Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: The King Advances

Monday, April 24, 2017


Cleveland 106, Indiana 102 (Cavs complete series sweep)

 

LeBron James posted a 33-point, 10-board double-double during Cleveland’s Game 4 win over Indiana, adding one 3-pointer, four assists, four steals, two blocks and four turnovers in 45 minutes of floor time. With the win, James completed the 10th Best-of-7 series sweep of his career, and he’s now won 21 straight first-round games; the last time he lost a game in the first round? 2012. All hail the King.

 

Kyrie Irving was Cleveland’s second-leading scorer in the win, registering 28 points on 10-of-25 shooting (7-of-7 from the stripe) to go with one 3-pointer, two rebounds, one steal, three blocks, one turnover and zero assists through 37 minutes of action. This was the third time in Irving’s postseason career that he failed to hand out a single assist, and it likely won’t be his last considering how heavy the Cavs go on isolation sets. Still, it was a pretty solid stat line, and he carried the Cleveland offense when it sputtered during the third quarter, scoring 16 of his 28 points while posting a usage rate of 37.1. The Cavs are officially the first team in Round 2, and they’ll now rest up as they await the winner of the Bucks-Raptors series.

 

On the other side of the floor, Paul George really struggled to get anything to drop, going 5-of-21 from the field and 2-of-3 from the stripe on his way to 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three triples, three steals, one block and four turnovers in 44 minutes. It was an unfortunate way for PG-13 to end his season, but he was very impressive through the first three games of the series, and outright phenomenal coming out of the All-Star break when he essentially willed his team to the postseason with averages of 27.0 points, 3.4 triples, 7.6 boards, 3.9 dimes, 1.6 steals and 3.0 turnovers per contest on 48.3 percent shooting. George will be in a contract year next season, so I like the idea of taking him anytime after the turn of the first round.

 

Myles Turner scored an efficient 20 points (8-of-10 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs) during the Game 4 loss, to go with nine boards, one steal and three turnovers in 33 minutes. He was a top-25 stud all year long during his second NBA season (and his first season as a full-time starter), posting averages of 14.5 points, 7.2 boards, 1.3 steals, 2.1 blocks, 0.9 steals, 0.5 triples and just 1.3 turnovers per contest on 51.0 percent shooting from the field and 80.9 from the charity stripe. He’s the new breed of big men that can swat shots at an elite level, drain triples and knock down his freebies; and it’s the rise of these kinds of players that is making punting the free throw category that much more attractive. Turner should only continue to improve during Year-3, so he’ll very likely cost you a top-20 pick on draft day.

 

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Houston 113, Oklahoma City 109 (Rockets lead series 3-1)

 

Nene was the ultimate X-factor for the Rockets during their Game 4 win in OKC, scoring a playoff career-high 28 points without missing a single field goal attempt to go with 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 25 minutes off the bench. Nene’s 12 makes without a miss tied an NBA playoff record, and his scoring punch was absolutely necessary with James Harden struggling for much of the game and Ryan Anderson (nine points, one 3-pointer, three boards, one steal, three turnovers) having another no-show performance.  

 

Harden struggled with his shot for most of the game and finished with 16 points (5-of-16 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal, zero 3-pointers and seven turnovers in 39 minutes. He revealed during his postgame interview that he hurt his ankle during Game 3 and hinted that it was part of the reason he didn’t play that great, but considering he did play through it (for 39 minutes) and that Game 5 doesn’t come until Tuesday, I’m not expecting him to miss a potential closeout game with this minor ankle issue.

 

Russell Westbrook recorded his triple-double by halftime and finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, three triples, three steals, one block and five turnovers in 39 minutes. That’s the good. The bad is that Westbrook only managed to connect on 10 of his 28 field goal attempts, and with the Thunder dropping yet another winnable game and the series headed back to Houston, it looks like we might only get one more game of this MVP-series between The Beard and Mr. Triple-Double. 

 

Boston 104, Chicago 95 (Series tied 2-2)

 

Isaiah Thomas helped his Celtics even up their first-round series against the Bulls with a Game 4 win, registering 33 points (10-of-21 FGs, 12-of-13 FTs), seven assists, four rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal and five turnovers in 36 minutes. He kept the pressure on Chicago’s defense all game long, posting a Russell Westbrook-like usage rate of 39.5, and if he can keep playing like this, the Celtics will have an excellent chance of advancing out of the first round for the first time under head coach Brad Stevens.

 

Gerald Green brought a nice scoring punch to the first unit in his second straight start, scoring a playoff career-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go with four triples, seven boards and one turnover in 23 minutes. Boston has now rallied off two straight wins with Green in the starting lineup (and Rajon Rondo on the sidelines), so don’t expect Green to head back to the bench anytime soon.

 

Jimmy Butler had a nice bounce-back performance following Friday’s underwhelming Game 3 outing, racking up 33 points, five boards, nine dimes, one steal and just one turnover in 46 minutes, but ultimately, it was not enough for the Bulls. Jimmy Buckets also got his points efficiently, going 7-of-16 from the field and 19-of-23 from the charity stripe for a sterling true shooting percentage of 63.2, but none of the other main guys were able to score at an efficient rate. Nikola Mirotic went 4-of-11 from the field on his way to 13 points, seven boards, two triples, one assist, one steal and one turnover; and Dwyane Wade finished with 11 points (5-of-12 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), six boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks and two turnovers in 38 minutes. Chicago’s offense has just looked disjointed ever since Rondo (thumb) hit the sidelines, so expect Fred Hoiberg to make another change to his starting lineup (perhaps Jerian Grant heading to the bench in exchange for Isaiah Canaan) for Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday.

 

Utah 105, Los Angeles 98 (Series tied at 2-2)

 

Rudy Gobert (knee) didn’t miss a beat in his return from a two-game absence on Sunday, posting a 15-point, 13-board double-double in just 24 minutes as a starter to go with one assist, two blocks and two turnovers. Gobert didn’t miss a single one of his six field goal attempts and went 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, for an impressive 96.6 true shooting percentage. With Gobert back in the starting lineup, Derrick Favors returned to the second unit where he finished with 17 points (7-of-10 FGs, 3-of-6 FTs), six boards, one assist, two steals and zero turnovers in 24 minutes.

 

Gordon Hayward (food poisoning) was only able to get on the court for nine minutes before tapping out, and he ended his evening with just one 3-pointer, two rebounds and one turnover. With Hayward sent home early, Joe Johnson went into Joe Jesus mode, scoring 20 of his 28 points during the second half of action on his way to five boards, five assists, two triples, one steal and one turnover in 35 minutes off the bench. Johnson has been a significant factor in both of Utah’s wins, and he’ll need to keep his momentum going into Tuesday’s Game 5 in Los Angeles for Utah to have a chance at retaking home court advantage. As for Hayward, I’d expect him to play and be back in his usual role on Tuesday night, as food poising typically isn’t a lengthy ordeal.

 

Chris Paul just missed a triple-double during the Clippers’ Game 4 loss, scoring 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting (6-of-8 from the stripe) to go with 12 assists, nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal and just two turnovers in 38 minutes. CP3 was rocking a 34.1 usage rate in this one, and that trend should hold with Blake Griffin (toe) done for the rest of the postseason. Jamal Crawford also saw a spike in usage sans Griffin, scoring 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with five trey-bombs, one rebound, two assists, one steal and two turnovers in 31 minutes off the bench. The Clippers are going to be much more reliant upon Crawford’s scoring with Griffin out, so he could be someone to look to as a potential low-budget DFS option for Game 5 on Tuesday.

 

Marreese Speights got the start with Griffin out, but he only managed to produce five points (2-of-8 FGs), one 3-pointer, four boards and one assist in 21 minutes. Utah is far from an ideal matchup for Speights, so chances are he won’t be bringing much to the stat sheet despite the starter designation.

 

Injury Tracker

 

Otto Porter (neck) practiced on Sunday and is probable to play in Monday’s Game 4 in Atlanta.

 

Ersan Ilyasova (calf) is probable to play Sunday vs. Washington.

 

Jusuf Nurkic (leg) will return to the sidelines for Game 4 on Monday. He didn’t suffer a setback, but he was sore after seeing 17 minutes during Saturday’s Game 3 loss, and with the series essentially over, there’s no reason for Nurkic to risk a setback.

 

Kevin Durant (calf), Shaun Livingston (hand) and Matt Barnes (ankle) are questionable for Game 4 on Monday. If they’re out again, Patrick McCaw will earn another start and Andre Iguodala will flirt with minutes in the mid-30s off the bench. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will be tasked with the heavy lifting on offense.

 

Steve Kerr is out indefinitely as he continues to deal with complications stemming from a 2015 back surgery, and Mike Brown will be acting as head coach until Kerr is able to return to the floor.



A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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