Tuesday’s six games got us one step closer to the end of the regular season, which ends with a 12-game bonanza on Wednesday night. We saw a really cool gesture by the Lakers last night, some guy named Alec Peters went nuts for the Suns, the Warriors got blown out by the Jazz, and John Wall looked like he was in mid-season form.
Wizards 113, Celtics 101 – John Wall was awesome and looks to be back in mid-season form after missing a couple months after knee surgery after racking up 29 points, seven boards, 12 assists, three steals, three blocks, four 3-pointers and seven turnover on 9-of-16 shooting. He sat out his last game in order to rest and has only played in four games since returning to action, but he was a beast tonight. Bring on the playoffs. Otto Porter Jr. went down with right lower leg strain and sat out the second half, so Kelly Oubre started the second half and had 11 points, five boards, two steals and three 3-pointers off the bench. If Porter’s going to miss time during the playoffs, Oubre will be worth a look in all fantasy formats.
The Celtics played the regulars, but have lost two straight games. Jaylen Brown had 27 points and six 3-pointers, and scored 21 points in the first quarter. He joined Paul Pierce as the only other Celtic to score 20 in a quarter in the last 20 years. A lot of teams in the East are looking at the injured No. 2 Celtics as potentially easy pickings in the playoffs, and it will be interesting to see if they get the (currently) No. 6 Bucks, No. 7 Heat or No. 8 Wizards in Round 1. That will all be decided on Wednesday night.
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Sixers 121, Hawks 113 – Ben Simmons played through an illness and while he didn’t have his best outing, I still don’t see how he doesn’t win the Rookie of the Year Award. Yes, Donovan Mitchell has been awesome and deserves all the votes he’ll get, but the Sixers have won 15 straight, are the No. 3 seed in the East, and their last seven wins have come (mostly) without Joel Embiid (eye). Not to mention Simmons’ 11 triple-doubles and his season averages of 16 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.7 steals on 55 percent shooting. Maybe the voting will be closer than I think it will be and there’s little doubt that sitting on the Sixers’ bench last year helped Simmons, but he’s still the ROY to me. Dario Saric left early with a facial injury after a collision with John Collins on the first play of the game, so Ersan Ilyasova went off for 26 points, eight boards, a steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers. The Sixers and their fans are praying that Saric isn’t hurt too badly. Reports are that he has a chipped tooth and lacerated lip, which sounds like a best-case scenario to me. J.J. Redick stayed hot with 28 points and six triples, and Marco Belinelli added 20 points and five 3-pointers in a revenge game. The Sixers are currently the No. 3 seed and will look to stay there by beating the Bucks on Wednesday.
The Hawks got an inefficient 27 points, four rebounds, six assists, a steal and six 3-pointers from Taurean Prince, but he hit just 9-of-25 shots and 6-of-18 3-pointers to get it. Prince, John Collins and Dennis Schroder are all going to be fun fantasy players to own next season and this season is a wrap for the 24-58 Hawks, who will probably finish in a tie with the Magic for the worst record in the East. The Magic get the Wizards on Wednesday and the Wiz should be trying hard to win that game, while the Magic should be trying to lose.
Jazz 119, Warriors 79 – The Jazz destroyed the Warriors, who had nothing to play four, by winning the first quarter 33-16, the second quarter 29-17 and the third quarter 31-23. Donovan Mitchell had 22 points and four 3-pointers in the win, and broke Damian Lillard’s rookie record for most 3-pointers at 186. You’ll probably see his sweater on TV at some point, as it had the literal definition of ‘rookie’ on it. The Jazz are at Portland tonight, which should be fun to watch as the winner of that game will be the No. 3 seed in the West.
The Warriors played their healthy stars, although Kevin Durant went down with an apparent hip injury, but stayed in the game. The Warriors are done for the regular season and this game didn’t matter to them, and they’ll now focus on getting everyone fully healthy, and patiently await the return of Stephen Curry. Curry’s been out with a knee injury, and isn’t expected to play in Round 1, but there is some hope he’ll be ready for Round 2, assuming the Warriors get there. The No. 2 Warriors first-round opponent has yet to be decided, but we’ll know who it is after Wednesday night. The No. 9 Nuggets play the No. 8 Timberwolves tonight in a play-in game, while the Thunder currently sit as the No. 7 seed. Wednesday should be fun.
Rockets 108, Lakers 100 – The No. 1 Rockets had nothing to play for, but still got big games out of Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela and Gerald Green in the win. The Rockets are done and will chill out until the playoffs start, getting everyone fully healthy and trying to win a championship. Luc Mbah a Moute suffered a right dislocated shoulder on a dunk and didn’t return. He’s likely going to miss time, although we’ll have to see what his MRI says. If he’s out, guys like Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Nene and Tarik Black would likely all see a few more minutes than normal in the playoffs.
The story of the night was 32-year-old math tutor Andre Ingram, who the Lakers signed on April 9. He played in his first NBA game after playing 384 professional games, most of which came in the D/G-League. He came out hot and couldn’t miss from downtown early, and finished with 19 points, four 3-pointers, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks in 29 minutes. His wife and kids were watching from expensive seats and if you somehow used him in DFS, you pulled off a miracle. Then again, as far as I know, he might not have even been a DFS option. This is such a cool story and I wish other NBA teams would make similar gestures with the season winding down and nothing left to play for. It’s truly a remarkable story and this game was inspirational after the guy spent 10 years in the minor leagues. And he didn’t just play, he made an impact and almost helped the Lakers get a win over the best team in the league. He should get another chance to shine against the Clippers in tonight’s finale, but it’s hard to imagine him playing this well again.
Josh Hart started and came through with 20 points, seven boards and two steals, and has scored at least 20 in three straight games. He should be a nice option on Wednesday when the Lakers play the Clippers. Kyle Kuzma sat out with an ankle injury and it’s unknown if he’ll play on Wednesday. If he’s out, Hart looks like a must-play. Alex Caruso started at point guard and had nine points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes, and is also worth a look on Wednesday night.
Hornets 119, Pacers 93 – Frank Kaminsky came off the bench for 24 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers and Dwight Howard added 14 points, 17 boards and a block to put a bow on a nice bounce-back season. The Hornets have gone fishing.
The Pacers are locked into the No. 5 seed and will likely get the Cavaliers in Round 1. They chose to take the night off in this one, starting the likes of Trevor Booker, Lance Stephenson and Glenn Robinson III and took the loss as a result. The Pacers have had a surprising season, but it might all be for not, as a first-round meeting with LeBron James on the road is not a place I’d want to be if I were the Pacers. They’re done for the regular season.
Suns 124, Mavericks 97 – A rookie drafted No. 54 out of Valparaiso named Alec Peters came off the Suns bench and went nuts for a dream night, hitting 12-of-20 shots and 8-of-13 3-pointers for 36 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal. If we had a picture of him, I’d probably make him the cover boy for this Dose. But we don’t. Dragan Bender and Shaq Harrison double-doubled, and Danuel House, Alex Len and Tyler Ulis all played well, but the Suns’ season is finally over. They finished with a 21-61 record and will have the best odds at getting the No. 1 pick in the draft.
The Mavericks are also done for the season and got 21 points and six boards from Johnathan Motley, who likely helped a bunch of you with a big final week of the season. Dorian Finney-Smith, Kyle Collinsworth, Aaron Harrison, Maxi Kleber and Jalen Jones all played well in the Mavericks season finale.