Bobcats Hang On Over Hawks
Al Jefferson, as usual, had a big line with 27 points and 15 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting as the Bobcats beat the resting Hawks on Monday night. Kemba Walker (groin) played, but hit just 1-of-9 shots for five points and seven assists, and Gary Neal was the second-leading scorer for the Bobs, who hung with the Wizards in their pursuit of the No. 6 seed. If the Wizards lose their finale, and the Bobcats win, Charlotte gets the No. 6 seed. And hopefully, that means Jefferson gives us one more night of fantasy greatness before the playoffs. Chris Douglas-Roberts hit the game-winner, but had just five points.
The Hawks rested most of the regulars, although Jeff Teague was still out there and had 11 points and five assists. Mike Scott came through with 20 points and six rebounds, and Pero Antic was back in action with three points in 19 minutes. Lou Williams didn’t score like I thought he would, but added five rebounds, six assists and a steal to his 13 points. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as he hit just 5-of-13 shots and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. With nothing left to play for, the Hawks are an all-around crapshoot for Wednesday against the Bucks, but guys like Scott, Shelvin Mack and Dennis Schroder are all pretty good bets for solid minutes. They get a very beatable Pacers team in Round 1 of the playoffs.
Sixers Beat Boston
Michael Carter-Williams sewed up his Rookie of the Year award with a bow on Monday, going off for 21 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting in a win over Boston. Thaddeus Young kept it rolling with 15 points, seven assists and a full stat line, while Tony Wroten got loose off the bench with 20 points, four assists and seven turnovers. I expect more of the same against the resting Heat on Wednesday.
The Celtics, as expected, got big lines from Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley, while Jeff Green also chipped in with 27 points, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. Olynyk had a career-high 28 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers, and Bradley had 23 points and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 2-of-11 from downtown. Brandon Bass was effective, but somewhat disappointing with nine points, eight boards and two blocks, and his 3-of-11 shooting was to blame. I see no reason the same guys won’t play well on Wednesday against the Wizards, although we’ll have to see if Rondo plays in that one. Rondo was fantastic on Monday with eight points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, but probably wasn’t in many lineups given that he was a game-time decision coming in.
Raptors Beat Bucks
Greivis Vasquez started in place of DeMar DeRozan (rest) and had a big game with 25 points, seven assists and five 3-pointers, and was an excellent daily play if you used him. Jonas Valanciunas double-doubled and Kyle Lowry scored 24 points in the win. They need to beat the Knicks on Wednesday to secure the No. 3 seed, so look for more of the same in that one.
For the Bucks, Jeff Adrien had 19 & 9, Khris Middleton had 15 points and two 3-pointers, Ramon Sessions had 21 points, five assists and two 3-pointers, and Brandon Knight returned from an injury for 18 points and four assists. Sessions has scored at least 20 points in four straight games, and looks like a solid play again on Wednesday against the Hawks.
Wizards Beat The Heat
The Wizards waxed the Heat as Trevor Ariza scored 25 with five 3-pointers, Marcin Gortat double-doubled, Bradley Beal scored 15, Al Harrington had 16 points in 18 minutes, and Nene had 18 points and four boards in 24 minutes off the bench. John Wall was quiet, hitting 2-of-7 shots for four points and 13 assists. The Wiz will be trying to beat the Celtics on Wednesday, as they could still finish anywhere from No. 5 to No. 7 in the East.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh got the night off, and aren’t likely to play on Wednesday, either, handing the Pacers the No. 1 seed in the East. Dwyane Wade played, but just 18 minutes to finish with nine points. He killed me in a daily league, and I simply should have known better. Toney Douglas, Michael Beasley, James Jones and Ray Allen were your Heat players in double digits scoring, and all but Allen should be interesting plays again on Wednesday.
Bulls Down Magic
The Bulls are still hoping to catch the Raptors for the No. 3 seed, but they both won on Monday. The Bulls get the Bobcats on Wednesday and both teams will be trying to win, theoretically. They got 18-10-8 from Joakim Noah, as usual, and saw Mike Dunleavy score 22, Carlos Boozer score 13, and Jimmy Butler go for 12 in the win. Jimmer Fredette came off the bench for 17 points and Tony Snell had 13, but I dare you to use either of them in a meaningful situation on Wednesday.
The Magic got 20 points, seven boards and a block from Kyle O’Quinn, while Andrew Nicholson had 19 points and three 3-pointers on 8-of-9 shooting off the bench. Arron Afflalo had 13 and Victor Oladipo disappointed with 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Jameer Nelson (groin) didn’t play again and it appears he’s done. Ronnie Price came off the bench for six points and 11 assists, and might be a sneaky play on Wednesday against the Pacers, since Oladipo continues to be in a funk.
Rockets Stop Spurs
The Rockets clinched the No. 4 seed with a win over the Spurs and will have homecourt over the Blazers in the playoffs. Terrence Jones had 20 & 11, Chandler Parsons had 21 points, Dwight Howard had 20 & 17, Patrick Beverley had 12 points, and James Harden hit just 4-of-16 shots for 16 points and seven assists. My guess is Howard and Beverley play regular minutes on Wednesday against the Pelicans, as Kevin McHale is trying to work them back into game shape. However, the rest of the team is probably a crapshoot.
The Spurs rested Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills last night, but Tim Duncan had 12 points and nine boards in 30 minutes, Tony Parker had 10 points in 26 minutes, but ended up in the locker room early, and Manu Ginobili had 10 points in 22 minutes. My guess is Parker plays again on Wednesday against the Lakers as long as he didn’t hurt himself tonight, but Duncan isn’t likely to play. After a night off, the guys who sat on Monday will probably play in the finale, but again, anytime you’re rolling with Spurs in the final (meaningless) game of the season, you’re playing with fire. Pop has said he wants Ginobili to keep playing to get ready for the playoffs, but whether he or Parker go Wednesday is anyone’s guess.
Pelicans Beat Thunder
The Thunder needed to win this game to secure the No. 2 seed over the Clippers, but couldn’t get it done. Russell Westbrook was resting, while Reggie Jackson played through a neck injury. He hit just 1-of-7 shots for four points, so I’m hoping he wasn’t in your lineup. Kevin Durant did Durant-like things with 25 points and a full stat line, but they’ll be trying to beat the Pistons on Wednesday. Caron Butler had 19 points off the bench, and I expect Westbrook to play on Wednesday, as the Thunder are still trying to clinch the No. 2 seed.
We reported that Tyreke Evans was doubtful to play due to a knee injury, because that’s the report we were given, but he ended up playing. And not only did he play, he had a career night, going off for 41 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals in 42 minutes, becoming the first Pelicans player to ever go for 40-8-8. The next highest scorer for the Pelicans was Luke Babbitt with 12 points. If Evans plays on Wednesday, he looks like a good player to use in daily leagues, but we probably won’t know his status until just before game time.
Memphis Beats Phoenix, Grizzlies In, Suns Out
The Grizzlies beat the Suns, ending their playoff hopes in the process. The Grizzlies are still playing for position, but are locked into the playoffs and enough may be enough. Memphis got a season-high 32 points and nine boards from Zach Randolph (where was that on Sunday?), 18 points and eight boards from Marc Gasol, and 14 points and seven assists from Mike Conley. Mike Miller got hot off the bench for 21 points and five 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting, but don’t count on him going forward. Courtney Lee was terrible, missing all four of his shots and failing to score, and the Grizzlies aren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders right now, despite the win.
The Suns got 21 points form Markieff Morris, while Channing Frye, Miles Plumlee, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic all scored in double figures. They tried their best, but their season is essentially over. They get the Kings in a meaningless game on Wednesday, and I’d guess that Dragic will rest, while they could turn Gerald Green loose for one last hurrah.
Warriors Clinch 50-win Season, 6th Seed with Win Over Wolves
The Warriors won a hard-fought battle with the Timberwolves and clinched the No. 6 seed. That means their final game is meaningless, so you can expect plenty of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Marreese Speights and Steve Blake in their finale on Wednesday. The Dubs had a 50-win season and Draymond Green had a career night with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers. He looks like an excellent play when the Dubs play the Nuggets in Wednesday’s meaningless finale. The biggest news for the Dubs is the loss of Andrew Bogut, who has a fractured rib. His status for the playoffs is unknown, but either way, the Warriors will be leaning heavily on Jermaine O’Neal, who had 10 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes last night.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Love both put on a show last night, but unfortunately for daily-league players, most of their work was done in the first quarter, and first half. Curry had 32 points, 15 assists, three steals and seven 3-pointers, while Love racked up 40 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists and five 3-pointers. The Wolves season has long been over, but it feels like they wanted to play spoiler tonight. This is just a guess, but I’ll be surprised if Love plays on Wednesday against the Jazz. This just felt like his swan song. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Corey Brewer added 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the loss.
Lakers Take Jazz
The Lakers beat the Jazz behind 41 points from Nick Young. It looked like they were trying to get him 50, as the LA abandoned an offense to give the ball to Young, letting him fire at will. He hit 14-of-23 shots and 6-of-11 3-pointers on the night, while Jordan Hill had 21 points and six boards, Jodie Meeks had 23 points and two 3-pointers, Wes Johnson had 12 points and a full stat line, and Robert Sacre added 12 points and nine boards in the loss. Young, Johnson, Meeks and Jordan all look like decent plays again on Wednesday against the Spurs.
All five Jazz starters scored in double figures, led by Alec Burks with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Enes Kanter double-doubled, and all five Jazz starters played well, which isn’t surprising since the Lakers only seemed to be focused on feeding Young the ball. The Jazz get the Timberwolves on Wednesday, so Burks, Kanter, Trey Burke, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward could all come through again in that one.