The Finals rematch was more proof that sequels rarely live up to the original. The West is now 19-13 against the East. And things pretty much went the way you would have expected. All that and more in this week's recap.
Memphis (6-1) over Chicago (4-3), 6-3 The Grizzlies, already without Dirk Nowitzki and Markelle Fultz, played the entire week without Victor Oladipo, but they managed to hang on to beat the Bulls. The good news for Memphis is Bogdan Bogdanovic looks completely healthy. He averaged 22-5-3 this week. The Grizzlies still aren't seeing their players play up to their potential, but they're winning, and that's what matters. Next up are the similarly banged-up Warriors. The free throw shooting for the Bulls has fallen off a cliff, dropping to just over 70% for the season. Nikola Vucevic is still really good, but the guard play continues to leave a lot to be desired. They'll need it against the Wolves.
Atlanta (6-1) over Washington (3-4), 5-3-1 The Hawks were in a dogfight with the Wizards, and it looked like they were going to fall in an upset. Then Richaun Holmes tallied 4 blocks and shot 7/12 to win the match-up, keeping Atlanta at the top of the Eastern Conference. It seems odd to say about a first place team, but the Hawks need more from their big guns. Simmons, Thompson and Lowry have all been good lately, but they need them to be great. The Hawks can take another step toward clinching the division against Tampa Bay. The Wizards really only have themselves to blame for this one, since they forgot to set their lineup on Monday. Had they done that, they would have won. Maybe this loss doesn't end up costing the Wizards a playoff berth, but if it does? That's a tough pill to swallow. They play Portland next.
Brooklyn (5-2) over Portland (3-4), 8-1 This one never really had a chance. Portland had too many injuries. Brooklyn had LeBon and Harden going 4 games a piece. And to top things off, both Jaren Jackson Jr. and Kevin Knox had career highs. Portland at least got to see Damyean Dotson back on the floor, and John Collins looked really good. However, 6 injuries and Cam Payne makes winning really difficult. As mentioned above, they play the Wizards in week 8. On to Nets, who have now won three straight. James Harden led off the week with 54-13-8 and 5 threes (he averaged 33-12-8-2.5 and 5 threes). The young guns for Brooklyn had impressive individual performances. JJJ put up 36-8 with 3 threes. Knox had 26-4-4 with 5 threes. Pascal Siakam set a career high with 26 points. Brogdon averaged 19-6-5. The Nets are starting to look like they can win the East again. They look to make it four straight against Las Vegas.
Colorado (4-3) over Tampa Bay (2-5), 6-2-1 Yet another agonizing loss for the Bull Sharks who looked like they had it won until the last two nights. The Swannies got monster weeks from John Wall (23-8-4) and Anthony Davis (24-10 plus 9 total blocks). The Bull Sharks were at a bit of a scheduling disadvantage as Russ only played two games on the week. Still, it was a big win for the Swannies, their third in the last four games. It also moves Colorado to 2-1 in the division and ties them with the Bulls for the fourth playoff spot. They'll try and break that tie against Seattle. Tampa Bay tries to avoid a five game losing streak against Atlanta.
Houston (6-1) over Kansas City (4-3), 6-2-1 The Kings fought admirably, but they fell just short against the West's top team. The Rockets won by 6 assists and a block to stay atop the league. The Rockets received unexpected boosts from Emmanuel Mudiay (28-7 on Saturday) and Al-Farouq Aminu (20-9 on Sunday), and Steph Curry made his return to the floor. Curry didn't miss a beat, dropping in 27 points. Kevin Durant did his best to keep Kansas City in it, and he averaged 42 points per game this week. Marvin Bagley is starting to put it together, but he missed a game this week with a bad back. The bad news for KC is Andrew Wiggins has been unable to make a shot the last couple weeks. He shot under 35% in November. That said, they should be able to get to 5-3 against Toronto. Houston has the game of the week in Boston.
Boston (6-1) over Orlando (2-5), 5-4 The Celtics did what they do, took care of the ball and made shots en route to a win over the Magic this week. It moves the Celtics to 6-1, matching their win total last season. They're also 3 games up on the 5th place team in the conference, making their magic number for clinching a playoff spot 7 (ok, it's too early for magic numbers). We'd have to do a little research to confirm, but this should be the latest in the season that the teams with the best records in the East and West have played. The Celtics got solid performances across the board, and that was all it took here to get a win. The Magic are two games out of the playoffs right now, but we hesitate to say they're done just yet. There are still 9 games left, and the majority of their roster is getting (or is starting to get) major minutes. Dwight Howard is out, but they've got the bigs to make up for it. Their game against Utah will determine their fate.
Utah (3-4) over Golden State (3-4), 5-4 The Jazz made a bit of an interesting move this week, trading a future first for an expiring Markieff Morris. Considering the team doesn't own their pick this year, it makes sense to try and add contributors. Moving a pick for a guy who expires at the end of the year is where the move becomes... questionable. Well, at the very least, Kieff helped the Jazz to a win (though they would have won without him). However, the news here is that Utah got a win over a division rival, and no one else in the division is really doing anything to separate themselves from the pack. Utah is now just a game back of Seattle (though they've already lost to Seattle this year). For the Warriors, this was a game they really couldn't lose. The schedule starts to get really tough (Memphis is next). There is definitely a chance we'll have some rock-paper-scissors going on in this division.
Seattle (4-3) over Toronto (0-7), 5-4 Meet the outright leaders in the Pacific Division, now with more Lauri Markannen! The Sonics won a too close for comfort battle with Toronto, their third straight win, moving them to 4-3. Damian Lillard was fantastic for the Sonics, including a game of 41-8-4 (and 10 threes) and one of 37-10. Rudy Gobert averaged 17-14 and 4 blocks. Wendell Carter chipped in a 28-7 and 3 block performance this week too. With Lillard and Gobert setting the tone, the rest of the supporting cast has just needed to be average to pull out these wins. They head to Colorado in a battle of streaking teams. The Raptors put up a solid effort, and with Cousins coming back soon, they should get some wins. It seems unlikely that the first will be against Kansas City next week, but you never know.
Minnesota (4-3) over Oklahoma City (2-5), 5-4 The Wolves snapped their two-game losing streak and moved into a tie for the last playoff spot with Kansas City following a solid win over the Thunder. Everyone for Minnesota was mostly fine. There wasn't anyone that stood out, but no one really played below expectations either. To be honest, the same could really be said for OKC. This was a wildly unremarkable game, which happens from time to time. Minnesota goes to Chicago, and OKC faces Cleveland.
Las Vegas (3-4) over Cleveland (0-7), 7-2 Finally, we have the Gamblers getting back into the playoff race with an easy win over the Cavs. Vegas is now just a game back of that last spot, and they had to like seeing Gordon Hayward go off for 30-9-8. And Kyrie Irving put up 25-8-4 for the week. The bad news for Vegas is their next game is against Brooklyn, and both Hayward and Irving will only play two games on the week. They also lost Damian Jones for the year, and there's a chance Joe Harris and Rodney McGruder could miss a game or two. Cleveland gets OKC.
The battle of the best turned into a blowout, there were multiple upsets, and the West is now 24-16 against the East. We've reached the midway point of the season, and there's still a lot to be decided.
Toronto (1-7) over Kansas City (4-4), 6-3 No Booker, no Cousins, no Porzingis... no problem. We start north of the border where the Raptors are finally on the board following a decisive win over the Kings. The Raptors were led by rookie Collin Sexton (22 ppg) and 2nd year PG De'Aaron Fox (21-8-3.6 per game). Jaylen Brown also returned with a vengeance (22 ppg), while Juan Hernangomez put up two double-doubles. It was a good win for Toronto to get off the schneid, though it seems unlikely to turn into a winning streak with Memphis coming up next. For Kansas City, it is a devastating loss. They're now on the outside looking in on the playoff race, and they have to go up against Boston next.
Houston (7-1) over Boston (6-2), 8-1 The battle of the best was over almost before it started. Even in the midst of a fascinating trade, the Rockets had no problems with the Celtics. With Steph Curry back healthy, the Rockets look terrifying. He put up 31-5-6 on the week, Jokic averaged a triple-double, and Rudy Gay, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kelly Olynyk were all solid. We haven't even mentioned Kawhi or DeMar, or Randle putting up 27-9.5-4 in his first two Houston games. The win is Houston's fourth in a row, and they should make it five against Vegas. Boston made a move this week to shore up their guard rotation, moving Robinson and a pick to Portland for Wayne Ellington. Unfortunately for Boston, Ellington missed a couple of games this week with a personal matter. Not that it would have mattered much. Boston gets Kansas City next.
Tampa Bay (3-5) over Atlanta (6-2), 7-2 Had it not been for Toronto's win, this would have been the upset of the week. This was a massive win for Tampa Bay, even as they learned some bad news in the process as Gary Harris is going to miss a month. It not only got them back in the playoff race, and it was a much needed win over a division rival. Russell Westbrook carried the Bull Sharks, putting up 21-12-13 for the week. Alec Burks and Justise Winslow were also very good for Tampa Bay. With 8 games left, now is the time for Tampa to make their move, and they'll start with OKC. The Hawks only had two games this week from Ben Simmons, so they really needed everyone else to play well. That didn't happen. Kyle Lowry, in particular, was bad, ditto for E'Twaun Moore. It's a little complicated now for Atlanta, with Portland coming to town.
Brooklyn (6-2) over Las Vegas (3-5), 7-2 The Nets weren't great this week, but they won their fourth in a row to move into a three-way tie with Boston and Atlanta for first place. LeBron was his usual self, Harden was very good, and the Nets got a couple of great individual games from Favors (24-10 on Thursday) and Knox (26-15) on Sunday. Pascal Siakam continues his MIP campaign, averaging 13-7-5 on the week. The Nets haven't had the toughest schedule, it's very much back-loaded, and they do still have Boston and Atlanta left which will determine the playoff picture. They'll go for five in a row against Orlando. Vegas will get Houston
Memphis (7-1) over Golden State (3-5), 7-2 The Grizzlies won again, their 6th straight, but they've been hampered by injuries. Ish Smith, Victor Oladipo, Markelle Fultz, Taurean Prince and Dirk Nowitzki are all out for an extended period of time. And now Al Horford appears to be having knee injuries. It's an extraordinary number of injuries, and in most circumstances, would probably result in one or two losses. However, Memphis gets Toronto next. Golden State also has injury problems, though they're mostly hurt by the fact that they don't have anyone to slot into the point guard spot right now. Golden State has now lost three in a row, and things will stay difficult against Minnesota.
Minnesota (5-3) over Chicago (4-4), 5-4 Minnesota has won two straight and moved firmly into the fourth playoff spot. Not a whole stood out about this match-up, save for Blake Griffin, who continues to be a fantasy superstar (27-8-5 per game). Minnesota, to this point, looks to be in the driver's seat for the last playoff spot. However, the second half of their schedule is loaded with big conference games (Memphis, Houston, Portland, Utah, Kansas City). Chicago just needs more in general. They're tough Western Conference swing continues in Seattle.
Seattle (5-3) over Colorado (4-4), 6-3 Speaking of Seattle, the Supersonics have won four in a row and are firmly atop the Pacific division. Damian Lillard put up 31-8-6 on the week and Lauri Markannen is officially back. With Kris Dunn on his way back, and Seattle's upcoming stretch looking very winnable, we could be looking at a worst to first situation in the division. The Swannies followed up a big-time win over Tampa Bay with a tough loss and a rash of injuries. John Wall, Dennis Smith, Stanley Johnson and Allonzo Trier are all banged-up, and their next game is against a revamped Wizards team. With both teams at 4-4, their week 9 match-up could have major playoff implications.
Washington (4-4) over Portland (3-5), 7-0-2 The Wizards snapped a three-game skid with a much closer than the score indicates win over the getting healthy Blazers. Washington won by a handful of free throws, 10 rebounds and 34 points. Trading for Jrue Holiday and Al-Farouq Aminu may not give the Wizards a huge bump this year, but locking in Holiday to go with Antetokounmpo is a coup moving forward. Portland has obviously struggled with injuries, but they're still very much in the playoff race, and everyone is getting healthy. Draymond Green, Goran Dragic, Bobby Portis and Josh Richardson should all be back at different times this week. If they all get back in time for most of the week, they could put up a fight against Atlanta.
Utah Jazz (4-4) over Orlando (2-6), 6-3 Utah is right back in the playoff race with their second straight win, and they'll likely make it three in a row against Cleveland. Dwyane Wade turned back the clock on Saturday, putting up 25-6-6 and knocking down 5 threes. Wes Matthews and JJ Redick both turned in great weeks, while the trade for Markieff Morris is already paying dividends. The Magic have now dropped two games behind Colorado, Washington and Chicago for the last playoff spot, and things don't get any easier against the Nets.
Oklahoma City (3-5) over Cleveland (0-8) The Cavaliers are the last winless team, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. If KCP gets moved somewhere where he can get more playing time, maybe he can help? It's hard to see them winning any time soon. It looked like there was a chance that OKC could make a late playoff push, but with Millsap going down with a broken toe, it now feels very unlikely. If they can beat Tampa Bay, that might change things.
The top teams in the East and West appear to be separating themselves, while the Swannies notched one of the biggest wins of the season. Time for the week 9 recap. (I'm typing on my work computer's tiny keyboard, so these likely won't be super long.)
Colorado (5-4) over Washington (4-5), 7-2 This wasn't a big win because it gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker on Washington. Nor was it a big win to stay ahead of the suddenly hot Bull Sharks. No, the Swannies are quietly amassing ALL of the Eastern Conference tie-breakers. Colorado now has wins over Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and Tampa Bay. All four will be battling for playoff spots. With Cleveland and Toronto still left on the schedule, the Swannies are sitting pretty going into a tough match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Swannies held on by the skin of their teeth thanks in large part to big final games from John Wall (40-14-6-3-2) and Anthony Davis (27-12-7-3-3). And don't look now, but Myles Turner averaged 19-8 with 2.7 threes per game this week. If he's finding his rhythm, the Swawnnies are dangerous. The Wizards shouldn't be concerned yet. They are only a game back with 7 left to play, and they've got the majority of their conference games left to play. They'll try and get back on track against the Thunder.
Boston (7-2) over Kansas City (4-5), 5-4 The Celtics are inching closer and closer to a playoff berth, and they've now surpassed last season's win total. The Celtics were without Mirotic for basically the entire week, but it didn't matter as they held on in steals and field goal percentage. Danilo Gallinari was the unsung hero in the former category, swiping 7 steals despite averaging less than 1 per game coming in. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid continues to be a monster, putting up 30-13 on the week. The Celtics are going to need that kind of production in their upcoming showdown with the Nets. Kansas City isn't quite out of it, but there are definitely going to be 2-3 games they look back on at the end of the year and think, "what if?" Up next is a must win against the division leading Sonics.
Atlanta (7-2) over Portland (3-6), 6-3 The Hawks got back on track following a tough loss against the Bull Sharks to beat a recovering Blazers team. Kyle Lowry only played two games this week, but he was back to his old self averaging 22-9-5. Ben Simmons was awesome, putting up 20-9-8, while collecting 9 steals and blocking 4 shots. The supporting cast hasn't been great, but when the stars play like they did, it doesn't really matter. Atlanta gets a streaking Jazz team next. For Portland, it's not quite the end of the road. They're almost totally healthy, and this would have been a huge game to get. However, they do have three winnable games next, starting with Las Vegas, then get a must-win against Minnesota.
Seattle (6-3) over Chicago (4-5), 7-2 The hottest team in the league resides in Seattle, where the Supersonics have won 5 straight. We mentioned in this space several weeks ago that this team had the potential to take off once they got healthy, and they've done just that. Lauri Markannen is back and looking good. Kris Dunn is no longer on a minutes limit and playing well. Bjelica averaged 16-6, made 12 threes and blocked 7 shots. This is a team coming together at the right time, and they've already banked wins over Minnesota and Utah. Next up is Kansas City, and they can all but eliminate the Kings with a win. Chicago lost a tough one for the third straight week as they move through their Western Conference swing. They finish that swing against Houston, a game that will likely drop them to 4-6. They're still alive because they have games against Washington, Brooklyn and Colorado left on the schedule.
Utah (5-4) over Cleveland (0-9), 7-2 Just gonna run through this one real quick because all these Cleveland match-ups are starting look the same. The Cavs played tough, but they were outmanned against a team that just had more players, better players. Utah has now won three straight and goes into their toughest stretch of the season (Atlanta, Brooklyn, Minnesota, Boston) riding high. Cleveland gets Toronto.
Memphis (8-1) over Toronto (1-8), 7-2 You know, this was a game that one might think, "super upset alert?" After all, Memphis was super banged up, and the Raptors appeared to be coming around. Nah. Memphis was up 9-0 for multiple days, and the Raptors really had no chance. It might be time to start talking about Paul George as an MVP candidate. He hit 30 points in three of four games this week and is pretty much doing everything. He is keeping Memphis afloat right now. They'll get the Swannies next.
Brooklyn (7-2) over Orlando (2-7), 6-3 This looked like a game Orlando could win on Wednesday, then James Harden happened. Harden had two triple-doubles this week, going for 50-10-11 on Thursday, then following it up with 32-12-10 on Saturday. LeBron also had a triple-double, 24-12-11 on Saturday, and was one rebound shy of a triple-double on Monday. Kevin Knox is showing signs of life, he put up 18 ppg this week, which was a boon for the Nets considering SGA's dropoff of late. Brooklyn looks for 6 in a row against Boston. Orlando might be eliminated. The only thing keeping them alive is a win over Tampa Bay. They have to beat Golden State.
Minnesota (6-3) over Golden State (3-6), 5-4 This is probably it for the Warriors. Minnesota forgot to set their lineup multiple times, and it didn't matter in the end. Just a tough way to go out for a team that really is much improved over last year. The Timberwolves look poised for the playoffs, so long as they remember to get their lineup set. This was their third straight win, and they've got a good chance to make it four in a row against Tampa Bay.
Houston (8-1) over Las Vegas (3-6), 7-2 This was an absolute beatdown. Nothing more to it. Houston just walloped the Gamblers for their 5th straight win. Next up is Chicago. Las Vegas is probably done. If they aren't, a loss against Portland will do it.
Tampa Bay (4-5) over Oklahoma City (3-6), 8-1 Another blowout, and don't look now, but the Bull Sharks are back in the playoff race. They've already got wins over Brooklyn and Atlanta, so if either of those teams hit a rough patch, the Bull Sharks are poised to capitalize. They have to beat Minnesota this week. OKC gets Washington.
Post by Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec 17, 2018 3:39:56 GMT -5
I didn't actually forget to set my lineup, it was all carefully planned.
On friday I came back home 5 minutes too late, and I couldn't start Tyreke in time. I was pissed, but then Tyreke had a terrible game, Lavine was ruled out for the next game and I had an epiphany: I had a huge lead in AST/STL/BLK and no chance to win REB even if I was tied (Kanter and Whiteside still had games to play, my best rebounder is Blake), so I decided to bench everyone and win TO. My lead in 3PTM wasn't safe tho, so I had to start CP3 and Hart on Saturday, and Danny Green on Sunday. I even left injured Lavine and Tyreke on my starting lineup to make it look like it was random, so the Warriors wouldn't sniff my strategy and bench all their players too
Miege22: Had to start spending my own money on them haha
Jul 28, 2018 13:58:53 GMT -5
teefbe: Since Minny decided quickly on re=signs and player options are we going to move up free agency like last year or it stays on 12th?
Jul 30, 2018 16:15:50 GMT -5
Miege22: I've created a poll on the topic. Moving up FA is harder to do than the draft because it impacts everyone. If even one owner is not on board with moving it up, we'll leave it to start on the 12t
Jul 30, 2018 16:34:19 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: Are you a contender? Do you need another solid contributor for your squad on literally the cheapest deal possible? Well you're in luck, Allen Crabbe is your man! For the low cost of a 2019 draft pick that won't be high cuz you're a contender
Aug 1, 2018 12:45:56 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: This offer will only be available for like the next 8 hours or some shit so act now!
Aug 1, 2018 12:46:29 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: Also Dewayne Dedmon $250,000 ('20) available for a pick
Aug 1, 2018 15:20:04 GMT -5
HawkEye: Free Boban!!!
Oct 18, 2018 7:13:03 GMT -5
teefbe: crazy week1 matchup between me and Seattle
Oct 21, 2018 18:52:56 GMT -5
HawkEye: I won 5-4 vs Colorado by only .02% of FT%
Oct 22, 2018 7:13:22 GMT -5
HawkEye: Correction, it's .2% or .002 of FT%
Oct 22, 2018 7:21:25 GMT -5
zephyr: does anyone know when espn is going to add position eligibility?
Nov 12, 2018 17:22:43 GMT -5
Miege22: They added PG eligibility for Bryn Forbes last week. I think they just kind of do it gradually
Nov 12, 2018 19:07:31 GMT -5
zephyr: great -- thanks!
Nov 13, 2018 8:41:24 GMT -5
zephyr: landry shamet's at 21.1 mpg for the season -- does that mean toronto has to make a decision on activating him from d-league?
Nov 27, 2018 11:30:31 GMT -5
Miege22: I think we need to go a little longer on the d-league signees, all of them, this year. 20 games isnt' a huge sample size, and a few low or no minute games can drastically impact those averages.
Nov 27, 2018 11:38:06 GMT -5
Miege22: I don't think a decision needs to be made until the last week of our season.
Nov 27, 2018 11:38:18 GMT -5