LAC @ MIN: If you read the Week 14 Fantasy Planner by our colleague Mitch McClure on Sunday, you put Nikola Pekovic in your weekly lineups. Good call. Big Pek is expected to return from his thigh contusion and is a double-double threat. The Timberwolves are still shorthanded and have nobody who can guard Blake Griffin. With Chris Paul (kneecap) sidelined, the PG matchup between Eric Bledsoe and Ricky Rubio will be interesting. Ultimately, it’s the Clippers’ second unit that will make the difference, with Lamar Odom kind of a point-center and Jamal Crawford filling it up.
CHA @ SAS: It’s only a two-game week for the Spurs, who could beat the Bobcats with their junior varsity. Use Tim Duncan (knee) at your own risk. Tony Parker is a solid bet against Kemba Walker; both should finish with big numbers. I am the unofficial president of the Tiago Splitter fan club in keeper leagues, and he’s pretty damn good right now. Otherwise, the deep San Antonio rotation is hard to predict and there’s a strong possibility of garbage time.
CHI @ MIL: Though it’s a back-to-back for Milwaukee, last night’s laugher shouldn’t have exhausted them. Joakim Noah is a load for any center, so Larry Sanders will need his very best effort. The Bucks’ guards are more talented offensively than Chicago’s, but strong team defense by the Bulls can slow down almost anyone. This is another game I’m tending to ignore in daily leagues because of the strong chance that it’s low-scoring.
HOU @ DEN: The scoreboard operator will be busy. The Rockets are crediting a film session for getting their identity back and have dropped 344 points on shocked opponents in three straight wins. James Harden will be a massive test of Andre Igoudala’s vaunted defensive skills. I think Denver will win, because Ty Lawson is better than Jeremy Lin and Kenneth Faried has an edge over Houston’s PF timeshare. Both benches have players worth using; Carlos Delfino and Corey Brewer are fine sources of points and threes. Even forgotten man Timofey Mozgov could be a factor, as JaVale McGee (shin) is doubtful.
NOH @ UTA: Coming off a humiliating home loss, the Jazz should be fired up to atone. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap stunk out the joint — and buried me on DraftStreet — by completely disappearing on Monday. Gordon Hayward (shoulder) will probably miss another game, so others will need to produce off the Utah bench. It’s a tough back-to-back for the Hornets; though they did score 106 last night, you can’t count on a repeat.
LAL @ PHO: There’s no question that the coaching change has woken up the Suns. Lindsey Hunter is preaching defense, has integrated rookie Kendall Marshall into the rotation and seems to have rejuvenated that eternal tease, Michael Beasley, into more consistent form. We know the Lakers are old, so there’s a note of caution in this back-to-back, but they are also much deeper than earlier in the season. I think “Magic” Bryant will find a way to win, but it could be a close game.
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