• It’s the last Tuesday of the NBA regular season and it’s filled with five games on the schedule. I’m not gonna lie, finding the ‘must watch’ game of the night was difficult today. I was looking over the slate of games and my initial reaction was a yawn. Most of these teams have already clinched their playoff spot while the others are just trying to finish the season out. Nevertheless, I found a game that I feel holds some gravitas and should bring a bit of excitement to your day. Here is Tuesday’s ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Thunder go up against the Spurs and the Heat make their way to the Motor City to face the Pistons.

    I know what you’re thinking, how in the world do I not have the Thunder and Spurs as the ‘must watch’ game tonight? I understand the frustration, but it’s the Spurs and the playoffs are around the corner. No news has come out yet, but with the undefeated home court record out of reach and a 10.5 game lead over the Thunder, it would not be a big surprise to hear that Popovich decides to rest some of his guys. I’m being cautious for you, the viewer, so you don’t have to sit through a boring contest. Let’s just move on to the ‘must watch’ game of the night shall we?

    (Update: Thunder to rest starters)

    Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    Tip Time: 10:30 pm (est)

    Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

    Player Matchup: Jeff Green vs. Matt Barnes

    The Grizzlies (42-38) sit just a half game back from the Blazers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Griz are depleted and no matter who they match up against in the playoffs, a sweep is to be expected. Now with that said, if Memphis was to make any noise in the postseason, the team they would have their best chances with would be the Clippers.

    The fortitude this Memphis team has shown after losing Marc Gasol and Mike Conley has been admirable. Many people, including myself, saw the loss of their two franchise players and assumed that the team would begin to tank. Instead, they have stayed together and have found ways to scrap together a few wins to keep their heads above water.

    “We battled, we got loose balls, we got offensive rebounds, and we got into the paint,” head coach Dave Joerger told the team’s official site. “I’m just really proud of our guys and proud of our season.”

    Former Clipper Matt Barnes has been a steady contributor over his last four games, averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Zach Randolph has also stepped up as the team’s leader and No. 1 offensive option, averaging 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds over his last ten games.

    For the Clippers (52-28), it has been another year of people saying the same old thing – ‘how good are the Clips?’ I know I have said it at least once or twice this season, and even if you ask me right now that would probably be the first thought in my head.

    Blake Griffin is starting to work his way back to NBA form since returning from his injury and suspension. Sunday was the first time Griffin saw 30+ minutes of action since his return and he finished the game with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

    The Clippers know that they need to become more creative with their lineups with the playoffs approaching. Head coach Doc Rivers would like to test his versatility of his roster in a small-ball lineup and shift Griffin to the center position.

    “I want to see him at his normal position 95 percent of the time,” Rivers said to the team’s official site. “But, yeah, I want to see him at the five at times, too.”

    Looking at the playoff picture as it stands now, the Clips would be facing the Blazers in the first round. With Memphis just a half game behind Portland, the Clippers would benefit from having the Grizzlies win. The Griz are basically looked at as a first round bye and for an L.A. team trying to reincorporate one of their star players, an easier first round matchup would be beneficial.

    The Clippers also want to stay healthy heading into the postseason. Be sure to stay close to Hoop Ball for any updates on the players’ statuses before tip-off.

     

Fantasy News

  • Moritz Wagner
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Moritz Wagner has but cut from Germany's FIBA World Cup team.

    The move seems somewhat surprising given Wagner's youth and notoriety, but Germany still have four NBA players on their roster despite cutting Wagner. The Wizards have plenty of depth in the frontcourt and Wagner is probably lower on the totem poll when it comes to receiving minutes.

    Source: Dario Skerletic of Sportnado

  • Jonah Bolden
    PF, Philadelphia Sixers

    Jonah Bolden has opted to withdraw from Team Australia in the FIBA World Cup.

    Bolden becomes the fifth NBA player to skip out on playing for Australia in the World Cup, a trend that seems to be prevalent for several country's national teams. Bodlen could be looking at an increased role as a backup center for Philly's thin bench this upcoming season. He is not expected to be a relevant fantasy option though.

    Source: Fox Sports Australia

  • Jeremy Lin
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Jeremy Lin is in advanced discussions with the Bejing Ducks according to a report from Chinese journalist Sonx Xiang.

    Lin previosuly turned down a deal to play for CSKA Moscow, and has also discussed his openness to playing in China. The nine year guard still hopes to resmue his NBA career at some point, but a move to China may be the best career option for him at this juncture.

    Source: Sportando

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    The Lakers will soon ask Memphis permission to speak with Dwight Howard according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    Shams goes on to mention that there is mutual interest here and that Joakim Noah could be another veteran of interest for LA. The realistic options for free agents at the five really don't go much further than these two for the Lakers. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins injury, one name the Lakers are considering is Dwight Howard, according to Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated.

    Howard is still a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, but it is widely assumed that he will be waived before the season starts. A reunion in LA would certainly be pretty surprising for the Lakers after Howard famously did not resign with them after a miserable season playing with Kobe Bryant. Still, the Lakers need depth at the five and there really aren't any options on the market who compare to Howard's level of productivty, even at this stage of his career. Other center options the Lakers could pursue include Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried and Zaza Pachulia.

    Source: Rohan Nadkarni on Twitter

  • 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