The two series that resume tonight are polar opposites. Points will be much harder to come by in Cleveland than in Houston.
The Bulls won the series opener to gain home-court advantage, until the Cavaliers prevailed in a very tough Game Four. LeBron James $11400 is amazing. He rolled his ankle in the third quarter on Sunday but stayed on the court and hit the winning jumper at the buzzer. His line — 25 PTS, 14 REB, 8 AST, 2 BLK, 1 STL — was marred by 8 TO, which may be a continuing problem. Kyrie Irving $7800 is even more banged-up than LBJ. His right foot has been a problem for three weeks and now he has left knee tendinitis. I know, everyone is tired and sore at this time of year, but Kyrie is no match for a relatively healthy Derrick Rose $8500 in terrific form.
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The costly injury for Chicago is to Pau Gasol $7900 (hamstring), a game-time decision. If he can’t go, Taj Gibson $4600 — hampered by a sore shoulder — will presumably start again at PF. Nikola Mirotic $3900 was a disappointment on Sunday, getting only 18 minutes and missing eight of nine shots. Joakim Noah $5900 has not scored more than 11 points since March 15, a string of 24 games. He must be hurt too, but was forced to play 37 minutes on Sunday and is crucial again tonight.
Timofey Mozgov $5700 is improving and Tristan Thompson $5200 is doing his best to replace Kevin Love (shoulder) so the Cavs are competitive in the paint. J.R. Smith $5000 is the only bench player to consider for either team. Given the likelihood of a low score, you might want to pick just one player from this game and seven from the nightcap. (Today’s sample lineup uses a 6-2 split.) Jimmy Butler $8200 always makes the Short List and Rose is on fire, but Mozgov or Thompson are less expensive.
All the Rockets have to do is beat L.A. three straight times. James Harden $9600 is averaging about 25 points per game but was visibly upset with hie teammates as they got trounced in Game Four. I’m sure nobody — including his own players — liked the brilliant strategery of Kevin McHale to send DeAndre Jordan $8000 to the foul line 34 times. Maybe Chris Paul $8700 (hamstring) didn’t mind, as he got to spend much of his 26 minutes walking instead of sprinting.
Yes, they are at home with their backs to the wall, but Houston looks done after losing the last two by 33 and 25 points. Dwight Howard simply can’t be worse (fouled out in 18 minutes) — can he be good enough? Veterans Trevor Ariza $6100 and Jason Terry $4000 are decent value on a desperate team. The tandem of Terrence Jones $4300 and Josh Smith $5100 have disappeared — nobody can stop Blake Griffin $10400, who has elevated his game, averaging almost 25 points and 13 boards in the postseason.
Also in the Clippers’ favor is depth. They are getting contributions from J.J. Redick $5300, Jamal Crawford $5400 and Austin Rivers $4700 — any or all of whom can get hot. Their minutes are unlikely to be reduced, as Doc Rivers would love to get as much rest as possible for CP3.
Players in bold below are in all my lineups. The combinations at G and Util for the remaining $6400 are limited; Terry and Spencer Hawes $2400 (above left) is one example. Matthew Dellevedova $2700 with Corey Brewer $3700 or Pablo Prigioni $3100 also fits.
|PG||Chris Paul $8700||Derrick Rose $8500||Austin Rivers $4700|
|SG||James Harden $9600||Jimmy Butler $8200||Jamal Crawford $5400|
|SF||LeBron James $11400||Trevor Ariza $6100||Mike Dunleavy $4800|
|PF||Blake Griffin $10400||T. Thompson $5200||Nikola Mirotic $3900|
|C||DeAndre Jordan $8000||Timofey Mozgov $5700||Spencer Hawes $2400|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.