The worst game of the night featured some of the most promising fantasy lines, as Jamal Murray and Ivica Zubac blew up for the Nuggets and Lakers in a blowout. LaMarcus Aldridge’s (heart) season is in jeopardy, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio went off for the Wolves, while Rajon Rondo and Nikola Mirotic are back and relevant for the Bulls again. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Nuggets 129, Lakers 101 – Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee started alongside one another and combined for 33 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks, while Danilo Gallinari added 18 points, five assists, a block and three 3-pointers. Gary Harris had 12 points and seven assists, but hit just 4-of-15 shots, while Jamal Murray and Will Barton each scored 22 points off the bench. Murray’s a hot pickup right now, seeing more minutes and scoring at least 13 points in each of his last four games. He hit five 3-pointers last night, while Barton hit four of them. If Murray’s available in your league, pick him up, as he’s supplanted Jameer Nelson as the point guard of choice in Denver, even though he’s coming off the bench.
For the Lakers, experimenting with different lineups could become the norm and D’Angelo Russell came off the bench last night. He only hit 4-of-14 shots for 10 points, three assists, three steals and two 3-pointers, but still played a solid 28 minutes. Jordan Clarkson got the start and hit 7-of-18 shots and three 3-pointers for 19 points and three assists. Ivica Zubac got the start and finally went off, hitting 12-of-15 shots for a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. If you picked him up and dropped him when it didn’t pan out, think about grabbing him again, as the Lakers might finally be ready to turn him loose for good. Julius Randle was quiet in the blowout win and Brandon Ingram had 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, which was nice to see. Don’t drop Russell, but think about picking up Zubac if you can. The future is now.
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Bulls 115, Hornets 109 – Rajon Rondo started and scored a season-high 20 points with seven boards, six assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, and Nikola Mirotic came off the bench to hit 8-of-16 shots and five 3-pointers for 24 points and 11 rebounds and the Bulls beat the Hornets. Rose hadn’t scored more than eight points in any of his five March games, but now looks like he could stick in the starting unit going forward, making him worth an add. And Mirotic went from sitting out three straight games to one of the best nights of his career. He’s also worth grabbing, as the Bulls won this game because of these two players. Bobby Portis was very quiet with Mirotic’s explosion, Jimmy Butler had 23 points, 11 assists and a full stat line, and Dwyane Wade added 23 points, five boards, a steal and a block for the Bulls. Denzel Valentine played 28 minutes and scored 11 points, but he’s only worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues right now. Wade was dealing with leg cramps but is expected to play on Wednesday.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Hornets, led by Jeremy Lamb’s career-high 26 points, three 3-pointers and two steals on 10-of-17 shooting. He started with Nicolas Batum out with a migraine and looked fantastic, but Batum should be back for the next one, making Lamb a highly risky prospect right now. Marvin Williams has been playing like a fantasy first-rounder ever since the All-Star break and had 13 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 blocks over his last five games, and is simply a must-start player in any format. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 22 points and six boards on 9-of-12 shooting, Cody Zeller had 11 points, seven boards, a steal and three blocks in 34 minutes, and Kemba Walker had a 21-points, 10-assists game with three 3-pointers. He’s always fun to use when Batum is out. Frank Kaminsky was back and played 24 minutes off the bench, but had just four points and two rebounds. And with Williams and Zeller hot, Kaminsky will have a hard time getting back to the form he was at before the shoulder injury.
Raptors 100, Mavericks 78 – DeMar DeRozan scored 25, Norman Powell had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points, 12 boards and a block against the center-less Mavs. Powell has scored in double figures in three straight games and six of his last seven, making him an interesting pickup right now. JV is back and playing better and Cory Joseph had nine points, four assists and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes. Serge Ibaka was bad, missing all four of his shots and failing to score in 32 minutes. He finished with nine rebounds and two blocks, which was highly disappointing. DeMarre Carroll sat this one out with an ankle injury and has missed two of his last three games. If he’s out, Powell enters must-start territory.
For the Mavs, Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes played fairly well, but they were the lone wolves for Dallas. Yogi Ferrell hit 1-of-7 shots, Seth Curry hit just 2-of-8 shots and Wesley Matthews played just 18 minutes before being shut down with a calf injury. Curry, who scored just five points last night, would benefit if Matthews is going to miss time. Dwight Powell had 10 points and 10 rebounds, but keep in mind that starting center Nerlens Noel was held out with left knee soreness. It does sound like he’ll play on Wednesday, which would render Powell useless.
Grizzlies 113, Bucks 93 – Mike Conley had 20 & 10, Tony Allen had 15 points, four boards and two 3-pointers, and Marc Gasol was quiet with 13 points, seven boards, seven assists and two steals in the win. JaMychal Green’s disappointing run continued with just two points and six boards on 0-of-2 shooting. But it was a surprise start for Vince Carter that resulted in one of the lines of the night. Carter got the call with Chandler Parsons’ season likely over due to a torn meniscus in his left knee and the old man hit 8-of-8 shots, 6-of-6 3-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws for 24 points, five boards, two assists and three steals in 30 minutes. He became the first 40-year-old player to make six 3-pointers in an NBA game and if you played him in DFS, he might have made you money. And while he’s a little tempting with the Parsons’ news, Keep in mind he hadn’t scored more than 11 points in his previous nine games. Maybe he’ll stay hot and finish up the season on a tear, but I’m not holding my breath, nor am I racing out to pick him up.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had another full stat line with 18 points, Matthew Dellavedova made another start at point guard and had 13 points, three rebounds, zero assists and three 3-pointes, and Khris Middleton was disappointing with 10 points, but did have two 3-pointers and two steals. Malcolm Brogdon, who had been struggling, played 32 minutes off the bench and hit three 3-pointers for 15 points, eight assists, a steal and a block. I still like the idea of owning him for the rest of the season, although he’s going to run a bit hot and cold at times. Terrence Jones finally made his Bucks’ debut, but played just two minutes. I still don’t get their reluctance to use him, as Milwaukee needs a healthy power forward as much as any team in the league.