• It’s Friday night and the feeling’s right as the NBA has 10 games on the docket to start your weekend. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, it has become a bit difficult to find the right games to watch. Is this team going to rest players? Which of these teams are still fighting for a playoff spot? These are just a couple of questions that you may be asking yourself when looking at this large slate of games. That’s why Hoop Ball is here to help guide you to the games that you won’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Pacers look to take down the Raptors, the Wizards face the Pistons and the Bucks try their luck against the Celtics.

    Now for Friday’s ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks

    Tip Time: 8:30 pm (est)

    Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    Player Matchup: Zach Randolph and Dirk Nowitzki

    This game is not the flashiest of the bunch, but out of all the games scheduled for today, this is the only one that is expected to have all of their players on the court. Plus, this game has the potential to have a playoff atmosphere with the Grizzlies sitting fifth in the standings and the Mavericks sitting in seventh.

    Memphis (42-36) has surprisingly stayed afloat after losing their two franchise centerpieces Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to injury. Rookie forward JaMychal Green has been a big reason as to why they have been able to keep their heads above water. Over his last 10 games, Green has averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. These numbers don’t jump off the page, but on any given night this kid has the potential to give you a double-double with a few defensive stats.

    “We’re just starving to get a win,” coach Dave Joerger said. “Every night we just go out and compete. We’re just like okay well what’s the next one?”

    Zach Randolph, at age 34, has had to be the backbone of the Grizzlies this season. Over his last 10 games, the 14-year veteran has averaged 20.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field.

    The Mavericks (40-38) are also a team that has been hit by injuries, after recently losing their starting point guard Deron Williams due to a sports hernia. Head coach Rick Carlisle is known as one of the best coaches in the NBA today and his schemes and adjustments have proven that once again this year. The Mavs have now slowed the pace offensively with Williams sidelined and the team has also shown a sense of urgency on the defensive side of the floor.

    “I am proud of our guys for being willing to be team guys and play this way,” Carlisle said. “ We lived to fight another day.”

    Dallas is currently on a five-game winning streak and finds themselves only trailing the Grizzlies by two games to jump from the seventh seed to the fifth. J.J. Barea has been a huge reason for the team’s success, and he has been the biggest beneficiary of the Williams injury. Over the team’s five-game winning streak, Barea has averaged 24.2 and seven assists per game.

    “I like to play fast too, but slowing it down is working for us,” Barea said following the big win against the Rockets on Wednesday. “We’ve got to stay that way.”

    I wouldn’t expect to see a high-scoring affair between these two teams, but what you can expect is for these two teams to go all out to win this game. With so many veterans on both rosters, you never know if one of them rolled out of the bed wrong and hurt themselves. Be sure to stay close to Hoop Ball for any updates on the players’ statuses before tip-off.

Fantasy News

  • Chandler Hutchison
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Chandler Hutchison (shoulder), Denzel Valentine (hamstring) and Luke Kornet (ankle) will all be held out against the Thunder on Tuesday.

    The Bulls will once again have only nine active players for tonight's game as Ryan Arcidiacono, Shaquille Harrison and Adam Mokoka should again see minutes in the high teens. None are worth much of a look, as the Bulls have five days to get their roster healthy before their next game on Saturday.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Otto Porter Jr.
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Otto Porter Jr. (left foot fracture) is being ruled out ahead of Tuesday's matchup with the Thunder.

    The Bulls continue to take the cautious approach with Porter Jr. and will give him an additional five days to ramp up his activity before potentially being activated for Saturday's game against the Knicks.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    C, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) is being ruled out ahead of Tuesday's matchup with the Thunder.

    Carter Jr. returned to Bulls' practice over the All-Star break eyeing a return, but he will now miss the first four games after the break. Luke Kornet (ankle) remains out as well, as Daniel Gafford and Christiano Felicio should continue to stay busy. Carter's next opportunity to return will be on Saturday against the Knicks.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Mitchell Robinson
    C, New York Knicks

    Mitchell Robinson said that he has added 10 pounds to his frame since the start of the 2019-20 NBA season.

    Robinson has put up top-40/60 value in 9/8 cat formats on the year despite playing only 22.6 minutes per game. Over the past month Robinson has averaged 8.3 points, 7.0 rebonds, 1.1 steals and 2.5 blocks on an astronomical .840 percent from the field. Robinson remains one of the highest-upside players to target in hopes that the Knicks finally let him loose down the stretch.

    Source: Newsday

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Speaking to reporters after Monday’s game, Luka Doncic acknowledged that he is still trying to recover from the ankle sprain that sidelined him before the All-Star game.

    “I mean, it bothers me sometimes. Obviously, it’s not healed 100%. That’s why I missed the game in Atlanta. It was swollen and, you know, I’m just trying to keep the swelling down.” The Mavs are trying to secure a playoff berth but it’s certain that they will be cautious with their All-Star guard. He was fantastic on Monday and owners can only hope that he won’t be missing many games down the stretch.

    Source: Callie Caplin on Twitter

  • Rodions Kurucs
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    The Nets have recalled Rodions Kurucs from their NBA G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

    Kurucs has fallen out of the rotation in the last few games and he is not worth holding expect from dynasty leagues.

    Source: Chris Milholen on Twitter

  • Danilo Gallinari
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Thunder held trade talks at the deadline with the Heat on a deal involving Danilo Gallinari, but he ultimately remained with the franchise and he is happy about it.

    “I really wanted to stay here. It would be tough to leave such a great atmosphere, great teammates, a group that is winning," said Gallinari. "I wanted to stay.” Oklahoma has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season and this has to do with Gallinari playing at a high level, averaging 19.1 points and 5.6 rebounds while making a career-high 2.9 triples per game. The Rooster is returning top-50 value for the season and the hope is that he can remain healthy until the end.

    Source: The Daily Thunder

  • Derrick Rose
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on Monday that there’s “no chance” that the Pistons will consider buying out Derrick Rose’s contract this season.

    Rose is having a nice season with the Pistons averaging 18.0 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. Dwane Casey has been able to connect with the veteran guard who is under contract with the Pistons for next year as well. Windhorst added that the Lakers inquired for him at the trade deadline but it’s clear that he will be staying in Detroit. Rose is a must-own player in standard leagues even though there is the potential of a shutdown later in the season.

    Source: ESPN

  • Andre Roberson
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Andre Roberson has returned to Oklahoma City after an extended rehabilitation period in Los Angeles, but it is not certain when he will play again as he continues to recover from a ruptured tendon injury.

    The next step for Roberson is to go through a series of medical tests. He did not practice with the team but he worked out with development coaches after practice on Monday, running through situational drills on offense and defense. There is still no timetable for Roberson’s return and he can be safely ignored for now.

    Source: The Oklahoman

  • Evan Turner
    SG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Celtics are looking at available buyout candidates who could immediately give their bench an offensive boost and Evan Turner would welcome a return to Boston, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.

    Turner is still a member of the Wolves, trying to determine what’s next. He worked out for the Clippers last week, before L.A. signed Reggie Jackson from the Pistons. He is someone to keep an eye on in deeper leagues as the Celtics are desperate for some reliable production from their bench.

    Source: Heavy.com