Thursday Fantasy Basketball Preview
The NBA rundown examines Thursday Fantasy Basketball matchups (Enter contest) to get you ready for your cash drafts.
Lakers vs Wizards
The Los Angeles Lakers solved some of their offensive issues on Tuesday, just in time to take on a team operating at the top of its game. The Lakers will try to come up with enough points to challenge one of the hottest teams in the East.
Los Angeles shot 52.8 percent from the floor in a 120-116 win over the Denver Nuggets. Prior to that, they lossed their last three road games with an average of 86.3 points. Los Angeles is going to need plenty of communication on the defensive end against the Wizards, who won 12 of their last 14 games and are averaging 111 points in that span. Washington shot 55.7 percent from the floor and placed six scorers in double figures, led by Bradley Beal’s 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting, in Tuesday’s 117-101 triumph over the New York Knicks.
Hawks vs Rockets
The reception for Dwight Howard figures to be rather chilly in Houston on Thursday night. Howard spent the past three seasons in Houston and it didn’t end well amid constant turmoil that included chatter that star guard James Harden didn’t like playing with Howard.
Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million free-agent deal with the Hawks and excelled against the Rockets earlier this season when he recorded 20 points and 15 rebounds in Atlanta’s 112-97 home victory on November 5. He already has 31 double-doubles this season after having 38 in his final season with Houston. The Rockets rolled to a 105-83 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday in the opener of a four-game homestand and are hopeful they are about to regain their earlier form. Houston won 20 of 22 games during an electrifying stretch earlier this season but had lost seven of 11 contests before easily beating the Kings.
76ers vs Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs look to continue their mastery of Philadelphia. They’ve won the past 10 meetings against the 76er and outright annihilated them in last season’s final meeting when they prevailed 119-68.
The Spurs halted a rare two-game losing streak with a 108-94 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday and All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard was again superb with 36 points and eight rebounds. Leonard averaged 28.6 points and scored 30 or more points seven times in January, including a career-best 41-point performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 21. Philadelphia will be without star center Joel Embiid (knee) for the sixth time in seven games and is looking to recover from Wednesday’s 113-95 loss against the Dallas Mavericks. Second-year pro Jahlil Okafor scored 16 points in place of Embiid but is averaging just 2.8 rebounds over his past four outings.
Warriors vs Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers were steamrolled by Golden State just five nights ago. Clippers coach Doc Rivers had the players watch the entire replay of the game Monday to remind them how badly they were whipped in the 144-98 defeat.
Golden State shot 62 percent from the field and made 17 3-pointers Saturday while defeating Los Angeles for the eighth consecutive time. Point guard Stephen Curry scored 43 points and made nine 3-pointers versus Los Angles and he was solid again Wednesday when he drained 11 3-pointers while scoring 39 points during a 126-111 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. The Clippers bounced back from their trouncing by posting a 124-114 road win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Forward Blake Griffin produced 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting against Phoenix in his third game since returning from knee surgery.