The NBA had just 5 games last nigh allowing some playoff teams to take center stage in important showdowns. The top 2 teams in the east faced off while home-court and seeding continued to be hotly contested in both conferences. Today in the starting 5, you can find the 5 best additions for tonight’s 6 games, a quick update of the playoff picture, and 4 lists of 5 to recap last night’s action. Here’s the latest with less than a week to go.
Eastern Conference Playoff Race Update: The biggest NBA news was that Dwight Howard will miss the rest of the season and the playoffs after back surgery. The Magic weren’t in action last night, but the Pacers were able to lock up home-court for the first round and solidify their hold on the 3-seed by beating Milwaukee. The Bucks fell 3 full games out of the playoff picture after dropping their 3rd in a row. At the top of the Eastern conference, the Heat knocked off the Bulls to pull within 1 1/2 games of the top spot while the loss tied the Bulls with the Spurs in the loss column for home-court if the two were to meet in the finals.
Western Conference Playoff Race Update: The Rockets lost in New Orleans dropping them to a game behind the Suns and Jazz in their 3-team race for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Suns moved back into a tie with Utah after beating the Clippers in the desert in a playoff-type physical showdown highlighted by technicals and ejections. The loss dropped LA to 1 full game behind the Lakers as they try to catch their fellow-Staples-Center-residents to secure the 3-seed.
5 to consider adding for 4/20 if you need help
1. J.R. Smith-NY: (78.7%) Smith should be owned by anyone paying attention. He’s hitting 4 three’s a game over his last 5 and is the Knicks only non-Melo scoring option at this point. I usually don’t post anyone with this high of a percentage, but taking anyone else in the 21% of leagues where he’s out there wouldn’t be smart.
2. Ivan Johnson-Atl: (0.1%) Johnson had a double double with 16 points and 10 boards in the Hawks most recent game against the Pistons. He’s had a solid last 3 games with 14, 21, and 16 points and 7, 8, and 10 boards. If you need a rebound/points big, he’s virtually universally available and has been playing big minutes for Atlanta who hosts Boston tonight.
3. Metta World Peace-LAL: (30.3%) Kobe is expected to return which will impact his shots but he’s been contributing across the board in the game’s that Kobe has missed. His production in steals, blocks, and assists would be helpful regardless of scoring so add him if you need to for tonight’s showdown with San Antonio.
4. Avery Bradley-Bos: (23.9%) Bradley has double-digits in each of his last 5 and 7 of his last 8. In his last 5 he’s averaging 19 points, over 2 threes, 3 1/2 boards, and 1 1/2 assists. His playing time is a little undetermined since Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen’s status hasn’t been given, but whoever plays Bradley has shown his value as he’s continued to grow and mature into a solid piece of the Boston attack.
5. Nate Robinson-GS: (61.9%) Robinson could be at the top of this list if it wasn’t for his ailing hamstring. He was averaging 22 points, over 2 threes, 2 rebounds, and 7 assists in his 4 games before missing the Lakers game Wednesday. If Nate is a go for tonight’s matchup at Dallas, he can help you in points, threes, ans assists. My best guess is that he’ll play, but try to get confirmation if possible before the 8:30 tip time.
5 top Guards from last night
1. Eric Gordon-NO: Gordon returned and showed again why he has so much value when on the court leading the Hornets with 27 points on 9-18 from the feild and adding 3 steals, 5 assists, a blocked shot, and 4 rebounds in the Hornets win.
2. George Hill-Ind: Hill hit 8 of 12 shots including 2 three-pointers on his way to 22 points along with 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal. He’s available in 60+% of leagues and as long as his minutes don’t diminish he’ll have a great finish to the year.
3. Goran Dragic-Hou: Dragic played 38 minutes for Houston hitting 3 three-pointers on his way to 23 points and added 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal.
4. J.J. Barea-Min: Barea led Minnesota to a win (finally) with 13 points and 12 assists to go with a steal and 6 rebounds. He’s proved his worth on the court and in fantasy leagues since Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour went down scuttling the Wolves once-promising season.
5. Chris Paul-LAC: Paul led the Clippers with 19 points on 6-19 shooting while adding 10 assists, 2 rebounds, and a steal. In the end though, the Suns edged LA getting a big win against a Clippers team on the backside of a road back-to-back.
5 top Forwards from last night
1. LeBron James-Mia: James led Miami past the Bulls scoring 27 points to go with 11 rebounds, 6 assists, a blocked shot, and a three-pointer. His fantasy NBA MVP season continues and he and Durant will again be 1 1a heading into 2012 Fantasy Hoops drafts.
2. David West-Ind: West had 21 points, 7 assists, 14 boards, and a block for the Pacers. He and George Hill are coming on just at the right time for the Pacers as they get ready to head into the playoffs.
3. Carl Landry-NO: Landry had 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench playing 38 minutes for the Hornets in their upset win over the Rockets.
4. Mike Dunleavy-Mil: Dunleavy had we points off the bench while playing 32 minutes against his former-team teh Pacers. He added 8 rebounds and 3 three’s but the Bucks still lost as their playoff hopes continued to fade.
5. Blake Griffin-LAC: Griffin had 11 rebounds and 16 points in his 37 minutes of action against the Suns. He was fouled by Robin Lopez which led to Lopez’s ejection from the game, but Griffin appeared to be OK.
5 top Centers from last night
1. Nikola Pekovic-Min: Pekovic led the Wolves with 23 points in their win in Detroit. He added 9 boards, 2 assists, and a block as he controlled the paint and outplayed Greg Monroe in Minnesota’s win.
2. Marcin Gortat-Phx: Gortat had 14 rebounds and 14 points with 2 assists while helping Phoenix get a key win over the Clippers. It was a gritty playoff-type game and Gortat showed he can thrive in that environment.
3.Joakim Noah-Chi: Noah finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in Miami while adding an assist and a blocked shot. His size could be the key in a 7 game series between the Bulls and the Heat.
4. Drew Gooden-Mil: Gooden finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block for the Bucks in Indiana.
5. Marcus Camby-Hou: Camby started and played 28 minutes for Houston scoring 14 points on 7-10 shooting from the field and adding 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal.
5 fantasy disappointments from last night
1. Chandler Parsons-Hou: Parsons made just 1 of his 9 shots from the field and finished with 3 points in a game where Houston desperately needed his offense. He added 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.
2. C.J. Watson-Chi: Watson missed all 3 of his shots from the field and finished with 2 points and 4 assists while only playing 20 minutes in a starting role for Derrick Rose.
3.Greg Monroe-Det: Monroe finished with just 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals against a thin Minnesota front line that some expected him to dominate.
4. Kyle Lowry-Hou: Lowry missed all his shots from the field while scoring 3 points on FT’s in Houston’s loss. He added 2 assists and a rebound in 17 minutes off the bench.
5. Martell Webster-Min: Despite the fact that he’s starting, his production has been low. He hit 1-4 with 3 points, a block, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in his 27 minutes.