This time of year is so strange for fantasy owners. We’re trying hard to win our Head-to-Head playoffs or Roto leagues, but have no idea who might — or might not — actually play. Raymond Felton, assumed to be shut down for the season, started for the Blazers (13 PTS, 7 AST) but Nolan Smith (10 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST) still got 34 minutes. As usual, the Spurs used 13 guys and limited everyone’s court time, yet still romped. Tim Duncan, in a team-high 26 minutes, had a nifty 18 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks.
DET @ IND: That didn’t look much like the Pacers. Three starters didn’t play at all: George Hill (shoulder) and Roy Hibbert (rest) will be back tomorrow and Danny Granger (knee) might miss one more game. Former starter Darren Collison got 31 minutes to make an impression but shot 1-for-8 and made six turnovers. Paul George (27 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL) led Indiana to a win anyway. The Pistons made a game of it behind Greg Monroe (18 PTS, 12 REB) and Brandon Knight (16).
CHA @ WAS: A very easy win for the Wizards, with John Wall (16 PTS, 14 AST) at the controls and a great night by rookie forward Jan Vesely: 16 points on 8-8 shooting, plus 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Nene added 18 off the bench. The Bobcats, an embarrassment from their owner on down, deserve the worst record in NBA history and are showing absolutely no signs of ending a 21-game losing streak.
PHI @ NJN: The Nets’ final game in New Jersey wasn’t very exciting. Kris Humphries (16 PTS, 12 REB) and MarShon Brooks (18 PTS) made an effort but the 76ers, needing a win to clinch a playoff berth, rolled to victory, shooting 54% as a team. The Philly bench outscored the starters 56-49, but Andre Iguodala (14 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) had the juiciest fantasy line.
TOR @ MIL: The Bucks won the game but there was no celebration, as they failed to make the playoffs. Ersan Ilyasova (19 PTS, 15 REB) and Brandon Jennings (25) led the way; Monta Ellis added 17 PTS, 5 AST and 6 REB before leaving with a sore hand. Toronto made a game of it thanks to James Johnson (22 PTS, 13 REB) but DeMar DeRozan had just four points before being ejected for arguing a travelling call.
CLE @ MEM: You have to admire Kyrie Irving (25 PTS) for not giving up, but the rest of the Cavaliers are no match for Memphis. All five Grizzlies starters and sixth man O.J. Mayo scored in double figures; recent FA pickup Lester Hudson added nine points against his former mates.
LAC @ ATL: There will be no lack of effort by the Clippers, who can guarantee home-court advantage in the first round with one more win. Likewise, the Hawks will open the playoffs at home if they can stay ahead of Boston. I’m assuming neither team will be resting people, but in this wacky final week, you can never be sure. The Josh Smith matchup with Blake Griffin should be fun to watch.
MIA @ BOS: This one will not be a playoff preview, as getting everyone as healthy and rested as possible seems the priority for both teams. Dwyane Wade (finger) and Chris Bosh (fatigue) are doubtful for Miami, so LeBron James will carry a big scoring load. With Ray Allen (ankle) out and Rajon Rondo (back) questionable for Boston, I like Avery Bradley to have another big game.
SAC @ OKC: James Harden (possible concussion) won’t play after getting mugged on Sunday and you have to wonder if (when?) Russell Westbrook and/or Kevin Durant will get a night off. For some reason, there has been no word yet from the NBA on whether DeMarcus Cousins will serve a one-game suspension tonight, or have his 13th technical foul rescinded on appeal. Be sure to check for an update later today before using him.
NOH @ GSW: Teams can show pride in a lot of ways, and if the Hornets want to stay out of last place in the West, they need to win this game. Eric Gordon is a great play, while Grievis Vasquez and Jason Smith are worth using. The Warriors have been relying on rookies Charles Jenkins and Klay Thompson while they dream of next year being better.
PHO @ UTA: By far the best game of this less-than-spectacular evening, as both teams are still alive for a playoff spot but neither has clinched. With the Suns in a must-win situation, Steve Nash will be fired up. Channing Frye (shoulder) is questionable but Grant Hill (knee) might return; Marcin Gortat must play well against Al Jefferson up front. Utah has been starting DeMarre Carroll at SF, but using Derrick Favors more and more off the bench. How Devin Harris handles Nash might be the key.
|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
Over the last two months, playing this game every day, I’ve learned quite a few things the hard way. Week 8 began last night with a $26 loss that I should really call a donation. My seven teams all played shorthanded, because I’d used guys who were later scratched (like Roy Hibbert) and was too busy with real life to adjust my lineups.
Tonight, I’ll be here in the home office right up until 7:00 and able to make changes if necessary. I’m in the usual $2 Salary Cap league (220 teams, $400 guaranteed prize pool) and the $5 version (110 entries, $500 GPP) with three teams each, a $21 investment.
There are several options to own superstars tonight, despite only five games on the NBA schedule. Others I could have called Sure Things include Blake Griffin ($17,574) and Josh Smith ($16,903) but you can usually afford no more than two of those expensive players with a $100,000 cap and eight roster spots.
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