May 2, 2018, 1:27 am
Tuesday had it’s fair share of close calls and big stat lines. It all started with the Cavs playing their old Canadian friends across the border. More on that below. We also saw the long-awaited return of Steph Curry, who showed no rust. Let’s check out two fun games from Tuesday night.
CAVS STEAL GAME 1 IN TORONTO
It was a different year but same result again for the Raptors, who have now lost seven straight games to King James and the Cavs. After missing multiple tipped shots in the final seconds of regulation with the game tied, the Raptors couldn’t close the game in overtime to lose Game 1 at home, 113-112.
LeBron James was terrific as usual, triple-doubling in 47 minutes. James shot 12-for-30 from the field and 1-for-6 from the line for 26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer. Even with an “off” game, the King was cooking on all facets of the game. He hit a clutch Dirk-like fadeaway to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. After just finishing off the Pacers on Sunday, he came out and played nearly a full game tonight. We are all witnesses.
JR Smith (20 points) and Kyle Korver (19 points) each hit five treys, keeping the Cavs within striking distance to lead a comeback. They made up for Kevin Love, who was ice cold for just seven points on Tuesday. Love shot 3-for-13 from the field for seven points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. Love played one of his worst games in these playoffs, fumbling the basketball multiple times and missing wide-open shots consistently. There are some who believe Love still can’t feel his injured finger, but at times he gets hot and shoots his way out of slumps. If the Cavs want to make a deeper run past the Raptors, they need better production from the all-star.
Tristan Thompson shot 5-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line for 14 points and 12 boards in 26 minutes during Game 1’s overtime win over the Raptors on Tuesday. Thompson broke out on Sunday to help the Cavs put away the Pacers and brought the same energy in Game 1 tonight. He cleaned up nine offensive rebounds, leading to aggressive putbacks and establishing hustle when the Cavs needed it.
As for the Raptors, it has become a recurring nightmare that seems to end the same. DeMar DeRozan shot 10-for-20 from the field for 22 points with seven boards, five assists, one steal and three blocks. DeRozan was 0-for-4 from downtown, reverting back to his pre-2017 self.
The real MVP for the losing cause was Jonas Valanciunas, who put up a monster double-double for 21 points and 21 boards. JV was unstoppable early in the game, imposing his will and exposing the Cavs inside. He had a golden opportunity to win the game with seconds left as the ball was bouncing around the rim, missing a tip to seal the game in regulation. He should remain a factor for the remainder of the series.
Game 2 is Thursday in Toronto. The Raptors need to even the series if they want any chance to take down the King.
CURRY RETURNS AS WARRIORS LEAD 2-0
When Steph Curry went down back in early March with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, many thought that he would miss significant time, possibly into the Western Conference Finals. He pledged to beat his timeline. He kept his promise.
Curry returned to dominate the Pelicans in a 121-116 victory at home to lead the Warriors to a 2-0 lead over the Pelicans. Curry came off the bench, shooting 8-for-15 from the field for 28 points, seven boards, two assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in 27 minutes on Tuesday. Despite playing limited minutes, he was second in the game in scoring and appeared to be at full-strength to make a title push. The Warriors just got very dangerous.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 29 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes. KD got it done all night at both ends of the floor.
It was a huge night for Draymond Green as well, who was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Dray ended with 20 points (7-for-11 FGs, 4-for-5 FTs), nine boards, 12 assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes. A KD-Dray stack was an excellent choice for DFS players on Tuesday.
The Pelicans played the Warriors very close, but it wasn’t enough to ruin Curry’s return. Anthony Davis led the Pels in scoring, posting a 25-15-5-2-3 line with one trey.
Jrue Holiday continued his playoff tear as well, scoring 24 points with eight boards, eight assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 47 minutes. The Pels went heavy with the starters on Tuesday. Close, but no cigar.
Game 3 is Friday in New Orleans in what is basically a must-win for AD and the Pelicans.
February 19, 2020, 10:40 pmStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
Coach Steve Kerr said that Stephen Curry will play this season once he is healthy.
Kerr said that "It's important for Steph and Andrew to get to know each other and to play together". It sounds like Kerr has no problem with playing Curry once he is fully recovered so he can get used to his new teammates. Curry should be on a roster in all 12-team leagues since he's a proven fantasy stud and could be an early-round player during the fantasy playoffs.
Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 8:54 pmRobert Williams IIIC-F, Boston Celtics
Robert Williams (left hip edema) will not play in the upcoming four-game road trip but hinted that he would return on February 29th vs. the Rockets.
Williams said there are "No limitations on anything I'm doing" and said that he wants to "windmill every time" but has to "play it cautious a little bit". Williams looks to be ramping up and is likely to return in the next two weeks. Williams has low upside behind Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis in the rotation but can be a streamer for blocks when he returns.
Source: A. Sherrod Blakely on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 8:13 pmDario SaricPF, Phoenix Suns
Dario Saric (left ankle) participated fully in practice on Wednesday and is hopeful to return on Friday vs. the Raptors.
Saric is outside the top-150 in both 9-cat and 8-cat leagues this season. Mikal Bridges has been on a roll the past month, producing top-60 value in 9-cat leagues. Saric entering the rotation could cut into Bridges' minutes and it will be worth watching the Suns' rotations the next few games. Bridges is a hold in standard-leagues and Saric is a low-upside option in 14-team leagues.
Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 8:06 pmAron BaynesC, Phoenix Suns
Aron Baynes (left hip soreness) participated in practice on Wednesday.
Coach Monty Williams said he's hopeful Baynes will return on Friday vs. the Raptors. Baynes is unlikely to get back to producing standard-league value with Deandre Ayton in the lineup, who is also expected to return on Friday. Baynes could carve out late-round value in 14-team leagues for big-man stats.
Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 8:00 pmDeandre AytonC, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton (left ankle soreness) practiced on Wednesday and Coach Monty Williams says that he's hopeful Ayton will be able to play on Friday.
Ayton missed the past two games with an injury but looks ready to return the next game. Ayton is a top-15/30 player in 9/8 cat leagues on the season and should remain in that range the rest of the way. This kills the small amount of value that Cheick Diallo had and he can be left on waiver wires outside of 20-team leagues.
Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 7:50 pmRobert Williams IIIC-F, Boston Celtics
Robert Williams (hip) participated in practice on Wednesday and felt good.
The Celtics are encouraged by Williams' progress and plan to ramp him up in practice over the next 1-2 weeks. Williams will be behind Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis in the rotation and will only have appeal as a block specialist. Kanter and Theis will lose value when Williams enters the rotation. Theis is a top-70 player over the past month in 26 minutes per game while Kanter is outside the top-175 in 19 minutes per game. Theis will likely hold standard-league value and Kanter will remain a low-upside option in 16-team leagues.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 7:40 pmNorman PowellSF, Toronto Raptors
Norman Powell (finger) is about a week away from his next check up.
Nick Nurse made the comment on Wednesday and a check up does not necessarily mean a return date. Powell should be expected to miss at least one more week. He was producing top-90 value for a month before he was injured, so it may be worth grabbing him if you have an open IR spot and can afford to hold him until he returns.
Source: Laura Armstrong on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 7:23 pmMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol (left hamstring) is a possibility for Friday's game.
Gasol has been out since late January and it sounded like the All-Star break was going to be the final stretch of rehab that he'd need in order to return. Even if his return doesn't come on Friday, it sure sounds like the big man will be back in action soon enough. Make sure Gasol isn't on your waiver wires.
Source: Eric Koreen on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 7:21 pmWill BartonSG, Denver Nuggets
Will Barton (right knee inflammation) was limited at Wednesday's practice.
The Nuggets didn't give a formal update but Barton did less at the session than Denver's other injured players, so fantasy GMs might want to look elsewhere in the short-term. Gary Harris and Torrey Craig should absorb Barton's minutes for as long as he remains out.
Source: TJ McBride on Twitter
February 19, 2020, 7:18 pmMason PlumleeC, Denver Nuggets
Mason Plumlee (right foot injury) was able to participate in most of Wednesday's practice session.
Plumlee went down in late January and was set to miss 2-4 weeks, so a return should be coming soon. The Nuggets have rolled with smaller groups while Plumlee has been shelved, though he was a defensive anchor for the second unit when healthy. Expect his return to eat away at the workloads of Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr.
Source: TJ McBride on Twitter