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Fantasy Masters Top 10 Games of the Week

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) scores past the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo (5) at the Amway Center on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Game 1: Chicago Bulls (27-25) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (38-14) – Feb. 18 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers


Why: The Cavaliers are one of the best teams in basketball, and their superstars have played well all season. Chicago is a solid team but they’ve been extremely inconsistent this season and have minor locker room issues. The Bulls could pull of an upset, but it requires former star Derrick Rose to play like his old self. Without Jimmy Butler, the Bulls don’t have the wing players to defend both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, so scoring shouldn’t be an issue for Cleveland.


Game 2: San Antonio Spurs (45-8) @ Los Angeles Clippers (35-18) – Feb. 18 @ 9:30 p.m.


Pick: San Antonio Spurs


Why: San Antonio has been arguably the best franchise over the last 15 or so years, and they’re just as good this year. The only team that has been better is Golden State. The Clippers are one of the hotter teams in the NBA, but they’ll be missing Blake Griffin, and their bench is inconsistent. San Antonio has a lot of great big men who can take advantage of DeAndre Jordan being Los Angeles’ only good post player. The Spurs also have great shooting and veteran presence on the wing, and the Clippers can be lulled to sleep on defense, allowing teams to blow them out.


Game 3: Miami Heat (29-24) @ Atlanta Hawks (31-24) – Feb. 19 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Atlanta Hawks


Why: This game should be extremely close, as both teams are pretty similar. Neither is particularly deep and have inconsistent players. The starters will likely play a lot for both teams, but Atlanta has a slightly better core. Jeff Teague and Al Horford are two of the best players at their positions, Paul Millsap can play multiple positions, and Kyle Korver is a deadly shooter from anywhere on the court. Miami relies a lot on fading superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, both of whom sometimes play poorly due to their age. Expect a close game but Atlanta’s superior core and ball movement should lead them to victory.


Game 4: Toronto Raptors (35-17) @ Chicago Bulls (27-25) – Feb. 19 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Toronto Raptors


Why: The Raptors have been an elite team this year, nearly keeping pace with Cleveland in the East. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are elite wing players, and they have some excellent substitutes like Terrence Ross. Chicago is solid but relies a lot on Jimmy Butler, who will miss this game. Without him, Chicago lacks a shutdown perimeter defender against a team that relies heavily on their guards to both score points and create opportunities for the rest of the team. The Bulls can usually keep games respectable so don’t expect a blowout, but be prepared for a game in which Toronto controls the pace and wins fairly easily.


Game 5: Golden State Warriors (48-4) @ Los Angeles Clippers (35-18) – Feb 20 @ 7:30 p.m.


Pick: Golden State Warriors


Why: Golden State has appeared virtually unstoppable this year, and there’s a strong chance they’ll set the record for most wins in a season, finishing with single-digit losses. A loss to the Warriors should be expected and isn’t embarrassing in the slightest. With Blake Griffin likely to miss this game, the Clippers should be faced with a blowout. Los Angeles’ superstars, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, would have to play out of their minds to even have a chance of keeping the Clippers from drowning under an onslaught of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson 3s.


Game 6: Cleveland Cavaliers (38-14) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (40-14) – Feb. 21 @ 2:30 p.m.


Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder


Why: The one, two punch of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provide a constant, steady offense, but the key to this game will be the play of OKC’s big men. Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter will provide offense where the Cavaliers will rely too heavily on the three-ball, in an attempt to keep pace.


Game 7: Memphis Grizzlies (31-22) @ Toronto Raptors (35-17) – Feb. 21 @ 5:00 p.m.


Pick: Toronto Raptors


Why: Toronto has been an above average team this year, keeping pace with the Cavaliers in the east, on the backs of a star-studded front court of Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. This combo will be too much for Memphis’s average guards, but the real issue will be scoring inside against Toronto’s stable of young, capable big men.


Game 8: Los Angeles Lakers (11-44) @ Chicago Bulls (27-25) – Feb. 21 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Chicago Bulls


Why: Even with extensive injuries, the Chicago Bulls, on their worst day, still have a better team than the Lakers. The Lakers have been horrendous this year. The play of Kobe Bryant has been disappointing and their young talent don’t have enough around them to win games.


Game 9: Golden State Warriors (48-4) @ Atlanta Hawks (31-24) – Feb. 22 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Golden State Warriors


Why: The Golden State Warriors have been nothing short of dominant in their quest to the best record in NBA history. Their offense is arguably the best in the league, they dominate on defense, and have a really good bench presence.


Game 10: Chicago Bulls (27-25) vs. Washington Wizards (24-28) – Feb. 24 @ 7:00 p.m.


Pick: Washington Wizards


Why: Although Washington has struggled this year, the Bulls are struggling right now and have too many injuries. Look for John Wall to abuse a broken-down D-Rose. Without the presence of Jimmy Butler to shut down the other team’s best offensive player, the Bull’s average defense will suffer against a more physical Wizard’s team.

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