April 7, 2016, 3:51 pm
It’s Thursday, so we all know what that means – 65 cent (boneless) wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. While you are there enjoying your meal, you might as well turn your attention to the T.V. and tune into tonight’s ‘must watch’ games of the night.
The Honorable Mentions: The Bulls look to get a much-needed win against the Heat and the Raptors face the Hawks.
Now for the games you don’t want to miss.
Phoenix Suns vs. Houston Rockets
Tip Time: 8 pm (est)
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Player Matchup: Devin Booker and James Harden
At first glance, you look at this matchup and you may think ‘why is this game on the list of ‘must watch’ games?’ It’s not based on the talent on the floor because it’s quite obvious that talent-wise the Rockets are the superior team. No, this matchup is on the list because of the playoff implications that come with the result of this game.
The Rockets (38-20) are still fighting for their playoff lives after falling to the Mavericks on Wednesday, and they now trail the Jazz by one game for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
“We all know how difficult it is, how important this game was,” Harden said following the loss to the Mavericks. “It’s not rocket science.”
James Harden has put his team on his back as they fight for the playoffs. Over his last 10 games, the six-year veteran has averaged 28.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game.
For the Suns (20-58) it has been a disappointing season. Injuries to their star players have turned a season that was full of optimism to a year of rebuilding. Phoenix enters the game looking to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Rookie shooting guard Devin Booker has been a huge bright spot, however. Over his last 10 games, Booker has averaged 22.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. His ability to score off the dribble, move without the ball and knock down open jumpers has been impressive for a 19-year-old.
Both of these teams rank in the bottom of the NBA in defensive efficiency (Houston: 22nd, Phoenix: 28th), so if you are someone that loves to watch offense with very little defense, then this is the game for you.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors
Tip Time: 10:30 pm (est)
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Player Matchup: LaMarcus Aldridge and Draymond Green
Every time the Warriors (69-9) and the Spurs (65-12) face each other, you know it’s going to be on the list of ‘must watch’ games. These two franchises have both had an amazing season, placing them number one and two in the standings.
In the last meeting, San Antonio showed their defensive abilities by aggressively attacking the reigning MVP Stephen Curry every chance they could. As soon as Curry stepped over half court, the Spurs applied the pressure.
Offensively, the Spurs were fueled by their two franchise centerpieces Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. You could tell by watching this game that the game plan was to attack down low. Aldridge took advantage of his height against Draymond Green, finishing the game with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Although this game is one that most NBA fans are anxious to see, Leonard – in Spurs fashion – has been downplaying their meeting with the champs.
“I don’t think about it like that, playoffs are a different game,” Leonard said. “We don’t even know if we still will see each other in the playoffs so we will just go out and try to make our team better going into the playoffs.”
The Warriors are chasing history, looking to pass the 1995-96 Bulls for the best single-season record in NBA history. However, after not losing a game on their home floor all season, the Warriors have now dropped two in a row in front of the home crowd. Golden State has to win their final four games if they want to break the record, meaning the margin of error is now gone.
“It’s a miracle that we’ve gone this far without hitting a bump in the road,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “This is to be expected. Every team goes through it. It’s just probably surprising for people out there and maybe even our own guys because this season has maybe come too easy for us.”
Draymond Green has been fantastic this season averaging 13.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He is the backbone of this Warriors’ team and is the player that does not care about his stats — but is willing to be whatever his team needs him to be to get the win.
You can’t talk about the Warriors without mentioning ‘the chef’ Stephen Curry. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any better, Curry decides to take his game to a whole other level this season averaging 30 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game.
In the last meeting between these two teams the Spurs were able to dominate the glass, finishing the game with a 16-rebound advantage over the Warriors. This game is without a doubt the definition of a ‘must watch’ game. One team is looking to make history while the other is looking to take down the champs for the second consecutive time. If the Warriors win they also will clinch home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
There have been no reports of any Spurs’ players resting, but with this game not affecting their undefeated home court it would not be a huge surprise to see Popovich surprise us. Be sure to bookmark the site and stay close to Hoop Ball for updates on the players statuses before tip-off.
February 21, 2020, 1:40 amDamion LeeSG, Golden State Warriors
Damion Lee went 4-for-12 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line to finish Thursday's game with 13 points, one 3-pointer, four rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Lee has been one of the hotter pickups since D'Angelo Russell was sent to the Wolves. However, some buyer's remorse might be setting in as Lee's .413 shooting from the field can dip thanks to the variance that comes along with him being a streaky shooter, making more suiting for FG-punting builds.
February 21, 2020, 1:36 amJuan Toscano-AndersonPF, Golden State Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson was a beneficiary of lengthy garbage time in Thursday's loss to the Rockets, recording a career-high 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block.
JTA played well, but as mentioned this game was long over even before the fans could form their conga line leading out of the arena. He's worth a watch list spot if you're playing in an 18-teamer or deeper, but expect him to fall off when Stephen Curry eventually returns.
February 21, 2020, 1:33 amAndrew WigginsSF, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins recorded a team-high 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s, one steal and two blocks in a loss to the Rockets on Thursday.
There's not much more to add regarding Wiggins and the Warriors' sad state. On a positive note, Wiggins has managed to keep the peripherals going since joining the Dubs, something he should be able to sustain ROS.
February 21, 2020, 1:30 amDeMarre CarrollSF, Houston Rockets
DeMarre Carroll debuted for the Rockets on Thursday vs. the Warriors but was quiet in his 13 minutes off the bench with just two points (2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds and four assists.
Carroll was added more for playoff depth as a veteran shooter. He's not going to make noise in fantasy, so leave him on the wire.
February 21, 2020, 1:26 amJeff GreenSF, Houston Rockets
Jeff Green made his debut for the Rockets on Thursday and looked surprisingly spry given that he's 33 years young, chiming in with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four 3s, four rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes.
Before you go rushing off to grab Green, note that there was so much garbage time in this one, you could have built a landfill. He was likely seeing extra run to get acclimated with his new team and system. Leave him on the wire for now. Green's extra time on the floor came at the expense of Danuel House, who played just 19 minutes and was able to tally 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (three 3s) with three rebounds and one assist. House remains a standard-league hold at this time.
February 21, 2020, 1:21 amJames HardenPG, Houston Rockets
Coming out of the All-Star break, a refreshed and rested James Harden was back in tip-top form, leading the Rockets to a 135-105 stomping of the Warriors with 29 points (6-of-16 FGs, 14-of-15 FTs), 10 dimes and a fat stat line.
Harden was in full beast mode (beard mode?) in this one, handily dispatching with the Dubs with three rebounds, three treys, three steals and two blocks, while committing just one turnover. 2019-20 has been rockier than usual for Harden as he saw some unfamiliar territory with ups and downs. He's back and killing it, so clearly the ASB-rest may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.
February 21, 2020, 1:14 amKent BazemoreSG, Sacramento Kings
Kent Bazemore saw some quality run in Thursday's win over the Grizzlies, logging 23 minutes off the bench and dropping 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and one steal.
Bazemore is not an efficient scorer, so his .600 clip from the field tonight should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. He's been widely inconsistent for most of the season but is worth keeping an eye on in case he makes it a habit of playing well.
February 21, 2020, 1:10 amJabari ParkerPF, Sacramento Kings
Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) debuted for the Kings on Thursday but was unremarkable in his 15 minutes off the bench, tallying just four points, four rebounds and two assists.
While Parker is not a high-impact player in fantasy, we should expect to see those minutes rise as he gets his legs back. And given that Marvin Bagley III's timetable is in weeks, Parker may be worth a streamer once he's closer to 100 percent.
February 21, 2020, 1:05 amHarrison BarnesSF, Sacramento Kings
Harrison Barnes was unconscious as he went 7-for-11 from deep en route to his game-high 32 points in Thursday's 129-125 win over the Grizzlies.
Barnes was hot as hell, making 11-of-17 shots from the field, but chipped with just a sprinkling of peripherals outside of the 3-pointers, adding one rebound, one assist and one steal to the box. Even when he's on a tear, Barnes still is just a score-first (only) guy, who doesn't really diversify into the other categories. Still, it was a good night overall. Just don't expect him to be THIS good every night moving forward.
February 21, 2020, 1:00 amTyus JonesPG, Memphis Grizzlies
Tyus Jones made his 18 minutes on the floor count on Thursday, chipping in 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with three rebounds, two 3s and six assists.
Jones is flying under the radar lately and should be on the radars of managers looking for a quality guard to stream. While he's not averaging 20 minutes per game, his per-36 minute numbers of 13.2 points, 8.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game on .468 shooting from the field should be enough to convince you that he's worth the grab.