You never want to see players get hurt at this point in the season and it’s especially tough when that player is the MVP and arguably the most exciting player to watch in the NBA. As we all wait in anticipation for the news regarding Stephen Curry’s knee, at least we were able to be distracted with a couple of awesome games in Boston and Detroit. As for the other two games, well, they weren’t exactly instant classics. With that said, let’s take a quick look at all of the action. For NBA news or fantasy advice, click here to follow me on Twitter!
Spurs 116, Grizzlies 95 (Spurs win series 4-0)
This probably won’t shock you, but the Spurs easily completed their 4-0 sweep of the Grizzlies behind a dominant 21-point performance by Kawhi Leonard. The Claw added seven boards, four assists, two blocks, one steal and two treys, and he did all of his damage in just 27 minutes. Leonard played 29 or fewer minutes in three out of the four games in this series, but I’d expect him to play a lot more in the next round with a potential matchup with Kevin Durant and the Thunder looming. LaMarcus Aldridge posted his second straight double-double with 15 points and 10 boards, but just like Leonard, his production should trend up in the next round.
Tim Duncan’s quiet postseason continued with just seven points, two boards, two assists and three blocks, but you would think he turns it on at some point, right? Until then, I can’t trust him in any lineups. Tony Parker looked great with 16 points in 21 minutes and David West added 11 points off the bench with three steals. Danny Green was coming off a solid performance in Game 3 in which he had 11 points, three blocks and three treys, so of course he had just two points in 18 minutes on Sunday. You have to just laugh at this point.
Lance Stephenson led the Grizzlies with 26 points (11-of-19 FGs) and three assists, and no you didn’t read that last part wrong. I actually think Stephenson showed some promise since his mid-season trade to Memphis, but it’s a little hard to imagine them picking up his $9.5 million team option this summer. Zach Randolph scored 15 points with seven boards in 22 minutes, but he will be 35 years old this summer and I will warn you now not to draft him again. His numbers were down across the board this season and he wasn’t even a top-100 player in standard leagues, and it’s no secret that his knees are starting to become a real concern. Matt Barnes ended his season on a positive note with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer, and the impending free agent should get a decent raise this summer. You have to respect what the Grizzlies did this season after battling countless injuries, but this summer will be huge for their future as they try to re-sign Mike Conley and get Marc Gasol (foot) healthy again.
Warriors 121, Rockets 94 (Warriors leading series 3-1)
Stephen Curry returned from a two-game absence and got off to a rough start, but things took a turn for the worse when he slipped and landed awkwardly on his knee right before halftime. Curry tried to warm up for the second half and even said that he wanted to give it a go, but the Warriors made the wise decision to hold him out which literally brought tears to his eyes. The bad news is that Curry was later diagnosed with an MCL sprain and the team announced that he will have an MRI on Monday. I’m no doctor and I don’t like speculating on timetables, but you have to think he’s at least out for the rest of this series. A knee sprain could sideline a player for a couple of days or for several weeks depending on the severity, but we won’t know anything concrete until the MRI results are released.
If we operate under the assumption that Curry is at least out for Game 5 on Wednesday, there are a lot of players who will benefit in his absence. An obvious one is Shaun Livingston who had nine points, nine assists, five boards and one steal in 23 minutes. Livingston averaged 16.0 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 boards and 2.5 steals in his previous two starts, so he’s certainly on the radar in DFS. Draymond Green (18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four treys) is now a must-start player in DFS and Klay Thompson (23 points, seven 3-pointers, five assists) is obviously going to benefit as well. Andre Iguodala was awesome on Sunday with 22 points, five boards, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers, and he’s also worth a long look while his price is still modest.
I kid you not, this game was actually tied at halftime, so the fact that the Rockets lost by 27 points speaks volumes about their season. Patrick Beverley left the game due to a right leg strain and he never returned, but it worries me that the Rockets ruled him out so quickly. James Harden will run the point more if Beverley misses time, and he even flirted with a quadruple-double with 18 points, 10 assists, seven boards, seven steals and two treys in the blowout. Trevor Ariza has arguably been the most disappointing Rocket in the postseason, and he finished with just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. Simply put, you can’t use him in DFS right now even though he’s logging a ton of minutes. Michael Beasley made a blip on the radar with 17 points in 19 minutes, but I’m not paying him any attention because J.B. Bickerstaff thinks Donatas Motiejunas is the next Dirk Nowitzki. He’s not…
Dwight Howard had a decent line with 19 points and 15 boards, but he looks like he’s ready for this season to be over. There’s just no way he sticks around in Houston next season.
Celtics 104, Hawks 94 (series tied 2-2)
Isaiah Thomas hit a huge 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in overtime to give his team the win, finishing with 28 points, six assists and a pair of 3-pointers. Thomas had 42 points in Game 3, so you have to roll with him while he’s on fire. Jonas Jerebko started again and had his second straight double-double, finishing with 16 points, 10 boards and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes, so feel free to keep deploying him in DFS until his price catches up with him. Evan Turner had another productive outing with 17 points, seven boards, six assists and a full line, while Jae Crowder finished with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting with a couple 3-pointers and steals. The biggest surprise of the night for Boston was clearly Marcus Smart, as the second-year guard poured in 20 points with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers. Smart can go cold at any moment, but he should continue to get big minutes with Avery Bradley (hamstring) likely out for the series.
Jeff Teague (13 points, five assists) hit a couple huge shots in the fourth quarter, but he lost control of the ball on the final possession of regular time which forced overtime. Mistakes are going to happen and Teague deserves some slack because he’s been great in this series. Dennis Schroder predictably cooled down with just seven points, so Teague’s job is obviously still safe despite Schroder’s explosion in Game 3. The Hawks wasted a massive night from Paul Millsap, as the forward went off for 45 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, four blocks and three 3-pointers. Good Grief… Millsap was only averaging 8.7 points in his previous three games, so maybe he’s figured out this Boston defense. Al Horford’s groin could’ve been an issue on Sunday because he finished with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting, though he did add nine rebounds and five assists. There’s no reason to panic. Game 5 will be in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Cavaliers 100, Pistons 98 (Cavs win series 4-0)
The Cavaliers swept the Pistons on Sunday, but in reality the series was much closer than it looked. Regardless, both LeBron James (22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals) and Kyrie Irving (31 points, five assists, four treys) are on fire right now, so it’s hard to imagine them not making it at least to the NBA Finals. Kevin Love slowed down in Game 4 and had just 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting, but it’s not really a concern because he looked fine in the first three games of the series. Tristan Thompson (five points, five boards, one block, one steal) is still getting plenty of minutes but isn’t doing much with them, while J.R. Smith had an encouraging outing with 15 points on five 3-pointers.
Andre Drummond double-doubled for the Pistons with 17 points (6-of-13 FGs, 5-of-10 FTs) and 11 rebounds, but he has to address his free throw shooting this summer. Marcus Morris had 24 points in the loss with three treys, but I’m going to take a guess that he will have a hard time holding off Stanley Johnson (five points, five boards) next season. Speaking of the rookie, he should already be owned in dynasty leagues and certainly has the potential to break out next season. Reggie Jackson (13 points, 12 assists) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (nine points, five assists, three 3-pointers) were both decent and will likely be the starting backcourt for the Pistons again next season, while Detroit has to be encouraged by the fact that they basically stole Tobias Harris (23 points, 13 rebounds) from the Magic in exchange for a couple of expiring contracts.
News and Notes
Nicolas Batum said that his sprained ankle is progressing and the Hornets listed him as questionable for Monday’s game vs. the Heat, but it’s worth noting that he also said his ankle is still huge due to the swelling. Hornets coach Steve Clifford didn’t sound optimistic in regards to Batum and already said that he will start Frank Kaminsky on Monday, so that’s not a good sign for his status.
Chris Bosh remains out indefinitely, but the Miami Herald reported that he isn’t planning on retiring and that he expects to be ready for the 2016-17 season.
Hassan Whiteside (thigh bruise) missed practice on Sunday, but said that he is expecting to play in Game 4 Monday.
The Mavericks have ruled out Deron Williams (hernia) for the rest of the season, meaning J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton are looking at heavy minutes for Game 5 on Monday. Felton is the safer play because Barea’s groin is still an issue.