• The Eastern conference semis is shaping up like a remix of 2016-17. The Cavaliers and Celtics secured 2-0 leads versus their respective opponents. And you all know what that means; we’re one step closer to a rematch between LeBron James, and, uh, Brad Stevens. That should be good. Neither the Cavaliers nor the Celtics look anything like they did in 2016-17, so it should be a fun to watch.

    Am I counting out the Raptors and the Sixers out too soon? Perhaps. While the idea of either of those teams coming back and upsetting the current favorites to advance would be a picturesque storyline, it’s just an unlikely scenario.

    Cleveland Cavaliers 128 – 110 Toronto Raptors (Cavs Up 2-0)

    The Raptors did not need a late-game implosion to lose this one. LeBron and Kevin Love pummeled them into submission.

    James was a man possessed from the get-go and decided that this would be one of those games that he would score at will and be that unstoppable force that would mow down the competition. As the King decreed, it was so. LeBron flirted with a triple-double as he erupted for 43 points, eight rebounds, 14 dimes, a trey and a steal. Kevin Love rose to the occasion and made up for his lackluster 7-point performance in Game 1 and delivered 31 points, 11 boards and a full line. The duo did not need much more help from their supporting cast to seal this game.

    Speaking of duos, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 45 points. Jonas Valanciunas had another solid outing on the glass with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Serge Ibaka was a non-factor in 12 minutes on the floor. Fred VanVleet led the bench with 14 points, but obviously, that was not going to be enough.

    The Cavs are poised to sweep this series and the Raptors would be lucky to take one game off them.

    Philadelphia 76ers 103 – 108 Boston Celtics (Celtics Up 2-0)

    The Sixers came to play with a renewed sense of urgency at the beginning of this game, but it would not last. They controlled the tempo early on, while the Celtics were looking like they needed a double-shot of espresso before they got into game mode. In the end, the Celtics woke up in time and hustled their way back and eventually closed out the game for the win.

    Even with Joel Embiid and Robert Covington stepping up with 20 and 22 points, respectively, the Sixers could not hang on to their early-game advantage. A big reason for that was Ben Simmons being shut down in this game. He went 0-for-4 from the field and had seven assists to his name in 31 minutes. Not the kind of game you want to see out of your star point guard in an important game. Credit goes to both Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart, who schooled the rookie.

    Speaking of rookies, Jason Tatum led the Celtics with 21 points and a full stat line. He’s proven time and again that he is one of the top rookies of the 2017 class.  Al Horford shook off a sluggish start and still finished the game with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double. As for the guards, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart played well in the second half and delivered a combined 39 points and eight 3-pointers for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown dropped 13 points off the bench but is not 100 percent and was visibly limping a bit in the game.

    The Celtics, like the Cavs in their series, are looking good enough to polish off the Sixers in four games. The Process is still, well, a work in progress. They’ve already exceeded expectations and are going to be one the scariest teams in the east for years to come. It’s just not their time. Not yet.

Fantasy News

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter

  • Jaylen Adams
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.

    Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.

    Source: NBA