Fantasy Spin: Bulls Cool Off Heat; Spurs Edge Nuggets

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Congratulations to the Chicago Bulls for clinching a playoff spot. They also accomplished something no other team had done since February 1 — they beat the Heat. Luol Deng (28 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL) played 44 minutes and hit four 3-pointers, while Carlos Boozer (21 PTS, 17 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK) made up for the absence of Joakim Noah (foot) by crashing the boards. Jimmy Butler (17 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL) did a great job filling in for Marco Belinelli (abdomen) as the entire team played aggressive defense. LeBron James (32 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 4 BLK) might use a stronger word than aggressive, as he was fouled hard several times. Chris Bosh (21 PTS, 4 REB, 4 BLK) did all he could, but Dwyane Wade (18 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST, 4 STL) wasn’t quite at his best after missing two games with a tender knee. All good things must end, even a 27-game winning streak, and Miami can now focus on being at their best for another long playoff run.

Other Wednesday Results

Dwight HowardLAL @ MIN: Down to eight bodies, the Lakers rode Kobe Bryant (31 PTS, 7 AST, 3 REB) and Dwight Howard (25 PTS, 16 REB, 5 STL, 5 BLK) to a crucial road victory. Metta World Peace (knee) can be dropped in all formats, but Pau Gasol (17 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) is getting into game shape and Antawn Jamison (18 PTS, 5 REB) will help off the bench. Nikola Pekovic (19 PTS, 16 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK) battled hard for the Timberwolves, who had seven other players reach double figures. Hope you took my advice and played the over.

ORL @ CHA: Though wrong about the Magic winning, I did tout Tobias Harris (29 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST, 3 BLK) and Kyle O’Quinn (23 PTS, 11 REB, 6 AST) who each had the game of his life. Also as predicted, Kemba Walker (34 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) was sensational and Gerald Henderson (34 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST) led Charlotte. The only fantasy surprise was DeQuan Jones (13 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK) starting at SG; he played well enough to stick and might be a useful pickup in deep leagues.

ATL @ TOR: The good news for owners of Rudy Gay (15 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL) is that he wasn’t shut down (yet) with a sore back. When Amir Johnson (7 PTS, 5 REB) left with a leg bruise after 20 minutes, you could almost see his teammates give up, though Jonas Valaciunas (19 PTS, 8 REB, 1 BLK) finished with a solid line. Jeff Teague (24 PTS, 13 AST, 4 REB) and Al Horford (26 PTS, 12 REB) led the Hawks to 49% shooting and an easy win, while Josh Smith (19 PTS, 3 REB, 3 STL) was a strong contributor.

MIL @ PHI: Called this one too. Jrue Holiday (18 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB) and Spencer Hawes (15 PTS, 17 REB) are playing very well, especially with nothing but pride on the line. Four other Sixers scored in double figures; Damien Wilkins (18 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL) is on a very nice roll for someone owned in 6% of Yahoo leagues. You were warned that Brandon Jennings might disappear, but that was an absolute disaster — scoreless and -25 in 17 minutes, benched and furious with his coach. Monta Ellis (29 PTS, 7 AST) and Ersan Ilyasova (13 PTS, 18 REB) had nice counting stats in defeat.

BOS @ CLE: My other upset prediction missed by a point. Jeff Green (21 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL) won it for the Celtics with a buzzer-beating layup, and Brandon Bass (22 PTS, 5 REB) had his best scoring game of the year. Paul Pierce (19 PTS, 10 REB, 8 AST) flirted with a triple-double despite seven turnovers and Chris Wilcox (6 PTS, 6 REB, 1 BLK) played 21 minutes as the starting center. Wayne Ellington (16 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL) led the Cavalaiers, but Tristan Thompson had a horrible night. He did grab nine rebounds, but was 1-for-6 from the floor, missed both free throws and finished with two points.

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