Bobcats Hang On Over Hawks
Al Jefferson, as usual, had a big line with 27 points and 15 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting as the Bobcats beat the resting Hawks on Monday night. Kemba Walker (groin) played, but hit just 1-of-9 shots for five points and seven assists, and Gary Neal was the second-leading scorer for the Bobs, who hung with the Wizards in their pursuit of the No. 6 seed. If the Wizards lose their finale, and the Bobcats win, Charlotte gets the No. 6 seed. And hopefully, that means Jefferson gives us one more night of fantasy greatness before the playoffs. Chris Douglas-Roberts hit the game-winner, but had just five points.
The Hawks rested most of the regulars, although Jeff Teague was still out there and had 11 points and five assists. Mike Scott came through with 20 points and six rebounds, and Pero Antic was back in action with three points in 19 minutes. Lou Williams didn’t score like I thought he would, but added five rebounds, six assists and a steal to his 13 points. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as he hit just 5-of-13 shots and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. With nothing left to play for, the Hawks are an all-around crapshoot for Wednesday against the Bucks, but guys like Scott, Shelvin Mack and Dennis Schroder are all pretty good bets for solid minutes. They get a very beatable Pacers team in Round 1 of the playoffs.
Sixers Beat Boston
Michael Carter-Williams sewed up his Rookie of the Year award with a bow on Monday, going off for 21 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting in a win over Boston. Thaddeus Young kept it rolling with 15 points, seven assists and a full stat line, while Tony Wroten got loose off the bench with 20 points, four assists and seven turnovers. I expect more of the same against the resting Heat on Wednesday.
The Celtics, as expected, got big lines from Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley, while Jeff Green also chipped in with 27 points, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. Olynyk had a career-high 28 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers, and Bradley had 23 points and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 2-of-11 from downtown. Brandon Bass was effective, but somewhat disappointing with nine points, eight boards and two blocks, and his 3-of-11 shooting was to blame. I see no reason the same guys won’t play well on Wednesday against the Wizards, although we’ll have to see if Rondo plays in that one. Rondo was fantastic on Monday with eight points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, but probably wasn’t in many lineups given that he was a game-time decision coming in.
Raptors Beat Bucks
Greivis Vasquez started in place of DeMar DeRozan (rest) and had a big game with 25 points, seven assists and five 3-pointers, and was an excellent daily play if you used him. Jonas Valanciunas double-doubled and Kyle Lowry scored 24 points in the win. They need to beat the Knicks on Wednesday to secure the No. 3 seed, so look for more of the same in that one.
For the Bucks, Jeff Adrien had 19 & 9, Khris Middleton had 15 points and two 3-pointers, Ramon Sessions had 21 points, five assists and two 3-pointers, and Brandon Knight returned from an injury for 18 points and four assists. Sessions has scored at least 20 points in four straight games, and looks like a solid play again on Wednesday against the Hawks.
Wizards Beat The Heat
The Wizards waxed the Heat as Trevor Ariza scored 25 with five 3-pointers, Marcin Gortat double-doubled, Bradley Beal scored 15, Al Harrington had 16 points in 18 minutes, and Nene had 18 points and four boards in 24 minutes off the bench. John Wall was quiet, hitting 2-of-7 shots for four points and 13 assists. The Wiz will be trying to beat the Celtics on Wednesday, as they could still finish anywhere from No. 5 to No. 7 in the East.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh got the night off, and aren’t likely to play on Wednesday, either, handing the Pacers the No. 1 seed in the East. Dwyane Wade played, but just 18 minutes to finish with nine points. He killed me in a daily league, and I simply should have known better. Toney Douglas, Michael Beasley, James Jones and Ray Allen were your Heat players in double digits scoring, and all but Allen should be interesting plays again on Wednesday.
Bulls Down Magic
The Bulls are still hoping to catch the Raptors for the No. 3 seed, but they both won on Monday. The Bulls get the Bobcats on Wednesday and both teams will be trying to win, theoretically. They got 18-10-8 from Joakim Noah, as usual, and saw Mike Dunleavy score 22, Carlos Boozer score 13, and Jimmy Butler go for 12 in the win. Jimmer Fredette came off the bench for 17 points and Tony Snell had 13, but I dare you to use either of them in a meaningful situation on Wednesday.
The Magic got 20 points, seven boards and a block from Kyle O’Quinn, while Andrew Nicholson had 19 points and three 3-pointers on 8-of-9 shooting off the bench. Arron Afflalo had 13 and Victor Oladipo disappointed with 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Jameer Nelson (groin) didn’t play again and it appears he’s done. Ronnie Price came off the bench for six points and 11 assists, and might be a sneaky play on Wednesday against the Pacers, since Oladipo continues to be in a funk.
Rockets Stop Spurs
The Rockets clinched the No. 4 seed with a win over the Spurs and will have homecourt over the Blazers in the playoffs. Terrence Jones had 20 & 11, Chandler Parsons had 21 points, Dwight Howard had 20 & 17, Patrick Beverley had 12 points, and James Harden hit just 4-of-16 shots for 16 points and seven assists. My guess is Howard and Beverley play regular minutes on Wednesday against the Pelicans, as Kevin McHale is trying to work them back into game shape. However, the rest of the team is probably a crapshoot.
The Spurs rested Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills last night, but Tim Duncan had 12 points and nine boards in 30 minutes, Tony Parker had 10 points in 26 minutes, but ended up in the locker room early, and Manu Ginobili had 10 points in 22 minutes. My guess is Parker plays again on Wednesday against the Lakers as long as he didn’t hurt himself tonight, but Duncan isn’t likely to play. After a night off, the guys who sat on Monday will probably play in the finale, but again, anytime you’re rolling with Spurs in the final (meaningless) game of the season, you’re playing with fire. Pop has said he wants Ginobili to keep playing to get ready for the playoffs, but whether he or Parker go Wednesday is anyone’s guess.