• There are six games on the NBA schedule for Thursday, March 31st, and we here at Hoop Ball are here to help navigate you through some of these stinkers and bring you to the game you don’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Celtics go up against the Blazers and the Magic look to take down the Pacers in Indiana.

    Now for the only game that matters, here is your ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets

    Tip Time: 7 pm (est)

    Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    Player Matchup: Jimmy Butler and James Harden

    The Rockets (37-38) and the Bulls (37-37) are both desperately in need of wins with the regular season quickly coming to a close. The Bulls find themselves two games back from the Indiana Pacers for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

    It has been a disappointing year for Chicago after firing coach Tom Thibodeau and bringing in first-year coach Fred Hoiberg. If the Bulls can sneak their way into the playoffs that would be at least a sigh of relief for what has been a rough year. Veteran Pau Gasol, despite dealing with injuries, has had a very productive season averaging 16.6 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks through 66 games this year.

    The Bulls’ schedule is an unfavorable one as the next four of five games will be on the road. Jimmy Butler helped Chicago avoid a five-game losing streak against the Pacers by knocking down a 10-foot jumper with 3.7 seconds left on the clock in what was a ‘must win’ game in Indiana.

    Meanwhile, the Rockets are in a three-way tie for the seventh and eighth seed in the West. They got a big win against the Cavs on Tuesday, and they did it – surprisingly – on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Cavs to 36 percent shooting from the field.

    James Harden has done all he can to help his team claim a playoff berth. Over the month of March, Harden has been spectacular averaging 28.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 9.6 assists per game.  In the last meeting against the Bulls he was slowed down by Butler, finishing the game with 30 points but on just 38.5 percent from the field.

    It all comes down to these final two weeks of the season for both the Bulls and the Rockets. If the Bulls lose it feels like it could be the end for them, whereas the Rockets are still right in the middle of the fight.  Still, the loser is going to be in a rough spot at the end of this one.

Fantasy News

  • Matisse Thybulle
    PG, Philadelphia Sixers

    Matisse Thybulle (left ankle) has been cleared to participate in all Tuesday workouts after rolling his ankle on Monday.

    Thybulle's injury was not severe and it's great to hear already that the rookie is cleared for tomorrow's action.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Matisse Thybulle
    PG, Philadelphia Sixers

    Matisse Thybulle rolled an ankle on Monday during a workout and will be examined again on Tuesday morning.

    A tradition unlike any other, Sixers' rookies getting hurt has become a right of passage this decade. But in all seriousness, this sounds minor. Thybulle, the 20th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has great 3-and-D potential, but it's unlikely that he jumps right into a role big enough to make him relevant in standard leagues. Put him on your watch list though, as his steals and blocks in college were legendary.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have signed forward Thabo Sefolosha to a one-year contract.

    Sefolosha only played 12 minutes per game last season with the Jazz. However, he should be in the mix for reserve minutes with the Rockets. Aside from steals, he won't be that appealing to fantasy squads.

    Source: Houston Rockets on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Andre Iguodala and the Grizzlies have come to an understanding in which he will not attend training camp while the team attempts to trade him.

    The Grizzlies acquired Iguodala and a first-round pick from the Warriors in exchange for forward Julian Washburn on July 7. However, it is expected that the Grizzlies will flip him to a contending team at some point this season. Iguodala's fantasy value is not especially high especially with the uncertainty surrounding his future team.

    Source: Chris Herrington on Twitter

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Jayson Tatum, who missed part of the World Cup with a left ankle sprain, will be ready for Celtics training camp when it begins next week.

    Tatum averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds last season for the Celtics. He's a solid shooter who could take a step forward in his third NBA season.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker has recovered from a neck injury and will be a full participant in training camp for the Celtics.

    Walker set a career high with 25.6 points per game last season for the Hornets before signing with the Celtics in July. That figure could decline slightly now that Walker has joined a more talented squad, but he is still worthy of a second round pick.

    Source: Brian Robb on Twitter

  • Chris Paul
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Heat beat writer Ira Winderman said that talks involving Chris Paul being traded to the Heat have gone "dormant."

    The rumors may continue, but Paul will remain a member of the Thunder for the moment. Paul holds a $44 million player option for 2021-22 which is affecting what the Heat are willing to offer. Paul is still one of the better point guards in fantasy.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart, having recovered from calf and hand injuries, will be a full participant in training camp for the Celtics.

    Smart missed the end of the FIBA World Cup due to the ailments. However, they should not bother him going forward. Even on a talented Celtics roster, Smart is expected to start and could have top-75 value.

    Source: Brian Robb

  • Romeo Langford
    SG, Boston Celtics

    Celtics rookie guard Romeo Langford said that he has fully recovered from surgery on his right thumb.

    Langford tore a thumb ligament while playing for the University of Indiana last November but will participate in training camp after having successful surgery. The Celtics drafted him 14th overall, but he is unlikely to receive big minutes in his rookie campaign.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Tacko Fall
    C, Boston Celtics

    Celtics coach Brad Stevens announced that Tacko Fall should be fully healthy when training camp begins next week.

    Fall had suffered a knee injury during a workout, but it was not deemed to be serious. Fall is listed at 7'7" but will be battling just to claim a roster spot on the Celtics. He is not a recommended fantasy option at this time.

    Source: NBC Sports Boston