There were 11 games in the NBA last night and four teams (Heat, Spurs, Nets, Knicks) benched their starting units, as they basically had nothing left to play for. Additionally, the Boston tragedy led to the flat-out cancellation of Tuesday’s Celtics vs. Pacers game (it won’t be made up). It’s amazing that we will see two teams finish with fewer games played than the rest of the league for the first time since the 1950’s. These are crazy times and our thoughts are with the victims in Boston.
There are only two games on Tuesday now, as the Raptors are at Atlanta, and the Blazers are at the Clippers. The Hawks are still fighting for playoff position with the Bulls, and the Raptors played their studs in the previous game, so I would assume we’ll see the usual suspects in that one, while hot rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott are also worth a look for the Hawks. The Clippers are still fighting for position and the Blazers would probably like to play some sort of spoiler role, but the problem is that LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews simply aren’t healthy. But my guess is anyone who is able to play in this game will do so.
Let’s get to Monday’s highlights. Regardless of what opinions I might state below, the key to setting an effective lineup right now is to stay glued to the Rotoworld news page and make sure your guys are going to play.
The Bulls took care of business against the Magic in a 102-84 win and are now hoping to sneak past the Hawks to get the No. 5 seed so they can face the Nets instead of the Pacers. They need to beat the Wizards on Wednesday and then see the Hawks lose one of their final two games against the Raptors and Knicks in order to get the No. 5 and push the Hawks to the No. 6 seed. The Bulls saw the limited return of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson on Monday, while Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng all played well. Nate Robinson disappeared, but still played 29 minutes in the win. Hopefully the usual suspects all play heavy minutes in Wednesday’s must-win at home against the Wizards.
The Magic got big games from Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris, and I would guess all three will play well again on Wednesday at Miami. Beno Udrih disappeared, but could easily bounce back in the finale.
The Bobcats beat the Knicks’ scrubs 106-95. As with most of the games in the East, this one was meaningless and the Knicks didn’t care about the outcome. Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker (career-high 13 assists), Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts all had nice lines for the Bobcats, and should do so again at home vs. the Cavs on Wednesday.
The Knicks got a career-high 32 points, seven boards and four 3-pointers from Chris Copeland, who might have won you a championship last night (or beat you). Steve Novak had 17 points and five treys, James White scored 15 with seven boards and six assists, and Iman Shumpert added 14 points and five dimes. Pablo Prigioni added nine points, eight assists and a 3-pointer, and we’ll have to see if the Knicks play the starters when they host the Hawks on Wednesday. If not, all of these guys will be worth a fantasy look in that one. Raymond Felton is expected to play Wednesday.
The dismantled Heat still came through with a one-point win over the Cavaliers. The Heat got a near triple-double from Norris Cole (16-11-9), Mike Miller had 11 points, eight boards and three 3-pointers, Joel Anthony had 11 points, nine boards and two blocks, Rashard Lewis turned back the clock for 19 points and three 3-pointers, and James Jones came off the bench for 14 points and two 3-pointers. Ray Allen was the only regular to play tonight, and had 11 points, six assists and two 3-pointers on 3-of-11 shooting in 29 minutes. It remains to be seen if the Heat rests the regulars again in Wednesday’s finale against the Magic. But why not rest them?
The Cavaliers got 16 points and eight dimes out of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson double-doubled, Alonzo Gee finally came through with 13 points and six boards, Dion Waiters had 16 points, and Kevin Jones added 10 off the bench. Look for more of the same on Wednesday at Charlotte.
The Brooklyn bench was still able to handle the Wizards 106-101 after the Nets’ starters were rested. The Nets saw MarShon Brooks, C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche (double-double), Kris Humphries (just missed a double-double), Tomike Shengelia (double-double), Mirza Teletovic and Tyshawn Taylor all scored in double figures, while Gerald Wallace was terrible again. Wallace’s fantasy career might be over, but we’ll have to see what’s going on heading into next year before declaring him done. Don’t’ be surprised to see the scrubs again on Wednesday vs. Detroit.
The Wizards got double-doubles from John Wall and Trevor Booker, while Garrett Temple, Cartier Martin (four 3-pointers) and Kevin Seraphin all played well. Emeka Okafor might be done after playing just 10 minutes and scoring four. Look for more of the same from these guys on Wednesday at Chicago. Nene has been shut down.
The Pistons took out the Sixers 109-101. Andre Drummond started despite a sprained ankle, but had just five points, eight boards, two steals and a block before fouling out in 33 minutes. Greg Monroe came through with 27 & 16, Will Bynum had 22 points, six dimes and two 3-pointers in the absence of Jose Calderon, while Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler and Khris Middleton all hit double digits in scoring. Rodney Stuckey was disappointing again with eight points and six assists on 3-of-9 shooting. They finish up at Brooklyn on Wednesday.
The Sixers got 22 points, eight boards, six assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers from Dorell Wright off the bench, while Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Justin Holiday all hit double digits in scoring. Doug Collins won’t be back to coach the team next season and I expect the same guys to play well again on Wednesday at Indiana.