April 1, 2016, 9:13 am
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.
June 6, 2020, 9:40 pmTrae YoungPG, Atlanta Hawks
The eight NBA teams left out of the remainder of the season proposed to play a summer league with televised games to help the development of younger players.
The teams are concerned that the extended time off from playing organized basketball for their young players. Hawks owner, Tony Ressler told Ramon Shelburne that "Nine months is too long without organized basketball. I think the league has heard that loud and clear. We are pushing to remain competitive. That's what our players want. We were desperate to have something that helps us to stay competitive." It's encouraging that the eight NBA teams seem to be on the same page with playing games before the start of the 2020-2021 season. This would likely only include younger players, so it would be an interesting opportunity to monitor emerging prospects.
June 6, 2020, 9:20 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times reported that the Sixers' assistant coach, Ime Udoka, is the front-runner to be hired as the Bulls' new head coach.
New president Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley are looking to part ways with current head coach Jim Boylen. This will likely be a positive for younger players on the Bulls' roster as Boylen seemed to have a disconnect with them. Raptors' assistant coach Adrian Griffin is also in consideration to be the Bulls' coach.
Source: Chicago Sun Times
June 6, 2020, 9:08 pmMeyers LeonardC, Miami Heat
Erik Spoelstra said that Meyers Leonard (sprained left ankle) is "feeling great".
Leonard has been steadily recovering given the extra time off with the season being suspended. It was reported by Sports Illustrated back in April that he would be ready to return when the NBA season resumes and it appears that is still the case with Spoelstra's latest comment. Leonard will be a role player for the Heat with limited minutes, which makes him unreliable for fantasy.
Source: Miami Herald
June 6, 2020, 7:13 pmAl-Farouq AminuPF, Orlando Magic
Al-Farouq Aminu (right torn meniscus), "most likely will not be healthy enough to return," when the season resumes according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Aminu had season-ending surgery in early January and shed his brace in March. There some some speculation he could return due to the extra time off but in an interview this week, Magic president Jeff Weltman didn't give any indication Aminu was close to a return saying, “Not a whole lot of news there. As always, we’re going to wait and see how they respond to rehab." With Jonathan Isaac in the same boat as Aminu, expect Khem Birch and James Ennis to continue splitting the frontcourt minutes opposite Aaron Gordon.
Source: Orlando Sentinel
June 5, 2020, 10:31 pmKyrie IrvingPG, Brooklyn Nets
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Kyrie Irving (right shoulder) could conceivably join his Nets' teammates in Orlando when they return to play later this summer, albeit as an inactive player.
There was really never much of a possibility that Irving would return to action in 2019-20 unless the season got pushed back severely. After the arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in late February, the Nets tentatively said they expected to have him back in time for preseason workouts in the fall (which will now likely take place in November or later). That still seems like the likely scenario, even given the long pause the league was forced to undergo. Caris LeVert had shown flashes of brilliance again this season after he returned from injury, so he and Spencer Dinwiddie will evidently be shouldering the ball-handling duties when the Nets take the floor in Orlando.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowksi on Twitter
June 5, 2020, 10:09 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant (right Achilles) confirmed on Friday that he will not take the court for the Nets when they return to play in Orlando in late July and early August when they close out the 2019-20 season.
Given the extended pause to the current season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there were many who believed the Nets could plausibly try to bring back both Durant and Kyrie Irving from their respective injuries in order to make a push for a championship later this summer. Evidently, Durant will remain out of the equation for the Nets as they look to close out the season on a high note. "My season is over," Durant said. The Nets currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and will have to maintain that position in order to avoid the planned play-in bracket to decide the eighth seed after the initial eight final "regular season" games. Durant has never seemed likely to play, even with the pandemic disrupting the season, and it seems as though he won't be playing for the Nets in Orlando. Much crazier things have happened, though.
Source: The Undefeated
June 5, 2020, 9:38 pmKelly Oubre Jr.SF, Phoenix Suns
Kelly Oubre Jr. (torn right meniscus) will be able to take the floor for the Suns when the NBA returns to play in Orlando on July 31, the team's owner Robert Sarver said on Friday.
This is phenomenal news for the Suns, as Oubre had really been having a breakout season for the Suns (18.7 PTS, 6.4 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK and 1.9 threes per game in 34.5 minutes) prior to going down with a torn meniscus in late February. He was originally expected to miss the rest of the 2019-20 season, but due to the pandemic he has recovered and will evidently be fully functional for a team that currently sits in 13th place in the Western Conference. They will have quite the uphill battle to force their way into the playoff field in August, as there will only be eight regular season games played before the playoffs are set.
Source: Arizona Sports
June 5, 2020, 9:22 pmJonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
The President of Basketball Operations for the Magic, Jeff Weltman, said Friday that the team does not expect Jonathan Isaac (left knee) to return when league play resumes, but that they will also be letting his rehab program dictate his timetable.
Isaac has been sidelined since the beginning of January after a serious injury to his left knee.
He was scheduled to be re-evaluated in 8-10 weeks but the impact of the coronavirus has muddled things up with many players, Isaac included. The Magic don't want to risk Isaac's immediate future, as he is under contract for one more season and is eligible for a qualifying offer prior to the 2021-22 season. With the Magic sitting in eighth place in the East and looking a (potential) fight for the right to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs as the eighth seed in August, the Magic brass may opt to keep Isaac out until the beginning of next season. That seems likely, at least.
Source: 96.9 The Game on Twitter
June 5, 2020, 5:37 pmKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
Marc Stein is reporting that the NBPA has agreed to continue negotiations with the league for a 22-team restart to the season.
Stein also noted that not everything is settled at this point, and more items need to be agreed upon before the NBPA is ready to sign and proceed forward with the resumption of games. It sounds like we're still on a path to an agreement, but the NBPA still has a few points to clarify before it is all said and done. Stay tuned.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
June 5, 2020, 5:29 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Shams Charania is reporting that the NBPA informed players that they will be tested on a nightly basis for COVID-19 and a positive test will result in quarantine for a minimum of seven days.
The resumption of play will also include 2-3 preseason games and a bubble of 1600 total people. Players will not have tracking devices on them but they are expected to stay in the bubble for the entire period. Everything is gradually coming together and the schedule for the return to play is becoming more and more clear for all parties.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter