Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Tuesday, January 17

After a busy slate for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the NBA will only bring four games to the table Tuesday. The Nets will be back in action, trying to win their first game since Kevin Durant (knee) went down when they take on the Spurs in San Antonio. The Clippers, who have dealt with plenty of injuries of their own this season, will host the 76ers. Let’s digest all of the games on the schedule and highlight some players to consider for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to possibly avoid.

GUARDS

Kyrie IrvingBKN at SA ($38): Even with Durant out the last two games, Irving hasn’t exploded in the scoring department. He scored 24 points against the Celtics on Thursday, then followed it up with 15 points against the Thunder on Sunday. The good news is he attempted 44 shots from the field. With that kind of usage rate, he could torch a Spurs team that has the worst defensive rating in the league.

Josh Richardson, SA vs. BKN ($14): The Spurs already had an uninspiring depth chart, then they lost Devin Vassell to a knee injury. Since he went down, Richardson has averaged 15.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals over seven games. As long as he remains in an expanded role, he has the potential to provide value.

Guard to Avoid

Tyrese MaxeyPHI at LAC ($25): Maxey hasn’t been as productive since returning from injury. Over nine games, he has provided just 17.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He was removed from the starting lineup Sunday against the Lakers, although he still logged 33 minutes off the bench. Asking him to get back into a scoring groove against a Clippers team that has the fifth-best defensive rating in the league might not be wise.

FORWARDS

Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. PHI ($40): The Clippers have listed Paul George (hamstring) as questionable after he missed each of the last five games. Leonard stepped up in his absence, scoring at least 48.2 Yahoo points three times. If George is out again, Leonard should carry an extremely high floor. Even if George plays, Leonard is still one of the better forwards to target.

TJ WarrenBKN at SA ($12): Warren couldn’t build on his 20-point performance against the Celtics, scoring only nine points against the Thunder. Oddly enough, he only attempted eight shots in that game. The Nets only scored 102 points, so they might be wise to get more Warren more shots off the bench. If they do in this game, he could exploit this favorable matchup.

Forward to Avoid

Tobias HarrisPHI at LAC ($23): Harris has been quiet lately, scoring 27.8 Yahoo points or fewer in three of the last four games. The 76ers finally have all of their top players healthy, so they might not need to rely as heavily on Harris for added production. Add a limited role to a tough matchup against the Clippers and Harris isn’t that appealing.

CENTERS

Joel EmbiidPHI at LAC ($53): Talk about a heater. Over his last 10 games, Embiid has averaged 35.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 blocks. He shot 56.1 percent from the field during that span, increasing his mark for the season to what would be a career-high 53.6 percent. The Clippers don’t have much size outside of Ivica Zubac, so if he gets into foul trouble, they could be in big trouble.

Nic ClaxtonBKN at SA ($25): Given a chance to be a starter, Claxton has responded in a big way for the Nets. His averages of 11.9 points and 8.5 rebounds don’t exactly jump off the page, but he has been excellent defensively by blocking 2.7 shots per game. He scored 24.5 Yahoo points over just 20 minutes in a blowout win over the Spurs earlier this season, so if this game stays relatively close and he can approach 30 minutes, he could finish with an excellent stat line.

Center to Avoid

Jusuf NurkicPOR at DEN ($27): Nurkic will have his hands full trying to slow down Nikola Jokic. He fouled out in just 21 minutes the last time these two teams met, and he had five fouls each in both of their previous two matchups. He comes with plenty of risk, so since his salary does n’t come at a discount, it might be best to look elsewhere at center.

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