March 30, 2016, 2:29 am
#RestGate was in full-motion on Tuesday night, as first-round fantasy studs Kevin Durant and LeBron James sat out their respective games. Serge Ibaka was on the shelf too. Tuesday featured a six-game slate with all kinds of playoff implications in five out of six games, so the players who did play tried to be on their best behavior. Nicolas Batum was one of them. Some were, and some weren’t. Let’s find out what it all meant in today’s edition of Daily Dish:
BULLS 98, PACERS 96
The Bulls seems to enjoy making it an exciting game every time they face the Pacers. All three of the Bulls wins this season have been within three points, as Jimmy Butler nailed a 10-footer to win the game with 3.7 seconds left. Unfortunately, game winners don’t help too much in fantasy. Butler was 6-for-10 from the field for 14 points with four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 36 minutes. The Bulls swear up and down that Butler is fine, but it’s an election year. Results are all that matter.
The Bulls gutted out a win even without their floor general Taj Gibson (ribs) who left the game at halftime and did not return. Nikola Mirotic was a huge reason, scoring 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting with seven threes, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes off the bench. With five chances this week, Mirotic was bound to go off, as he did similarly last week in Madison Square Garden. Mirotic plays three more times this week and should be started in all leagues.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bulls game this season if there weren’t multiple injuries. In addition to Taj, Derrick Rose suffered a hyperextended elbow and was being evaluated after the game ended. Rose played through it, but having to get X-rays after the game never sounds good. E’Twaun Moore (hamstring) returned from a six-game absence and played 24 minutes and had five points, four boards and one steal. If Rose misses time, go with Moore over Aaron Brooks.
Players were falling like flies in this contest, as Paul George tweaked his left ankle but stayed in the game. PG24 went for 20 points, nine boards, five assists, four steals and one block. With the Pacers leading the Bulls for 8th place in the East by just two games, George should fight to play on despite the injury. Keep a close eye on his status moving forward, but he should be fine. Ian Mahinmi kept up the recent trend for big men to gash the Bulls inside with 18 points, seven boards and two blocks. This is the third straight game that Mahinmi has scored 18 or more points, marking the best three game stretch of scoring in his career. The Pacers play three more games this week so hold on to him.
A poor game for Monta Ellis these days looks a little bit like Tuesday night, as he shot 3-for-12 from the field for eight points with five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. I’ll take that. Expect Monta to bounce back and finish the week strong. Bad George Hill is quite a bit worse than bad Monta, and unfortunately for owners that’s the version we got Tuesday. Hill followed Sunday’s three-point, three-rebound, three-assist dud with six points, three rebounds and four assists on Tuesday. He is still posting 11th round value over the past week and is a hold for now, but his last two outings aren’t pretty.
Myles Turner followed the ugly trend, scoring six point on 3-of-8 shooting with five boards and one block. His 10th round value over the last week should rise with an easier schedule on the horizon. Be patient as the Pacers still have three more contests this week.
MAGIC 139, NETS 105
Skiles was handing out minutes tonight like Oprah to her audience. You get 20 minutes! You get 20 minutes! Nine players shared the wealth with over 20 minutes on Tuesday in the Magic win. The blowout had a lot to do with it, and none felt the effect of this more than Victor Oladipo (wrist) who made his return to the lineup after a two-game absence. Dipo played just 25 minutes, shooting 3-for-7 from the field with one three ball for seven points, three boards, eight assists and three steals. He will get more time in closer games.
It was encouraging to see that Elfrid Payton didn’t slow down despite Dipo’s return, as he scored 11 points with five rebounds, 12 assists and two steals. Payton is posting top-80 value since returning from injury six games ago. Expect to see big numbers from him down the stretch. No other Magic point guards deserve your attention.
Nikola Vucevic (groin) sat this one out after returning to practice on Monday, leaving the power forwards to get all the work they wanted. Aaron Gordon and Andrew Nicholson took advantage, combining for 44 points on 18-of-20 shooting. Gordon will continue to hold value, but Vucevic will put a cloud on all other frontcourt value on the Magic. That’s right, for fantasy purposes, consider Dewayne Dedmon a dead man.
The Nets rested Thaddeus Young and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on Tuesday, getting a chance to look at other players in the rotation. Thomas Robinson stepped up for 18 points with 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes. This guy just needs minutes. Keep an eye on the Nets starting lineup in the coming days and consider T-Rob if he gets a start.
Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic were benched for the entire second half, for no apparent reason other than to piss off fantasy owners. Since it was an 18-point deficit at halftime, Net coach Tony Brown got a chance to look at some of his other players. Keep both Lopez and Bojan on rest alert moving forward.