Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Rockets tie GSW 1-1

Thursday, May 17, 2018


The Rockets used a balanced attack in a must-win situation to dominate the Warriors 127-105 in a Game 2 win on Wednesday night. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

 

Not surprisingly, James Harden led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, although he hit just 3-of-15 from downtown. Harden hit 9-of-24 shots on the night and is still the favorite to win the MVP Award (vs. LeBron James and Anthony Davis) for the team with the league’s best regular-season record. Eric Gordon matched him off the bench with 27 points, and hit 8-of-15 shots and 6-of-9 3-pointers to go with three boards, two assists, a steal and a block in the win. Gordon hit a fadeaway 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer that was just stupid.

 

Role player P.J. Tucker, who scored just one point in Game 1, came through with a playoff career-high 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and five triples, and hit 8-of-9 shots and 5-of-6 3-pointers in the win. Tucker tied his career best with the five 3-pointers. Guys like Tucker and Trevor Ariza will likely be the difference makers for the Rockets if they’re going to hang in this series. “I never worry about my offense…it’s all on defense,” said Tucker after the game. He’s impossible to trust, but if you pick him on the right night, such as on Wednesday night, he can win you some money.

 

Ariza showed up with 19 points, four boards, six assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-9 shooting for the Rockets, and Chris Paul added 16 points, four boards, six assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-14 shooting in the blowout win. Ariza had just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in Game 1, making him also tough to trust. Center Clint Capela, who was one of the more reliable centers in the regular season and the early postseason, has not been needed much in this series and had just five points, 10 rebounds and zero blocks in his 31 minutes against the center-less Warriors. Capela is averaging just 9.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in his two games in this series, but is still one of the better center options in DFS, because the position is so limited. Al Horford, if he qualifies at center in your league, is the way to go in most cases.

 

The Rockets basically earned this win in the second quarter, when they outscored the Warriors 38-29 after winning the first quarter by five points. And they also stepped up late when the Warriors were chasing them, busting open a 111-89 lead after scoring 11 straight points with about 6.5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Tucker is a super-sleeper in fantasy right now, but he’s also just as likely to score zero points as he is likely to score 22, like he did last night. The same goes for Gordon, although I trust him a lot more than Tucker. “We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play,” coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game.

 

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The Warriors got 38 points from Kevin Durant, who hit 13-of-22 shots, three 3-pointers and 9-of-9 free throws with three rebounds, but was mysteriously quiet with zeros in assists, steals and blocks, while also committing five turnovers on the night. Despite the lack of peripheral stats last night, Durant is averaging 37.5 points in this series and scored at least 20 points in his 19th straight playoff game. Stephen Curry hit just 7-of-19 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers for 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Draymond Green was quiet with a dubious line of 6-6-6, as in points, rebounds and assists. Curry’s 3-pointer kept a streak alive, as he’s hit a 3-pointer in 81 straight playoff games, an NBA record. Klay Thompson was perhaps the most disappointing fantasy player of the night with just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, but did have two 3-pointers and two steals in the loss. “We got outplayed the whole game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We got beat.”

 

The Rockets were hungry and in a must-win position, and came through with a balanced attack in an unenviable situation. While Kevin Durant may feel a little bit like LeBron James right now, their situations aren’t comparable, and I think all of us are expecting guys like Thompson, Green and Curry to do more in Game 3 than they did tonight. Especially, with the series heading to Oakland for Games 3 and 4, starting on Sunday. This just wasn’t the Warriors’ night.

 

Game 3 is on Sunday at Golden State at 8 p.m. on TNT, and Game 4 is set for Tuesday at 9 p.m. on TNT in Oakland.

 

Sad Days For Hoops

 

There are no NBA games scheduled for Thursday or Friday, while the Cavaliers host the Celtics in an 0-2 hole on Saturday at 8:30 on ESPN.

 

Coaching News

 

Former Hawks coach, Mike Budenholzer, was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks to become their head coach on Wednesday. Coach Bud will be coaching the Bucks, and I’m thinking “this Bud’s for you, Bucks,” might be an advertising calling card in the land of beer. Then again, they probably have some savvy marketing people who can do much better than me. Maybe “More Bango & Bud for your Bucks” plays better? OK, I’ll stop.

 

No Suspension for Smith

 

J.R. Smith will not be further penalized for his Flagrant 1 foul on Al Horford in Game 2. Maybe he’ll actually do something in Game 3. Maybe?

 

NBA Mock Draft Stuff

 

I listed my Top 14 picks after the Draft Lottery on Tuesday night right here, and Rotoworld Draft specialist Raphielle Johnson posted his first mock draft on Wednesday right here.

 

Dr. A Personal Stuff

 

Two of my all-time favorites, Stephen Malkmus (Sparkle Hard) and the band Parquet Courts (Wide Awake), are putting out new albums on Friday, May 18. I love both records, and both groups of people so much, and you should check them out. Here’s my ancient fantasy hoops interview with Malkmus, and you can look for a fantasy-sports heavy interview with Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull soon. MO’s Black Mile to the Surface record is my favorite album since the 90s.

 

And my Atlanta Braves! They’re in first place in the National League and have the third best record in baseball. The starting pitching has been fantastic, Ozzie Albies, Nick Markakis, Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte have been amazing, and I have a huge man-crush on rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. – I’m telling you, this baseball team is just as fun to watch as any NBA or NFL team I’ve seen. If we have another kid, I'll name him Ozzie Ronald Alexander, but that's not going to happen. Probably. Let’s Go!!



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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