In a game that both teams took somewhat seriously, Joe Johnson scored 28 points and Josh Smith (18 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) made the most of his 31 minutes. Blake Griffin (36 PTS, 8 REB) and Chris Paul (34 PTS, 8 AST, 2 STL) were stellar in defeat, though CP3 is doubtful tonight with a mild groin strain. Jeff Teague (21) played well for the Hawks and Marvin Williams (11) returned to his sixth-man role.
PHO @ UTA: The Jazz were just too strong. Al Jefferson (18 PTS, 16 REB, 2 BLK) dominated Marcin Gortat (2 PTS, 12 REB) and with Channing Frye (shoulder) unavailable and Grant Hill (knee) lasting just three minutes, nobody could stop Paul Millsap. Playing at both the 3 and the 4, Millsap finished with 26 points, 15 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals. Derrick Favors had another big night off the bench: 13 PTS, 11 REB, 5 BLK. For Phoenix, Steve Nash (14 & 11) needed a bit more help up front.
MIA @ BOS: We said this one would be bad, but it was uglier than that. If you had courtside seats, you’d be demanding a refund. As the Big Three watched in street clothes, Dexter Pittman led the Heat in scoring, with 12 points. Paul Pierce allegedly played for the Celtics, with 8 points and 6 turnovers in 18 minutes. Sasha Pavlovic (16) was the go-to guy and both benches got plenty of run. Marquis Daniels (13 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST) has looked pretty good now for two games.
SAC @ OKC: It’s always fun when DeMarcus Cousins (32 PTS, 7 REB) brings his best game, though it’s rarely enough to beat a good team. All five Kings starters were in double figures but Kevin Durant had 32, plus 9 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook might have triple-doubled (13 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST) if he’d played more than 27 minutes. The Thunder reserves outscored the Sacramento bench 48-7 to preserve the win.
NOH @ GSW: “Eric Gordon is a great play,” I advised here yesterday. Naturally, he was given the night off and Marco Belinelli (23 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL) went wild. Jason Smith (ankle) didn’t play, so Gustavo Ayon (13 PTS, 7 REB, 4 BLK) came out of nowhere with a big start. For the Warriors, Klay Thompson (16) led the scoring and Charles Jenkins had a double-double (10 & 10) but his 4-16 shooting didn’t help his owners.
WAS @ CLE: Who would have guessed that the Wizards would finish on such a positive note? They wrap up tomorrow at home, with John Wall and Kevin Seraphin expected to play in both games. Nene has also looked good lately, but they have been careful with him before, and Jordan Crawford seems to be wearing down. This is the final home game for the Cavs, so Kyrie Irving figures to play and it could be entertaining.
CHI @ IND: While other teams rest their best players, the Bulls need to get Derrick Rose and Luol Deng some time together. Richard Hamilton is another of the playoff starting five who missed significant time with injuries. I don’t think they will play heavy minutes but they will be trying to get in sync. Indiana just wants to stay healthy. While Danny Granger may not play, George Hill and Roy Hibbert are expected to return.
CHA @ ORL: The Magic “need” a win to ensure meeting the Pacers in the first round instead of Miami. The Bobcats have only the dubious motivation of avoiding the worst record in NBA history. Charlotte will have a better chance at home tomorrow night against a Knicks team that might rest its stars. Jameer Nelson is iffy with a sore calf, so I’m expecting Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis to have another big night, unless the whole second half is garbage time.
PHI @ MIL: In a game that means nothing for either team, Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young (rest) are out, Andre Iguodala (Achilles) and Monta Ellis (hand) are extremely doubtful and it’s difficult to predict anyone’s playing time. Evan Turner could end up being the main man for Philly and Ekpe Udoh is a better play than Drew Gooden.
LAC @ NYK: Again, the report that Chris Paul has a mild groin strain is a concern. The #4 seed would be great, but it’s not worth risking the health of your best player. Mo Williams would benefit most if CP3 sits this one out. The chemistry exam continues for the Knicks, as Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire learn to work together. My guess is, even Baron Davis gets some run tonight at MSG, then almost everyone sits in Charlotte tomorrow.
DEN @ OKC: There’s no way James Harden (concussion) will play in this meaningless finale, unless it’s for a second, to get an ovation from the home crowd as a great season concludes. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may not play much, but KD is aware of the scoring race and should get his numbers. Last night Daequan Cook had 19 for the Thunder, with Derek Fisher (11 & 5) and Nick Collison (6 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 3 BLK) getting big minutes. Denver is still playing for playoff seeding, so Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo are decent plays and Danilo Gallinari may be coming around.
SAS @ PHO: There almost has to be a letdown for the Suns after a long playoff drive fell short. Steve Nash will make a token appearance that might be his farewell to Phoenix. The Spurs will run an assortment of fresh legs at them from the league’s deepest bench. I would avoid the Big Three tonight, use Danny Green for sure and consider Stephen Jackson, James Anderson and/or Boris Diaw.
Songs of DraftStreet
|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
My teams got killed last night, finishing near the bottom of their leagues. The “silly season,” when playing time becomes a guessing game, is clearly not my strong suit. I’m now down $52 for Week 8, leaving $48 from the $100 bankroll to invest in the final two days of the regular season
Tonight, I’m in the usual $2 Salary Cap league (220 teams, $400 guaranteed prize pool) and the $5 version (165 entries, $750 GPP) with three teams each.
If you don’t use KD or Melo, it’s possible to build a competitive lineup under the $100,000 cap without any extreme bargains. It’s one of those nights with a lot of interesting options in the middle price range, my “Hunches” on the chart. Good luck!
Draft Street is free to join and you can get started in leagues with no entry fees.