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Slate Overview

Let's look at the two contests with the highest expected totals:

Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 225.5 points)

The Pacers allow 111.0 points per game, while the Hawks are just above them, surrendering 111.4 points per contest. Indiana and Atlanta are also scoring 112.3 and 112.8 points per game, respectively. With the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Trae Young and John Collinsall healthy, this is a contest that could certainly meet or exceed this number.

Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors (Projected total: 245.0 points) The Warriors should be a lot more competitive than on Opening Night, when they were steamrolled by the Nets, 125-99. Golden State is now averaging 114.5 points per home game, while Brooklyn allows an NBA-high 122.3 points per road contest. Both teams also play at top-3 paces, while the Nets also give up 48.4 percent shooting when traveling. That's a particularly worrisome figure when facing the likes of a red-hot Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and a rapidly improving Kelly Oubre, who's shooting 49.0 percent, including 46.7 percent from behind the arc, over the last seven games after a miserable start to the campaign. Meanwhile, Kevin Durantreturns for Brooklyn, meaning the Big Three will all be available. Injury Situations to Monitor Returning from COVID-19 protocol: Kevin Durant, BKN Christian Wood, HOU (ankle)/ Status: OUT Wood's ongoing absence should afford DeMarcus Cousins another start at center. Victor Oladipo, HOU (foot)/ Status: OUT Eric Gordon should be due for a start at shooting guard in Oladipo's absence Saturday. John Wall, HOU (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE If Wall suits up as expected, he should see a particularly elevated usage rate with both Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood out of action, and P.J. Tucker potentially set to miss as well. Mitchell Robinson, NYK (hand)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE Robinson broke his hand in Friday's game versus the Wizards, and if he sits out as is likely Saturday, Nerlens Noel will likely draw a start at center. Goran Dragic, MIA (ankle)/ Status: OUT Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn should be the primary beneficiaries of Dragic's ongoing absence Saturday, DeAndre Jordan, BKN (personal)/ Status: OUT Jeff Green could shift over to center in Jordan's absence Saturday, with Kevin Durant returning from health and safety protocols to fill his customary power forward spot. Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE If Conley logs a fourth straight absence Saturday, Donovan Mitchell should once again serve as a primary ballhandler, while Joe Ingles is also likely to remain in the starting five. Other notable injuries: Gabe Vincent, MIA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE Rajon Rondo, ATL (back)/ Status: GTD Elite Players With only eight teams in action Saturday night, just two players are sporting five-figure salaries in James Harden ($10,400) and Stephen Curry ($10,100). Harden will be in what should be a very fast-paced game against the Warriors, but Golden State is allowing an NBA-low 42.2 percent shooting at home, and The Beard will have Kevin Durant back in the lineup alongside him, which should lead to a hit in his Harden's usage. Curry is an interesting play on the other side of the matchup, however, as Brooklyn is allowing an NBA-high 122.3 points per road game on 48.4 percent shooting. There are also several players with salaries in the high four figures that have the ability to deliver elite scores, including Trae Young ($9,800), Kevin Durant ($9,600), Kyrie Irving ($9,200), Domantas Sabonis ($9,000) and Julius Randle ($8,700). From that group, Durant and Irving become especially appealing because of the aforementioned positive game environment against the Warriors, while Sabonis and Randle have what could be considered plus positional matchups against the frontcourts of the Hawks and Rockets, respectively. Expected Chalk All of the names mentioned in the Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Saturday, and with just eight teams taking the floor for the evening slate and the Nets-Warriors game expected to be the subject of plenty of attention, differentiation in tournaments could prove tricky in the case of certain stars. In terms of non-elite injury-influenced chalk, the Rockets' remaining healthy members, especially John Wall and Eric Gordon, should be highly rostered with both Wood and Oladipo out of action. Nerlens Noel and Jeff Green could also pick some extra clicks due to the projected absences of Mitchell Robinson and DeAndre Jordan. Key Values Eric Gordon, HOU at NYK ($5,800) Only John Wall sports a higher usage rate on the Rockets than Gordon's 27.6 percent figure with Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood off the floor this season, putting the veteran wing in play at his appealing salary Saturday. The Knicks are admittedly a very tough defensive matchup overall, but New York will be on the second night of a back-to-back set, and Gordon has scored 26.5 to 40.8 DK points in six straight games. Gordon has exhibited a hot hand during that stretch, draining 48.9 percent of his 15 attempts per contest, including 40.4 percent of the 8.7 of those that have come from deep. Gordon has already delivered at least a 5x return on his current salary in half his 20 games this season, coming within a half-point of doing it on 11 occasions. Jordan Clarkson, UTA vs. MIA ($5,400) Clarkson went off for 40.5 DK points versus the Bucks on Friday night, his fourth tally of greater than 30 DK points in the last 10 games. The veteran guard went into that performance already averaging 28.7 DK points per home game, and he's averaging a career-high 17.7 points on a career-best 37.7 percent success rate from three-point range. Clarkson gets a nice matchup at his salary Saturday as well, as the Heat comes in ranked just outside the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to second-unit players (43.1 percent) and find themselves in the same slotting in both assists (10.2) and steals (2.7) per game allowed to point guards. T.J. McConnell, IND at ATL ($5,000) McConnell is another second-unit player that's thriving this season, as he's equaling or sporting career highs in rebounds (3.4), assists (6.6) and steals (1.7) per game. The veteran is also shooting an efficient 48.3 percent, while his average of 22.6 minutes allows him to put up a nearly identical 22.3 DK points per game. Saturday, he'll face a Hawks team that's giving up the second-most DK points per game to point guards over the last 10, including the most assists (14.0) per game to the position over that span. Meanwhile, McConnell is in the midst of an impressive stretch of play, one that's seen him average 28.8 DK points over his last six contests. Other value plays to consider: DeMarcus Cousins, HOU at NYK ($6,400); Kelly Oubre, GS vs. BKN ($6,300); R.J. Barrett, NYK vs. HOU ($6,000); Tyler Herro, MIA at UTA ($6,000): Jae'Sean Tate, HOU at NYK ($4,700); Doug McDermott, IND at ATL ($4,300); Danuel House, HOU at NYK ($4,200); Nerlens Noel, NYK vs. HOU ($3,900)

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