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 @ DAL over/under 204.5, Dallas-4.5
Both of these teams are struggling to find an identity right now on both ends. With both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry struggling right now, we’ve seen the Raptors get more offense from guys like James Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas and it’s sped up their play a bit. With the Mavericks down Chandler Parsons for the time being, both Richard Jefferson and Al-Farouq Aminu have stepped up in consecutive games. Look for this game to be the most competitive one of the night.
CLE @ DET over/under 206, Cleveland -7.5
Despite this game being the largest spread of the night, it’s not really that large. I do expect this to be the highest scoring game of the night, with plenty of great matchups to go around for premier players. The biggest question mark is can the Pistons play with the red-hot Cavaliers for the full four quarters, but they’ve been much scrappier of late and the addition of Tayshaun Prince and Reggie Jackson should only help.
LeBron James -- SF CLE
James is a top play for me tonight both due to matchup and positional scarcity. The aging small forward duo of Tayshaun Prince and Caron Butler is going to really struggle to stay in front of him tonight and with Prince in the starting lineup as a minimal offensive threat, James should be able to roam free and wreak havoc on the defensive end as well. With Prince arriving and Kyle Singler now gone, we can throw out most of this season’s numbers on the Pistons against small forwards, but their defense has been average at best overall.
Greg Monroe -- PF DET
Monroe takes on Kevin Love tonight in a battle of talented power forwards. In February, Cleveland has been 28th in the NBA against power forwards and Love has been a turnstile one-on-one defensively, which is exactly the kind of matchup that Monroe loves to exploit. Monroe has played 37 minutes in back-to-back games and Stan Van Gundy finally looks comfortable playing his two talented big man together for extended periods, especially against two big man teams like the Cavs.
Monta Ellis -- SG DAL
With the return of DeRozan to the lineup, the Raptors not only got much better against point guards, but they fell off a cliff against shooting guards. Allowing an efficiency rating of 22.8 to shooting guards, 25th in the NBA in February. Ellis takes on a huge creation role when Chandler Parsons is out of the lineup and there is a big game coming while he’s out. This matchup looks like it has the makings of it in the most competitive game of the night.
Reggie Jackson -- PG DET
Jackson played 30 minutes and took 18 shots in his first start for the Pistons. After Brandon Jennings injury, we saw DJ Augustin frequently getting 35+ minutes and 20 shot attempts in games, as the Pistons lack any other perimeter creators on their roster, especially on the wings. Jackson should see his minutes easily exceed 30 tonight in a matchup with Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have improved a bit defensively with the additions of Mozgov and Iman Shumpert, but this is the game I expect to be the highest scoring of the night and Jackson should have the highest usage rate in it, not to mention his astoundingly cheap price.
Enes Kanter -- C OKC
Enes Kanter has double-doubled in both games with the Thunder and it looks like he’s going to be playing about 30 or so minutes a night for them, at least until Steven Adams returns from his injury. Kanter fits perfectly in the Thunder scheme as he can knock down the jumpers that Russell Westbrook’s creates as well as attack the offensive glass for easy putbacks. He’s going to be a double-double machine as long as he’s getting these kind of minutes consistently and Indiana is allowing a ridiculous 33.2 efficiency rating to opposing centers in February.
Klay Thompson -- SG GSW
Thompson lit up the scoreboard for 39 points on 12-of-28 shooting with Stephen Curry out last game and continues to prove he is an elite scorer in this league. While Curry is expected back tonight, Thompson has an excellent matchup with the Garrett Temple and Rasual Butler duo filling in for Bradley Beal. Temple is the better defender, but Klay has his highest usage rate against second units anyway, so he should be able to feast on Rasual Butler in the court time he has without Curry tonight.
Timofey Mozgov -- C CLE
Mozgov is a rock solid center option tonight due to his price, but the matchup is excellent as well if he can stay out of foul trouble against Detroit’s big two long enough to get 30 minutes in. Detroit has moved towards the middle of the league against big men over the last month or so, but they are still prone to giving up easy buckets and Mozgov has been rock solid on both ends since coming to Cleveland.
Rajon Rondo -- PG DAL
Toronto has re-asserted itself as a top 5 team against point guards in the month of February with Kyle Lowry being able to commit more of his energy to that end of the court with DeMar DeRozan back in the fold. Rondo has also been really unreliable as a fantasy asset since his arrival in Dallas, often playing limited minutes and rarely doing anything outstanding in any category, he’s a guy to continue to monitor as his price keeps dropping into the mid-range.