Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Westbrook, Out!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Russell Westbrook is out, James Harden and Patrick Beverley are in, the Blake Griffin-less Clippers are in serious trouble against the Jazz in Round 1 and the Spurs are in control against Memphis. Follow me on Twitter right here!

 

Rockets 105, Thunder 99 – Rockets win 4-1

 

Russell Westbrook’s epic season is over. He became the first player since 1962’s Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double, racked up 42 regular-season triple-doubles (to break Big O’s record), and had more triple-doubles this season than 11 NBA franchises have in their ENTIRE franchise history. Patrick Beverley and Westbrook were trash talking each other last night and I get why they hate each other. But before Beverley went on television and started bashing Westbrook’s 47 points and 34 shot attempts with his popular “Men lie, women lie, but the numbers don’t” quote, he probably should have given Westbrook a little respect. Westy did take 34 shots in the game, but hit 15 of them (44%), while James Harden, Beverley’s teammate, hit just 8-of-25 shots on the night (32%), without Beverley guarding him. Hate Westy all you want, but at least give him some due, Patrick. As far as I’m concerned, Westbrook is the NBA’s MVP this season, hands down. 

 

Westbrook finished with 47 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five 3-pointers and seven turnovers in the loss, while Harden finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks on 2-of-13 shooting from downtown with five turnovers in the win. The Thunder are done and I’m not even going to recap the non-Westbrook Thunder here.

 

The Rockets will await the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies, and the Spurs took a 3-2 lead in that series last night. Houston’s Ryan Anderson (1-of-6, 2 points), Trevor Ariza (1-of-6, 2 points) and Eric Gordon (3-of-10, 8 points) were all really bad in this win. Lou Williams came through with 22 points, five boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, Nene added 14 points and seven boards in 26 minutes off the bench, and Beverley added 15 points, eight boards, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the starting lineup. Clint Capela also came through with eight points, nine boards and four blocks at center, and all these guys are going to make their mark in the second round, although most of them are impossible to predict. And let me make this clear – Beverley’s play is a key for the Rockets going forward, and he had a really great season and playoffs. I actually like the guy. The Rockets have to be hoping for a Memphis win, as they match up much better against the Grizzlies than the Spurs, but I suspect they’re going to have to go through Gregg Popovich in order to get an ill-fated date with the Warriors. The ball/numbers don’t lie, as the Spurs won the regular season matchup 3-1 against the Rockets, although all four games were decided by fewer than 12 points combined.

 

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Jazz 96, Clippers 92 (Jazz lead 3-2)

 

Gordon Hayward, who lasted just nine minutes for four points in Game 4, came through with 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and four 3-pointers on 9-of-16 shooting on Tuesday night as the Jazz busted open a 3-2 lead on the Clippers with a possible series-ending home game in Utah on Friday night. This would be one of the bigger upsets in the playoffs, although that all goes out the window with Blake Griffin’s season over. Then again, the Clippers lost when the Jazz were without Rudy Gobert for a minute, so I guess this one is all-square on the injury front. George Hill came through with big free throws late last night, Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw, Gobert and Rodney Hood all had their moments and the Jazz got a huge win in Los Angeles, despite the late heroics of Chris Paul. The Jazz have this series in their clutches if they can just get a home win on Friday, but I’m not counting out CP3, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick just yet.

 

This is the last hurrah for this Clippers squad, in my opinion. Yes, they’ve never gotten a fair shake because of injuries, but part of that is because they’ve always had Blake Griffin, who is always hurt. This team may be blown apart, starting with coach Doc Rivers if the Clippers don’t at least advance to see the Warriors. Paul was dynamite last night with 28 points, four boards, nine assists and four 3-pointers on 10-fo-19 shooting, and Redick came through with 26 points, three boards and three 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting. Jordan added 14 points, 12 boards, a steal and a block, while the Clippers’ bench gave them nothing, despite Griffin being out. Jamal Crawford was particularly disappointing with four points on 2-of-8 shooting after scoring 25 in Game 4. I still think the Clippers might win both Games 6 and 7, but this series is clearly in the Jazz’s homecourt.

 

Spurs 116, Grizzlies 103 (Spurs lead 3-2)

 

OK, so the Spurs have let the Grizzlies hang around in this series. Maybe it’s the sadistic personality of the Gregg Popovich. Maybe it’s because the Spurs aren’t as good as we thought they were. Maybe it’s because Memphis is better than we thought they were. Or maybe it’s because Mike Conley is actually worth all that money he’s being paid by the Grizzlies. But the Spurs took care of business on Tuesday and can close this thing out on Thursday night in Memphis. After the Spurs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Conley led the Grizzlies to two straight wins, spiking fear in the throats of the Spurs’ faithful. But Kawhi Leonard went off for 28 points, six dimes, a steal and three 3-pointers on 9-of-16 shooting on Tuesday, Patty Mills scored 20 points with five 3-pointers off the bench, and Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee all played well to secure the win for the Spurs.

 

For the Grizzlies, Conley was once again the man, scoring 26 points with six assists, four steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting to lead the way. Starters Vince Carter (10 points), Marc Gasol (17 points, 7 assists) and James Ennis (11 points) all played well, while JaMychal Green came off the bench for 11 points and three 3-pointers in the loss. The Grizzlies might be favored at home in Game 6 on Thursday, but I’m guessing Kawhi and company will put them to bed in that one. After all… enough is enough.

 

Wednesday’s Slate

 

ATL @ WAS 6 p.m. on TNT

 

The Hawks really need to win this one if they plan on advancing, but that will be easier said than done in Washington. I have a feeling John Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat will get theirs, and the Hawks will have to limit Markieff Morris for the third straight game. Additionally, the Hawks will need big games from Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroder, Taurean Prince, Dwight Howard, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore in order to win. To me, Morris is likely the key to this game for both teams, although the home-court advantage is huge for the Wiz.

 

CHI @ BOS 8:30 p.m. on TNT

 

Rajon Rondo appears to be a game-time call for the Bulls with his thumb injury, but the Celtics have homecourt, either way. Rondo’s hatred of the Celtics was a huge factor in Chicago’s first two wins at Boston and I’m surprised the Bulls couldn’t get at least one win at home without Rondo. If Rondo does play, I expect him to be extremely limited due to the thumb injury. The series really starts tonight, and the Bulls the will need Jerian Grant, Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez to all play pretty flawless ball tonight, with or without Rondo. And the Marcus Smart-Jimmy Butler rivalry should be a blast to watch. This game could go either way and I still have no feel, or idea, how this one will turn out. Tune in to find out!



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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