March 22, 2017, 8:48 am
Hello Hoop-Ballers! First off, if you are still with us at this point of the season, a congrats are in order. It is likely that you are still alive and kicking in your fantasy playoffs or close enough in Roto to taste the top prizes. Cheers!
It was an uncharacteristically jam-packed Tuesday with an eight game slate, so we got to see over half the teams in the NBA jockey for playoff positioning or tank for the lottery. Since it was heavy, let’s ignore what you already know and get this down to brass tax. Today’s format will be more about the headlines than each game itself. You’ll catch on. Let’s get to Tuesday night’s action.
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BOOGIE COUSINS LEADS PELS TO VICTORY WITH A MONSTER LINE
Ever since the bizarre trade on February 19th, DeMarcus Cousins has seen an obvious decline in fantasy value. That can be attributed to a new system, new teammates and new usage. It takes a player time to get acclimated (unless your name is LeBron James or Kevin Durant). In spite of this, Boogie hasn’t fallen off too far since his days in Sacramento. Instead of performing at a first round value, he is now a top-25 player since joining the Pels.
Last night was a little different.
Boogie exploded on the scene for what was certainly his best performance to date for the Pelicans. He shot a monstrous 14-for-27 from the field and 8-for-9 from the line for 41 points with 17 boards, two assists, two steals, three blocks and five 3-pointers in 37 minutes. This will be one of his best lines for the Pels this season, so you can’t expect this every night. Enjoy it. As enigmatic as it has probably been to own Cousins this season, he is an otherworldly talent.
When you pair multiple studs in the same frontcourt, it becomes a balancing act. We are used to the like Boogie had with Anthony Davis on a nightly basis. They changed bodies on Tuesday and Davis had a below-average game. The Brow shot 9-for-18 from the field for 19 points with 13 rebounds and no defensive stats. A 19 & 13 double-double is usually a great night for most fantasy players, but you expect the Brow to do more. It was Boogie’s night.
Jrue Holiday has seen a noticeable decline as well, ranking outside the top-80 over the last month since Cousins’ arrival. He finished Tuesday’s game with 11 points (5-for-17 FGs), three boards, six assists and one steal in 41 minutes. He still gets his big lines in from time-to-time, but we aren’t seeing the same Jrue as we did in January.
WHITESIDE LEADS HEAT TO 8TH PLACE, INJURES SHOOTING HAND
The Heat got a much needed 112-97 win over the Suns, climbing to 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 11 games remaining. However, that came at a huge cost when Hassan Whiteside injured his shooting hand late in the fourth quarter after he hit his hand on the backboard with just over two minutes left in the game. The Heat were up by 24 points at the time, which is throwing fans into a frenzy now that Whiteside is injured.
Whiteside received 13 stitches on his hand after the game. The Heat have yet to make any call on his chances of playing in Thursday’s home game against the Raptors. As of Wednesday morning, Whiteside’s status is still up in the air. He suffered a similar injury two seasons ago and missed a three games because of the injury. If you own Whiteside and need a positive spin, the Heat are fighting for their playoff lives so you can bet he will do everything in his power to play as soon as possible.
If Whiteside is ruled out multiple games, Willie Reed is an immediate grab. He was 4-for-5 from the field with 12 points and seven boards in 17 minutes. He has stepped up huge in Whiteside’s place before. If you need big man stats, run to the waiver wire if you hear that Whiteside is out.
IBAKA AND ROLO ON BRINK OF SUSPENSION AFTER GETTING TOSSED TUESDAY
The Raptors took down the Bulls in a 122-120 overtime finish on Tuesday. Despite all of the shiny stat lines, the lead story in this game was the fight between Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka late in the third quarter. Both attempted punches and were quickly tossed from the game. As of Wednesday morning, no suspensions have been handed out yet, but they are very likely.
Ibaka finished the game with 16 points, six boards, one assist and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Fortunately, the Raptors play three more games this week so Ibaka is a must-hold despite a one-game suspension. You aren’t dropping him.
Lopez is a different story. While the Bulls also have three games for the rest of the week, his value is not high enough to warrant a “must-own” tag. I would not blame you for cutting ties for someone who plays three games. That’s not to say you should definitely drop him, but RoLo is not a guy that would cost you dearly if you were without him moving forward. As always, the choice is yours.
Now that we got the fight out of the way, high level fantasy basketball happened in the Raptors-Bulls game. DeMar DeRozan was terrific, shooting 17-for-38 from the field and 7-for-11 from the line for 42 points with seven boards, eight assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 43 minutes. Without the services of Kyle Lowry, DeRozan is shouldering the load and took the most shots in Raptors history on Tuesday with 38 attempts. He has the keys to the car. Let him drive you home.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with a monster line of his own, shooting 11-for-21 from the field and 12-for-14 from the line for 37 points with 10 boards, six assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 44 minutes. Although there was concern with Butler’s production late in the season in recent years, he put that to bed on Tuesday.
Fantasy zombie Rajon Rondo is still alive and kicking for the Bulls. Rondo annoyingly turned in one of his best games of the season on Tuesday, shooting 9-for-16 from the field for 24 points with five boards, eight assists, four steals and four 3-pointers in 40 minutes. He is peaking at a very opportune time.
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BROLO HITS BUZZER-BEATER AS NETS UPSET PISTONS
A few months ago the fantasy community was panicking about Brook Lopez being shutdown for the season. Here we are in late March, talking about how great BroLo is playing. It’s an unpredictable game. If you are still alive and held on to BroLo, pat yourself on the back.
Depending on which way you look at it, Lopez was the hero on Tuesday after he nailed a jumper at the buzzer to lead the Nets to a 98-96 win over the Pistons. BroLo shot 13-for-24 from the field for 29 points with seven boards, one assist and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. There will be rest days down the stretch, but the Nets play four games next week again.
Caris Levert got hot, shooting 5-for-8 from the floor for 15 points with two boards, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. He won’t shoot quite as well every game, but the Nets do have three games in four days starting on Thursday is you need a body. You could do worse.
With Jeremy Lin’s (ankle) status questionable moving forward, Spencer Dinwiddie has been named the starter until Lin is back. Dinwiddie put up 10 points with eight boards, four assists and two blocks in 30 minutes on Tuesday. Without knowing how long Lin will sit, I would roll the dice on Dinwiddie.
Lopez’s heroics overshadowed Tobias Harris, who tied the game with three seconds left on a clutch shot. Harris shot 10-for-15 from the field for 24 points with five boards, one assist, two steals and three blocks in 36 minutes on Tuesday. He has put Jon Leuer’s fantasy value out of its misery.
It was Russian roulette with the Pistons point guards yet again on Tuesday. Ish Smith was the winning bet, posting a 16-7-4-3-1 line in 28 minutes. Reggie Jackson only saw the court for 20 minutes and scored seven points with two rebounds and two assists. If I have to take my pick, I stick with Jackson but this isn’t the time of year to be patient.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. Check me out on Fantasy NBA Tonight ($) where I breakdown the happenings of Tuesday’s action in a live format where you, the readers and Hoop-Ballers, can ask me questions and we can converse back and forth. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day!!