March 26, 2017, 10:15 pm
With 10 games on the NBA slate on Sunday we jump right into things as playoff positioning was at a premium with some of the matchups. The Heat travelled to Boston to take on a Celtics team that sat only 0.5 games back of first overall in the Eastern Conference while in the West the Grizzlies travelled to Oracle Arena to square off against the Warriors. The game of the day however took place in Houston where the perennial MVP favourites went head-to-head in what could very well be a first round playoff preview. With White Zombie playing in the background, here’s Monday’s Daily Dish.
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HORNETS 120, SUNS 106
Hot off a 70 point performance could Devin Booker continue his scorching streak? The short answer is no as this one was pretty much over after the first quarter.
Kemba Walker played well in 38 minutes of action scoring 31 points on 10-of-18 from the field. Walker is the undisputed leader of this Hornets team and it will take a small miracle for the Hornets to leap-frog two other teams to slide into one of the bottom playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference. Walker shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the line and added nine assists, four rebounds, four triples and one steal in the win. With four games upcoming this week owners should feel great about the prospect of Kemba finishing the season strong.
Marvin Williams shot an efficient 6-of-8 from the filed for 21 points to go with seven rebounds to assists and one steal. Williams was also deadly from 3-point land connecting on 5-of-6 from the land beyond. Over the last two weeks Williams has flirted with top 35 value averaging 10.7 PPG and 10.2 RPG. He’ll look to finish the season on a high note with four games upcoming this week.
Nicolas Batum posted a double-double scoring 18 points and adding 10 assists in 30 minutes of action. His shooting today wasn’t the greatest as he only connected on 6-of-15 from the field but Batum did add six rebounds, three triples and one steal in the win.
Cody Zeller played well once again scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 from the field. He also added seven rebounds, two assists and a team-high four steals. These are the types of lines that elevate owners into the championship week. For those of you who rostered Zeller, congratulations!
Coming off a career-high 70 point performance Devin Booker was surely to drop back to reality. While he didn’t come close to 70 points he did lead the Suns once again in scoring 23 points on 7-of-17 from the field. He added four rebounds, five assists, two triples and one block in 35 minutes of action. With four games upcoming this week for the Suns look for Booker to finish this season on a high note.
T.J. Warren returned to the Suns lineup on Sunday and promptly double-doubled in 39 minutes of action. Warren scored 21 points on 9-of-16 from the field and added 10 rebounds, two assists and a team-high four steals in the loss. Warren has been a pleasant surprise this season and as long as he is healthy will have every opportunity to finish the season on a positive note.
Coming off back-to-back 20+ point games, Marco Belinelli fell back to reality shooting 3-of-7 from the field for eight points and two rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Jeremy Lamb has really fallen off since Nicolas Batum returned to the starting lineup. Lamb played nine minutes off the bench but only chipped in two points with two rebounds.
Derrick Jones Jr. came off the bench and played 20 minutes but only chipped in two points with two rebounds and one assist. Jones Jr. hasn’t played very well in his limited opportunities but look for him to gain valuable experience and improve as he gets older.
With the win the Hornets improved to 33-40 but still sit in 11th spot in the Eastern Conference. They will need to have a strong week if they want to get a realistic chance of playing in the post-season this year. They play four games this week beginning with a home date vs. the Bucks on Tuesday night. The Suns meanwhile dropped their 8th game in a row and now sit at 22-52 on the season. They head to Atlanta to take on a struggling Hawks team who has also dropped seven in a row. Something will have to give on Tuesday night.
NETS 107, HAWKS 92
In what looked like a mismatch on paper turned out to be the complete opposite as the worst team in the league came to Atalanta and dismantled a struggling Hawks team.
Brook Lopez led all Nets scorers with 23 points on 7-of-17 from the field. Lopez added seven rebounds, two triples, one steal and one block and he was a big reason why the Nets led from start to finish in this one.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, despite being listed as questionable before the game posted a double-double in the win with 11 points and 13 rebounds. That’s back-to-back double-digit rebound games for RHJ and he looks to be making the most of his opportunity for the Nets as the season winds down. He added one dime, one steal and one block in 25 minutes of action.
Jeremy Lin, playing in his second game since returning from injury scored 19 points on 7-of-15 from the field. Lin played a healthy 28 minutes in this one and added a full line with four rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one triple and one block. With the Nets playing four times this upcoming week look for Lin to continue the strong play, that is, as long as he’s healthy.
Dwight Howard played well for the Hawks in a losing cause scoring 19 points and adding 16 rebounds in 28 minutes of action. D12 hit 8-of-12 from the field but only connected on 3-of-12 from the charity stripe. He added one steal and one block with five turnovers in the loss.
Dennis Schroder scored a game-high 24 points for the Hawks connecting on 10-of-24 from the field. Schroder added three rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two triples in the loss and will have to continues playing at a high level if the Hawks want to avoid a total collapse down the stretch.
Ersan Ilyasova shot poorly connecting on only 3-of-14 from the field for nine points but did chip in a game-high 18 rebounds. He added one assist but it’s been difficult for him to replicate Paul Millsap’s stats as he fills in for him while Millsap continues to sit out with a left knee injury.
Caris LeVert started but only chipped in eight points on 4-of-9 from the field in 26 minutes of action. He added five rebounds, one assist and nothing else in this one.
Randy Foye was completely invisible going scoreless in 13 minutes of action vs. the Hawks. He finished his line with one rebounds, one assist and one steal.
The Hawks bench as a whole only chipped in seven points in this one shooting a combined 3-of-19 from the field. Not one Hawk bench player scored more than two points.
The Hawks dropped to 37-36 and now sit in 6th in the Eastern Conference. They continue to free-fall and it is not looking pretty for them. They play four times this coming week and will look to get back on the winning track when the Suns pay a visit on Tuesday night. The Nets meanwhile sit at 16-57 with the victory and will look to make it two in a row when the Sixers come to town on Tuesday night.
BULLS 109, BUCKS 94
The Bucks blow a wonderful opportunity to separate themselves from the Hawks while the Bulls keep their playoff hopes alive.
Jimmy Butler posted a huge double-double scoring 20 points and adding a career-high 14 assists in the win. Butler added six rebounds, three steals and one triple while shooting 8-of-13 from the field. He did have six turnovers, but owners will live with that considering the exceptional value that Butler produces elsewhere.
Nikola Mirotic 28 points for the second time in the last three games on 11-of-14 from the field. He added eight rebounds, six triples and one assist in 35 minutes of action and only turned the ball over once in the win.
Rajon Rondo started at point guard again and flirted with a triple-double scoring 18 points with nine rebounds and nine assists. When Rondo is on it’s tough to control him and he was definitely on this afternoon. He shot 8-of-11 from the field and added one steal for good measure.
Robin Lopez was solid in the middle scoring 18 points on 9-of-13 from the field. He added five rebounds, two assists and one block and outplayed both Thon Maker and Greg Monroe on the offensive end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 22 points on 8-of-14 from the field. He added eight rebounds and four assists but did not provide owners with any steals or blocks in this one. He also only hit 6-of-10 from the line. Look for him to bounce back in Charlotte on Tuesday night.
Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon both chipped in 14 points in the loss. Middleton shot 6-of-17 from the field but added six rebounds, two triples, two assists and four steals while Brogdon 5-of-11 from the field to go with four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the loss.
Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis combine to shoot 3-of-11 from the field off the bench for the Bulls. Valentine added three rebounds and two assists while Portis only chipped in two rebounds in the loss.
Despite starting for the Bucks Thon Maker and Tony Snell continue to produce next to nothing of for a team that is in the thick of a playoff run. Maker scored three points on 1-of-3 from the field while Snell scored seven points on 3-of-9 from the field in 32 minutes of action.
The Bulls improved to 35-39 and sit in ninth place on the outside looking in at the moment. They only play three times this week so owners in the championship round of their leagues need to be mindful of that. They’re off until Thursday night when they’ll host the struggling Cavs at the United Centre. The Bucks meanwhile drop to 37-36 and continue to be tied with the Hawks while sitting 0.5 games up on the Pacers for sixth in the East. The Bucks play four times this coming week, beginning with a road tilt withe Hornets on Tuesday night.