Dose: Big-Game James drops 50

Tommy Beer lists a potential bust on each team in the Western Conference

While I’m an NBA guy, I was kind of thankful it was a slow night in the Association, so I could watch the NCAA Tournament all day and night. It was a great day of college hoops and I even had Georgia State in one of my brackets. Back in the NBA, James Harden dropped 50 points on the Nuggets, Anthony Davis didn’t play, and Terrence Jones suffered an injury that could keep him out for several games. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here. Let's go!

Wolves top Knicks in overtime

The Wolves got a monster line from Gorgui Dieng, as he racked up 19 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and six blocks on 9-of-10 shooting against the hapless Knicks. With Nikola Pekovic, Justin Hamilton and Kevin Garnett all sitting out, Dieng was able to feast last night. Kevin Martin scored 22, but hit just 8-of-26 shots (oh, what could have been) and Andrew Wiggins scored 20, but also struggled, hitting just 4-of-17 shots (and 12-of-14 free throws. Wiggins also had seven boards, two steals and a block in the win. Zach LaVine filled in again for Ricky Rubio and came through with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 7-of-13 shooting. Chase Budinger kept it going with 10 points, six rebounds and four steals, but hit just 4-of-11 shots and didn’t hit a 3-pointer. He did, however, play 43 minutes.

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Rubio was out with his ankle injury and is now questionable for Sunday, Garnett missed his fifth straight game with a sore knee, Hamilton missed another game with migraines, and Pekovic was out with his ankle injury. Whether or not Pek plays again this season remains to be seen. The same guys who got it done on Thursday could do it again on Sunday, if Rubio and Hamilton continue to sit. The Wolves are really banged up and even had to sign unknown Sean Kilpatrick out of the D-League just to have eight players in uniform.

The Knicks got 21 points, seven boards, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers from Langston Galloway, and Alexey Shved stayed hot with 20 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and a block. He could have been much better, as he hit just 7-of-21 shots and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. Andrea Bargnani added 14 points and four rebounds (and nothing else) and Shane Larkin scored 10 off the bench (with a three and two steals). Those were the only Knicks to hit double figures last night, despite the game going to overtime. Yuck. Cole Aldrich was decent off the bench with eight points, seven boards, five dimes, a steal and two blocks in 23 minutes. He’s hard to trust, but has the potential to do this every night.

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Harden’s 50 propels Rockets over Nuggets

James Harden hit 12-of-27 shots, 4-of-12 3-pointers and a ridiculous 22-of-25 free throws for a career-high 50 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a steal in 40 minutes. He looks like the favorite to win the MVP award this season. Trevor Ariza had 17 points, six boards, four assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, and Josh Smith had 12 points, three blocks and two 3-pointers in just 22 minutes off the bench. Patrick Beverley added 10 points, seven assists, a steal and two 3-pointers for the Rockets. The story of the night in fantasy, outside of Harden’s monster line, was the rib injury suffered by Terrence Jones. He was wheeled out of the arena in a stretcher and taken to the hospital as a precaution. Coach Kevin McHale said after the game that Jones will be out for “a little bit,” meaning Donatas Motiejunas and Smith are about to be put back into serious action. I already told you what Smith did, and D-Mo hit just 3-of-10 shots for seven points, but also had nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. If you are looking for a pickup here, it’s probably Motiejunas, as Smith is still owned in many leagues. The injury to Jones could also help to speed up a return from Dwight Howard, who is getting closer to action after missing the last several weeks with a knee injury. It’s possible that Howard is ready to go as soon as Monday, March 23 against the Pacers. If you own Jones in a daily lineup league, you have to think about dropping him for a warm body.


All five Nuggets starters played surprisingly well in the loss, led by Wilson Chandler and Randy Foye’s 23 points apiece. Chandler contributed solidly across the board and Foye hit five 3-pointers and handed out six assists. Both players are worth picking up right now, and Foye has hit 14 3-pointers in his last four games. Kenneth Faried had 19 points, 12 boards and a block, Ty Lawson double-doubled with 12 points, 10 assists and two 3-pointers, but also committed six turnovers, and Danilo Gallinari hit 3-of-9 shots for 10 points. He didn’t hit a 3-pointer, but at least he’s still playing through his shaky knees. Jameer Nelson stayed relevant with 13 points and four 3-pointers, but he’s hard to trust after playing just 17 minutes off the bench. Jusuf Nurkic is apparently still bothered by his ankle and played just 12 minutes for three points, three boards and a block. It would be very tough to hang onto him in a league where you need healthy bodies right now. Will Barton only played 19 minutes, and it’s time to cut bait on him as well, if you have options.

Suns stop Pelicans as Davis sits

Markieff Morris led the way for the Suns with 17 points, eight boards, a steal and a block, but hit just 5-of-15 shots. That was a lot better than his twin brother did, as Marcus Morris hit just 1-of-11 shots for two points in another start for the Suns. He did have 13 rebounds and four assists, but he was a daily-league disaster if you used him. Brandan Wright made another start for Alex Len (ankle) and came through with 16 points, eight rebounds and a massive seven blocks, and he’s worth a pickup right now, as Len still has no timetable. P.J. Tucker double-doubled with 12 points, 12 boards and a 3-pointer, and he’s averaging 9.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five games. Eric Bledsoe was another daily-league killer, hitting just 2-of-15 shots for five points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Brandon Knight was out again with his ankle injury, but we still don’t know if he might play on Saturday or not.

The Pelicans were without Anthony Davis, who tweaked an ankle in team drills on Thursday morning and couldn’t go. Such a tough break for AD’s owners in fantasy playoffs, but injuries have been a problem for him during most of his short (and amazing) NBA career. He’s day-to-day, so just watch for updates. Eric Gordon was the only starter in double figures with 14 points, five dimes and two 3-pointers on 6-of-16 shooting. Omer Asik added six points, 14 rebounds and no blocks in just 18 minutes, hasn’t blocked a shot in three of his last four games. He also left early with a calf strain, and could join Davis, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday as a key Pelicans’ player watching in street clothes. Tyreke Evans hit just 4-of-16 shots for nine points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks, but at least came out of this one unscathed – if you don’t count a sprained ankle during the game. But he played through it. Alexis Ajinca came off the bench for 10 points, seven boards, four assists and a block in 26 minutes, and will be worth a pick up if Davis and/or Asik are going to miss more time. Norris Cole stayed relevant with 12 points, four assists and two 3-pointers, but only becomes a must-own player if Evans or Gordon ever miss time. If Davis and Asik are going to miss time, the Pelicans are in serious trouble for making the playoffs, as they already sit a full game behind the Thunder for the final spot in the West, while the Suns are just 1.5 games back of the Pelicans.


Jazz beat Lakers, but not easily

The Jazz didn’t exactly tear it up on Thursday night, but they didn’t have to against the Lakers. Gordon Hayward led the way with 22 points, five boards, five assists, four steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and Derrick Favors added 14 points, seven boards, a steal and a block. Starters Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum combined to hit just 1-of-12 shots for five points, but Gobert at least added seven rebounds and three more blocks. Exum isn’t someone I’d trust in a lineup the rest of the way, while Hood is struggling over his last two games. I bet he bounces back sooner than later. Trey Burke hit 7-of-11 shots and three 3-pointers off the bench for 17 points, but is averaging just 9.6 points, 3.2 assists and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games. Not much to see there, or anywhere else on the Jazz bench.

The Lakers got a rare double-double from Tarik Black (10 & 13, zero blocks) which was actually enough to lead the team in scoring. If Tarik Black is leading your team in scoring, your team probably stinks. Wes Johnson had 12 (but not much more before fouling out), and Carlos Boozer came off the bench for 11 points and two rebounds, to wrap up the double-digit scoring for the Lakers. Jordan Clarkson had scored in double figures in 11 straight games, but hit just 3-of-8 shots for eight points, five rebounds and eight assists on 3-of-8 shooting. With the door finally open for Jeremy Lin to do something, he missed 7-of-8 shots and had seven points and one assist in 20 minutes. He’s dealing with a back injury and wasn’t even certain to play last night. This team is a mess and I don’t really trust anyone on the entire roster.

News & Notes

DeMarcus Cousins is iffy for Friday with a calf injury. With the Kings out of the playoff race, you have to wonder if Cousins is going to play through nagging injuries the rest of the way. Don’t panic, but keep an eye out for updates on his status.


John Wall tweaked an ankle on Wednesday night and is now iffy for Friday against the Clippers. It sounds like he’s planning on playing, for now.

Kyle Lowry says he’s “50-50” for tonight’s game due to a sore back. If he’s out, Greivis Vasquez would likely get the start.

Cody Zeller is questionable for the Hornets on Friday due to his shoulder injury. If he plays, Marvin Williams goes bye-bye.

Taj Gibson is hoping to play for the Bulls tonight through his ankle injury. If it happens, red-hot Nikola Mirotic will take somewhat of a hit. Jimmy Butler is getting closer, but has been ruled out for Friday with his shoulder injury.


Mike Conley is being listed as questionable for the Grizzlies Friday with his mysterious ankle injury. He’s missed four straight games and is in jeopardy of making it five.

Ben McLemore’s wrist injury isn’t thought to be serious and he could play for the Kings tonight.

Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter won’t play for the Thunder on Friday, which is not a surprise. Steven Adams and Anthony Morrow are the guys you’ll want to use.