Talen Horton-Tucker goes off for too little, too late
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Silly Season is upon us and there were some good things that happened on Thursday night, as well as some bad. The regular season is over on Sunday night and I can only hope that your fantasy league isn’t riding on what’s happening over the next three days. Either way, here’s everything you need to know about the remainder of the regular season.
Hornets 128, Magic 101 – The Hornets are still fighting for playoff position, which is nice. LaMelo Ball flirted with a big triple-double with 26 points, eight rebounds and nine assists and also had four triples and four steals to help the Hornets snap a two-game losing streak. Terry Rozier added 22 points and eight boards as the Hornets, who are locked into a play-in game scenario, now sit just 1.0 games behind both the Hawks and the Nets. Time is running out and the Hornets will finish the regular season against the Bulls on Friday and Wizards on Sunday but two losses from the Hawks and/or Nets and two wins to close out the season for the Hornets could make a difference. The hope is they keep playing their studs, and they should.
The Magic were led by Chuma Okeke who has become a bit of a silly-season stud for the Magic as he racked up 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two blocks and four 3- pointers on 8-of-15 shooting. Moe Wagner added 17 points, five boards, three assists and two 3-pointers and is worth an add as long as he’s starting on Sunday, and Markelle Fultz had 12 points, five rebounds and six dimes in the loss. The Magic have nothing to play for but Ignas Brazdeikis played well again with 12 points, five boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer off the bench, but also hit just 4-of-15 shots. He’s worth a look for the final game while R.J. Hampton and Devin Cannady both kept it going with 12 points apiece. The Magic only have one game remaining, Sunday against the Heat.
Raptors 119, Sixers 114 – Pascal Siakam went off with 37 points, 11 boards, 12 dimes, two steals and a 3-pointer, Gary Trent Jr. hit five 3-pointers for 30 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal, Precious Achiuwa had 20 points and a career-high five triples, Scottie Barnes double-doubled and Fred VanVleet got the night off as the Raptors held off the Sixers. The Raps are likely locked into the No. 5 seed in the East so who plays in the final two games is completely up for debate. They play Friday against Houston and Sunday at New York. I could see Chris Boucher, who had seven points in 25 minutes, going off in either one of those games, if not both.
Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 boards, Tyrese Maxey added 22 points, three boards, four assists, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers, and Danny Green came out of nowhere for a season-high 18 points, five boards, four assists, a steal, a block and six 3-pointers on 6-of-7 shooting. Nice of you to finally show up, Daniel. The No. 4 Sixers have two games left, Saturday vs. Indy and Sunday against the Pistons, and still have a chance to catch the No. 3 Celtics, who are just a ½ game up on them. The Celtics lost on Thursday and have just one game left, Sunday at Memphis. And that’s good news for the Sixers as far as them continuing to play their studs in the last two games. Unvaxxed Matisse Thybulle wasn’t allowed to play in this one because it was in Toronto and it probably cost the Sixers, regardless of what Doc Rivers said after the game.
Bucks 127, Celtics 121 – The Celtics rested Jayson Tatum and Al Horford so instead of getting a real shot at the No. 2 seed in the East, they lost to the Bucks in a tough loss. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points, 11 boards, five assists, two steals and a block and Jrue Holiday added 29 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block with four 3-pointers as the Bucks got a big win. Khris Middleton had 22 points, nine boards and three 3-pointers, Brook Lopez had 15 points, seven boards and a block and Bobby Portis came off the bench for 17 points and seven boards in the win. Milwaukee still has two games left to lose their ½ game lead on the Celtics, playing Friday at Detroit and Sunday at Cleveland. The good news is that they should keep playing the studs in order to hold off the Celtics, although Boston has just one game left.
The Celtics are just a ½ game behind the Bucks but chose to rest Jayson Tatum and Al Horford last night and lost the game. Jaylen Brown went nuts with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers despite hitting just 8-of-20 shots in the tough loss. Marcus Smart led the way with 29 points, seven dimes and a season-high seven 3-pointers, Daniel Theis hit 8-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for 22 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Derrick White came through with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers. Theis will take a hit if Tatum and Horford play again and Smart, apparently, hit 11 3-pointers in a game one time. The Celtics want to catch the Bucks but have just one game left, Sunday at Memphis. See if the studs are playing in that one and act accordingly.
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Timberwolves 127, Spurs 121 – Minnesota got a big win behind Anthony Edwards’ career-high 49 points and he added six rebounds, eight assists, a steal and six 3-pointers to his ridiculous line. It’s too bad this line didn’t come a month or so ago when he was struggling and fantasy managers needed him most, but if you’re still playing or had him in DFS, this was a windfall. Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points, 13 boards and four 3-pointers as D’Angelo Russell sat out with a sore hamstring. The Wolves are locked into the No. 7 seed and a play-in so whether KAT and Edwards play in their one remaining game on Sunday vs. the Bulls remains to be seen. My guess is we’ll see the Wolves’ G-League squad in that one.
Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 20 points, six boards, five assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, which was quite useful if you’re still competing in fantasy. Devin Vassell had 18 points, Jakob Poeltl had 15 points, 17 boards and three blocks, Tyus Jones, starting in place of Dejounte Murray, had 14 points and eight dimes, and Josh Primo had 12 points and six dimes in the loss. Zach Collins had 13 points, Keita Bates-Diop had 14 and Josh Richardson had 11 points and six dimes off the bench. The Spurs are basically locked into the No. 10 seed and a play-in scenario so whether they play any starters in their final two games remains to be seen. They play Saturday vs. Golden State and Sunday at Dallas. Watch for news before setting your lineups.
Pelicans 127, Blazers 94 – C.J. McCollum led the way with 23 points, four rebounds, seven assists, three steals and five 3-pointers, Willy Hernangomez came off the bench with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and eight rebounds as the Pelicans waxed the Portland Trailtankers 127-94. The Pels are basically locked into a No. 9 play-in seed and have two games left, Saturday at Memphis and Sunday vs. Golden State. Whether they play their studs in those games remains to be seen. And yes, Zion Williamson is still lurking in the distance and there is a remote chance that he could show up at some point in the playoffs if the Pelicans make it through the play-in. But I’m not holding my breath.
The Blazers were led by Drew Eubanks and his 20 points and five rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting, and saw CJ Elleby (17 points), a dude named Reggie Perry (15 points off the bench), and a guy named Didi Louzada (11 points) as their double-digit scorers. Pick a Blazer, any Blazer. Or better yet, avoid all Blazers, any Blazers. They have two games left, Friday at Dallas and Sunday vs. Utah, and I have no idea who will play or go off in either of those games.
Nuggets 122, Grizzlies 109 – The No. 6 Nuggets are still trying to catch the No. 5 Jazz and sit just a ½ game behind them after the win, but have just one game left. Nikola Jokic went off for 35 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, four steals, a block and a 3-pointer as he’s apparently going to run his MVP campaign until the bitter end. Aaron Gordon had 22 points, five boards and three 3-pointers, while Will Barton, Monte Morris and Bones Hyland also crept into double-digit scoring. The Nuggets have just one game left, Sunday against the give-up Lakers, while the Jazz (who have won two straight) play against the Suns and at Portland on Friday and Sunday. I don’t think the Nuggets are going to catch them but it’s possible. Hopefully, they play the studs on Sunday against the FLakers.
The Grizzlies are locked into the No. 2 seed in the West and have no reason to play the studs in their final two games (Saturday against the Pelicans and Sunday against the Celtics). Desmond Bane led the way on Thursday night with 14 points and Dillon Brooks and Ziaire Williams each scored 12 points in the meaningless loss. Ja Morant is close to returning from his right knee injury and could play in one of their final two games, but the Grizzlies are a complete crapshoot when it comes to guessing who might finish out the regular season. I’m scared of all of them but I could see guys like Santi Aldama and John Konchar going off at some point.
Warriors 128, Lakers 112 – The No. 3 Warriors sit one game ahead of my No. 4 Mavericks and both teams have two games remaining. Hopefully, that means the Dubs are going to keep trying to win games. Klay Thompson led the way Thursday with 33 points, four rebounds, four assists and six triples in the win, while Jordan Poole added 19 points and 11 assists, Andrew Wiggins scored 17 and Draymond Green, Otto Porter and Gary Payton II all scored 10 points in the win. The Warriors have two games left on Saturday at San Antonio and Sunday at New Orleans and they should be trying to win both in order to hold off the pesky Mavs.
For the Lakers, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are heading to Cancun with their tales (or tails) between their legs and they have two games left, vs. OKC on Friday and at Denver on Sunday. Talen Horton-Tucker went ballistic and had a career-high 40 points, three rebounds, three assists, four steals and two 3-pointers on 15-of-28 shooting on Thursday and Malik Monk came through with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in the loss. Dwight Howard, who isn’t apparently old enough to be shut down by the purple and gold, had 16 points, 12 boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, and Austin Reaves had 12 points and a 3-pointer in the loss. The Lakers missed the playoffs and if you want to roll any of the scrubs out there for the final two games it makes a lot of sense.
Is it over yet? Enjoy the Masters, baseball and the end of silly season this weekend and then get ready for the NBA Playoffs, which should be a blast this season.
And if you haven’t already seen them, check out my ‘Dr. A’s Tales From the Attic’ series on the Edge or YouTube. The Darryl Dawkins and Lorenzo Romar stories are two of my favorites and Matt Stroup is a genius.