Anthony Davis went down, Jonas Valanciunas and Elfrid Payton went crazy, the Spurs pulled off a remarkable comeback (or the Kings had an epic meltdown), and the Celtics beat the Warriors on the road on a busy 11-game Monday. The Wizards were in play again, but I’ll try to refer to John Wall as John Wall this time, and not Agent Zero. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Raptors 94, Pelicans 87 – Nine Raptors players gave us some pretty mediocre production last night, except for the man named Jonas Valanciunas. JV has been the subject of “should I drop him?” texts, emails and tweets and my answer, for the most part, has been ‘yes.’ So it should not be surprising that he went off for 25 points, 13 rebounds and a block last night, hitting 9-of-13 shots against Boogie Cousins. JV hit rock bottom last Friday when he had two points and three rebounds in 13 minutes, and hadn’t double-doubled since Feb. 15, or a streak of six games. Which is basically around the time Serge Ibaka showed up to ruin the JV party, that wasn’t even that much of a party to begin with. I just hope you weren’t one of the folks to drop JV in the last couple days, or this one is going to sting. He’s shooting it lights-out right now, hitting 14-of-18 shots in his last two games. So the answer is now ‘no’ - keep him around and see what happens the rest of the way. DeMarre Carroll’s season of disappointment continued as he sat out with an ankle injury. P.J. Tucker started, but had just eight points in 38 minutes.
Anthony Davis burned us with a bruised left wrist after just 17 minutes. X-rays were negative and he’s simply day-to-day for now. This just further affirms the fact that the Brow should be traded in fantasy at the All-Star break, as he simply can’t stay healthy for a full season. Hopefully he’s not going to miss much time with his latest ailment. DeMarcus Cousins (25 & 10) gets a boost if AD’s going to miss time, but the only other Pelicans in double figures were E’Twaun Moore (13) and Jordan Crawford (10). Jrue Holiday had a bad night and Dante Cunningham played 26 minutes, but had just six points and five boards while filling in for Davis. I’m not picking him up. Crawford played 26 minutes and hit a couple threes, and is worth a look if you’re in a deep league with a bare waiver wire now that he’s getting meaningful run for his new team.
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Magic 98, Bulls 91 – Elfrid Payton is out of his mind right now, posting his second straight monster triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, two steals and two blocks. He almost had one on Friday, too, and is averaging 16.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.5 steals over his last four games. The question now becomes, when will he cool off? Evan Fournier scored 20, Bismack Biyombo flopped in a start for injured Nikola Vucevic (achilles), while Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon didn’t do much besides score some points.
Jimmy Butler played through his illness, but hit just 7-of-21 shots for 21 points and nine assists. Bobby Portis has been disappointing and played just 19 minutes, while Robin Lopez had 10 points, nine boards and two blocks in 36 minutes. Dwyane Wade sat out again with a thigh injury while Joffrey Lauvergne, Rajon Rondo and Denzel Valentine all failed to impress, despite playing heavy minutes. Lauvergne has displaced Nikola Mirotic, who didn’t even get off the bench last night. The Bulls are a mess and I was expecting a lot more out of Butler the last couple games with Wade in street clothes.
Heat 108, Hornets 101 – Dion Waiters backed up Monday’s 29-point game with 24 and five 3-pointers last night, meaning he’s officially hot again. Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic double-doubled, and James Johnson came through with a stat-stuffing line despite a sore elbow. Tyler Johnson played through a shoulder injury, but struggled for six points in 22 minutes, while Josh Richardson continued to disappoint with six points on 2-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes. I’ve given up trying to figure out when Richardson will stop disappointing us. Luke Babbitt scored 12 points in 18 minutes, but there’s no reason to think about picking him up.
Kemba Walker went off for 33 points and five triples, Marvin Williams double-doubled, and Nicolas Batum played through a sprained ankle for 16 points, seven boards and four steals, but hit just 5-of-14 shots. Cody Zeller was disappointing with eight points, five boards and two blocks, but I’m still holding him as long as Frank Kaminsky (shoulder) is out. Check on Batum's status later on Thursday.
Hawks 110, Nets 105 – The Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak but struggled to beat the lowly Nets in Atlanta. Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder and Tim Hardaway Jr. all played well, and it was nice to see Schroder (31 points) avoid Mike Budenholzer’s doghouse after Monday’s meltdown. Ersan Ilyasova had 10 points, seven boards, two steals and a 3-pointer off the bench and is still worth a look in most leagues.
Sean Kilpatrick had another big game with 27 points and three 3-pointers, and it looks like the Nets are going to trust him down the stretch. If he was dropped, I like him as a pickup. Jeremy Lin continues to defy the odds and had 16 points, eight dimes and three 3-pointers, so maybe I was wrong about him. I still think he’s going to fade and the only Nets I trust right now are Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker and Kilpatrick. And I don’t really trust any of them that much.
Bucks 104, Knicks 93 – Giannis Antetokounmpo was silly with 32 points, 13 rebounds, seven dimes, four steals and two blocks, and Khris Middleton added 18 points and four 3-pointers in the win. Tony Snell scored 10 after going off for 21 points on Monday, and Malcolm Brogdon hit just 1-of-8 shots for four points in 22 minutes. He’ll bounce back. Terrence Jones didn’t get off the bench, but should be ready to start logging power forward minutes in the next one. He’s not the most trustworthy guy around, but I like the idea of holding him right now.
All five Knicks starters (Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, Willy Hernangomez, Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee) played well and it was nice to see Willy come through with 13 points, 12 boards and a block in the loss. Lance Thomas came off the bench and missed all six of his shots, so it looks like that ship has sailed.