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Unfortunately, injuries have become a major factor less than a week into the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Multiple teams are dealing with key players either being limited or sidelined completely, which has impacted the series significantly. With regard to a series that was not played on Friday, there were two key developments in the Nets / Celtics series. While Celtics center Robert Williams will reportedly return to action in Game 3 on Saturday, albeit on a minutes restriction, Nets guard Ben Simmons plans to make his season (and Nets) debut: in Monday’s Game 4:.
Simmons, who was acquired from the 76ers at the trade deadline, has yet to play in a game this season. He certainly can help a team that’s currently in an 0-2 hole, but how big of an impact can he have? As far as Brooklyn is concerned, their hope is that they’ll go into Game 4 trailing 2-1, as opposed to 3-0. Another major injury is the right thumb issue that 76ers center: Joel Embiid is currently dealing with. He hasn’t undergone an MRI, so there’s no telling just how serious the injury is, but he plans to play in Game 4 of Philadelphia’s series with the Raptors on Saturday (Philly leads 3-0). With that cleared up, let’s get into the Daily Dose.
Hawks 111, Heat 110:
Atlanta is on the board, as: Trae Young hit a floater with 5.5 seconds remaining to win the game. He finished with 24 points (6-of-14 FGs, 10-of-12 FTs), four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes, scoring 10 in the fourth quarter alone. While a bit quiet offensively in the first half, Young did a good job of not forcing the issue, finishing with just three turnovers. He had 16 (including 10 in Game 2) in the first two games of the series.
Given the attention that Miami has paid Young defensively, the Hawks will need balanced scoring if they’re going to win this series. And that’s what they got, with six players finishing in double figures. Bogdan Bogdanovic (18/8/6/2/1 with four 3-pointers in 32 minutes) is a solid DFS option, and fellow reserve Delon Wright (13/5/1 with one 3-pointer) has also played well off the bench. With the Hawks only going eight deep, with Wright at times sharing the floor with the aforementioned Young, he also has some DFS appeal for managers looking to save some cap space.
De’Andre Hunter shot 7-of-13 from the field, scoring 17 points with two 3-pointers, but he did not offer anything else from a production standpoint. That’s a bit disappointing for those who were hoping for defensive stats, but the improved shooting was nice to see. Kevin Huerter (13/5/4/1 with one 3-pointer) shot a frigid 1-of-8 from three, while Danilo Gallinari (11/3/2 with one 3-pointer) played just 25 minutes and was relatively quiet. The minutes at the center position were an even split, with: John Collins (6/5/2 with one 3-pointer) and: Onyeka Okongwu (9/6/0/1/2) playing 24 minutes apiece. Okongwu made some key defensive plays in the fourth quarter, a key reason why the Hawks were able to rally.
As for Miami, the outcome was not the only loss that they suffered in Game 3. Kyle Lowry exited the game during the third quarter due to a left hamstring injury and did not return, playing 23 minutes. His absence did not result in the Heat expanding their rotation; Jimmy Butler (20/10/8/2/1 with one 3-pointer) moved to the point, with: Tyler Herro (24/7/4/0/1 with four 3-pointer) and: Max Strus (20/1/1 with five 3-pointers) playing on the wings in Miami’s closing lineup. Butler was also injured during this one, as he took a hard shot to the midsection during the first quarter. He was able to remain in the game and would go on to play for 41 minutes.
Butler should be fine for Sunday’s Game 4, but Lowry is the big question here. If he can not play, that would open the door for: Gabe Vincent (3/1/3/1), as was the case on multiple occasions during the regular season. Lowry said after Friday’s game that he’ll: receive treatment around the clock: in hopes of being available on Sunday. Bam Adebayo (13/11/5/3) and: PJ Tucker (11/7/4 with one 3-pointer) have both been banged up throughout the series, but they were able to play 35 and 33 minutes, respectively, without any flare-ups. It’s possible that they’ll be on the injury report ahead of Game 4, but expect to see Adebayo and Tucker in their usual roles.
Bucks 111, Bulls 81:
Milwaukee was without Khris Middleton, who’s expected to miss at least two weeks with a sprained MCL. So, how would the Bucks go about filling the resulting void? By going big, with Bobby Portis moving into the starting lineup. And he was dealing with his own injury, as Portis was hit in the right eye by Tristan Thompson during Game 2. There was still some redness in the eye, and he played with goggles, but that did not keep Portis from going for 18 points, 16 rebounds, and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes. The real star on this night for Milwaukee: Grayson Allen.
In front of a crowd still fired up by the hard foul that gave Alex Caruso a broken wrist back in January, Allen came off the bench and went for 22 points, six rebounds, one steal, one block, and five 3-pointers in 25 minutes. While Portis’ DFS value receives a boost with Middleton sidelined, the same can be said for Allen and Pat Connaughton (11/4/1/1/1 with two 3-pointers in 22 minutes). Allen and Connaughton can be rolls of the dice, especially since they’re both still coming off the bench. However, given what we saw on Friday, especially from Allen, it’s a risk worth taking.
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Thanks to others stepping up offensively and Milwaukee’s team defense, Giannis Antetokounmpo (18/7/9/0/1) and Jrue Holiday (16/6/6/1/1 with one 3-pointer) did not have to do much out of the ordinary in Game 3. No Bucks rotation player logged more than 30 minutes on the night, as the outcome was no longer in doubt by the end of the third quarter.
Chicago had a brutal night offensively, shooting 9-of-34 from three and 39.3% from the field overall. The Bucks were able to force the ball out of the hands of DeMar DeRozan (11/5/4/1), who attempted just nine shots on the night. Nikola Vucevic (19/6/3/0/1 with three 3-pointers) and Zach LaVine (15/5/5/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively, but there was not much help to be had once Milwaukee managed to neutralize DeRozan. Patrick Williams (1/4/1/2/1) missed all nine of his field-goal attempts, and he remains a risky play in DFS due to the offensive inconsistency. Alex Caruso (9/2/1 with three 3-pointers) came up empty in the defensive stats, which was disappointing, to say the least.
The Bulls will look to rebound on Sunday, and it’s fair to expect big things out of DeRozan given the performance he put forth in Game 2. As for who joins him, that’s the issue at this point.
Suns 114, Pelicans 111:
Like Milwaukee, Phoenix had to account for the absence of a key scorer, as Devin Booker will miss at least the next two games due to a hamstring injury. To account for his absence Monty Williams went with a starting lineup that he had not used this season, with Cameron Johnson filling the resulting void. Johnson did not offer much for DFS players who may have rushed to plug him into their lineups, playing 27 minutes and finishing with eight points (3-of-7 FGs), one rebound, and two 3-pointers. Landry Shamet, whose name also came up in the “replacing Booker” conversations, missed all five of his 3-point attempts and finished with five points, three rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes off the bench. Johnson is the better DFS option of the two heading into Sunday’s Game 4 but based upon the minutes, Shamet isn’t going to lack opportunities, either.
Deandre Ayton (28/17/1/3/1 with one 3-pointer) and Chris Paul (28/4/14/1 with one 3-pointer), as expected, shouldered much of the load offensively. But they did not go off at the same time, with Ayton doing most of his work in the first half (21 points) and Paul taking over in the fourth quarter (19 points). And CP3: made some history on Friday:, as he became the fourth player to record a line of at least 20 points and 10 assists in 30 postseason games. The other three on that list are Magic Johnson (60 times), LeBron James (43), and Kevin Johnson (30). Mikal Bridges (17/2/2/1/1), Jae Crowder (10/4/3/1), and JaVale McGee (15/3/0/1) also hit double figures for the Suns, who will take a 2-1 lead into Sunday’s Game 4.
As for the Pelicans, one could argue that they lost this game in the second quarter. Not only was New Orleans outscored by a 31-19 margin, but it also saw Jaxson Hayes lose his cool and get ejected for shoving Crowder with just over five minutes remaining in the stanza. As he watched the remainder of the game from the locker room the Pelicans did not get much from their available big men, with Jonas Valanciunas (6/11/1/1/1) shooting 1-of-5 from the field and Larry Nance Jr. (2/4/1/0/2) going 1-of-8. Paul’s mastery of the fourth quarter will get the headlines, and rightfully so, but a better second quarter would have put New Orleans in a much better position to grab control of the series.
Brandon Ingram (34/7/2/0/1 with three 3-pointers) followed up his stellar Game 2 performance with another good night at the office, while CJ McCollum (30/4/7/2/1 with four 3- pointers) added a full stat line. However, even with the Suns playing without Booker, New Orleans needed a better night from Valanciunas. Herb Jones (12/3/1/1) and Devonte ‘Graham (12/5/1 with three 3-pointers) hit double figures, but the latter has played a total of 30 minutes in this series (13 in Game 3 alone ). Jones has scored 26 points in his last two games, but his defensive stats have been lacking (three steals and no blocks in the first three games). Even with that being the case, he’ll be at a low enough price point to be worthy of consideration in DFS action on Sunday.