The big NBA news from last night had to do with the NBA playoff picture: the Spurs clinched the top spot in the West with their win and a Laker loss, the Thunder clinched the division title in the Northwest, the Bobcats were officially eliminated with a loss, and both the Hornets and Pacers clinched a playoff spot.
Line of the Night: And there was Carmelo Anthony (2.28) and the Knicks. Melo led New York to a win over Sixers with 31 points (5-8 from three), 11 rebounds and a couple of blocks. The win pushes them into the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference while the Sixers fall to 7th. Unfortunately, all they’re fighting for is the chance to play either the Heat or the Celtics in the first round and I’m not sure Melo and Amare have enough juice to carry Chauncey Billups’ dead body past either of those teams in the playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: Blake Griffin (2.10) was beastly in the Clippers’ loss to OKC, finishing with a game-high 35 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. It’s his 6th double-double in a row, so Kevin Love and his double-double record better watch out, you know, in 2012.
David Lee (1.99) followed up his 29 point, 20 rebound game two days ago with a 22 point, 17 rebound game against the Lakers. He also added 5 assists and 4 steals in the win. I will echo what Nels said yesterday, these types of performances would have been nice to have from Lee before the last week of the season. But I guess if you’re battling it out for a championship this week, its better late than never for you Lee owners.
The good Manu Ginobili (1.93) showed up for the Spurs last night and helped them barely hold on to the top seed in the West (maybe he can also stop the bleeding on my injured-plagued roto team). Manu scored 25 points (on 10-16 shooting) and added 4 threes and 5 assists against the Kings. While Manu has slowed down quite a bit towards the end of the year, I think his first half still made taking a ride on the Manu train this season well worth the cost.
Elton Brand (1.84) had 24 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks against the Knicks (not bad for a guy with a fractured left hand); Chris Paul (1.79) nearly missed a triple-double with 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 10 assists; while J.R. Smith (1.59) saw 29 minutes off the bench for the Nuggets (the most minutes he’s seen in a while) and responded with 23 points, 3 threes and 5 rebounds.
How is this for a starting lineup: Jordan Farmar, Mario West, Sasha Vujacic, Dan Gadzuric, and Brook Lopez. Given that, it can’t be too surprising that Lopez (1.44) scored a career-high 39 points against the Pistons. He also had a respectable 7 boards and 4 assists in the loss. Expect Brook to have a monster finish to the season as the Nets play the Knicks, Raptors and Bobcats for 3 out of their last 4 games. Just don’t let the strong finish sway you come draft day next season. Just repeat to yourself: Mario West, Sasha Vujacic, Dan Gadzuric, Mario West, Sasha Vujacic, Dan Gadzuric, Mario West, Sasha Vujacic, Dan Gadzuric.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: The Pacers dropped 136 points in the Wizards and 23 of those belonged to Paul George (2.15), who was 9-15 from the field, with 5 threes, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. If the Pacers only played the Wizards the rest of the season I’d day that Paul was a strong add. But as it stands, I’d consider giving George a spot start when the Pacers play the Knicks on Sunday, but he’s not worth owning for their other two games against the Hawks and Magic. George is a wait until next year type player.
Gerald Henderson (1.37) scored a career high 32 points in a overtime game against the Magic, thanks to a heavy dose of Gilbert Arenas’ “defense”. The Bobcats still have 4 games from now until the end of the season and play on Friday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, so Henderson makes a nice add if you’re looking to squeeze as many games out of your team over the next week.
Luc Mbah a Moute (0.98) is like a cobra – laying quietly out of sight until you forget about him and then WHAM – he attacks. He ended up scoring 14 points, with 12 rebounds and 3 steals against the Heat. And now he’ll go away until you forget about him once again.
Jarrett Jack (1.27) got 32 minutes off the bench for the Hornets, scoring 19 points and adding 5 assists. It was one of his better performances over the past month, although he makes an ok add in deep leagues getting 20-25 minutes a night usually.
Jordan Farmar (1.23) is back starting for the Nets with Deron Williams definitely possibly coming to a decision soon on shutting it down for the season. Famar had 18 points and 11 assists against the Pistons and is a must add as long as Williams is not on the court.
Jerryd Bayless (1.07) didn’t get the start will Jose Calderon returning, but still managed to score 28 points off the bench in 30 minutes. Not sure why Calderon is struggling to play through an injury giving the state of the Raptors, but Bayless certainly excites me a lot more when he’s starting.
And we’ll be back with more point guards whose names begin with J in just minute…
Biggest Loser: In the greatest display of hacking since Matthew Broderick was in WarGames, JaVale McGee (-0.64) had 5 fouls in 9 minutes on the court against the Pacers. He finished with 2 points and 1 rebound during his limited time on the court.
And just because somebody takes the time…
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