Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Paul
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key teams with injuries to analyze on Saturday night: the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors.
- This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and more.
There are seven games tonight with a lot of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this piece: the Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets.
Chris Paul (hamstring) is expected to miss extended time.
Injury background: Paul suffered a strained left hamstring in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss, and coach Mike D’Antoni said, “it’ll be some time” for Paul’s upcoming absence.
Tonight’s impact: Per the FantasyLabs news feed:
Gerald Green started the second half in Paul’s absence, and James Harden played 43 minutes while Brandon Knight played a season-high 18 minutes.
When Paul has been unavailable since last season, Harden has averaged 56.78 DraftKings points in 37.8 minutes per game. D’Antoni relied on an eight-man rotation in Thursday’s second half.
The Rockets have three games over the next eight days, which should allow D’Antoni to run his starters extended minutes and keep Michael Carter-Williams and Marquese Chriss as DNP-CDs.
Paul has odd on/off splits this season. With him on the floor, the Rockets have been 4.2 points per 100 possessions better than him off. However, that number is split in a drastic way between offense and defense: With him off, they’ve been 6.3 points/100 worse on offense (16th percentile) but 10.5 points/100 worse on defense (98th percentile).
With him playing, the Rockets have been slightly more mid-range-heavy, taking 4.7% more total mid-rangers. They’ve decreased their 3-point rate by 3.9%, although they’ve also been less efficient on those with him out.
The Rockets are coming off a two-point loss in Miami in which they scored just 99 points. That was on the second leg of a back-to-back, however, and the game prior they set the NBA record with 26 made 3-pointers. They took just one shot not in the paint or behind the 3-point line in that game, and it had looked like the offense was getting back to last season’s form.
They’ll have a tough test Saturday against a surging Spurs squad that has won seven of their last eight games. In the month of December, San Antonio ranks first in the NBA by a mile with a +13.1 point differential. Most of that has come on offense, as the Spurs have scored 121.0 points/100, which is nearly 6.0 points/100 higher than any other team’s mark.
Injury background: Kawhi Leonard has already been ruled out to rest on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Coach Nick Nurse stated that Kyle Lowry (thigh) and Danny Green (knee) have a chance to play on Saturday but will likely be ruled out.
Serge Ibaka has missed the previous two games with a swollen right knee and has been ruled out for Saturday. Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) remains out.
Tonight’s impact: The Raptors are obviously incredibly thin with essentially five of their top-six rotation players likely to miss tonight’s game.
Nurse is likely to start two point guards in Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright in order to maximize playmaking in the starting unit, although that will mean the bench units will almost assuredly struggle to score, especially against a 76ers defense that ranks fourth in effective field goal percentage allowed this year.
Both Norman Powell and OG Anunoby will likely have to step into additional minutes, and the Raptors will heavily rely on VanVleet and Pascal Siakam — the lone starter playing tonight — to carry the offense.
It’s hard to understate the importance of Lowry’s injury. They’ve been largely terrible without him playing, as evidenced by his +12.2 on/off differential this season. Add in Kawhi’s absence, and this game could get ugly. The line opened at 76ers -4.5 but has since been hammered up to -7.5. I’m guessing it will continue to move, especially once Lowry and Green are officially ruled out.
All that said, the injuries do provide excellent DFS value. Siakam leads all players in our FantasyLabs models with a +9.89 DraftKings Projected Plus/Minus. Almost all of them are in play: VanVleet, Wright, Powell and Anunoby all have Projected Plus/Minus marks of at least +5.5.