There were six games on Monday and we now have a better idea of who might be sitting and starting going forward, at least for some teams. Here’s what we know.
Pacers down Pistons – The Pacers are locked into the No. 3 seed so Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and George Hill all got the night off, but the Pacers still took out the Pistons behind 27 points from Paul George. Frank Vogel said after the game that Hill and Hibbert would play in Wednesday’s finale, but it looks like Granger will get another night off. Darren Collison is finally back in action, but hit just 1-of-8 shots and committed six turnovers on Monday. Look for him to get some run on Wednesday in order to work himself back into game form. Tyler Hansbrough and Leandro Barbosa could be nice adds for the finale, while I wouldn’t be surprised to see David West get some rest in that one.
Brandon Knight had 16 points, Rodney Stuckey disappeared again, and Austin Daye got run over Jonas Jerebko for the second straight night, finishing with 11 points and a full stat line in 18 minutes for the Pistons. He could play a lot in the final game on Thursday. Keep a close eye on Rotoworld’s news blurbs in hope of finding out what the Pistons have planned for Thursday’s game.
Wizards beat Bobcats – Jordan Crawford hit just 1-of-8 shots for two points against the lowly Bobs, but John Wall picked up the slack with 16 points and 14 assists. Jan Vesely, Nene and Kevin Seraphin all played heavy minutes for the Wizards and the thought is they’ll let them all play again in the final two games. Trevor Booker still wants to return from his foot problem, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
D.J. Augustin somehow returned from his knee injury and had 15 points, two 3-pointers and six dimes in close to 30 minutes, and Kemba Walker was inexplicably limited to just 14 minutes. Only Michael Jordan and Paul Silas are capable of this kind of logic, as every minute Walker plays will help him prepare for next season. Whatever. Bismack Biyombo didn’t do much with his 30 minutes, while Byron Mullens and Derrick Brown also played solid minutes. Gerald Henderson stayed hot with 19 points. Charlotte has two games left to try to avoid being the worst regular-season team in history, but considering they lost 101-73 to the Wizards, it’s not looking good for M.J.’s misfits.
Sixers crush Nets – The Sixers beat the Nets to lock down a playoff berth and sit tied with the Knicks for the No. 7 seed. Andre Iguodala suffered a strained Achilles late in the game and it appears that he, Elton Brand and Lou Williams will all sit out the Sixers’ final two games of the regular season. With the Sixers planning on sitting those three guys, and possibly others, it appears they’re content with facing the No. 1 seed (Bulls or Heat) as the No. 8 seed behind the Knicks. Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Jodie Meeks, Lavoy Allen and Nikola Vucevic could all see heavy minutes in the final two games of the season. And I’ll just state for the record that I would not be surprised to see Hawes shut down for at least one, if not both, of the final two games. He simply wasn’t mentioned by Doug Collins when he spoke of resting the other three guys. Jrue Holiday is another guy to watch for news on, as he suffered a nose laceration, but played through it.
The Nets got 18 points from MarShon Brooks and another double-double from Kris Humphries, while Sundiata Gaines played just 12 minutes for two points. Armon Johnson played 23 minutes at point guard and had 10 points and two assists, but don’t be surprised if Gaines bounces back in their final game on Thursday. Deron Williams was out again with a calf injury, and it appears his season is done. Gerald Wallace was back out there for heavy minutes last night and refuses to shut it down, despite being encouraged to do so by Deron Williams. This is another team with huge question marks for what they will do on Thursday. Stay tuned.
Bucks take Raptors – The Bucks beat the Raptors but were eliminated from the playoffs with the Sixers win over the Nets. Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and Monta Ellis left the game late with a shooting hand injury after scoring 17 points. The Bucks’ season is over for all intents and purposes, and if Ellis’ injury is at all serious, he could be shut down. Carlos Delfino has already been shut down with a groin injury, and Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih will get Monta’s minutes if he’s going to miss time. Drew Gooden is another shutdown candidate and played only 13 minutes last night. Look for Ekpe Udoh to get run over the last couple games. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sat Monday out with a knee injury, and he could also be shut down. The Bucks play on Wednesday and Thursday.
James Johnson went off for 22 points, 13 boards, four dimes, a steal and two blocks in the loss, and remains hot as the season winds down. DeMar DeRozan was ejected early, allowing for Gary Forbes and Linas Kleiza to get extra minutes. The Raptors have just one game remaining (Thursday vs. Nets), and it’s anyone’s guess who plays in the finale. It does appear that Jose Calderon is done, so Ben Uzoh should make the start at point guard in the finale, and had eight points, four boards and five dimes last night.
Grizzlies hold off Cavs – The Grizzlies have now won 13 of their last 16 games and are only ½ game behind the Clippers for the No. 4 seed and homecourt in the first round. The Clippers hold the tie-breaker if it ends knotted up, so guys like Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley are all shutdown candidates for Thursday’s game (their last) if the Clippers win on Tuesday or Wednesday. Tony Allen had a franchise record eight steals last night, finally coming through for his owners. Lester Hudson is now with the Grizzlies and had nine points, but could be a sneaky add, along with Marreese Speights and O.J. Mayo, if they do rest the starters on Thursday.
The Cavs got 25 points and a full stat line from Kyrie Irving last night, but it remains to be seen if they’ll continue to roll with him on Wednesday and Thursday with the playoffs out of reach. Watch Rotoworld for news updates on what Byron Scott has planned for those final two meaningless games. Alonzo Gee started over Manny Harris and had eight points in 22 minutes, while Harris had 11 points, three steals and a 3-pointer off the bench. Both could play well in the final two.