• 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

  • Malachi Richardson
    SG, International

    Malachi Richardson has signed with Hapoel Holon in Israel.

    Richardson played 22 games for the Raptors last season and averaged 1.4 points. At 23 years old, he still has time to develop and possibly return to the NBA in the future.

    Source: Sportando

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert scored 14 points along with nine rebounds, two assists and a block in France's 86-72 win vs. Brazil in the World Cup exhibition games.

    Gobert led the team in scoring across 22 minutes of playing time. With the new additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic on the Jazz, Gobert may take a slight hit in scoring however you can still expect excellent field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. Evan Fournier chipped in 13 points with five rebounds, three assists and a steal for France. Brazil's Bruno Cabloclo scored nine points, seven rebounds and a steal.

    Source: FIBA

  • Dennis Schroder
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Dennis Schroder scored 19 points to lead Germany to a 83-62 win vs. Hungary as the teams prepare for the Wold Cup.

    Schroder filled the box score tonight by adding three rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and four treys. He will come off the bench again next season behind Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Anyone who drafts the often-injured Chris Paul may want to handcuff him with Schroder. Fellow countryman Daniel Theis scored 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and one steal.

    Source: FIBA

  • Tyler Dorsey
    SG, International

    Tyler Dorsey has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. of Israel.

    Dorsey played 21 games for the Grizzlies last year after being acquired midseason from the Hawks via trade. He played well over that span with 9.8 points in 21.3 minutes but will take his talents overseas where, "He'll have a chance to showcase what great things he can do," according to his new head coach. Maccabi has signed several former NBA players this offseason as Dorsey will be joining Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters, Quincy Acy and Tarik Black.

    Source: Macabi Tel Aviv on Twitter

  • Rayjon Tucker
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    Rayjon Tucker will be signing with the Bucks on a partially guaranteed deal.

    Tucker is a little older than most rookies and will be 22 before the start of the season but he played well enough at Little Rock last year to deserve a look, scoring 20.3 points per game and knocking down 2.4 triples per game at a 41.1 percent clip. He rounds out the Bucks 20-man training camp roster but since they already have 15 guaranteed contracts and both two-way spots occupied, he is very unlikely to make the team and could very well end up in the G-League.

    Source: Darren Wolfson on Twitter

  • De'Aaron Fox
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Per Chris Hayes of Yahoo, De'Aaron Fox will be withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup in order to focus on the upcoming season.

    Fox follows the trend set by many other players that have withdrawn for the same reason. Maybe this is related to him only playing six minutes in the exhibition against Spain on Friday but either way, he should be in line to improve last year's huge leap in production and could even be in the All-Star conversation. Derrick White is much more likely to make the final roster now with Fox out.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker leads US in 90-81 victory over Spain on Friday.

    Walker impressed in the exhibition with 11 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in 22 minutes with Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Khris Middleton also playing well as his co-stars. Four Celtics are expected to be on the final roster which will serve as a great opportunity for Walker to develop a good rapport with his new teammates ahead of training camp. Marc Gasol was the top scorer for Spain with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks while Ricky Rubio finished with 16 points, seven assists and five steals.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Khem Birch
    C, Orlando Magic

    Khem Birch led all scorers with 18 points as Canada lost to Australia in the second game of their mini-series exhibition.

    Birch also chipped in four rebounds, two steals and a block in 23 minutes. He recently signed a two-year extension with the Magic but he currently sits as their third string center so he is off the fantasy map for now. For Australia, captain Joe Ingles put up eight points on 2-of-10 shooting with six assists and three steals in 31 minutes while Jonah Bolden chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, a steal and two triples in 18 minutes off the bench.

    Source: FIBA

  • Juancho Hernangomez
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Juan Hernangomez was back in action on Friday after undergoing core surgery in May.

    Hernangomez did not do much in his 20 minutes of action in Spain's exhibition against the US on Friday but at least he has recovered from his surgery. He is entering a contract year but it will be difficult for him to get much playing time with the Nuggets at full health. He played only 8.4 minutes per game over the last two months of last season.

    Source: Nick Kosmider on Twitter

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Jayson Tatum's intent is to increase his scoring this season according to Keith Smith.

    Tatum has been working on being stronger with the ball, drawing fouls and finishing through contact which should result in an increase in free throws, points and efficiency. He was already a top-60 player in only his second year in the league by providing a little bit of everything from a fantasy perspective and should only continue to grow going into his third season.

    Source: Keith Smith on Twitter