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Kemba Walker
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Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: Cardiac Kemba Does It Again

by Tommy Beer

Saturday’s eight-game slate was highlighted by another triple-double for Luka Doncic, another 30/10/5 gem from Trae Young, another 30/20 eruption from Karl-Anthony Towns, and another brilliant fourth-quarter performance by Kemba Walker.

After recapping the important storylines from Saturday, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.

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Saturday’s Standouts:
Kemba Walker just missed a monster triple-double, exploding for 36 points 11 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and six 3-pointers in 35 minutes in a win over Boston. Kemba scored half of those points in dramatic fashion, as he, incredibly, poured in 18 points in the final 7:43 of regulation. The Hornets were down 18 points in the fourth quarter, before Cardiac Kemba put his squad on his back. Charlotte closed out the game on a 30-5 run to secure a desperately needed victory, 124-117, to stay in the playoff hunt in the East.

Kyrie Irving celebrated his 27th birthday on Saturday by tallying 31 points (on 12-of-23 shooting), seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and four 3-pointers. Unfortunately for Kyrie and the C’s, they lost a heartbreaker to the Hornets in Charlotte. The Celtics play the second night of a back-to-back on Sunday, so it’s possible Boston decides to rest their stud point guard. 

Bam Adebayo stuffed the stat sheet in a major way on Saturday, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds, a career-high eight assists and four blocks in 35 minutes. Bam is clearly establishing himself as Miami’s most effective center. Over the Heat’s last nine games, he is averaging 12.7 points (on 63.5 percent shooting), 8.7 boards, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks in 26.8 minutes. It’s worth noting that Hassan Whiteside logged a total of five minutes off the bench Saturday night. 

Karl-Anthony Towns remained red-hot in an easy win over the Grizzlies, pouring in 33 points (12-of-20 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), grabbing 23 rebounds, and adding three assists, one steal, one blocked shot and four 3-pointers. KAT has been playing like a man possessed since returning from the All-Star break, averaging a whopping 31.4 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.9 treys, and 1.2 blocks, while shooting 56.4 percent overall and 50 percent from downtown.

Jonas Valanciunas has been a beast since being relocated to Memphis. Fresh off a 23-point, 24-rebound gem Friday vs. Orlando, he backed it with 20 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and one three-pointer on Saturday. Over his last three games, JV is averaging 25.3 points, 17.7 rebounds, 2.3 dimes and 2.3 blocks in 34.5 minutes. He’s carried more than a few fantasy owners to victory in the playoffs this week. Memphis plays three times next week as well. 

Rudy Gobert did what Rudy Gobert does, tallying 21 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, four blocks and no turnovers in 26 minutes. He dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, making nine of his 11 field goal attempts and (after two straight games without a rejection) swatting away four shots. 

Trae Young floated in the game-winner in the final second to lead the Hawks to an impressive victory over the Sixers. Young scored 32 points (11-of-20 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs) to go along with six rebounds, 11 assists, one block, four 3-pointers and six turnovers in 33 minutes. Remarkably, it’s his third straight game with more than 20 points and more than 10 assists. Per Basketball-Reference, that’s tied for the longest such streak by a rookie over the last 35 years. It was also Young’s third game with at least 30 points, ten dimes and five boards. That’s the most by any rookie this decade. Don’t look now, but Young is making a run at the Rookie of the Year Award. 

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Luka Doncic recorded yet another triple-double, scoring 23 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out ten dimes, with three steals and four 3-pointers to boot in only 27 minutes. It was as if he had watched what Trae Young did, and said: “I need to keep pace!” That’s Luka’s sixth career triple-double, which is the second-most all-time by a player before turning 21. He was tied With LeBron James; now he only trails only Magic Johnson. Keep in mind, Doncic doesn’t celebrate his 21st birthday for another 11 months.

Ben Simmons stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 21 points (9-of-16 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), six rebounds, nine assists, four steals, two blocks and two turnovers in 35 minutes in a loss to the Hawks. Joel Embiid posted another strong double-double, finishing with 27 points (7-of-11 FGs, 11-of-14 FTs), 12 rebounds, two assists, two 3-pointers and four turnovers in 35 minutes. Jimmy Butler made all 13 of his free throws and ended up with 25/6/4 with two steals and block. 

Damian Lillard was effective and efficient in the Blazers win on Saturday. He shot 9-of-16 from the field for 28 points and added six rebounds, nine assists and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes. With C.J. McCollum (knee) sidelined, Dame is putting up prolific numbers. He plays four times next week, which is music to his fantasy owners ears. 

Devin Booker was just 10-of-27 overall, including 2-of-11 from 3-point territory, but was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe en route to 32 points, and tacked on ten assists, two rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Book is averaging 30/5/8 over the Suns last four games. 

Nemanja Bjelica was surprisingly studly on Saturday, tallying 13 points (5-of-10 FGs), 17 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in a team-high 36 minutes. Belly’s fantasy stock is on the rise, as he averaged 11.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.7 dimes in 30.3 minutes over the three games Sacramento played last week. The Kings play four times next week, which means Bjelica is definitely roster-worthy in deeper leagues. 

On The Radar:
Miles Bridges had another solid outing on Saturday, scoring a career-high 20 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) with seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. After posting 11/12/4 on Thursday, Bridges was back at it. His fantasy stock is spiking and worth a roster spot with a game on Sunday and three games next week for a Hornets team in a desperate push for the playoffs. 

Jaylen Brown snapped out of a mini-slump on Saturday by shooting 10-of-13 from the field en route to 29 points with four rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and a season-high five 3-pointers against the Hornets. Brown had scored a total of just 12 points in Boston's previous two contests. Jayson Tatum had 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes, but shot 5-of-17 from the floor.  

Kelly Olynyk had an awesome all-around effort on Saturday, tallying 14 points, seven rebounds, five dimes, two treys, two steals, three blocks and one turnover in 38 minutes. Josh Richardson scored 18 points with two rebounds, five assists, one block, two steals and two 3-pointers in game-high 39 minutes. Dwyane Wade turned back the clock, putting up 20 points (9-of-16 FGs), nine boards, five dimes and two trifectas. 

Bradley Beal had a rare off-night, shooting 6-of-14 from the field for 16 points with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Thomas Bryant looked good again, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes. Bobby Portis had 14 and 11. Jeff Green shoot 9-of-12 for 25 points with six rebounds, and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Troy Brown started but struggled. He made 2-of-9 from the field for seven points with five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 26 minutes.

Tyus Jones had 12 points (4-of-8 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), nine assists, three rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer in 35 minutes. With Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose done for the year, Jones will continue to log all the minutes he can handle. Josh Okogie had another impressive all-around effort, scoring 17 points with six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one blocked shot and one three-pointer. He shot 5-of-11 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line. Andrew Wiggins had 22/4/1 on 9-of-15 shooting.

Donovan Mitchell attempted only eight shots, making five, and finished with 16 points with eight rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. The Jazz demolished the Bulls 114-83 on Saturday, so they didn’t need much production from the starters. Joe Ingles had 13/6/5 and Jae Crowder chipped in 11/6/4 with three treys in 23 minutes off the bench. 

Kris Dunn registered only four points (on a dismal 1-of-8 shooting), three rebounds, five assists, and one steal in 21 minutes. It was a brutal game for the Bulls, who were down 20-plus points early on and never got back in it. Lauri Markkanen had 18 and ten on 6-of-20 shooting. He was the only Chicago player with more than 10 points. 

Taurean Prince put up 23 points (8-of-15 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), five rebounds, three assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes on Saturday. Prince, who has been on a 3-point binge, has rebounded nicely over the second half of the season to recapture his fantasy value. John Collins had 13 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. His scoring has dipped a bit this week, but it’s nice to finally see some blocks by his name.  

Mike Conley (general soreness) returned to action on Saturday night and registered 23 points (7-of-17 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs) with three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two three-pointers in 35 minutes. Delon Wright was bumped back to the bench, but still finished with 12 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Tyler Dorsey remained in the starting lineup but shot 3-of-13 and ended up with eight points, five boards and one helper. 

Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, with five rebounds, one assist, two blocks and five 3-pointers in 26 minutes. With D Wade also scoring 20 points on Saturday, gotta assume it’s the last time these two all-time greats both tally 20-plus points on the same night.

It is extremely rare that Golden State plays and not a single Warrior makes the “Saturday Standouts” section, but that’s what happens when you get blown out by 35 points. (The final score was Dallas 126 and Golden State 91). Stephen Curry was rested, and Kevin Durant paced the squad with 25 points but needed 25 shots (9-of-25 FGs) to get there. He also tacked on five rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. Quinn Cook started in place of Steph and had seven points, six rebounds, seven assists, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 27 minutes. DeMarcus Cousins had 19/6/3 in 23 minutes. 

Blake Griffin had been scuffling this month, but came through 27 points three rebounds, six assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes on Saturday. Andre Drummond had 19 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 39 minutes. It was his league-leading 60th double-double of the season. Reggie Jackson scored 24 points with two rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers. 

Deandre Ayton did his thing on Saturday, scoring 19 points (on 9-of-16 shooting) with 11 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot in 29 minutes. Jimmer Fredette made his Suns debut in Phoenix’s loss to the Kings, logging four minutes and finishing 0-for-1 from the floor with two rebounds and one turnover.

De’Aaron Fox had 13 points (3-of-12 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs), four rebounds, nine dimes and one steal in 34 minutes. Fox is closing out his breakout sophomore campaign in fine fashion. Marvin Bagley posted his second straight double-double with 16 points (5-of-13 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), 11 rebounds, two steals and one assist in 29 minutes off the bench. Harrison Barnes scored 25 points (10-of-17 FGs) with six rebounds, two assists and six triples. Buddy Hield also poured in 25 points and added seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

Tommy Beer