Around the League

WEB-Around-Spurs-Streak-29MAR2014

Around the League

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Fratello’s Fantasy Pick

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty ImagesAs the 2013-2014 NBA season winds down, many teams are scrambling to make the postseason or to improve their playoff seeding. The 42-28 Memphis Grizzlies, currently slotted 7th in the uber-competitive Western Conference, are among a handful of teams who are battling on the bubble.

With just a dozen 48’s left to play, the Griz will rely on their starters and core unit now more than ever. So adding sixth-year C Marc Gasol to your fantasy squad down the backstretch is a savvy move.

The 29-year-old bigger little brother of LAL’s Pau Gasol was the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. He scores, boards and blocks shots. And he gets almost 4 dimes a contest, impressive for a 7’1” big.

For the season, the Barcelona native is averaging 13.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 1.4 bpg. However, during the month of March Gasol has averaged 14.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 1.8 bpg. Throw in nearly 1 steal a night, and Gasol can fill up a stat sheet left to right.

The 2008 Spanish League MVP has season highs of 23 points (2X), 12 boards (2X), 9 assists, 4 blocks (6X) and 3 steals (6X). He shoots 80% from the charity stripe, which is rare for a legit 7-footer.

Gasol should have plenty in the tank after missing 23 games with a left knee issue earlier in the year. He’s a seasoned veteran with loads of playoff experience and can be counted on to put up solid numbers against any team or defensive scheme.

So for Fantasy GMs looking to finish out the schedule strong, Gasol is the right player in the right situation.

Gameday Dish

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn NetsWith the playoffs fast approaching, tonight’s third matchup of the year between the Nets and Bobcats carries important implications for both sides.

19th-year super-vet Kevin Garnett has missed the last nine Nets contests with back spasms and will be in street clothes again when the 33-35 Charlotte Bobcats come to Brooklyn this evening.

However, during this Big Ticket-less span, the rest of coach Jason Kidd’s guys have stepped up, going 7-2 over this period. And with a victory tonight, the 34-31 Nets will have won 10 in a row at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn currently sits in the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference, only 2 games behind the Bulls. The once and future Hornets franchise, in the 7th slot, trails the Nets by 2.5 games and has a 5.5 game lead over the 9th place Knickerbockers with only 14 games left to play.

The first game between these two squads took place in Charlotte on November 20th, and the home team prevailed 95-91. Charlotte was led by G Kemba Walker with 31 points and 4 for 7 from downtown. Back-up center Andray Blatche came off the bench for 25 points and 7 boards.

Atlanta Hawks v Charlotte Bobcats

In the second 48 on February 12th in Brooklyn, the Nets hammered the Bobcats 105-89 behind a blistering third quarter in which they outscored Charlotte 35-19. On that wintry evening, Paul Pierce put up 25 points, going 9 for 11 and a perfect 5-5 from the arc in only 22 minutes of court-time.

Brooklyn last played on St. Patrick’s, besting the visiting Suns 108-95.  All five of the Nets starters scored in double figures with PG Deron Williams leading the charge with 28 points on 11-13 shooting. Charlotte had won four in a row before dropping a home game to Atlanta 97-83 on Monday.

To serve the Bobcats another loss, Brooklyn will have to contain Charlotte big man Al Jefferson, who leads their team in scoring and rebounding at 21.3 and 10.4 respectively. With no KG and Brook Lopez for the season, look for the Bobcats to stress Jefferson’s wily inside power game tonight.

Ryan Ruocco and I will be back in the booth for another big game at Barclays Center. Tune in to YES Network at 7:30PM ET to see if the Nets will continue their winning ways in Brooklyn.

From the Booth

Perhaps my lucky clover glasses had something to do with the Nets’ win over the Suns on St. Patrick’s Day.

WEB-St Patricks Day-2014