Tuesday night was a veritable parade of big-name inactives, with LeBron James (groin), Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle), Joel Embiid (rest) and DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) among those sitting out. As for who did play…
Sixers 118, Hornets 114
With no Embiid, the Sixers predictably got big games from Ben Simmons (28-8-5 on 11-of-12 shooting), Jimmy Butler (23-4-9) and Tobias Harris (22-11-3). Less expected was the colossal 27 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, a season-high eight assists and seven 3s from J.J. Redick — his most triples in a game since October. James Ennis also put up 14, his most in a Sixers uniform, and buried a big 3-pointer late, but had combined for eight points in his two games prior to this one.
Kemba Walker (21 points) was the only Hornets starter to hit double digits, though Miles Bridges (eight points, 10 rebounds, two steals) had his best all-around game in a while. Bridges has now scored 15, 12, two, two and eight points in his last five games, so he’s tough to trust even in deeper formats. Jeremy Lamb scored 26 with 11 rebounds — his highest scoring output since late December — but missed a shot at the rim late that would have sent the game to OT. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left the game after bumping heads with Amir Johnson and was being evaluated for a concussion.
Also for Charlotte (and for anyone looking for readily available streaming options in fantasy): Frank Kaminsky scored 14 points with three rebounds, two assists and a block, his seventh time hitting double-digit points in nine March games so far. Dwayne Bacon has now scored exactly 13 points in three of his last four games, though he’s not offering much of anything in other areas aside from bizarre low-level scoring consistency.
Rockets 121, Hawks 105
James Harden — a superstar who did in fact play on Tuesday — put up 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists — while Clint Capela scored 26 with 11 boards, his best scoring game since he returned from injury (and his second straight 20-plus-point double-double). Chris Paul had 12 points and 11 dimes, while emerging waiver wire person of note Danuel House scored 19, and has now averaged 17.0 ppg and 4.0 3s since rejoining the Rockets after his two-month G-League contract-related hiatus.
The Hawks got 21 points and 12 dimes (with seven turnovers) from Trae Young, which is becoming almost a ho-hum game for him as far as the points and assists are concerned. Over his last 25 games, the rookie is averaging 23.4 ppg and 8.7 apg. John Collins bounced back from a foul-plagued outing on Sunday to put up 20 and 10, while Kevin Huerter was off with his shot (2-of-9 for four points), but had four assists, two steals and a block. And how about this for an unexpected fantasy development: With 15 points (and five 3s) in 28 minutes, Vince Carter has now scored double digits in nine of his last 11 games, averaging 11.3 ppg, 0.9 spg and 2.7 3s during that stretch. It sounds crazy to say, but if you need points and 3s, give the 42-year-old a look.
Warriors 117, Timberwolves 107
Game 2 of Golden State’s five-game week saw Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on the court for the second half of a back-to-back set, and Curry dropped 36 points with eight treys, while KD scored just 17, though he did add eight assists. Klay Thompson put up 28, and Draymond Green scored five (with 10 rebounds, nine assists, one steal and four blocks). In eight March games so far, Green has hit double-digit points exactly one time.
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) missed his second straight, but is expected to return on Thursday. With Boogie out, Andrew Bogut got another start, but played just 12 minutes (with two points, six rebounds and three assists). Also, Andre Iguodala (dental work) returned and had two points with six boards and five assists in 21 minutes. And in another reminder that it’s March, and things are getting weird, Jonas Jerebko scored 18 (including 14 in the first half), his first time hitting double-digit points in nearly three months.
The Wolves were without Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose (and Luol Deng), and lost Taj Gibson during the game to a left calf strain. That in theory frees up more action for Dario Saric, but with Gibson playing only nine minutes, Dario put up a hollow 13 points and six boards in 28 minutes.
Minnesota did get a 20-20 game from Karl-Anthony Towns (26-21-4), and 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists from Andrew Wiggins. Tyus Jones shot just 3-of-14 for 10 points, four rebounds and seven assists, but is still set up for a strong finish given the Wolves' PG injury woes. It’s also worth noting that Josh Okogie has scored 21 and 19 in back-to-back games, but he had combined for 21 points in seven March games before this scoring binge, so I’d still treat him as a streaming option at best.
Bucks 115, Lakers 101
Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) sat out two days after hanging a 52-16-7 line on Philly, which led to a serious feast for Khris Middleton (30-10-5 — tying a season-high in points), Nikola Mirotic (23 and six) and, most notably, Brook Lopez, who went full-beast revenge game with 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, four blocks and five 3s. The 28 points tied his season high, and the five treys were just business as usual for Splash Mountain.
Also for Milwaukee: Pat Connaughton also had a 13-8-4 line off the bench, and is averaging 11.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 2.2 3s in his last five games, should you find yourself in a somewhat desperate streaming situation.
LeBron James (groin) was a DNP in this one, and without him Kentavious Caldwell-Pope popped off for a season-high 35 (including eight 3s, two steals and one block). The Lakers are a complete mess (they’re now 1-9 in March), but KCP looks set to finish strong, with averages of 19.2 ppg, 1.2 spg and 3.6 3s over his last five games.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma scored 17 but shot 4-of-17 in the process, while Rajon Rondo put up 13-6-10 but had seven turnovers and shot 6-of-16 from the field. And after a five-steal, three-block game on Sunday, the Alex Caruso Express hit a speed bump — four points on 0-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes.
Nets 123, Kings 121
The Nets trailed by 25 heading into the fourth quarter, and pulled off an insane comeback — outscoring the Kings 45-18 over the final 12 minutes — behind a career-high 44 points and 12 dimes from D’Angelo Russell. Russell put up 27 of his 44 in the fourth, adding four steals and six 3s, and was the only Nets player to score more than 15 points (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put up 14, including a wild game-winning layup, for his first double-digit scoring game in over a month). This was the Nets’ first of just two games this week, and I almost want to vomit thinking about anyone who had to bench Russell in a weekly league (or anyone who went against him in the 30-Deep playoff semifinals, which would be me).
Marvin Bagley scored 28 on 12-of-15 shooting (adding seven rebounds and two 3s), giving him back-to-back games of 20-plus points for the first time as a pro player. De’Aaron Fox played through an apparent finger injury and added 27, but Buddy Hield struggled with his shot (4-of-13 for eight points, including 0-of-8 on 3s), while Nemanja Bjelica double-doubled (14 and 10) after three straight single-digit games. Bogdan Bogdanovic continued to trend downward (10 points in just 18 minutes), and looks droppable in shallow leagues after averaging 9.0 ppg on 37.5 percent shooting his last four games.
Speaking of droppable: Allen Crabbe (knee) missed this game for Brooklyn, and is averaging 7.4 ppg so far in March.
Clippers 115, Pacers 109
Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points — his seventh straight game of 20-plus points — and Montrezl Harrell had 20 and 12, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his impressive late-season run with a 17-3-3 line, adding two steals and a triple in 29 minutes. The rookie has hit double digits in nine of his last 10 games, averaging 14.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.5 3s on 55.7 percent from the field.
Darren Collison (right quad contusion) missed Tuesday’s game, which led to a start for Cory Joseph, who didn’t do a whole lot with it (five points, four assists, four steals in 20 minutes). The main beneficiaries were Doug McDermott (17 points) and Tyreke Evans, who broke into double-digit points for the first time in five weeks, finishing with an out-of-nowhere 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. As good as this game was, I’d be hesitant to trust Tyreke with any sort of lineup spot in the fantasy playoffs even if Collison misses another game. Domantas Sabonis added 13 points and 16 rebounds (tying a career-high in boards) with six assists.
In other news…
*Blazers team physician Damian Lillard offered an update on C.J. McCollum (knee), saying “in my mind, we’re going to finish the season without him.” This report (per Blazers beat writer Joe Freeman) obviously doesn't offer any official timetable, but at this point it’s understandable/late enough in the game to drop McCollum if you feel the need.
*Kyle Lowry (ankle) is not believed to be dealing with a serious injury (according to an update from Adrian Wojnarowski), and is listed as questionable for Wednesday. However, Raptors beat reporter Josh Lewenberg said on Twitter he’d be “very surprised” if Lowry played on Wednesday. That would mean another significant opportunity for Fred VanVleet, who had 13 points and 12 dimes on Monday.
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Quick Hits: Dennis Smith Jr. (back) is listed as out for Wednesday, while Noah Vonleh (ankle) is doubtful, and Frank Ntilikina (groin) is questionable… Gordon Hayward (concussion) will miss his second straight game on Wednesday. … Otto Porter (shoulder) is listed as doubtful. … Maxi Kleber (wrist) is questionable, as is Zach LaVine (right thigh contusion). … Also questionable: Larry Nance (ribs) and Kevin Love (back) … Justise Winslow (thigh) is out again on Wednesday. … Derrick Favors (hamstring) is probable. … Avery Bradley (knee, wrist) is questionable, and C.J. Miles (foot) is out for the season.