Last night was a relatively low-key night in the NBA with just 5 games on the schedule. Tonight that won’t be the case as every team but 2 will be on the court as the NBA has a season-high 14 games. There’s plenty of fantasy updates from last night’s games and several additions that can help you tonight. There’s no way you should have any blank spots in your lineup tonight to be sure with 28 teams in action. Here’s my top 5 additions, a quick playoff race update, and 3 lists of 5 to get caught up on what went down last night
5 Potential Pickups for 4/18
1. J.R. Smith-NY: (65.2% ownership in ESPN leagues) Normally, I don’t list guys with this high percentage of ownership, but if Smith is available there’s noone else you should be grabbing. He hit 7 threes last night and is averaging almost 4 a game in his last 5. During that time he’s averaging 18.4 points, 1.6 steals, 3.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds. He can contribute in multiple categories and shouldn’t be unowned in any leagues.
2. Nate Robinson-GS: (58.9%) He’s in much the same situation as Smith as far as his availability and how quickly you should add him if you can. Nate has 28 and 30 points in his last 2 games against the Clippers and Spurs while adding 8 and 7 assists and 4 and 3 three-pointers. He should get a good amount of playing time as the Warriors host the Lakers tonight and always plays well at home when he rides the emotion of the crowd. He’ll take plenty of shots an provide some scoring, so he’s your bets bet if that’s what your after and JR Smith is already rostered.
3. Shannon Brown-Phx: (12.7%) the Thunder-Suns game could get very high-scoring very quickly and Brown has become a key part of the Suns attack. He’s playing big minutes and scoring 15-20 points with regularity as the Suns try and get into the last spot in the playoffs so that they can face a top-seed (like OKC) in the first round.
4. Ivan Johnson-Atl-(0.1%) Johnson is coming off a career high 21 points in his last game in just 27 minutes. He added 8 rebounds as he continued his strong run in April. In the 6 games he’s played he’s averaging 13 points and almost 6 boards. As the Pistons come to Atlanta, he’s a good option if he you need rebounds and a high shooting percentage as he fills that role for the Hawks off the bench. Check Glen Davis’s status for the Boston game if you need a big man, but Johnson’s the add if he’s out.
5. Evan Turner-Phi: (29.9%)Turner has been struggling right along with the rest of the Sixers, but they get the Cavs tonight in Cleveland who got lit up by the Pistons last night (100-50 at the end of the 3rd). The backcourt of the Cavs is in shambles, so Turner’s an option if you’re really desperate for a “gut pick” to have a big night.
Playoff Race Update
Eastern Conference: The Pacers further secured the 3 seed and won their 6th in a row beating the rapidly fading Sixers. Philadelphia is now alone in the 8th spot with Milwaukee just 1 1/2 games back. Since the Bucks play the 76ers, if they win all their remaining games they are in the playoffs. The Knicks moved a game ahead of Philadelphia by shooting the lights out against Boston, who is relatively secure in the 4-spot since they are 4 1/2 ahead of the Sixers in the Atlantic division which means they can finish no worse than 4.
Western Conference: The Spurs moved into sole possession of 1st place with a win over the Lakers in LA. It was the Lakers worst loss of the season and moved them back to within just 1/2 game of the charging Clippers as they fight it out for the 3rd seed in the playoffs. Memphis is just 2 games back of the Clippers after beating the Timberwolves to move 2 games clear of the Nuggets, Mavs, Suns, Rockets, and Jazz who in that order are fighting it out for the last 3 playoff spots with just 2 1/2 games separating the Nuggets in 6th rom the Jazz in 10th.
5 Stars from 5 winning teams last night
1. Carmelo Anthony-NY: Melo had a triple-double with 35 points, 12 boards, 10 assists, and 2 steals as he had the line of the night while leading the Knicks to a big win over Boston at home.
2. Tony Parker-SA: Parker led the Spurs romp in LA with a 29 point, 13 assist, 3 rebound, 1 steal performance that should leave a resonating impact on LA if they meet in the playoffs. The Spurs showed why they could be legit in the playoffs as they dominated the Lake-show in just about every facet of the game.
3. Rudy Gay-Mem: Gay scored 28 points on 12-25 shooting from the field while adding 2 three-pointers to go with 4 assists, 9 rebounds, and a steal as the Grizz knocked off the Wolves in Minnesota.
4. Brandon Knight-Det: Knight led the Pistons as they outscored the Cavs 100-50 in the first 3 quarters alone. He finished with 28 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, and 4 made three-pointers.
5. Danny Granger-Ind: Granger again lit it up from downtown knocking in 6 three’s while scoring 24 points to go with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
5 Stars in 5 losing efforts last night
1. Paul Pierce-Bos: Pierce did all he could to bring Boston back against the can’t-miss Knicks. He ended up with 43 points, 2 steals, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 4 three-pointers in Boston’s loss
2. J.J. Barea-Min: Barea hit 5 threes and led Minnesota with 28 points along with 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. The Wolves are injury-ravaged but Barea has taken advantage of his opportunity and shown he can be effective in a starting role.
3. Andre Iguodala-Phi: AI 2.0 scored 23 points and added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal and 3 three’s as the Sixers lost to Indy to continue their late-season fade.
4. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum scored 21 points in his 33 minutes while adding 7 rebounds and 2 assists in the Lakers loss to the visiting Spurs.
5. Manny Harris-Cle: Harris led the Cavs in their debacle of a loss with 18 opints, 3 rebounds, an assist, and a block.
5 Other solid performances
1. J.R Smith-NY: As mentioned above, he’s really coming on at the end of the year. He finished with 25 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal to go with 7 three-pointers in the Knicks win.
2. Rajon Rondo-Bos: Rondo had another double-digit assist game with 13 to go with his 13 points, 6 rebounds, and a steal.
3. Greg Monroe-Det: Monroe had 12 points and 13 rebounds in just 27 minutes as the Pistons rolled over Cleveland. He added 3 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blcoks.
4. Mike Conley-Mem: Conley had 16 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in 38 minutes for Memphis.
5. Steve Novak-NY: Novak was another key part to the Knicks three-point barrage as he made 8-10 three-pointers and finished with 25 points and 2 assists in his 28 minutes.