Andrew Bynum goes down again
Reporting that Andrew Bynum injured his knee is barely even newsworthy, since it seems to happen every other week. However, when it happens with the playoffs days away and with one fantasy hoops game remaining on the schedule, it's clearly important news. The big guy hyperextended his surgically repaired right knee last night and was scheduled for an MRI this morning. He will not travel with the Los Angeles Lakers to face the Sacramento Kings in the regular-season finale tonight, so look for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol to make up for the lost stats in the paint. If you're in a league that makes use of postseason games, Bynum expects to be ready, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, but we'll have to see whether the MRI agrees with his assessment.
• DeJuan Blair pulled off a double-double (12 points and 11 boards) Tuesday, while Gary Neal paced the San Antonio Spurs' scoring with 16 points and two 3s. The Spurs rested their top players last night but spread the minutes throughout the entire team, as 10 players were on the court for at least 20 minutes. Expect more of the same if the starters sit out again tonight.
• After sitting out a couple of games to rest a sore neck, Marcus Camby was back in action for the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. He had a typical line, finishing with four points, 11 boards and three blocks. It looks like he should be healthy enough to play tonight, but since the Blazers have the sixth seed wrapped up and are facing the run-and-gun Golden State Warriors, Camby may see his production limited in the finale.
Nearly every team in the NBA is playing a completely irrelevant game tonight because most playoff spots and seedings are already set. Exceptions include the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder, who are in a one-game battle for the second, third and fourth spots in the Western Conference (the Mavs and Lakers are fighting for second, while the Mavs and Thunder are fighting for third).
All three teams should roll out their regular starters (aside from the aforementioned Bynum), but how many minutes they'll play will depend on the flow of each game. A blowout could mean an early exit for some of the best fantasy players in the league (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.), making all of them somewhat risky plays despite having relevant games on tap.
Also in the West, the Memphis Grizzlies' loss to the Blazers on Tuesday dropped them into a tie with the New Orleans Hornets for the seventh seed. The Hornets hold the tiebreaker, so the Griz will need to beat the Los Angeles Clippers tonight and hope the Hornets lose to the Mavs if they want to avoid slipping to the eighth seed. Since the Griz played last night without Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, who were resting minor injuries, it appears that coach Lionel Hollins is placing a bigger bounty on being healthy (or avoiding the Lakers) than he is on avoiding the Spurs in the first round. If Hollins sits Z-Bo and Allen again, O.J. Mayo should be a decent play against the Clips.
While the Eastern Conference seeding has been set for a couple of days, the conference champion Chicago Bulls are tied with the Spurs for the NBA's best record. If the Bulls beat the New Jersey Nets and the Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns tonight, a drawing would determine which team would get home-court advantage should they meet in the Finals. However, the Spurs rested Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess on Tuesday, so they're obviously more focused on being rested for the playoffs. No word yet from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on whether his starters will take a blow or see limited action. But considering they're facing the lowly Nets, the Bulls could easily have the "W" wrapped up early tonight. Note that Joakim Noah tweaked his right ankle last night and may need to rest it during the finale.
You'll want to check for news on who is taking the night off as tonight's games approach, but here's information already available on a number of players:
Chris Kaman, Clippers: An MRI on Tuesday revealed a bone bruise in his right knee. He's listed as questionable but it would be a surprise if he laces up for the season finale.
Denver Nuggets: Coach George Karl will hold Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Nene Hilario and Arron Afflalo out tonight, according to Aaron Lopez of Nuggets.com. The door is open for Ty Lawson, J.R. Smith, Kosta Koufos and Chris Andersen to rack up some quality stats tonight.
Toronto Raptors: According to Eric Koreen of the National Post, you can count Reggie Evans out, along with Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Leandro Barbosa and Amir Johnson. Sonny Weems will be a game-time call. Joey Dorsey ripped down 20 rebounds Monday and looks like a nice play tonight, too.