Most traditional fantasy basketball leagues are finished, but fantasy hoops continues on DraftStreet during the playoffs. Instead of one-day leagues (8-man teams with a $100,000 salary cap) they are now extended over two days. That was a great call: tonight’s two games will decide May 2-3 leagues and kick off May 3-4 leagues. The pool of players improves dramatically with the 2-day duration. Scroll down for my selections.
LAC @ MEM: The evening’s best game by far. The Grizzlies took over the lead in the second quarter, held it through the third and the Clippers saved their best effort for the fourth. This time, Memphis held on. Rudy Gay (21) and O.J. Mayo (20) did the scoring and Mike Conley (19 PTS, 6 AST) played well against Chris Paul. CP3 had 29 PTS, 6 AST and 5 STL, while Blake Griffin added 22 PTS and 9 REB, but L.A. needed someone else to get hot. Nick Young was my pick, not knowing he has a sore thumb. He still went 3-3 from deep for 11 points. Seldom-used Bobby Simmons (9 PTS in 22 minutes) started at SF and Reggie Evans, a game one hero, was invisible. This is a very interesting series that could go the limit.
UTA @ SAS: That was like a lopsided regular season game, where one team was playing for the third time in as many nights. The Spurs had runs of 15-2 in the first quarter, 20-0 to end the second and 13-2 to start the third. Then it was garbage time, affecting everyone’s fantasy numbers. Tony Parker would have had much more than 18 PTS and 9 AST if he was needed and Tim Duncan’s modest double-double (12 & 13) came in 27 minutes. Patty Mills (9) and Gary Neal (11) will rarely play that much. The Jazz starters were completely dominated and a sweep seems inevitable.
IND @ ORL: Glen Davis, now hobbled by a sore ankle, scored 22 points but that was the lone bright spot for the Magic, who got blown out in the third quarter. Roy Hibbert (18 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK) dominated inside, Danny Granger (26 PTS, 9 REB) hit five triples and Orlando threw in the towel with six minutes left. The series will be over soon; the Pacers are younger, healthier and have more talent.
MIA @ NYK: We get a fascinating doubleheader tonight. Thanks to the self-inflicted Amare Stoudemire injury, Carmelo Anthony is the focal point. Tyson Chandler needs to unleash his Defensive Player of the Year beast and just maybe, Baron Davis can rise to this must-win occasion. I’m expecting J.R. Smith and Steve Novak to keep bombing away. Chris Bosh probably won’t play. He’s back in Miami with his wife for the birth of their baby. LeBron James will battle with Melo all night; both could finish with spectacular numbers if the game is close. Smith and Landry Fields will have trouble guarding Dwyane Wade, who might be the best fantasy play of all.
OKC @ DAL: On their home court, backs to the wall, the Mavs need Dirk Nowitzki to be a superstar and must find another gear defensively. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were unstoppable in the first two games. James Harden, the obvious Sixth Man of the Year, is their third option. Serge Ibaka was the dominant big man in game one; Kendrick Perkins stepped up in game two. Dallas isn’t getting much from Brendan Haywood and haven’t used Brandan Wright, so Ian Mahinmi has been the next-best PF-C after Dirk. Shawn Marion didn’t get a lot of votes as best defensive player, but the Matrix had a terrific year while guarding the best opponent every night.
Over at Fantasy Postseason, my team is eighth of 12 in the Sheridan Fantasy league. We are built for distance, not for speed.
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DraftStreet of Dreams
|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
Week 9 of this diary began with a $ $100 bankroll. My three teams in a May 1-2 Salary Cap league finished out of the money; they were “stars-and-scrubs” lineups built around Tony Parker, who didn’t play the last 14 minutes because he’d been so great earlier.
My May 2-3 plays are three teams each in the $2 and $5 Guaranteed Prize Pool leagues. At the midway point, I’m doing OK. One lineup is 16th out of 165, with two decent guys playing tonight: Mr. Wade and Mr. Anthony. Overtime in that game would be sweet. There’s $750 in prizes, $200 for first place, but I don’t expect to win. Even fifth place is worth 55 bucks and would be fine.
If (like me) you’re in a 2-day DraftStreet league (or leagues) today and tomorrow, we have five games to choose from, including three on Friday.
ATL @ BOS: Josh Smith is doubtful with a knee injury — variously called a tendon, a ligament, a sprain and “jumper’s knee” — and without him, the Hawks have no chance. The reinstated and rested Rajon Rondo is a great play on DraftStreet (steals count 2 points) and Paul Pierce was terrific in game two. Kevin Garnett will also have more room to operate. Presumably, Marvin Williams would get the start if Smith can’t go, but he’s hard to recommend against the Boston playoff D.
CHI @ PHI: The 76ers are thrilled to be even in this series, the Bulls disappointed. If Jrue Holiday stays as aggressive as he was on Tuesday and Evan Turner keeps up the pressure at both ends of the floor, we could even see an upset. It wasn’t just the PG play that cost Chicago game two; Richard Hamilton was a non-factor and Carlos Boozer didn’t do enough. Joakim Noah should continue to shine; the best of three Philly “centers” has been undersized Lavoy Allen.
LAL @ DEN: The first problem for Denver is stopping Kobe Bryant. Good luck with that. Their second huge obstacle is Andrew Bynum. Coach Karl has Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov to choose from, but at least they don’t have to pay that $65 million to Nene. On their home court and down 2-0, the Nuggets will try hard. Ty Lawson is a major talent who needs more help up front.
The $100,000 salary cap must be divided among eight roster spots — 2 G, 2 F, 2 C and 2 U (any position) — but many players you might be used to as PF-C eligible are simply a forward. I tend to figure out my centers first. Bynum-Noah and Bynum-Chandler seem like the best combinations. Then it’s a matter of getting the most talent for the right price at the other two positions and squeezing in affordable guys at the Utility spots.
See you on Draft Street, where it’s always free to register. You can start by joining leagues with no entry fees, that are every bit as challenging and fun as the cash pools.