Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: No Tooth? No Problem

Monday, May 1, 2017


Boston 123, Washington 111

 

Isaiah Thomas powered the Celtics to a Game 1 win over the Wizards on Sunday, scoring 33 points on 11-of-23 shooting (6-of-7 from the line) to go with nine dimes, five triples, one rebound, one block and just two turnovers in 38 minutes. It was an incredible performance from I.T., who didn’t get into the Boston area until 4 a.m. on Sunday morning because on Saturday he was in Tacoma, Washington giving a eulogy at his younger sister’s funeral.

 

“When I’m on the court, it just keeps me going,” Thomas said after the game. “I do everything for my sister now.”

 

He got his front tooth knocked out early on in the first quarter, but he just casually picked it up off the floor, handed it to one of the Boston trainers and proceeded to drain back-to-back triples. Thomas was in attack mode from start to finish, posting a usage rate of 32.1, and he should have a much easier time getting buckets against Washington’s more forgiving defense.

 

Al Horford just missed a triple-double in the Game 1 win, finishing with 21 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds, one 3-pointer, one block and two turnovers in 35 minutes; and Jae Crowder drained six triples on his way to 24 points, six rebounds, one assist and ones steal in 35 minutes. As a team, the Celtics shot 48.7 percent from beyond the arc, a trend that simply cannot continue if the Wizards hope to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

As for Washington, Bradley Beal led the team in scoring with 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting (5-of-7 from the stripe) to go with four trey-bombs, four dimes, one rebound, one steal, one block and three turnovers in 40 minutes. He also did a really nice job defensively against Avery Bradley, keeping him to 7-of-20 shooting, but turnover issues were a major factor in the loss for Washington. And that brings us to John Wall, who ended his evening with 20 points, 16 assists, four boards, one 3-pointer, one steal, two blocks and an unfortunate eight turnovers through 39 minutes of floor time. Wall also struggled during the Celtics during the regular season (by Wall-standards at least), connecting on just 37.3 percent of his shot attempts to go with averages of 17.8 points, 5.3 boards, 8.3 dimes, 2.3 steals and 3.8 turnovers per game. Marcus Smart seems to really have his number, so Wall may continue to struggle with efficiency issues during this second-round matchup.

 

Markieff Morris exited the game during the first quarter after badly rolling his left ankle and did not return, and while he said he would “definitely” play in Game 2 on Tuesday, I wouldn’t be so sure. Players are often overly optimistic when discussing their injuries, and these kinds of things have a tendency to get much worse the second day when the adrenaline has left the body and the ankle has had time to really swell up. Kelly Oubre started the second half in Morris’ place and finished with 12 points, two triples, one rebound, two blocks and one turnover in 26 minutes. If Morris can’t give it a go on Tuesday, Oubre could be moved into the starting five, and both Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat would be forced into heavy minutes.

 

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Utah 104, Los Angeles 91

 

Derrick Favors served as the ultimate X-factor for Utah in their Game 7 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday, posting a 17-point, 11-board double-double to go with three assists and one steal in 30 minutes off the bench. The Jazz really leaned on Favors with Rudy Gobert (one point and four rebounds in 13 minutes) in foul trouble for most of the game, and he came through with one of his best games of the season in a do-or-die game for Utah.

 

Gordon Hayward started slow but came alive after halftime, scoring 19 of his 26 points in the second half of action to go with two triples, eight rebounds, three assists and two turnovers in 42 minutes. Hayward didn’t have much trouble scoring the rock during Utah’s first-round series, connecting on 46.9 percent of his shot attempts and a ridiculous 44.7 percent of his 3-pointers, but I doubt he has that same sort of success in Round 2 going up against Golden State’s top-5 defense. In fact, in Hayward’s only appearance against the Dubs this season, he went just 2-of-10 from the field in the 104-74 blowout loss, finishing with just six points, three boards, two assists, two turnovers and zero triples in 27 minutes.

 

George Hill registered 17 points (7-of-13 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), four boards, five assists, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 35 minutes during the Game 7 victory. Looking ahead at Round 2, Hill creates the biggest matchup problem for Golden State, so he’s going to need to be huge during Utah’s second-round series for them to have any hopes of upsetting the No. 1 seeded Warriors. For what it’s worth, in his only game against the Warriors during the regular season, he went off for 20 points, five assists, five triples and two steals in just 19 minutes of play.

 

As for the Clippers, they added their names to the record books for the wrong reasons during their Game 7 loss, becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a series lead in five consecutive postseasons, and they could look like a very different team next season. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick are all bound for free agency, and with CP3s clock ticking, it’s unclear if he’s willing to go through another season with the Clippers or if he’d like to hop on with a true contender to try and chase an NBA championship. Los Angeles will be able to offer Paul the most money during free agency, but teams like Houston, Utah, Denver, Miami and New Orleans will have enough money at their disposal to make a competitive offer.

 

As for Paul’s future fantasy outlook, while he did put up another first-round season on a per-game basis with averages of 18.1 points, 5.0 boards, 9.2 dimes, 2.0 triples, 1.9 steals and 2.4 turnovers per contest on 47.6 percent shooting from the field and 89.2 from the stripe, he also only managed to make it through 61 games due to a fractured thumb. While the injuries over the years haven’t always been related, it’s tough not to give the injury-prone label to CP3, and with him set to turn 32 next season, I’m not sure I’ll be willing to invest a first-round pick on him next year. Father Time is undefeated, and the drop-off in production really starts to kick in around age-30, so this is starting to look like the downward descent of Paul’s career.



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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