It was a fairly quiet three-game night in the NBA as the Cavs, Rockets and Warriors all got wins. Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love and Chandler Parsons are banged up again, while Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones played through their issues. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
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Cavs 114, Heat 88
The Cavs put a spanking on the Heat, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 23 points. Bron added eight boards, seven dimes, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 9-of-16 shooting, and Irving had five assists, four steals and three 3-pointers on 8-of-17 shooting. Kevin Love sat this one out with a sore back, but it was said to be precautionary. At this time of year, and with the Cavs’ playoff spot nearly set in stone, a DNP from LeBron, Love and Irving could happen on any given night. James Jones oddly got the start in place of Love, but it ended up being a lackluster night for Jones (6 points) and fellow starters Timofey Mozgov (7 points, 8 rebounds), and J.R. Smith (12 points, three 3-pointers, 4-of-12 shooting).
Tristan Thompson surprisingly came off the bench and only took four shots, but did finish with eight points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block. Any time Love sits, Thompson is a decent option. Perhaps the most surprising star for the Cavs was Iman Shumpert, who got loose for 17 points, four steals and three 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting. He didn’t score in the fourth quarter of the blowout, but any time a Cavs’ starter is sitting out from here on in, Shumpert is a guy I’d recommend streaming.
The Heat got 17 points from both Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside, while Dwyane Wade lasted just 13 minutes and finished with seven points. Wade fell on his left knee on Thursday night and didn’t return to the game, but it sounds like nothing more than a bruise at this point. He’s hoping to play on Saturday, and my guess is that he will. But if he can’t go, Mario Chalmers, Tyler Johnson and James Ennis would probably all benefit. Whiteside was playing through a hand injury and some conditioning issues, and was originally expected to come off the bench. He didn’t have a blocked shot, but his line of 17 points, eight rebounds and a steal on 8-of-11 shooting is a positive sign for the big man. Deng was iffy with some knee swelling and nearly had the same line as Whiteside with 17 points, eight boards, a steal and a 3-pointer. Wade, Deng and Whiteside should all be considered day-to-day from here on in.
Henry Walker started, but played just 17 minutes and hit 1-of-7 shots, while Goran Dragic hit just 3-of-10 shots for 11 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers in the blowout. James Ennis played 28 minutes off the bench and had 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer, and Tyler Johnson added 11 points, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes. Mario Chalmers also played 26 minutes, but hit just 2-of-5 shots for six points, seven dimes and two steals. This game was ugly, the Cavs had it won by halftime and there’s not a lot to learn from it. But I will say that I like the way Ennis is playing, and the Heat have games on both Saturday and Sunday. Ennis is averaging 9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five, so he’s obviously only worth grabbing in deeper leagues.
Houston 108, Dallas 101
The Rockets held on to beat the Mavs last night behind 24 points, four boards, six assists and two 3-pointers from James Harden. While Thursday’s line didn’t compare to Wednesday’s 51-point explosion, Harden was still one of the better players on Thursday night. Dwight Howard was back in action with eight points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes, and it’s pretty clear the Rockets are just trying to get him back into game shape before the playoffs start. I’ve got both Howard and Ennis in a lineup against Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss this week, and I honestly have more faith in Ennis at this point. Terrence Jones was a dud with just seven points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, but at least he played in back-to-back games after coming back from his ribs/lung injury. Expect more from him on Sunday against OKC.
Trevor Ariza had 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on 6-of-12 shooting, playing very well in his second straight game. If you own Ariza, he’s coming through for you at the right time. He went off for 22 points and six treys on Wednesday, hitting 8-of-16 shots. Jason Terry made another start and played 29 minutes, but hit just 4-of-9 shots and two 3-pointers for 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. His game looks better on paper than it does in your starting lineup. Josh Smith bounced back from a couple duds with 15 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and benefitted from the absence of Donatas Motiejunas (back). With D-Mo possibly done for the regular season, Smith should be able to finish on a high note.
Dallas got 21 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers from Dirk Nowitzki, 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting from Monta Ellis, and just 11 points and three rebounds from Chandler Parsons. Parsons left the game in the third quarter due to swelling in his right knee. While X-rays were negative, I’m pretty concerned about Parsons right now, especially since the Mavs appear to be locked into the No. 7 seed in the West. If he’s out, Al-Farouq Aminu and Richard Jefferson are both going to make some noise. Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo were just mediocre, and Amare Stoudemire led the bench brigade in scoring with just 11 points. Aminu scored just seven points, but was able to add eight rebounds, two assists, four blocks and a 3-pointer to his stat line. He’s probably the guy you’ll want to pick up to replace Parsons.
Warriors 107, Suns 96
As usual, Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a win, pouring in 28 points to go along with eight rebounds, five dimes, six 3-pointers and six turnovers. He hit 10-of-22 shots and if I had an MVP vote, I think I’d give it to him. Klay Thompson was steady with 16 points, six assists and two 3-pointers, and Marreese Speights, who came off the bench, was the only other Warrior to hit double figures in scoring. However, they got decent contributions from 10 different players and were able to get a one-point win on Thursday. Harrison Barnes hit a runner with less than a second left to give the Warriors the victory, after blowing a couple defensive assignments earlier against Eric Bledsoe. Barnes finished with just four points and three rebounds on 2-of-8 shooting, but was the hero. David Lee started for Draymond Green again and had seven points and six rebounds. I’m not sure who feels worse - the owners of Green or the guys who streamed Lee last night. Green’s shin injury could keep him out this weekend, but it also sounds like there’s a chance he’ll play on either Saturday or Sunday. Andre Iguodala racked up the most bench minutes in Green’s absence, but had just seven points, two rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in the win.
For the Suns, Brandan Wright got the start for Alex Len, who had surgery on his broken nose Thursday. Wright went off for 16 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and looks like a must-start player the rest of the way. Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe double-doubled, P.J. Tucker added 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, and Marcus Morris had 10 points and four rebounds. Marcus has been playing very well, but hit just 5-of-14 shots and missed all four of his 3-pointers last night. Bledsoe’s stat line was a monster, as he also had six rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers to go along with 18 points and 11 assists. Brandon Knight missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle and it's possible he could be shut down for the year. T.J. Warren got hot and hit 8-of-12 shots for 17 points, five rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes. Warren has scored 17, 13 and 18 points in each of his last three games, and is worth a pickup if you need a warm body right now. Gerald Green, who had 13 points on Monday, played just nine minutes and scored seven. Dropping him for Warren is advisable, although I’m not sure why anyone would have owned Green right now in the first place.
Friday night features 10 games, so stay tuned to the Rotoworld News Page throughout the day to find out if your guys are in or out.