October 1, 2020, 4:36 am
Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish! The Los Angeles Lakers grabbed a 116-98 blowout win over the Miami Heat to open the NBA Finals. Now, the Heat are dealing with the fallout of at least one major injury. Read on for some of my observations from the series opener.
Rajon Rondo was hit in the eye during the fourth quarter on Wednesday but managed to return.
Alex Caruso played 21 minutes despite coming into the game with a sore right wrist.
Goran Dragic injured his left foot during the first half and was later diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia, which could potentially sideline him for the rest of the series.
Bam Adebayo suffered a shoulder strain after playing 21 minutes but hopes to play in Game 2.
Jimmy Butler was able to get back onto the court after turning his left ankle.
DFS Success Stories
Instead of the recommended adds and drops I provide during the regular season, here are a couple of top performers in each of three daily fantasy price tiers.
Bargain Bin Category
Despite playing 22 minutes, Caruso managed to come away with a solid fantasy stat line. The popular reserve guard shot 4-for-6 from the field and added a triple. He made a steal while handing out two assists and pulling down four rebounds. All of that helped make up for an off night by Kyle Kuzma who despite ending with eight boards shot just 1-for-7 from the floor and scored a mere three points.in the same amount of time. The second year player from Texas A&M made the highlight reel by switching hands and dribbling around Jimmy Butler for the layup. After the game, Caruso credited assistant coach Miles Simmons for helping him create offense around the Lakers’ superstars.
Nunn played 22 minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals, and not at all since Game 3. On Wednesday he turned 20 minutes into 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. The injury to Dragic could mean more playing time going forward, but he won’t shoot 8-for-11 every game either. Nunn was also 2-for-4 from downtown, so anyone who paid a pittance for him in daily leagues was well rewarded. Nunn is capable of solid performances when given the chance, as evidenced by his regular season scoring average of 15.3 points. However, I can’t imagine there were many takers based on his normally low playoff usage.
Moderately Priced Category
Green has a 40 percent career mark from behind the arc, so his going 3-for-8 from long range against the Heat wasn’t all that surprising. Nevertheless, it was part of a larger trend for the Lakers who essentially made 40 percent of their 3-point attempts (15-for-38) in the game. In fact, nine different Lakers made at least one triple. Green had 11 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks in his 30 minutes of play. He also committed two turnovers while making his only two-point attempt.
Crowder was just 1-for-11 from deep in his last two games but found success against the Lakers. He shot 4-for-8 from the field, and all four makes were triples. He also collected 12 points, two rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes. Crowder played at least 30 minutes in every game of the series versus Boston, but Erik Spoelstra opted to rest him a bit as the score got out of hand. No matter how the season ends for the Heat, Crowder has put his difficult time with the Grizzlies behind him to become a valuable member of this team.
High Roller Category
Despite an early run that had the Heat leading 23-10 early, Miami would end up trailing by 17 at halftime. Butler turned in one of their few decent individual performances by leading the squad with 23 points. In fact, the 8-for-13 line from the floor was his most efficient shooting performance since the series against the Bucks. Butler ended with two rebounds, five assists and two steals in 33 minutes. He also hit two of his four attempts from long range. Thankfully his ankle issue appeared to be minor, because the Heat will be counting on him even more on Friday.
I had a difficult time choosing between AD and LeBron James but went with the guy who didn’t wilt under the spotlight despite it being his first ever Finals matchup. In the end, Davis scored a game-high 34 points and made the Heat pay for sending him to the charity stripe. He was an 84.6 percent free throw shooter during the regular season, but going 10-for-10 should further discourage defenders from fouling cheaply. Davis was also 11-for-21 from the field and just missed a double-double after gathering nine rebounds. That got him back on the right track after he totaled only 12 rebounds over his previous three outings. AD added even more fantasy value by hitting a couple of 3-pointers, passing out five assists and blocking three shots.