• The NBA is tough business. One where a perennial championship calibre team falters and sits on the outside looking in with only four games remaining on the schedule.  The Houston Rockets entered Wednesday night’s game one half game back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. A win would put them in a position to potentially climb into the seventh spot.  A loss would further dampen their playoff aspirations. How did the battle of Texas end? Here is your Thursday daily dish.

    PACERS 123, CAVS 109

    The Good: Indiana pulled off a very important victory over a Cavs team playing without its key superstar. The Pacers scored an impressive 70 points in the first half.

    Paul George scored 29 points (10-of-17 shooting) with four threes and five rebounds. C.J. Miles scored 21 points (7-of-9 shooting) with six threes and three rebounds off the bench.

    For the Cavs, Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He also chipped in six assists and three steals. Kevin Love added 23 points in 18 minutes of action. He was 10-of-10 from the charity stripe and also grabbed five rebounds.

    The Bad: LeBron James (rest) was again held out by coach Tyronn Lue and hurt all fantasy owners playing during championship week.

    Kevin Love tweaked his back in this one and could be looking at some extended rest as the season draws to a close.

    For the Pacers, rookie Myles Turner played only five minutes in this one with no stats to his credit. X-rays after the game on his finger came back negative, but owners should keep a close eye on his status moving forward.

    The Takeaway: With the win, Indiana maintained its half game lead over Detroit for seventh place in the East. With the uncertainty of Myles Turner for the remaining two games this week, it might be time to move on from him as he’s only averaged nine points and seven rebounds over the past two weeks.

    For the Cavs, they only have one game remaining this week (April 9 vs. the Bulls). Consider having a back up plan if you have LeBron, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love on your rosters during Week 24.

     

    PISTONS 108, MAGIC 104

    The Good: Detroit “Rock City” used a strong 64-point second half performance to move within one win of clinching a playoff birth.

    Reggie Jackson came up big with a 24-4-4 line on 7-of-18 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

    Andre Drummond also played well scoring 13 points (7-of-10 from the field) with 16 rebounds and four blocks.

    For the Magic, Evan Fournier led all scorers with 19 points (7-of-15 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line).

    Nikola Vucevic continued his strong play as well scoring 15 points and adding 13 rebounds. He added two steals and one block and seems to have completely recovered from the groin injury that cost him 13 games earlier in March.

    The Bad: Marcus Morris failed to crack double digits for the second consecutive game as he scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.

    Aaron Gordon continued to frustrate his owners scoring a quiet six points on 3-of-10 shooting. He added six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes of action. For owners who continued to hold on to Dewayne Dedmon, this is your cue to run away as he played only four minutes tonight with two rebounds and one block.

    The Takeaway: The Pistons increased their lead over ninth place Chicago to 1.5 games while also keeping up with the Pacers. With a win on Friday vs. the Wizards, the Pistons could clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.

    The Magic have two games remaining this week and seem certain to continue playing their starters meaningful minutes. Feel free to roll with Oladipo, Vucevic and Fournier for the remaining games.

     

    WIZARDS 121, NETS 103

    The Good: The Wizards won tonight and were able to prolong their minimal playoff hopes for at least one more game.

    Bradley Beal once again looked good scoring 25 points on a very efficient 11-of-15 from the field. He added three three pointers and five assists and really stepped up for the Wizards tonight.

    Ramon Sessions also played very well in a spot start for John Wall scoring 18 points and adding 13 assists.

    Marcin Gortat double doubled for the Wizards with 16 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a game high four blocks.

    For the Nets, Thomas Robinson exploded for 23 points (10-of-16 shooting) to go along with a team high 10 rebounds.

    The Bad: Owners of John Wall, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young were understandably disappointed as neither player played in this one. (Wall sat with a sore right knee while Lopez and Young have both been shut down by the Nets for the year).

    Markieff Morris had an underwhelming line of 9-7-2 on 4-of-13 shooting.

    Bojan Bogdanovic played only 20 minutes for the Nets and scored four points with two rebounds on 2-of-12 shooting.

    The Takeaway: Owners of John Wall may have to cut ties with the all- star as he will undergo further testing on his sore right knee. Both Brooklyn and Washington have two games remaining this week and may choose to rest their starters in favour of younger bench players. Make sure to follow @HoopBallTweets on twitter for the latest updates.

Fantasy News

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.

    Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.

    Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.

    "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.

    Source: Yahoo! Sports

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.

    The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.

    "Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.

    Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.

    With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.

    Source: Charlotte Hornets

  • Jon Leuer
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.

    Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.

    Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram