Wednesday’s finale gave us an overtime thriller that saw the Lakers beat the Rockets to secure the No. 7 seed and a first-round date with the Spurs, as well as some injuries and a lot of big lines from some players many NBA fans have never heard of. I’m going to focus on the playoffs, as well as mention some of the bigger scoring lines from Wednesday night. I heard stories of Dwight Howard losing leagues for owners with a turnover in overtime last night, as well as him winning some leagues with a block in OT. Fantasy hoops is frustrating at times, can send you into a ridiculous one-man celebration at other times, and is easily the most interesting fantasy sport to play, in my opinion. Thanks for hanging out with us all year, but it’s not over just yet.
I’ll be back soon with a playoff league draft recap, an NBA mock draft this weekend, and the crew will be on the clock throughout the playoffs. We’ll also cover the draft lottery, the NBA Draft, summer signings and work all offseason on the new NBA Draft Guide. In other words, there is no offseason anymore.
My internet crashed just as I was ready to compile the list of oddities from last night and we are now into hour 16 of waiting for its return. In any case, what was originally going to be a Daily Dose is now a Playoff Preview. I guess it’s better late than never, huh? Now that it no longer really matters, here is a list of players who (for the most part) came out of nowhere and helped some people win fantasy leagues.
Mike Scott and John Jenkins for the Hawks, Josh McRoberts for the Bobcats, Gerald Green for the Pacers, Steve Blake for the Lakers, Zach Randolph for Memphis, Mike Miller for Miami, John Henson for Milwaukee, Greg Stiemsma for Minnesota, Chris Copeland and Earl Barron for the Knicks, Reggie Jackson for the Thunder, Dorell Wright for the Sixers, LaMarcus Aldridge for Portland, DeMarcus Cousins for the Kings and Al Jefferson for Utah. There were probably a few others that I’m missing, but I just don’t have the resources available right now. You can click on their names to see last night’s blurbs and the insanity that took place. I know Barron had the game of his life with 11 points, 18 boards and a block in a start for the Knicks, despite signing with them earlier in the day.
2013 NBA Playoffs
No. 1 Heat vs. No. 8 Bucks
Game 1 will be in Miami on Sunday and the Bucks are hoping Larry Sanders will be ready from his back injury, but if he’s out, look for Henson to continue to put up solid numbers for the Bucks. Brandon Jennings is dealing with left and right foot/ankle/Achilles issues, but was able to play through it last night.
The Heat are healthy and ready to roll, and Dwyane Wade looked great on Wednesday.
Prediction: Heat in 4
No. 2 Knicks vs. No. 7 Celtics
The Knicks are banged up badly, as Copeland’s great night was soured by a painful shoulder injury, although he says he’ll be ready to go on Saturday. Pablo Prigioni suffered a severely sprained ankle, although both Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd should be ready to go. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin are still a little iffy for Game 1 on Saturday in New York, Amare Stoudemire is still out, and Rasheed Wallace retired again. Iman Shumpert went down on Wednesday, but it was said to be cramps, which isn’t a big deal. Scoring champion Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith should be rested up, and this is going to be a fun series.
The Celtics should have a relatively healthy Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Shavlik Randolph, but Rajon Rondo’s season is over (still). Pierce, KG and Terry may be a little banged up, so watch for updates on their statuses. Jeff Green was one of the season’s best stories and he played in all 81 (one was canceled) games for the Celtics after missing last season due to heart surgery. He’ll also be a key player for them in this series.
Prediction: Knicks in 7
No. 3 Pacers vs. No. 6 Hawks
The Pacers rested all their starters except Lance Stephenson, and Gerald Green went off for a career-high 34 points and six 3-pointers. George Hill’s groin and ankle are a concern, but my guess is he’ll be ready to play, along with Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West. Danny Granger is done for the year, so don’t draft him playoff leagues. Game 1 is Sunday in Indy.
The Hawks appeared to tank over their final two games, apparently thinking they have a better chance against the struggling Pacers than the Nets. Maybe they do, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. The Hawks starters should all be fully rested and ready to go in Sunday’s Game 1.
Prediction: Pacers in 6
No. 4 Nets vs. No. 5 Bulls
On the injury front, Joakim Noah (feet) will likely be ready for the playoffs for the Bulls, but is far from healthy, while we still don’t know when Derrick Rose is going to be ready to play. Taj Gibson (knee) is also banged up, but should be good to go in Saturday’s Game 1 in Brooklyn.
The Nets should be fully healthy as well, although Joe Johnson doesn’t look like his old self, and Andray Blatche should be a solid contributor off the bench. If D-Rose isn’t ready for this series, I think the Nets are going to pull it out.
Prediction: Nets in 7