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Dose: Week 25 Preview

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Dose: Week 25 Preview
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Week 25 is here. Check out the remaining playoff implications and possible fill-ins across the injury …

Games Played Week 25

2 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAN, TOR, UTA, WAS

1 Game: CLE, DAL, DET, IND, POR, SAC

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here's the FanDuel link.

Playoff Scenarios

My Twitter buddy Richard Yannow broke down the various playoff scenarios and sent them to me last night. Here’s what we’re looking at.

West:

1. Spurs – No. 1 seed, homecourt through the playoffs.

2. Thunder - Clinches No. 2 with a win or a Clippers loss. 

3. Clippers - Move up to No. 2 if they win out and OKC loses out.

4. Rockets - Clinches No. 4 with a win or a Blazers loss.

5. Blazers - Move up to No. 4 if they win out and Rockets lose out.

6. Warriors – Clinch No. 6 with a win or if Mavs & Grizzlies both lose.

7. Mavericks - Move up to No. 6 with a win and Warriors losing out.  Clinch at least No. 7 with a win or Grizzlies loss. Fall to No. 8 with a loss to Grizzlies, and a Grizzlies win over the Suns.

8. Grizzlies - Move up to No. 6 if they win out and Warriors lose out. Finish No. 7 if they win out and Warriors win one.  Clinches at least No. 8 with a win or a Suns loss.

9. Suns - Move up to No. 8 if they win out and Grizzlies lose out.  Eliminated from playoff contention by a loss or a Grizzlies win.

East:

1. Pacers – Clinch No. 1 with a win or a Heat loss.

2. Heat - Move up to No. 1 with Pacers loss and if they win out.

3. Raptors – Clinch No. 3 with two wins or two Bulls losses. They hold the tiebreaker, so they get No. 3 if they finish with at least same number of wins as the Bulls over the last two games.

4. Bulls - Move up to No. 3 if they win more games than the Raptors over the last two.

5. Nets – Clinch No. 5 with a win or a Wizards loss.

6. Wizards - Move up to No. 5 if they win out and Nets lose out. Otherwise, they finish No. 6 if they win at least as many games as the Bobcats over last two games, and No. 7 if they win fewer.

7. Bobcats - Move up to No. 6 if they win more games than the Wizards over last two games.  Otherwise, they're No.7.

8. Hawks - Locked into No. 8.

So, as you can see, only the Spurs and Hawks have no incentive to win any more games, meaning you should probably think about avoiding them in the next three days if you can. And just because a team, like the Heat, still has something to play for, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t rest certain players (LeBron James). It will be very interesting to see how things go down in the next few days.

Sunday’s Games

Pacers Down Thunder

Roy Hibbert failed to score and George Hill missed both his shots and scored three points, yet the Pacers still managed to find a way to beat the Thunder and maintain a slim lead over the Heat for the No. 1 seed in the East. I am guessing the Heat are going to go for it. I mean, they haven’t rested LeBron yet, and while he may be running on fumes, the fact remains the team with homecourt advantage has just that – a big advantage.

Back to the Pacers. Hibbert is a disaster and has been for weeks. Hill is the current day Eric Snow. An offensively challenged point guard who can run an offense, yet doesn’t rack up assists. You have to wonder if he’s played his way out of a job, as C.J. Watson had 20 points and four 3-pointers off the bench. The Pacers need scorers, and not a point guard averaging 5.8 points and 2.8 assists over his last four games. Hill should continue to start, but as someone who has him stuck in a lineup for the next two games, I wish I had Watson instead. Luckily for Hibbert, there is no one else waiting in the wings to steal his job. He just needs to figure out what is going on and change it. He has to get aggressive and go back to playing like he did over the first half of the season. The Pacers’ win over the Thunder was huge and a nice confidence boost, but they’re still sitting ducks for a first-round exit if they can’t get Hibbert to figure it out. And as much as Hibbert and his teammates seem to be leery of Lance Stephenson, they owe him a big ‘thank you’ for yesterday’s 17-10-11 triple-double, his fifth of the season.  

Raptors Beat Pistons

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to score 58 points in the win, while Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and eight rebounds in the win. Amir Johnson was nearly invisible and is back into a full timeshare with Patrick Patterson. If the Raps want the No. 3 seed, they’re going to keep trying to win.

Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe were big and all five starters scored at least 14 points in the loss. It looks like Josh Smith may be done for the season, although that’s not official.

Nets Top Magic

The Nets got 20 points and four 3-pointers out of Mirza Teletovic off the bench, and Mason Plumlee added 17 points and 11 boards in the win. Joe Johnson and 17 points and Deron Williams had 16 points and a nice line, while Marcus Thornton hit just 3-of-11 shots for eight points. The Nets still need to win a game, so hopefully the regulars have one more left in them.

Nikola Vucevic is done for the year and Jameer Nelson sat out last night. Tobias Harris played well, but the Magic box score from yesterday isn’t pretty to look at and it’s hard to trust any of them right now.

Knicks Beat Bulls

The Knicks rallied, even though it doesn’t matter, and beat the Bulls, getting 20 points from Tim Hardaway Jr., and 17 a piece from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. I’m a little surprised that Melo is playing through his shoulder injury, but maybe he’s poised to finish out the season.

The Bulls got 13 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists from Joakim Noah, and saw five other players score in double figures, but still couldn’t beat the Knicks. They still have a shot at the No. 3 seed, so it would make sense for them to keep playing the regulars.

Blazers Outlast Warriors in OT

The Blazers got 26 points out of LaMarcus Aldridge, 24 points out of Wesley Matthews, 18 points and 12 boards from Nicolas Batum, and saw four other players score at least 13 points in a tough, overtime win against the Warriors. The can move up to No. 4 if they win out, so the regulars will hopefully keep it going.

Stephen Curry went off for 47 points, five assists and seven 3-pointers, while David Lee played through injuries and had four points in 33 minutes. Klay Thompson was solid with 25 and six 3-pointers, yet the Blazers still got the win. Andrew Bogut left this one with a rib injury and had X-rays, leaving his status in doubt for the week. If he’s out, Jermaine O’Neal would likely take over center duties. They clinch No. 6 with a win, so look for Curry and company to keep playing hard.

Kings Take Wolves, Cousins Gets A Tech

The Kings held on to beat the Wolves last night, but DeMarcus Cousins picked up a technical foul, and as of now, is suspended for Wednesday’s finale against the Suns. Maybe the league will overturn it, as I’ve certainly seen him do a lot more than he did last night while picking up a tech. He had a big game with 35 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, a steal and three blocks, and I think a lot of us are hoping the league will let him play Wednesday. But I also think it’s a long shot. Isaiah Thomas returned from injury and had 14 points in 30 minutes, while Ray McCallum stayed relevant with 11 points and six assists off the bench. Rudy Gay sat this one out and I’m not holding my breath that we’ll see him on Wednesday. Ben McLemore had one of his best games of the season, hitting 6-of-11 shots and three 3-pointers for 19 points, his second highest scoring night of the season. Derrick Williams had 13 points and could get another start on Wednesday if Gay sits again.

The Wolves got 43 points, 11 rebounds and four 3-pointers from Kevin Love, despite his shooting elbow injury. That was quite impressive, but it remains to be seen if he plays on Monday and Wednesday. Corey Brewer cooled off with just 10 points, but Gorgui Dieng continued to do his thing with 21 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Ricky Rubio failed to score, but at least had 11 assists in the loss. So frustrating.

Grizzlies Roll Lakers

The Grizzlies breezed past the Lakers with 24 points and eight assists on 9-of-12 shooting from Mike Conley, while Tayshaun Prince returned for nine points, ruining the James Johnson party (one minute). Marc Gasol had 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Zach Randolph never got it going against Jordan Hill, finishing with just 10 points and six rebounds, ruining some of my Daily dreams.

The Lakers are a mess and even their reliable players are no longer all that reliable, as they seem to dance all over one another. Hill was solid with 10 points, 10 boards and two blocks, Wes Johnson had 15 points and 15 rebounds in 40 minutes, Jodie Meeks scored 20 points in 39 minutes and Nick Young had 14 points off the bench. Kendall Marshall played 29 minutes for nine points and nine dimes, while Jordan Farmar came off the bench to hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points and seven assists. Meeks, Johnson and Hill look relatively safe, but any of them could be ruined if Ryan Kelly, Young, Marshall or Farmar get hot. Tread carefully with the Lakers.

Injury Concerns

Pero Antic – ankle – Day-to-day (Elton Brand)

Jared Sullinger – ankle – Day-to-day (Kelly Olynyk)

Rajon Rondo – rest – Day-to-day (Phil Pressey)

Jerryd Bayless – knee – Day-to-day (Avery Bradley)

Kris Humphries – knee – Day-to-day (Olynyk, Brandon Bass)

Alan Anderson – abdomen – Day-to-day (Mirza Teletovic)

Shaun Livingston – toe – Day-to-day (Marcus Thornton)

Kemba Walker – groin – Day-to-day (Luke Ridnour)

Luol Deng – back – Day-to-day (Alonzo Gee)

Dirk Nowitzki – ankle – Iffy for finale, but guessing he'll play (Jae Crowder, Shawn Marion)

Wilson Chandler – groin – I don’t see him playing (Evan Fournier)

Ty Lawson – ankle – I don’t know why he’d play (Aaron Brooks)

Josh Smith – knee – We still don’t know if he’ll play this week.

Andrew Bogut – ribs – Very iffy at this point (Jermaine O’Neal)

Chandler Parsons – wrist – Could play, but risky.

Pau Gasol – vertigo – Done for the season (Jordan Hill)

Brandon Knight – hip – Who knows? (Ramon Sessions)

Kevin Love – elbow – Maybe he’ll play through it again.

Tyreke Evans – knee – Day-to-day (Anthony Morrow, Luke Babbitt)

Brian Roberts – ankle – Iffy to play again (Austin Rivers)

Anthony Davis – back – Done for season (Alexis Ajinca)

Eric Gordon – knee – Guessing he’s done (Quincy Miller)

Carmelo Anthony – shoulder – May be ready to shut it down (J.R. Smith)

Raymond Felton – ankle – Played through it Sunday (Pablo Prigioni)

Reggie Jackson – neck – Iffy for the week (Caron Butler)

Russell Westbrook – knee – Not likely for Mon., could also sit Weds. (Derek Fisher)

Jameer Nelson – groin – Would be surprised to see him (Victor Oladipo)

Nikola Vucevic – Achilles – Done for season (Kyle O’Quinn)

DeMarcus Cousins – suspended – Likely out Weds. (Quincy Acy)

Rudy Gay – back – Could be done (Derrick Williams)

Isaiah Thomas – ankle – Played well Sunday (Ray McCallum)

San Antonio Spurs – Nothing to play for, watch your step.

Marvin Williams – knee – Likely done (Enes Kanter)

Nene – rest – Could play to get into game shape for playoffs (Trevor Booker)

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