Tatum, Celtics push Heat to sixth game

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Aug 17, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots against Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Matisse Thybulle (22)in game one of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a must-win for Boston, as they trailed Miami by a three games to one margin. The Celtics didn’t get off to a great start, but they live to fight another day thanks to a stellar third quarter. Below is a look at that game, along with brief updates on Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson.

Celtics 121, Heat 108 (Miami leads, 3-2)

After a relatively sluggish first half Boston managed to come alive in the third quarter, opening the period with a 20-5 run. Jayson Tatum (31/10/6/1 with three 3-pointers) led the way, scoring 17 points in the third, and as a team Boston outscored Miami 41-25. That proved to be the difference, as the Celtics managed to extend the Eastern Conference Finals to a sixth game. Tatum provided first-round value in nine-category formats this season, and that’s where he should be taken in all formats ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Another Celtics player who has boosted his fantasy value heading into next season in Jaylen Brown, who chipped in with 28 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Just outside of the top-50 in both eight- and nine-cat formats during the regular season, I like Brown higher the fifth-round value that he provided when looking ahead to the 2020-21 campaign.

In total seven Celtics scored at least eight points Friday night, with Daniel Theis (15/13/1/3 blocks) and Enes Kanter (8/4/2) combining to provide some much-needed production at the center position. Boston used its smaller lineup in which Gordon Hayward (10/3/2/1 blocks) served as the de facto center for all of three minutes in Game 5, a departure from what we saw in Games 3 and 4. That doesn’t happen if Theis, whose double-double was his first of the series, and Kanter aren’t as effective as they were. The latter played just ten minutes in Game 5, which limits his ceiling considerably from a DFS standpoint. Kanter was unlikely to be on anyone’s radar either way, but it was good to see him make the most of his minutes.

Robert Williams was a DNP-CD for the third straight game, and it appears as if that will remain the case for the duration of this series due to the matchups. Hopefully he can be a late-round asset next season, but I’m not sure using a pick on the Time Lord a gamble worth taking. Theis is due back, Kanter holds a player option worth just over $5 million and Grant Williams can also be used at the five in smaller lineups. The other options set to be available to Brad Stevens limit Robert’s value in 2020-21 more than anything else.

Goran Dragic (23/4/4 with one 3-pointer) and Duncan Robinson (20/2/1 steal and three 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Heat, with the former scoring 12 points in the first quarter. Boston was able to do a better job of challenging Robinson’s looks as the game progressed, and he’s now 3-of-15 from three in the last two games. For the series Robinson is averaging 3.0 3-pointers per, and he’s scored 13 points or more in three of the five games. He’s primarily a points and 3-pointers option, but the Heat sharpshooter was productive enough across the board in the regular season to be a top-100 player in nine-cat formats. Robinson’s fantasy value is bolstered by the fact that he can be used at three different positions (SG/SF/PF) in Yahoo leagues.

Six Miami players scored in double figures, including Jimmy Butler (17/8/8/1/1), Bam Adebayo (13/8/8/1/1) and Tyler Herro (14/3/1 with two 3-pointers). Herro came back to earth after torching the Celtics for 37 points in Game 4, but it isn’t as if he struggled mightily either. Given the nickname of “Baby Goat” by the Heat, Herro has only enhanced his fantasy value in 2020-21 with his performances in the bubble. Where he should be selected in standard leagues will be impacted by what happens with Dragic, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but Herro is definitely worth taking.

— Anthony Davis (ankle) questionable for Game 5

While Denver reported no new injuries ahead of Saturday’s matchup, the Lakers’ list was a bit crowded. Alex Caruso (right wrist), Danny Green (left ring finger) and LeBron James (right groin) are all listed as probable, while Davis (left ankle) and Dion Waiters (left groin) are listed as questionable. Waiters has been inactive the last few games, and even if deemed healthy enough to play it’s tough to see him factoring into the Lakers’ rotation significantly. Davis, on the other hand, is expected to be good to go Saturday night but the designation makes it clear that this is no sure thing. If Davis is cleared he should be used in DFS; the potential of re-aggravating the injury may give some players pause when it comes to slotting him into their lineups but it’s worth the risk.


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