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 Nikola Jokic
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Basketball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Joker FTW

by Jared Johnson

Euro-on-Euro Crime

Nikola Jokic drilled his first career game-winning buzzer beater during Thursday’s 100-99 win over the Mavericks, tallying 11 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, one block and two turnovers in 30 minutes. The Joker didn’t really look for his shot through the first three quarters of action, going just 0-of-4 from the field through his first 21.7 minutes of floor time, but he came through when it mattered most (nine points on 4-of-5 shooting through the final frame of action) and absolutely ruined Luka Doncic’s evening. The win put the Nuggets just 1.0 game behind the Warriors’ for the No. 1 seed out West, and they now own an impressive record of 14-3 in games that have been decided by four points or less this season.

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JOKIC FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/xXX97wfigi

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2019

 

Paul Millsap also played a major role in the 100-99 win, scoring a season-high 33 points on 14-of-19 shooting (4-of-4 from the line) to go with one 3-pointer, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and zero turnovers across 36 minutes. Through the first six games of March, Millsap has seen his usage rate rise to 19.0 and he’s responded with averages of 17.0 points, 7.2 boards, 2.2 dimes, 1.5 treys, 1.3 steals, 0.7 swats and just 1.0 turnover per contest on 54.3% shooting while receiving 31.9 minutes a night. He’s heating up at just the right time for the Nuggets and looks primed for a strong finish to the 2018-19 season.

Luka Doncic fell just one assist shy of a triple-double in the one-point loss, finishing with 24 points (10-of-23 FGs, 3-of-7 FTs), 11 rebounds, nine dimes, one 3-pointer, two steals and three turnovers in 35 minutes. Doncic did all he possibly could to try and deliver the win, and nearly did with a vicious throw down with 5.8 seconds left in the game, but unfortunately, that was just too much time for Mr. Jokic.

 

JOKIC FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/xXX97wfigi

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2019

 

Celtics Sink Sacramento

Kyrie Irving notched his second career triple-double during a 126-120 win over the Kings, racking up 31 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and just two turnovers through 38 minutes of floor time. Terry Rozier missed this game with an illness, and if he’s out again on Saturday against the Hawks, Irving could again be logging heavy minutes (if the game doesn’t turn into a blowout).

On the other end of the floor, Buddy Hield busted out of his shooting funk, registering 34 points, six trey-bombs, four boards, seven dimes and one turnover across 35 minutes. Hield had connected on just 13 of his 43 shot attempts in his previous two outings, but he seemingly couldn’t miss on Thursday, going 14-of-24 from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point territory for an elite 70.8 EFG%. Hield is having a career-year, ranks in the top-10 in effective field goal percentage and is more or less a lock to finish the 2018-19 season as a top-40 option.

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Marc Gasol – Starting Center

Marc Gasol was back in the starting lineup on Thursday with Serge Ibaka (suspended) unavailable and finished with 15 points (5-of-10 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), seven rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers, two steals and two turnovers across 26 minutes. He probably could have put together a more impressive stat line if the game hadn’t been a blowout, but he’ll get another two games to make his case for the starting center-spot while Ibaka serves out his suspension. Upon Ibaka’s return, the Raptors will have a back-to-back against the Thunder, so there’s a chance Gasol could remain in the starting lineup for at least another two games once Serge is cleared with a more traditional five-man (Steven Adams) on the other end of the floor.   

 

On the Radar

Tyus Jones was solid in another fill-in start with both Jeff Teague (foot) and Derrick Rose (elbow) on the sidelines, scoring 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go with three rebounds, nine dimes and one steal over 29 turnover-less minutes. The Wolves picked up another loss on Thursday, furthering the case for a potential shutdown for Teague given all the trouble he’s had with his left foot this season, so Jones should be considered must-own at this point. In his 10 starts this season, Jones has put in averages of 10.9 points, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals and just 1.2 turnovers per contest on 46.5% shooting.

Wesley Matthews hit 6-of-15 shots on his way to 16 points, four 3-pointers, seven boards, two assists, two steals and four turnovers in 36 minutes. Efficiency tends to be an issue for Matthews, but since landing in Indiana has come through with averages of 12.8 points, 2.1 assists, 2.5 triples, 1.1 steals and 1.5 turnovers per game on 39.8% shooting, which has been good enough for late-round value in 9-cat leagues. If you need some help in the 3-point department, Matthews is worth a look.

Brandon Knight scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting (1-of-1 from the line) to go with one 3-pointer, one rebound, one assist, one steal and zero turnovers through 26 minutes as a starter. He’s finally healthy and has been trending up over the past four games with averages of 12.5 points, 3.0 assists, 1.8 triples, 1.8 steals and just 0.5 turnovers per contest on 50% shooting, so he’s on the radar in deep leagues.

Alex Caruso played well in 27 minutes off the bench during Thursday’s blowout loss to the Raptors, scoring 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting (5-of-5 from the line) to go with five rebounds, five assists, one 3-pointer and one turnover. With Lonzo Ball (knee) and Brandon Ingram (blood clot) done for the year, and the Lakers likely to miss the postseason, Caruso may be able to get solid minutes down the stretch, so he’s someone to throw on your watch list in deep leagues. If your waiver wire is bare and you need a streamer on Friday and Sunday, Caruso could be someone to think about.

Jae Crowder netted 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting (6-of-8 from the stripe) to go with three rebounds, two 3-pointers, two assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 28 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past month with averages of 13.2 points, 2.3 treys, 5.8 boards, 2.1 dimes, 1.0 steal and just 0.6 turnovers per game on 40.6% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.

Kyle Korver drilled another three triples in 20 minutes off the bench to go with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and zero turnovers. He’s worth owning as a 3-point specialist in deep leagues.

Jalen Brunson followed up Tuesday’s career-high 34-point outing with 20 points (8-of-15 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), three 3-pointers, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and two turnovers through 39 minutes as a starter during Thursday’s narrow loss to the Nuggets. He’s been in a nice groove over the past four games, posting averages of 22.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.8 boards, 2.0 triples and 2.5 turnovers per game on 61.8% shooting, and he should see nothing but opportunity as the season winds down. The sky-high field goal percentage isn’t sustainable, but he should do enough with the points, dimes and triples to warrant ownership in most settings.

Jared Johnson

A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Jae_Tha_Truth, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.