NBA EZ Pick Preview 03/19/19
Take a look at the matchups set for this Tuesday’s EZ Pick.
James Harden vs Stephen Curry
James Harden played through a strained neck and hit just 8-of-24 shots, 4-of-12 3-pointers, and didn’t even attempt a free throw to finish with 20 points, two rebounds, 10 assists and a steal in Sunday’s win over Minnesota. The good news is he played and the Rockets have four games this week, but they have a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta and Memphis, and Mike D’Antoni seems to be in “rest guys” mode. It’s quite possible that Harden rests for one of those games, but at this point of the season, you kind of have to go with the guys who got you here. And Harden is definitely one of those guys. Even if he only plays in three games, he should still rack up some ridiculous stats, and he hopefully got his bad game out of his system tonight. He also took a hard fall and was having his neck worked on throughout the night, but the chances of him playing in at least three games this week seem to be good. And in case you’re wondering, outside of All-Star games and the playoffs, the last time he didn’t attempt a free throw in a regular-season game appears to have been Jan. 2 of 2015. Crazy.
Stephen Curry hit 9-of-25 shots during Monday’s loss to the Spurs, finishing with 25 points, seven boards, eight dimes, six triples, three steals, one block and two turnovers in 37 minutes. Curry got off to a slow start in this one, missing his first seven shots, and overall, he just seemed a bit off. He did, however, have a hashtag StephGonSteph moment to close out the first quarter, drilling a 60-footer to beat the buzzer, which accounted for his fourth-career make from beyond 50 feet. Curry has been in a mini-slump over the past five-games, connecting on just 37.5% of his field goal attempts, but the counting stats have remained stellar.
Chris Paul vs Jimmy Butler
Chris Paul returned from a rest and hit 8-of-12 shots, 6-of-7 3-pointers and 3-of-3 free throws on his way to 25 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, a steal and one 3-pointer in Sunday’s 117-102 win over the Wolves. He dominated, and we mean dominated, Tyus Jones tonight, and is hot heading into a four-game week for his fantasy owners. He was rested on Friday, but looked like a well-rested, well-oiled machine Sunday night. Hopefully Mike D’Antoni isn’t planning on resting him in the upcoming four-game week, but just keep in mind that the Rockets do have a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Hawks and Memphis, both of which are road games. We’re starting Paul in Week 23 where we own him, and his six 3-pointers tied his season high.
Jimmy Butler went 8-of-16 from the field and 9-of-13 from the line on his way to 27 points during Sunday’s win over the Bucks. Butler added six rebounds, three assists, three steals, two turnovers and a surprise two triples over his 34 minutes of floor time, and his defense was instrumental in Philly pulling off the win in Milwaukee.
Ben Simmons vs Kemba Walker
Ben Simmons flirted with a poor man’s triple-double during Sunday’s win over the Bucks, registering eight points, nine rebounds, nine assists and three turnovers in 35 minutes. Simmons got off to a sluggish start, going just 2-of-6 from the field through the first half of action, and he didn’t attempt a single shot through the entirety of the third quarter. Some of that had to do with him taking a backseat to the Joel Embiid show, and some of it had to do with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s suffocating defense, but he should have a more productive outing on Tuesday against the Hornets.
Kemba Walker was held to just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Heat, adding two triples, four boards, four dimes, one steal and three turnovers in 36 minutes. The Heat did a nice job of taking the ball out of Walker’s hands, blitzing him every time he touches the rock, and he finished the first half of action with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. It didn’t get much better for him after halftime, and with the Hornets dropping this one they now sit 1.5 games behind the Heat for the No. 8 spot out East. Charlotte has lost 12 of their last 17 games, and have a tough schedule to close out the year, so their postseason hopes are looking pretty grim at the moment.
Draymond Green vs Tobias Harris
Draymond Green racked up 10 points for Golden State on Monday night. The Warriors hve now dropped to 47-22 on the season and are now tied with Denver for top spot in the Western Conference standings.
Tobias Harris finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and zero turnovers through 34 minutes of floor time against the Bucks on Sunday.
De’Aaron Fox vs Trae Young
Sacramento is fourth in the Western Conference with 25.6 assists per game, led by De’Aaron Fox averaging 7.2.
Trae Young scored 20 points on 9-of-18 in Sunday’s loss to the Magic, adding six rebounds and five assists with just two turnovers. Young went 0-of-5 from distance, but still managed his third straight game of 20 or more points, doing much of his damage on a flurry of mid-range runners. The 20-year-old has shot an impressive 27-of-47 (57.4 percent) from the floor over his last three games.