Friday’s NBA action included two 50-point scoring efforts, but only one of those players managed to win. Below is a look at what happened in the Association, beginning with the Pacers’ win over the Magic.
Pacers 111, Magic 106: Indiana was once again without Myles Turner (ankle), but Domantas Sabonis was back in the lineup for the first time in a week. He played 33 minutes, accounting for 16 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer. Sabonis didn’t shoot the ball well, going just 3-of-12 from the field, but he made up for that by going 9-of-12 from the foul line. With Sabonis back in the fold Doug McDermott returned to the second unit, and he had a good night. Shooting 8-of-13 from the field, McDermott tallied 19 points, six rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes. Despite the role change he’s a deep league keeper, but McDermott’s value in standard leagues is a bit shaky at this point.
Malcolm Brogdon (11/4/4/1) and Caris LeVert (11/7/2/1/1) shot a combined 8-of-26 from the field, but the performances of McDermott and Aaron Holiday helped make up for the starters’ struggles. Holiday was 6-of-10 from deep, finishing with a line of 20 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 23 minutes off the bench. Holiday is on a bit of a heater (for him, at least), as he’s scored 12 points or more in four of the last five games (20+ in two straight). Indiana has four games on the schedule for next week, including a Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back, so there may be some short-term value to be had with Holiday. That being said, the recent success from three (10 in his last two games) doesn’t feel sustainable when compared to his season average (1.0 3-pointers per game).
On the Orlando side of things, Cole Anthony once again came off the bench but he played more minutes than starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Anthony played 26 minutes, tallying eight points, nine rebounds, five assists, one block and one turnover, shooting 3-of-12 from the field. Carter-Williams wasn’t much better in his 22 minutes, accounting for nine points, two rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer and two turnovers. Also of note was the Magic debut of Gary Harris, who is on a minutes restriction. He played 18 minutes Friday night, shooting 2-of-10 from the field and posting a line of eight points, three rebounds and one assist. Until that restriction gets lifted, there isn’t much value to be had in slotting Harris into your lineups just yet.
Terrence Ross (24/4/1/1 block with two 3-pointers in 28 minutes) led the way offensively, while Mo Bamba (14/6/2/3 blocks with two 3-pointers) posted a solid line despite having to leave the game for a bit due to an injury. If there’s a concern for Orlando from a fantasy standpoint, it’s that Chuma Okeke (8/6/7/1 block) got just five shot attempts. That’s the fewest for him since March 23 (one vs. Denver), and he’s had a total of 13 shots in Orlando’s last two games. Hopefully Okeke gets more looks Sunday when the Magic host Milwaukee.
Celtics 145, Timberwolves 136 (OT): Jayson Tatum became the youngest player in Celtics history to have a 50-point game, and he was nearly unstoppable in Boston’s overtime win over Minnesota. Shooting 16-of-25 from the field and 15-of-16 from the line, he put up 53 points with 10 rebounds, four assists, one block and six 3-pointers in 41 minutes. Since being limited to 18 points in a two-point loss to the Bucks back on March 24, Tatum has scored 25 or more in seven of Boston’s last nine games. Jaylen Brown (26/5/3/2/2 with four 3-pointers) and Marcus Smart (24/6/8/2 with four 3-pointers) also had good nights offensively, while Kemba Walker (17/7/9/2 with three 3-pointers) shot 5-of-14 from the field. The rebounds and assists help make up for the off shooting night, however.
Of course when it comes to the Celtics and fantasy basketball, the minutes split at the center position is worth a look. Robert Williams (6/7/5/2 blocks) played 25 minutes as the starter, while Tristan Thompson (7/7/1) played 28 as the backup. Williams’ value will be fine, as the minutes split is between two players as opposed to three (before Daniel Theis was traded to the Bulls). Thompson, who’s rostered in 13% of Yahoo leagues, is worthy of a look in most leagues, especially if there’s a serious need for rebounds and defensive stats.
D’Angelo Russell once again came off the bench for Minnesota and he performed well, playing 29 minutes and finishing with 26 points (10-of-18 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), four rebounds, eight assists and three 3-pointers. The 29 minutes are five more than Russell played in either of his first two games back from a knee injury, so he’s approaching the point where a minutes restriction will no longer be needed. Ricky Rubio’s fantasy value has been virtually non-existent, even though he remains the starter for the time being. He posted a 4/4/7/4 line in 23 minutes, while Jordan McLaughlin (7/1/1/2) played 15 minutes off the bench. The absence of Jaylen Nowell has ensured that McLaughlin remains a part of the rotation for the time being.
Karl-Anthony Towns (30/12/7/1 with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Timberwolves, while Anthony Edwards (24/5/5/1 with two 3-pointers) put up a solid line in 40 minutes played. The rookie has shot 52% or better from the field in four of Minnesota’s last six games, which is what the team needs with Malik Beasley (hamstring) sidelined. Josh Okogie (16/3/1/4 with two 3-pointers) had his best scoring night of the season, but he remains a difficult player to trust with regard to fantasy production. Jaden McDaniels (11/3/1/2 with one 3-pointer) has been the more consistent of the two, and would be the better choice for deep league managers looking for players capable of doing a little bit of everything.
Knicks 133, Grizzlies 129 (OT): Julius Randle (15/10/11/1 with one 3-pointer) posted a triple-double but had an off night, as he was just 4-of-12 from the field. In the end it didn’t matter, as multiple Knicks stepped forward in the team’s comeback win over Memphis. RJ Barrett (20/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers) scored the basket that sent the game to overtime, and he continues to play better basketball offensively. While Barrett has scored 20 or more in three straight games, what jumps out even more is the fact that he’s shot 53% or better in each of his last four. The efficiency is coming along; now, it’s about having a consistent impact in areas other than scoring.
Immanuel Quickley (20/4/2/1 with four 3-pointers), Derrick Rose (19/4/3/1/2) and Alec Burks (19/5/2 with three 3-pointers) had good nights offensively, while Taj Gibson (6/8/1/1/1) and Obi Toppin (8/6/1) also gave the Knicks some good minutes off the bench. New York’s second unit sparked the rally, while a starter (Barrett) helped finish it off. Rose is rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues, but one could argue that the percentage should be higher due to starting point guard Elfrid Payton (12 points, one steal and two 3-pointers) not bringing as much scoring to the table. If forced to choose between the two, I’d take Rose for fantasy purposes.
Memphis was the opposite of New York, in that it didn’t get much in the way of production from its bench. The exception was Desmond Bane, who in 23 minutes put up 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. With De’Anthony Melton out due to injury, that’s one less person that Bane and starter Grayson Allen (ten points, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer) have to compete with for playing time. Two nights after going off for 30, Allen came back to earth but he’s still worth considering in deeper leagues. He’s currently rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues. Bane, who’s rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues, hasn’t been consistently productive in the steals/blocks categories. With Friday’s line, he’s failed to record at least one of either in three of his last four games.
Ja Morant (26/4/6/1 block with four 3-pointers), Dillon Brooks (23/3/5/1 with three 3-pointers) and Jonas Valanciunas (20/14/2/1/3 with one 3-pointer) all shot at least 50% from the field, while Kyle Anderson (15/6/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers) joined JV in posting a full stat line. Anderson was barely on the fantasy radar before the season began, but he’s been a top-75 player while also showing off an improved perimeter stroke. He should be rostered in more than 73% of Yahoo leagues.
Hawks 120, Bulls 108: Zach LaVine was unstoppable during the first half, and appeared poised to lead Chicago to a road victory. But after scoring 39 in the first half he scored just 11 in the second, finishing with 50 points, eight rebounds, five assists and seven 3-pointers. The problem for LaVine was that outside of Nikola Vucevic (25/10/2/1 with three 3-pointers), he didn’t get much help. Coby White (11/1/4/1 with one 3-pointer) was Chicago’s only other double-digit scorer, and Thaddeus Young (4/5/3/1 block) and Patrick Williams (4/2/2 steals) combined to shoot just 4-of-8 from the field.
Tomas Satoransky went scoreless, but those who have him rostered were able to get back something in return as he dished out ten assists. And for those who still have him rostered, it would be nice to see Lauri Markkanen figure things out to where he’s producing consistently. Of course the move to the bench did him no favors as far as fantasy is concerned, but after scoring 18 points Thursday night, he had just five in Friday’s defeat.
Trae Young started out the third quarter on fire, and he finished the game with 42 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and one 3-pointer. Young has accounted for nine assist or more in five of his last six games and, even with the occasionally high turnover counts, he is a top-25 player in 9-cat formats. Clint Capela (22/10/1/2 blocks) and Danilo Gallinari (20/6/1/2 with four 3-pointers) both posted solid lines in their returns to action after sitting out Wednesday’s loss to the Grizzlies.
As expected Onyeka Okongwu (six points, five rebounds) took a major hit, as he played just 11 minutes. Managers in dynasty leagues can still consider using the rookie, but even that would be an unnecessary gamble to make eight now. Kevin Huerter (11/2/5/2/1 with one 3-pointer) is still hanging around the top-100 in 9-cat and, even with the modest stat lines, he should be rostered in more than 52% of Yahoo leagues. Tony Snell left this one with a sprained ankle, and he will undergo an MRI on Saturday in order to determine the severity of the injury.
Pelicans 101, 76ers 94: Brandon Ingram was back in the lineup after a five-game absence but he didn’t have much of an impact offensively, shooting 5-of-21 from the field and recording a line of 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Ingram was understandably rusty, but the good news is that he was able to take on his usual workload with regard to playing time. This game was essentially the “Zion Williamson Show,” as he dropped a line of 37 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists on Philadelphia. Williamson’s assist number matched his total from the prior two games combined, and he continues to get more comfortable with running the point in certain spots. Fantasy managers will reap the rewards for the remainder of this season, but it’s hard not to envision what he can be with a full offseason to work on improving as a facilitator.
Lonzo Ball did not play due to his hip injury, and his absence meant that Naji Marshall (1/3/4) remained in the starting lineup. There’s no need to stream Marshall when the Pelicans are shorthanded. Kira Lewis Jr. (2/2/4/3/1) played 21 minutes off the bench, and while he didn’t provide much as a scorer we’ll take the assists and defensive stats. He has figured more prominently in the rotation since just before the trade deadline, and so long as he remains healthy that won’t change. Fantasy-wise, Lewis’ name may be one to keep in mind for next season as opposed for this, unless the Pelicans continue to struggle to stay healthy on the perimeter. Willy Hernangomez (10/10/1 block) and Jaxson Hayes (12/6/1 block) had good nights off the bench, and the latter has hit double figures in each of his last six games. Hayes is rostered in just 5% of Yahoo leagues, and is a decent pickup in deep leagues at this point.
New Orleans was able to keep Joel Embiid in check, as he shot 5-of-16 and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, one assist and two blocked shots in 31 minutes played. Philadelphia visits Oklahoma City Saturday night, so fantasy managers should assume that Embiid won’t play in that one. Mike Scott filled in the last time Embiid sat out part of a back-to-back, but that doesn’t mean that Dwight Howard should be ruled out as a streaming option. Even as a reserve, that game sets up as one in which Howard can have a good night as a points and rebounds option.
Tobias Harris (23/7/3/1 with two 3-pointers) put up a solid stat line while Furkan Korkmaz hit four 3-pointers off the bench. The issue with Korkmaz, even as a 3-pointers play, is the lack of consistency. He hasn’t made multiple 3-pointers in consecutive games since March 21-23, so keep that in mind when putting together your lineups for Saturday. Ben Simmons (10/9/6/5/1) put up a full line, but he was also responsible for six turnovers.
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Hornets 127, Bucks 119: He didn’t lead Charlotte in scoring Friday night, but Jalen McDaniels had another good night in his second consecutive start. After posting a 21/6/3/2 line in his second start of the season Wednesday night, he followed that up with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers, shooting 7-of-11 from the field. McDaniels is rostered in 12% of Yahoo leagues, an increase of 12% over the last day, and that number will jump even more in the coming days. With Gordon Hayward still sidelined, there’s room for McDaniels within the Hornets rotation, especially when he plays this well.
Charlotte has played without a “true” center in each of its last two games, with Cody Zeller (10/12/3/3 blocks) playing 22 minutes off the bench and Bismack Biyombo getting a DNP-CD. Zeller isn’t much of a shot-blocker (prior to Friday, his last block was recorded on February 24), but he’s worth holding onto in deep leagues for the rebounding/double-double potential. Miles Bridges (26/7/4/2 blocks with four 3-pointers), Devonte’ Graham (20/2/5 with six 3-pointers) and Terry Rozier (20/3/1/1/1 with three 3-pointers) all scored at least 20 points, while P.J. Washington accounted for 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block and three 3-pointers. The 26 points represent a new season-high for Bridges, who has hit double figures in a season-best five straight games.
Milwaukee was even more shorthanded than Charlotte, as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez all sat this one out. Bobby Portis (10/13/1/2 blocks) had a difficult night, as he shot 5-of-15 and turned the ball over six times, but there were some other Bucks who rewarded the few managers that decided to stream them. Jordan Nwora (24/6/2/1 with four 3-pointers) had the best game of his young NBA career, while Jeff Teague (19/2/6/1 with one 3-pointer), Bryn Forbes (18/3/2 with four 3-pointers) Sam Merrill (13/6/2 with three 3-pointers) were also productive. These are all names to keep in mind the next time Milwaukee sits many (or all) of its starters, especially with a back-to-back on the schedule for next Wednesday/Thursday.
Nuggets 121, Spurs 119: Denver played without Jamal Murray for the third straight game, and Facundo Campazzo was tabbed to fill the void. Campazzo (9/1/4/1 with one 3-pointer) didn’t offer much in the way of production, but his presence meant that Monte Morris could be used off the bench in an attempt to bolster a depleted reserve unit. And that he did, as Morris put together a line of 21 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Morris, who has reached double figures in three of his last four, is rostered in just 8% of Yahoo leagues. Even if Murray is cleared to play Sunday vs. Boston, Morris would be worth picking up as that’s the first game of a back-to-back. The reward far outweighs the risk.
Nikola Jokic (26/13/14/1 with two 3-pointers) and Michael Porter Jr. (22/10/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way for the Nuggets, while Will Barton (17/1/5/1 with two 3-pointers) was solid in his starting role. JaMychal Green was a DNP-CD and, at this point, he may be a “matchup” option at best due to the arrivals of Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee. If the matchups don’t favor Green, he’ll have a hard time cracking the rotation.
San Antonio’s rotation was whole for this one, as Lonnie Walker was back after a nine-game absence due to a right wrist injury. He played 17 minutes off the bench, accounting for seven points, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. While Walker can have some value on nights when the Spurs are undermanned on the wings, his value to the team’s rotation seems to be higher than his fantasy value. He’s rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues, and there isn’t a reason why that number should increase at present time.
Derrick White (25/1/3/3/1 with three 3-pointers) and DeMar DeRozan (24/3/12/1) led the way offensively for San Antonio, while Jakob Poeltl (13/10/5/1/1) posted his fifth double-double in his last seven games. He still isn’t a top-100 player but Poeltl isn’t far off, and I’d bet on him producing at that level next season as the Spurs’ top option at center.
Wizards 110, Warriors 107: Bradley Beal scored six points in the final six seconds of this one, including a four-point play, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Wizards’ All-Star guard was held in check early, but he still finished with 20 points, three rebounds, six assists and one 3-pointers. The question now is whether or not he’ll play Saturday in Phoenix, as he just returned from injury earlier this week. Raul Neto, who played just seven minutes Friday night, would be the name to watch if Beal sits. He obviously wouldn’t score at a level similar to Beal, but Neto starting would move Russell Westbrook (19/14/14/1 with one 3-pointer) off the ball more.
Rui Hachimura (22/5/1 with one 3-pointer) bounced back from Wednesday’s poor performance, and the Wizards centers also played well. Robin Lopez (20/8/2) played 27 minutes off the bench, while Alex Len (15/5/1/2/1) started and put up a full line in 20 minutes of action. Lopez, who has scored 18 or more in three of Washington’s last four games, is the slightly better option but the gap between he and Len isn’t a large one.
Stephen Curry (32/6/5/2 with five 3-pointers) and Kelly Oubre (23/6/2/1 with four 3-pointers) led the way for Golden State, while James Wiseman (18/6/1) and Andrew Wiggins (15/7/6/3) also posted solid stat lines. Wiseman played just 23 minutes, and there were periods in which the Warriors went small with neither he nor Kevon Looney (two rebounds and one steal in 19 minutes) on the court. Wiseman has hit double figures in each of the Warriors’ last two games, but he has played 30 minutes or more just once since returning from his left wrist injury. We’ll see if that eventually changes before season’s end, because that could give Wiseman’s fantasy value a welcome boost.
Clippers 126, Rockets 109: Los Angeles was without both two of its veteran point guards, as Rajon Rondo was given the night off and Patrick Beverley underwent surgery on his broken right hand. Beverley will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks and, until the defensive pest is cleared to play, Reggie Jackson will return to the starting lineup. Wearing protective goggles, Jackson had one of his best games of the season, tallying 26 points, four rebounds, seven assists, two steals and six 3-pointers. This more than helped make up for the absences of Beverley and Paul George, who was given the night off for rest reasons.
Luke Kennard replaced George in the starting lineup and did not have a great night, as he put up three points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. Terance Mann played 36 minutes off the bench, recording a nice 16/9/3/2/1 line with two 3-pointers, while shooting 7-of-8 from the field. Kennard and Mann are now in spots where they won’t have the chance to offer much in the way of fantasy value unless the Clippers are lacking multiple perimeter players. Kawhi Leonard (31/5/8/1 with three 3-pointers) did his usual work, while Nicolas Batum (17/3/1 steal/1 block with two 3-pointers) hit double figures for the first time since March 24.
Houston played without John Wall, as he was given the night off with this being the first game of a back-to-back. Avery Bradley moved into the starting lineup but did not provide much, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds. Wall’s absence is bigger for Kevin Porter Jr., who serves as the primary playmaker in those spots. KPJ shot just 4-of-13 from the field, but he did manage to supplement his 14 points with six rebounds, 13 assists, and three 3-pointers.
Christian Wood (23/3/2/3 blocks with one 3-pointer) and Jae’Sean Tate (18/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer) led the way offensively for the Rockets, while Sterling Brown (15/4/1/1 with three 3-pointers) and KJ Martin (14 points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers) had god nights off the bench. Tate has scored 18 or more in three of Houston’s last four games, and given the combination of production and positional versatility, he should be rostered in far more than 54% of Yahoo leagues. Tate has eligibility at SG, SF and PF in Yahoo leagues.