Dose: Bucks in trouble, Rockets advance

Dose: Bucks in trouble, Rockets advanceDose: Bucks in trouble, Rockets advance

Wednesday night was as wild as ever with blown calls, hard fouls, another Miami upset and a Lu Dort takeover. Anything can happen inside the bubble and this was probably one of the best nights of action we’ve seen so far. Let’s Dose!

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Heat 116, Bucks 114 (Heat leading 2-0)» data-reactid=»21″>Heat 116, Bucks 114 (Heat leading 2-0)

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Heat made history with a 116-114 win over the Bucks on Wednesday, becoming the first No. 5 seed in history to take a 2-0 series lead over a No. 1 seed. It wasn’t without controversy though, as Jimmy Butler knocked down a pair of winning free throws at the end of regulation after an egregious foul call on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis made a valiant effort to contest Butler’s shot after Wes Matthews was crossed out of his shoes and made minimal contact with Butler, but these days the refs treat jump shooters like they pay their salary.» data-reactid=»27″>The Heat made history with a 116-114 win over the Bucks on Wednesday, becoming the first No. 5 seed in history to take a 2-0 series lead over a No. 1 seed. It wasn’t without controversy though, as Jimmy Butler knocked down a pair of winning free throws at the end of regulation after an egregious foul call on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis made a valiant effort to contest Butler’s shot after Wes Matthews was crossed out of his shoes and made minimal contact with Butler, but these days the refs treat jump shooters like they pay their salary.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="To be fair to Miami, you could argue that this was essentially a “make-up call” after Goran Dragic breathed on Khris Middleton which sent him to the line for three points to tie the game at 114. Either way you slice it, it’s a shame the refs had such a big impact in the final two minutes as they turned a potential blockbuster ending into the Season 8 finale of Game of Thrones.» data-reactid=»28″>To be fair to Miami, you could argue that this was essentially a “make-up call” after Goran Dragic breathed on Khris Middleton which sent him to the line for three points to tie the game at 114. Either way you slice it, it’s a shame the refs had such a big impact in the final two minutes as they turned a potential blockbuster ending into the Season 8 finale of Game of Thrones.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Butler was the hero of Game 1 with his 40-point performance but may have practiced too hard at 4 AM Tuesday morning, as he finished 3-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line for 13 points, six dimes and three steals. His shoulder is no longer bothering him and the Bucks apparently don’t want Giannis to guard him, so let’s chalk this up as a quiet night and expect him to get it going in Game 3. He’s a top-10 talent and the Bulls, Wolves and 76ers are looking at him as the one who got away. And based on Joel Embiid’s Twitter feed, he’ll never get over him.&nbsp;» data-reactid=»29″>Butler was the hero of Game 1 with his 40-point performance but may have practiced too hard at 4 AM Tuesday morning, as he finished 3-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line for 13 points, six dimes and three steals. His shoulder is no longer bothering him and the Bucks apparently don’t want Giannis to guard him, so let’s chalk this up as a quiet night and expect him to get it going in Game 3. He’s a top-10 talent and the Bulls, Wolves and 76ers are looking at him as the one who got away. And based on Joel Embiid’s Twitter feed, he’ll never get over him. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Heat had a very balanced offensive attack tonight, as they had seven players score in double figures which is the most in a postseason game in franchise history (h/t @jkubatko). Goran Dragic led the way, scoring 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and four triples. Kendrick Nunn has been a ghost since the bubble formed and Dragic has filled that void and more. He’s now averaging 23.5 points, 4.8 boards and 4.8 dimes in the playoffs with a 49.1 FG%, giving him a ton of momentum for his upcoming free agency. For what it’s worth, ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks tweeted out that Dragic was setting himself up for one of the largest one-year contracts in NBA history.» data-reactid=»30″>The Heat had a very balanced offensive attack tonight, as they had seven players score in double figures which is the most in a postseason game in franchise history (h/t @jkubatko). Goran Dragic led the way, scoring 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and four triples. Kendrick Nunn has been a ghost since the bubble formed and Dragic has filled that void and more. He’s now averaging 23.5 points, 4.8 boards and 4.8 dimes in the playoffs with a 49.1 FG%, giving him a ton of momentum for his upcoming free agency. For what it’s worth, ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks tweeted out that Dragic was setting himself up for one of the largest one-year contracts in NBA history.

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="As for the Bucks, they got Eric Bledsoe back from a hamstring tweak tonight and he made an immediate impact, finding open driving lanes at will in the first half and finishing with 16 points. The bad news is that he was unplayable down the stretch, and Bledsoe struggling in the playoffs has always been a common theme that the Bucks will be concerned about. Giannis bounced back after a quiet Game 1 with 29 points and 14 rebounds despite seeing a heavy dose of Bam Adebayo and Butler, but couldn’t get anything going outside the paint — he was 0-of-4 on shots outside the paint and 10-of-14 inside the restricted area.» data-reactid=»32″>As for the Bucks, they got Eric Bledsoe back from a hamstring tweak tonight and he made an immediate impact, finding open driving lanes at will in the first half and finishing with 16 points. The bad news is that he was unplayable down the stretch, and Bledsoe struggling in the playoffs has always been a common theme that the Bucks will be concerned about. Giannis bounced back after a quiet Game 1 with 29 points and 14 rebounds despite seeing a heavy dose of Bam Adebayo and Butler, but couldn’t get anything going outside the paint — he was 0-of-4 on shots outside the paint and 10-of-14 inside the restricted area.

Giannis has a long history of not generating much offense outside the paint in the playoffs and it’s the only thing that is keeping him from taking over as the NBA’s best player. If he can’t score in at least two of the three levels, the Heat are happy to just keep collapsing on the paint. With the Bucks down 2-0, I don’t see how coach Mike Budenholzer can justify not playing him for close to 48 minutes going forward. They literally load managed him all season so there are no excuses for him to only play 36 minutes, foul trouble or not. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Khris Middleton was terrific with a 23/8/6 line and Brook Lopez did his part with 16 points and three triples, but the role players were anything but inspiring. Wes Matthews jogged around for 29 minutes and finished 2-of-8 from the field for four points, and while I understand Donte DiVincenzo hasn’t found his form inside the bubble, you have to think it’s time for Budenholzer to go back to his regular-season X factor that helped him&nbsp;get the No. 1 seed to begin with. Plus, Donte would have a much better shot at slowing Butler than the dead-legged Matthews with the 8th best steal percentage in the NBA and a 2nd overall rank in defensive box plus/minus.» data-reactid=»34″>Khris Middleton was terrific with a 23/8/6 line and Brook Lopez did his part with 16 points and three triples, but the role players were anything but inspiring. Wes Matthews jogged around for 29 minutes and finished 2-of-8 from the field for four points, and while I understand Donte DiVincenzo hasn’t found his form inside the bubble, you have to think it’s time for Budenholzer to go back to his regular-season X factor that helped him get the No. 1 seed to begin with. Plus, Donte would have a much better shot at slowing Butler than the dead-legged Matthews with the 8th best steal percentage in the NBA and a 2nd overall rank in defensive box plus/minus.

Game 3 is set for Friday and I CAN NOT WAIT.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rockets 104, Thunder 102 (Rockets win series 4-3)» data-reactid=»40″>Rockets 104, Thunder 102 (Rockets win series 4-3)

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This one didn’t lack any controversy either with infamous referee Scott Foster making his mark on the game, but my goodness was this a classic. James Harden, who has historically been outstanding in Game 7s, was held in check by another round of suffocating defense from Lu Dort. Harden hit 4-of-15 from the field and finished with 17 points and nine assists, but to his credit, he came up with a huge block on Dort at the end of the game and maybe this will help challenge the notion that he’s not a good defender.» data-reactid=»42″>This one didn’t lack any controversy either with infamous referee Scott Foster making his mark on the game, but my goodness was this a classic. James Harden, who has historically been outstanding in Game 7s, was held in check by another round of suffocating defense from Lu Dort. Harden hit 4-of-15 from the field and finished with 17 points and nine assists, but to his credit, he came up with a huge block on Dort at the end of the game and maybe this will help challenge the notion that he’s not a good defender.

“I’ve been locked in all year long trying to be better on that side of the ball,” he said after the game. “Tonight was a huge emphasis on it. Came up with the big block to win the game.” Fantasy managers know all about his increased output on defense with 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks per game this season, and those are just more reasons why he’s still the best fantasy player on the planet for a little while longer.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Russell Westbrook was bashed on social media for the last 48 hours after choking in clutch time of Game 6, but the Rockets weren’t going to take this game if not for Westy. He finished with 20 points and nine boards on 9-of-20 shots, and played 34 minutes despite a 30-minute restriction. That tells me he’ll be all systems go vs. the Lakers in Round 2.» data-reactid=»44″>Russell Westbrook was bashed on social media for the last 48 hours after choking in clutch time of Game 6, but the Rockets weren’t going to take this game if not for Westy. He finished with 20 points and nine boards on 9-of-20 shots, and played 34 minutes despite a 30-minute restriction. That tells me he’ll be all systems go vs. the Lakers in Round 2.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Robert Covington and Eric Gordon were the real MVPs tonight though, combining to score 42 points with nine triples. The Lakers don’t have anything close to a Lu Dort defensively, but if they opt to shadow Harden as aggressively as OKC did then it’s going to be huge for Houston if Gordon and Covington can keep the defense honest. Covington is a fantasy monster by the way and I think he has another couple early-round 9-cat seasons in him with the increased block rate coming from all the front court minutes he’s getting in Houston’s small-ball revolution.» data-reactid=»45″>Robert Covington and Eric Gordon were the real MVPs tonight though, combining to score 42 points with nine triples. The Lakers don’t have anything close to a Lu Dort defensively, but if they opt to shadow Harden as aggressively as OKC did then it’s going to be huge for Houston if Gordon and Covington can keep the defense honest. Covington is a fantasy monster by the way and I think he has another couple early-round 9-cat seasons in him with the increased block rate coming from all the front court minutes he’s getting in Houston’s small-ball revolution.

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Chris Paul deserves mad props for taking this loaded Houston team down to the wire, finishing with a 19/12/11 triple-double. ESPN gave the Thunder a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs this season and CP3 could’ve easily mailed it in, but now the Thunder have given their youth some valuable playoff experience and CP3 has revamped his trade value in the process. I wouldn’t mind if he stayed in OKC for another year though as you couldn’t ask for a better mentor to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.» data-reactid=»47″>Chris Paul deserves mad props for taking this loaded Houston team down to the wire, finishing with a 19/12/11 triple-double. ESPN gave the Thunder a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs this season and CP3 could’ve easily mailed it in, but now the Thunder have given their youth some valuable playoff experience and CP3 has revamped his trade value in the process. I wouldn’t mind if he stayed in OKC for another year though as you couldn’t ask for a better mentor to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Speaking of SGA, he’s going to be kicking himself this offseason after a few rough games in a row but I’m still super high on this kid’s future. He was one of the best value picks in fantasy this season with an early-round finish, and that’s good news for Rotoworld readers since he was basically our poster boy during draft season. I’ll be looking to scoop him up around the third round next season but that can change depending on what happens with CP3 and Danilo Gallinari. And for something non-fantasy related, the Thunder have to be thrilled to launch their rebuild around SGA and 15(!) first-round picks over the next seven seasons.» data-reactid=»48″>Speaking of SGA, he’s going to be kicking himself this offseason after a few rough games in a row but I’m still super high on this kid’s future. He was one of the best value picks in fantasy this season with an early-round finish, and that’s good news for Rotoworld readers since he was basically our poster boy during draft season. I’ll be looking to scoop him up around the third round next season but that can change depending on what happens with CP3 and Danilo Gallinari. And for something non-fantasy related, the Thunder have to be thrilled to launch their rebuild around SGA and 15(!) first-round picks over the next seven seasons.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="SGA isn’t the only exciting young player in OKC as Lu Dort reminded us Wednesday, as Dort erupted for a career-high 30 points with six triples. The Rockets were practically begging him to shoot as they played 5-on-4 defense, and Dort nearly made them leave the bubble because of it as he passed LeBron James (27) for the most points in a Game 7 before turning 22. He also became the record holder for most points in a playoff game by an undrafted rookie.» data-reactid=»49″>SGA isn’t the only exciting young player in OKC as Lu Dort reminded us Wednesday, as Dort erupted for a career-high 30 points with six triples. The Rockets were practically begging him to shoot as they played 5-on-4 defense, and Dort nearly made them leave the bubble because of it as he passed LeBron James (27) for the most points in a Game 7 before turning 22. He also became the record holder for most points in a playoff game by an undrafted rookie.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Dort has absolutely played his way onto the fantasy radar for next season, though it won’t be for his scoring — I Imagine he could be a sneaky source of triples, boards and defensive stats, so maybe a poor man’s Robert Covington.» data-reactid=»50″>Dort has absolutely played his way onto the fantasy radar for next season, though it won’t be for his scoring — I Imagine he could be a sneaky source of triples, boards and defensive stats, so maybe a poor man’s Robert Covington.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And before I sign off, let’s drop one more fantasy nugget for OKC. Keep a very close eye on Darius Bazley this offseason. Gallinari is a free agent and Bazley showed monster upside during the seeding games as a mobile 6-9 forward who can handle the ball, pass and hit the 3-point shot, something we were told he was several years away from doing. With no Summer League, he could fly under the radar and be a late-round gem.» data-reactid=»51″>And before I sign off, let’s drop one more fantasy nugget for OKC. Keep a very close eye on Darius Bazley this offseason. Gallinari is a free agent and Bazley showed monster upside during the seeding games as a mobile 6-9 forward who can handle the ball, pass and hit the 3-point shot, something we were told he was several years away from doing. With no Summer League, he could fly under the radar and be a late-round gem.