What a game from the Raptors. It looked like they were going to be on their way to extinction in the first half, but they went on a 23-2 run in the second half to help pull off the comeback. Of course, they were about 0.05 seconds away from going to overtime because Solomon Hill’s 3-point attempt was just late.
After a horrendous start to his postseason, DeMar DeRozan was the hero during the 102-99 win. The All-Star finished with 34 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes. After failing to even hit 30 percent from the field in his first four games of this series, he made 10-of-22 from the field. He also logged a ton of minutes as a stretch four -- more on that in a bit.
A big reason for his success was coach Dwane Casey making some key adjustments. The first adjustment was to stagger his minutes away from Paul George because George was locking him up before this game. The other was the change in the starting lineup.
Patrick Patterson got the start at power forward over Luis Scola, which is long overdue. Although, Patterson was not good at all, making 3-of-10 from the field for seven points with two rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer. He had a team-low minus-36.9 net rating in the loss. Casey hinted he might go away from Patterson because he was so bad. With Luis Scola bumped from the rotation and 2-Pat struggling, we saw a ton of small-ball action. Here’s how the lineup positions broke down (these numbers are rounded):
DeRozan logging minutes as a stretch four is huge while getting Norman Powell in there is a major story, as well. It seems like all week we’ve been talking about playing Powell more and he didn’t disappoint, posting a 25.0 net rating in his 28.2 minutes. Powell’s stat line was pretty solid as a punt in DFS, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, two steals and no turnovers. He was 4-of-11 from the field, so the higher usage is a good sign. Keep an eye on him and I think he might start in Game 6.
The other hero was Bismack Biyombo, who scored 10 points with 16 rebounds, one assist and one turnover. His work on the boards went a long way and he continues to be one of the better bargains from the offseason. He also took away from Jonas Valanciunas with JV posting only 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks. Valanciunas had some turnover issues and this wasn’t due to foul trouble. He’ll be better, but it’s not going to be easy to trust him in DFS right now.
Kyle Lowry was a letdown yet again with 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. He’s due. DeMarre Carroll got the minutes, but didn’t have the stats with five points, three boards and two assists.
Paul George was on his way to the biggest scoring night of the postseason, finishing with 39 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and five 3-pointers. The Raptors kept him in check all regular season, but PG has gone off in four of the five games. Kevin Durant should probably call me an idiot because I said to fade him on the podcast, so my B on that one.
As for the rest of the rotation, it was pretty wild:
It was pretty normal at the guard spots, but the Pacers went crazy with the small-ball lineups. Interestingly, their most-used lineup this series has been George Hill, Monta Ellis, Solomon Hill, George and Myles Turner. Not surprisingly, that lineup combo was used twice as much as any other with 14 minutes — 11 minutes in the second half, too. The problem was it struggled big time during this game.
For DFS, it’s pretty much just all PG all the time. The only other player I’d trust is Myles Turner, who scored 14 points with eight rebounds, one assist and three blocks. Ian Mahinmi’s back might be catching up to him here.
Celtics 83 at Hawks 110 (Hawks up 3-2)
Well, it looked like the Celtics had it under control. They were up 20-15 at the end of the first quarter, but then the Hawks went bonkers. The Hawks scored 32 points in the second quarter and 42 points in the third to run away with it to get back to a 3-2 lead.
Kent Bazemore came through with 16 points, five boards, one block and four 3-pointers. He's playing some wonderful ball in the postseason and should be locked and loaded as a DFS value. Kyle Korver was also good on the wing with 13 points, two boards, one assist, five steals and three 3-pointers.
Al Horford was not good, finishing with six points, eight rebounds, four steals, two steals and one block and one turnover on 2-of-11 from the field. Mike Scott actually took some minutes from him with Scott scoring a playoff career-high 17 points. Maybe Horford's groin is a problem, so it's tough to trust him right now. Scott's line seems like a fluke. Paul Millsap couldn't follow up his monster Sunday with just 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.
For the losing Celtics, Isaiah Thomas was terrible. He did not score in the first half, finishing with seven points, one rebound, three assists and three turnovers. Thomas also rolled his ankle in the fourth quarter and did not return. Thomas did say he will play in Game 6 and he should be better.
The big takeaway is Kelly Olynyk coming back makes it a total mess in the frontcourt again. Simply put, it's really tough to trust the Celtics bigs for DFS right now.
Boston will obviously be better home, so Marcus Smart (10 points, two boards, two assists and one steal) and Evan Turner (15 points, five boards, two assists, one steal and one block) are still on the board.
News and notes from Tuesday
The big news of the day was Blake Griffin (quad) and Chris Paul (hand) have been ruled out for the rest of the postseason. Paul and Griffin rank first and second for the Clippers on the postseason for points, assists and made free throws. No other combo was used more than CP3-Blake combo in this series, so yeah. Not good.
In case you missed it, I broke down the injuries in Tuesday’s afternoon column. If you want the short version, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers and Jeff Green look like must-play options in DFS today.
The Clippers announced their probable starters on Tuesday for Game 5. According to that announcement, it’ll be Austin Rivers, J.J. Redick, Jeff Green, Luc Mbah a Moute and DeAndre Jordan. Yeah, not good.
While Crawford isn’t starting, I would expect him to come in after 4-5 minutes gone by in each half and play the rest of the two halves. He should be very, very busy. Check out the column link above for some other details.
The good news on Blake and CP3 is that both should be 100 percent for training camp. It’ll be interesting to see if the Clippers change things up in the offseason, especially because they played great without Blake while he was out.
On the reality side of things, the Blazers should be able to take this thing down before they get the Warriors in the second round. Hey, they did crush the Warriors 137-105 in a win on the first game after the break.
Nicolas Batum (foot) is questionable to play against the Heat on Wednesday. If he can return, it’ll be really interesting to see what the Hornets do. Jeremy Lin has been wonderful in the last two games, so he has earned some minutes. The Hornets are having some good luck going small, so we might see Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky lose run to Lin and Batum. DFS wise, I’d probably steer clear with an active Batum.
Dirk Nowitzki said he is not thinking about retiring. Thank goodness. Fantasy wise, another year on his ailing knee makes him someone I won’t be targeting next year.
Steve Kerr won Coach of the Year on Tuesday. The Warriors going 73-9 obviously is the reason why, but Luke Walton went 39-4 for most of the wins. Yes, Kerr obviously had a say on the moves and lineup tweaks, but that’s a pretty big negative.
Here's today's podcast for DFS. A quick review of Tuesday with a preview of Wednesday: