• There are six games on the slate for Tuesday night in the NBA and we here at Hoop Ball are here to help guide you to the games you don’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Wizards head to Dub City to take on the Warriors, and the Thunder try to extend their nine-game winning streak in the Motor City against the Pistons.

    Now for the games that you don’t want to miss.

    Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers

    Tip Time: 7 pm (est)

    Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

    Player Matchup: Jimmy Butler and Paul George

    The Pacers (39-34) are 3-2 over their last five games as they look to fend off the Pistons for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and avoid a first round matchup against the Cavs.

    “It’s a big game, probably the biggest game of the season for us right now,” George said. “We have a chance to push ourselves one more game up in the win column.”

    George has had himself an amazing season after suffering a horrific leg injury back in 2014. Through 73 games this season, he has averaged 23.4 points, seven rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. This game against the Bulls (36-37) – like George said – is a very big game for the Pacers, but more importantly for Chicago.

    Chicago trails the eighth-place Pistons by just 2.5 games and they are three games behind Indiana. The Bulls have been struggling as of late, dropping four out of their last five. With the season quickly coming to a close the Bulls are desperately looking for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

    A big reason for the Bulls’ recent struggles has been because of the lack of production they have received from Jimmy Butler. The fourth-year guard has recently returned from injury but through the month of March, he has averaged just 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 38.9 percent from the field. A team that was once looked at as one of the best defensive teams in the league has now seen that label washed away this season. Chicago is ranked 13th in defensive efficiency this season and over their last five games the team has surrendered 107.2 points per game.

    These two teams are also fighting to own the tiebreaker in their season series.

    Houston Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    Tip Time: 8 pm (est)

    Where: Quicken Loans Arena

    Player Matchup: Patrick Beverley and Kyrie Irving

    Cleveland (52-21) is sitting comfortably at the top of the Eastern Conference and is still viewed as the heavy favorites to come out of the East. It has already been reported that LeBron James will be sitting this game out for rest.

    “Not too many chances and opportunities to rest one game and have four days off, so I thought it was a good opportunity to rest him,” head coach Tyronn Lue said.

    With James now out of the lineup, the ball will be firmly in the hands of Kyrie Irving. In the previous meeting against the Rockets, Irving racked up 23 points and four assists on 52.9 percent shooting from the field.

    The Rockets (36-38) are currently tied with the Mavs for eighth in the Western Conference. Houston needs a win to take sole possession of the final playoff spot in the West, but even with James out of the lineup a win against the Cavs will not come easy.

    James Harden has placed his team on his back, putting up monstrous numbers averaging 29 points and 9.7 assists per game through the month of March. Unfortunately, Harden’s impressive play has not resulted in success for the Rockets. Houston enters Tuesday’s matchup losing four out of their last five games and giving up 104.4 points per game to their opponents.

    “We need to be more aggressive,” Harden said.

    “I think we’re playing at our best when we’re moving the basketball and defensively rebounding the basketball or just moving at a high pace,” Harden said. “That’s our brand of basketball, so no matter who we’re playing, if we play that way, we’ll be in good hands.”

    These next four games for the Rockets (CLE, CHI, OKC, DAL) will be crucial to whether or not they make the playoffs. Both of these teams are very good at scoring the basketball, but lack a consistent pressure on defense. This game is going to be a high-scoring affair and we’ll see how much fight the Rockets have left in them.

Fantasy News

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    According to Shams Charania, the NBA has informed players that they will not be able to travel with their respective teams in Orland, should they fail to be tested on one of two days before the scheduled travel date.

    The report also says that if the player does indeed miss the said window to be tested, he will need to register three consecutive tests before traveling. This is a strict protocol, but one the league needs to enforce in order to ensure the safety of all of the players and staff who will be entering the "bubble" in Walt Disney World in preparation for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. There has been a lot of concern, especially with the growing number of cases being recorded in Florida.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that a third Heat player has tested positive for COVID-19.

    Derrick Jones Jr. is the only known player, though Jackson adds that the two latest cases are both rotation players. Florida is in terrible shape at the moment and the Heat may need to enter the bubble without three of their rotation options — those players may still join the team later but will miss out on valuable practice time. The NBA is going full steam ahead on their restart plans but the virus is going to determine whether or not things actually unfold according to plan.

    Source: Barry Jackson on Twitter

  • Landry Shamet
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania reports that Landry Shamet has tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to join the Clippers for their trip to Orlando this week.

    That leaves the door open for Shamet to rejoin the team closer to the season's restart, assuming he is feeling okay. Just yesterday it was announced that the Clippers closed their facilities after a positive test, so it appears Shamet's case was the culprit. The sharpshooter is averaging 27.5 minutes per game this season so if he's forced to sit out the Orlando restart it could have big ramifications on LA's backcourt rotation.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA has released its schedule of scrimmages for the Orlando restart, with games beginning on July 22.

    The league has tried to match up teams that are unlikely opponents for these scrimmages so nobody gets a really good look at what a potential playoff matchup might want to run. For example, the first day of scrimmages will see the Nuggets face the Wizards, the Nets take on the Pelicans, the Clippers against the Magic and the Kings vs. the Heat. Scrimmages will run through July 28.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert
    PG-SG, Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert embraces challenge of being a leader.

    LeVert has been an active participant in the racial inequality protests and admitted that basketball is very minor right now compared to everything else going on in the world but is ready for the NBA restart saying, "For me, it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group, going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience." In the 16 games since rejoining the starting lineup, LeVert has put up All-Star numbers with 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and leading the Nets to a 9-7 record over that span. The upward trajectory continues for the Nets' 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

    Source: Newsday

  • Jordan Crawford
    SG, Free Agent

    Jordan Crawford has agreed to a deal with Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban.

    Crawford last played in the NBA for the Pelicans in 2018 with career averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 24.4 minutes. The career journeyman has played for five NBA teams since 2010 with a few stints with China in between. Since the beginning of 2019, he has played in Israel, China, Germany and now we can add Russia to that list.

    Source: Sportando

  • Lance Stephenson
    SG, Free Agent

    Lance Stephenson is ineligible to sign with the Pacers according to Scott Agness.

    Stephenson to the Pacers was being discussed in early March and made sense now with Victor Oladipo choosing to sit out the remainder of the season but this move apparently will not happen. The 29-year old Stephenson spent this past season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the CBA's Flying Leopards.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.

    As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.

    Source: ESPN

  • Deng Adel
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).

    Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.

    Source: Sportando

  • Darius Miller
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.

    Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.

    Source: Will Guillory on Twitter