)
Ball should see elevated usage in the absence of Zion and Ingram with the latter listed as doubtful.
Collin Sexton, CLE ($7,700)
Sexton should continue to be popular with Garland still out.
P.J. Washington, CHA ($7,000)
Washington has averaged 36.3 FD points over his last eight games in what might be his best stretch of play this season.
Isaiah Stewart, DET vs. CHI ($6,100)
The tanking Pistons have been resting Mason Plumlee a good bit lately and that could well be the case again Sunday on the second game of a back-to-back set. Stewart has been offering solid production whether starting or off the bench averaging 31.4 FD points over the last 14 contests, with two tallies over 40 during that stretch. Detroit has every incentive to keep giving the promising big as much development time as possible the rest of the way and he'll face a Bulls team he's already put up 27.2 FD points over 23 minutes in one prior meeting. Chicago also comes in allowing Eastern Conference-high 35.1 percent offensive efficiency to fives, along with the most FD points per game to the position on the season (42.6).
Dwayne Bacon, ORL vs. MIN ($5,300)
Bacon is in a strong position to benefit from the bump in pace the T-Wolves will bring to the Magic and already checks in having averaged 25.8 FD points over his last eight games, a stretch during which he's drawn six starts - including four straight. He should be back in with the first unit at small forward considering Orlando has essentially shut down multiple players at the position for the season and Minnesota comes in allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency to small forwards (24.4 percent), along with 47.4 FD points per game to the position over the last 10.
Naji Marshall, NOP at CHA ($4,800)
Marshall should be a primary beneficiary of the almost certain absence of Brandon Ingram (ankle) and checks in having scored over 20 FD points in five straight and six of the last seven. Only one of those efforts has come in a start, but Marshall could run with the first unit Sunday as he did against the 76ers on Friday. If so, he'll be in position to benefit from a Hornets team allowing the fourth-highest offensive efficiency to small forwards (24.5 percent), along with the 10th-most FD points per game (42.7) to the position. It's also worth noting Marshall brings a solid three-point shot for a big, having drained an impressive 56.3 percent of his attempts from distance in the five appearances prior to a current two-game drought from behind the arc.