April 4, 2016, 12:27 pm
Sunday was a barnburner with 11 games on the schedule. James Harden went off for his 11th 40+ point game of the season in an entertaining must-win game for the Rockets. His beard won a ton of fantasy championships this weekend. Steph Curry (with the shot boyyy) made nine three-pointers last night, setting the bar at a record 378 on the season. He could break 400 if he plays the Warriors’ final five games. Meanwhile, shutdowns and DNPs are hitting fantasy teams left and right.
Kyrie Irving was a no-show on Sunday with a tweaked ankle. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The Nets decided to shutdown Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. The Suns kicked Brandon Knight to the fantasy curb for the rest of the season as well. On the injury front, Blake Griffin returned to the court for the first time in 45 games. He wasn’t exactly jumping over Kias for owners just yet.
Nicolas Batum was injured on Sunday, but it doesn’t look to be serious. With a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, consider Batum day-to-day. Let’s dive in to the madness that was and wasn’t on Sunday in our Daily Dish
PELICANS 106, NETS 87
If you wanted any indication of what ‘Silly Season’ looks like this time of year, look no further than the starting lineups between the Nets and Pelicans:
Nets-Pelicans starting lineups. pic.twitter.com/6mlnvv2cMT
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) April 3, 2016
Both teams have a ton of guys on the “Stream Team,” depending on what you need. Need a point guard? Grab Tim Frazier. He took over the game with a career high in points and assists with a double-double to the tune of 7-for-11 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the line for 19 points with 13 dimes, two threes, two rebounds, three steals and no turnovers in 37 minutes. Frazier became the first NBA player since Chris Duhon in 2008 to have 13 assists and 0 turnovers off the bench. You can’t expect him to repeat these numbers, but he will have every opportunity to put up strong point guard stats for the Pelicans as they wind down the season.
Need scoring? Luke Babbitt is at your service. Babbitt seemed to dominate the ball whenever he got a touch, shooting 8-for-15 from the first for 21 points on three threes with four assists, one rebound and one block.
How about a guy who does a little bit of everything? Dante Cunningham is averaging 32 minutes per game with 1.0 threes, 13.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.3 blocks per game over his last three outings. He can help in several ways.
Big men problems? Alexis Ajinca started the second half for Omer Asik (4 minutes, 2 turnovers) and ended up with 29 minutes, shooting 7-for-9 from the field for 16 points, six rebounds, four blocks, one assist and one steal. Kendrick Perkins made a cameo in this one too, which gives you an idea about how anyone from the stands was able to get in to the game. He could make noise in your “Where are they now?” leagues, but I’d still pass. The Pelicans seem to have owners covered on all fronts.
When news broke early on Sunday that the Nets will protect their investments and shut down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the final six games of the regular season, owners dove to their computers to add Thomas Robinson. Rightfully so. T-Rob went for an 11-point, 15-rebound double-double. He can be huge for owners down the stretch if you can survive his poor free throw shooting. Henry Sims can be useful as well, as he started and played 30 minutes, shooting 5-for-11 for 12 points with seven boards, one assist and one steal. I prefer T-Rob over Sims, but there is plenty of opportunity here with Lopez and Thad out the rest of the way.
Shane Larkin capped off his five-game week with a bit of a struggle to shoot the rock (3-for-12 FGs) but had a helpful showing with nine assists, four rebounds and two steals. Donald Sloan (illness) was out sick today but Larkin has the keys to the offense and is a good source for dimes.
It was nice to see Rondae Hollis-Jefferson start out well, hitting a trey early on, but he finished the game with only 19 minutes for eight points, two rebounds, one steal and two blocks. He was the best talent out there but his limited minutes are a concern. The Nets do schedule RHJ for occasional rest days so if you are an owner, monitor his status before every game.
ROCKETS 118, THUNDER 110
With the Rockets one game behind the Jazz going in to Sunday, they had to steal one at home against their old friends by any means necessary. James Harden made sure they did. He was cooking Sunday, going off for 41 points (12-for-25 FGs, 12-for-14 FTs) with five triples, nine assists, four boards, three steals, one block and five turnovers. He came through for owners in their championship weeks in a big way. The Rockets are very much alive in the playoff hunt and should deploy their starters the rest of the way.
It seemed as though Harden did everything Sunday, and that was mostly true. Trevor Ariza played second fiddle, scoring 18 points with three treys, seven rebounds and three assists. Patrick Beverley added 12 points with two threes, two assists and two rebounds. Bev was in foul trouble early, so he should see better numbers moving forward. Don’t move on just yet.
Disappointment and Dwight Howard have been synonymous around the league, and Sunday was no different. Howard was 2-for-6 from the field for four points, eight boards, two assists and one steal. He played just 20 minutes and suffered from foul trouble. Clint Capela spelled Dwight and actually played more, logging 23 minutes and was productive with nine points, six boards, two steals and four blocks. Capela can be ignored.
Michael Beasley also let down owners Sunday with only nine minutes of play. Beasley only played 16 minutes in the last Thunder matchup so it looks like a trend against the Thunder for match up purposes. Give Beasley a small leash for one more game.
The two-headed monster came to play for the Thunder, albeit it wasn’t enough on the scoreboard. Kevin Durant put up a full line with 33 points (10-for-22 FGs, 10-for-10 FTs), eight boards, two assists, one steal, one block and six turnovers. Russell Westbrook nearly had another trip dub, posting 23 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a whopping eight turnovers. Eight-cat leagues loved these outputs and I’m sure 9-cat guys would take these lines too. Thunder coach Billy Donovan is uneasy about resting his players but I can see him resting his guys a few more times down the stretch. It’s all a guessing game at this point.
The front court was split as usual for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka was modest with eight points, eight rebounds and one block in 30 minutes. Steven Adams put up six points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Adams has posted late-round value lately and is worth a look if you want a safe source of blocks and boards. Enes Kanter made the most of his 18 minutes, going 7-for-10 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line for 16 points, six rebounds and one steal. There’s not much else to see here.
As a side note, it would be a treat to see these two teams in a series. The Rockets are favored to win most of their final games, but jumping up three games out of the sixth seed is a pipe dream.
MAVS 88, T’WOLVES 78
J.J. Barea madness is ruling the championship round and savvy owners are reaping the benefits. With Deron Williams (left abdominal strain) out and day-to-day, Barea has reach must-own status with all the minutes he can handle. Barea played 34 minutes on Sunday in the Mavs win, shooting 8-for-19 from the field for 21 points with three treys, six assists, three boards, one steal and one turnover. Raymond Felton (groin) gave it a go for 18 minutes, but he was still looking like a gimpy guy who is on the floor because his team is in a playoff race.
Wesley Matthews was key in the Mavs win, hitting six treys for 19 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Keep riding him through the Mavs quest for a playoff spot. Dirk Nowitzki continued to trail off again with only 13 points on 4-for-18 shooting, adding two threes, four rebounds and one assist. It’s been a grueling season for Dirk and the push for the postseason is catching up to him. He will fight to play, so you have to keep rolling Dirk out there. Devin Harris played 31 minutes on Sunday, but that was largely due to Felton’s injury. He was useful with 16 points, three treys, three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Keep an eye on Harris, but keep him at arm’s length.
The Mavs played musical chairs as usual at the center spot, starting Zaza Pachulia in the first half and Salah Mejri in the second half. Just stay away. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has his reasons, and they won’t help your fantasy team unless you feel like playing roulette.
The Timberwolves are investing in their future these days, and the duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony-Towns is making it look bright. Wiggins was unconscious on Sunday for 30 points on 12-for-21 shooting from the field, adding one three, four boards, two assists and two steals. KAT was just one assist shy of a triple double, going off for 11 points, a career-high 21 rebounds, nine assists, one steal and three blocks. From the T’Wolves perspective, I’ll go out on a limb and say that things are looking up for the next several years.
Ricky Rubio must be spending time with Zach LaVine lately, because he cooled off in this one. Rubio had an excellent matchup but disappointed owners on Sunday, scoring nine points with one three, five assists, two rebounds and one steal. LaVine figured out how to shoot a bit better finally, but it wasn’t up to par. LaVine is coming off of 1-for-15 shooting for three points in his last two games combined. Ouch. He followed it up Sunday with 4-for-11 shooting from the field for 11 points, two threes, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Not good, but better.
Gorgui Dieng rounded out any fantasy relevancy on the Minnesota roster and it wasn’t too pretty. Dieng had eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. His decline has been more about a chance for the T’Wolves to get a look at their depth. His potential is too great to drop now. Stick with him.
April 2, 2020, 2:40 pmKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker has been rehabbing his left knee while in quarantine, and says that it's "doing well."
Walker actually played in the Celtics' last three games before the season was shut down but has missed a total of eight games this season (plus one in preseason) due to left knee soreness. It's clearly a chronic issue at this point, and fantasy GMs just have to hope that this lengthy layoff will help Walker get back to full strength if and when the season resumes.
April 2, 2020, 2:32 pmMeyers LeonardC, Miami Heat
Meyers Leonard is still rehabbing his sprained left ankle and estimates that his recovery is at about 90%.
Leonard shed his walking boot at the end of February but it's been slow going, as he's still not recovered despite getting hurt on February 3. The NBA hiatus might've saved Leonard's season, but even when healthy there won't be any fantasy appeal here despite some strong runs earlier in the campaign.
Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter
April 2, 2020, 2:28 pmNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have announced that the person who tested positive for COVID-19 is now symptom-free.
The team never said who tested positive, only that it was a member of the organization. The Nuggets have completed their 14-day quarantine, so hopefully all involved are able to remain healthy moving forward.
Source: Mark Medina on Twitter
April 1, 2020, 7:54 pmRomello WhitePF, College
Romello White declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday.
White is "keeping his options available" despite declaring for the draft. It is probably a good idea considering he isn't a lock to be drafted. The junior power forward averaged 10.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks for Arizona State this past season. He isn't likely to be on the fantasy radar even if he does earn a roster spot in the NBA.
Source: Jon Rothstein on Twitter
April 1, 2020, 3:53 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
The four players from the Nets who tested positive for COVID-19 are symptom free after passing a 14-day protocol but are still self-isolating, according to Greg Logan of Newsday.
Logan went on to say that the entire traveling party for the Nets are healthy at the moment. This is a good sign to see players and staff recovering from the virus without any new cases reported.
Source: Greg Logan on Twitter
March 31, 2020, 9:05 pmMarcus SmartPG, Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart plans to donate his blood plasma to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project for research on how the virus affects the blood of those infected or have been infected already, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
This marks an interesting end (fingers-crossed) to Smart's coronavirus infection and subsequent quarantine. Only five NBA players have received confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 but the NBA obviously isn't taking any chances during this global pandemic. With speed being medical professionals' biggest pressure with regards to a vaccine, Smart really stepped up to the plate. Hopefully other public figures who have recovered from the virus will follow his lead in donating necessary items for research. This also doesn't hurt Smart's public image, which has been known to fluctuate dramatically during his college and professional career.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
March 31, 2020, 8:44 pmJeremy LinPG, International
The Chinese government has stopped the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) from resuming their season, nearly two months after halting their season due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
The CBA does not currently have a players' union, so these types of sweeping decisions can happen more quickly than in the United States, where the players are unionized. While this is not great news for basketball players and fans in China, it also has global ramifications for sports across the world looking for a timeline. Everyone is wondering when it will be safe to resume or begin athletic events. Executives are trying to handle the logistics of said decisions, which is much more of a slippery slope. It seems increasingly obvious that the NBA is nowhere near a return to action and currently the situation is still completely out of commissioner Adam Silver's hands.
Source: CBS Sports
March 31, 2020, 8:18 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The entire Lakers roster has been deemed symptom-free of the coronavirus after completing a 14-day home isolation that was prescribed by team doctors, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.
Finally, some good news for the NBA. The Lakers were isolated two weeks ago and they all maintained quarantine in their homes. The league has yet to announce plans as far as next steps for potentially resuming the 2019-20 season, but this is a good start. More teams should complete quarantine periods in the coming weeks. It doesn't help that professional basketball's return in China was halted abruptly after they had planned on making a return earlier this week. This is obviously a very fluid situation and NBA commissioner Adam Silver must bide his time before making concrete decisions. Stay tuned.
Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter
March 31, 2020, 3:47 pmClint CapelaC, Atlanta Hawks
According to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlantic Journal Constitution, Clint Capela had been progressing towards participating in half-court workouts prior to the season being suspended.
There was some uncertainty surrounding Capela's potential return this season, but now he will have a much better shot at getting a few games below his belt before the conclusion of the season. If Capela does indeed find himself on the court for a few games, we'd have to imagine that he will be on a strict minutes limit as Lloyd Pierce alluded to last month.
Source: Atlantic Journal Constitution
March 31, 2020, 3:31 pmCameron JohnsonSF, Phoenix Suns
Cameron Johnson is fully cleared from mononucleosis that he has been battling for the past few weeks.
Johnson missed the final three games before the league was suspended due to mononucleosis, but will be ready to go when the season starts up again. Johnson was looking at an expanded role with Kelly Oubre Jr. injured, but there is now a chance that Oubre Jr. will be ready a situation to monitor when the season gets ready to resume.
Source: The Athletic