On the night before Easter, the NBA gave us a full slate of 9 games as we wind down the end of another week of fantasy hoops and get ready for what should be a great finish to the regular season during the next 2 weeks. Let’s take a quick look at how the playoff races are shaping up, and then we’ll have 5 quick lists of 5 to start your Sunday all caught up on the Fantasy basketball latest.
In the Western Conference last night, the Wolves continued their fade-out while the Grizzlies got a big win over Dallas, the Suns knocked off the Lakers, the Clippers rolled past the Kings, and the Nuggets took a tough loss in Oakland. The Suns win and the Nuggets loss moves Phoenix to just a game back of Denver who has a tenuous hold on the 8th and final playoff spot. The Suns and the Jazz are both just 1 game behind the Nuggets and 1 1/2 behind the Rockets and Mavericks. Dallas’s struggles have seen is slip all the way to 7th right now, while the Clippers are just 1/2 game behind the Lakers for control of the Pacific division and the 3-seed.
Back East, the Celtics move 2 games ahead of the Sixers by beating Indiana while Philly lost to Orlando. Indiana maintained it’s hold of the 3-spot by 2 1/2 games over the resurgent Celtics and will try and hang on over the next 2 weeks. Atlanta and Orlando got W’s last night, while the Bucks moved to within 1/2 game of New York for the 8th and final playoff spot by beating the Blazers.
Here’s the 5 best performances, 5 other great guards, 5 other fantastic forwards, and 5 biggest disappointments from last night followed by 5 to consider adding for today’s action if you need to finish your week with a bang.
5 All-star performances
1. Blake Griffin-LAC: Griffin had 27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 12-15 from the field. The only slight downside was his 3-9 from the line but overall it was a very nice game for Blake and Clippers as they continue to put pressure on their cross-building rivals.
2. Dwight Howard-Orl: Howard had a huge night for the Magic as they bounced back and got a win on the road in Philadelphia. He finished with 22 rebounds, 20 points, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal while playing 44 minutes.
3. Pau Gasol-LAL: Gasol had 30 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists as he and Andrew Bynum (see below) had great games but the Lakers D gave up 125 to the Suns as the Lakers lost their 2nd in 2 days and now get a day off before playing in New Orleans Monday night.
4. Chris Paul-LAC: CP3 had 19 points and 15 assists as well as 7 steals and 5 rebounds. He was 6-14 from the field in his 37 minutes as the Clippers crushed the Kings.
5. Chris Kaman-NO: Kaman has 21 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks, 4 assists, and a steal as he and Jason Smith led the Hornets to a victory over the sinking Wolves.
5 Other Good Guards
1. Steve Nash-Phx: Nash had a clean 13 points and 11 assists with 6-9 shooting a three-pointer, 2 rebounds, and just a single turnover. It was a typical Nash do-what-is-needed game as he led Phoenix past the Lakers.
2. Randy Foye-LAC: Foye hit 7 three-pointers on his way to 25 points with 4 rebounds, a blocked shot, and an assist in the Clippers win over the Kings.
3. Shannon Brown-Phx: Brown had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 three-pointers in the Suns win over the Lakers. As long as Grant Hill is sidelined, he should make a nice play in the Suns lineup.
4. Ray Allen-Bos: Allen came off the bench with 19 points, 5 three-pointers, 4 steals, and 6 rebounds. The Celtics are expected to put him back in the starting lineup soon, but they might be better served with him as a really good shooting 6th man. Keep an eye on the situation if you own Allen, but he can be productive in any role as he showed last night.
5. Rajon Rondo-Bos: Rondo had a Rondo night with 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and 4 points. He shot just 2-6 but guided the Celtics to a nice road-win in Indiana.
5 Other Fabulous in the Frontcourt
1. Kevin Love-Min: Love had 29 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block in the Wolves loss (again) to the Hornets. Since the Rubio injury, they’ve faded so quickly that they should end up with another good draft pick to add to an already young and developing roster.
2. Jason Smith-NO: Smith had a career game with 26 points, 10 boards, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers as he led the Hornets past Kevin Love and the Wolves.
3. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum returned after getting thrown out of the last Lakers game with 23 points and 18 boards with a steal.
4.Rudy Gay-Mem: Gay poured in 25 points to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal as the Grizzlies got a big W over the Mavs. Memphis remains in the middle of a crowded Western Conference playoff picture and will have a pivotal few weeks ahead.
5. Glen Davis-Orl: Davis had 23 points and 12 boards as he continues to fill in for Ryan Anderson with his radically different but effective contributions.
1.Jrue Holiday-Phi: Holiday struggled to score just 5 points on 2-9 shooting with 2 rebounds 0 assists, and 3 turnovers.
2. OJ Mayo-Mem: The Grizz won in spite of Mayo’s rough night off the bench. He scored just6 points while shooting 1-8 from the field. He did contribute 5 assists and 2 boards, but a disappointing night for Mayo.
3. Carlos Delfino-Mil: Delfino had just 3 points and a rebound in his 21 minutes while shooting 1-4 from the field and making just 1 of his 3 three-point attempts.
4. Paul George-Ind: George was 0-8 from the field but did have 6 boards, and 3 assists while scoring just 2 points.
5. Brandon Bass-Bos: Bass missed all 6 of his shots from the field and finished with just 2 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds.
5 To Add for Today (if needed)
1. Lester Hudson-Cle (owned in 0.0 % of leagues): Hudson is a flyer add, but he’ll most likely get the start for the backcourt-challenged Cavs. They’l also need to decide if they’re keeping him around since his current 10-day contract expires on Sunday as well. His shooting percentages haven’te been good but in the last 3 games he’s averaged just under 15 points a game as well as 5 assists per game and just under 2 steals a game. If you’re in need of scoring and assists, Hudson should be able to contribute once again as Cleveland travels to Jersey.
2. Chandler Parsons-Hou (29.7%): Parsons continues to contribute solid games in FG%, steals, rebounds, assists, and threes. Today the Rockets travel to Sacramento where the Kings aren’t known for their defensive presence.
3. Tayshaun Prince-Det (68.4): Prince contributes across the major 3 cateories with poitns, assists, and rebounds. He and the Pistons will be taking their talents to South Beach for today’s game.
4. Iman Shumpert-NY(42.6): Shumpert’s been playing big minutes for the Knicks since he took over at starting SG. He hasn’t converted his minutes (avg 37 in 5 games) into points (14.8 avg in 5) but he could break out at any time and have a monster game. If you think it’s today when Chicago shows up at MSG, Shumpert’s a solid pickup. He probably won’t keep shooting if he’s off so he’s a “safe” add as far as percentages go.
5. Mario Chalmers-Mia (58.7): Chalmers is a big hit-and-miss having thrown up 2 miserable games in his last 7 and 5 pretty solid performances. When he’s on he’ll hit 2 or 3 three-pointers, score 15 or so, and add 3-5 assists. They’re not great numbers even when he is on. If he’s available and the above players aren’t, you can risk in it your league that tonight as the Heat host Detroit is one of his “on” games.