Celtics Lose to Tanking Thunder

Tuesday’s six-game slate actually has the fewest number of games we’ll see for the remainder of this condensed NBA season. We’ll see six games in a night four more times, but otherwise, prepare yourself for a ton of action these last couple of weeks or so. Let’s Dose!

Trail Blazers 133, Pacers 112: The Blazers steamrolled the Pacers in what was a much-needed win for Portland after losing five straight prior to Tuesday evening. Believe it or not, dunk contest champion Anfernee Simons actually led the way for the Blazers with 27 points and nine triples. This was a garbage time special, of course, but he was and absurd 9-of-10 from that distance and added four boards and four dimes in 24 minutes. There’s no doubt that the kid can play, but he’s playing behind two of the best players in the league at their respective positions in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The nine made three-pointers are a career high and beat his previous of seven, a mark set just about two years ago against the Kings.

The aforementioned Lillard and McCollum scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, and they both basically need to go nuts in order to get into that 6th seed and avoid participating in the play-in tournament. We know they’re more than capable, so we’ll see how it plays out sooner rather than later.

Robert Covington double-doubled in the easy victory with 15 and 11, adding three triples and two swats, but you may as well flip a coin to see how he’ll perform any given night. Norman Powell was abnormally invisible, going scoreless with a board and a dime in 20 minutes. This was as anomalistic as it gets for someone who’s been a stud all season, so he’s sure to bounce back in the all-important rematch vs. the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Jusuf Nurkic had 11/10/4 with a steal and block, and backup big man Enes Kanter had 12/14/3 with no defensive stats in 15 minutes, but what’s new there. Nine of his boards were offensive, so he got to 0.6 offensive boards per minute, for anyone keeping track for whatever reason.

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The Pacers were a disaster, but for decent reason as they were without Domantas Sabonis (back), Jeremy Lamb (knee), Myles Turner (toe) and of course TJ Warren (foot). Malcolm Brogdon played fine with an efficient 18/4/4 and Caris LeVert had 16 with a pair of blocks and not much else. The lone bright spot for Indiana was, you guessed it, no other than Oshae Brissett, who recorded an 18/11 double-double with a dime, two steals, four (!!) triples and five (!!!) blocks. Sheesh, Oshae. He should be phenomenal down the stretch as someone who has proven himself in the league in just 10 games with the Pacers thus far, and his DFS price is sure to jump after this one – he had 51.5 fantasy points tonight.

Bucks 114, Hornets 104: Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks on Tuesday with a 29/12/8/3/1 line, and these types of lines are so common for the two-time MVP that the most extraordinary part of it was his two 3-pointers (2-of-4 from that mark). There really isn’t ever much else to say about the freak of nature that is Giannis, because he’s just great all the time.

Khris Middleton was decent with 17/5/6 and two steals, but Brook Lopez was a bit louder with 22 points. He was sort of boring otherwise, though, with no blocks, no threes and just four rebounds (which isn’t far below his average). Jrue Holiday had a double-double one wouldn’t assume as he accomplished the feat with rebounds this time around, dropping 12/10/5 with a steal in 36 minutes. Jrue has been a top-20 value all year and is still probably more important to this Milwaukee team than his numbers suggest, which says a lot.

Despite the loss, the Hornets got some good news coming their way earlier with word that LaMelo Ball (wrist) is on pace to practice as soon as Thursday. Charlotte is currently in the No. 8 seed and is just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics, who also lost tonight (we’ll have plenty to say about that soon), so LaMelo playing will greatly increase their chances of moving up to that No. 6 seed.

Devonte’ Graham scored a team-high 25 points to go with six dimes and six 3-pointers. He’s scored in double figures in all but two of his April games, but make sure you’re not using him for his efficiency as he sits at a brutal 36.3% from the field in that same span. Miles Bridges went 21/10/6 with two swats and three triples, and he’s in the midst of arguably the best month of his career. Terry Rozier struggled with just eight points on 4-of-17 shooting, and hopefully he snaps out of it and gets some personal momentum going before Ball returns.

6’7” starting center P.J. Washington scored 18 with not a whole lot else to write home about, but his minutes are safe with Bismack Biyombo (three points and three blocks in 23 minutes) playing minutes in the 20s on a good night and Cody Zeller completely out of the rotation. Cody Martin had a career-high four steals with 10 points and eight boards, and he’s coming off a 13-10 double-double vs. the Celtics on Sunday. He’s been statistically invisible otherwise, but keep an eye on him just in case.

Thunder 119, Celtics 115: A double-take was in order to ensure this was, in fact, the correct score, but alas my vision hasn’t failed me yet. The Celtics are so awful right now that they lost to a Thunder team that is trying to lose. They figured they wouldn’t need Jayson Tatum to beat them, but apparently they did.

Jaylen Brown went bonkers with 39 points, 11 boards and four steals, but had basically no help from anyone besides Payton Pritchard; he was the only besides the giant Luke Kornet (10/7/4 with three blocks) with over two shot attempts that shot over 50% from the field. Pritchard played well in 33 minutes off the pine with 28 points and four 3-pointers. Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier (the latter started for Tatum) had five steals each, but also combined for 8-of-31 (25.8%) from the floor.

League-favorite Luguentz Dort finally played and, of course, notched 24 points with three triples and a block. We’ve been saying that OKC is resting Lu Dort so they don’t accidentally win games, and given the victory tonight, they might just waive him and call it a night. All jokes aside, keep an eye on Dort’s status for each game as he’s sure to get some unwarranted and unpredictable tank-a-thon related rest coming up.

Darius Bazley came through with a 21/10/4 line with two triples and a block, and we love his rest-of-season outlook. Aleksej Pokusevski (12/6/4), Isaiah Roby (15/7) and Moses Brown (8/7) all played alright, but they may take turns going off, which does no favors for their fantasy managers. Keep an eye on certain matchups where one may outplay the other. These three, however, did combine for a whopping zero defensive stats, so that’s a bit worrisome, but they’ll all most likely be worth rostering down the stretch.

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Nets 116, Raptors 103: With this win, Brooklyn became the first team in the East to clinch a playoff spot, and they got contributions from basically everyone who touched the hardwood on Tuesday. Probably the oddest stat of the night is that the only player in the Nets’ eight-man rotation who failed to crack double figures was Kyrie Irving, who got just nine points with six boards, four dimes and a triple. He’s shot incredibly poorly in two of his last three games, but worrying about Kyrie Irving is like worrying about if the earth is actually flat. But I digress.

Kevin Durant went off by only taking seven shots, going for 17 points and adding a massive line inclusive of 10 rebounds, four dimes, two steals, two blocks and two triples. He’s one of the top talents maybe ever and the Eastern Conference should be legitimately frightened of what we know playoff KD is capable. Jeff Green had 22/8/1/1/1 as well, so Kevin Durant isn’t totally ruining his outlook as some may have expected. He played 32 minutes as opposed to Durant’s 33, but keep in mind that he got a ton of center minutes with DeAndre Jordan (DNP-Steve Nash) not getting into the game.

Joe Harris did Joe Harris-like things, scoring 16 points with four 3-pointers and a season-high-tying six assists, while even Landry Shamet made some noise with 14 points and a pair of buckets from beyond the arc. Reserves Blake Griffin and Mike James contributed as well, with the former going for 17/6/1/2/1 with two threes, and EuroLeague MVP candidate scoring 11 with eight dimes in the victory. Blake won’t be this good, but may be worth a spot in your starting lineup if the night is as slow as this, but James can be left on the wire.

The Toronto Raptors were competing in this game and were even leading heading into the fourth quarter, but a 36-20 final frame in favor of Brooklyn cost them the game and a chance at moving into the No. 11 seed as well. Kyle Lowry led the team with 24 points and six threes, and hopefully the Raptors start to win more so that Lowry will have to play and attempt to push his team into the play-in. Backcourt buddy Fred VanVleet may still be getting his legs under him, shooting 4-of-17 from the field for an 11/6/5 line with no defensive goodies. He should be fine but this duo may need to average a combined 50+ in order for their team to have a shot.

OG Anunoby hit the 20-point mark for the fifth consecutive game, a feat he has not even come close to accomplishing as his previous mark of consecutive games of such a mark was just two (via Eric Koreen on Twitter). He finished with 21/6/6 with two swipes and could easily be the Raptors’ best player going forward. His top-40 value on the year beat out expectations by a mile, and he deserves every penny of his $72 million contract.

New starting center Khem Birch double-doubled with 13 points, 14 boards and a block, and he’s worth rostering right now with Chris Boucher (knee) likely out for the year. He’s not all that exciting, but he’s blocked at least one shot in all eight of his games as a Raptor, and is playing plenty of minutes. Malachi Flynn did fine in 21 minutes with 13 points but a rather empty line, but you have to wonder if he’ll continue to stay in the rotation with Lowry and VanVleet back to action. He had 18/5/5 on Monday and can seriously ball, but he may be another victim of the Nick Nurse treatment and get minutes in sporadic fashion throughout the Raptors’ last 10 games.

Timberwolves 114, Rockets 107: This was your classic tanking game played between two of the three worst teams in the league record-wise, with no more than one common household NBA name competing in this one. That name, Karl-Anthony Towns, not-so-coincidentally scored 31 points in the win to go with seven boards and five dimes, and Towns’ fantasy managers got some great news today with coach Chris Finch saying that he won’t be “unnecessarily resting” players down the stretch. Great for fantasy, awful for their chances at the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft. But to each their own.

Starters Ricky Rubio, Jaden McDaniels and Josh Okogie combined for an embarrassing 10 points between the three of them, so we’ll move right along in the box score. Final starter and rookie stud Anthony Edwards didn’t shoot well (9-of-22), but stuffed the stat sheet with a 19/9/2/3/2 line. If he can get to even 45% from the field in the near future, he could be a top fantasy option due to his ability to get a bit of everything. For now, however, he’s well outside the top-100 on the season but has climbed inside the top-75 in the last two weeks, so the improvement is quite encouraging.

D’Angelo Russell is still coming off the bench and was slightly underwhelming in this one, scoring 15 points with seven dimes on 5-of-17 shooting. He’s been playing well otherwise, so keep starting him with confidence despite coach Finch not wanting to start him. Juancho Hernangomez came out of nowhere for 22 points and seven rebounds, but he’s not really good enough to roster anywhere. If you play him on the right night and it somehow pays off, we recommend an alternative option called the lottery.

The Houston Rockets did their job and lost tonight, and had three stellar contributors for fantasy purposes. Kelly Olynyk dropped his third-straight 20-piece with a team-high 28 points, nine boards and five dimes on a very efficient 12-of-17 shooting. He’s been a top-25 value in the last two weeks, so give yourself a pat on the back if you grabbed him amidst all of this season’s crazy trades. Christian Wood dropped 24/18/5, and the already-elite big man is sure to be the face of this franchise for years to come. Jae’Sean Tate joined in on the fun with 20/7/4 and two more steals and is primed for a big finish as well.

Kenyon Martin Jr. scored 15 points with two steals and a block, but played half the minutes he did the game prior, so he’s not a Rocket we would recommend. Kevin Porter Jr. stunk it up with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting, but with John Wall (hamstring, tank) missing the remainder of the season, he’s bound to run the offense and get all he can handle. We liked Armoni Brooks for a little bit, but he was scoreless in 11 minutes tonight with a single turnover, so he can be left alone for now.

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Mavericks 133, Steph Cu… I mean Warriors 103: Luka Doncic put on a show with 39/6/8 and helped the Mavs maintain a half-game lead on the Blazers for the No. 6 seed. Coach Rick Carlisle played 14 guys tonight due to the blowout, so no one else is really worth talking about. Luka is still the man in Dallas, and the only other moderately decent performances on Tuesday came from Dorian Finney-Smith (13 points, eight rebounds, two steals and four triples) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (13 points, seven boards and a pair of three-pointers).

Stephen Curry was fairly horrendous for his standards with 27 points, five triples and a couple steals with not much else, but he could have 50 against the Timberwolves on Thursday and no one would bat an eye. Draymond Green kept his bizarre yet oddly effective season going with no points, 11 boards, two steals and three blocks. If you pair him with a guy in your lineup whose value mostly comes from scoring (think guys like Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson, for some examples), then he’s wonderful to have on your squad. If he’s your best big, however, then you probably have to tank points, which is not a strategy we’d generally recommend. Mychal Mulder has been starting lately and finally popped off for 26 points and six triples, but this was the only game he’s played more than 30 minutes in and can be ignored.

Published: 2021-04-28 05:08:28

Tags: #Celtics #Lose #Tanking #Thunder

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