It's the lopsided NBA playoffs day, with all series firmly in control of the higher seed. If the GS-NO and CHI-MIL Game 3 games Thursday night were any indication, we could be in for some tight action in Portland and Brooklyn tonight. There is just nothing better than overtime in the playoffs. Maybe double overtime. Beware of using the Golden State, New Orleans, Chicago, and Milwaukee Thursday night stats in your decisions today as there were a lot of extra minutes involved in the two overtime games. Atlanta, Brooklyn, Memphis, and Portland all enter Game 3 on an extra day of rest. Expect that plus the home court advantage to keep those games a little closer. As I did earlier in the week, I'll just recap the new information we have about these matchups.
Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans Over/Under 205, Warriors -7.5
Two things could happen tonight. The fight could be totally taken out of the Pelicans, or they could be invigorated by dominating much of Game 3, getting narrowly beaten in OT. NO actually out-shot GS from the field (51.1% vs 40%) but the Warriors owned the edge from outside the arc, though neither team shot particularly well from three point range. You play the studs in this one. I've used great restraint in not making Curry the cover photo so far, but since I expect this to be their last Round 1 game, I had to do it. Beware of point-chasing any value plays from this game. Harrison Barnes (11/7/2/1/2 on Thursday) saw extra time with Draymond Green in foul trouble early. I don't mind Klay Thompson, but I plan to go cheap at SG tonight. Andrew Bogut is a much better play at home; those seduced by two strong home performances were disappointed Thursday night, but this is the Bogut we've dealt with all year (6/5 in 25 minutes Thursday).
For the Pels, the starters were all negative in +/-, except Anthony Davis, who was +3. The bench got it done, most notably, Ryan Anderson who put up 26/5/2 in 30 minutes. When Anderson is hot from 3P range, look out. I do expect to see him on the court more in Game 4 as the Pelicans try to build on the positives from the close call. Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham are helping their team but they can't be relied upon for DFS. Eric Gordon continues to make a viable bargain play at SG. He's getting the minutes, and yes, his 6/4/5/2/1 line maybe could have been larger given his 35 minutes, but it was more than enough to meet value.
Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets Over/Under 201, Hawks -2.5
This series continues to play close even as the Hawks lead 2-0. Atlanta owned a huge advantage in 3P shooting on Wednesday (58%-31%), thanks in part to Kyle Korver's five made 3's. Korver was also clutch from the line at the end of the game, and just in general filled the stat sheet and did what he does. Continue to use him in all formats. The Hawks bigs are still priced to play every night, and I'm not pumping the breaks on DeMarre Carroll. He's going to get his minutes and a bounceback scoring performance is likely tonight. With his peripherals, his 2 points on Wednesday didn't kill you, but you're paying for more. The Hawks still haven't really looked dominant in this postseason and Jeff Teague is part of that with really low peripherals and just 16-17 points per game. Dennis Schroder is a risky off the bench, but a tempting value play. He put up 12/6 with two steals in 19 minutes on Wednesday.
For the Nets, it's Brook Lopez who's continued to shine, his 20/7 with three blocks was part of a balanced effort in keeping this game close till the very end. Joe Johnson seems to have a playoff gear, guys, and he's riding it for 35, 37, and 35 fantasy points so far in the first round. Whether it's this series with his old team or whatever, I can't deny it or deny your right to play him, but consistency is historically not the name of Joe Johnson's game. I'm avoiding Deron Williams at his price, and actually think taking a shot on Jarrett Jack putting up a near repeat performance (23/5/3 with a steal) in tournaments is an okay thing to do. Bojan Bogdanovic is the man with the minutes, as he played another 33 Wednesday. The problem is that he's not doing much with them (8/3/2 and a block). When choosing value, minutes should be your guide, so he's a possibility tonight if you need to save here.
Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks Over/Under 188.5, Bulls -5
The first overtime game of Thursday night was a fun one to watch. It was relatively even at the end but both teams enjoyed double digit leads at points during the game. Chicago shot better than Milwaukee from the line and from beyond the arc, thanks largely to Derrick Rose. Man, it's so good to see Rose back to ruling in the playoffs. His 34/8/5/3 line, including 5/9 from three point range was the best of the game. All the Chicago starters were terrific, with Jimmy Butler looking like the Butler of fall 2014 (24/3/2/3/2), Pau Gasol with a big 17/14 double double along with five assists, two blocks and a steal. Tony Snell saw some extra run due to overtime. Don't buy in. Joakim Noah is fine, averaging 30 fpts/game in this series.
Milwaukee played strong and long in Game 3, despite all the starters being double digit negative in +/-. Giannis Antetokounmpo is just a joy to watch and to roster as he put up a 25/12/2, 2 block game Thurday night for the home crowd. Kris Middleton and Michael Carter-Williams benefited from OT, but both met value with pretty full lines. I'm continuing my stubborn streak of using MCW because I believe that 50 fantasy point game is in there. Not stopping tonight, but I fully realize that's poor justification. John Henson was the spark the Bucks' needed going off for 15/14 with a steal and three blocks. If you read me during the regular season, you know he's always my pick over Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia among the Bucks' bigs. He's seeing the most minutes and is clearly matching up better with Chicago than the others so I think it's safe to trust him at least one more time.
Value: John Henson ($4800)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers Over/Under 188.5, Grizzlies -3
Portland will get a chance to redeem itself at home tonight for Game 3 of a series that is going much worse for them than the two game deficit looks. Perhaps a home game is what they need to get back in this. Memphis has been solid defensively as expected, but they've also been shooting well (50% from 3P range Wednesday night!). All the starters have been positive in +/-. Marc Gasol comes up with another solid line of 15/7/5 and three blocks. Zach Randolph double doubled--barely 10/10--while Mike Conley and Courtney Lee both scored 18 points. Conley contributed six assists and while Tony Allen was back to the tune of 36 minutes, his fantasy line was less than stellar, but serviceable. I still like the matchup for Lee tonight. He, Allen and Jeff Green are all borderline usable in cash games. None are going to wow you with upside, but with the way Memphis plays, all will hit 18-26 fpts. Beno Udrih's role is fading with Conley's ankle improving and he also suffered a mild ankle sprain himself and is questionable tonight.
Portland has suffered from poor shooting, which is at least partly attributable to Memphis' stifling defense. LaMarcus Aldridge is working through it with another solid 24/14 four block, two steal performance Wednesday night. Continue to roll out the big man. Damian Lilliard ought to get back on track somewhat at home tonight. I'd only use him in tournaments as the trust and high floor just haven't been there. He scored 18 points in Game 2, but with only two assists and one rebound! Nic Batum put up the standard Batum line of 11/7/7 and is a fine SF filler. CJ McCollum has been disappointing. I'm done with him (cue 30 fpt game from McCollum). I was tempted to write up Myers Leonard last time, but didn't. Coming off the bench to rest Robin Lopez for about 18 minutes, Leonard is meeting value. He's always been an efficient fpts/minute player and his 7/9/2/2/1 and 10/7 lines in the playoffs so far are no exception. I'm ready to give him a shot in tournaments if I'm fading Brook Lopez or Marc Gasol in favor of some pricey Warriors and Bulls.
Avoid: CJ McCollum ($4300), Beno Udrih ($3800)