Time flies when you’re having fun and after today there’s only two games left in the regular season. On Monday the Raptors have their last regular season home game against the Milwaukee Bucks, who rank 6th from the bottom in points allowed this season at 103.4, which increases to 105.7 on the road and also allow 8.44 threes per game as well. On Wednesday the team will have an opportunity to take revenge for the lacklustre performance they gave last week against the New York Knicks and finish up strong as they head into the postseason. The Knicks are giving up 99.6 points per game on the season, which is good enough for 11th on the season, however allow 8.7 made three’s per game, making them the third worst team at guarding the perimeter.
I’m sure the Raptors are going to use these last two games to make adjustments to their defensive game which has slipped over the last month after being one of the few elite defensive teams of the year. If they can find that intensity and consistent effort that earned them that moniker earlier in the year, they have a shot at doing some real damage in the postseason. With many believing that 4th is locked up, we may see coach Casey decide to tinker with lineups and give needed rest or run to different players to get them ready entering the postseason. If so, it could make an impact to the end of your fantasy finals.
Gotta Have Em!
DeMar DeRozan – Season player rating drops from 35th down to 39th and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. Over the last week, DeMar’s shooting percentage has been less than desirable, going 5.7/17.0 (.333 FG%) over the last 7 days. Despite that, he has averaged 22.0 PTS and hitting 0.7 three-pointers, with 4.0 REB, 5.0 AST and 0.3 STL per game. His points have largely come from his free throws, going to the line and hitting 10.0/11.0 (.909) helping to make up for his disappointing FG%.As long as DeRozan stays aggressive he will continue to find the charity stripe, which is often the way top players deal with shooting issues when they arise. He’s been very successful at finding open teammates as well, just another example of how DeMar has grown this year and has been able to stay effective.
Kyle Lowry – Season player rating drops from 13th down to 14th and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. After it looked like Kyle may be out all week, he jumped back into the line-up and started where he left off, as the Bulldog of Bay Street. After only missing three games, Kyle came back and averaged 27.0 PTS off .500 FG% while hitting 3.0 three-pointers, with 3.5 REB, and 5.0 AST per game. He’s also brought up his free throw attempts, taking 9.0 per game since returning and shooting .889 FT%. The rest seemed to do wonders for Lowry, though he admitted that the while the week was great to help feel better, he joked it would take at least two months to recover from the long schedule of the regular season in the NBA. Well Kyle, we hope you recharged your battery, because we fans don’t want to see you start that two month recoup until July.
Jonas Valanciunas – Season player rating bumps upwards again from 82nd to 81st and is owned by 97.3% of the leagues at ESPN. The 2.7% of the leagues that haven’t picked up the man should be ashamed of themselves. Over the last week JV went into full beast mode to help erase his past transgressions off the court on their day off. Well it worked, over the last seven days he has averaged 19.0 PTS off .564 FG%, with a whopping 15.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.3 STL and 1.3 BLK per game. He’s getting to the free throw line 6.7 times as well, but is hitting at only .650 FT%, below his season average of .751 FT%. I’m sure his dip in FT% is due to rushing his attempts some and exerting extra energy on both ends of the floor. He’ll quickly figure out to take a few extra moments to gain composure before his attempts and be right back on pace soon enough. Regardless, with the added production everywhere else, I’m sure fantasy owners are quite happy to see him continue to do exactly what he’s doing now. Dominating.
Keep An Eye On
Terrence Ross – Season player rating dips again from 116th down to 117th and is owned by 31.6% of the leagues at ESPN. Over the last seven days T.Ross has struggled from the floor, shooting .368 FG%. Despite that he’s averaging 12.0 PTS and hitting 3.0 three-pointers, with 2.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.5 STL and 0.5 BLK per game. Still an effective option for any fantasy owner needing to add threes to their game, they must take into consideration his shooting nearly 9.5 shots, while only knocking down 3.5 per game. This is enough to affect your FG%, so if you’re in a close race in that category you may need to be weary of using his threes at the moment. With that said, Ross has been a solid percentage shooter throughout most of the season so it’s a gamblers option.
Patrick Patterson – Season player rating holds at 168th and owned by 0.4% of the leagues at ESPN. Patterson continues to get himself back into game shape and over the past seven days has begun to round himself back into the 2Pat we knew. He averaged 8.7 PTS off .466 FG% and adding nearly 1 three-pointer per game, with 5.2 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.8 STL and 0.5 BLK per game. If you did not stay in foul trouble during the New York game these numbers were sure to increase. You should consider that if Amir struggles to feel healthy again Patterson could be the perfect option on Monday’s contest against Milwaukee. I expect him to stretch the floor in both games and bring the level of defensive intensity that Casey expects from his entire team leaving him on the floor provided he stays out of foul trouble.
Amir Johnson – Season player rating drops from 59th down to 68th and is owned by 55.6% of the leagues at ESPN. Amir’s first game back left to be desired and still looked as though he could use some more time to recuperate. Failing to score any points he pulled down three rebounds, made two assists and had a block in 17 min. of action. This afternoon we will see if he is able to give more, and will be a good indication of what Amir Johnson we can expect in the last two games coming up. Hopefully with some added rest he’ll be ready to rock ‘n roll. Personally, I look to see him getting back to his season average of 29 min. per night by the time they go back up against New York on Wednesday.
They Try and Try
Greivis Vasquez – Season player rating drops from 152nd down to 155th and is owned by 43.4% of the leagues at ESPN. Since Kyle’s return GV’s numbers have clearly regressed. With Lowry out, Vasquez was averaging 36.6 minutes, however since his return he is only getting 16.0 per game most likely due to the return of 2Pat as well. In the last seven days he’s averaged 7.0 PTS off .444 FG%, with 1.0 REB, 2.5 AST, and 1.0 BLK. He has managed to hit 2.0 three-pointers per game during that time keeping him a possible option from behind the arc if you’re in desperate need.