There were just two games on the NBA hardwood Monday night, and every night cannot be a winner. Both games were decided by 17 or more points, with the No. 1 seed Houston Rockets belting the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference, while the Utah Jazz bounced the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder. Both winning teams seized a commanding 3-1 series lead as both series will shift venues for Game 5 on Wednesday. Despite the lopsided results there were plenty of solid fantasy performers on all four teams. Let's get started!
After reviewing the two Monday’s contests, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Tuesday’s games.
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Houston Rockets 119, Minnesota Timberwolves 100:
This was a very competitive game in the first half. Houston and Minnesota battled to a 21-21 tie after the first 12 minutes, and the Rockets were clinging to a one-point lead at halftime, 50-49. Head coach Mike D'Antoni must have peeled the paint off the wall screaming at his team in the locker room during the break, because the Rockets came out for the third quarter like their hair was on fire and they outscored the T-Wolves 50-20 in the third. James Harden accounted for 22 of the 50 points in the third quarter, while Chris Paul poured in 15 points. The team came up just one point short of an NBA record for points in a quarter during the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers hung 51 points on the Detroit Pistons in the fourth quarter of their game on March 31, 1962. Oddly enough, the Lakers lost that game.
Harden finished the game with 36 points, hitting 12-of-26 from the field, while adding 5-of-11 from behind the 3-point line and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. He also filled up the stat line with four rebounds, three assists, four steals and a blocked shot while turning it over just once. CP3 chimed in with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting while dumping in three triples. He also posted six rebounds, six assists and five steals as the Rockets pushed the Wolves to the brink of elimination with the series shifting back to Southeast Texas for Game 5.< /p>
As if the outstanding offense wasn't good news enough, they dodged a bullet on the injury front in this one, too. P.J. Tucker went to the locked room in the second quarter after tweaked his left knee and hobbling off to the locker room. The loss of Tucker would be a devastating blow to the team's frontcourt, but he was able to return after just a brief absence. He ended up scoring just three points with four rebounds and a blocked shot over 24 minutes. Clint Capela handled his business in the frontcourt, snagging 17 rebounds to go along with four blocked shot over 32 minutes while adding 14 points. The Rockets were hot from the perimeter, too, as Trevor Arizona hit three triples and Eric Gordon added four more, as Houston went for 16 3-pointers total in the 19-point road victory.
Karl-Anthony Towns rolled up 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting while grabbing 15 rebounds with two assists over 32 minutes. He more than held his own against Capela down low, but no one else stepped up to the plate to help out KAT. Taj Gibson was non-existent, posting two points with three rebounds and a minus-24 rating over his 20 minutes, attempting just one shot. Jeff Teague was a poor 1-of-7 from the field, including 0-of-3 from behind the 3-point line, finishing with just two points in his 28 minutes. He suffered a finger injury during the game, so perhaps that was a big contributing factor to his off shooting night.
The bench for Minnesota did good things, but most of the damage came when the game was well out of hand. Derrick Rose chipped in with 7-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-2 from behind the 3-point line, while finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists over 32 minutes. Despite the big game, he is more of a complementary part than a vital cog of the offense when the game is much closer. Jamal Crawford hit for 10 points off the bench in 24 minutes while adding four assists and three steals.
The total on this game got a huge boost in the third quarter with a line of 217.5. If you were holding an total ticket you were the only person watching the final ticks of the closing seconds on pins and needles with the game well out of hand. It ended up going over by just one bucket.
Utah Jazz 113, Oklahoma City Thunder 96
This series was expected to be much closer, but right now the Jazz are rolling up big numbers on offense while showing off their stifling defense to make this series a laugher. And everyone is 'taking note'.
The Jazz went on a 20-3 run at the end of the second quarter and into the early third quarter to turn what was a close game into a lopsided affair. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is not looking intimidated during his first go-around in the NBA playoffs, as he rolled up 33 points on 13-of-28 shooting, including 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He also racked up seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot while finishing with a plus-22 rating. All Utah started had a plus-15 rating or better. Ricky Rubio didn't post a triple-double like he did in Game 3, but he was very good again. He ended up with 13 points, eight assists, six rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot over his 34 minutes.
Joe Ingles ended up with 20 points, including 5-of-11 shooting from behind the 3-point line, as he continues to put up big numbers while likely adding dollars to his potential big deal in the upcoming offseason. Jingles is going to get paid, and he is going to be paid well. That'll buy him a lot of vegemite and Castlemaine back home. Rudy Gobert was a very efficient 7-of-11 from the field, ending up with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. It was Gobert's third consecutive double-double in the series, and he is averaging 15.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots through the first four games of the season. He has a double-double in each of the team's three wins in the series.
The bench wasn't terribly effective for the Jazz, totaling just 18 points one 5-of-19 shooting, but they didn't really have to be with Gobert, Mitchell and Rubio during their thing in the starting five. And OKC shot just 39.3 percent from the field, including 19.2 percent from behind the arc. That outstanding scoring defense shouldn't be a surprise, as Utah tied for No. 1 in the NBA by allowing just 99.8 points per game during the regular season.
* Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors - NBATV - 7:00 PM
* Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics - NBATV - 7:00 PM
* Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers - TNT - 8:00 PM
* San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors - TNT - 10:30 PM
Injury notes for Tuesday:
Josh Richardson is listed as questionable for Game 5 in Philadelphia due to the sprained shoulder he suffered in Game 4. Originally he was diagnosed with just a bruise, but it's apparently more than that. As such he is a risky play in DFS. If Richardson cannot play or is limited, Ben Simmons will likely have his way. He probably will anyway.
Marcus Smart (thumb) is making progress toward returning to the Celtics, a team locked in a dogfight…or a deer fight…with the Bucks, tied 2-2 through four games. Smart is listed as questionable, although he is on record as saying the plan was to return for Game 6. If you're a fantasy player, it's best to avoid exposure to him in DFS and let him knock off the rust in a full game, allowing him to prove his health before taking a chance on him.
OG Anunoby played through a right ankle injury in Game 4 after smacking into Marcin Gortat in the first half of the team's loss in D.C. While he was able to finish up, he wasn't terribly effective, and he is a question mark for Game 5.