The lockout which has been over since December continues to wreak havoc with the NBA schedule. There were 14 games last night with just 2 teams taking the night off (Pacers and T-Wolves). Tonight things quiet back down, but there’s still plenty of fantasy hoops action as we wind the season to a close.
In today’s starting 5, we’ll take a quick look at the playoff races in each conference, 5 players to consider adding for tonight’s games, and then the 5 best overall, centers, guards, and forwards from last night’s bonanza. Let’s tip it off!
Eastern Conference Playoff Update: The Bulls, Heat, and Celtics all won to stay in the top 4 with Indiana as the four potential playoff hosts. Orlando’s loss in Boston dropped them to 6th by virtue of the Hawks cruising past the Pistons. The Knicks beat the Nets to further establish their playoff pedigree as the 7-seed. The toughest loss last night was probably the Bucks dropping a game in Washington to the lowly Wizards as they fell 2 1/2 games behind the Sixers (who beat the Cavs) in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Western Conference Playoff Update: The top 5 teams out West-the Spurs, Thunder, Lakers, Clippers, and Grizzlies-all won to maintain their position. The Mavericks moved into 6th passing the Nuggets who are just 1/2 game behind Dallas. The Nuggets are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Utah Jazz who beat the Blazers to move into the 8-spot just a half-game ahead of the Rockets and Suns who lost to the Mavs and Thunder respectively. It looks like a wild-and-crazy race to the finish for the last spot out West between Utah, Houston, and Phoenix.
5 best possible additions for 4/19
1. Chandler Parsons-Hou: (owned in 19.1% of ESPN leagues) Parsons has played 29+ minutes in each of the Rockets last 5 games. He’s scored double-digits in all but one of those games while averaging 1.5 three-pointers, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists .6 blocks, .8 steals, and 12.8 points.
2. George Hill-Ind: (30.6%) Hill has started 6 in a row in place of Darren Collison and has averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 assists while knocking in 10 total three-pointers. Hill and the red-hot Pacers will host the Bucks tonight who tend to give up points in bunches so look for Hill to have a nice game.
3. Richard Hamilton-Chi: (17.0) Hamilton has scored 22 in each of the last 2 games and appears to be hitting his stride right on time for the Bulls playoff run. Whether Derrick Rose and/or Luol Deng continue to sit out or not, Hamilton will continue to play a big part in the Bulls offenst and should continue to get some good looks for points and threes and keep dishing assists as well (5+ in 3 of his last 5)
4. Carl Landry-NO: (16.2%) Landry has been super-efficient lately scoring 16, 14, and 16 in the Hornets last 3 games. He’s had double-doubles in 2 of those games, and will continue to see action on a banged up New Orleans front line tonight against the Rockets.
5. C.J. Watson-Chi: (1.8%) Watson had 9 points and 6 rebounds with 3 assists and 2 threes last night as the Bulls blew out the Bobcats. If Derrick Rose is out, he could have a nice night against the Heat although it’s unclear what version of the Heat and Bulls we’ll see in the TNT spotlight game tonight.
5 best Fantasy Stars from 4/18
1. James Hardon-OKC: A solid contributor all year, Harden blew up for a career-high 40 points with 5 three-pointers, 4 steals, 3 assists, and 7 rebounds to help the Thunder put away the Suns.
2. Paul Pierce-Bos: Pierce has had another great season for the C’s. He followed a big night in NYC during Boston’s loss to the Knicks with 29 points, 14 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Pierce ran the point with Rajon Rondo resting and that helped his assist numbers.
3. Pau Gasol-LAL: Gasol had his first triple-double of the year as the Lakers dominated the Warriors and Gasol finished with 22 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 35 minutes.
4. Carmelo Anthony-NY: Melo scored 33 points with 5 three-pointers in just 35 minutes with 7 rebounds and 4 assists to lead New York past New Jersey.
5.Monta Ellis-Mil: Ellis had 31 in the Bucks loss while playing 42 minutes and adding 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He shot just 1-6 from three-point territory and didn’t get the help he needed to get the Bucks their much-needed W.
5 best Fantasy Forwards from 4/18
1. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Dirk had a game-high 35 in the Texas-sized showdown that saw the Mavs deal the Rockets their 5th straight loss while moving into 6th. Nowitzki added 5 boards, 3 three’s, 2 assists, and a steal in his 39 minutes.
2. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant had 29 points on 10-20 shooting in his 41 minutes on the floor. He added a three, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and 5 assists.
3. Rudy Gay-Mem: The Grizzlies clinched a playoff spot by beating the Hornets behind Gay’s 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal in a co-team leading 30 minutes.
4. LeBron James-Mia: With no Bosh or Wade, James again led the Heat to a win. This time he had 28 points, 5 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a three in his 30 minutes in the Heat’s home-win over the Raptors.
5. Glen Davis-Orl: Davis played 35 minutes against his former team and made 12 of his 16 shots from the field finishing with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. If he’s healthy he’ll be a key addition the rest of the way in fantasy hoops.
5 best Fantasy Centers from 4/18
1. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum had a game-high 31 points shooting 12 of 14 from the field and dominating the Warriors down low. He added a block, steal, assist, and 9 rebounds while hitting all 7 of his free throws as well.
2. Drew Gooden-Mil: Gooden had a double-double with 21 points, 12 boards, 6 assists, and 2 steals. The Bucks allowed the Wiz to shoot 55.7% as they dropped a key matchup in Washington.
3. Tyson Chandler-NY: Chandler had 18 points, 10 boards, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and 2 assists in a team-high 37 minutes in the Knicks win.
4. Marcus Camby-Hou: Camby was doubtful to play but ended up with a league-high 17 rebounds last night with 11 points, an assist, and a steal.
5. Al Jefferson-Uta: Jefferson struggled shooting (4-14), but finished with 11 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block in 29 minutes in the Jazz win in Portland.
5 best Fantasy Guards from 4/18
1. Jordan Crawford-Was: Crawford had a game-high 32 points as he and the Wiz knocked off Monta Ellis and the Bucks. Crawford was 11-17 from the field and added a three, a steal, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds in 34 minutes.
2. Devin Harris-Uta: Harris led the Jazz into the 8th spot with 27 points including 6-10 from three-point range while adding 4 assists and 4 rebounds.
3. Jrue Holiday-Phi: Holiday was 6-6 on three-pointers while scoring 24 points to go with 5 assists, a steal, and 2 rebounds in the Sixers big road win in Cleveland.
4. Ty Lawson-Den: Lawson finished with 24 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal; but the Nuggets couldn’t beat the Clippers at the Pepsi Center in a potential first-round preview depending on how the seeding race shakes out.
5. Goran Dragic-Hou: Dragic had 10 assits and 20 points but also 6 turnovers to go with 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 three-pointers in the Rockets loss at Dallas.