Thursday was a five-game night and we saw the Cavaliers lose to the Nets and the Bulls couldn’t get by the Knicks, both of which had playoff implications. The Thunder handled their business against the Jazz, but the studs didn’t get a lot of minutes in a blowout, and the Clippers took out the Blazers on J.J. Redick’s late-game heroics. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Pacers 92, Pelicans 84 – Myles Turner had a bit of a coming-out party last night, ripping off 24 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and three blocks on 11-of-17 shooting. Turner’s been playing well, but nothing like this, and I’m just hoping you had him in your lineup. But on a slow night, I doubt you had him on your bench. Paul George left this one with a lower right leg contusion, but says he’s hoping to play on Saturday. He’d like to play in all 82 games this season, but there’s a chance he’s out on Saturday, even though the injury doesn’t sound serious. Ian Mahinmi, George Hill and Monta Ellis all struggled for the Pacers, hitting just a combined 6-of-22 shots, but the Pacers still held on for a win over the depleted Pelicans. C.J. Miles finally woke up off the bench with 19 points and three 3-pointers, and would be a decent punt play if George is out on Saturday.
The Pelicans are a mess right now and have been all season, and there were conflicting reports about who was actually starting in this one. Jrue Holiday sat out with a toe injury and Alonzo Gee and Alexis Ajinca got the starting call, putting Luke Babbitt on the bench along with Tim Frazier. Ajinca somehow went off, scoring 22 points with nine boards and a steal, while Toney Douglas and Gee were both solid in this one. Omer Asik had just two points, but added 15 rebounds, while Dante Cunningham’s disappointing run continued with nine points and not much else on 4-of-13 shooting. As long as the Pelicans only have eight healthy bodies, some no-names are going to have good games. Unfortunately, this wasn’t Babbitt’s night, as he hit just 1-of-8 shots in 24 minutes. However, Frazier got hot with a career-high 18 points, five boards and five assists after some struggles recently. Douglas is a must-own player until further notice, while Ajinca, Frazier and Babbitt are worth consideration in deep leagues. But really, I don’t trust anyone on this team outside of a healthy Holiday and Douglas.
Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now!
Nets 104, Cavaliers 95 – The Nets somehow beat the Cavs and didn’t even need miracles from Bojan Bogdanovic or Sean Kilpatrick for it to happen. However, Shane Larkin replaced Donald Sloan in the starting lineup and did work, racking up 16 points, seven assists and a 3-pointer on 7-of-10 shooting for one of his best games. I still don’t trust any point guard in Brooklyn and I doubt Larkin can do it two times in a row, but we shall see. Especially since he’s been named the starting point guard the rest of the way. If you are holding D.J. Augustin, flipping him for Larkin might not be a bad idea. Thaddeus Young was very quiet and Brook Lopez had 22 points and seven boards, but the writing may be on the wall that a shutdown, or several nights off, could be coming for those guys. But the fact the Nets got the win over the mighty Cavs might keep them on the floor until they lose one. Sergey Karasev moved into the starting lineup but scored three points, and Kilpatrick and Bogdanovic are still the guys you want to own here. BB played 26 minutes and hit 4-of-11 shots for 12 points and three 3-pointers, and Kilpatrick played 22 minutes off the bench, hitting 4-of-13 shots for 10 points. Kilpatrick came in on fire and shooting lights out, but he just didn’t have it tonight. Don’t let this game discourage you on either of them.
LeBron James ran out of gas in the fourth quarter, failing to score a point and missing his two shots after going for 30 in the first three quarters. The Nets closed the game out on a 14-0 run and the Cavs may have some soul searching to do after this one. And the fact the Cavs talked to James recently about his “behavior” makes me wonder just how ticked off he is right now. Hopefully he channels that anger into destroying opponents instead of fourth-quarter meltdowns. Kevin Love quietly double-doubled with 11 & 12, Kyrie Irving hit 6-of-22 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers for 13 points and four dimes, and J.R. Smith hit just 3-of-10 shots and 2-of-8 3-pointers for eight points. The entire bench was bad in this one too, as it just wasn’t Cleveland’s night. And as a result, the Cavs sit just two games ahead of the Raptors for the No. 1 seed in the East. Unfortunately, those two won’t meet again in the regular season.
Knicks 106, Bulls 94 – In another tragic upset, the Knicks downed the Bulls, who are clinging to their playoff life. The Knicks got another big game from Kristaps Porzingis with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two 3-pointers, while Carmelo Anthony was out there again, going for 26 points and a full line. Both of them are cooking, so let’s just hope they keep playing. Robin Lopez was awful, Jose Calderon was solid with 12-7-7 and Sasha Vujacic played just 19 minutes in the start. Derrick Williams scored 13 points in 17 minutes and Arron Afflalo had 11 to lead the bench crew. At some point you have to think the Knicks will turn away from Melo and Calderon, which would free up guys like Williams, Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway, but it has yet to happen. The streaking Knicks will try to beat the Cavaliers on Saturday, so I’m guessing Melo will be out there battling with his bestie.
The Bulls were without Pau Gasol (swollen knee) and it showed. The good news is that Derrick Rose played through a sore back and went off for 30 points and two steals, but had just three assists, and Jimmy Butler finally did something with 19 points, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer. Cristiano Felicio started but didn’t do much, Taj Gibson managed just 10 & 6 and Mike Dunleavy hit just 3-of-10 shots for nine points. Nikola Mirotic backed up his monster game with just eight points and six boards, hitting 2-of-9 shots and missing all three of his 3-pointers. He’s as inconsistent as they come, but a big game is always possible. Doug McDermott played just 14 minutes and has really cooled off, so moving him for a hot free agent probably isn’t a bad idea. The playoffs are slipping away for the Bulls, as they’re now 1.5 games behind the Pistons, on the outside looking in. Meanwhile, the healthy Wizards are just a game behind them, so the Bulls have to start winning in a hurry, and stop losing to teams like the Knicks, who just beat them in back-to-back games.
Thunder 113, Jazz 91 – DFS owners got a tough break by the lopsided score of this one, as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were chilling on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. Westbrook had a 15-7-9-3 line and Durant had 20-8-9-2, while Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams also scored in double figures. The Thunder dominated this game, so there’s not much to learn from it. Enes Kanter had 16 points and seven boards, and Dion Waiters added 17 points, three steals and a 3-pointer. Waiters has scored 17 in two straight, but I still don’t trust him.
The Jazz were really bad in this one, as the starters all struggled, with Rodney Hood leading the way with just 11 points. Rudy Gobert played just 16 minutes to finish with four points, six boards and a block. I have no idea why he’s in such a funk, but he’s costing a lot of owners a shot at a championship right now. With the score so lopsided, only Hood played more than 24 minutes for the starters. Trey Lyles had 14 off the bench and Trey Burke got hot for 17 points in just 12 minutes, but like I said earlier, there is nothing to learn from this one. Hopefully Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Gobert and Shelvin Mack bounce back against the Timberwolves on Saturday. And sticking with tonight’s theme, the loss pushed them out of the playoffs and they’re going to need Gobert to get right if they’re going to push past Houston or Dallas for good.
Clippers 96, Blazers 94 – J.J. Redick hit a 21-footer at the buzzer to help avoid overtime and give the Clippers a big win over the Rockets. Chris Paul had 25 points and seven assists, but was the only Clips starter to do any damage. DeAndre Jordan double-doubled with 12 points, 13 boards and zero blocks, and Redick finished with 11 points and the lone 3-pointer. Starters Luc Mbah a Moute and Paul Pierce combined for two points on 1-of-8 shooting, which is kind of typical. Jamal Crawford was feeling it in this one and hit 11-of-21 shots and three 3-pointers for 25 points. He’s a bit hit-or-miss while coming off the bench, but had it going tonight. The rest of the Clippers bench didn’t do much, just like most of the starters.
Damian Lillard had 18 points, eight assists and two 3-pointers, but hit just 4-of-16 shots, and C.J. McCollum added 17 points, six assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-12 shooting. Moe Harkless started again and had 10 points, eight boards and a block, and Mason Plumlee had 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Ed Davis was strong again off the bench with 12 points, eight boards, two steals and two blocks, and if you used Plumlee and Davis together in DFS, you probably did OK. Allen Crabbe played 30 minutes, but hit just 2-of-11 shots for seven points. If he keeps getting minutes, he could get hot. Davis looks like a solid pickup right now, averaging 9.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five games, while shooting close to 70 percent. And keep an eye on Harkless if he keeps starting.
News and Notes
Zach Randolph is questionable for Memphis tonight with an ankle sprain.
Nerlens Noel (knee) is iffy for the Sixers on Saturday.
Marvin Williams (ankle) should play for the Hornets tonight.
Luol Deng is iffy for the Heat on Friday with a thigh injury.
Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) is out for the Magic on Friday.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (illness) is likely to return for Detroit on Friday.
Jusuf Nurkic (shortness of breath) is expected to play for Denver on Friday.