I spent the evening with my pal Rick Kamla watching all seven games in his living room, which has been transformed into a man cave. We debated important things like how many straight games Khris Middleton had scored in double figures, whether or not anyone in the city of Atlanta actually cared about Kyle Korver’s 3-point streak, and whether or not the Heat were going to win it all (consensus: 4, no, yes). We also discussed Stephen Malkmus’ song about Brandon Jennings and Scott Skiles, whether Lance Stephenson or Gerald Green are the waiver-wire pick up of the year in fantasy (Basketballmonster.com says it’s Green, by a lot), the Disco Biscuits, Jeff Teague’s shortcomings, and the glory days of the fantasy show on NBA TV when Kamla was “in the fantasy flat, wearing a hoodie.” But we saved the best for last, as we both needed good things out of Matt Barnes, for various reasons. He was never called ‘Barnes’ or ‘Matt.’ The only way we referred to him was as ‘Matt Barnes!,’ and every time Matt Barnes! would do something, good or bad, we would either celebrate him or curse him. I’m glad there is no video of us exploding after a Matt Barnes! 3-pointer, or cursing a Matt Barnes! missed free throw, but it was a blast. If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten together with any of the guys in your leagues to watch hoops and drink a couple beers, you should probably think about reversing that trend.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Clippers Down Suns
The Clippers, propelled by Blake Griffin, crushed the Suns. You can go ahead and put Blake’s name in the hat for MVP, and while he’s still got a lot of ground to make up to catch the other two guys, he is rolling right now. He may or may not have been “elbow punched” by P.J. Tucker, causing Tucker to be ejected. We watched the replay several times in slow motion, but I still am not sure if the elbow made contact. What I do know is that Tucker could be facing a one-game suspension, and that Griffin went nuts for 37 points on 14-of-16 shooting before fouling out. He didn’t do a whole lot of anything else, but he did keep his strong free throw shooting on display, knocking down 9-of-10. As I’ve been saying all year, he’s a much better free throw shooter these days, which is a key reason for why his fantasy value is so much stronger than it used to be. He also had six turnovers, but I think we can give him a pass on that one. The Clippers have won eight straight games and Griffin is averaging 25.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals in March, shooting 61 percent from the floor and nearly 70 percent from the line. And if he keeps it up, and the Clippers keep winning, you’ll start hearing him thrown into the discussion for MVP, along with LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Chris Paul double-doubled, DeAndre Jordan had 17 rebounds, Darren Collison stayed hot with 20 points and the Clippers beat a good Suns team pretty easily. Jamal Crawford suffered a setback with his injury, apparently trying to come back too early to face his former team (the Hawks) on Saturday. As long as he’s out, Collison is a strong play in any format.
The Suns saw all five starters and seven players score in double figures, not surprisingly led by Goran Dragic’s 23 points and 16 from Gerald Green. Eric Bledsoe was hoping to play last night, but it looks like he should be in action on Wednesday after missing all of January, February and March due to knee surgery.
Hawks Get Win Over Jazz
The Hawks stopped a six-game skid with a win over the Jazz, as Kyle Korver scored 26 points and hit three 3-pointers, and Paul Millsap came through against his former team with 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. It’s too bad these guys can’t face their former team every night. The game was closer than it should have been down the stretch, as Jeff Teague missed a couple free throws that could have iced the game. He’s been anything but clutch this season and has been just as frustrating in real life as he has to fantasy owners. Late turnovers, a lack of confidence, missing clutch free throws and being outplayed by Shelvin Mack are just a few of the things Teague has struggled with all year. The Hawks are going to have to decide if it’s time to move on and find a new point guard (Kyle Lowry, anyone?) or continue to give the car keys to Teague. All five Hawks starters hit double digits in the win.
The Jazz also put all five starters in double figures, led by Trey Burke’s 23 points and five 3-pointers, while Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward all put up decent lines last night. Enes Kanter also managed to stay hot off the bench with 11 points, nine boards and a block in another loss.
Bobcats 105, Nuggets 98
The Bobcats have somehow won seven straight at home and are 18-14 in the house that Jordan built this season. As expected, Al Jefferson dismantled the Nuggets for 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block, while Kemba Walker hit 6-of-15 shots and 12-of-12 free throws for 24 points, six boards and seven assists. Chris Douglas-Roberts stayed relevant with nine points and a bunch of goodies in another start for Gerald Henderson, who remains questionable for Wednesday with a calf injury. Gary Neal scored 19 off the bench and remains a guy to keep an eye on as long as Henderson is out.
The Nuggets got 24 points and a full stat line from Ty Lawson, but Wilson Chandler and Randy Foye were just too quiet for Denver last night.