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While the NCAA tournament captured the attention of many, Friday was still a busy day in the NBA. There were ten games on the slate, with some surprising results being produced. Sacramento and Orlando were among the winners, while San Antonio's second-year wing had the best game of his career to date. Without further delay, let's get into the Daily Dose.
Kings 107, Celtics 96
Spurs 116, Cavaliers 110
Pacers 137, Heat 110
Magic 121, Nets 113
Jazz 115, Raptors 112
Pistons 113, Rockets 100
Warriors 116, Grizzlies 103
Nuggets 131, Bulls 127 (OT)
Suns 113, Timberwolves 101
Trail Blazers 125, Mavericks 119
Spurs’ Johnson posts first career 20/20 game: Rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues, Spurs wing Keldon Johnson has managed to build on the strides that he made during his team’s time in the bubble. Now a fixture in the Spurs’ starting lineup, for the season he’s providing 11th-round value in 8- and 9-cat formats. Friday night he went well beyond that in San Antonio’s win over Cleveland, posting a line of 23 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 39 minutes. Eleven of Johnson’s 21 rebounds were of the offensive variety, a sign of the aggressiveness that Gregg Popovich praised him for after the game.
The key to Johnson ultimately cracking the top-100 could be the 3-point shot, as he’s averaging 0.9 makes per game on the season. But he attempted just one Friday night, and for the month of March (eight games) Johnson is shooting 5-of-15 from deep. Not sure I’d expect much more beyond that moving forward, as Johnson has averaged no more than one 3-pointer per game in any month this season.
DeMar DeRozan was back in the starting lineup after missing four games for his father’s funeral, playing 36 minutes and accounting for 20 points, one rebound and seven assists. His return cuts into the assist opportunities for Derrick White (17/4/2 with two 3-pointers) and Dejounte Murray (22/6/3), but in turn they’re freed up to be more aggressive in looking for their own shots. With DeRozan back, not only did Lonnie Walker drop out of the starting lineup, but he didn’t even play. It was said after the game that he was a “little banged up,” but that doesn’t change much when it comes to his fantasy value. Leave Walker on the wire.
Collin Sexton (29/5/2 with three 3-pointers) and Darius Garland (29/1/8/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Cavaliers, while fellow starters Jarrett Allen (15/11/2/2 blocks) and Larry Nance Jr. (7/4/1/3/1) posted solid lines for managers looking for some defensive production. Lamar Stevens (15/11/1/1 in 17 minutes) had an eye-catching line off the bench, but he still isn’t worth rostering regardless of league format. Quinn Cook was a DNP-CD while Brodric Thomas, who didn’t see any action in Wednesday’s win over the Celtics, played 16 minutes and finished with seven points, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer.
McCollum scores 32, Lillard 31 as Blazers win: With his performance during Friday’s win over the Mavericks, it feels like we can say that C.J. McCollum truly is back after he worked through the rust Thursday night. After playing 21 minutes in the win over the Pelicans, he played 28 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back, an encouraging sign for a player who missed two months with a broken foot. Shooting 11-of-23 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line, McCollum posted a line of 32 points, four rebounds, four assists and seven 3-pointers. He has exceeded his Yahoo ADP (54) by a decent margin, providing top-25 value in both 8- and 9-cat formats.
McCollum’s return has meant a return to the bench for Gary Trent Jr., while Anfernee Simons falls out of the rotation. Trent played 27 minutes minutes, scoring seven points while also accounting for four rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer. That isn’t enough to justify hanging onto him in standard leagues, but managers in deeper formats may be able to exercise a little patience. But if there’s a player on the wire who is getting more opportunities than Trent, go ahead and make the switch. Simons has been a DNP-CD in both games that McCollum has played in. Damian Lillard (31/3/6 with four 3-pointers in 34 minutes) shot 10-of-19 from the field, while Carmelo Anthony (18 points, four rebounds and three 3-pointers) and Enes Kanter (14 points, nine rebounds) also had solid games in what was Terry Stotts’ 500th career win as a head coach.
Luka Doncic (38/9/9/1 with four 3-pointers) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (25/5/5 with seven 3-pointers) did much of the heavy lifting for Dallas, with the latter making his second straight start in place of Dorian Finney-Smith (personal reasons). Rostered in 60% of Yahoo leagues, THJ has provided 11th-round value in 9-cat over the last two weeks per Basketball Monster. While Hardaway Jr. can be hit or miss, especially when considering the lack of defensive production, the points and 3-pointers are too good to pass up when filling out the back end of a standard league roster.
Rockets’ woes continue, and they lose Porter Jr.: Houston’s losing streak is now 19 games long, by virtue of their home loss to the Pistons. And if that weren’t bad enough, Kevin Porter Jr. played just ten minutes due to a sore right quad. The combination of his return from the G-League bubble and John Wall being sidelined due to a sore knee was a perfect storm of sorts coming out of the All-Star break as far as fantasy was concerned. But with Wall (21/3/7 with two 3-pointers and six turnovers) healthy and the Rockets having acquired D.J. Augustin from the Bucks, Porter Jr.’s opportunities to serve as a primary playmaker will take a hit once he’s healthy enough to resume playing. Hold onto Porter Jr. until more is learned about the severity of his injury, but late-round value may be his ceiling until after the trade deadline.
Augustin played 20 minutes off the bench, posting a line of seven points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. Speaking of the trade deadline, Victor Oladipo played 36 minutes and tallied 19 points, three rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. We’ll see what happens with him between now and March 25, but Houston’s decision will have a major impact as far as fantasy value is concerned. Christian Wood (18/11/2/1/2 with one 3-pointer) posted a full stat line, while KJ Martin Jr. (eight points, five rebounds and one block) played 21 minutes off the bench.
Jae’Sean Tate (12/3/3/4/1 in 32 minutes) remains the better rookie option on Houston’s roster as far as fantasy is concerned, and with P.J. Tucker no longer in the fold, his value takes a nice jump. D.J. Wilson played seven minutes in his Rockets debut, going scoreless with three rebounds.
Moving over to Detroit, Frank Jackson had his best game of the season Friday night. Starting for the second straight game, he shot 7-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line, recording a line of 23 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and five 3-pointers (without a miss) in 26 minutes. Jackson scored seven points the game prior, so fantasy managers would be wise to hold off on fully committing to him. That being said, he’s worth streaming in deep leagues for as long a Wayne Ellington (adductor) and Rodney McGruder (elbow) remain sidelined.
Saddiq Bey (20/6/2/2 with two 3-pointers) and Jerami Grant (18/5/2 with three 3-pointers) combined to shoot 11-of-36 from the field, but that didn’t matter much thanks to Jackson’s big night. Josh Jackson (15/2/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer) and Isaiah Stewart (13/9/2/1 with one 3-pointer) both had good nights off the bench, and in the case of the latter he’s providing 9th-round value in 9-cat over the last two weeks. Stewart is rostered in just 12% of Yahoo leagues, and he played three more minutes (25) than starter Mason Plumlee (22). Keep an eye on that minutes split moving forward, as the Pistons are pretty much out of the hunt for a playoff spot. I’d grab Stewart off of the waiver wire now without thinking twice.
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Wiggins, Lee, Poole shine for Warriors sans Steph: Golden State played Friday’s win over the Grizzlies without Stephen Curry (tailbone), who took a hard fall during the third quarter of Wednesday’s win over the Rockets. As a result Jordan Poole moved into the starting lineup, and to his credit the second-year guard took advantage of the opportunity. Shooting 10-of-15 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line, Poole posted a line of 25 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. The Warriors play Memphis again Saturday night and, with Curry considered to be doubtful, it’s likely that Poole will get another start.
Two other players to watch for Golden State: Damion Lee and Andrew Wiggins. The latter went off Friday night, scoring 40 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and six 3-pointers, while Lee added a nice 21/5/2/1/1 line with four 3-pointers in 28 minutes off the bench. I’m not expecting another 40-point night from Wiggins in the rematch, but I would expect better from Kelly Oubre (4/4/1/1/2 in 29 minutes), who shot 2-of-7 from the field.
Kevon Looney (11/4/3/3/1 with one 3-pointer) played just 21 minutes but posted a full line, and he becomes of even greater importance with James Wiseman (heath and safety protocols) sidelined. While he doesn’t offer much in the way of consistent fantasy value, this would be a good time to roll the dice on Looney (rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues). Draymond Green missed all six of his field goal attempts, but he more than made up for the two points with 11 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two blocks.
Grayson Allen made another start alongside Ja Morant (14/2/2/1 block in 30 minutes) in the Memphis backcourt and played well, shooting 6-of-8 from the field and finishing with 14 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. The perimeter minutes split in Memphis remains interesting to observe, if only because Taylor Jenkins appears to be dead set on playing everyone. De'Anthony Melton (9/7/1/1 with one 3-pointer) played 23 minutes, Tyus Jones (3/1/7) 20 and Desmond Bane (8/3/3/1 with two 3-pointers) 16. Like many on this site I’m a fan of what Melton brings to the table, especially as far as fantasy is concerned, but it’s tough to fully commit given the ever-changing rotation.
Magic’s Gordon roasts Nets: Orlando was once again shorthanded Friday night, as Terrence Ross (knee) and Michael Carter-Williams (illness) both sat. The good news that that Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier were good to go, and they combined to lead the Magic past the Nets. Gordon scored a season-high 38 points, shooting 14-of-20 from the field and 3-of-6 from the foul line, while also accounting for six rebounds, four assists, one steal and seven 3-pointers (on eight attempts). Yes he did turn the ball over seven times, but that’s easy to overlook given the complete stat line.
Fournier added 31 points, three rebounds, two assists and six 3-pointers, shooting 10-of-13 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line. Nikola Vucevic (22/14/8/2/1 with two 3-pointers) shot just 8-of-24 from the field, but similar to Gordon’s line, the positives outweigh the one negative. With Carter-Williams sidelined Chasson Randle started for the second straight night, and he was much better than he was in Thursday’s loss to the Knicks. Playing 26 minutes, Randle finished with 13 points, two rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers. While it was nice to see him play well, Randle doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy upside at present time. We’ll likely be without a Magic point guard that’s truly worth rostering until Cole Anthony (ribs) is cleared to return.
Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 43 points (19-of-31 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), while also accounting for six rebounds, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes, but James Harden had a rough night shooting the basketball. He made just four of his 15 field goal attempts, recording a line of 19 points, four rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. Nothing to worry about there; bet on Harden bouncing back in a big way Sunday when the Nets host the Wizards. As a team Brooklyn shot 10-of-37 from three, with Joe Harris (16/6/4/2) going 3-of-13 by himself.
Pacers’ Lamb returns to action: Having missed the prior three games due to a sore left knee, Jeremy Lamb was back in the Pacers’ rotation for Friday’s win over the Heat. He played 18 minutes off the bench, finishing with 12 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. He’s a tough play as far as fantasy is concerned, as Lamb is effectively splitting minutes with Edmond Sumner (six points, one rebound and one assist in 11 minutes), and there’s also the presence of Caris LeVert to take into consideration.
Malcolm Brogdon (27/3/4 with seven 3-pointers finished the game with more turnovers (three) than missed shots, as he went 10-of-12 from the field. Indiana also received nice contributions off the bench from Doug McDermott (17/2/3 with two 3-pointers in 17 minutes) and T.J. McConnell (16/6/15/3/1 in 29 minutes). Despite being a top-100 player, McConnell is still rostered in just 32% of Yahoo leagues. Yes he’s coming off the bench, but he’s playing 25 minutes per night and is providing greater fantasy value than some starting point guards. That rostered percentage should be considerably higher.
Bam Adebayo (20/8/5/1/1) and Jimmy Butler (17/8/4/2) led the way offensively for the Heat, who didn’t get much in the way of production from either Kendrick Nunn or Duncan Robinson. The combined to shoot 5-of-17 form the field, scoring 13 points. Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro scoring 31 total points off the bench wasn’t enough to make up for that, especially with Herro scoring his 15 points in 4-of-15 shooting from the field.
Raptors welcome back Anunoby: With Pascal Siakam (27/5/9/1 with four 3-pointers in 33 minutes) and Fred VanVleet (17/6/9/2 with two 3-pointers in 41 minutes) having made their returns to the lineup in the game prior, OG Anunoby was back on the court for Friday’s loss to the Jazz after missing nearly two weeks due to health and safety protocols. And he looked good, playing 34 minutes and finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, one assist, four steals and three 3-pointers.
With Anunoby back, Chris Boucher returned to the bench, accumulating 16 points, two rebounds, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 20 minutes. He’s certainly worth holding onto, even in the bench role, due to what Boucher brings to the table as a scorer and shot-blocker. Aron Baynes, who didn’t offer much fantasy-wise when the Raptors were shorthanded, played just seven minutes Friday night.
It was originally thought that Utah would have to play this one without Rudy Gobert, who was dealing with a hip issue. But he was able to go, playing 35 minutes and putting up a line of 15 points, 16 rebounds, one assist and two blocks. Six of the eight Jazz players that scored hit double figures, with Donovan Mitchell (31/5/6/3) leading the way. Mitchell went 0-of-9 from three on the night, but he made up for that by making 15 of his 16 free throws while also shooting 8-of-11 inside of the arc. And I’m bullish on Joe Ingles, who went for 19 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 33 minutes off the bench. He’s a top-75 player, but is rostered in just 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Jokic, Murray shine as Bulls blow another late lead: Chicago let yet another fourth quarter lead slip away Friday, this time losing to the Nuggets in overtime as Nikola Jokic (34/15/9/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Jamal Murray (34/2/5/4 with six 3-pointers) combined to shoot 26-of-43 from the field. The only negative for either of Denver’s stars on this night was Murray’s turnover count, as he was responsible for seven (Jokic had just one). But the big plays that he made down the stretch more than made up for said number.
And while this player wouldn’t be considered a fantasy priority, deep league managers in need of assists would be wise to take a long look at Facundo Campazzo. He dished out eight helpers Friday night, and over the last two weeks he’s averaging just under seven per game. Again this is only for deep leagues, as Campazzo doesn’t bring enough to the table on a consistent basis in other statistical categories.
Zach LaVine (32/2/4 with three 3-pointers in 38 minutes) and Otto Porter (22/4/3/1 block with four 3-pointers in 29 minutes) put up solid lines, which can also be said for Coby White. In 28 minutes off the bench, he shot 7-of-13 from the field and finished with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. Still rostered in 83% of Yahoo leagues, White has provided late-round production in both 8- and 9-cat formats. That’s a bit concerning, especially when taking his Yahoo ADP (85) into consideration.
Haliburton still on a minutes restriction as Kings win: Prior to Friday’s win over the Celtics, Kings coach Luke Walton said that rookie Tyrese Haliburton was still on a minutes restriction. Having played 32 minutes the game prior, Haliburton (4/5/7/2/1) played 34 minutes Friday night in what was the first game of a back-to-back for Sacramento. He’s struggled since returning from the calf injury that kept him out of the lineup for four games, hitting double figures just once (Wednesday vs. Washington). Given the minutes restriction, fantasy managers should be prepared for the possibility that Haliburton doesn’t play Saturday against the 76ers.
De'Aaron Fox (29/2/5/2 with three 3-pointers), Richaun Holmes (25/11/2/2/3 with one 3-pointer) and Buddy Hield (22/5/3/2 blocks with six 3-pointers) all surpassed the 20-point mark, while Harrison Barnes (15/13/3 with two 3-pointers) tallied his third double-double of the season. Barnes is certainly a name to watch ahead of the trade deadline, as a move would certainly impact his fantasy value. The Celtics have been rumored to be interested in acquiring Barnes, and a move there would be bad news as far as his fantasy prospects are concerned. But it would be a chance to potentially contend for a championship.
Tristan Thompson (health and safety protocols) missed his third straight game for the Celtics, which meant another start for Marcus Smart. He didn’t offer much offensively, scoring nine points, but Smart did tally four rebounds, five assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes played. Daniel Theis (14/8/1/1/1) and Robert Williams (12/8/2/2 blocks) handled the center platoon well, but the Celtics’ big three of Jaylen Brown (19/11/3/3/1 with three 3-pointers), Kemba Walker (16/2/7 with three 3-pointers) and Jayson Tatum (15/7/3 with two 3-pointers) shot a combined 20-of-54 from the field.
McDaniels, Okogie start for the Wolves, and Edwards struggles: Minnesota coach Chris Finch made two changes to his starting lineup ahead of Friday’s loss to the Suns, the second game between the teams in as many nights. Jake Layman and Jarred Vanderbilt moved to the bench, with Josh Okogie and Jaden McDaniels filling the resulting voids.
None of the four were particularly impactful, with McDaniels shooting 4-of-11 from the field and finishing with eight points, five rebounds and one steal in 28 minutes. Okogie, who’s of far greater value defensively than offensively, played 27 minutes and accounted for five points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer. Layman (two points, four rebounds, one steal and one block) played 13 minutes, while Vanderbilt played five and finished with one assist. If I’m going to gamble on any Timberwolves reserves/spot starters, it’s going to be Jaylen Nowell. He had a solid game Friday, shooting 6-of-9 from the field and finishing with 14 points, one rebound, one assist, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench. Since the All-Star break Nowell, who’s rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues, is providing 6th-round value in 9-cat.
Anthony Edwards found the going tougher Friday night than he did in Thursday’s win over the Suns, shooting 4-of-18 from the field and finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds (a career-high), six assists, one steal, one block, three 3-pointers and seven turnovers. Karl-Anthony Towns (24/9/1/1 block with three 3-pointers) and Ricky Rubio (21/5/10 with three 3-pointers) led the way for the Timberwolves.
On the other side seven Suns reached double figures, led by Chris Paul (20/1/9 with one 3-pointer). Deandre Ayton was not one of those seven, as he played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble and finished with eight points and six rebounds. The expectations for Ayton entering this season were eight, especially as far as fantasy basketball is concerned (Yahoo ADP of 21). But he’s currently just inside of the top-100 after Friday’s games. Between Sunday’s matchup with the Lakers and the Suns having four games on the slate for next week, Ayton won’t lack for opportunities to rebound from Friday’s subpar performance.