SAC @ ORL: What a difference a day makes. The Magic is no longer mired in a 10-game losing streak, they are a group of young guys having fun. The rotation is suddenly deep, even with Jameer Nelson (knee) sidelined. Fatigue will be a factor, as both teams played elsewhere last night; the Kings may be exhausted after an emotional double-OT defeat. If you have been riding Maurice Harkless and/or Andrew Nicholson, congratulations, but minutes will be harder to come by as the team finally has healthy options.
GSW @ NYK: It’s a very tough back-to-back for the Warriors after giving all they had in Indiana. They are more vulnerable to the Knicks tonight than they might be in other circumstances. Carmelo Anthony poses matchup nightmares for most teams, Tyson Chandler can dominate the painted area and Amare Stoudemire has been excellent off the bench.
NOH @ OKC: After losing a tough one at home last night, it’s just not fair for the Hornets to have to travel to Oklahoma City. The caveat here for fantasy purposes is the likelihood that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will be watching the fourth quarter from the bench as third-stringers mop up.
DAL @ MEM: If last night wasn’t the final nail in the coffin of the Mavs’ playoff dream, this could be it. The Grizzlies seemed a bit discombobulated by the Rudy Gay trade at first, but Zach Randolph is happy and productive again and they are on an impressive 7-game winning streak. Their shutdown D is the key; Marc Gasol and Mike Conley contribute at both ends of the floor.
MIL @ HOU: Against a team playing its second road game in as many nights, the Rockets should set a fast early pace and never look back. James Harden could have enormous numbers and rookie Donatas Motiejunas gets a chance to start at PF. The 7-foot Lithuanian has more pro experience than Thomas Robinson, who will come off the bench in his Houston debut. The Bucks suspended Samuel Dalembert for last night’s game and he has a demonstrated history of wearing out his welcome. Keep him benched, or cut him.
PHO @ SAS: The Suns wisely focused on winning last night’s home game because they have very little chance this evening. Finally in San Antonio again after a 9-game, 25-day road trip, the Spurs should have MVP candidate Tony Parker back after missing one game with a bruised triceps. They won 97-87 in Phoenix on Sunday without him and should score 110 tonight.
ATL @ UTA: The two teams most expected to make a trade deadline splash remained intact. Josh Smith is still a Hawk, and both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap surprisingly remain in Utah. Those three men — and the sizzling-hot Al Horford — are the focal points of this battle. The Jazz play very well at home and have sixth man Gordon Hayward in a groove, but nobody who can stop Jeff Teague. Fun to watch; too close to call.
DEN @ POR: We don’t know yet if Denver can beat good teams on the road. They should be able to use their speed and depth against the Blazers anywhere. If Danilo Gallinari (thigh bruise) misses another game, Wilson Chandler is a fine spot start. Portland iron man Wesley Matthews is playing with multiple injuries that would sideline almost anyone else, and LaMarcus Aldridge has had four straight games below his usual standards.