Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: LeBron Keeping It Real

Thursday, May 4, 2017


The Spurs rebounded for a blowout win but point guard Tony Parker might be done after suffering a left knee injury, and the Cavaliers cruised again in another easy win over the Raptors. With both series getting ready to hit the road, they officially start right now. Kyle Lowry didn’t play for the Raptors in the fourth quarter due to a sprained left ankle, but the game was out of hand by then and I think he’s OK.

 

Cavaliers 125, Raptors 103 – Cavs lead 2-0 with Game 3 at Toronto Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN

 

LeBron James went off again, dropping 39 points, six boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers on 10-of-14 shooting. That is a seriously efficient night and in any other year, LeBron might have been the regular-season MVP, but Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard all ended the James MVP talk pretty soundly. He was great last night, also hitting 15-of-21 free throws and only committing three turnovers on the night in another blowout win. LeBron tweaked his left ankle early in the second quarter, but it didn’t even faze him. Kyrie Irving added 22 points, 11 assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, while Channing Frye (18 points, five rebounds and five 3-pointers) and Iman Shumpert (14 points, six rebounds and a 3-pointer) came through off the bench. Kevin Love had just nine points, seven rebounds and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes, and Tristan Thompson added nine points and nine rebounds after going for 11 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1. Starter J.R. Smith hit just 2-of-4 shots for six points and a handful of stats in his 27 minutes on Wednesday night, although both of his makes were 3-pointers. I don’t know where Shumpert came from, or Frye for that matter, but those two are as hit-or-miss as they come in postseason fantasy. And props to the Raptors for shutting down Love. But if you’re going to pick a guy to shut down on the Cavs, Love is not the guy to target. Just sayin’.

 

For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry went down with a sprained left ankle and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. He says he’ll be ready to go for Game 3 and finished with 20 points, five assists and two 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting in 30 minutes. This game was a blowout, so Lowry might not have even played in the fourth quarter if he were fully healthy. My guess is he’ll be ready to go on Friday, but that’s up for debate. If he’s out, Cory Joseph will be front and center for the Raptors. Center Jonas Valanciunas went crazy, despite coming off the bench, hitting 10-of-13 shots for a team-high 23 points, five rebounds and nothing else. Joseph also got hot off the bench with 22 points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting in 25 minutes, although he was helped by garbage time and the fact Lowry didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Joseph was the team’s second-leading scorer, which should tell you how badly this game was played by the Raps. Starter DeMar DeRozan was the second-biggest letdown in fantasy last night, hitting just 2-of-11 shots for five points in 31 minutes. The Raptors need to regroup and figure out what’s going on before facing the Cavaliers in Toronto on Friday. Starter Serge Ibaka had 16 points, five rebounds, a steal and a block in 26 minutes, while starters Patrick Patterson and Norman Powell combined to hit just 4-of-9 shots for 11 points, and not much else to write home about. The Cavaliers are clearly in control of this series and if Lowry’s injury limits him on Friday, the Cavs are probably about to go up 3-0. DeMarre Carroll, who was a key acquisition for the Raps two years ago, was 0-for-6 from the bench and failed to even score in his 19 minutes, and P.J. Tucker, another key acquisition, missed all three of his shots and failed to score in 16 minutes. Ugly.

 

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Spurs 121, Rockets 96 – Series tied 1-1 with Game 3 at Houston Friday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN

 

After the Spurs were blown out at home on Monday night, they bounced back in a big way on Wednesday and crushed the Rockets, who hit just 11 3-pointers after knocking down 22 of them in Game 1. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 34 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers on 13-of-16 shooting, giving him the ‘line of the night’ honors over LeBron James (it was close). Leonard was simply spectacular tonight and I wish I had stuck with him in my one-and-done league. But I still have Kawhi in my pocket and I’ll try to save him until the Spurs are back home for Game 5 (I used Serge Ibaka, FYI). Tony Parker was great again with 18 points, three boards and four assists, but suffered an ugly left knee injury late in the second half. The Spurs aren’t really commenting on the injury, but it sure looks like he’s done for the rest of the playoffs, at least to me. That means Patty Mills is probably about ready to step up big-time for the Spurs. Mills played 21 minutes and had seven points, three rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer on the night, while Dejounte Murray only played four minutes. If you own Mills in any playoff league, he may turn out to be a big winner. Starter LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points, eight assists and two blocks, Jonathon Simmons had 14 points in 20 minutes off the bench, starter Pau Gasol was much better than in Game 1 and had six points, 13 rebounds, three assists, a steal and four blocks, and starter Danny Green scored 12 points with three boards, three assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. David Lee moved to the bench and scored just four points in 11 minutes, and Manu Ginobili played just 18 minutes for six points, five boards and three assists off the bench. If Parker is going to miss time, Ginobili should get more run than he got tonight, but I’m still feeling Patty Mills for fantasy purposes.

 

The Rockets saw a James Harden they weren’t accustomed to, as he hit just 3-of-17 shots and 2-of-9 3-pointers for 13 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. Hello, Kawhi’s defense. Ryan Anderson actually led the way with 18 points, eight rebounds and four 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting, and center Clint Capela had 14 points, three rebounds, a steal and two blocks in the loss. Patrick Beverley added 12 points, two rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 5-of-13 shooting, and one of Game 1’s heroes, Trevor Ariza, disappeared last night. Ariza hit just 1-of-5 shots and missed all four of his 3-pointers for two points, five rebounds and a steal after going for 23 points and five triples in the Game 1 blowout. Eric Gordon scored 15 points with three 3-pointers off the bench, and Nene scored 10 points in 18 minutes off the pine. This series is far from done and last night’s blowout win for the Spurs should simmer some of the “they’re done” talk, with a chance for the Spurs to reclaim homecourt in Games 3 or 4 in Houston. Don’t be fooled here. It’s all about how Harden and Leonard perform. The better player’s team will probably prevail in this series, but I still think the Rockets are going to win this series.

 

Thursday’s Slate

 

Boston @ Washington at 8 p.m. on ESPN – Boston leads 2-0Isaiah Thomas will try to keep it going in the Capitol city, but my guess is John Wall and Bradley Beal lead the Wizards to a couple wins at home. This series is going to be a blast to watch until the end, but I’ve got the Celtics based on their homecourt advantage. Well, and the fact they have Thomas, whose story these playoffs has likely eclipsed those of the Michael Jordan flu game, as well as Wes Unseld limping back onto the court when I was a baby.

 

Utah @ Golden State at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN – Golden State leads 1-0 – If the Warriors lose a game in this series, I’ll truly be surprised. If they lose the series, I’ll truly be shocked, but I would still not bet $50K on it to win a mere $500 like this dude did. Either way, this series is tough to watch and I’m just waiting to see if the Warriors are going to beat the Spurs or the Rockets in the Western Finals.

 

Here we go…



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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