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Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Anthony Davis hurting

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


There were eight games on Tuesday night and we saw Anthony Davis get hurt again, breakout games from Montrezl Harrell and Yogi Ferrell, Chris Paul go off, Jarrett Allen and John Collins start to channel their inner Marquese Chriss, and I think the Thunder are in trouble. Here are 10 things we learned on Tuesday night.

 

1. Anthony Davis is sort of hurt, again

 

Anthony Davis left Tuesday’s game in the first half with what was originally reported as a hip injury, but he said after the game that he actually took a hard elbow to the ribs. He needed X-rays, which were negative, and when asked if he’d play on Wednesday against the Kings, he said “We’ll see at 7:00 o’clock.” Given that they’re playing the Kings, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Davis get the night off. Then again, given that they’re in must-win mode, my gut tells me he’ll be out there tonight. I hope it’s the latter. The good news is that he scored 31 points in the second half when he returned and had one of the smoothest 41-point games you’ll ever see. Stay tuned. Additionally, Jrue Holiday went off with a career-high 17 assists to go along with 19 points, four boards, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in the win.

 

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2. I don’t think the Thunder will make the playoffs

 

I know this isn’t fantasy related, but I took a deep dive into the Thunder’s remaining schedule and I don’t think they’re going to make the playoffs. And the difficulty of their remaining schedule is a bit mind blowing. They got beat by 10 points by the Rockets last night, as Chris Paul and James Harden went off, and Russell Westbrook committed nine turnovers. The Thunder currently sit as the No. 7 seed, 1.0 games behind the No. 5 Spurs and No. 6 Timberwolves, and 1.0 game ahead of the No. 8 Nuggets. They’re also 1.5 games in front of the No. 9 Clippers and 2.0 games in front of the No. 10 Jazz. 

 

The bottom line is that the Thunder can’t afford to lose many games, and their immediate upcoming schedule looks fantastic. They get the Suns on Thursday, the banged-up Spurs on Saturday, and the Kings on Monday, all at home, and then visit the Hawks on Tuesday. But there’s a storm a brewin’ after that. Here it is:

 

Vs. Clippers

@ Raptors

@ Celtics

Vs. Heat

Vs. Blazers

@ Spurs

Vs. Nuggets

 

That ends March and that’s seven straight games against seven playoff teams, and three of those are on the road. And the first and last one are against the teams sitting directly below the Thunder in the West.

 

And then April doesn’t get any better:

 

@ Pelicans

Vs. Warriors

@ Rockets

@ Heat

Vs. Grizzlies

 

So in their final 12 games, the Thunder only get one dog, and it’s in the final game of the season when their fate may already be decided. From a fantasy angle, this tells me that Westbrook might have to go into the ‘Me, Myself and I’ mode we saw last year, and even if it happens it may not be enough. In closing, only 4.5 games separate the No. 3 Blazers and the No. 10 Jazz in the West, so it looks like we’re ramping up for one of the most exciting playoff races we’ve ever seen. I honestly can’t imagine a more brutal schedule. Does Westbrook have it in him?

 

3. Montrezl Harrell and Yogi Ferrell will be hot pickups

 

Montrezl Harrell went off in the first half last night and then started over Wesley Johnson in the second half. Johnson is still reeling from having his ankles broken by James Harden, which I’ve probably seen 25 times in the last two days without even looking for it. Harrell hit 9-of-12 shots in the first half, off the bench, and finished with a season-high 26 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal on 11-of-17 shooting in 31 minutes, as the Clips fell to the Pelicans. He’s averaging 18.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 23 minutes over his last five games. Maybe he only started to help slow down Anthony Davis, but if I’m coaching the Clippers, he’s my starting power forward the rest of the way. I actually already owned Harrell in a few leagues and had him in my lineups, but he’s going to be the hottest pickup between now and the weekend. He’s only owned in 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of 2:39 a.m. on Wednesday morning. 

 

Ferrell will also be a hot pickup, but I’m not sure he should be. Wesley Matthews missed his second straight game with a hip injury and Ferrell made his second straight start. He played just 23 minutes and hit 2-of-5 shots for five points, two assists and a 3-pointer in Sunday’s start, but then blew up for a season-high 24 points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block and six 3-pointers on 9-of-11 shooting in 38 minutes on Tuesday. If I’m the Mavs, I’m starting Yogi the rest of the way (which will hurt J.J. Barea) and seeing what he can do. Dennis Smith Jr. also played well with his fifth double-double of the season, and those two (along with Seth Curry) should be the future of the Mavs’ backcourt. I’m begging Rick Carlisle to start Yogi, turn him loose and see what he can do the rest of the way. He’s worth a speculative grab in case Carlisle actually does it, but make no mistake about it. Tuesday night will probably go down as Ferrell’s best game of the season. And if Ferrell is turned loose, it’s going to hurt Barea, who is currently trending down.

 

4. The Rockets are really, really good

 

They won the last two games of January, posted a perfect February, and have won both of their March games, good for 16 straight wins. And if it weren’t for a two-point loss at New Orleans on Jan. 26, we’d be talking about a 21-game winning streak! Chris Paul looks rejuvenated, Trevor Ariza is hot, James Harden is James Harden, Clint Capela (who struggled on Tuesday with a season-low three rebounds) is having a great season, and guys like Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker are playing their roles. This team is completely dominant right now and isn’t scared to play any other team in the league. If they don’t finish with the best record in the NBA, I’ll be shocked.

 

5. John Collins, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen can be infuriating in fantasy hoops

 

Atlanta’s John Collins had 14 points, three rebounds and zero blocks in 29 minutes on Tuesday, Taurean Prince had nine points, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes for the Hawks, and Jarrett Allen had four points, two rebounds and zero blocks in 20 minutes for the Nets.

 

Collins had just four points, seven boards and zero blocks on Sunday and then had three rebounds and zero blocks last night. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his last five, but I was expecting much more by now. I’m still hanging in there with him, despite his recent struggles.

 

Prince was pretty hot coming into Tuesday and he still came through with a pretty fun stat line, despite the lack of scoring. He’s averaging 17 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 4.0 3-pointers on 40 percent shooting over his last five. He’s a must-start player until further notice.

 

Allen appeared to be ready to go on a tear after averaging 15.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks from last Monday to Thursday. But he then had seven points and three boards on Sunday, followed up by last night’s dud. That means he’s averaging just 5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocks over his last two. I haven’t cut him and am holding out hope that he bounces back against Dwight Howard on Thursday night, but I’m also not holding my breath. Especially after Dwight toasted Joel Embiid for a season-high 30 points, six boards, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 12-of-17 shooting Tuesday. Also, the Hornets fell a full 6.0 games out of the playoff hunt last night and I think they’re about done. I don’t know if they’ll shut Dwight down, or give him some nights off, but it’s something to keep an eye on now that it looks like the dream is over.

 


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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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