• First of all, let me say that it’s a huge relief not having to report on a player dislocating, breaking, or rupturing anything on their body in this post.

    However, Thursday night was not completely injury-free. Michael Beasley suffered a bad ankle sprain and even though X-rays came back negative, the forward was seen wearing a walking boot after the game.

    A couple of injury updates do include JaMychal Green, who is expected to miss “a few weeks” with an ankle injury of his own. Jarell Martin will be inserted into the Grizzlies’ starting lineup. Jeremy Lin has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured patella tendon. Yes, go and grab those Allen Crabbes and Caris LeVerts where you can. Run along now. Hurry!

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    On to the games from Thursday night.

    Chicago Bulls 100 – Toronto Raptors 117

    The Bulls were clearly outmatched and outgunned by the Raptors. As a result, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan got to take it easy, consequently delivering sub-par performances for their respective owners in fantasy. Lowry had 12 points and nine dimes, while DeRozan scored 11 points and got six boards. This was a blowout so owners need not worry too much.

    Jonas Valanciunas bullied the Bulls’ frontcourt, dropping 23 points and 15 rebounds. Big night! Just don’t expect him to lead the team in scoring like this in most games.

    Norman Powell had a solid outing as a starter with 15 points and three triples in 25 minutes.

    Lauri Markkanen had a solid game as the Bulls’ starting power forward, dropping 17 points and eight boards. He will continue to see extended minutes while Nikola Mirotic (concussion, facial surgery) and Bobby Portis (suspended eight games) are out of commission. Lauri should be added in standard leagues at this point.

    Robin Lopez led the Bulls in scoring with 18 points and eight boards of his own. Justin Holiday filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, four treys, four rebounds, a steal and a block. Denzel Valentine hit four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points in 26 minutes off the bench.

    New York Knicks 84 – Oklahoma City Thunder 105

    It was “Porzingod Time” for the Knicks as Kristaps Porzingis dropped 31 points and 12 boards, with two treys and a block. Unfortunately, Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t have a great game. He struggled on the offensive end, shooting 3-of-10 from the field to finish with eight points and two treys. He should bounce back soon and owners need to be patient.

    Enes Kanter was the only other Knick to score in double figures, chiming in with 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes.

    Willy Hernangomez was invisible in the four minutes allotted to him as the third center for the Knicks last night. He scored three points and got one block. Kyle O’Quinn leapfrogged over him in the depth chart and played 22 minutes. This is likely Hornacek just tinkering with variable rotations. Wait for a game or two more before deciding to cut ties with Hernangomez.

    The Thunder came in guns blazing with their new additions, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony filling up the stat sheet in their debuts. George finished the night with 28 points, six treys, six boards, a steal and a block. Anthony notched 22 points, three triples, two steals and two blocks to his name. We don’t need to worry too much about these two stars being able to find their fill while playing alongside Westbrook. At least for now.

    Surprise, surprise! Russell Westbrook still managed to do “Russell Westbrook Things,” logging his first triple-double of the season with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 16 assists.

    Some inspired defense from Steven Adams resulted in the big man delivering one of the best lines of the night with 12 points, five boards, five steals and three blocks. It was a good start for the Thunder’s center. Now that there is no pressure whatsoever for him to score, Adams appears to be content to devote all of his concentration and effort on defense. His big night might be an outlier so wait and see if he can duplicate it before trading for him. While it’s too early to dub him as their “Fourth Musketeer,” Adams does have a good shot of taking the next step as a reliable defensive big man.

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    Los Angeles Clippers 108 – Los Angeles Lakers 92

    It was “The Griffin and Jordan Show” as both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan abused the Lakers’ soft frontcourt. Jordan was a beast on the glass as he pulled down 24 boards to go along with his 14 points. He did fail to block a shot, which was a bummer. Griffin did his damage from all over the floor and all ranges. He shot 12-of-23 from the field and made 3-of-6 shots from deep as well. IF Griffin can stay healthy, there’s no reason to expect him to end the season outside of the top-50.

    It was not all roses and rainbows for the entire Clippers squad. Danilo Gallinari could not overpay for a bucket last night. He struggled mightily, making just 3-of-13 shots from the field. Consider this an off night and expect Gallo to bounce back sooner rather than later.

    The backcourt duo of Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic was a sight to behold. Their combination of offense and defense made it hard to notice the absence of Chris Paul. Austin Rivers shot a dismal 1-of-11 from the field in 26 minutes off the bench, so expect Teodosic to stick with the rest of the starters in the next few games to come.

    Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball, got a taste of real defense as Beverley was in his face all throughout the game. Ball still managed to grab nine boards, hand out four dimes with a trey, steal and block to his name. His low-key start should not be a cause for concern. Ball should see better games down the road.

    Larry Nance Jr. drew the start at power forward and outplayed his competition for minutes by a wide margin. He scored 14 points and grabbed 12 boards in 30 minutes on the floor. Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma logged 18 and 19 minutes, respectively. Round 1 goes to Nance, but expect him to face stiffer competition from these two guys in other games.

    Brook Lopez was a bright spot for the Lakers as he led the youngsters with 20 points, six boards and a full line.

    Brandon Ingram shot 3-of-15 from the field and finished the game with 12 points, five boards and four dimes.

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!

Fantasy News

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

    Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • Michael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets

    As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

    Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.

    Source: The Denver Post

  • Jonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.

    Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.

    Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.

    Source: Micha Adams on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.

    Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.

    The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.

    Source: ESPN

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry posted a solid line in Saturday's Game 6 win scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and only one turnover.

    After a pedestrian series against the 76ers, Lowry stepped it up against the Bucks, averaging almost 20 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. He did a great job making smart plays for the Raptors and they will need him to continue to operate at this high level as they head off into the NBA Finals next week.

  • Marc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol scored six points, all from behind the arc, in Saturday's Game 6 win, adding three rebounds, two assists and a block/steal in 26 minutes.

    Gasol continues to do what the Raptors ask of him though the years of grinding in the paint for Memphis are long gone. He has adjusted his game play and now acts as a facilitator for the rest of the team. Gasol continues to split time in the post with Serge Ibaka (25 minutes, nine points) and will see his minutes fluctuate based on the Raptor's offensive scheme heading into the NBA Finals.

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet was a difference maker for the Raptors' series clinching Game 6, scoring 14 points off the bench on 5-for-6 shooting while adding two assists.

    VanVleet played 34 minutes off the bench and continues to be a menace from behind the 3-point line (4-for-5 today). In the past three games he has gone an unbelievable 14-for-17 from behind the arc. The Raptors will continue to rely on his ability to stretch the floor as they head into their first NBA Finals and will square off against the Warriors and their own formidable shooters.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points in Saturday's Game 6 loss while contributing 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks and two turnovers.

    Antetokounmpo did all that was asked of him on both sides of the ball but could not get past the Raptors this series. Giannis continues to operate at an MVP-level but his freethrow woes continue to plague him. He was "Shaq-esque" this series (55%) and shot 5-for-10 in tonight's loss. This is a tough break for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks as they head into the offseason with four of their five starters entering free agency.