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Sunday's eight-game slate was headlined by Brooklyn losing one of its available stars just minutes into the first quarter. As for the positives, De'Aaron Fox, Julius Randle and Luka Doncic were among those who stood out on the final day of the week. It is now fantasy playoff time in many leagues, so let's get into the Daily Dose.
Hawks 129, Pacers 117: John Collins returned to action for the Hawks after missing nearly a month due to an ankle injury. On a minutes restriction, he started and posted a line of eight points, two rebounds and one assist in 21 minutes. As Collins' minutes increase he will be more effective, as he's providing top-50 value when taking on his usual workload. For those who have him rostered, the hope is that Collins will be back to 30 minutes or so per night at some point during the fantasy playoffs.
Fellow starters Trae Young (34/5/11/2 with three 3-pointers), Clint Capela (25/24/0/2/3), Bogdan Bogdanovic (23/3/3/2/1 with five 3-pointers) and Kevin Huerter (23/9/3/2/1 with five 3-pointers) did most of the heavy lifting for the Hawks. In the case of Huerter, over the last two weeks he has provided close to top-50 value in 9-cat formats. So long as Danilo Gallinari, DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish all remain sidelined due to injury, Huerter (rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues) is worth adding regardless of league format.
Indiana also welcomed back a starter, as Myles Turner returned from a sprained ankle. Unlike Collins, Turner wasn't on a strict minutes restriction, but he also had a limited impact when on the court. He played 34 minutes, recording a line of nine points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. Turner not doing much offensively isn't a huge surprise, but it would have been nice to get some defensive production (zero steals, zero blocks) in his first game back.
Malcolm Brogdon (29/3/8/0/1 with three 3-pointers), Domantas Sabonis (18/14/5/2 with two 3-pointers), T.J. McConnell (18/1/7/1), Edmond Sumner (14/2/2/0/1) and Caris LeVert (11/2/3/2/1 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures. Sumner, who was in the starting lineup with Turner sidelined, managed to have a modest impact as far as fantasy is concerned. He isn't worth rostering in most leagues, but at least Sumner didn't fall off production-wise. Indiana was once again without Doug McDermott (ankle), and in his absence Jeremy Lamb (7/6/4/0/1) had a limited impact in his 18 minutes on the court.
Knicks 122, Pelicans 112 (OT): Zion Williamson finally made his Madison Square Garden debut as an NBA player, and he made some history in a losing effort. Williamson (34/9/5/2) tallied the 20th 30-point game of his NBA career, doing so in 76 games played. Only Michael Jordan (55 games) has accomplished said feat in fewer games, with Williamson tying Allen Iverson for second on that list. Eric Bledsoe (22/4/4/ with three 3-pointers) scored 13 points in the third quarter, but didn't offer much in the other periods. That lack of consistency is what he hasn't been that highly regarded in fantasy basketball, ranking outside of the top-200 in 9-cat for the season.
Brandon Ingram (19/4/4/0/1) shot just 6-of-18 from the field, while Steven Adams (10/14/3/1) also scored in double figures. There shouldn't be too much concern about Ingram, as he scored 27 points or more in four straight games ahead of Sunday's dud. Lonzo Ball (5/7/3/2 with one 3-pointer in 27 minutes) remains on a minutes restriction, and did not play at all in the extra session as a result. To say the least, that's a bit frustrating for those who have Ball rostered. Jaxson Hayes (six points, five rebounds and two blocks) played 17 minutes after having his Friday night cut short due to back spasms.
Julius Randle (33/5/10/5 with two 3-pointers) recorded another 30-point double-double to lead the way for the Knicks, with Derrick Rose (23/3/5/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also surpassing the 20-point mark. Rose has become a more important member of the Knicks rotation with Alec Burks (health and safety protocols) sidelined, and he's still available in 46% of Yahoo leagues. RJ Barrett (18/4/3 with two 3-pointers) is shooting nearly 54% from three this month, with an average of 2.4 3-pointers per game. He's still ranked well outside of the top-100, but Barrett's progression as a perimeter shooter is something to track with regard to his fantasy value for next season.
Reggie Bullock (15/4/1 with three 3-pointers) and Nerlens Noel (12/8/0/0/2) also scored in double figures, with the latter returning to the game after suffering a bruised right hand during the first quarter. Should there be any issues for Noel moving forward, Taj Gibson (6/14/2/1/2) would take on an even greater role within the Knicks rotation. Similar to Noel when he was backing up Mitchell Robinson, Gibson can provide some low-end value coming off the bench. Over the last two weeks Gibson, who's rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues, has been a top-100 player in 9-cat.
Heat 109, Nets 107: Not only did Brooklyn lose this game on a Bam Adebayo jumper as time expired, but the Nets also lost Kevin Durant during the first quarter. A left thigh contusion put him on the shelf for the remainder of the afternoon, and it's worth noting that the Nets have a back-to-back coming up Tuesday/Wednesday. Should Durant have to miss time beyond Sunday, Jeff Green (8/2/1/1/1), Blake Griffin (7/6/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and possibly even Alize Johnson (3/3/2 with one 3-pointer) would be impacted the most as far as positioning is concerned. But another name to watch, especially when it comes to scoring opportunities, is Landry Shamet.
Shamet played 38 minutes off the bench and had an excellent game, scoring 30 points with two rebounds, three assists and seven 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues, Shamet has provided 6th-round value in 9-cat over the last two weeks. With James Harden still sidelined, fantasy managers shouldn't even wait for an update on Durant...pick up Shamet now. Brooklyn went small with its starting five, with Griffin serving as the small-ball five in an attempt to better match up with Adebayo. DeAndre Jordan was a DNP-CD, and is essentially a "matchup" option at this point; he'll play when there's a matchup that the Nets believe he can exploit. If not, then he won't.
Adebayo's jumper capped a game in which he accounted for 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals in 33 minutes. He was also responsible for seven turnovers, which obviously isn't good, taking on even more responsibility as the primary playmaker due to Jimmy Butler being sidelined due to injury. Andre Iguodala (8/3/5/0/1 with one 3-pointer) filled in for Butler and played 27 minutes, and his impact from a fantasy standpoint was minimal. Trevor Ariza (15/9/1 with three 3-pointers), who's rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues, is a better option than Iguodala at this point.
Also of note for Miami was the play of Dewayne Dedmon, who in 15 minutes recorded a line of 10 points (1-of-1 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs) and 10 rebounds. Rookie Precious Achiuwa, who wasn't a playable fantasy option before Dedmon was signed, picked up a DNP-CD in this one. He's rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues, and that will likely dip to 0% in the coming days. Goran Dragic (18/8/7/1 with three 3-pointers), Kendrick Nunn (17/2/3/2 with five 3-pointers) and Duncan Robinson (11/1/1/2 with three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures for the winners.
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Hornets 109, Trail Blazers 101: After going off for 21 points, six rebounds, one assist, one block and one 3-pointer in Friday's loss to the Nets, Hornets rookie Vernon Carey Jr. was back in the starting lineup Sunday night. This did not go well for him, as he picked up tow fouls within the first 20 seconds and played a total of seven minutes on the night. It goes without saying that fantasy managers should not look into picking up Carey, at least until he begins to play consistent minutes. Cody Zeller (7/3/1) played 21 minutes off the bench and Bismack Biyombo didn't play at all, with James Borrego going small in the 20 minutes that he did not have a center on the court.
P.J. Washington made his return but came off the bench, recording a line of 23 points, eight rebounds, one steal, four blocks and five 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Look for Washington to return to the starting lineup Tuesday night when the Hornets visit the Knicks in what will be a key game in the race for positioning in the East. Terry Rozier (34/8/10/2/1 with seven 3-pointers) fell two rebounds shy of a triple-double, while Mikes Bridges (19/5/3/0/2 with three 3-pointers) and Jalen McDaniels (13/6/0/1 withe one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures. Cody Martin made another start, playing 38 minutes and recording a line of five points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. His fantasy value is a bit low, and it will drop even more once Washington returns to the starting lineup.
Portland was once again with Damian Lillard, and this time it was Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who received the starting nod. RHJ, who signed a second 10-day contract on Sunday, played 22 minutes and posted a line of seven points, five rebounds and one assist. There's no reason to pick up Hollis-Jefferson, even if Lillard continues to sit. Carmelo Anthony (24/3/2/1 with six 3-pointers) established a season-high with the six triples, and this was his second game of 24 points or more in the last three. Anthony's worth gambling on for as long as Lillard sits, but he's a deep league option otherwise. C.J. McCollum (22/6/6/2 with two 3-pointers) shot just 8-of-22 from the field, but he managed to salvage his night with the production in non-points categories.
Norman Powell (17/3/2/2 with one 3-pointer), Jusuf Nurkic (12/6/2/1/2 with one 3-pointer) and Enes Kanter (12 points, seven rebounds) all scored in double figures, while Anfernee Simons (5/4/4) played 30 minutes off the bench and provided low-end value in this one. Even if Lillard were to sit for an extended period of time, Simons isn't a player worth rostering, regardless of league format.
Rockets 114, Magic 110: This was the first game of a back-to-back for Houston and, as a result, John Wall was held out. He will be available to play on Monday, which means a move back to the bench for Avery Bradley. Bradley played 34 minutes in his spot start, accumulating seven points (2-of-8 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, three assists, one block and one 3-pointer. One could argue that, even with Bradley's defensive ability, Armoni Brooks would be a better player to take a chance on in deep leagues. Brooks shot 5-of-7 from the field and 1-of-3 from the foul line in 26 minutes off the bench, posting a line of 16 points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals and five 3-pointers.
Christian Wood (25/10/3/1/1 with four 3-pointer), Kelly Olynyk (24/7/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Kevin Porter Jr. (22/3/7/1 with four 3-pointers) all took advantage of Wall's absence, with each putting up at least 14 field goal attempts. Keep an eye on Wood's shot total Monday night, as he hasn't had as much time to flourish with the ball in his hands when Wall has been one the court. Jae'Sean Tate (14/7/6/1/3) posted a full line, and has been one of the top fantasy options in this year's rookie class. That won't matter as far as the Rookie of the Year voting is concerned, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to look into rostering Tate (available in 39% of Yahoo leagues) if he's available.
Orlando was also down a starter, as James Ennis did not play due to a sore right calf. As a result, Dwayne Bacon moved into the starting lineup and compiled a line of 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. While Bacon has posted some solid scoring lines this season, more often than not there hasn't been much in the way of production in non-points categories. Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues, Bacon is, at best, a streaming option whenever Ennis sits. There's no need to deal with him otherwise. Terrence Ross was a late scratch due to back spasms, and he will not be available for Tuesday's game either. RJ Hampton and recent signing Devin Cannady, who was ineffective in his 15 minutes Sunday, will continue to get time but neither is worth streaming in most leagues.
Gary Harris (16/1/3 with two 3-pointers), Cole Anthony (16/4/9/1/2 with one 3-pointer), Chuma Okeke (14/4/2/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Wendell Carter Jr. (11/10/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures for the Magic. Last but not least was Mo Bamba, who was available to play after missing the prior two games with a bruised hip. In 16 minutes he accounted for 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer. So long as Bamba can stay healthy down the stretch, he'll be worth plugging into your lineups. But that's been the caveat throughout his NBA career to this point: "if he can stay healthy."
Raptors 112, Thunder 106: Toronto, which was fined recently for issues with its injury reporting practices, played this one without any of its usual starters. But that didn't matter, thanks in large part to Chris Boucher (31/12/2/1/1 with six 3-pointers) and Gary Trent Jr. (23/5/1/5/1 with five 3-pointers). They combined to shoot 11-of-19 from three on the night and, in the case of Trent Jr., he was back in action after missing the prior two games with a sore right ankle. Malachi Flynn (15/7/5 with three 3-pointers) and reserves Stanley Johnson (12/3/1/2 with one 3-pointer), Yuta Watanabe (10/4/4 with one 3-pointer) and Freddie Gillespie (10/2/1/0/1) also scored in double figures for the winners.
For those curious as to what Paul Watson would do for an encore after scoring a career-high 30 points in Friday's win over the Magic, here's his line: zero points (0-of-10 FGs), four rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes. At least Watson got fantasy managers who took the plunge some rebounds and assists. With Toronto off until Wednesday, some of the starters (Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby) -- if not all -- who sat out Sunday night should be available to play. Flynn, Boucher and Trent Jr. are all worth holding onto, but the others who saw action on Sunday can be set loose on your league's waiver wire.
On the other side, Luguentz Dort continues to shine in his expanded role. In 31 minutes, he recorded a line of 29 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and five 3-pointers, shooting 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line. Will this be the Dort that we see next season? That remains to be seen but, at the very least, he has shown in recent games that the Thunder can put more trust in him as an offensive weapon. Dort is rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues, and given Oklahoma City's desire/need to see if he can handle a heavier workload on a consistent basis, he doesn't strike me as a threat to be put on ice down the stretch.
Aleksej Pokusevski was back in the lineup after missing five games with a sore right arm, scoring eight points on 4-of-14 shooting from the field. Pokusevski missed all eight of his 3-point attempts, but he did account for seven rebounds, five assists and six blocks. The last time a Thunder rookie had that many rejections in a game: Serge Ibaka, way back in 2010. I'd like to see a little more from Pokusevski defensively before rushing to label him as an asset on that end of the floor. Darius Bazley (16/8/1/0/1 with three 3-pointers), Kenrich Williams (12/2/2/2 with two 3-pointers) and Isaiah Roby (11/8/3/1/1 with one 3-pointer) scored in double figures, while Ty Jerome supplemented his nine points with two rebounds, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers.
Bazley is in a spot similar to that of Dort: while his place within the team's rebuilding project isn't up for questioning, it appears unlikely that Oklahoma City will look to sideline him for "load management" reasons.
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Kings 121, Mavericks 107: De'Aaron Fox and Luka Doncic engaged in quite the duel during the fourth quarter, but Sacramento played well enough in the first three periods to leave Dallas with a comfortable victory. While Fox was good throughout, scoring 30 points with four rebounds, 12 assists and two steals in 37 minutes, Doncic was lights out in the fourth after being held in check during the first three quarters. Doncic scored 22 points in the fourth, finishing with 37 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, three blocks and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Doncic has failed to score at least 21 points in a game just twice since the All-Star break, scoring 30 or more in seven of 19 games played.
Dorian Finney-Smith (22/4/1/0/1 with six 3-pointers) and Jalen Brunson (20/4/4/1 with two 3-pointers) stepped up for the Mavericks, but there's only so much that can be done when Kristaps Porzingis (9/11/3 with one 3-pointer), Josh Richardson (7/2/1 with one 3-pointer) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (8/3/0/0/1 with two 3-pointers) combined to shoot 8-of-33 from the field. Richardson has had an especially difficult run of late, scoring nine points or less in three of his last four games. At least he's able to provide some defensive stats because without that, he would be on the waiver wire in most leagues.
Fox received more help from his supporting cast than Doncic, with Harrison Barnes (24/5/1/1 with five 3-pointers) and Terence Davis (23/3/3 with five 3-pointers) being the most productive. While Barnes' fantasy value is well-known by now, the same can't be said for Davis. While he has reached double figures in two of his last three games, it's important to keep in mind that in the four games prior Davis scored a total of nine points. The lack of consistency with regard to both his production and place within the Kings rotation makes it very difficult to trust Davis in most fantasy formats.
Delon Wright (13/5/3/2 with one 3-pointer) and Hassan Whiteside (12/10/0/1/0) also scored in double figures, with the latter posting a double-double for the second straight game. Whiteside will be a viable fantasy option, even with his lack of production for much of this season, for as long as the Kings are without Richaun Holmes (hamstring) and Marvin Bagley (calf).
Clippers 124, Timberwolves 105: Kawhi Leonard was back in the Clippers starting lineup after missing the four games prior with a sore right foot. Leonard posted a modest line in his 23 minutes played, finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, one block and two 3-pointers. None of the Clippers starters played more than 27 minutes, with Paul George (23/7/5/2/1 with four 3-pointers) being the best of the bunch. Luke Kennard, who was filling in for Leonard, returned to the bench and recorded a line of 13 points, two rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 21 minutes. Marcus Morris (19/6/0/1 with five 3-pointers) and Reggie Jackson (13/3/4/1 with three 3-pointers) both scored in double figures, and over the last two weeks both have been 6th-round players in 9-car.
Minnesota may have added injury to insult during the fourth quarter of this blowout, as Karl-Anthony Towns appeared to bang knees with a Clippers player. He finished the game with a line of 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. Minnesota has a back-to-back on the schedule for Tuesday/Wednesday, so don't be surprised if Towns misses one of those games. Naz Reid (13 points, seven rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer in 21 minutes off the bench) and Jarred Vanderbilt (one point, five rebounds and three blocks in 15 minutes) would figure more prominently in the Timberwolves rotation if Towns were to miss a game.
Anthony Edwards (23/6/3 with five 3-pointers) and Jaden McDaniels (11/1/1/1/1 with three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, but the former shot just 6-of-16 from the field. D'Angelo Russell (11/1/4/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also had a subpar night, shooting 5-of-13 from the field and not attempting a single free throw. Ricky Rubio (6/2/5/1 with one 3-pointer) also struggled at the point, but he stands to remain the starter as Minnesota has been very cautious with regard to Russell's minutes/workload. Coming off the bench hasn't turned Russell into a non-factor as far as fantasy is concerned, but his margin for error is considerably smaller.