Thunder 114, Magic 106 OT – Russell Westbrook did it again, racking up his 38th triple-double with a ridiculous 57 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and six 3-pointers on 21-of-40 shooting. He became the first player to ever triple-double and score at least 57 points in a game and the Thunder overcame a team-record 21-point deficit in the second half. He tied the game with a 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left on the clock to force overtime and then scored seven points in OT to seal the win. Many people feel like James Harden should win the MVP, but Westbrook would have my vote, if I had one. They’re only 2.5 games from the No. 4 seed (behind the Clippers and Jazz) and he’s only three triple-doubles shy of Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 triple-doubles in a season. If that’s not an MVP season, I don’t know what is. With Westbrook doing everything it’s tough for other Thunder players to contribute, but Enes Kanter had a 17 & 10 double-double off the bench, Victor Oladipo had 13 points, five boards and a full stat line, and Andre Roberson added six points, nine boards, three assists, a steal and two blocks in the win. Taj Gibson was nearly invisible in this one, and I wouldn’t be mad at you if you wanted to drop him for a hot free agent, and Steven Adams had seven points, nine boards and two blocks.
The Magic starters, led by Evan Fournier’s 24 points and Terrence Ross’s 23 and five 3-pointers, all scored in double figures. Nikola Vucevic had an 11 & 16 double-double, Bismack Biyombo came off the bench for 12 & 11 with two blocks, and starter Elfrid Payton added 11 points, six boards and eight assists. I’m not touching Biyombo, but Aaron Gordon, Ross, Vuc, Payton and Fournier are all worth owning.
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Hawks 99, Sixers 92 – The Hawks have managed to win two straight without Paul Millsap, although they came against the Suns and Sixers, two of the league’s worst teams. Dwight Howard led the way with 22 points, 20 boards and a block, Tim Hardaway Jr. bounced back for 19 points, and Kent Bazemore returned to action to also score 19. Ersan Ilyasova had 14 points and two 3-pointers, while Taurean Prince cooled off with nine points and four boards in the win. Again, as long as Millsap (knee) is out, Ilyasova’s a must-start and Prince isn’t far behind. Millsap will sit again on Saturday and then be re-evaluated prior to Sunday’s game. The Hawks are still clinging onto the No. 5 seed, but are just a couple losses and some Heat and Pacer wins from being knocked out of the playoffs altogether.
For the Sixers, Richaun Holmes went off for 25 points, eight boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, Dario Saric had a 15-7-4 line with two 3-pointers, T.J. McConnell added 13 points and eight assists, and Justin Anderson started for Robert Covington (knee) and had 10 points, two boards, three assists and a 3-pointer. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot came through again with five points, 10 boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, but hit just 2-of-10 shots. All five of these guys are worth a serious look in fantasy right now, as the Sixers appear to be ready to play the kids the rest of the way. Covington’s owners have a decision to make, as we await results of his MRI. There’s a chance his season could be over, making both Anderson and TLC worth a serious look in all leagues. Holmes should be owned with Jahlil Okafor (knee) sitting.
Bucks 103, Celtics 100 – Tony Snell backed up his 26-point game with just three points on Wednesday, which is why you didn’t pick him up. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe all played well in the win, and those are the Bucks you want to own down the stretch. The Bucks hold the No. 6 seed currently, but need to keep winning in order to hold off the Heat and Pacers.
The Celtics fell back into a virtual tie with Cleveland for the top spot in the East, but are technically the No. 2 seed as of this morning. Isaiah Thomas scored 32, Avery Bradley double-doubled, and Al Horford and Jae Crowder each scored in double digits for the Celtics. Marcus Smart came through with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a full stat line, and the players I mentioned above are the only ones you want to mess with in Boston right now.
Heat 105, Knicks 88 – The Heat got a big win and passed the Pacers for the No. 7 seed in the East. Hassan Whiteside was a bit quiet, but still had 11 points, nine boards and four blocks, Goran Dragic had 20-7-9-2 and Josh Richardson got loose for 17 points, five steals and three 3-pointers. James Johnson added 18 points, seven boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers off the bench, and Tyler Johnson had 12 points, seven rebounds and two 3-pointers off the pine. And those are the five Heat players who should be owned in fantasy right now.
Carmelo Anthony hit just 4-of-12 shots for nine points and the shutdown could finally be coming in a lost season, while Derrick Rose sat out with a sore left knee. I don’t trust either of them further than I can throw them right now, and there are simply other players I’d rather own. Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 with eight boards, three blocks and a 3-pointer, Willy Hernangomez added 12 points and nine boards, and the rest of the Knicks didn’t do much of anything. Mindaugas Kuzminskas had four points in 14 minutes, but will be the pickup if Melo is shutdown, while I don’t think you want to mess with Justin Holiday or Ron Baker if Rose is shut down.
Hornets 110, Raptors 106 – Charlotte got 18 points and 12 boards from Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller failed to even score in 27 minutes after scoring just three points in his previous game, and Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky were all decent in this one. Marco Belinelli got hot with 21 points, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, but I still don’t trust him. Kaminsky is the pickup here, while Belinelli is worth keeping an eye on to see if he can stay hot going forward.
The Raptors are now three games behind the Cavs and Celtics, but are a lock to be a Top 4 seed in the East. DeMar DeRozan scored 28, Cory Joseph went nuts with 18 points, seven boards, five assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and is probably going to help some owners win a championship, and Jonas Valanciunas came through with a 14 & 15 double-double with a steal and three blocks. P.J. Tucker was sent back to the bench with DeMarre Carroll starting, but Carroll hit just 1-of-5 shots for three points, meaning Tucker might not be done just yet. Kyle Lowry (wrist) has begun shooting with his right hand, but Joseph’s job should be safe until the final three or four games of the season. Joseph is a must-own player. And for the record, I’d rather own Tucker than Carroll.