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With just 12 days left in this silly season, each game is just as important as the next as teams fight for play-in spots and playoff seeding. Let’s break down the scores and the key points to each game, including an abundance of career and season-highs across the league.
Believe it or not, Cleveland took Phoenix to an overtime period on Tuesday, but that was enough to light a fire under the Suns and help them win by 16. They were just a single bucket away from breaking the NBA record of the highest point differential in overtime, which is 17 points. Chris Paul had an insane stat line of 23 points, six boards, 16 assists, four steals and two blocks on 50% from the floor. In typical Chris Paul fashion, he didn’t have a single turnover either. Point God.
Devin Booker wasn’t too shabby himself in the win with an efficient 31/6/5 line with a triple and a steal. Mikal Bridges brought it from both ends of the floor, scoring 22 points with three steals and three blocks, with half of these defensive stats coming in overtime alone. Deandre Ayton blocked five shots of his own, and this game was all about the starters - Frank Kaminsky was the only double-digit scorer off the bench with 11.
Cavs rookie Isaac Okoro had a career-high 32 points with six dimes and a steal in a game-high 47 minutes, and this is all the more impressive given that his previous career-high was 20. Fellow guard Collin Sexton had a well-rounded line of 29/7/7, with the only blemish being his five giveaways. Sexton also reached the career 4,000-point mark in his 200th game, becoming the second quickest Cavs player to reach that total behind, you guessed it, LeBron James (he did it in 166 games, because of course he did). The Cleveland guards stole the show, but Jarrett Allen (17/8/5/1/1) and Cedi Osman (16/5/4 with a steal) both posted nice lines as well. As a side note, a moment of silence for anyone who bet the Cleveland spread, which opened at +12.5 and was never in doubt for most of the night (odds via Yahoo Sportsbook). The only losing scenario for such bettors was overtime, which was almost historic.
Hamidou Diallo has career night in tough loss - Hornets 102, Pistons 99
Detroit lost a tough one at home on Tuesday, but Hamidou Diallo had himself a night with a career-high 35 points, also adding seven boards, four 3-pointers, and a block. The Pistons have no reason not to play him, so maybe he’ll keep the momentum going and have a strong finish. Sekou Doumbouya had a season-high 20 points of his own to go along with eight rebounds and a pair of triples, and while Detroit is pretty awful this year, their future sure looks bright. We’ll give a shoutout to the birthday boy Frank Jackson, who was next in line scoring-wise with 14/5/4 off the bench.
On Charlotte’s side, Jalen McDaniels had a career-high 12 rebounds and his first career double-double, finishing with 10 points, three steals, a swat and a triple in 39 minutes. Miles Bridges entered the health and safety protocol Tuesday morning, so this opens up some opportunity for McDaniels for a week or two, and we’ve always loved his potential. P.J. Washington (personal reason) also sat this one out, which slide Bismack Biyombo into the starting lineup, where he had just two points, six boards and a pair of blocks in 24 minutes. The season-highs don’t stop there, however, as Caleb Martin started this one and tied his season-high of 17 points and tacked on five boards, two assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. We prefer McDaniels, of course, but we’ll see if Martin can keep this up. LaMelo Ball continues to impress and dropped a 27/7/6 line with two steals and three triples, and just won’t stop impressing us. Check out this insane effort play for the cherry on top of a great statistical performance.
Is Giannis a good three-point shooter? - Bucks 124, Nets 118
Giannis and the Bucks completed back-to-back wins against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday and Tuesday, with who else but Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with 36 points, 12 boards, four assists and four more triples. According to ESPN Stats & Info on Twitter, this is his first time with four 3-pointers in back-to-back games in his career, going 8-of-15 overall in the two-game span. With James Harden (hamstring) still sidelined, Giannis draining threes may have taken the lead on the level of fright in the Brooklyn-coined “Scary Hours”. It’s safe to say not a single team would desire to play a Milwaukee team that has Giannis making threes at a high clip. It doesn’t seem quite fair.
Khris Middleton dropped 23/7/4 with a couple steals and had the hot hand in the fourth, helping the Bucks pull away late. Jrue Holiday scored 23 in a triple-double watch, adding eight rebounds and 10 assists, with four triples and impressive defense as always. Even Donte DiVincenzo had a career-high 15 boards, which was easily the best part of his double-double of 10/15/2 with nothing else.
No one on the Nets not named Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving was able to eclipse 12 points, and this could be an issue going forward if this even becomes close to a trend while James Harden’s hamstring injury continues to linger. They both went nuts though (of course), with Durant dropping an efficient 32/9/6/1/2 line, and Kyrie Irving also filling it up with 38/3/5/3/2 with six triples. The duo scored 70 combined but couldn’t even get 50 total from all of their other teammates.
No Fox, no Haliburton, Delon says “AlWright, I got this” - Kings 103, Thunder 99
For starters, the Kings got some fantastic news on rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton, whose MRI results showed no ligament damage in his left knee. He’ll still almost surely miss the rest of the season with a hyperextension, but no surgery is required, which is what many feared given the nature and awkwardness of the injury. Get well soon, rook.
The Kings are also without De’Aaron Fox (protocol) for a bit longer, which slides newly acquired Delon Wright into the starting lineup. But if Tuesday’s game was any indication, that’ll work just fine for Sacramento. Wright dropped a loaded 5x4 line and nearly a triple-double in the starting nod in the victory, scoring 13 points with 10 boards, eight assists, four steals, four blocks and a triple in 37 minutes. If you’re able to make fantasy acquisitions at this point in the year, Wright is as must-roster as they come.
The Kings were very well-balanced with no one scoring above 20 points, led by Buddy Hield’s and Terrence Davis’ 18 points apiece. Hield had a rare double-double as well, adding 11 rebounds and five triples, and Davis had three triples of his own. Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes were basically twins with 13 points, seven boards and a block each, and they’ve both been playing quite well.
The Thunder somehow only lost by four, but alas, it was to a struggling and injury-ravaged Sacramento team. It’s incredibly difficult to find consistency on this roster, and rumor has it they roll dice to see who gets to score over 20 each night (granted, on some nights, there are no dice to be found). Darius Bazley was the chosen one tonight with 24/11/3 with three makes from beyond the arc, and Gabriel Deck was pretty good with 16 points in just as many minutes. Moses Brown hauled in 17 boards but had just six points and can’t seem to score on this team, but he’s useful for rebounds and the occasional defensive stat.
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Tim Hardaway makes it rain from three, Andre Iguodala dishes out 5,000th career assist - Mavericks 127, Heat 113
Despite the Heat shooting 68% in the first quarter, they fell to the Mavericks in what was a highly important game seeding-wise for both teams. Tim Hardaway Jr. was unconscious from three-point land, sinking 10 of them on 18 tries to the tune of 36 points (and not much else, but who cares). Per Mavs PR, the 10 threes tied Wesley Matthews and George McCloud for the most made triples in a game in Mavericks franchise history. He dropped 42 points last week as well, so he’s sizzling at the perfect time.
Luka Doncic finished his night with a 23/12/8 line with five triples on 8-of-15 from the floor. He also had seven turnovers, but at this point, the only stat Dallas cares that Luka does not get is a technical foul - one more would be his 16th, which would mean a one-game suspension for the All-Star. The other Mavs were mostly quiet, with the exception of Josh Richardson (17 points) and Jalen Brunson (19 points off the bench), but keep in mind that these two combined for just two boards and three assists in 41 total minutes. Yes, combined.
Miami had a well-balanced approach but seemed to fall apart as the game progressed, so the balance wasn’t for the best. They were really missing Jimmy Butler (illness), and they just don’t have the same pizzazz without him on the court. Andre Iguodala started for Butler and had just two assists and a steal, but this was enough to get him to 5000 assists in his career, something only 68 other players in the history of the league have accomplished. Well done, Iggy. Bam Adebayo was a board away from a triple double with a relatively quiet 11/9/11 line with two steals, and Duncan Robinson matched Bam’s board total and also added 19 points with four 3-pointers. Goran Dragic and Trevor Ariza scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, and combined for six triples.
Steph gets to 300 triples in a season… again - Pelicans 108, Warriors 103
In a back-to-back rematch with the Pelicans, the Warriors fell short this time around after dominating a night prior, yet somehow most of the attention is still on Stephen Curry. He scored 37 points with nine boards, two assists, three steals and eight more triples, and reached the 300-triple mark for the fourth season of his career. There are only five of these seasons in the history of the NBA, with James Harden having the fifth, and the game of basketball may truly never be the same because of Chef Curry. Steph is also the only player besides Ray Allen to hit 2,800 threes in his career, and it’ll be sooner than you think before Steph reaches Allen’s mark of 2,973. Just unreal.
New Orleans took care of business, however, and got the only stat that really matters when all is said and done: a win. Lonzo Ball bounced back in the biggest of ways, scoring a career-high tying 33 points with seven 3-pointers (both team-highs), six rebounds, four dimes and a steal in 34 minutes. He had just seven points on Monday night and was an awful 3-of-18 from the floor, so keep in mind that it’s usually much easier to trust Lonzo when he isn’t good the game before. Zion Williamson had a full line of 23/12/7 with four swipes, and if we could get anything close to this type of contribution nightly, Zion would be a top-10 player in fantasy hoops. He’s only 20, so we’re definitely not ruling it out in the future. Every other Pelican was fairly quiet, including Brandon Ingram with just 13 points with two steals and not a ton more, but he only played 25 minutes due to spraining his left ankle in the second quarter - he attempted to play after the break but decided against it and did not return to the game. Hopefully it's a minor issue, as the Pelicans really need him if they want a chance to snag a playoff spot.
Draymond Green was a game-time call but ended up suiting up, posting the most Draymond-esque line ever of 7/12/9/1/2 with a triple. He consistently has some of the most bizarre stat lines we’ve seen, but it’s just how his skill set works and it’s how he helps his team best. Andrew Wiggins had 26 points with six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and five 3-pointers, and Golden State desperately needs him to be a second scoring option on a nightly basis to help relieve Steph of some of the burden.
The return of Patrick Beverley - Clippers 105, Raptors 100
Patrick Beverley played in his first game since April 8th, and came off the bench for eight points, a board, three dimes, a steal and two 3-pointers in 15 minutes. This isn’t too bad for purposes of playing time, but for fantasy purposes, you can generally ignore him as he is predominantly utilized as a defensive specialist for this offensively-stacked Clippers team. Despite Pat Bev's return, Reggie Jackson started and came through with an 18/5/5 line with four triples. He's still the better point guard to own, and should continue to produce for the last handful of regular season games while Beverley gets up to speed. Paul George led his team to a win with a 22/9/4 with two triples, and Marcus Morris matched PG’s point total and also added six boards and four triples, and continues to prove that he can contribute even as the at-best third option on paper. Kawhi Leonard was oddly quiet with 13 points, and the only number that jumped off the page was his six shot attempts. He played 33 minutes too, so it’s not like he was in foul trouble or anything, so maybe his foot injury is lingering. It’ll be hard to rest Kawhi, however, with the Clips now sitting just half of a game ahead of the Nuggets for the No. 3 seed in the West.
The very short-handed Raptors put up a great fight against a great team, missing three starters in Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, and Chris Boucher. Fred VanVleet was one of the two reasons the team was competitive, totaling a game-high 27 points with 13 assists, two steals, a block and five 3-pointers. He looks ready to roll after his hip injury, and patient fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief after this one. Pascal Siakam notched a 24/7/2 line with three steals, but turned the ball over four times and shot just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Yuta Watanabe was fairly underwhelming in the start, going for six points and boards each with one assist, two steals and two triples. This loss put the Raptors 3.5 games back of the No. 10 seed in the East, so they’ll need to be practically perfect in order to have a shot at the postseason.
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