• If you have made it this far, congratulations! We are entering the final two weeks of the season and, for a lot of us, Championship week is upon us. A five-game slate on Sunday did not go calmly into the night. News of Blake Griffin (suspension) returning this Sunday, April 3rd throws a wrench into championship week, as it was reported that he looks “phenomenal” in practice. Add him if your season extends beyond this week and you can afford the dead weight until Sunday. Klay Thompson went off for 40 points for the second time in as many games, but didn’t record an assist. More on what the Warriors think about that later. His teammate Draymond Green triple-doubled again. Also, James Harden (beard illness) went off again for 34/8/8 in a loss, so what else is new? Let’s get to your Daily Dish:

    Clippers 105, Nuggets 90

    No need to tie DeAndre Jordan up in a room after his performance on Sunday. DeAndre was all kinds of helpful to owners needing a big game to advance, shooting 7-for-10 from the field and 2-for-4 from the line for 16 points with 16 rebounds, six blocks and two steals. Your team probably punts free throw percentage, so reap the rewards. Chris Paul (knee) gave it a go and held the highest +/- for the Clippers with +22, scoring 14 points with two treys, six rebounds, nine dimes, one steal and one block. I wouldn’t worry about him slowing down with the return of Blake Griffin this Sunday.

    J.J. Redick was inefficient in this one and wasn’t asked to do too much, shooting just 4-for-12 for 12 points with two threes and two steals in an empty line. Ignore this line as Redick sat the entire fourth quarter in a blowout and played only 23 minutes. Jamal Crawford didn’t wow owners much on Sunday either on a 14-point night off of 3-for-8 shooting from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. There are too many other players to roster this week who can help in a loaded schedule over Crawford and put up similar stats. Jeff Green came to play in 29 minutes, putting up 13 points, six rebounds, two steals and one block. His volatility is not what you want at this point in the season.

    Outside of DeAndre, CP3, Redick and Blake (beginning April 3), the Clippers don’t have reliable options. Put your faith on waiver wire fodder elsewhere.

    That elsewhere may just be on the Nuggets, whose bench outplayed their starters on Sunday. Denver’s starters were atrocious, shooting a combined 11-for-49 from the field. Leading that effort was Emmanuel Mudiay, who shot 2-for-15 from the field and scored four points with one assist and two turnovers.

    Darrell Arthur has cooled off significantly for owners as well, scoring six points on 2-of-13 shooting with 12 rebounds and four turnovers in 23 minutes. He was outplayed by Joffrey Lauvergne, who played 18 minutes and put up 10 points and four boards. With Kenneth Faried (back) uncertain game-to-game going forward, the Nuggets’ power forward situation is a guessing game. With the stakes so high in leagues this deep into the season, you can do better to find a clearer situation.

    The only two starters you can count on for the Nuggets these days are Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic, but even they couldn’t get too much going. Harris was 4-for-10 with 11 points and three triples and will get all the minutes he can handle moving forward, as he has done all season. Jokic was outmatched by DeAndre Jordan, so don’t look too much into his five-point nine-rebound line. He will bounce back in a big way against the Mavs tonight.

    The Nuggets did have a few fantasy bright spots Sunday, as the bench had some nice lines. D.J. Augustin continued to get it done for owners, logging a Nuggets-high 34 minutes for a double-double off of the bench for 18 points with three triples, 10 assists, two rebounds and two steals. Augustin has been clutch for owners in the playoffs, posting top-80 value over the past month. Grab him if you need solid guard play.

    Speaking of adds, Jusuf Nurkic was solid again in 24 minutes on Sunday, shooting 9-for-13 from the field for 19 points with seven boards, three assists and one block. His top-100 production over the last week has come while Faried (back) has missed games, so it’s all about opportunity for Nurkic, as the talent is obviously there. Nurkic is a high upside add.

    The chances that you have made it this far with Will Barton are slim, but kudos if you are a survivor. Barton did a little bit of everything Sunday, shooting 6-for-11 from the field for 13 points with one three, three assists, three rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Barton is worth owning as he has produced late-round value over the last week and benefits from the Nuggets’ nice schedule this week. Look at Augustin, Nurkic and Barton in that order.

    Pacers 104, Rockets 101

    The Pacers are very top-heavy in fantasy these days, as there isn’t much help outside of their starters. Paul George continues to lead that unit, double-doubling for 25 points with four threes, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 38 minutes on the second-leg of a back-to-back Sunday. His leg is fine. Monta Ellis was terrific as well with 23 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one block. Ian Mahinmi also added a double-double of his own with 19 points (8-for-12 from the field) and 11 rebounds. He will be useful in a four-game week this week.

    Your duds on the Pacers’ side came from George Hill and Myles Turner. Hill scored only three points on 1-for-5 shooting with three rounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Ouch. Hill is mid-tier value and is coming off of a 17-3-2-3 game, so don’t panic just yet. Myles Turner also put up a stinker, going scoreless on Sunday with three rebounds, two steals and one block. Turner had a 24/16 line with three blocks early last week, so you can hold his late-round value in this four-game week.

    Only one game separates the Jazz, Rockets and Mavs for the 7th – 9th seeds in the West. The Rockets are sitting alone in 8th with just a ½ game lead over the Mavs. You can bet on players from all three teams doing anything they can to get on the court during the stretch run. That was evident on Sunday as James Harden (illness) fought his way to be on the court in a losing effort. Between a sore ankle and feeling ill, Harden managed to go off for 34 points (11-for-22 shooting from the field) with four threes, eight assists, eight rebounds and one steal. It’s too bad he only plays three games this week.

    Dwight Howard double-doubled on Sunday with an 11/10 game with two blocks. Trevor Ariza was useful as well in 39 minutes, scoring 14 points with two threes, two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Both Dwight and Ariza should be locked in to lineups this week.

    The next tier of Rockets players who are ownable could be tricky to hold on to in a three-game week. Patrick Beverly is a good source of threes, assists and steals, but might cut you short in all three categories this week. Beverly is likely to perform better than his six-point, three-assist effort tonight going forward, but you can convince me that four games from someone else is better. The same goes for Michael Beasley, who saw just 22 minutes on Sunday for nine points, seven boards, one assist and one steal. Beasley isn’t shy with the ball so use him for his points and rebounds, but keep a short leash. He is still outperforming Donatus Motiejunas, who started and played just 15 minutes in a dud performance. I’d own Beverly, Beasley and Motie in that order, but feel free to cut bait on all-three if you can make ample moves.

Fantasy News

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    In a recent fan question session Bucks' GM Jon Horst hinted towards signing Giannis Antetokounmpo to a supermax extension when eligible.

    Horst mentioned that he cannot technically discuss an extension until he is eligible, but said Antetokounmpo will be a Buck for a long time. The Greek Freak will be eligible next summer and is all but sure to get a supermax extension.

    Source: Fox Sports Wisconsin on Twitter

  • Tacko Fall
    C, Boston Celtics

    Tacko Fall (mild knee sprain) is expected to miss one week after a collision in workouts.

    With training camp two weeks away, Fall should be ready to roll by then. He is currently on an Exhibit 10 contract, battling for the final roster spot with Javonte Green (partially guaranteed) and Kaiser Gates (Exhibit 10). Fall is an intriguing talent at 7'7" but is not expected to be fantasy relevant in his first season even if he does make the team with the Celtics already carrying four center eligible players on guaranteed contracts.

    Source: Jared Weiss on Twitter

  • Nicolas Batum
    SG, Charlotte Hornets

    According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been informed that, "The agenda is youth and development."

    The article adds that both players will have a chance to compete for minutes but the Hornets' top priority will be to develop their younger players which bodes well for Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, Devonte Graham, P.J. Washington and Willy Hernangomez. Miles was already putting up near top-100 value to close the season at around 25 minutes per game while the rest of the players could all produce fantasy value if given the minutes so they should at least be put on the watch list to see how the preseason plays out.

    Source: Charlotte Observer

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting and drained seven triples as Serbia topped Czech Republic 90-81 to finish in 5th place.

    Bogdanovic also added four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and was certainly one of the most impressive players in the tournament. Although he has the talent to be a successful full-time starter, the 27-year old will likely be relegated to a similar 25-27 minute, off-the-bench role he played last season with Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and newly added Trevor Ariza also on the wings. Nikola Jokic also did his usual thing this game with seven points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Boban Marjanovic and Nemanja Bejlica were not really involved in this one, playing only two and eight minutes, respectively.

    Source: FIBA

  • Donovan Mitchell
    SG, Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell scored 16 points with 10 assists as US beat Poland 87-74 on Saturday to finish seventh place in the tournament.

    Mitchell was an efficient 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from downtown but the bigger story of course was USA's disappointing showing as this was only the second time that they finished outside the top-3 in the FIBA World Cup since 1978. Kemba Walker (neck), Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Marcus Smart (hand/quad/calf) all sat out the final game as they now have two weeks to rest before the start of training camp.

    Source: FIBA

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    Evan Fournier scored 16 points to lead France in their semifinal loss to Argentina by the score of 80-66.

    This was a really poor showing all around in an elimination game by the French team. Fournier scored an inefficient 16 and was joined by Frank Ntilikina's 16 as two of just three French players in double figures.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert was invisible in France's loss to Argentina in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup, scoring just three points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.

    This just wasn't enough from Gobert, who couldn't impose his will against a weaker Argentina squad on paper. Joining him in the "forgot there was a game" club was Nicolas Batum, who consistently finds a way to do nothing in heavy minutes. Batum's line in this one was a paltry three points (1-of-6 shooting), five boards, one assist and a block.

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills was the star for Australia, scoring 34 points and hitting four triples against Spain, but Australia fell in double overtime 95-88.

    Mills did as much as he could but he just didn't get enough help from his supporting cast. Joe Ingles couldn't find the basket and only had four points (to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists). With that off night of shooting from Ingles, the Aussies needed someone like Matthew Dellavedova (six points) or Aron Baynes (six points) to step up.

  • Ricky Rubio
    PG, Phoenix Suns

    Ricky Rubio approached a triple-double in the semi-final win over Australia with 19 points, seven boards and 12 assists in 38 minutes.

    It was another big line for Rubio in the semis, who has been a stalwart for this Spanish run to the finals. He was inefficient from the field (6-of-19) but ran the offense well and should be a factor again in the final game.

  • Marc Gasol
    C, Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol carried Spain to the FIBA World Cup Final in a double-OT win over Australia, finishing with 33 points, six rebounds and four assists.

    Gasol had a great outing to lift Spain here and they should have a great shot at winning the title against Argentina. We'll see how this high workload summer affects him going into the new season.