Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers (-6) (O/U: 227.0 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves (-2) at Philadelphia 76ers (O/U: 221 points)
Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers (-4) (O/U: 226.5 points)
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers (-9) (O/U: 222.5 points)
Four of the eight teams in action Saturday night will be on the back end of back-to-back sets, so there could certainly be a fatigue factor at play. However, with some questionable defenses in the Pacers, Jazz, and Spurs part of the ledger and Utah and San Antonio particularly facing teams with the ability to capitalize on those shortcomings, we could still see plenty of impressive individual performances.
James Harden, PHI (foot): OUT Harden's ongoing absence, coupled with the likely one for Tyrese Maxey, should lead to a starting backcourt of Shake Milton and De'Anthony Melton for Philadelphia. Paolo Banchero, ORL (ankle): OUT Banchero's ongoing absence should lead to another start for Chuma Okeke. Tyrese Haliburton, IND (ankle): QUESTIONABLE Haliburton suffered his injury in the closing minutes of Friday's game, and if he's ruled out, T.J. McConnell and Andrew Nembhard could enjoy big roles in the backcourt. Jakob Poeltl, SAN (knee): QUESTIONABLE If Poeltl can't go, Charles Bassey could be in for a start at center. Tyrese Maxey, PHI (foot): QUESTIONABLE If Maxey sits out with the foot injury that forced his early exit from Friday's game, Shake Milton will likely draw a start at point guard. Tobias Harris, PHI (hip): OUT In Harris' absence, Danuel House could draw a start at small forward. Other notable injuries: Wendell Carter, ORL (foot): PROBABLE Keldon Johnson, SAN (ankle): PROBABLE Devin Vassell, SAN (ankle): QUESTIONABLE Doug McDermott, SAN (calf): PROBABLE
Elite Players We have one player with a five-figure salary on Saturday's slate – Joel Embiid ($11,500). Embiid is averaging 54.5 FD points per contest for the season and has scored 64.2 to 103 FD points in his last three games, making even his current salary a reasonable one despite the fact he'll also be on a back-to-back set. He could also be taking the floor without Tyrese Maxey (foot) and Tobias Harris (hip), locking him into even more usage than usual.
Expected Chalk Other likely chalk plays include: Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($9,300) Towns posted 53.1 and 44.5 FD points in the last two games, which should keep him very popular Saturday on the small slate. Damian Lillard, POR ($9,200) Lillard has scored 46.1 and 53.4 FD points in two of the last three games and has three straight double-doubles. Myles Turner, IND ($7,900) Turner has scored 36 to 60.9 FD points in four straight games and could be in for even more usage Saturday if Tyrese Haliburton (ankle) misses. Lauri Markkanen, UTA ($7,600) Markkanen went off for a career-high 38 points in Friday night's win over the Suns, and he's averaging 38.2 FD points per game overall. Anthony Edwards, MIN ($7,400) Despite his inconsistency, Edwards finished with 61.6 FD points in his most recent contest, which should keep him in plenty of lineups Saturday. Key Values Marcus Morris, LAC vs. SA ($5,700) Morris has remained a solid contributor irrespective of which of the team's stars has been available around him, with the latest example coming Thursday night versus the Pistons when he scored 24.7 FD points against Detroit despite Kawhi Leonard's return from a knee injury. He'd also scored over 30 FD points in three of the previous five games, and Saturday, he'll face a Spurs squad that's given up the seventh-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (28.9), along with NBA-high 39.3 percent three-point shooting overall, including 42.7 percent on the road. Mo Bamba, ORL at IND ($5,000) Bamba has settled into a nice groove off the Magic bench, contributing 20 to 29.3 FD points in his last six games. The big man has a couple of double-figure rebound efforts in that span as well. On Saturday, he'll face a Pacers team that's given up the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (29.5) and the seventh-highest to frontcourt players (83.0) overall. Indiana has also surrendered the seventh-most rebounds per game overall (54.7) in the last three games – including a whopping 62 in Friday night's contest -- furthering Bamba's case in a game where Orlando will once again need more complementary contributions thanks to Banchero's ongoing absence. Shake Milton, PHI vs. MIN ($3,600) The 76ers are likely to be without Tyrese Maxey (foot) in addition to James Harden and Tobias Harris (hip) Saturday, putting Milton firmly into play. The sixth-year pro already saw an elevated role in Friday's game against the Bucks by scoring 27.6 FD points across 31 minutes, with Maxey making an early exit. If the starting point guard sits out Saturday, his absence, coupled with the others, could afford Milton plenty of minutes against a Timberwolves team surrendering the 10th-highest offensive efficiency rating to point guards (27.5) and the second-most assists per contest overall (27.7). ALSO CONSIDER: De'Anthony Melton, PHI vs. MIN ($5,600); Malik Beasley, UTA at POR ($5,400)