September 3, 2020, 3:59 am
Welcome to Wednesday’s Daily Dish! You can’t ask for much more than two games each decided by two points, perhaps unless your team is on the wrong side of those outcomes. Congratulations to the Houston Rockets, who have advanced to play the Lakers in the next round after a 104-102 victory over the Thunder.
Andre Iguodala played only 11 minutes before suffering an ankle injury and did not return.
Eric Bledsoe (right hamstring strain) managed to play 31 minutes against the Heat.
Gabe Vincent (right shoulder sprain) was unable to face the Bucks.
Solid DFS Plays
Instead of the recommended adds and drops I provide during the regular season, here are a couple of top performers in each of four daily fantasy price tiers.
Bargain Bin Category
This is the sort of return you hope for when you fill out your bench with inexpensive players. In 26 minutes on Wednesday, Hill delivered 14 points while shooting 5-for-9 from the floor. That was his highest total since Game 1 against the Magic, when he finished with 16 points. He also hit a pair of threes while rounding out the line with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. While Hill took a kick to the knee near the end of the game, he managed to stay in the contest. It’s a limited sample size, but Hill is shooting over 41 percent from deep in the playoffs. Not bad for someone owned in less than 10 percent of Yahoo leagues prior to the league shutdown.
Dort put an awful 3-for-16 shooting line in Game 5 behind him to shoot 5-for-9 during just 20 minutes of a Game 6 victory. However, he saved his best for Game 7 in scoring a career-high 30 points. His regular season career-high of 23 points had been set on January 29 versus the Kings. Dort finished 10-for-21 from the field and 6-for-12 from long range. He added four rebounds, one assist and one block. The native of Montreal attended Arizona State, just like his opponent James Harden. After a narrow win for the Rockets, Harden praised Dort in the postgame press conference by saying: “He’s going to have a long career in this league.”
Moderately Priced Category
Crowder has been a fine addition to a Heat team that suddenly finds itself up 2-0 after defeating the Bucks 116-114. He had a well-rounded line on Wednesday: 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and two thefts. Acquired in February along with Andre Iguodala and Solomon Hill, Crowder has become a fixture in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Iguodala played only 11 minutes in Game 2 while Hill didn’t get into the action at all. Crowder has averaged 35.5 minutes against the Bucks, nearly 10 minutes more than when Miami faced the Pacers. After hitting two triples in each of the four games against Indiana, he has made seven in the two games since. While going 4-for-12 in Game 2 might not seem all that impressive, he is over 38 percent for the series. That’s actually a shade higher than his field-goal percentage in this round.
In Games 1 and 2 against the Thunder, Gordon made just two of his 20 attempts from behind the arc. That all changed when it mattered on Wednesday, as Gordon went 5-for-9 from downtown and scored 21 points on only 11 field goal attempts. He supplemented the hot shooting with three rebounds, two assists, a swat and a steal in his 37 minutes on the court. That will play from a guy who starts but is more of a complementary player than he was earlier in his career.
Affordable Luxury Category
In his 11th NBA season, Dragic is proving to be a key ingredient as the Heat attempt to knock off the top seed in the East. He has made close to 43 percent of 3-point attempts in the postseason and didn’t hurt the cause with a 4-for-8 line on Wednesday. While Dragic was 8-for-18 from the field in Game 2 and technically had his worst percentage of the playoffs, he scored 23 points and hasn’t failed to register 20 points in any playoff game so far. The five rebounds, four assists and two steals only added to his reputation as a model of consistency since the really meaningful games began.
Tucker was 51 percent rostered during the regular season, and his five points during Game 7 don’t really jump off the page. Tucker shot 3-for-7 on 3-point attempts in Game 6 but only 1-for-7 on Wednesday. Nevertheless, his bucket with 1:25 left in regulation put the Rockets ahead for good, even if the ending wasn’t pretty. He contributed four steals and two assists, while the nine rebounds exceeded his season average of 6.6. After the game, Tucker said that he was excited to be part of the only team left at the Grand Floridian Hotel. He earned himself some rest after coming through when it mattered most.
High Roller Category
The Greek Freak posted an uncharacteristically low 18 points in Game 1 but bounced back to score 29 on Wednesday. After shooting 4-for-12 from the foul line on Monday, Antetokounmpo was a much better 9-for-13 at the stripe. While Giannis snapped his six-game streak with at least one 3-pointer, going 10-for-18 from the field was a slight improvement from the 6-of-12 showing in his last outing. He ended the night with a single block as usual, but there is room for improvement upon the three assists when you compare it to the nine assists amassed during Game 1, or even his season average of 5.6 dimes.
This had to be a tough way to end the season, falling to the team that traded him by just two points in a decisive Game 7. However, as usual Paul brought his personal brand of excellence and produced a triple-double. Despite committing six turnovers, Paul put up 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. He shot 3-for-6 from distance and accumulated two steals. He was perfect from the charity stripe and an acceptable 5-for-11 on field goals. While it’s true that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander enjoyed a breakout season, much of the Thunder’s success can be attributed to Paul’s veteran presence.