It was a freaky Friday the 13th for a number of NBA playoff teams as the standings continue to shake up on a nightly basis. There were 12 games across the country last night and all of them had at least one playoff hopeful involved. Here’s the latest on how each conference is setting up, and then we’ll take a quick look at the 5 best at each positions last night and 5 to think about adding for tonight’s action.
Eastern Conference Playoff Update: The Celtics, Sixers, and Magic all lost while the Hawks, Heat, Pacers, and Knicks won. The Bucks won as well to close to within 2 games of the Knicks and Sixers who are currently tied for the final playoff spot. Milwaukee still has work to be done, but their road win at Detroit was necessary in order to keep the pressure on. Atlanta is currently the 5-seed after beating Orlandon who is 6th. Indiana clinched the playoffs with their win last night and lead the Celtics by 3 games for the third seed. The Conference is still led by the only currently projected playoff team not in action, the Chicago Bulls, who still have a 3 1/2 game lead over the Heat.
Western Conference Playoff Update: The Thunder answered the Spurs win last night and regained their 1 game lead over San Antonio for the top spot out West. The Lakers won to clinch a playoff berth and move a game and a half clear of the Clippers in the 3-4 spots. That’s where things get really crowded in the west. Teams #5-10 are separated by merely 4 games as the 6 teams fight for 4 playoff spots. The Grizz are currently 5th and barring a total collapse should make the postseason. Dallas is just a game behind Memphis and currently sixth. Houston and Denver, who both lost last night, are currently 32-27 tied for 7th and 8th just 1 game ahead of the charging Phoenix Suns and 1 1/2 games ahead of the hurting-but-alive Utah Jazz.
5 Best C last night
1. Andrew Bynum-LAL: The Kobe-less Lakers beat the Nuggets last night behind 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal from Bynum and a big night from Matt Barnes (see below). The win clinched a playoff spot for the Lake-Show.
2. Marcin Gortat-Phx: Gortat came up big for Phoenix in their road win over Houston scoring 20 points with 15 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal.
3. Marcus Camby-Hou: Camby had a big night down low for the Rockets as he continued to prove his worth in the middle with 14 points and 18 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
4. Chris Bosh-Mia: Without D-Wade, the Heat took care of Charlotte no problem while getting 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a blocked shot from Bosh.
5. Greg Monroe-Det: Monroe played well in the Pistons loss to the Bucks finishing with 16 points and 10 boards to go with 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.
5 Best PF last night
1. Drew Gooden-Mil: Gooden was dominant in his 35 minutes making 12 of his 18 shots from the field and adding to that 8 assists, 5 rebounds, a steal, and a block as he led the Bucks past the Pistons.
2. Paul Millsap-Uta: The Jazz fell to the Hornets and missed an opportunity to gain ground in the playoff race, but Millsap had a solid game with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block. Millsap and Al Jefferson are healthy down low, but the Jazz wing depth has been decimated by injury.
3. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Dirk led Dallas with 24 points and 9 boards to go with 3 assists, a steal, and a block. He played 37 minutes as the Mavs had just enough gas to get past Portland.
4. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant shot just 9-19 and had a team-high 7 turnovers but finished with 29 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal as the Thunder rolled past the Kings in OKC.
5. Shawn Marion-Dal: Marion played 38 minutes for Dallas and finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds with 3 assists and a steal.
5 Best SF last night
1. Matt Barnes-LAL: Barnes had his best statistical game of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in 29 minutes. He shot 9-11 from the field and made all 4 three-pointers he attempted while adding 2 assists.
2. LeBron James-Mia: LeBron played just 29 minutes as the Heat coasted past the Bobcats but still managed 19 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
3. Nicolas Batum-Por: Batum led the Blazers with 20 points along with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block as they lost to Dallas at the Rose Garden.
4. Paul Pierce-Bos: Pierce led Boston with 18 points and added 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block. The Celtics dropped a game in Toronto though as they were outrebounded 50-37.
5. Gerald Green-NJ: Green led the Nets with 23 points off the bench while making 4 threes, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a rebound.
5 Best SG last night
1. J.R. Smith-NY: The Knicks crushed the hapless Wizards last night 103-65. Smith played a team-high 30 minutes off the bench in the route and scored a team-high 23 points including 4 threes to go with 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
2. MarShon Brooks-NJ: Brooks scored 22 points and had nice peripherals of 6 boards, 4 assists, a steal, and a block for the Nets in their win in Philly. While his season has been up-and-down, the Nets have to be happy with the overall progress of their first round pick a year ago.
3. Delonte West-Dal: West hit 10 of his 17 shots in his team-high 44 minutes against the Blazers. He finished with 21 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
4. Eric Gordon-NO: The Hornets knocked off the Jazz behind 25 points from Gordon to go with 6 assists and a steal in 37 minutes as he returned from his recent back injury. There’s little question to his ability when on the court; the question is can he stay on the court long enough for it to matter.
5. Ben Gordon-Det: Gordon came off the bench and played 31 minutes scoring 24 points and adding 4 rebounds. His shot was dropping as he made 8-12 from the field and the only three-pointer he attempted.
5 Best PG last night
1. Brandon Knight-Det: Knight had a big night with 25 point, 8 assits, 5 rebounds, a steal, and 2 three’s as Detroit did all they could to hang with the Bucks, but ultimately fell short.
2. Steve Nash-Phx: Nash led his Suns to a big road with with 10 assists and 18 points in his 34 minutes on the floor.
3. Russell Westbrook-OKC: Westbrook had 22 points on 10-18 from the field along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists in just 27 minutes as Oklahoma City crushed Sacramento at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
4. Goran Dragic-Hou: Dragic couldn’t get his current team (Houston) past his old team (Phoenix) although he did score 22 points highlighted by 11-11 from the charity stripe and added 7 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds, and a three-pointer.
5. Brandon Jennings-Mil: Jennings had a 20-10 double-double with exactly 20 points and 10 assists along with 2 rebounds and 2 made threes in his team-high 41 minutes as he got his Bucks the road win they needed in Detroit.
5 Best Additions for tonight
1. Anthony Randolph-Min: (3.3 percent owned) Randolph will get significant time as long as Kevin Love is sidelined with his concussion. He’s been the best of a thin Minnesota front line in Love’s absence. In the 2 games Love has missed the majority of, Randolph has contributed 28 and 16 points, 6 and 9 rebounds, and 5 and 3 blocks. If you need boards, points, and blocks, Randolph is the best option widely available.
2. Gerald Green-NJ: (28.8%) Green will face his former team the Celtics tonight coming off 23 points last nigt in 31 minutes against the Sixers. He’s a good addition if you need points and threes. In his last two non-dental-surgery games (he played limited minutes the day he had the surgery), He’s had 32 and 23 points with 5 and 4 made three-pointers. He should be extra-motivated going against Boston tonight.
3. Lester Hudson-Cle: (31.5%) Hudson was held to just 7 points last night in Indianapolis and will look to bounce back as Cleveland hosts the Wizards. In the previous 5 games he had averaged 20 points, 5 boards, just under 5 assists, and over a steal-per game. With rumors of Kyrie Irving soon, Hudson may not be a great long-term add, but he’s worth a shot if you need numbers for this game against the Wiz.
4. George Hill-Ind: (17.2%) Hill scored 15 points and dished 7 assists last night has has played extremely well in his last 3 games as part of the Pacers starting unit. Darren Collison may return soon to reclaim his starting spot, but Hill has shown his value to the Pacers and fantasy owners as a scoerer, passer, and 3-point shooter. With the Pacers traveleing to Milwaukee tonight, feel free to add Hill if you have need.
5. Shannon Brown-Phx: (16.6%) Brown continues to play big minutes and start even with the return of Grant Hill for the Suns. Last night he only scored 10, but that’s the worst he’s been lately. He’s averaging 17.4 points in his last 5 games with almost 5 boards and over 2 assists per game as well. It depends on his minutes, but he should contribute if the time is there as the Suns play a tough back-to-back in San Antonio tonight after beating Houston last night.