Mon Jul 15 5:42pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Players: J.R. Smith
CLEVELAND (AP) The Cavaliers have waived colorful shooting guard J.R. Smith, ending his eventful tenure with the team.
Cleveland had been trying to trade Smith for months, but the team couldn't find the right package and released him to cut space under the salary cap and avoid paying luxury taxes.
Smith's days were numbered when he agreed to leave the club in November after 11 games. The 33-year-old wasn't happy with his role, and the Cavs didn't want him around their young players.
Smith played a vital part in Cleveland winning the 2016 NBA championship. He made two 3-pointers during a critical stretch of Game 7 of the Finals, helping the Cavs complete a historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
He'll also be remembered for a gaffe in the 2018 Finals, when he mistakenly dribbled out the clock at the end of regulation in a tie game that Cleveland lost in overtime.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams had an awkward collision with Lakers' center JaVale McGee on Wednesday, but the New Zealander returned after some time with the trainer. Adams provided some excellent numbers with 18 points on seven for 10 shooting and added seven boards with two assists in 28 minutes in the win. We know Adams is tough as nails and we can assume he will be good to go on Friday when he will be battling with Jonas Valanciunas and the Grizz.
Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James struggled along with his entire squad on Wednesday in the 105-86 loss at the hands of the OKC Thunder. James connected on just 7-for-19 shooting and missed all five of his attempts from three, yet salvaged his outing with 11 boards, four assists, and a steal. The Lakers go again on Thursday and with no Lakers' starter playing more than 30 minutes, we can expect a bounce-back game form the King when he and his Lakers take on the Rockets.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was one of just three Lakers' players on Wednesday to score in double digits in the 19-point loss to the Thunder. Kuzma connected on 3-for-7 shooting and added three rebounds with zero turnovers in 27 minutes of action. Dion Waiters had a solid full line as he tallied 14 points, two boards, two assists with a steal and a block. Kuzma and Waiters could be players to look at down the stretch with the Lakers already having clinched the top seed and wanting to solidify their playoff rotation.
Los Angeles Lakers power forward/center Anthony Davis continued his up and down play on Wednesday as the superstar managed just nine points in the blowout loss to the Thunder. Davis took only 11 shots and connected on just three of them while adding eight rebounds with five assists and zero defensive numbers in 29 minutes of action. The Lakers have clinched the first seed already, so the rest of their regular season games will be more of fine-tuning. By saying this, Davis is a tough play at the moment and there are potentially better options in his price range at the moment.
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari posted another excellent line on Thursday in the 19-point win over the Lakers. Gallinari chipped in 19 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the floor and added seven rebounds with a steal. Gallinari held his own in this one and was often matched up with Anthony Davis who had a quiet outing of just nine points. Gallinari, along many of the OKC studs, is one of the more steady and reliable DFS options, and with the Thunder fighting for playoff positioning, Gallinari is always worth a look.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul continued his superb play in the restart as he tallied 21 points on an efficient 8-for-12 shooting in the easy win over the Lakers. Paul did not stop there as added seven boards, six assists with a steal but also committed five turnovers in this one. Paul has been as steady as can be in the Orlando with averages of 20.7 points, 5.3 boards, and seven assists. Paul is always one of the more consistent players when it comes DFS and if you need those steady points on Thursday, Paul is worth a look as he should have his way with Grizz's backcourt in that one.
San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Keldon Johnson had a career night on Wednesday against Denver with 20 points off the bench. He shot 7-for-10 in 26 minutes of action, sinking both of his attempts from deep. The 20-year-old rookie also picked up six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Johnson was used very little during the real regular season, but he has cracked the rotation in Orlando and performing well. He's done some good work on the glass and that's now 35 total points for him in the last two games, so keep an eye on him.
San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay was the team's top scorer with 24 points in Wednesday's loss to Denver, shooting 9-for-18 from the field and 2-for-6 from downtown. He logged 26 minutes off the bench and contributed nicely across the board, adding four assists, four rebounds, two blocks, and one steal. Gay isn't the player that he used to be, but he's still a skillful scorer and that's now two 24-point performances in a row by him. He's one of the team's main offensive weapons with LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) out of action.
San Antonio Spurs point guard Derrick White continued his good run of form with 23 points in Wednesday's loss to Denver. He shot 6-for-15 from the field and 4-for-10 from downtown with a 7-for-8 record at the line. White added seven assists, three rebounds, two steals, and one block to his line. The 26-year-old guard has really picked up his game in Orlando, producing three 20-point performances in four games. He has also been a good source for assists and rebounds. Meeting Utah on Friday offers another good opportunity for White, as the Jazz haven't defended well against guards this season.
Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant had a very productive bench outing in Wednesday's win over San Antonio, scoring 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting. He also had a pair of rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 35 minutes of action. Grant managed only two points in 34 minutes in Monday's overtime win against OKC, so this was a very nice bounce-back effort. He returned to form at a perfect time as well, with Denver taking on a defensively-challenged Portland on Thursday. Only three teams boast a poorer defensive rating this season.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic produced a double-double with 25 points and 11 assists on Wednesday against the Spurs. He shot 10-for-17 from the floor and 3-for-5 from outside. The Joker's stat line also included four assists and one steal with five turnovers. Jokic is rolling nicely in Orlando, and he gets a fascinating matchup against former teammate Jusuf Nurkic on Thursday. He has averaged a 23-12-6 line in the previous three appearances against Portland this season, shooting a sensational 53 percent from downtown.
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. came up big for the team once more on Wednesday, recording his second consecutive 30-point night. He followed up Monday's 37-point effort with a 30-point game on 11-for-19 shooting. Porter Jr. led all scorers, while also grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds. T.J. Warren suddenly seems to have a rival for the NBA Bubble MVP award. Porter Jr., who went 5-for-9 from deep, should be in a very confident mood ahead of Thursday's clash with Portland, as the Blazers have one of the worst defensive ratings in the league.
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic was not his dominant self against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. In 33 minutes of action, Vucevic provided 12 points and nine rebounds along with three assists and two steals. It was the fewest amount of points Vucevic has scored since the restart after posting back-to-back 20-plus point performances to begin the resumed season. Vucevic has become so reliable that it is unusual to see him not post a double-double. Daily fantasy managers that will automatically put him back in their lineups should be wary. The Magic's next opponent is the Philadelphia 76ers with their third-best defense versus opposing centers.
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had a quiet night on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. In a 109-99 win that almost guarantees Toronto the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Siakam registered 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 34 minutes. Last season's Most Improved Player has been quiet during the NBA restart. The forward is averaging 17.3 points, seven rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Those are all below his season averages. Hopefully, he can return to his usual form during the final five games of the regular season and turn the corner before the playoffs begin.
In a 109-99 win over the Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. The point guard came almost as close as you can to recording a triple-double without recording a double-double. Lowry had eight points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists in 38 minutes. After a dominating performance against the Lakers on Saturday, the 34-year-old has been quieter in the box score over the last two games. The Raptors take on the Philadelhpia 76ers next, and could be without Ben Simmons for the game. If Lowry's price tag is lowered because of his previous two statistical outings, I like the idea of slotting him in my daily lineup on Friday night.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred Vanvleet scored a game-high 21 points on Wednesday night. In a 109-99 win over the Orlando Magic, FVV scored 21 points to go along with 10 assists, four rebounds, and one steal. The 26-year-old shot 8-for-13 from the field and made two of his five attempts from behind the three-point line. The guard is averaging 23.3 points, 8.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in a massive 39 minutes per game. VanVleet is having a good run since the season restarted at Disney World, and Toronto has almost locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. FVV's numbers may dip towards the end of the regular season, but, for now, you can pencil him into your daily fantasy rosters and expect a high return in value.
Washington Wizards power forward Rui Hachimura saw a game-high 39 minutes during Wednesdays loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but was unable to cash in on his time on the floor, shooting just 2-for-11 overall. Over his last three outings, Hachimura has shot 8-for-29, failing to reach double figures in scoring in any of those games. A solid contributor on the glass (eight rebounds Wednesday), Hachimura holds DFS cash play value at this stage, but hell need to see a significant price drop before many owners buy in.
Washington Wizards shooting guard/small forward Jerome Robinson continued to lead the teams second unit against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, dropping 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Since entering the bubble, Robinson has been the Wizard who arguably has benefited most from the absence of Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, staples of the teams offense at the time of the shutdown. Having appeared sparingly as a reserve for the Clippers earlier in the year, Robinson now represents a multi-category contributor, having added three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in his 29 minutes. His DFS price tag should remain reasonable heading into Fridays matchup with the ultra-paced Pelicans.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen scored 20 points and made a career-high six threes in 27 minutes off the bench on Wednesday. Allen cashed in on spot-up opportunities all night as Memphis got into the painted area and repeatedly dished it out to him. The 24-year-old has averaged 17.3 points and 4.3 made three-pointers per game in three contests since the NBA's return. While he won't produce many other stats besides points and threes, he's certainly a spark for this Memphis team. He can be a real sneaky DFS play, though he probably shouldn't be used against the Thunder on Friday. They've been stingy in their defense of the arc this year.
Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas notched a double-double for the third straight game on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. Valanciunas held his own against two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, scoring 21 points with 14 rebounds and three assists. The former first-round pick wasn't as efficient as he was in the past two games, but made up for it with his point, rebound and assist totals. Playing on a Memphis team trying to fight for the eighth seed, Valanciunas should be a sneaky double-double machine down the stretch. He'll be a good start on Friday against the Thunder, as he had no trouble with Steven Adams earlier in the year.