Tag: Eastern Conference
Top NBA Fantasy Picks from 1 to 6
1 – Jayson Tatum (F) – Boston Celtics
2 – Jaylen Brown (G) – Boston Celtics
3 – Daniel Theis (C) – Boston Celtics
4 – Duncan Robinson (G) – Miami Heat
5 – Jae Crowder (F) – Miami Heat
6 – Tyler Herro (G) – Miami Heat
Preview: Sabres at Flyers
Two teams hoping to remain in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference face off Tuesday when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo is six points behind Carolina for the second wild-card spot while Philadelphia trails the Hurricanes by seven and Columbus by eight for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Sabres were unable to close the cap Monday as they allowed four consecutive goals in the second period en route to their fifth straight road loss – a 5-3 setback at Toronto. Captain Jack Eichel scored twice to extend his point streak to five games (three goals, four assists) and increase his career high – and team-leading – total to 68 points. Captain Claude Giroux celebrated his 800th NHL game Saturday by scoring 1:59 into overtime as the Flyers posted a 4-3 comeback victory over Pittsburgh at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field in their 2019 Stadium Series matchup. The outdoor contest marked the end of Wayne Simmonds’ 7 2/3-season tenure with the Flyers as the rugged right wing was dealt to Nashville at Monday’s trade deadline.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE SABRES (29-25-8): Sam Reinhart followed a hat trick against Washington on Saturday with a goal and an assist versus the Maple Leafs while Kyle Okposo registered two hits and blocked a pair of shots in 11 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time after missing four games with a concussion. Defenseman Brandon Montour, who recorded five goals and 20 assists in 62 games with Anaheim this season, is expected to make his debut with the Sabres on Tuesday after being acquired two days earlier. Buffalo made one deal on deadline day Monday, sending blue-liner Nathan Beaulieu to Winnipeg for a sixth-round pick in the June draft.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (29-26-7): In return for Simmonds, Philadelphia received right wing Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick from the Predators. The 24-year-old Hartman, who scored a career-high 19 goals with Chicago in 2016-17, recorded 10 tallies and as many assists in 64 games with Nashville this season. Defenseman Radko Gudas will return to the lineup Tuesday after serving a two-game suspension for a high-sticking infraction against Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.
1. Flyers G Brian Elliott, who made his first start – and third appearance – since Nov. 15 because of a lower-body injury Saturday, is expected to get the call again versus Buffalo.
2. Buffalo will be playing on the road for the fifth time in six games after beginning the month with seven straight home contests.
3. Philadelphia D Samuel Morin (knee) was recalled from his conditioning assignment with Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League and practiced Monday but has yet to be activated from injured reserve.
Preview: Celtics at Raptors
Two of the top Eastern Conference contenders square off for the fourth and final time in the regular season when the Toronto Raptors host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Celtics won the two matchups in Boston while the Raptors also protected home court with a 113-101 win on Oct. 19.
Toronto played without All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard (rest) during Sunday’s 113-98 home loss to the Orlando Magic as its seven-game winning streak came to a halt. “Just never really got in a rhythm,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse told reporters. “They made some big shots every time we thought we were right where we needed to be.” Boston has dropped four of its last six games after being humbled 126-116 by the host Chicago Bulls on Saturday. “We just got outplayed in every which way,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “There are no two ways around it. You know, credit them obviously. Once they got rolling, there was no stopping them.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, NBCS Boston, Sportsnet One (Toronto)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (37-23): Star point guard Kyrie Irving has been frustrated with his team’s play in recent weeks but was more measured after contributing 37 points and 10 assists in the setback against the Bulls. “It’s basketball, so we’ve got some figuring out to do,” Irving told reporters after the team’s second straight loss. “Go back, watch film. Obviously, some effort plays where we really could’ve covered for one another and just execution on both ends of the floor. Being able to give each other space, make basketball plays, read plays, just play the game at a high level. Obviously, these last two games, we haven’t done that at the level we’ve been capable of. We have to continue to do better.” Small forward Gordon Hayward scored just five points in 24 minutes against Chicago after missing one game with an ankle injury.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (44-17): The startling loss to Orlando dropped Toronto to 13-4 when playing without Leonard and Nurse said that the game falling in between Friday’s emotional game with the San Antonio Spurs — Leonard’s former team — and the Celtics was why it was picked to rest him. The plan didn’t work with the Magic holding the Raptors to 15 first-quarter points and being the sharper team throughout the contest. Power forward Serge Ibaka scored 14 points off the bench to extend his career-long streak of consecutive games in double digits to 22.
1. Irving is averaging 30.3 points against the Raptors this season, including a season-high 43 in a 123-116 overtime win on Nov. 16.
2. Boston reserve PG Terry Rozier is just 5-of-26 shooting over his past three games.
3. Toronto PG Kyle Lowry had 19 points and 10 assists against Orlando for his 16th double-double of the season.
Preview: Bucks at Raptors
The battle for first place in the Eastern Conference will go head-to-head when the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. The Bucks go into the meeting with a half-game lead in the East and took two of the first three matchups against the Raptors, including a win at Toronto on Dec. 9.
Milwaukee began its five-game road trip with a loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday but managed to maintain its record as the lone team in the league without back-to-back setbacks by knocking off the Detroit Pistons 115-105 on Tuesday. Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, flirted with a triple-double and finished with 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in the victory. The Raptors avoided a third consecutive setback on Sunday and closed a three-game road trip by edging the Dallas Mavericks 123-120, and they get two at home before hitting the road again for three more. Toronto is enjoying a 10-game winning streak at home that began after that 104-99 setback against the Bucks on Dec. 9.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, TSN 1/4/5 (Toronto)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (35-13): Injuries are getting to Milwaukee’s backcourt, but seldom-used reserve Pat Connaughton is making the most of the opportunity and sprang for 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes Tuesday after not getting off the bench in three of the previous four contests. “Unbelievable,” Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe told reporters of Connaughton. “Pat’s been great all season when he does play. He always stays ready. He’s a veteran. He’s a professional, so he puts in the work. As I always say, just glad to see him come in and play well and we win.” Connaughton could be a key player again on Thursday with shooting guards Malcolm Brogdon (chest), Sterling Brown (wrist) and Donte DiVincenzo (heel) all day-to-day.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (37-15): Toronto has its own superstar forward in Kawhi Leonard, who scored at least 20 points in each of the last 22 games. Leonard, who sat out four straight as part of an injury maintenance program, averaged 32.5 points in two games since his return and recorded a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s triumph at Dallas. Center Serge Ibaka recorded a double-double in the win as well – his season-best fourth straight.
1. Raptors PG Kyle Lowry is 7-of-23 from the floor over the last two games.
2. Bucks C Brook Lopez is averaging 3.4 blocks over the last five contests.
3. Antetokounmpo is averaging 31 points and 18.5 rebounds in two games against Toronto this season.
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A look at how the Eastern Conference teams stack up
1. BOSTON CELTICS
2017-18 finish: 55-27, second
Coming: F-C Robert Williams III (draft)
The Celtics made the conference finals and went toe-to-toe with LeBron James despite playing without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. Both are expected to be healthy for the new season, when they’ll be joined by young players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who had to take on expanded roles last season. Coach Brad Stevens is one of the best around, and the Celtics have the talent, depth and experience to make it to the NBA Finals.
2. PHILADELPHIA 76ers
2017-18 finish: 52-30, third
Coming: F Wilson Chandler (trade), G Zhaire Smith (draft)
Going: G-F Marco Belinelli (FA), F Ersan Ilyasova (FA)
There was a feeling by some that the 76ers were one of the losers this offseason after failing to land Paul George or LeBron James. Few teams have their combination of potential and capabilityThe 76ers re-signed J.J. Redick and they’ll get improved versions of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Last year’s No. 1 pick, Markelle Fultz, is a massive X-factor after a lost season. If he plays to potential, it could propel the 76ers deep into the playoffs.
3. TORONTO RAPTORS
2017-18 finish: 59-23, first
Coming: F Kawhi Leonard (trade), G Danny Green (trade)
Going: G DeMar DeRozan (trade), C Jakob Poeltl (trade)
The Raptors had the best regular season in franchise’s history and celebrated by firing the NBA’s coach of the year and trading the organization’s all-time leader in points and games. The Raptors and president Masai Ujiri knew they had plateaued, and they made the biggest bet of the offseason. By trading for Kawhi Leonard, who missed almost all of last season with an injury, the Raptors got the game’s best two-way player (if healthy). But no one knows if it will last more than one season.
2017-18 finish: 48-34, fifth
Coming: G Tyreke Evans (FA), F Doug McDermott (FA)
Going: G Glenn Robinson III (FA), G Lance Stephenson (FA)
One of the surprise stories in the NBA last season, the Pacers quickly morphed after dealing Paul George to the Thunder. The return — Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis — blossomed and the Pacers should be considered a sleeper pick for a run to the Eastern Conference finals. Evans, who had a terrific season last year in Memphis, was one of the best under-the-radar signings of the summer. There’s a lot of young talent here that should continue to grow together.
5. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
2017-18 finish: 44-38, seventh
Coming: C Brook Lopez (FA), G Donte DiVincenzo (draft)
Going: F Jabari Parker (FA)
The Bucks open a new arena this season and they do it with the best roster of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s time as a pro. He’s still not a finished project, which is scary because no one in the NBA has his combination of skills, physicality and vowels. Getting Mike Budenholzer on the sidelines is a big deal, as is adding Lopez, who should get a lot of open looks in the pick-and-pop game with Antetokounmpo. The Bucks haven’t shot a lot of three-pointers in the past, but to win in the modern NBA you need to launch. Expect that to change.
6. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
2017-18 finish: 43-39, eighth
Coming: C Dwight Howard (FA), G Austin Rivers (trade)
Going: C Marcin Gortat (trade), F Mike Scott (FA)
You wonder when the Wizards will reach a breaking point with this roster. They’ve been unable to crack 50 wins or get past the second round of the playoffs with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt. To get over the hump in a LeBron-less East, they turned to Austin Rivers to give them scoring and defense off the bench and Dwight Howard, who is playing for his fourth different team in the four seasons.
7. MIAMI HEAT
2017-18 finish: 44-38, sixth
The Heat bring everyone back thanks to being strangled by the salary cap. Coach Erik Spoelstra is one of the best in the NBA and should get the group back in the fight for a playoff spot, though the Heat probably can’t get better than that for a few years. The big story this season will be Dwyane Wade’s final trip around the league before retiring.
8. DETROIT PISTONS
2017-18 finish: 39-43, ninth
Coming: G Jose Calderon (FA), C Zaza Pachulia (FA)
Going: F Anthony Tolliver (FA), F James Ennis (FA)
Detroit hopes that Blake Griffin, who they acquired for a lottery pick for last season, and Andre Drummond can be a better pairing after a full offseason together. Guard Reggie Jackson is the third piece of the puzzle, though his health always is a question — he’s missed at least 30 games the last two seasons. New coach Dwane Casey gets a crack to figure out what Stan Van Gundy couldn’t.
9. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
2017-18 finish: 50-32, fourth
Coming: G Collin Sexton (draft), G-F David Nwaba (FA)
Going: F LeBron James (FA), F Jeff Green (FA)
The post-James Cavaliers move forward with Kevin Love as their best player and centerpiece, signing him to a contract extension this summer. The hope is Sexton, one of the top point guards in the 2018 draft, can develop quickly and keep Cleveland around the playoff race. If it’s going to happen this season, Cleveland will need to get more consistent play from Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson, two players they traded for last season.
10. CHARLOTTE HORNETS
2017-18 finish: 36-46, 10th
Coming: C Bismack Biyombo (trade), F Miles Bridges (draft), G Tony Parker (FA)
Going: C Dwight Howard (trade)
The Hornets’ path under Mitch Kupchak will soon be carved, with the organization facing a big decision with Kemba Walker, their best player by a longshot, who has one year left on his deal. A trade is definitely a possibility, with Charlotte stuck in NBA purgatory right now — maybe good enough to crack the playoffs if everything goes right but definitely not talented enough to contend. A reset could be coming soon.
12. CHICAGO BULLS
2017-18 finish: 27-55, 13th
Coming: F-C Wendell Carter Jr. (draft), F Jabari Parker (FA)
Going: G Jerian Grant (trade)
The Bulls’ biggest move of the summer — matching the Kings’ $78-million offer for Zach LaVine — is a gamble considering the athletic guard is coming off knee surgery. But, it seems for the second draft in a row, the Bulls added a future pillar to their roster. After taking Lauri Markkanen a year ago, the Bulls got Carter, an Al Horford clone, to hold down the middle. If Parker thrives in his hometown, the Bulls could surprise people. If not, it might be time for massive organizational changes.
12. BROOKLYN NETS
2017-18 finish: 28-54, 12th
Coming: F Kenneth Faried (trade), C Ed Davis (FA)
Going: G Jeremy Lin (trade), C Jahlil Okafor (FA)
The Nets are counting on D’Angelo Russell to take a major step this season as they’re finally unshackled from the horrors of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade that stripped the team of top draft picks for multiple seasons. Brooklyn has done a nice job putting together a stable of role players and have pieces to deal to contenders, but they’re still waiting for someone to become a star. Russell has the best shot.
13. ORLANDO MAGIC
2017-18 finish: 25-57, 14th
Coming: C Mohamed Bamba (draft), G Jerian Grant (trade)
Going: C Bismack Biyombo (FA), Mario Hezonja (FA)
The bottom of the Eastern Conference is filled with teams looking to the future, and the Magic are definitely in that group. The long-term hope is Aaron Gordon, who they signed to a four-year, $76-million deal this summer, will be a good fit with ultra-raw and imposing big men Jonathan Isaac and Bamba. The future feels very far away for Orlando, though.
14. ATLANTA HAWKS
2017-18 finish: 24-58, 15th
Coming: G Trae Young (draft), G Jeremy Lin (trade), G-F Vince Carter (FA)
Going: G Dennis Schroeder (trade), F-C Mike Muscala (trade)
The Hawks are set to try to do the impossible — replicate Golden State’s path to the top of the NBA — with former Warriors exec Travis Schlenk providing the blueprints. Trading Luka Doncic for Trae Young was step one for Atlanta, a huge risk that, at times, looked disastrous this summer. By trading Schroeder, Young will get the chance to learn right away what it takes to play point guard in the NBA.
15. NEW YORK KNICKS
2017-18 finish: 29-53, 11th
Coming: F Kevin Knox (draft), Mitchell Robinson (draft), F Mario Hezonja (FA)
Going: F Michael Beasley (FA), F-C Kyle O’Quinn (FA)
Playoffs Fantasy Basketball
Eastern Conference Round 2 Preview
On to round two of playoffs fantasy basketball. The seeding order got respected with the top four team moving on. After dismantling the Pistons in four game, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had enough rest (8 days) to take on the Atlanta Hawks. The other series sets up the north versus the south. The Toronto Raptors will go against the Miami Heat. Both team were pushed to the brink of a game 7 during round one. The Eastern conference round 2 will begin May 2nd with the Hawks flying in to Cleveland for Game 1. The Heat will be in Toronto the following day to start their series as well. Join FanPicks to play the NBA playoffs.
Photo credit: Ken Blaze / USA Today Sports
For the Atlanta Hawks, facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers is starting to look less like a matchup than a recurring nightmare.
The Hawks got swept by Cleveland this season, dropping the three meetings by an average of almost 10 points (109.3 to 99.7). When they met in the Eastern Conference finals last spring, the result was the same: four consecutive Cavaliers victories, an especially ignominious way for Atlanta’s sparkling 60-victory season to end. And if you go back even further to 2009, the previous postseason clash between both sides, well it ended in a sweep again. See the trend?
Nothing either of these teams did in the first round (sweep of Detroit for Cleveland and 4-2 win against Boston for Atlanta) suggests that things will be different this year.
Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski / USA Today Sports
The Toronto Raptors fans have reason to celebrate, even if it’s only the second round. For the second-time in their 21-year history, they won a best-of-seven playoff series, outlasting the Indiana Pacers in seven games.It wasn’t pretty and it came so close to falling apart in the fourth quarter of Game 7, but coach Dwane Casey can now breath easy.
While the Raptors had their ups and downs in the first round, the Heat had their ups and downs this season. But both had regular-season success against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have long been the clear favorite to win the Eastern Conference. One of them will get the chance to put the Cavs to the test in the conference finals, should the defending conference champs win their series with the Atlanta Hawks.
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NBA Playoffs Fantasy Basketball Preview – Eastern Conference
Every team in the NBA playoffs would love to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June but the road to an NBA Championship is a long and difficult one. This NBA Playoffs Fantasy Basketball Preview of the Eastern Conference is is brought you by FanPicks.com. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!
What does 1st round NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Bracket look like:
Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference matchups:
(# 1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (# 8) Detroit Pistons:
LeBron James has never lost a 1st round series game yet in his career and on top of that, not a single loss since May 2012 against the Knicks. The Cavs are high favorites in this contest against the Detroit Pistons. They will just need to keep their offense flow running as well as getting past the 1st round very healthy. They suffered the loss of Kevin Love against the Celtics last year, really hurting them in the finals against the Warriors.
Detroit made it this far and should feel very happy. With a win or two against the Cavs, they can rub their shoulders with satisfaction of a decent ending. It will allow their big superstar Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to get some playoff experience and feel the difference between postseason and regular season action, as well as a first step for this organization’s process to come back slowly in the top half of the Eastern Conference.
(# 2) Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers (# 7):
After falling in a thrilling 7 game series against the Brooklyn Nets before being surprisingly swept by John Wall’s Wizards last year, the Raptors in Round 1 have been playing below their potential. This year, it seems that the core is playing differently and full of confidence. Going past Round 1 is more than doable and it would even be a disappointment for Toronto to not see them in the conference finals. They will simply need Kyle Lowry and DeRozan to be healthy and productive to lead this Raptors team to another level.
For much of his playoff career, Paul George had players like David West, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson helping him out as Indiana was always a force in the East. However, this is the first time that George will have no one to lean on. He will still get some help from the impressive rookie Myles Turner in the frontcourt and from veteran guards George Hill with Monta Ellis.
(# 3) Miami Heat vs (# 6) Charlotte Hornets:
Miami was among the 4 teams completely knotted in the middle of the Eastern Conference and ended up with an acceptable 48-34 record. Heat and Hawks were lucky in the tiebreakers and were granted home court for the 1st round. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson are huge addition off the bench for the Heat and helping out with respective 20 + minutes games. The two shoot for an impressive 46.7% at home this season and 41.2% on the road.
Charlotte is the only team in the playoffs that doesn’t have an All-Star player in their roster. They will solely rely on Kemba Walker, their long range shooting, scrappy defense and efficiency in all these sectors. If they end up with a possible upset on this one, it will validate their coach Steve Clifford’s as one of the best coaching minds in the NBA
Atlanta Hawks vs (# 5) Boston Celtics:
The Hawks entered the playoffs last year with 60 wins and with something to prove. This year, they will agains have to prove themselves The Atlanta Hawks entered the postseason last year looking to prove that they were as good as their East-leading 60 victories. This year, the Hawks still have something to prove. They’re much better than their 4th place finish and can make another run at the Conference finals. They’re backed up by their start players Jeff Teague and Al Horford that will need to be key in this series against Boston.
The Celtics are really the dark horse of the Eastern Conference. Their players’ goal this season was to build from what they started last season. It really meant that they wanted to get back in the playoffs and be more competitive. A 48 win season is a great step towards their goal.
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NBA Cash Draft Cavaliers vs Pacers
Dominate your competition with our NBA Cash Draft, create the winning lineup at Fanpicks.com. The Cleveland Cavaliers (56-22) make their way to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to face the Indiana Pacers (41-36).
The Cavaliers recorded their fourth straight victory on Tuesday night, manhandling the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, 109-80. J.R. Smith was the best scorer, producing 21 points, going 7 of 12 from field goal range and 7 of 11 from long distance. LeBron James and Kevin Love both collected 17 points, with James adding 9 assists and 5 boards and Love hauling in 9 rebounds and draining 3 triples. Love has started 73 games for the Cavaliers this season and is averaging 15.9 points and 9.9 rebounds a night. The Cavs seem destined to go into the Playoffs as the number one seed in the East, with all four games remaining versus conference contenders the likes of Indiana, Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit.
Indiana spent Sunday night logging their second straight win as they look to lock down one of the final Eastern Conference seeds down the home stretch, taking care of the New York Knicks on the road, 92-87. Paul George lifted the club with 20 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 7 of 15 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Rodney Stuckey emerged off the bench to put up 17 points and haul in 4 boards, making all five of his shot attempts from the foul line. Ian Mahinmi and George Hill both chipped in 10 points in the win, with Mahinmi adding 8 rebounds and 4 assists and Hill dropping a pair of three-pointers. Hill is averaging 12 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 dimes through 70 matches played. The Pacers sit at seventh place in the East in front of the eighth place Pistons, on a tiebreaker.
Top Fantasy Picks
G J.R. Smith (CLE)
F LeBron James (CLE)
C Ian Mahinmi (IND)