We’re in the midst of the NBA’s silly season and if you’re wondering what that is, just take a look at the box score for the Magic-Spurs debacle last night. Brutal. Also brutal is the fact that Stephen Curry is out for at least his next four games. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Big Names, Big Games
Russell Westbrook torched the Hawks for 32 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and a block for his 21st triple-double this season, and the 100th of his career. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 10.1 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game on the season, but he’ll have to average more than 12 rebounds per game the rest of the way to finish the season with a triple-double average. I guess it’s possible, but I don’t see how he averages that many boards with the Thunder’s remaining 12-game schedule. Speaking of which, here it is.
Vs. Clippers, @ Toronto, @ Boston, Vs. Miami, Vs. Portland, @ San Antonio, Vs. Denver, @ New Orleans, Vs. Golden State, @ Houston, @ Miami and Vs. Memphis.
As of now, only the Spurs, Nuggets and Grizzlies aren’t in the playoffs, but the Spurs and Nuggets might end up there in a super tight race in the West. The bottom line is that the Thunder have a killer remaining schedule and Westbrook is going to have to go into videogame mode the rest of the way. Maybe 12.2 rebounds a night is possible.
Anthony Davis blew up for 31 points, 14 boards, three dimes, two steals and five blocks in a tough win over the Hornets. Just like almost every other team in the West, the Pelicans need to win every night, which means they’ll need Davis to go off every night. And he’s doing just that, averaging 6.0 blocks along with everything else over his last four games. If healthy, he’s the best fantasy player on the planet these days.
Karl-Anthony Towns hit 13-of-17 shots, 3-of-3 3-pointers and 8-of-8 free throws for 37 points, 10 rebounds, three dimes, a steal and two blocks in a win over the Wizards. His last 3-pointer was basically a dagger, he’s yet to miss a game this season, and recorded his 58th double-double of the season, which leads the league. And if you look at fantasy rankings by total numbers, he’s the No. 2 player this season.
LeBron James had 28 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 33 minutes in a blowout win over the Suns. LeBron looks like a 23-year-old than a 33-year-old player right now.
DeAndre Jordan hit 11-of-12 shots and finished with 29 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks in Tuesday’s win. DJ is going crazy right now, averaging 17 points, 18.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks over his last five games.
Nicolas Batum went crazy with 20 points, a 3-pointer, five rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three blocks in a loss to the Pelicans. He had 29 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and four 3-pointers on Saturday, and has really been looking for his shot lately, which is key. I don’t know what’s going to happen once the Hornets are officially eliminated from the playoffs, but I predicted a big finish from Batum and he’s starting to rack up some really impressive numbers. Here’s to hope he keeps it going.
D’Angelo Russell hit seven 3-pointers and scored 24 points last night - in the first quarter. He was pretty quiet after that, as the Raptors put the squeeze on him and he cooled off, but he still finished with 32 points, seven rebounds, a steal and two blocks. He had 26 points on Sunday and scored 20 a week ago tonight, so my thoughts about him being shut down at some point appear to be wrong. Then again, we still have a month left in the season and the Nets have nothing to play for.
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Taurean Prince hit 9-of-20 shots and three 3-pointers for 25 points, eight boards, three assists, a steal and two blocks in 34 minutes. It took some time, but Prince has finally arrived, averaging 31.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 5.0 3-pointers in his last two games. Yeah, it’s a small sample size, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t go off the rest of the way for one of the league’s biggest tankers.
Markieff Morris hit 10-of-15 shots and three 3-pointers for a season-high 27 points, four rebounds and two assists last night. He had just four points in 19 minutes on Saturday, so this was possibly the surprise of the night.
Jonas Valanciunas dominated the Nets with 26 points, 14 rebounds and a block in 27 minutes. The Nets (and Mavericks) get dominated by opposing centers, but Valanciunas is killing it in March and has three more games this week.
Stephen Curry has been shut down for the next four games with a sprained ankle and will be reevaluated on March 20. OUCH. The Warriors are one of the few Western playoff teams not fighting for their life, so it’s possible he could really be babied until the playoffs get here. As a Steph owner in several leagues, I feel your pain. Quinn Cook and Shaun Livingston will handle PG duties, but Kevin Durant is the big winner here.
Draymond Green is out on Wednesday with a sore right shoulder. Jordan Bell will be back for that one and could be busy, along with Andre Iguodala.
Klay Thompson is iffy tonight with a thumb injury, but my guess is he’s going to play. He should be really productive with Curry and Green out.
Kawhi Leonard (quad) won’t play on Thursday and it’s up to his doctors in New York as to when he’ll play again. It sounded like he was getting close, but now we just don’t know. The Spurs will have just 13 games left after Thursday and you have to think they’ll baby him if and when he does return. It’s going to be very tough for the Spurs to hang in the playoff race if Leonard remains out.
Paul George injured his groin last night and is now iffy for Friday, although he said after the game that he plans to play in that one. It’s all-hands-on-deck for the Thunder, so if George can go on Friday, he will. He left Tuesday’s game and didn’t return.
Kyle Kuzma left at the end of the third quarter with a sprained right ankle and was clearly hobbled when he returned, even though he played very well. I think it’s going to swell up over night and his status for Wednesday against the Warriors is clearly in doubt. A red-hot Julius Randle will have a big game tonight if Kuzma’s unable to go. He finished with 26 points, 12 boards and five 3-pointers in 38 minutes and 24 of his points came in the second half.
Aaron Gordon still hasn’t cleared concussion protocol and missed three straight games. He’s very iffy for tonight’s game against the Bucks.
Skal Labissiere has missed two straight with a hip injury and is questionable tonight against the Heat. We’ll know more after today’s shootaround.
Domantas Sabonis had his left ankle fallen on by Joel Embiid and had X-rays taken after the game, which were negative. He’s going to be questionable for Thursday against the Raptors and Myles Turner will come into that one hot after tying his season high with 25 points on Tuesday.
Hassan Whiteside is being listed as out for Wednesday with a hip injury, but we’ll know more after shootaround. If he’s out, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo will get a big opportunity against the Kings.
Steven Adams was out with his hip injury on Tuesday and Jerami Grant went off for 20 points, five boards, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. If Adams remains out, Grant is the guy to get, not too mention if Paul George is also out.
Dwyane Wade is being listed as out with his hamstring injury and my guess is he’s going to be out for a few more games, at least. Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington will get a boost with him out.
Kent Bazemore is done for the year with a right knee bone bruise and Tyler Dorsey should start the rest of the way for the Hawks. And Taurean Prince should continue to carry the offensive load going forward.
Marcus Smart is dealing with a thumb injury that might keep him out for the rest of the season. Terry Rozier is the pickup.
Kyrie Irving is out on Wednesday and may not play all week due to his knee injury. The Celtics simply want him healthy for the playoffs, so Irving’s owners are in a bind the rest of the way. More good news for Terry Rozier.
Al Horford is questionable tonight with an illness. He missed Sunday’s game and wasn’t at practice on Monday. We should know more on Wednesday afternoon.
Jarrett Allen sat out with a foot injury and the Nets are very careful with injuries. Jahlil Okafor didn’t even play last night, and Quincy Acy and Dante Cunningham don’t really do it for me.
Lauri Markkanen missed Tuesday with lower back spasms and will be iffy for Thursday against the Grizzlies. If he’s out, it just means more goodies for Bobby Portis.
Larry Nance left Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. It’s being called precautionary, but he’s very iffy for Wednesday night against the Blazers. Jeff Green would benefit if Nance is out.
Rodney Hood was out Tuesday with a sore back, but Ty Lue says that Hood will replace J.R. Smith (and Kyle Korver) as the starting shooting guard the rest of the way when he’s healthy enough to play. Picking up Hood is probably a good idea right now.
Nemanja Bjelica had 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers for the Wolves last night. He shouldn’t still be available in any leagues.
Rodney Hood should start at shooting guard for the Cavs the rest of the way when he’s healthy, so he should be a hot pickup.
Caris LeVert had 11 points, three boards, seven assists, three steals and a 3-pointer for the Nets and should be owned in most leagues.
Brook Lopez had 17 points, three boards, a block and three 3-pointers last night, and has been scoring a lot of points lately. Just don’t expect many center stats from him if you pick him up.
Michael Beasley came off the bench and hit 10-of-13 shots for 21 points and an empty stat line. But he should be solid down the stretch.
Kyle O’Quinn had eight points, six boards, four assists, two steals and a block in 21 minutes last night. If you’re tired of waiting for Jarrett Allen or Jonathan Isaac, O’Quinn might be worth a look.
E’Twaun Moore started again and had 14 points, six boards and two 3-pointers. He’s playing heavy minutes and playing well, making him worth a deep-league look.
Emeka Okafor had 14 points, eight boards and three steals, and the Pelicans need him at center. He’s risky, but might be useful if you need a center.
Luke Kennard had 18 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and a three for the Pistons and Reggie Bullock was out with back spasms. Kennard is worth a close eye right now.
Corey Brewer was quiet on Tuesday but has been playing well. And with Steven Adams and Paul George gimpy, Brewer and Jerami Grant could have some big games for OKC the rest of this week.
Dorian Finney-Smith started for the Mavericks last night and had three points, nine boards, two assists and a steal in 21 minutes. He could start the rest of the way with Wesley Matthews shut down for the season, making for a sneaky pickup.