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.
HOU @ PHO over/under 216, Suns -1.5
This game is going to be by far the highest scoring of the night, with two fast-paced teams squaring off in a competitive game. The Rockets and Suns have both been playing solid basketball, especially Eric Bledsoe and James Harden, who should go back and forth all night. The big man play without both Alex Len and Dwight Howard should be the most interesting part of this contest as both teams have been playing quite small of late, which should only speed up the pace.
DEN @ LAL over/under 201.5, Lakers -1
The Nuggets fought all game against the Thunder last night at home, so they’ll be relieved to head into a much more winnable game with the disaster of a roster that is the Lakers right now. Jusuf Nurkic busted out last night and Ty Lawson is playing heavy minutes right now. The game could have some real scoreboard fireworks if neither team decides to show up on defense.
James Harden -- SG HOU
Harden is coming of what may have been his best game of the season after posting over 70 fantasy points on the Blazers last time out. He’ll take part in the insanely high-scoring game mentioned above and should be almost a lock for 45-50 fantasy points tonight. The Suns are in the bottom third of the league defending shooting guards in 2015 and Harden has averaged 24 points, 9 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2 blocks and 2.5 steals against the Suns in two meetings already this season.
Eric Bledsoe -- SG PHO
Eric Bledsoe has done his best to match those numbers from Harden in the games between the two teams this season. Bledsoe has racked up averages of 24 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and 1.5 steals in those games and should be able to replicate those numbers tonight on extra rest after missing the last game for the birth of his child. Houston has dropped to the bottom five in efficiency against shooting guards over the last 10 games as well, after being much improved early in the season.
Al Jefferson -- C CHA
With Kemba Walker out and Lance Stephenson looking lost right now, the offense in Charlotte has fallen squarely on the shoulders of Jefferson. He finally looked healthy playing a full complement of minutes last game, racking up 30 points, 13 rebounds and a block in 36 minutes. Jefferson gets a dream matchup with a Pistons defense that has been insanely soft against skilled interior scorers. There should be plenty of easy buckets and free throws in store for Jefferson tonight as the Pistons remain at the bottom of the league in interior defense.
Ty Lawson -- PG DEN
The Los Angeles Lakers are dead last against point guards on the season, allowing an efficiency rating of 28 against them on the year, they’ve improved slightly in 2015 thanks, I guess, to Jordan Clarkson, but they’re still in the high 20s and are 28th in the league over the past 10 games. With Jameer Nelson out, Lawson has been playing heavy minutes, which makes him almost a must play in this matchup if Nelson remains out tonight.
Jusuf Nurkic -- C DEN
Nurkic put together his best game of the season last night with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 33 minutes. The biggest issue with him remains foul trouble and minutes in general, but we know about the upside that he has when the minutes are there. Especially in this matchup with a Lakers defense that may be even worse against big men now that Jordan Hill is out of the lineup in favor of journeymen Robert Sacre and Tarik Black.
Kenneth Faried -- PF DEN
Kenneth Faried has now had three nice games in a row, playing an average of 30 mins and racking up 16.3 points and 9 rebounds per night over those three contests. Faried’s minutes have been up and down for most of the last two season under Brian Shaw, so we never know when they’ll disappear. However, it does appear the Nuggets are finally ready to either let him play or they are shopping him, and either is good for his fantasy owners.
Markieff Morris -- PF PHO
Morris has been pretty boring, but much more consistent than usual of late in terms of minutes. He struggled, shooting just 3-for-20 against the Kings last time out, but his averages of 33 minutes and 17 shot attempts per game over his past 7 are great news for those looking to roster him tonight against a Houston team that’s been dead last against power forwards over the past 15 games.
Carlos Boozer - PF LAL
Boozer had a nice string of games going prior to the last two and we know he still has the ability to double-double in any game. However, he’s played under 20 minutes in two consecutive games and we never know when the minutes will be there for any Lakers big at this point. There’s been no discernable rotation lately, so we have to avoid the dream matchup with a Nuggets team that’s been crushed by power forwards.