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NBA Matchup Plays: Friday

by Scott Malewig
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:02 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.

 

TOR @ BKN over/under 206.5, Nets -2.5

This is a game full of a lot of just average and above average positional matchups, but overall, this game should be very fantasy friendly. It’s both competitive and high-scoring, which should lead to some extended minutes from the key players on both teams, namely Brook Lopez and DeMar DeRozan. The rest of the rotations for these teams have been spread out pretty evenly despite them both dealing with some injuries. It’s hard to really love anyone else in this game, but the prices are pretty good, here especially on Joe Johnson.


POR @ LAL over/under 201.5, Blazers -10.5

This is a less competitive game than I usually like to target, as the Blazers are favored heavily in this game. However, the Lakers have been less of a pushover lately with their most recent starting lineup and thanks to the strong play of Jordan Clarkson, who we’ll get to later. It’s hard not to like the matchup for the Blazers stars like Batum, Aldridge and Lillard as long as the Lakers can keep it close, while the Lakers continue to offer some decent value plays throughout the lineup.

 

Attack


DeMarcus Cousins -- C SAC

Cousins has been on an absolute tear. Despite dealing with a myriad of injuries over the past few weeks, he’s posted at least 70 fantasy points in three of his last four games, including this exact matchup with the Pelicans. He’s not going to be able to sustain that every night, but with Rudy Gay now out in addition to third-leading scorer Darren Collison, coach George Karl joked that Cousins is going to be “option a, b and c” everytime he suits up and the 25 of more shots he’s attempted in three of the last four compound that statement.


Kawhi Leonard -- SF SAS

I feel like I write up Kawhi almost every time he plays these days. It’s both a testament to how well he’s playing and how poorly the rest of the small forwards in the league are playing. Leonard has a dream matchup with a Nuggets team that is both playing up in pace from the already fairly fast-paced Spurs and have been awful at defending small forwards lately. The only real concern with Leonard, as usual, is blowout and rest.

 

Nikola Vucevic  -- C ORL

Vucevic has been rock solid against lately, averaging 40 fantasy points over his past three games. He gets a dream matchup with the Wolves tonight, who have struggled against big men all season long despite having much better defenders in the lineup than they do now. The Wolves are essentially down to just two real big men, Adrien Payne and Justin Hamilton, both of whom are not known for their defense. Vucevic should be in for a big game tonight as this should be a highly competitive game, he could see over 35 minutes if he can avoid foul trouble.

 

Jordan Clarkson  -- PG LAL

I’ve touched many times on my love for attacking the Portland defense with point guards and Jordan Clarkson also happens to be red hot. The Blazers have now fallen into the bottom three in the league against point guards, while also allowing a league-high usage rate to the position. Clarkson has been incredibly efficient and has actually been playing really well when sharing the court with Jeremy Lin. There should be plenty of minutes open once again with Wayne Ellington now done for the season as well in LA.


Jimmy Butler -- SG CHI

Butler is a guy I’m really excited to play tonight as the Bulls will likely be without Kirk Hinrich, allowing the real Jimmy Minutes to resurface. He should play well over 40 minutes tonight and have even more ball handling duties than usual, as Hinrich’s injury will leave Aaron Brooks as the only true point guard on the roster. Butler can provide big totals in every category, especially when the minutes are heavy. His usage has been nice and high with Derrick Rose still out and Brooks struggling with his shot, so he could approach 30 points easily in a potentially close game.

 

Also Consider


Aaron Brooks -- PG CHI

As I mentioned above, Hinrich seems really unlikely to play tonight, leaving Brooks as the only true point guard on the roster. I can see him nearing 40 minutes played in this one and while his usage rate might not be insanely high, the minutes should make up for it. If the Bulls have to use E’Twuan Moore at the position, expect them to run the offense through Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler almost exclusively during that time. Brooks has been playing well enough to get by, but hasn’t had a really nice game in a while. He has a chance to have one tonight against a recently ill Reggie Jackson.


Justin Hamilton -- C MIN

Hamilton finally exceeded 30 minutes last game with Gorgui Dieng out and it looks like he may be extended a bit more tonight as both Dieng and Kevin Garnett are looking likely to sit out again in addition to the done for the season Nikola Pekovic. Hamilton showed some promise as a fantasy asset prior to dealing with migraines, so I’m excited to see him get another chance against an average at best defender in Vucevic.


 

Avoid


Andrew Wiggins -- SF MIN

I don’t have any major dislike for Wiggins tonight as the matchup is really good with Orlando and the minutes should still be there for the most part. I just think he’ll have some unrealistic expectations based on his recent play with Kevin Martin out. With Martin set to return tonight, not only does that add another body to the Wolves already regenerating wing rotation, it adds a high volume scorer. While Wiggins is a decent peripheral producer, he needs to score to provide value at his current price and that hasn’t been as much of a given for him when Martin is in the lineup.

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.