L.A. Lakers – Kobe Bryant had surgery on Saturday to repair his ruptured Achilles and is hoping to return in the next six to nine months. Some people don’t think he’ll be ready to really play until closer to a year, but then again, he’s Kobe. They got a tough win over the Spurs Sunday and only have to win on Wednesday at home vs. Houston, or see the Jazz lose one of their final two games, to get in. Steve Blake went nuts on Sunday, and looks like a strong play, along with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison in their final game, if it still means something.
Memphis – The Grizzlies fell to the Clippers on Saturday and currently sit tied with them, and also sit just a game behind Denver for the No. 3 seed. That means they still have something to play for, which should be good news for Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and maybe Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince.
Miami – The Big 3 were back in action for the Heat on Sunday when they beat the Bulls. All five Heat starters (Mario Chalmers & Mike Miller) hit double figures in that one, but it already sounds like LeBron and Wade will sit out on Monday, while Bosh isn’t a lock to play in both of their final two games. Miller and Chalmers look like strong plays any time Bron and Wade are out.
Milwaukee – The Bucks are locked into the No. 8 seed for a date with the Heat, so it’s possible they give the starters a rest. Brandon Jennings (Achilles) and Larry Sanders (back) were both out on Saturday, and are very iffy for this week. Mike Dunleavy, J.J. Redick, Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson will all step up in their place, as long as Monta and Ilyasova aren’t on the bench getting a breather. Watch for news on all these guys.
Minnesota – Nikola Pekovic missed Saturday’s game with a left calf contusion, so watch for updates on him. Obviously, the Wolves have nothing left to play for, but I’m guessing Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham are all worth a shot if Pek is out, while Greg Stiemsma is also worth a look.
New Orleans – The Hornets have just one game left and nothing to play for. Greivis Vasquez was back from his ankle injury on Sunday, but was once again outplayed by Brian Roberts. Which player will be better on Wednesday is anyone’s guess. Ryan Anderson looks good to go with Anthony Davis’ knee injury, while Eric Gordon, Robin Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu could all play well on Wednesday.
New York – Carmelo Anthony has already been ruled out for Monday, but says his shoulder if fine. He could also sit on Wednesday. With the Knicks locked into the No. 2 seed, Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert and Steve Novak could all have nice lines this week. But check back to see who is in and who is out before making moves.
Oklahoma City – The OKC still have to win to hold off the Spurs, so look for the usual suspects to keep playing well until they clinch the No. 1 overall seed. Once it happens, it’s anyone’s guess who will be playing on Wednesday.
Orlando – Jameer Nelson’s season is probably over due to an ankle injury, so Beno Udrih, along with Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris look like the must-starts.
Philadelphia – Doug Collins won’t be back and the Sixers won’t make the playoffs. The minutes were normal for the starters and bench on Sunday, so I’m going to assume it’s business as usual for the final two games.
Phoenix – Markieff Morris went off on Saturday with 20 points, nine boards and three 3-pointers, along with Goran Dragic, Wes Johnson and Jared Dudley. Luis Scola also looks like a strong play, despite his eight TOs in that one. Michael Beasley didn’t play again on Saturday, but maybe he’ll be in there on Monday. Jermaine O’Neal was a late scratch for that one with a bruised shin, leaving him iffy for the week.
Portland – Damian Lillard, Will Barton and J.J. Hickson all went off on Sunday, while Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver also started. Wesley Matthews (ankle), LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder) were out on Sunday, so watch for news on them heading into Tuesday and Wednesday’s games.
Sacramento – Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton saw limited action on Sunday, meaning we don’t know what’s in store for the final two games. Cole Aldrich went off for 12 points, 12 boards and four blocks on Sunday, and could be a sneaky (and risky) play going forward, along with Travis Outlaw, who had a season-high 15.
San Antonio – The Spurs fell to the Lakers Sunday but are still in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the West. Danny Green, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker (1-of-10, 4 points), Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard are all possible plays, along with Gary Neal. Stay tuned.
Toronto – The Raps beat the Nets on Sunday as DeMar DeRozan scored 36, Rudy Gay had 26, and Kyle Lowry, Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson all played heavy minutes. Those are the guys to roll with this week, at least for now.
Utah – The Jazz are still fighting for a playoff berth and Al Jefferson had 40 on Friday. Jefferson, Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye and Derrick Favors are all worth a look here.
Washington – John Wall is the only sure bet in Washington (if he doesn’t rest), while Garrett Temple, Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker could all play well. Nene (knee, foot) has reportedly ruled himself out for the final two games, along with Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, which is good news for Okafor, Seraphin and Booker, and maybe Cartier Martin.
I’ll be back this week with another Dose on Monday night, a Waiver Wired Awards column, as well as the first mock draft late in the week.