Russell Westbrook just missed triple-double No. 42 during Friday’s blowout loss to the Suns, tallying 23 points (6-of-25 FGs, 9-of-9 FTs), 12 boards, eight assists, two 3-pointers and eight turnovers in 36 minutes. While he wasn’t able to surpass Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in a season on Friday night, he did do enough to guarantee that he’ll be just the second player in NBA history to averages a triple-double for an entire season, and he’ll have three more games to try and set the single-season, triple-double record. One of the most impressive aspects of Westbrook’s triple-double madness is that he’s only been averaging 34.7 minutes a night this year, a far cry from the 44.3 minutes a game that Robertson needed to get his triple-double season. So 55 years removed from Robertson’s historic season, Westbrook will add his name to NBA history despite playing roughly 689 fewer minutes.
Devin Booker dropped 37 points on 13-of-29 shooting (6-of-8 from the stripe) during Friday’s win, to go with five boards, five trey-bombs, four assists, one steal and one turnover in 38 minutes. Aside from the poor shooting (41.3 percent from the field) and turnovers (3.6), Booker has been fantastic over the past month, pumping out averages of 28.4 points, 4.5 dimes, 4.2 boards, 1.9 triples and 1.4 steals per game, which has been good enough for third-round value in standard 8-cat leagues. Unfortunately, when you factor in the turnovers he drops to a sixth-round evaluation, but that’s hardly an issue when he’s stuffing the stat sheet like this. Hopefully, Phoenix will look to unload Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight this offseason in order to truly turn over the reins to Booker as their next franchise centerpiece. If Bledsoe remains on the roster next year I wouldn’t be willing to use much more than a mid-round selection on Booker, but if the Suns part ways with Bledsoe, I’d definitely view Booker as an easy early-round selection.
James Harden racked up 33 points, 12 dimes, nine boards, seven triples, one block and just one turnover in 38 minutes on Friday. He’s hitting career-highs in points (29.2), rebounds (8.1), assists (11.2, leads the league) and triples (3.2), and with the Rockets owning the No. 3 seed out West with a record of 53-26, Harden is my pick for MVP this season.
Kyrie Irving went 8-of-13 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe during Friday’s 114-100 loss to the Hawks, on his way to 18 points, seven assists, one rebound and one turnover in 33 minutes. He did briefly exit the game after tweaking his ankle, but he was able to get back out there and didn’t look any worse for the wear, so I’d be surprised to see him miss Sunday’s rematch in Atlanta.
DeMar DeRozan torched the Heat to the tune of 38 points during Friday’s 96-94 win, adding six boards, two assists, one steal, one block and an unfortunate six turnovers through 38 minutes of floor time. This was his 31st game of the season scoring at least 30 points, which pushed him past Vince Carter (30) for the most such games in a single season in Raptors’ history.
Nikola Jokic produced his fifth straight double-double during Friday’s 122-106 win over the Pelicans, registering 23 points (9-of-13 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), 12 boards, five dimes, two treys, two steals and seven turnovers in 29 minutes. The 22-year-old has been a steady top-15 option since the break with averages of 17.4 points, 11.9 boards, 6.3 dimes, 1.0 steal, 0.5 blocks, 0.6 triples and 2.9 turnovers per contest on 57.7 percent shooting from the field and 83.9 percent from the charity stripe. He’s only going to get better next season, which means he’ll likely cost you a late-first round pick on draft day.
Gordon Hayward popped off for 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting (7-of-8 from the line) during Friday’s 120-113 win over the Timberwolves, adding four 3-pointers, three rebounds, five dimes, two steals and two turnovers in 39 minutes. The Jazz and the Clippers will be battling for the No. 4 seed for the final three games of the season, so you can bank on Hayward logging heavy minutes to close out the year.
On the Radar
Henry Ellenson double-doubled in his first career start on Friday, scoring 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with 11 boards, one 3-pointer, one block and one turnover in 26 minutes. With Ellenson in the starting five, Jon Leuer went to the bench where he picked up a DNP-CD. Ellenson should see minutes in the mid-20s to close out the year as the Pistons shift their focus to player development, so he’s definitely on the radar as a potential pickup in all leagues, whereas Leuer should be sent to the wire in most settings.
Boban Marjanovic busted loose for a career-high 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with 12 boards and two assists in 28 minutes off the bench. He’s another guy that figures to be a significant part of Detroit’s rotation for their final three games of the season, making him an alluring speculative add in all leagues.
Ish Smith scored 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with five dimes, three boards and one turnover in 30 minutes. He’s been flirting with top-100 value in 9-cat leagues over the past six with averages of 17.8 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 boards, 1.2 triples and 1.3 turnovers per contest on 47.9 percent shooting, and he should be able to maintain most of those numbers over the Pistons’ final three games with Reggie Jackson (knee) done for the year.
Justin Holiday played well in a spot-start sans Carmelo Anthony (sore knee) on Friday, scoring 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting to go with two triples, two boards, two assists, three steals and one turnover in 27 minutes. He’s been solid over the past three games with averages of 13.3 points, 2.0 assists, 2.0 treys, 1.0 steal and just 0.7 turnovers per contest on 51.5 percent shooting which has been good enough for late-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. With the Knicks playing for Ping Pong balls, Holiday should be a fixture in the rotation, so he could be someone to look to as a streamer for New York’s final two games.
Maurice Ndour had another solid game as a starter sans Kristaps Porzingis (back) on Friday, tallying 15 points (7-of-9 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), seven boards, one steal, three swats and one turnover in 29 minutes. Porzingis is a shutdown candidate, so Ndour could be starting the rest of the way, so he’s got some appeal in deep leagues for those looking for a boost in the shot blocking department.
Josh Richardson scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting to go with two triples, four assists, two rebounds, three steals, one block and two turnovers in 36 minutes. Despite only connecting on 39.2 percent of his shot attempts over the past two weeks, Richardson has still managed to flirt with top-40 value behind averages of 11.9 points, 2.1 treys, 3.6 dimes, 1.9 steals, 1.6 blocks and 1.7 turnovers per contest. In other words, he should be owned in a lot more than just 36 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Vince Carter buried four more 3-pointers during Friday’s 101-88 win over the Knicks, adding 12 points, four boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks and zero turnovers through 28 minutes as a starter. Over the past month, the 40-year-old has been operating with a seventh-round evaluation in standard 9-cat leagues behind averages of 9.0 points, 1.8 triples, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and just 0.9 turnovers on 43.3 percent shooting, so give him a look if those numbers work with your squad.
Jamal Murray netted a career-high 30 points (10-of-14 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs) during the Nuggets 122-106 win over the Pelicans on Friday, adding two 3-pointers, four boards, five dimes, two steals and three turnovers through 38 minutes as a starter sans Jameer Nelson (calf). Consistency tends to be an issue with the rookie, but he has been a top-100 option in 9-cat leagues over his past seven outings with averages of 12.4 points, 2.7 assists, 1.4 triples, 1.4 steals and 1.6 turnovers on 43.8 percent shooting, so he’s someone to consider rostering for Denver’s final three games of the year.
Larry Nance hauled in 11 rebounds during Friday’s 98-94 win over Sacramento, adding seven points (2-of-5 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), two assists, three steals and one turnover through 28 minutes as a starter. Since Ivica Zubac (ankle) hit the sidelines, Nance has emerged as a sneaky top-30 guy in standard 9-cat leagues with averages of 10.5 points, 9.5 boards, 1.5 assists, 0.5 3-pointers, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 turnovers and an elite 2.3 steals per game on 50.0 percent shooting, so he’s worth owning in most leagues.
Skal Labissiere scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with one 3-pointer, three rebounds, one steal, two blocks and one turnover in 33 minutes. He has a decent shot of averaging 30-plus minutes a night for the final three games of the year in Sacramento, but inconsistency will limit his value to deeper leagues.
Kevin Durant (knee) will be back in the starting lineup without a minutes limit Saturday vs. New Orleans, while Stephen Curry (knee) is doubtful to play. Shaun Livingston should draw the start on Saturday night if Curry is unavailable, and Durant’s return will result in fewer minutes for Matt Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Patrick McCaw. KD obviously needs to be owned everywhere now that he’s been cleared to play.
Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore were all rested for Friday’s game in Cleveland, but they should be good to go for Sunday’s rematch with the Cavs. Thabo Sefolosha (groin) missed his seventh game in a row on Friday and he should be considered doubtful for Sunday game. Dennis Schroder (foot) also missed Friday’s contest and he should be considered questionable for Sunday. Taurean Prince has been the primary beneficiary sans Sefolosha, while Jose Calderon and Malcolm Delaney are the guys that benefit most when Schroder is out.
Kristaps Porzingis (back) missed his third game in a row on Friday and head coach Jeff Hornacek said that there’s a chance he’ll be shut down for New York’s final two games of the 2016-17 season. His minutes will continue to be divvied up between Willy Hernangomez, Maurice Ndour and Kyle O’Quinn. Carmelo Anthony sat out Friday’s game with a sore left knee, but I feel like he’ll be back in action for the Knicks’ final two homes games of the season, considering that might be Melo’s final opportunity to suit up in a Knicks’ uniform at Madison Square. Chasson Randle (ankle) returned from a one-game absence, but he didn’t do anything worth writing about.
DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable at best for Saturday’s game in Oakland. Dante Cunningham drew the start in his place, but it’s Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis who see the largest uptick in value with Boogie out.
E’Twaun Moore exited Friday’s game with a right ankle injury and did not return, finishing with 10 points, two triples, two boards, one steal, one assist and two turnovers in 18 minutes. If he can’t play Saturday, Jordan Crawford will have the opportunity to flirt with around 30 minutes off the bench.
Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol were rested for Friday’s game against the Mavericks, but they should all be back in action on Saturday night against the Clippers. Manu Ginobili (quad) and Danny Green (quad) also sat out Friday’s contest, and they should be considered questionable for Saturday. Dejounte Murray (groin) didn’t play, and it’s looking like there’s a good chance he won’t play again during the regular-season.
Ryan Anderson (ankle) returned from a six-game absence on Friday and produced nine points, three triples, three boards and one block through 13 minutes as a starter. With Anderson back in action, Troy Williams shifted back to the second unit where he finished with just four points, two boards, one steal and one turnover in 22 minutes. Lou Williams only managed to get on the court for 22 minutes with Anderson back in the rotation, although he still found a way to be effective with 15 points, one 3-pointer and two boards.
Eric Gordon will be rested Sunday vs. the Kings or Monday vs. the Clippers, and Mike D’Antoni will put him on a minutes limit for the final few games of the season. Sweet Lou will benefit most when Gordon hits the sidelines.
Clint Capela was rested on Friday, but he should be back in action on Sunday night in Sacramento. Nene (fingers) will miss Houston’s next two, which will result in more minutes for Capela and Montrezl Harrell.
Mike Conley (eye) dropped 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting in his return from a one-game absence on Friday to go with six dimes, seven triples, three boards, one steal and three turnovers in 34 minutes. He should be just fine for Memphis’ final two games of the 2016-17 season.
Derrick Favors (knee) returned from a 14-game stint on the sidelines and produced 13 points, five boards, one assist and one steal in 17 minutes off the bench. He’ll likely be on a minutes limit for Utah’s final three games, so he’s not the most attractive add in standard formats.
Rajon Rondo (wrist) is doubtful to play Saturday vs. the Nets, while Dwyane Wade (elbow) will be a game-time decision on Saturday night. Wade’s fractured right (shooting) elbow has fully healed, and all indication are that he’ll be back on the court Saturday night, so there’s not as much of a need for Rondo to try and fight through his injury. Wade will likely have a minutes limit upon his return, but he should still be able to offer a useful stat line in limited minutes with a matchup against the Nets, giving him some appeal as a speculative add. With Wade back on the court, Paul Zipser will likely return to the bench and Nikola Mirotic won’t be quite as involved in the offense.
Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Bulls, and if he’s out again, his minutes will be divvied up between Caris LeVert, Archie Goodwin and Spencer Dinwiddie.
T.J. McConnell said on Friday that he’ll be “all right” after rolling his left ankle during Thursday’s loss to the Bulls, but I’m going to consider him questionable for Saturday’s game against the Bucks. Sergio Rodriguez (hamstring) said he was feeling better, but wouldn’t commit to getting back on the court this season. If both those guys are out Saturday, Nik Stauskas could draw the start at point guard and Timothe Luwawu could be forced into heavy minutes.
Luke Babbitt (hip) missed his second game in a row on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Washington. If he’s out again, James Johnson will play big minutes as Miami’s starting power forward.
Seth Curry (shoulder) missed his fourth game in a row on Friday and there are no guarantees he’ll be able to get back out there at any point for Dallas’ final three games. At this point, The Other Curry can be sent to the waiver wire just about everywhere.
Dion Waiters (ankle) did not play Friday and I doubt we’ll see him again during the regular-season. He belongs on the waiver wire in all leagues.
Jameer Nelson (calf), Will Barton (foot) and Darrell Arthur (knee) did not play Friday and they should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Thunder.
Rodney Hood (knee) got back on the court following a one-game absence on Friday and produced six points (2-of-8 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), three boards, one 3-pointer, two assists, one block and one turnover in 21 minutes. He’s had a few nice flashes this season, but in general, his production has been too up-and-down to warrant a standard league roster spot.
George Hill (groin) missed his fifth game in a row Friday night and he should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Portland. If he’s out again, Shelvin Mack and Dante Exum will continue to split the point guard minutes in Utah.
Evan Fournier (wrist) said he will play Saturday vs. Indiana. With Fournier back in action, Jodie Meeks will return to the bench and there won’t be as much opportunity for minutes for Mario Hezonja.
D’Angelo Russell (knee) returned from a one-game absence and produced 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and four turnovers in 33 minutes. His sore left knee didn't appear to be an issue at all, so I'd expect him to be just fine for the Lakers' final three games of the season.
Andre Roberson (knee) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game in Denver. Doug McDermott drew the start in his place and finished with 11 points, five boards and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes. If Roberson misses Sunday’s game, McDermott could be someone to consider as a 3-point streamer in deep leagues.
Alex Abrines (knee) also missed Friday’s game, and he’s likely done for the year.
Kosta Koufos picked up yet another rest day on Friday, and there’s a good chance he won’t play again this season. Ty Lawson was also rested, but he should be back in action for Sunday’s game against the Rockets. Arron Afflalo (back) and Anthony Tolliver (hip) returned from a one-game absence, but neither guy did anything noteworthy.