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NBA Matchup Plays: Tuesday

by Scott Malewig
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:01 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.

 

BOS  @ CLE over/under 208, Cavaliers -10.5

This game is clearly expected to be the highest scoring of the night and has the most explosive offensive firepower. Kyrie Irving is still a gametime decision, but is expected to play, which makes this a much tougher matchup for the streaking Celtics. They have been playing great basketball though and I expect them to keep it closer than the line may indicate. They held a 26 point lead on the NBA leading Warriors the other night. Look for big games from LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and more.

 

SAC @ KNY over/under 200, Kings -4

This is the safest game to target for cash games as the Kings rotation has been fairly predictable since Karl took over and the Knicks have been fairly consistent of late as well with theirs. There are some rock solid plays in this one with Andrea Bargnani looking solid of late and the Knicks committing to Langston Galloway. For the Kings, we know DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are playing heavy minutes in a great matchup here and one of the point guards should be solid.

 

Attack


DeMarcus Cousins -- C SAC

Cousins will return for tonight’s game after being upgraded to probable earlier today. He had been dealing with both hip and ankle ailments, but it’s unlikely they’d bring him back after an absence if he weren’t ready to play. He’s also one of the few places you can spend your extra cap room today as both James Harden and Jimmy Butler are out. It leaves the decision between LeBron James, playing in a potential blowout with Irving back or Cousins, facing the Knicks, in a very close game. The Knicks rank 26th in efficiency against centers over the past 4 weeks and Cousins has been dismantling frontcourts all season.


LeBron James -- SF CLE

Boston has fallen to 27th in the NBA at defending small forwards since Evan Turner took over as the full time starter there. He doesn’t play all the minutes, but between him, Jae Crowder and some others, they’ve been lit up quite a bit recently. The pace of this game is one in which James could perform well for his tag in just three quarters, but as I mentioned above, I think there’s a real chance the Celtics fight to stay in this game to the end, which would make James and elite play.

 

Mo Williams -- PG CHA

Williams is as hot as any point guard in the NBA right now. Since arriving in Charlotte, he's racked up averages of 35.3 minutes, 23.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 7 assists. He's the engine making their offense go and he gets another dream matchup with the Lakers this evening and is my top point guard play of the night. The Lakers are still dead last in efficiency defense against point guards on the season and are bottom 5 over the past 4 weeks.

 

Nikola Mirotic -- PF CHI

Mirotic has played 31 minutes in back-to-back games without Taj Gibson in the lineup and he’s produced almost 40 fantasy points in each of those outings. With Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose out, look for Mirotic to approach 30-35 minutes nightly, which becoming a huge factor in the offense. He took over 20 shots against the Clippers and that’s not out of the question nightly if he can keep himself on the floor. The Wizards have been rock solid against big men this season, but as he’s coming off the bench, look for the Bulls to use him to exploit matchups at all three frontcourt positions in this game


Corey Brewer - SG HOU

Brewer is the value play I’m most excited to roster this evening on a night full of solid values. Brewer has had some monster games off the bench recently in this system, so I'm excited to see what he can do with some secure and expected playing time. Whether he or Jason Terry starts, I love the matchup for Brewer as he’ll be matched up with Kyle Korver quite a bit as well as some undersized players against him. The fast pace of this game overall should do wonders for him despite Atlanta’s solid team defense.

 

Also Consider


Jeremy Lin -- PG LAL

Lin is finally getting the chance we thought he'd have in the beginning of the Lakers season, to run the offense when he's on the floor. Over the last 5 games, he's racking up 17 points,m 2.8 rebounds and 5 assists in 27.5 minutes. There's a chance the minutes could elevate even further if he keeps playing well as the Lakers almost assuredly want to find out what they have in him before the offseason.


Isaiah Thomas -- PG BOS

The Cavaliers have slowly improved against point guards lately, but Thomas has yet to disappoint in a Celtics uniform. While there are a plethora of point guard options out there tonight, outside of Mo Williams, he's the one it feels is the most consistent game-to-game at this point, while still possesing the upside that only the higher priced options offer most nights. If that game remains close, it will be due to the impressive play of Thomas, who's usage rate has been a remarkable 35%.

 

Avoid


Marc Gasol -- C MEM

The Jazz defense has been the best in the NBA since the trade deadline and they rank No. 1 against centers as well. As well as Gasol played last time out and his price make him very tempting tonight, but with a defense playing this well, it’s hard to find a reason to play him over some very soft matchups at the position. The scariest part of how good the Jazz have been, is that they’ve actually been better with defensive phenom Rudy Gobert on the bench lately.

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.