Paint Wide Open

So as expected, the Spurs carved out the Thunder's interior defense (if there was). Tony Parker relentlessly attacked the paint, and dished the ball to Tim Duncan for Mr. Fundamental's most imposing performance of the playoffs. So what happened to the Thunder's lineup?

Nick Collison was ineffective as the replacement in the starting lineup. He and Kendrick Perkins got more minutes, but at least Perk got some decent PRA for a DTTF filler. Steven Adams got less minutes and was ineffective as the sole bigman when the Thunder went small. Thabo Sefolosha was invisible. Tough Juice Caron Butler was his usual self. Reggie Jackson too. Derek Fisher was actually fantastic for someone who the Knicks are trying to push into retirement. Russell Westbrook struggled early in the first inning, but came back to usual form. Kevin Durant was his usual scoring machine even though he had to mix it up in the middle especially when they ran him as the five in a small ball lineup.

So after seeing what happened in Game 1, we are seeing additional pick options for the Thunder aside from KD and Westbrook. Perkins will continue to have bigger minutes, and his rebounds should carry his PRA near 15. I think Reggie Jackson should get more minutes now as they realize they have to do more small ball to offset their defensive deficiency, and is a good pick-up as Thunder's third best. Butler can consistently give you 15 PRA. Fisher is spotty but you can get lucky with him like what happened in Game 1. The rest of the Thunder, don't pick yet.

Of course if you are looking for a decent 20+ PRA, feel free to pick a Spur. Just keep in mind that avoiding a sub-20 PRA now doesn't mean you don't have to eventually do it in the Finals. The Finals may extend six or seven games and will easily exhaust star-level PRAs.

Duncan may never get near his Game 1 PRA as I expect Thunder to double-team him, but he'll still get above average PRA without Ibaka there. Parker must still be the prime choice if you intend to pick a Spur though.

For Game 2, my pick goes to Tim Duncan playing at home. Reggie Jackson will get my Game 3 playing at home. Perkins gets my Game 4, except if it's an elimination game -- then it's Fisher's. Butler will get any extra game. No other Spurs to be picked unless they go down X-3.


May the odds be ever in your favor.


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62 comments:

  1. I'm playing San Antonio Spur #2 before I start launching into my Thunder buddies. The choice is between Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. In the spirit that PRA will fluctuate, I'm going with Kawhi and hoping his goes up and Timmy comes down a bit. Both guys are great options here. I like Kawhi Leonard a lot, and hopefully the Thunder's problems on defense are his to exploit!

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    1. Also, using a small two game sample size of game 2's, Timmy seems to disappear for a 19 after an excellent game 1. Will this continue? We'll see! Probably not, seems like a coincidence rather than a trend.

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    2. Saw that too. There will be a drop coz opponents always adjust to Tim. Just wishing it won't be a steep drop. Crossfingers

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  2. What would you think of Reggie Jackson game 2. He knows he needs to step up and can't get down 0-2

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    1. Coach Brooks wiill give him the minutes required for more small ball. He, WB and KD together on floor have been effective.

      If they go small ball.

      Regardless, he will give you his average PRA at worst. He's a safe pick

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    2. I used him G1 and got exactly that, 17 which given is his average I can't really complain but it was a bit tough given how he had 12 of his 17 PRA in the 1st half.

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  3. How to pick for the conference finals: Step 1: Don´t listen to me. Step 2: Repeat.

    Well, the strategy changes a bit for me at this stage of the playoffs. Whereas I always try to avoid players from advancing teams, now there is no necessity to keep this up. Even if I were sure there would be a finals rematch between the Spurs and the Heat, I wouldn´t want to save everyone. Why would I need more than 5 stars at most? So it makes sense to pick from every team now.

    East: Pacers have home court and even used it in game 1 (who´d have thought it?). But seeing as the last time Miami lost in the Playoffs for consecutive games was with Alonzo Mourning in the starting line-up (that was a joke, I know it happened two seasons ago against Boston), it doesn´t necessarily make the Pacers the favorites. I already used George in round 1 and West in round 2, started this time with Hibbert. I don´t want to pick Lance or Hill just now so I will move over the champs. I´ll stay off the big 3 for now and go with Ray Allen for now. Veteran should step up in a must-win game 2 for the Heat. If the Pacers really go up 2-0, then it´s Wade after a few days rest in game 3. If it´s tied I am going to have to think.

    West: Haven´t picked any of the players prior to this round. But the Thunder only have two and a half options, with Jackson being a shaky third pick. I started with Splitter who didn´t play much, Steal of the night was Derek Fisher as I have trouble believing one could get 19 PRA from him again in this series.

    Game 2 I will go Spurs again (Diaw, so avoid at all cost) as they play at home and I don´t think this will be a sweep so there should be enough time to pick Durant, Westbrook and Jackson. Everybody else sucks anyway, DTTF-wise ;)

    Argh, that´s at least my sixth season playing this game and I still don´t get it right :D

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    1. Wishing you a good three point barrage from Diaw. Swish swish swish.

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    2. Don't feel bad. I have yet to play a perfect season, not even close. Hell, I make lots of mistakes. And I have absolutely no luck at all, at anything really.

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  4. Ugh.... !
    ..............After having a 3 game slide with
    18 PRA, Wesley Matthews #2 POR
    14 PRA, Trevor Ariza #1 WAS
    13 PRA, Mario Chalmers #15 MIA
    ......I hit T. Parker for a 29pra, very happy with that....
    The reason Parker? Because I was worried how that hamstring would be in the long run. Wanted to burn him before he burned me.
    .....My roster: SAS-Everyone minus Parker.
    .....................OKC-Everyone minus KD
    I'm going to give my Thunder another chance in SAS before I burn one so I will be going with another Spur player(got to love them, the run so deep) lol
    .....
    Same with the MIA IND series...
    .....Roster MIA Everyone minus Chalmers
    ................IND Everyone minus G Hill and P. George
    ..........................Wow I took Paul George as my first pick in WEEK TWO for 44pra..(I must have been nervous) lol
    .....I'm going to give IND one more game before I start burning them also.
    I was thinking of going with Ray Allen tonight..... To be honest I'm considering going with King James.... I can remember when MIA came off that loss to the Nets and seeing LJ clapping with the Net fans, and I figured he was like... Yeah, you got this one and then he came out that next game and BAM. ..... I mean if you can get a good 45+pra from a good player like that does it matter weather you get it now or later? (assuming MIA advances)
    ......
    Thunder UP !!!!!
    aka @topknox

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    1. Re: Tony Parker, "burn him before he burned me." I like that.

      I'm also resisting to pick LBJ. He did just say he needs to do a little bit more. If that's to do attack more, then more PRA. Or if that's to do more in gettjng others involved, then more assists but less points.

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    2. It doesn't matter really, unless Miami makes the finals. If you burn LeBron here, and that happens, who are you going to pick in the finals? If Miami gets eliminated, and you used LeBron in this series, and it is a night when he lights it up, then that is great that you picked him at that time.

      So it is all relative, basically. Timing is everything.

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  5. I picked Green yesterday and he came up big considering all the other options got that day.

    I was actually thinking of going with Ray Allen aswell but have decided to pick Hibbert instead. I'm worried though he may get into foul trouble this game or it might end up a blowout.

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  6. I can remember my brother missed picking a player last year.. He was SOOOOO mad and I felt so sorry for him lol...
    ......That is my biggest fear.... :)

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  7. Boris Diaw put up a slightly disappointing 15 PRA last night, as I was thinking he could at least crack the 20 PRA threshold. Still he hit his average, if not slightly more, so it wasn't that bad.

    Taong had an excellent write up on the Game #1 analysis of the Spurs/Thunder game, which hit all of the major points to consider.
    Two important notes that I took from this game, which Taong essentially pointed out was that:

    1. Steven Adams and especially Nick Collison, who got to start in place of Serge Ibaka, failed miserably. Both players put up PRA even worse than what they were doing, and in the case of Collison, that was horrible considering he actually got to start, although was yanked quickly from the lineup, and spent much of the game, where he normally does, on the bench.

    2. Derek Fisher (19 PRA), more than doubled, if not close to tripled his average playoff output thus far, and also seen 26 minutes of court time, which is way above what he had been seeing. Even Kendrick Perkins woke up from his run of low single digit PRA scores. But playing him is scary, as he can also become invisible, and is extremely limited.

    So a quick observation, unless Adams or Collison, wake up in this series, is you can target Derek Fisher (who seems to be relied on as a scoring option now, with Ibaka out). Avoid Adams and Collison until they do something. Maybe that might happen at home, or maybe not at all.

    As for the Spurs they seem very likely to at least win their home games now, and clinch this series at least by game #7. I think it depends on how many home games OKC is able to win, that will determine how long this series goes. I definitely think they will win at least 1 home game, so this is at least a 5 game series, and I think 6 might be more realistic. However if they do win Game #2, they actually would have home court back, so everyone will know how to play this a lot better after Game #2, which is normal, unless there is a split in the first two games.

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    1. Also forgot to mention above, Reggie Jackson was an immense disappointment. after posting 4 solid games vs. the Spurs in a row, ranging from 20+ PRA to 37 PRA, last night was a big letdown for him (only 17 PRA).

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    2. Diaw was a good pick but got the eye injury which took away most of his minutes which was unfortunate.

      OKC have only 3 options to pick and most know who they are, the rest are pointless picks when Spurs 5,6,7,8,9 options are better pra producers so if you don't pick the big 3 from OKC go with a Spur.

      Spurs have this series easy, OKC being close that game didn't tell the whole story it should have been a 30+pt blowout, I would give OKC 1 win and if they win anymore I'll be surprised because KD and Westbrook will need to score 50+ each game and like we saw yesterday as soon as they went on the bench the game was getting away from them. It's unsustainable for them 2 to continue that and pushing this series out to more then 5 games, Ibaka is a big loss if they weren't playing the Spurs then I think OKC could manage it but here they won't.

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  8. For tonight's Game #2 Heat vs. Pacers:

    I will go with a Miami Heat player tonight with the Pacers winning Game #1, and with me only having 2 Pacer players to pick of value left. I like Mario Chalmers tonight, who basically doesn't really have a bias home vs. road splits. He is basically good for mid- teen PRA scores no matter where the game is played. So at least you know what you are getting here, in a game played on the road. Maybe I will get lucky and he can crack the 20+ PRA threshold, which I would be happy with, if he could accomplish that tonight.

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    1. Heat needs Chalmers to free himself a lot and keep moving through screens, not just standing around at the baseline 3. He can play to exhaustion in G2 coz he has 3 days to recuperate for G3

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  9. Went with Hibbert today. He is currently playing well but its not translating to PRA's. Hopefully, he scores a lot in the 2nd half.

    Meanwhile, the Cavs won the lottery...... AGAIN! Embiid #1 pick?

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    1. Wow! Cavs ought to capitalize and get to the playoffs. If they do it right, they're the OKC of the future.

      If they do it right.

      Oh wait they got a dud in Bennett.

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  10. Ray Allen with a 6pra
    .....It's okay, I stopped crying a minute ago...

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    1. You should've picked Allen in a Home game

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    2. yup.... but was going to give IND a chance to do something and didn't want to burn any of their players so I went cold with a miami player(not wanting to burn any of their stars) now I can go cold with an IND next game... oh well :)

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    3. It really doesn't matter if he's playing at home or on the road. I had him last year he hit the big 3 to force a G7. If people want to picked him, either used him early in G1 or G2. He will wear down at his age.

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  11. Stephenson or Hill on Game 3. Or LBJ. Who to pick?

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    1. Stephenson limped off the court, so keep an eye out for that. So did Hibbert, but we've both picked him. I like David West for myself. Of your choices, I like Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, or Chris Bosh. Somebody from that group is going to bounce back huge.

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    2. Plus I find it hard that a second tier star has THAT kind of game twice in a row.....

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  12. All right time to laugh at me as I just wasted my LBJ pick. I went with the King because I needed to pick him in a game that would not be a popular herd day (Heat down X-3 this round or assuming they make the finals up 3-X OR down X-3) which is when most of those with LBJ left will take him. Because the Heat were down 0-1 and needed to tie the series, I figured LBJ had to have a big game with 40+ maybe 50+ PAR. I check the game at halftime and he has 12 including just 6 regular points. He rallied in the 2nd half with 23 PAR but the first half put him in too big a hole as LBJ ends with 35 which isn't usually bad but for LBJ it is a little bad. The 1st round was overtime galore, there failed to be an OT game all round 2 and none of the 1st 3 games in the conference finals have gone beyond 48 minutes. I'm borderline while flag after a sub 40 from the King.

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    1. You were not alone in thinking about LBJ pick for G2. I also did. Once LBJ said he wanted to do more, I was itching to waive off Wade for LBJ.

      Unfortunately, LBJ in the first half did too much dancing (micro dribbling and sizing up Paul George) and taking too long to decide on backdowns and faceups.

      It's not your fault. It's LeBron's.

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    2. Yup...I was feeling the same way with LBJ. :) instead I got 6 from Allen woohooooo :)

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  13. went with chalmers today. sighhh I picked spilter yesterday, he gets benched for diaw from the 3rd onward.. Chalmers today gets bench for coles fromt he 3rd and onward. I mean what are the chances, two starters get bench for their back ups. sighhh on back 2 back nights.

    I guess I'm playing way to conservative. picking all my scrubs now and saving the big guns more towards the end of the serious

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    1. If u wanna save a star, just save 1 for elim. For the rest of the players, pick the best from the lot first.

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  14. Stuck to my strategy lol and went with Hibbert... Happy enough with his lot after also fighting the urge to pick LBJ. That's me done with all 5 Pacers starters. Since their bench options are so limited it's time to rely on some Heat players.

    Not set on who yet but I figure since I have every Spurs player and every Heat player available, I can afford to use a couple of each in this round, and I'll need to coz I have already used KD and Russell.

    Tbh I think the spurs could sweep OKC, though it would be a shame from a basketball point of view, if that happened it would mean I could switch to heat players and have spurs left for finals. Like someone has already said, no point saving both Spurs and Heat.

    Next pick likely to be Reggie Jackson. Needs to step up.

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    1. Excited for your picks in the Finals. Don't hesitate to post your picks here during the Finals, and make the rest of us drool with envy :)~

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  15. Ha! If there is one certainty in this DTTF-game it´s Ray Allen playing hideous when I pick him :)
    Worked in the past, worked now.

    So, after a brilliant Splitter and an even better Allen (after considering but not picking Stephenson) I will go with Diaw tonight. Bwahaha. look out, here I come.

    In this game I feel like Dirk. Another year wasted. Had one good run in 2011 and lots of bad picks in the other seasons. But so what? I´ll try again next year. And try to salvage what I can from this ruin of a season.

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    1. IKR... I had him yesterday for SEVENpra ugh !!!!!!

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  16. Miami went out and took home court from the Pacers, in an ugly game. That there just might have been the Pacers swan song, as they must now win at least a game in Miami, to win this series, more if they punt away any more home games. Not looking good for them.

    Lance Stevenson (38 PRA, tied for his playoff best 3X) was huge for the Pacers in the losing cause, and easily was the best pick of the night based on the score and the Pacers home loss.
    Mario Chalmers (10 PRA) was 6 PRA below average, and put up a very frustrating night, for anyone picking him, which unfortunately I did. Norris Cole stole his thunder and some of his minutes as Cole put up 13 PRA off the bench. It was extremely frustrating watching Chalmers underachieve, and do next to nothing out there.

    Bet those that picked LeBron James in this game had a heart attack at half time, as LeBron did not get off to a good start at all. He had a nice recovery though to make 35 PRA, although everyone knows he is capable of putting up way more than that.

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    1. Both Chalmers and Allen failed.... And don't forget Anderson... The Bird man put in some very good minutes....(why didn't I pick him?)

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    2. I looked at Anderson, but thought he would be better at home, if needed. Anderson, is usually a big emotion guy, that thrives on playing at home. Hopefully he goes off, if/when I pick him. Actually I had him ticketed for Game #3, if Miami lost Game #2, and may still go with that. Or do I dare try Ray Allen at home? Scary!

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  17. For OKC vs. the Spurs tonight and beyond, I am reserving 4 Spurs (Parker, Timmy Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili) to go with LeBron and Wade from the Heat for the finals. Also Splitter, Danny Green (or Patty Mills especially if Parker gets hurt), and bench player Marco Bellinelli, or underachieving Chris Bosh, would be available depending on matchups. The finals usually go 6 games at least. Things may change, but that is my thinking now.

    Chris Bosh has only had two games over 20 PRA (both at home) vs. Indiana in his last 13 games vs. them. So he isn't better than several of the bench players in that series, and certainly is not a must pick. Maybe he has better numbers vs. the Spurs.

    For tonight's game, after seeing Game #1, nothing from that game makes you think the Spurs will lose this series. Perhaps OKC plays much better at home (I would definitely think that they would), and should/will win at least one if not both home games (#3 and #4). Still OKC at this point only really has three good options, and some huge question marks. Perkins (very unreliable) and Derek Fisher (2 to almost 3X his average PRA), stepped up in Serge Ibaka's absence. Nick Collison (the starter in place of Ibaka) and Steven Adams, both failed to impress.

    With that in mind it seemed like Derek Fisher became more of the focal point of the offense to pick up the slack, and Reggie Jackson (who really was underwhelming), and Westbrook and Durant, were really the only offensive threats. I will save Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson for home games, Kevin Durant for an elimination game, and go with Derek Fisher tonight. Hopefully he is again counted on to provide more offense, something OKC right now, really is lacking. Love to see another 19+ PRA game from Derek Fisher tonight.

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    1. I think that OKC should go with Steve Allen in more of a starter role(if he can stay out of foul trouble) and leave Perkins for when they rest Allen.... Allen showed so much promise when he came in for his minutes when Ibaka was out.... I like their chances better with him in full time

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    2. I agree with you, or maybe they should go with a Perkins/Steve Adams combo, and leave Collison in his bench role. Collison brought nothing to the table in Game #1.

      Also they really should start Fisher instead of Sefolosha, who really doesn't provide much, in terms of scoring or defense.

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    3. I agree with benching Sefolosha(added nothing) and fisher has always been an ALLTIME GAMER

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    4. I disagree with the Fisher pick. Pick another Spur if that's the case. With saving Bosh, Wade, James, and 4 Spurs for the finals, that's too many. Prepare for six games and pick a Spur like Tiago Splitter if necessary. Derek Fisher was a fluke. He was -18 in the game, by far the worst point differential, so his good offense was dropped by what appears to be pourous defense. He shot 4/6 from 3, so he didn't get that many shots. I'd expect around a 6-10 from Fisher. Sure, maybe he'll do well. But avoid!!!!!!!! At least for now before we know for sure that Fisher is good.

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  18. Hibbert did ok yesterday but If I had him and Hill reversed I would have gained more pts, typical really...

    Anyway today I'm going Jackson aswell just like the 25%, he'll need to step up after his poor showing last game. Also just in case OKC get swept so I don't miss the big 2.

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  19. I'm going with I'm going with Danny Green tonight.... :)

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    1. Yeah.... It kills me every time he hits a three!!!
      ....Thunder UP !!

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  20. After all the rumors about Tony Parker's injury perhaps getting worse, I'm using him tonight.

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    1. Yeah, that is why I used him in game one..... lol

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  21. Steve Adams gets a lot of dumb, unnecessary fouls....

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  22. The BLOWOUT curse is going to hurt some of you
    ......Sitting starters is coming your way

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    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I need all the PRA I can get, TP is at 29 but it looks like thanks to this 30 point blowout he's gone with over a quarter to go. This sucks since I probably would have gotten 40+ from him and instead I have to settle for a tie at 29 with those who took him in G1.

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    2. Yup, I had him in G1...... They sat Green too.... he was going on a career record I believe with a 25pra when they sat him ugh....

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  23. 2 quick fouls, and just like that Kawhi Leonard becomes a non-factor. I'd had a good run of luck lately so I was due for a dud. I wasn't alone though. A lot of stinkers tonight, especially Russell Westbrook and the 5% unlucky enough to have KD.

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    1. That is terrible for Leonard... so sorry....

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  24. Despite the blowout effect causing all the stars to be pulled, if there is any moral victory for me TP was today's green pick at 29 which is amazing especially with KD and RW. Speaking of KD, guess who I was planning to pick until I reconsidered with TP? Yep that's right KD! For once I made a good choice granted it was cut short due to the blowout. With that being said I'm sorry if you took KD (20), RW (25) or any invisible man. 1 game days in the final 2 rounds make this game very very thin.

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  25. btw guys, paul george has concussion so stay away from picking him yet until he is allowed to get back in. i recommend stephenson from pacers to pick up the slack.

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    1. Nikola Vucevic took 23 days to get back to court lsat January. Given PG's head concussion seems less worse than Vucevic's, and the 3-day rest tip Game 3, .. can he get back sooner?

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    2. There's a chance PG might miss G3. Which means Turner will start and Watson getting more playing time.

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