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NBA Matchup Plays: Friday

by Scott Malewig
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:01 pm ET

We’ve revamped the NBA Targets post to give a little bit more of a diverse look at each slate rather than focusing on just a couple games.  Here's a preview of each matchup and my thoughts on the top picks, other picks to consider, and some players to avoid for tonight.

 

SAS @ GSW over/under 208.5, Warriors -8

The Spurs did play last night, so their players are a little dicey as always, but this is currently the second highest over/under of the night and the Spurs need wins. Both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan looked great last night, but look for them to lean on the struggling Kawhi Leonard against the west-leading Warriors. Steph Curry should be an elite play in this one, while Draymond Green and Klay Thompson can be given some tournament consideration.

 

HOU @ DAL over/under 211, Mavericks -2

This should be one of the most competitive and high-scoring games of the night, as many Rockets games are these days. James Harden is likely the top overall play of the night in a solid matchup. The rest of the game should have many productive players as well. Josh Smith has been excellent in Dwight Howard’s absence and Trevor Ariza has really turned it on as well. The Mavericks struggled offensively last night, so look for them to run more offense through Chandler Parsons tonight, while Monta Ellis should bounce back quickly.

PHX @ MIN over/under 208, Suns -2

 

This shorthanded Suns will have a fight on their hands as the Wolves are playing much better with Ricky Rubio back in the fold. Look for him to exceed 30 minutes the rest of the way and be an elite value for a while with his peripherals as his price catches back up to where it should be. Both Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris should see their highest usage rates of the season as the Suns are won’t have Brandon Knight, Marcus Thornton and Miles Plumlee for tonight’s game. Gorgui Dieng should also slide back into the starting lineup for at least one game tonight and become a solid value play.

 

Attack


Anthony Davis  -- PF NO

Davis says he’s healthy coming out of the break and that’s the reason he skipped the All-Star game, so I believe him. His biggest advantage tonight is not being a center like DeMarcus Cousins is, but he does draw a dream matchup against Channing Frye and the Magic this evening. With Ryan Anderson now doubtful, he should play heavy minutes and the Magic have been a bottom 10 team against power forwards for every stretch of the season. With a fairly weak PF crop tonight, he could be a huge boost in any format.

Eric Bledsoe -- SG PHO

Eric Bledsoe has been dominant at times this season, but sharing the ball with two other point guards has not let him reach his full potential. Tonight, he’ll be the lone elite point guard on his team and have a sky-high usage rate in a high-scoring, fast-paced game against a very weak Wolves defense. The Wolves rank 29th on the season defending point guards and it remains to be seen how much Rubio can improve that on his own.

 

Derrick Rose  -- PG CHI

Rose will draw the defense of the young Spencer Dinwiddie, making his first NBA start tonight. Rose looked like his old self at the end of the first half, averaging 26.5 points and 7.5 assists over the last two games. He was getting to the line and playing heavier minutes. The Pistons are a middle-of-the-road team against point guards on the season, but we can throw that number out the window as Dinwiddie has played less than 10% of those minutes.

 

Brook Lopez -- C BKN

Lopez will be overshadowed by the flashier options at center tonight; Cousins, Whiteside and Gobert, but Lopez is likely to draw the start against the league’s worst big man defense in the Lakers, who rank in the bottom three against both power forward and center. With Thad Young not expected to play, Lopez should dominate this game inside from start to finish as the Nets will likely be without starting point guard Jarrett Jack as well.

Rudy Gay - SF SAC

Rudy Gay is expected to play a lot more power forward in the second half and the Celtics, tonight’s opponent, are dreadfully thin in the front court and have been dominated by power forwards this season. They’ve allowed almost 45 fantasy points per game to power forwards on the season and have struggled almost as badly against small forwards since Evan Turner took over the position.

 

Also Consider

Giannis Antetokoumpo -- SG MIL

The Greek Freak was red-hot heading into the break and will come out of the break as the Bucks primary playmaker with Brandon Knight now out of the picture. With Michael Carter-Williams still dealing with a toe injury, look for the Bucks to run a lot of offense through him and Khris Middleton tonight while Jerryd Bayless plays off the ball some due to likely heavy minutes.

Markieff Morris -- PF PHO

As mentioned above with Bledsoe, Morris should see his highest-usage rate game of the season tonight in a great matchup with the Wolves. He could also play some center when the Wolves go small, which could see him matched up with the immobile Nikola Pekovic. Morris should play fairly heavy minutes tonight at all the frontcourt positions and be a clear second scoring option behind Bledsoe.

 

 

Avoid


John Wall - PG WAS

While it’s easy to look at Wall in a competitive matchup tonight with the Cavaliers, who due to Kyrie Irving have been notably bad against point guards, and lock him in your lineup, it’s not the ideal play tonight. The Cavaliers have actually improved their defense quite a bit recently and Wall simply hasn’t been himself over the last 10-15 games. While the rest should have helped his migraines and ankle issues. I’m still in wait and see mode here.

Scott Malewig
Scott Malewig writes the NBA Over/Under Watch for Rotoworld.com and is the co-founder of The Fake Basketball. Scott can be found on Twitter @Sports_25toLife where he'll likely be tweeting about the last NBA game you'd think he'd be watching.