• 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

  • John Beilein
    , Cleveland Cavaliers

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski, John Beilein is leaving as the Cavs’ coach and J.B. Bickerstaff will be elevated to head coach.

    It’s still not official, but once Woj says it’s happening, it’s happening. A shake-up is likely to be a great thing for this roster that contains at least a few unhappy star players in Kevin Love and Andre Drummond. Be ready to act on any significant role changes that come with this move. For example, will Larry Nance Jr. and/or Kevin Porter Jr. take on expanded roles?

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Terry Rozier (left knee soreness) practiced in full on Tuesday.

    Rozier missed the Hornet's final game heading into the All-Star break, but it wasn't considered to be a long-term concern. Feel free to get Rozier back into all lineups ahead of Thursday's game against the Bulls.

    Source: Rod Boone on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Coach Terry Stotts said that he wouldn't put a timetable on when star point guard Damian Lillard (right groin strain) would return, but he is expected to be re-evaluated on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Lillard was given a timetable of 1-2 weeks last Wednesday, as the All-Star break came at an ideal time. Lillard has a shot to avoid any missed time if his re-evaluation shows progress, but owners should prepare for a scenario in which he misses a handful of games. The Blazers have five games remaining in February.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • Dario Saric
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    The Suns expect Dario Saric (left ankle) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.

    James Jones said that he expects everyone outside ok Frank Kaminsky to be available for Friday's game, meaning Tyler Johnson will be out there as well. While Saric has been out, Mikal Bridges has seen his role expand while Kelly Oubre Jr. has played a lot of PF. Keep an eye on how the rotation shakes out now that the Suns are healthy shakes out.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Aron Baynes
    C, Phoenix Suns

    James Jones said that he expects Aron Baynes (left hip soreness) to be available for Friday's game against the Raptors.

    Baynes will be joining Deandre Ayton and the rest of the injured Suns' players in returning for this one. Baynes hasn't played in roughly a month and should be seeing a minimal role off the bench down the stretch. He can be left on the waiver wire unless something happens to Ayton.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    James Jones said that he expects Deandre Ayton (left ankle soreness) to be available to play against the Raptors on Friday.

    Ayton missed a few games to close out the first half, but it looks like the second-year big man will be good to go when the Suns return to action. Ayton was putting up top-12/16 per-game value in 9/8 cat leagues in the 13 games before going down, and owners have to be ecstatic to get him back in their lineups. Cheick Diallo will revert to a deep reserve role.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Cody Martin
    PF, Charlotte Hornets

    Cody Martin (concussion protocol) fully participated in Tuesday's practice session.

    Martin found himself in the starting lineup before going down a few weeks ago, as he has started to earn a bigger role in coach James Borrego's rotation. With Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture, Martin should have a reasonably safe role for the second half of the season.

    Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Clint Capela (right heel) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.

    Capela doesn't have a specific target date as he continues to fight the heel issue. With Capela out, Dewayne Dedmon will continue to absorb the bulk of minutes at C with Damian Jones backing him up. Over his past four games, Dedmon has averaged 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.8 blocks and 1.0 trey in 28.3 minutes per game.

    Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter

  • Otto Porter Jr.
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Otto Porter Jr. (left foot fracture) returned to Bulls practice on Tuesday.

    Porter added that he felt good and will return to game action when is 100 percent healthy. It was being reported earlier this week that Porter is eyeing a return before the end of the month, and this would be in line with that projection. It is unclear what type of minutes Porter can handle down the stretch, but his versatile skillset makes for an upside stash in fantasy circles.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    C, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle sprain) resumed practicing on Tuesday as he eyes a return to game action.

    Carter is hopeful of playing when the Bulls return to action against the Hornets on Thursday. The Bulls may take a cautious approach and let him get in a few more practices before clearing him, but Carter's arrow is pointing straight up right now. If he is lingering on your league's waiver wire, go grab him.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter