• There are nine games on the NBA schedule for the 16th of March, and we know you don’t have time watch all of them. That’s why Hoop Ball is here, to guide you to the games you don’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Thunder to take on the Celtics, the Bulls go up against the Wizards and the Hawks face the Pistons.

    Now for the games you need to be watching.

    Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    Tip Time: 7 pm (est)

    Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    Player Matchup: Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love

    The Dallas Mavericks are doing everything they can to hold on to their eighth-seeded playoff spot. They currently hold a two-game lead over the Utah Jazz, but with just 15 games left in the season, each matchup begins to hold more weight than the last.

    In their previous matchup with the Cavaliers, the Mavericks did not back down from the challenge of facing the number one team in the East. The game went into overtime, though the Cavs would come out victorious. A lot has changed since then, at least for Dallas.

    Head coach, Rick Carlisle, has been experimenting with his starting unit as of late. His most recent experiment has involved removing Zaza Pachulia out of the starting unit, moving Dirk Nowitzki to the center position and having Raymond Felton start at the shooting guard spot. The result – the team ended a season-high five-game losing streak.

    “We changed the lineup just because we needed a shakeup,” Carlisle said about replacing Pachulia in the starting unit. “Everything is on the table game to game.”

    Defensively the Mavs are a mess. Over their last six games, Dallas has surrendered an average of 107 points per game to their opponents and is currently ranked 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Offensively the Mavs can compete with anybody. The team is first in the league in turnovers per game (11.9) and is 10th in offensive efficiency.

    The future Hall of Famer (Nowitzki) is having himself another solid season. In 61 games this year, Nowitzki is averaging 18.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Over his last 10 games, Dirk has averaged 22.8 points, seven rebounds and is shooting 53.1 percent from the field.

    Cleveland is seamlessly chugging along with the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. However, it seems as if fatigue is beginning to beset this team. The team fell hard to the Jazz in their fourth game of a four-game West Coast road trip, recording their second worst scoring performance of the season (85 points).

    The Cavs are now about to embark on a very tough stint in their schedule as they will be playing three games in four nights. Head coach Tyrone Lue has said that he will be looking to rest his players.

    “Three (games) in four nights,” Lue said. “Have a game and then leave again and have a back-to-back. So during that three-game stretch I will look to rest guys.”

    (Be sure to stay close to Hoop-Ball.com for any updates on the status of the players.)

    Power forward, Kevin Love, has continued to struggle all season. In his last 10 games, Love has been averaging 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and shooting an abysmal 32.2 percent from the field.

    In the last matchup against the Mavericks, Love was able to rack up a double-double, but was still almost a non-factor in his 37 minutes of play due to his three fouls and shooting a miserable 26.3 percent from the field.

    The last three times Dallas has visited Cleveland, the Mavericks were able to leave with the ‘W’.

    Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets

    Tip Time: 9:30 pm (est)

    Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    Player Matchup: Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan

    These two teams, who found themselves facing each other Western Conference semi-finals just one season ago, are now in two very different places as a franchise.

    With less than a month to go in the season, the Rockets are looking to stay afloat in the playoff picture as both they and the Mavericks are tied with a 34-33 record.

    Houston has defeated the Clippers in two out of their three meetings this season. A key reason for their success has been the play of center Dwight Howard. In those three games, the 11-year veteran has averaged a massive 26 points and 20 rebounds per game.

    As everyone knows by now, the Rockets are by no means a team that struggles to score the basketball. Houston has scored 100 or more points in eight straight games and is averaging 114.4 points over their last five. Defensively is where this team finds themselves losing games. The Rockets are giving up an average of 106.6 points per game to their opponents.

    The Clippers, on the other hand, are right where they need to be in the standings. They currently sit fourth in the Western Conference, and if the season ended today, they would be facing a depleted Memphis Grizzlies’ team in the first-round of the playoffs. (Can you say first-round bye?)

    The Clips have dropped three of their last four games, with each loss coming at the hands of a team that is considered a ‘title contender’ (Thunder, Cavaliers and Spurs).

    The leader of the team, Chris Paul, has had himself a great year averaging 19.9 points, four rebounds and 9.8 assists per game. With the Clippers looking avoid a three-game losing streak, look for the 10-year veteran to take advantage of Houston’s lackluster defense.

    If you’re someone who loves to watch games with all offense and very little defense, then this is the game for you. For the fans out there who play daily fantasy, you may want to use this game as the focal point of building your lineups.

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