Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The end-of-season scurry in full effect
For owners with championship aspirations, here are some players with availability in a significant number of ESPN.com leagues who will be in action Tuesday:
Avery Bradley, SG/PG, Boston Celtics: Neither Rajon Rondo nor Ray Allen practiced Monday, so Bradley should again anchor the backcourt against a Miami Heat team that likely will be missing (or resting) multiple regulars. Over his past six games, Bradley is averaging 20.5 points, 2.0 3-pointers, 1.2 steals and 58.6 percent shooting (51-for-87).
Charles Jenkins, PG, Golden State Warriors: Jenkins played all 48 minutes Sunday, finishing with 24 points, nine assists and six rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though he can't be counted on for big scoring, Jenkins has put together four straight games of at least eight helpers in place of Nate Robinson (hamstring), who is expected to sit again Tuesday.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, and Jason Smith, PF, New Orleans Hornets: If you're looking to move up in steals, try Aminu, who's averaging 2.1 takeaways (along with 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds) over his past eight games. Smith's April line isn't eye-catching (12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds. 0.9 blocks), but he does have seven rejections over his past four games.
Mike Miller, SG/SF, Miami Heat: The brittle Miller played 26 and 27 minutes in back-to-back games over the weekend, swishing a total of seven treys against the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (finger) and Chris Bosh all in need of rest and/or recovery time, Miller should continue to be a factor offensively. Norris Cole is another possibility should Mario Chalmers (illness) sit again Tuesday.
• After resting Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and George Hill against the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers plan to use most of their regulars in their Wednesday finale against the Chicago Bulls. Hibbert and Hill will return to the lineup, though Granger (knee) will get another game off before the playoffs begin.
• With the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated from playoff contention, a number of regulars move from questionable to doubtful for the team's finale against the Celtics on Thursday. Monta Ellis and Drew Gooden seem most likely to sit. Ellis has been dealing with a hand injury, and though he played 38 minutes Monday, he went to the bench with about a minute left. Gooden managed only 13 minutes against the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
• Tony Allen had a career-best eight steals (along with 13 points and eight rebounds) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen's Memphis Grizzlies could still have a chance to earn home-court advantage in the first round when they face the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
• James Harden continues to undergo league-mandated concussion testing, and it's highly unlikely he'll play again in the regular season. With the Oklahoma City Thunder now locked into the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, it's possible that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and/or Serge Ibaka see limited minutes starting with Tuesday's home tilt against the Sacramento Kings. Westbrook, who's shooting just 38.4 percent in April, seems to need a breather in particular.
• DeMarcus Cousins could be suspended for Tuesday's game, but leave him in your lineup. Cousins received his 13th technical foul of the season on Sunday. However, the Kings have appealed the ruling, and the Sacramento Bee is reporting the T could be rescinded. Jason Thompson, who's coming off a huge game (albeit against the Charlotte Bobcats) is an especially intriguing add if Cousins doesn't play. While we're on the Kings, Marcus Thornton (quad) is expected to miss another game.