Bones breaks out and Simons sizzles

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NBA fans were treated to an unusually large 10-game slate Saturday, so instead of blathering away with the intro, let’s get right down to the biggest takeaways!

Raptors 103, Bucks 96

Pascal Siakam continued to roll Saturday with his second career triple-double (30/10/10) that powered Toronto past Milwaukee. He’s averaged 24/10/6 over his last 10 games, and any early-season concerns are in the rearview mirror. Yuta Watanabe started in place of Scottie Barnes but played just five minutes and recorded a Tony Snell special of straight zeroes across the board.

Chris Boucher is worthy of a roster spot in 12-team leagues after finally putting together some useful performances. He’s averaged 8.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks since leaving the starting lineup, and while his production will likely never be consistent, Boucher has massive upside, evidenced by his 15-point, seven-rebound, three-block line.

Milwaukee is 2-5 over its last seven, though the usual cast of characters played their parts well. Khris Middleton stuffed the stat sheet with 16/4/5/3/2, while Bobby Portis recorded an 11/11 double-double with three swats. Grayson Allen scored 18 with three triples and four boards, and he’s averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 triples and 2.0 stocks over his last two.

Trail Blazers 115, Wizards 110

Anfernee Simons kept up his blistering play with 31 points, 11 dimes, seven triples and two steals. This marked the fifth time in six starts that he’s scored at least 20, and he’s averaged over five triples per contest since entering the starting five. Simons has returned top-10 value over the last two weeks, and if you were fortunate enough to scoop him off waivers, count your blessings that you landed a league winner.

Jusuf Nurkic turned in a monster 23/14/2/2 line, and his play has been quite strong as of late. Robert Covington filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block. After a terrible start to the season that had fantasy managers wondering whether or not he was a hold, RoCo has been a top-30 player over the last two weeks, thanks in large part to his massive block and steal numbers.

The Kyle Kuzma redemption tour kept on rockin’ Saturday, as Kuz posted 16 points and 12 boards for his 17th double-double of the season. That matches his career-high for double-doubles in a season set back in 2017-18 with the Lakers. He’s averaging a career-high 8.7 boards in his first year with Washington and has been one of the best values in fantasy hoops. Spencer Dinwiddie went for 27 points and seven dimes, and he’s another player who’s improved his stock considerably as of late. He’s averaged 22 points and seven helpers over his last three and figures to see significant usage while Bradley Beal (protocols) is out.

Thomas Bryant played 12 unproductive minutes off the bench (two rebounds), while Daniel Gafford started and was equally unimpressive in 11 minutes. Gafford can’t be started in fantasy lineups now and neither can Bryant. Montrezl Harrell (16/5/2/1/1 in 25 minutes) is the only member of Washington’s frontcourt who deserves to be started in 12-team leagues.

Knicks 117, Hawks 108

R.J. Barrett went off for 26 points, the fifth time he’s scored at least that many in five of his last eight games. Barrett has been on a roll in that span, posting top-100 value behind strong scoring, improved field goal percentage and three-pointers. His awful free-throw percentage and lack of defensive stats hold him back, but the recent play is highly encouraging after a lukewarm start to the season.

Mitchell Robinson recorded his third straight double-double (14 points, 13 boards), and he’s averaged 15.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in that span. He’s enjoying his best stretch of play of the season, and his outlook is trending way up. Alec Burks scored 17 (his most since Dec. 29) and added season-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (8) to narrowly miss a triple-double. He remains a viable play in all formats.

Gorgui Dieng started his second straight game, though he played only 13 minutes, while Onyeka Okongwu logged 24 off the bench. Okongwu went for 12 points, five boards, two blocks and a steal, though his upside is obviously capped with Dieng back in the mix. De’Andre Hunter played 30 minutes and went 8/3/2/1. The performance wasn’t what fantasy managers were hoping for, but the playing time is encouraging.

Nets 120, Pelicans 105

Despite Kevin Durant playing only 12 minutes due to a knee injury (more on that later), Brooklyn cruised to victory in this one thanks to tremendous play from rookies and role players. Cam Thomas scored 20 and has now hit that mark in three of his last four. With Durant set to potentially miss some time, Thomas is worth an add for teams in need of points. Day’Ron Sharpe posted a 12/10 double-double, but the imminent return of Nicolas Claxton will decimate his fantasy value. Kessler Edwards went 16/6/2, and he’s worth an add in deeper leagues due to Durant’s injury.

Jonas Valanciunas recorded just five rebounds, tying his lowest total of the season. He’s had a breakout campaign and averaged 14.2 boards over his last five, so we’ll let it slide. Josh Hart posted a 14/11 double-double, and he continues to be one of the most productive rebounders among all guard-eligible players. Herbert Jones failed to record a defensive stat for the second time in his last three games after only doing so in one prior game in the season opener. It’s a concerning stretch of play for a guy whose value is so closely tied to stocks, but there’s no reason to panic yet.

76ers 109, Heat 98

Joel Embiid willed Philly to another win thanks to 25 second-half points. He finished with 32/12/3/1/1 and scored at least 30 points for the 11th time in 13 games. He’s firmly in the MVP conversation, and he’s been a tremendous value to fantasy managers. Furkan Korkmaz (six points, two assists) fell flat in the starting lineup, while Tyrese Maxey put together a 13/7/4 performance that included two blocks.

Omer Yurtseven posted his eighth double-double of the season with a career-high 22 points to go with 11 rebounds. He’s pulled down double-digit boards in 14 straight and averaged 13.6 of them in that span. Even with Bam Adebayo set to return, Yurt has shown enough upside to warrant a significant role when Adebayo is healthy. Jimmy Butler was ice cold from the field (1-of-11), though he finished with eight points, nine dimes, five boards, two steals and a block to salvage his rough shooting night.

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Cavaliers 107, Thunder 102

The Darius Garland breakout continued, as the young guard recorded his 12th double-double of the season behind a career-best 18 dimes. He added 27 points, five boards and a steal for good measure. Garland has made a strong case for Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors after recording his first career triple-double Wednesday and scoring a season-high 32 points on Friday before Saturday’s enormous line.

With Evan Mobley back and rolling, Kevin Love has cooled off considerably. Isaac Okoro returned but logged an unproductive 24 minutes off the bench. Jarrett Allen (13/13) and Evan Mobley (20 points, two blocks) did what they do best, and Lamar Stevens was uninspiring in the starting lineup yet again.

Josh Giddey posted his seventh double-double of the season behind 11 points and 10 rebounds, though he turned the ball over six times and handed out just three assists. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander provided a full line of 21 points, seven dimes, five boards, two blocks and a steal, and Lu Dort and Darius Bazley each scored 17 in the loss. Giddey and SGA are the most valuable fantasy players on this team with Dort behind them. All three have value in 12-team leagues, though they’re the only ones on this team who do.

Celtics 114, Bulls 112

Despite missing all of Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, Chicago kept this one close thanks to the scrappy play of Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White. Dosunmu managed 21 points, 10 assists, four boards and no turnovers in 40 minutes, while White finished with 19/3/5/1 and five triples. Both are must-adds off the waiver wire right now, with Dosunmu the preferred pickup. Zach LaVine will miss some time with a knee injury, opening the door for Dosunmu and White to provide useful fantasy value for the length of his absence.

With Marcus Smart (thigh) out again, Dennis Schroder was surprisingly effective with 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and a steal. Robert Williams logged another double-double with 14/13/6 and two blocks. After starting the season somewhat hampered by Al Horford’s presence, Time Lord has come into his own with consistent production as a scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker and improved work as a facilitator.

Spurs 101, Clippers 94

Los Angeles is a fantasy wasteland for the most part, but there are still some serviceable options. Marcus Morris (16/6/5) is a typically-reliable scorer and rebounder, while Amir Coffey (20/5/1/1/1) has emerged as a legitimate offensive threat as well. Serge Ibaka double-doubled with two blocks off the bench, and he’s worth a roster spot in deeper leagues, while Isaiah Hartenstein played just six minutes and is trending way down.

Devin Vassell recorded a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double, and if you held onto him while he was out, you were handsomely rewarded. Jock Landale got the start in place of the injured Jakob Poeltl (back) and went 10/11/2/1 over 26 minutes.

Derrick White certainly showed no signs of rust after missing five games due to protocols. He logged 25 minutes off the bench and went for 19 points, four rebounds, four assists, three blocks, three triples and a steal while leading the team in scoring and blocks. It’s safe to say fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief for his rest of season outlook.

Nuggets 133, Lakers 96

Los Angeles got embarrassed on Saturday night, and there’s not too much to talk about on the Lakers’ side other than Malik Monk’s pedestrian performance. Coming into this one, Monk averaged 20.2 points and 3.8 triples on 52.5% shooting. Saturday, he scored just four points on 2-of-5 shooting and 0-of-1 from beyond the arc. He still started and logged 25 minutes, so chalk it up to a negative game script.

Nikola Jokic went 17/12/13 for his eighth triple-double of the season (second-most in the NBA), while Jeff Green (26/3/4/1 with four triples) had a second straight strong performance. With JaMychal Green in the health and safety protocols, expect Jeff to be a useful streamer in the short term.

The real headline of this game is Bones Hyland’s career night. He went for 27 points, 10 rebounds and six triples across 33 minutes - all career-highs. He’s now averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and 5.5 triples over his last two games. Denver has got to find more minutes for him moving forward, and hopefully this performance nudges Michael Malone in the right direction.

Mavericks 108, Magic 92

Despite missing the Mavs' last seven games due to health and safety protocols, Kristaps Porzingis was cleared Saturday and played the same night. He went for 19 points, seven boards, a block and a steal in 28 minutes without needing any time to re-condition or ease back into action. Fantasy managers have got to be giddy about KP's performance in his first game back.

Mo Bamba (toe) was available after missing Orlando's last two games, and he finished with six points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and five fouls over 17 minutes. Fantasy managers have to hold onto him and hope for the best, as his stats have been disappointing since returning to the lineup on January 2. With Wendell Carter still out of action, Mo Wagner enjoyed another productive game (16/4/2/2) and Robin Lopez scored 16 in the starting lineup. Gary Harris and Terrence Ross did little, while Chuma Okeke provided a fairly typical line of six points, three steals and six boards.

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