February 4 Game Previews
CHI @ IND: Two of the best defensive teams in the league, one game apart in the standings, will treat this like the playoff preview it is. Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) is doubtful, so Taj Gibson will start against Roy Hibbert, who is at least three inches taller but approximately one-third as tough. Carlos Boozer (hamstring) might return to battle David West, and the matchup of Luol Deng and Paul George is a doozy. Kirk Hinrich (elbow) is out, so Nate Robinson will need to play well against George Hill. Because that snowed-out game in December was rescheduled for tonight, the Pacers have a back-to-back-to-back this week and four games in the next five nights.
LAC @ WAS: This is no sure thing. L.A. has lost six of eight without CP3 and will be very tired from yesterday’s effort. John Wall is a good match against former Kentucky teammate Bledsoe and Emeka Okafor can hold his own vs. DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers need Blake Griffin to carry them, but he’s been battling a sore ankle and a heavy workload. I’m not predicting a Wizards victory, just pointing out that it’s quite possible.
ORL @ PHI: While Philadelphia enjoys a long homestand, everything is falling apart for Orlando. Arron Afflalo (calf) and Jameer Nelson (forearm) are officially day-to-day and Glen Davis (foot surgery) is out indefinitely. The only matchup I like for the Magic is former Sixer Nikola Vucevic against Spencer Hawes, though rookie Maurice Harkless — also part of the big Howard trade — is coming off his best game as a pro. You have to love Jrue Holiday against E’Twaun Moore and Thaddeus Young over Andrew Nicholson; this should be no contest.
CHA @ MIA: If you have to play on Super Bowl Sunday then again the next night, it might as well be against the Bobcats. Byron Mullens is expected to return after missing the last 19 games with a severely sprained ankle. His fitness, mobility and accuracy may not be 100%, but he’s an attractive FA in many leagues, only 24% owned in Yahoo. Don’t go crazy on the Heat stars in daily leagues; they partied in Toronto last night and had to travel today. Hmm, I might have just talked myself into using Kemba Walker in daily leagues.