• Welcome to This Week Tonight! There are only two weeks left in the regular season and there is no move too small, no pick-up too insignificant and there is no time to waste while you close in on that fantasy championship you’ve had you’re eye on all year! It’s time to be vigilant and leave no stone unturned so that your team stays ahead of the pack in your roto leagues and finishes in the top spot for all of you in head-to-head playoffs. This is always a tricky time in the NBA as half the league jostles for playoff positioning while the other half is focused on player development while tanking their way to a better lottery position. It is paramount to be on top of all the fantasy news regarding injuries, player news and who is trending up or down to make sure you are making the correct decisions as the season winds down so stay tuned into Hoop-Ball.com as we are always up to date and providing you winning analysis to assist in your quest to the top!

    So let’s take a look at the coming week of games, analyze the best match-ups, hit scheduling rest that could affect your team, talk about some adds, and then we’ll wrap up with injury updates.

    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!

    5 Games: MIN

    4 Games: CLE, DAL, DEN, MEM, NYK, OKC, POR, SAS, TOR

    3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAC, UTA, WAS

    2 Games: LAC

    The Wolves have this week’s heaviest schedule as they get to play the Blazers twice, the Warriors, the Jazz and end the week with a plum matchup against the Lakers on Sunday night. The matchups average out on the whole as they are facing two top defenses and two bottom defenses but having that extra game means get all your Wolves in your lineups.

    The Clippers have a tough week as they have the week’s lightest schedule while facing the Mavs and then closing out their week with this year’s stingiest D in the Spurs.

    The Thunder have a four game slate that includes the Bucks, the Suns and the Nuggets (all bottom-10 defenses) with only one tough matchup with the Grizzlies so get all your OKC guys active as Westy needs to pass to someone to get all those double-digit assist games.

    Back-to-Back Watch: 

    Now is the time of year to be the most vigilant in checking your daily lineups for players who can end up sitting. The last two weeks of the NBA regular season is always a wacky time of year when stars are randomly rested in order to either keep them fresh for the playoffs or to keep them from hurting a team’s lottery odds.

    Here’s what to watch heading into this week:

    The Wolves and Blazers will go Monday and Tuesday this week and there isn’t much risk in anyone sitting on either team. The Blazers are attempting to tighten up their grip on the eighth playoff spot in the West while the Wolves are continuing to work on the on-court chemistry of their young core.

    The Spurs, Raptors, Thunder, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Cavs, Warriors and Mavs all play Tuesday and Wednesday and we will have some concerns for rest days in this group. Get ready for some of the Mavs’ veterans to take a seat on either day as Coach Carlisle graciously already announced it as a strong possibility with the Mavs already eliminated from the playoffs. The Warriors have all but wrapped up the top seed in the West so check for updates before tip-off as it wouldn’t surprise me if they get the vets some rest and let the bench take care of the Suns on the road Wednesday. And we all know Coach Pop loves to find rest for his guys and with the team seemingly locked into the 2nd seed, a rest day or two could be in order for his vets. The rest of the teams on the list are still fighting for playoff positioning so there shouldn’t be much to worry about though the Thunder and Grizzlies may value rest over pushing for a higher seed. As always, check Hoop-Ball.com for updates on game days.

    The Celtics get Wednesday vs. the Cavs in a pivotal showdown for the top spot in the East and have a matchup with the Hawks on Thursday. There are no concerns for any healthy Celtics taking a night off as they push to secure home-court throughout the playoffs.

    The Hawks, Wolves, and Knicks go back-to-back on Thursday and Friday with the only real risk being the Knicks who are eliminated from the playoffs so check those pre-game updates for any news.

    The Pelicans, Jazz, Spurs and Heat will play Friday and Saturday with the Jazz and Heat in extremely close races in playoff positioning so no concerns there. As mentioned above, Pop is never to be trusted so make sure your roster isn’t heavy Spurs heavy. The Pelicans are eliminated from the playoffs so they present a medium risk for some DNPs as well.

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    Top Players to Add This Week:

    Kris Dunn – The Wolves are taking a longer look at their rookie as he’s been the first guard off the bench over the last five games averaging 27 minutes and 2.6 STLs per game. Give him a look as steals specialist with potential for more as the Wolves get five games this week.

    Andre Roberson – If you are in need of a solid play at the end of your roster look no further than Roberson as the Thunder have four games this week mostly against weak defenses. He’s averaging 1.5 STLs, 1.5 BLKs and 7.5 REBs per game over the last week which makes him a nice pick up especially in roto leagues for owners looking to make up some ground in those categories on the cheap.

    Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – With Robert Covington ruled out for the year and the Sixers short on depth, TLC has been averaging 36 MINs per game over the last week and is worth a look for owners looking for some wing production. He is a rook so don’t expect much efficiency or consistency but anyone getting this amount of court time can help owners who seek some juice off the wire especially in head-to-head leagues.

    Larry Nance Jr. – He picked up a start on Sunday vs. the Grizzlies and did not disappoint with 12 PTS, 14 REBs and 3 STLs. With Ivica Zubac ruled out for the year and Tarik Black nursing a knee injury, the Lakers may have no other choice but to give Nance atleast 30 minutes per night to close out the season. He’s always found a way to produce in the steals category but for owners who are feeling lucky he may have a shot to give you solid big man stats off the wire so give him a hard look in both roto and head-to-heads.

    Injuries to Watch:

    Paul Millsap (knee) returned to action on Sunday off the bench after sitting out for two weeks. He will likely return to the starting lineup this week so get him back on your active rosters.

    Jae Crowder (elbow) left Sunday’s game with the injury and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day and will likely tough it out this week with the Celtics vying for the top seed in the East.

    Avery Bradley (illness) has missed the last two games but is expected back at practice on Tuesday. With a pivotal matchup against the Cavs on Wednesday, he is likely to suit up but check back for updates.

    Kyle Korver (foot) has been out for four games and is looking iffy for this week as well. The Cavs would love to see him suit up for Wednesday’s showdown vs. the Celtics so look for him to sit out on Tuesday vs. the Magic. Check on his status this week but he should be close to a return as he was rumored to play on Sunday before sitting out.

    Dirk Nowitzki (achilles) left Sunday’s game and did not return due to the injury but is listed as day-to-day. With Coach Carlisle already promising to rest his vets this week, expect Dirk to be closer to questionable for the early week games at best.

    Seth Curry (shoulder) missed Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. Look for the Mavs to be cautious with their young asset this week as they have been eliminated from playoff contention.

    Will Barton (foot) has missed the last two games and remains day-to-day. With the Nuggets in the most pivotal portion of their season as they fight for the final playoff spot in the West, it is telling that he is sitting out. Check back for updates but he is looking iffy so look for Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to continue to feast in his absence.

    Jameer Nelson (calf) missed Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. Nelson’s absence allowed Emmanuel Mudiay to crack the rotation and he did not disappoint so if you need a Nelson fill-in, you know who to grab.

    Reggie Jackson (knee) is listed as out as he has missed the last four games while the Pistons’ playoff hopes slip away. He has been rumored to be shut down for the season and Ish Smith has been starting in his place if you are in need of low-end PG production.

    Kevin Durant (knee) is listed as out and the latest report has him missing the next three games at a minimum. He has a shot to return for the last two regular season games at best in which he will likely be limited so plan accordingly. Andre Iguodala has been solid especially in roto formats since Durant went down so give him a look if he’s still available.

    James Harden (illness) missed Sunday’s game but is listed day-to-day and shouldn’t be out for long. He has spoken out against NBA stars resting when healthy so look for him to be back next game.

    Trevor Ariza (personal) sat out Sunday’s game due to a death in the family. He is likely to return for the Rockets’ next game.

    Austin Rivers (hamstring) is likely out for the rest of the regular season so look for Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton to pick up some extra run.

    Brandon Ingram (knee) returned over the weekend from a three-game absence and looks poised to close out the season on a minutes restriction.

    Tarik Black (knee) is listed as day-to-day and missed Sunday’s game. Look for Larry Nance Jr. to pick up the slack while Black heals up.

    Ivica Zubac (ankle) has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a badly sprained ankle.

    JaMychal Green (shoulder) is listed as out and has missed three straight games. Look for Brandan Wright and Zach Randolph to benefit in a depleted Grizzlies frontcourt.

    Marc Gasol (foot) has missed five straight games and is still listed as out. The Grizzlies will likely want to get him right before the playoffs so his regular season value is fairly low.

    Dion Waiters (ankle) is still listed as out after missing eight games with a badly sprained ankle but has resumed conditioning. Look for Josh Richardson to continue to absorb all of Dion’s minutes until he returns.

    Malcolm Brogdon (back) is listed as day-to-day after missing the last two games. Look for Matthew Dellavedova to play heavy minutes in his absence with Jason Terry picking up some rotation minutes.

    Derrick Rose (knee) has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus and will miss the rest of the season. Ron Baker and Chasson Randle will handle the PG position as the Knicks’ season comes to a close.

    Carmelo Anthony (back) has missed the last two games with the injury but is likely resting up as another disappointing Knicks season comes to a close. Look for Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Courtney Lee and Justin Holiday to hold down the wing minutes for the rest of the season.

    Jahlil Okafor (knee) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Richaun Holmes will continue to feast in his absence.

    Robert Covington (knee) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Look for Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot and Justin Anderson to be the big beneficiaries as the Sixers play out the string.

    T.J. Warren (illness) missed Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. Look for him to return quickly and continue to prove his worth on the young Suns squad.

    Dragan Bender (ankle) returned on Sunday after a lengthy two month absence and could get some rotation minutes as the season comes to a close.

    Jusuf Nurkic (leg) is out for two weeks with a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg. His regular season is over but a playoff return is likely. Look for the Blazers to go small more frequently with Meyers Leonard and Noah Vonleh anchoring the frontcourt minutes otherwise.

    Danny Green (thigh) sat out Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. This is likely a maintenance day for him and he should return soon.

    LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb) missed Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. Look for Pau Gasol and Dewayne Dedmon to benefit while Aldridge gets healthy but this also likely a Coach Pop special to give his big man some rest.

    P.J. Tucker (knee) is listed as day-to-day and sat out Sunday’s game with the injury. Tests came back negative so look for him to get back out there soon. Look for DeMarre Carroll and Norman Powell to cover for him.

    George Hill (groin) missed his third straight game on Sunday with the injury while Dante Exum and Shelvin Mack split the PG minutes. The Jazz need Hill healthy in order to make noise in the playoffs so they will be conservative with their starting point guard.

     

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