NBA EZ Pick Preview 03/27/19
Take a look at the matchups set for this Wednesday’s EZ Pick.
Stephen Curry (vs MEM) or Russell Westbrook (vs IND)
Stephen Curry returned from a rest day to score 26 points on Sunday, making five 3-pointers with nine rebounds, three assists and one steal in 35 minutes. The night off Saturday appeared to do him good, as Steph looked sharp after resting for the first time in Golden State’s past 50 games. He came in shooting just 41.6% from the field since the All-Star break, but made 9-of-19 shots tonight and hit a few key buckets to ward off a late challenge from Detroit. He’s cruising along as a top-10 value but owners should be mindful of the Warriors’ two remaining back-to-back sets — it wouldn’t be surprising if Steph got a night or two off in preparation for the playoffs.
Russell Westbrook hit just 6-of-20 shots for 16 points in Monday’s 115-103 loss to the Grizzlies. He dished out seven dimes with five rebounds, one triple and one turnover, but was outplayed by both Delon Wright and Tyler Dorsey. The good news is that he didn’t pick up a technical foul, so he’s still two away from another one-game suspension. With the Thunder sliding down to 8th in the West, OKC won’t have the luxury of resting Westbrook as long as seeding is up for grabs.
LeBron James (vs UTA) or Paul George (vs IND)
LeBron James had 23 points, seven rebounds, 14 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 11-of-20 shooting in Tuesday’s 124-106 win over the Wizards. The Lakers are out of the playoffs and play again on Wednesday night against the Jazz, and it would be surprising to see LeBron in uniform for that one. Fantasy owners should plan on being without him Wednesday night. LeBron said after the game that he doesn’t know how many more games he’ll play this season, but that he will go all out when he does play. He also said he considered skipping tonight’s game to go to Chris Bosh’s ceremony in Miami, but decided against it due to the fact the NBA wouldn’t have been pleased.
Paul George will be playing his fourth game against his former team. In two games against Indiana last season, he averaged just 11 points per game, but the Thunder won both. In their only other matchup this season, he scored 36 points in a two-point loss. I think we’ll see “Playoff P” in action, given both the motivation against his former club and the sheer need for the Thunder to get back into the win column.
Damian Lillard (vs CHI) or Bradley Beal (vs PHX)
Damian Lillard didn’t have his best night shooting the basketball, as he was 10-of-30 from the field and 4-of-16 from three, but he finished with 31 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and one steal in a double-overtime win over the Nets. Lillard has scored 30 points or more in four of his last five games, and his average of 28.1 points per game in March is his second-highest for a month this season (29.6 ppg in October). The All-Star point guard is also averaging 8.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this month, and he’ll have even more on his plate offensively as Jusuf Nurkic was lost to a horrific leg injury. Portland is also without CJ McCollum (knee), meaning that the Trail Blazers will look to solidify its playoff seeding without two of the team’s top three scorers.
Bradley Beal hit 10-of-19 shots and two 3-pointers for 32 points, five rebounds, two assists and a block in 37 minutes of Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers. That just about does it for the Wizards playoff hopes and you have to wonder if Beal starts missing occasional games with nothing left to play for. So far there hasn’t been talk about shutting him down, or even missing games, but given his injury history and veteran/star status, it would be surprising if he doesn’t at least get a couple days off the rest of the way.
CJ McCollum (vs CHI) or Klay Thompson (vs MEM)
C.J. McCollum (left knee) will not travel with the Blazers on their upcoming 4-game road trip. After Monday’s home game vs. the Nets, the Blazers will face the Bulls, Hawks, Pistons and Wolves on the road. That rules McCollum out until at least April 4th. Coach Terry Stotts said that McCollum is “progressing well,” but there’s no guarantee he returns before the end of the regular season.
Klay Thompson put up 24 points (10-17 FG, 4-6 3Pt) to go with two rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes Sunday in the Warriors’ 121-114 win over the Pistons. Thompson took part in all five of the Warriors’ league-high five games during the week, contributing averages of 18.4 points (on 42.5 percent shooting from the field), 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.6 triples per contest. With the Warriors holding just a half-game lead over the Nuggets for the top seed in the Western Conference heading into Monday’s action, Thompson and most of Golden State’s key regulars shouldn’t be subject to the frequent late-season rest they have received in past years.
DeMarcus Cousins (vs MEM) or Steven Adams (vs IND)
DeMarcus Cousins (rest) is set to return for Wednesday’s game versus the Grizzlies, Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News reports. Cousins was sidelined Sunday against the Pistons for rest purposes, as it was the second half of a back-to-back set. Coach Steve Kerr indicated Tuesday that all Warriors will be active in Memphis, so look for him to resume his usual role with the team.
Steven Adams had two points (1-7 FG), eight rebounds, four steals, and three blocks in 32 minutes during Monday’s 115-103 loss to the Grizzlies. Adams was absolutely awful offensively, only salvaging his stat line thanks to his impressive defensive contributions. He has been held to single digits in scoring in three straight tilts and four of the last five, and Adams will look to get back on track during Wednesday’s matchup versus the Pacers.