NOH @ CHA: This is as good a chance as any for the Bobcats to end a brutal losing streak. They were fed to the ravenous Nets last night in Brooklyn, while New Orleans lost an OT heartbreaker in front of a sparse home crowd. The game couldn’t be less important in the real world; if you’re looking for fantasy bargains, I’d go with the Unibrow and Kemba Walker.
OKC @ HOU: The last time these teams met, the Rockets had flown to Minnesota for the funeral of their coach’s daughter earlier the same day. A drained James Harden shot 3-16 against his former team. Tonight is the first ‘real’ meeting since the trade, though Houston will be tired after losing in San Antonio last night and (like many teams) has nobody who can defend Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. When Serge Ibaka plays with the ferocity he did on Thursday, he’s a beast.
CLE @ BRK: Clever timing on the coaching change — back-to-back home games for the Nets against weak opponents will make P.J. Carlesimo look like Red Auerbach. The exhausted Cavs, who are without Anderson Varejao (knee) for another week, will offer token opposition only, though Kyrie should never be benched.
WAS @ CHI: This is a sweet spot for the Bulls, whose snowed-out game on Wednesday gave some injured players extra rest. Richard Hamilton (sprained foot) is ready to return after missing 12 games, Luol Deng (ankle) can either take another night off or be used sparingly, and Joakim Noah figures to dominate inside. Washington is 1-12 on the road and will be tired.
DEN @ MEM: It’s like a broken record; the schedule maker has something against the Nuggets. They did have a fairly easy time of it in Dallas last night, nut it’s never easy to play in Memphis. Rudy Gay will be back after missing Wednesday’s game due to travel problems, and the Grizzlies will be determined after two embarrassing losses. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are always must-starts.
PHO @ MIN: Never the best road team, missing their #1 point guard and tired from playing last night, the Suns are in big trouble. Nikola Pekovic is feeling better and Kevin Love remains one of the best buy-low candidates imaginable. Since returning from knee surgery, Ricky Rubio has yet to impress; he’s on a 24-minute limit now, and due for a breakout game. All his owners can do is be patient.
MIA @ MIL: The Heat will have former Marquette legend D-Wade back from his suspension and LBJ shows up every night. This still won’t be easy, especially if any of Milwaukee’s revolving door of big men get hot. They can usually count on Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, but Ersan Ilyasova has been inconsistent.
PHI @ POR: Both teams played road games last night, so it may not be pretty. LaMarcus Aldridge got hit hard in the chest, then sat out the final 16 minutes with shortness of breath, and Wesley Matthews (hip) remains questionable. I’ll take the Sixers because they are relatively healthy.
BOS @ GSW: After getting blown out by the Clippers, Boston needs to make some changes. One would be to end the foolish Jason Collins experiment, use a more talented player at PF and return Kevin Garnett to C. Rajon Rondo vs. Stephen Curry is a marquee matchup, and Paul Pierce could have a big night against the Warriors, who have rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green at SF.
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