• With six games on the schedule for Thursday night there was a lot of playoff positioning to be figured out. If you weren’t able to catch any of the action don’t fear as HoopBall has you covered on all of Thursday nights action.

    Nets 87, Cavs 107

    The Cavs were coming into the game against the Nets on Thursday night with only a two-game lead on the Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference. After suffering an embarrassing loss to the Nets the Thursday before, everyone kind of knew that this time would be different. Led by Lebron James and Kevin Love the Cavs were able to put up a win and move to 2.5 games ahead of the Raptors for first in the East.

    In a game that saw the King pass Dominique Wilkins for 12th place on the all-time scoring list, he was able to finish with 24 points and 11 assists in only three quarters of play. When LeBron was asked about moving to 12th on the scoring list after the game, he was definitely proud of the honor but for him the main focus right now is for the Cavs to finish first in the East.

    With the Raptors still only 2.5 games back it looks as if the Cavs will have to start their superstars on most nights if they truly want to finish in first, which is great for fantasy owners. However, keep your eyes on @HoopBallTweets daily to see if the Cavs rest any stars. Expect J.R. Smith and Channing Frye to have some fantasy value in 12-14 man leagues if any of them rest down the stretch.

    For the Nets, the five game week hasn’t been as juicy for fantasy owners as was thought prior to the week starting as head coach Tony Brown has been sitting some of his players. On Thursday night it was Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s turn to take a seat on the first night of back-to-back games.

    None of the Nets players were able to muster up big games even with Lopez out but Thaddeus Young finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.  Shane Larkin added 13 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two steals, and Thomas Robinson had his second straight double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Look for Lopez to return on Friday and make sure he is plugged into your lineup with remaining games against the Knicks and the Pelicans’ depleted frontcourt left this week.

    Bulls 103, Rockets 100

    With both teams fighting for the final playoff spot in their respective conferences, everyone knew they were going to be in for a treat when the Bulls met the Rockets in the Toyota Center on Thursday night. To start the second half, the Rockets were able to take a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Bulls took over the game and were able to steal a win in Houston and move to within a game behind the Pacers for the final playoff spot. The Rockets dropped to a half-game out of the eight slot in the West.

    Pau Gasol finished the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds but also six turnovers in 31 minutes of play. Jimmy Butler had 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals but the largest effort of the night came from Nikola Mirotic, who scored 28 points on 8/14 shooting to go along with five 3-pointers. It seems like Mirotic is getting hot at the right time with 28 points scored in each of his last two games.  Make sure you have him locked into your lineups right now with the Bulls fighting for the playoffs.

    For the Rockets, even a career-high 22 points from Patrick Beverley on Thursday night wasn’t enough to beat the Bulls. James Harden had 24 points and eight assists but made only 2-of-7 threes. Michael Beasley continued to provide points (20) and rebounds (11) and he should be able to do that for owners going forward.

    Magic 114. Pacers 94

    The Magic stunned the Pacers on Thursday night as they were able to pull out a huge 20-point victory and leave the Pacers with only a one-game lead on the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East. This was the Magic’s first victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in over four years. With nothing left to play for the Magic have won their third straight game after losing six in a row. The Pacers on the other hand have to get back to winning some games if they want to book their ticket to the playoffs. With five of their seven remaining games coming against teams under .500 they need to capitalize now.

    For the Magic, Victor Oladipo had a big game with 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals as he continues to dominate. Evan Fournier had 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and the big man Nikola Vucevic finally returned and contributed 24 points on 12-of-15 shooting. If Vucevic was dropped in any leagues, make sure to scoop him up for the remaining two weeks of the season. It might be a good idea to drop Elfrid Payton now that Vucevic and Oladipo are back as his numbers should take a hit with his usage rate dropping.

    Paul George had 27 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. Ian Mahinmi fell back down to earth finishing with only six points and seven rebounds but was still able to get a couple of steals and one block. Continue to plug Mahinmi into your lineup.

Fantasy News

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White has reportedly passed the first concussion test after taking a nasty fall in Team USA's tuneup game vs. the Australian Boomers on Saturday.

    This is good news. White has worked hard for his Team USA roster spot and should provide some guard depth for them once he clears concussion protocols. He was an eye-opener last season and should still hold some fantasy value despite the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.

    Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.

    Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.

    White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.

    Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills went off in the fourth quarter and finished with 30 points as Australia beat USA 98-94.

    Although it was only an exhibition, it was still a huge moment for Mills and the Australian team in front of a huge crowd as they handed the US team their first loss since 2006. Mills was serenaded with MVP chants as Joe Ingles also played well with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and seven assists while Andrew Bogut came off the bench for 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes, shooting 7-of-8 from the field.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma is out for Team USA's tuneup up game vs. Australia with a sore left ankle.

    Kuzma is being held out of this one for precautionary reasons. There's clearly no need for USA Basketball to risk him further injuring the sore ankle. This does not sound like a serious injury and should not affect his fantasy ADP on draft day.

    Source: USA Basketball on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

    The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Marcus Derrickson
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.

    It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.

    Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter

  • Marreese Speights
    C, Free Agent

    Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.

    Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter