Today’s NBA Starting Lineups & Matchups 3/9/20: Bucks Hoping to End Skid Tonight in Denver
It’s a slow night in the Association tonight with a slate of three games, but there are some good matchups you shouldn’t miss.
Charlotte Hornets (22-41) at Atlanta Hawks (19-46)
- While most would be quick to call this game the Toilet Bowl since both teams are at or near the bottom of the East, it also features some young talent that is fun to watch. You’ve got Devonte’ Graham vs. Trae Young, Bridges vs. Hunter and Washington vs. Collins.
- The Hawks are dead last in the East and have lost their last three games. The Hornets are 10th and are 5-5 in their last ten.
- In their last matchup back in December, Young scored 30 points and had nine assists to lead the Hawks to a 122-107 victory.
Toronto Raptors (45-18) at Utah Jazz (41-22)
- Tonight’s interconference matchup features teams in Toronto and Utah that seem firmly planted for playoff seeding on the top end of their respective conferences. Toronto is one of three teams that have already clinched playoff berths.
- The Raptors and Jazz are both on hot streaks lately. The second-place Raptors have won their last three games, and the fourth-place Jazz are currently on the longest current win streak with five consecutive wins.
- This will be the final game of the regular-season series between the Jazz and Raptors. Utah will be looking to avenge their December 1 loss of 110-130 against Toronto, who was led by Pascal Siakam’s 35 points.
Milwaukee Bucks (53-11) at Denver Nuggets (45-21)
- The Bucks have clinched a playoff berth, but while they still have the highest win total in the NBA and are firmly in first in the East by 7.5 games, they have lost their last two games.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo will be out again tonight so the Nuggets may look to attack the interior defense. Ersan Ilyasova, who has played some heavy relief minutes this season, is expected to start.
- The Nuggets are currently third in the West, but after the Lakers, there aren’t a ton of games separating the next few times. Denver is just a game back of the Clippers, and a game in front of the Utah Jazz so positioning could change daily.
Top Predicted Performers
While Nikola Jokic has the highest projection tonight, his price tag is a bit steep, and I think you get much better value out of Young. The sharpshooter is available for $9.6k on FanDuel and is projected for 46.6 points – one point lower than Jokic for much less. Young will be matched up against Devonte’ Graham and against a team in Charlotte that has incredibly slow offensive pace and makes a lot of mistakes on defense. Young should look to attack that, shoot over pick-and-rolls and he should have a solid game.
• Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
With Giannis out, Middleton will likely get a lot more shot attempts. He’ll have Will Barton defending him, which is a tough matchup, but even the league’s best perimeter defenders have had trouble defending Middleton, especially since he has range all over the floor and can drive by defenders on the wing when they try to defend too close. He’s available for $7k on FanDuel and has a projection of 40 points. Eric Bledsoe is also a great option here.
Mike Conley has been so up and down all season. He has a huge game against Boston and then looks pedestrian against a lesser opponent in Detroit. He’s got a tough matchup against his former backup early in the Memphis days in Kyle Lowry, and Lowry likes to defend physically, using his muscle to make opponents uncomfortable. While Conley finished with 20 points against Toronto in their earlier meeting this season, his assists and all the rest of his numbers were off, not making him a viable fantasy play. Tonight, he’s available for $5.6k, and is projected for 27.67 points. While that might be ok value, you’re also taking the risk that he could have an off night, but if you’re looking for a backup pg and are limited on salary with just that one spot to fill, that may be the best situation for him.