It was an action-packed evening in the Association on Saturday, with 10 games on the slate. The highlights included incredible performances from the cream of the NBA crop: LeBron James, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
After recapping Saturday night’s activity, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at a few important players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.
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LeBron James, in his 15th NBA season, was playing on the second night of a back-to-back, yet was utterly dominant once again in the Cavs win over the Sixers on Saturday. King James finished with a mind-boggling triple-double: 30 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds. Oh, and he also added three steals and two treys. LeBron did appear to tweak his hamstring with under three minutes left in regulation, but it didn’t slow him down. James was unstoppable down the stretch. He either scored or assisted on the Cavs final 22 points. According to Basketball-Reference, LeBron is just the fifth player in NBA history with at least 30 points, 13 boards, 13 dimes and three steals in a regular season game. The other four members of this exclusive club are Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Michael Finley.
Lou Williams finished with 35 points, two rebounds, eight assists and four 3-pointers on Saturday. Williams also nailed the game-winner with 1.2 seconds, securing a wild win for the Clippers over the Wiz. Williams has been a focal point of the Clippers offense of late and has the numbers to show for it. Over L.A.’s last seven games, Williams is averaging 25.6 points, 6.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.3 treys in 36.1 minutes.
Nikola Vucevic was spectacular on Saturday. He scored 30 points, grabbed 13 boards and dished out 10 assists. He also knocked down four 3-pointers and added a steal and a block. Vucevic is the first player in Magic franchise history to make more than three treys in a 30/10/10 triple-double. This caps off an absolutely amazing three-game stretch for Vooch. Over Orlando’s last three contest, he is averaging 24.7 points, 15.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 triples, 1.3 steals and 3.0 blocks. Seriously.
Jonathon Simmons had arguably the best game of his career on Saturday night, tallying a career-high 29 points to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and three 3-pointers. Simmons is somehow owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues. That should not be the case. Over his last five, Simmons is averaging 19.2 points (on 51.2 percent shooting), 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 treys and 1.0 steals. Go snag him if he's still available.
Another night, another triple-double for Russell Westbrook. Russ registered 20 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes on Saturday. It was his eighth trip-dub this season (five more than any other player) and the 87th of his career. However, it is important to note that Westbrook was wildly inefficient, as the Thunder barely squeaked by the undermanned Grizzlies, 102-101 in overtime. Russ was just 7-of-29 from the floor, including an atrocious 1-of-12 from 3-point territory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Westbrook is only the third player in NBA history to miss more than ten two-point field-goal attempts and more than ten three-pointers in the same game. Tracy McGrady did it twice (in 2003 and 2006) and Kobe Bryant did it in the final game of his career.
Kris Dunn stuffed the stat sheet again on Saturday, tallying 17 points, nine assists, seven boards and three steals. Encouragingly, he was also 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, which included the game-winning free throws with under two seconds remaining. Dunn has run away with the Bulls starting point guard gig and his stock is soaring. Over his last seven games, Dunn is averaging 17.0 points (on 50.0 percent shooting), 7.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.3 treys. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Tyreke Evans remained red-hot on Saturday. He scored a game-high 29 points and added 13 rebounds, five assists, two triples and a blocked shot. ‘Reke simply shows no signs of slowing down. Over his last five games, Evans is averaging 23.6 points, 5.8 boards, 6.2 assists and 3.0 treys.
Otto Porter was slumping coming into Saturday, but bounced back in a big way, finishing with 27 points (on 10-of-16 shooting), 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in a loss to the Clippers. Per Basketball-Reference, Porter is just the fourth player in Wizards franchise history with at least 25 points, 10 boards, five assists and four treys in a single game. The other three are Chris Webber (1997), Gilbert Arenas (2007) and Jordan Crawford (2012).
Giannis Antetokounmpo was back at it again on Saturday night. He tallied 37 points (on 14-of-22 shooting), 13 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. It was the third time this season the Greek Freak has scored more than 30 points, grabbed more than 10 boards and dished out more than five dimes. That ties him with LeBron for the most such games in 2017-18.
James Harden and his Rockets kept rolling on Saturday. Houston won its ninth straight game thanks in large part to the 40-burger Harden hung on the Blazers. In addition to scoring 40 points for the 40th time in his career, Harden also added eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and four 3-pointers. Harden has scored 20-plus points in each of the Rockets 24 games this season, and he has at least 29 points in six straight.
Damian Lillard did all he could to keep the Blazers close on Saturday, registering 35 points, four rebounds, six assists, one steal and nine 3-pointers. The nine treys tied a franchise record. Lillard twisted his right ankle in the second half and had to have it iced on the bench at the start of the fourth quarter. However, Dame was able to return with seven minutes remaining.
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On the Radar:
Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 25 points on Saturday and added three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. This was a welcomed sight for Gallo owners, as it was the first time he eclipsed the 20-point barrier this season.
Ersan Ilyasova is a strong candidate in the “most surprising line of the night” category. Ersan poured in 26 points and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field, which included him making all five of his triple tries. He also chipped in four assists and three boards… Dennis Schroder had 18 points (on an ugly 6-of-19 shooting effort), seven assists (vs. just one turnover), two boards and two swipes in Saturday’s win over Orlando… Kent Bazemore had a number of key plays down the stretch and finished with 19 points, seven assists, six boards, three treys and three steals… Tyler Cavanaugh had 14 points and eight boards in 27 minutes off the pine.
Kristaps Porzingis was relatively disappointing in the Knicks loss to Chicago on Saturday. He scored 25 points but missed 15 of the 25 field goals he attempted. He also had four rebounds, two assists, one block and one trey. Porzingis scored at least 28 points in nine of his first 11 games this season. He has scored 25 or fewer points in nine of his ten games since… Enes Kanter had 10 points, 11 boards and four assists in 28 minutes. He took a shot to the hip in the second half and was limping in the locker room after the game. However, Kanter said he believes he’ll be able to play Sunday vs. Atlanta… Frank Ntilikina (10 points, seven dimes, two threes in 21 minutes) had his best game of the month.
Nikola Mirotic scored a team-high 19 points in just 20 minutes off the bench in the Bulls victory over New York Saturday night. He was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from downtown. The Bulls are 3-20 without Niko in the lineup this season, but 2-0 with him. Mirotic is worth a roster spot in deeper leagues. He finished inside the top-110 overall in nine-category leagues last season… Lauri Markkanen was shooting under 30 percent from the field in his previous three games but was 7-of-14 from the floor on Saturday. He had 15 points and eight rebounds… David Nwaba had another solid game off the Bulls bench, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and no turnovers in 31 minutes. That’s three straight in double figures for Nwaba, who is a favorite of Fred Hoiberg. He’s another player that is under-owned in fantasy leagues.
Steven Adams scored 21 points (on 7-of-11 shooting) and grabbed nine rebounds in Saturday's win over Memphis. Adams has been stupendous this month, averaging 19.8 points and 9.6 boards while shooting a scorching 70.7 percent from the floor over OKC’s five games in December… Carmelo Anthony finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots across 37 minutes. However, Melo was just 7-of-20 from the floor. It was his fourth straight game in which he shot 40 percent or worse from the field.
Marc Gasol had 22 points, six rebounds, six assists, two 3-balls and a blocked shot on Saturday… JaMychal Green finished with five points, eight boards, and four dimes… Ben McLemore scored a season-high 17 points, including five treys, and grabbed four boards in 28 minutes off the bench.
Bradley Beal had 25 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and five 3-pointers on Saturday. The problem was he needed 21 shots (8-of-21 shooting) to score those 25 points. John Wall is hoping to return to the Wizards at some point next, which should help Beal get easier looks and less defensive pressure going forward… Mike Scott came out of nowhere to score a season-high 22 points (on 9-of-11 shooting) with eight rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Scott has been up and down this season but will eat into Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre’s minutes if he continues to play well.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the Nets loss to the Miami. He was 6-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. RHJ also added two blocks and hit one 3-pointer. He should be locked into a slightly more prominent role with Trevor Booker now in Philly… Spencer Dinwiddie had 15 points, nine assists and three boards. On the negative side, he was just 5-of-15 from the field and committed four turnovers.
Ben Simmons tallied 14 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, a steal and one blocked shot on Saturday. The lone blemish on his stat line was his seven turnovers… Dario Saric (eye) was questionable for this contest but ended up playing. And he played well, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 34 minutes. Saric has now scored in double-figures in seven of his last eight games… Trevor Booker scored 14 points and grabbed eight board across 20 minutes in his Sixers debut.
Goran Dragic tied for game-high honors with 20 points in Miami’s win over the Nets. Dragic also added seven boards, three assists, two steals and just one turnover… Tyler Johnson matched Dragic by pouring 20 points, to go along with four rebounds, one assist, one block and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. That’s 20 points in two of the Heat’s last three games for Johnson… Justise Winslow was surprisingly solid off the Miami bench. Winslow scored a season-high 15 points with six rebounds, one assist, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Winslow banged knees in the fourth quarter but did not need to head back to the locker room.
With Tony Parker resting, Dejounte Murray started for San Antonio and registered eight points, 14 rebounds, four assists and one turnover in 27 minutes against the Suns… Patty Mills had 20 points, two rebounds and two assists across 24 minutes… Rudy Gay scored 16 points with nine rebounds, two assists and three turnovers.
T.J. Warren tallied 24 points, three rebounds, two assists and a season-high two 3-pointers in 31 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Spurs… Mike James scored a game-high 25 points and chipped in two rebounds, two assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes… Marquese Chriss showed some signs of life on Saturday. He scored 15 points with eight rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes.
Jordan Clarkson had one of his best all-around games of the season Saturday, finishing with 22 points (on 7-of-12 shooting), five boards, six assists, one steal and one trey. He’s now averaging 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.8 dimes and 2.0 triples over his last five games… Kyle Kuzma bounced back from a dud on Thursday by posting a double-double (12 points and 12 boards) in 32 minutes off the L.A. bench… Brandon Ingram had 18 points (on 7-of-16 shooting) and six boards. Ingram has scored at least 18 points in each the Lakers last five games and is averaging 21.8 points per contest over that stretch.
The Hornets were playing on the back end of a back-to-back and went to overtime on Friday, so they tried to limit their starter's minutes on Saturday. Dwight Howard recorded another strong double-double, tallying 21 points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes… Kemba Walker had 23 points (on 10-of-22 shooting), four assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes.
Khris Middleton was solid once again on Saturday, finishing 20 points (on 8-of-13 shooting), five rebounds, five assists and just one turnover... John Henson had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots across 26 minutes. Henson has been somewhat inconsistent, but flashed his upside in this one… Eric Bledsoe had 20 points, four boards, one assist and three treys.
Rudy Gobert tallied 20 points, nine rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in 29 minutes on Saturday… Donovan Mitchell came back down to earth in Utah's loss to the Bucks. Mitchell finished with 12 points (on just 4-of-17 shooting), one rebound, two assists, three steals and four turnovers… Alec Burks stayed hot, finishing with 20 points, six boards, three assists and two 3-pointers.
Chris Paul poured in a season-high 26 points against the Blazers, adding three rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. There was some understandable concern about CP3 and Harden co-existing this season, but that certainly has not been the case. Both Paul and The Beard are on pace to return first-round value.
C.J. McCollum tallied 28 points, two rebounds, four assists, one steal, five turnovers and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes on Saturday… Al-Farouq Aminu scored 15 points with five rebounds, two assists, one block and five 3-pointers… Meyers Leonard drew the start at center and scored 12 points with four rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 20 minutes.
Aaron Gordon (concussion) was sidelined on Saturday. He was injured Friday night vs. Denver in a collision with Gary Harris. Gordon has now entered the NBA's concussion protocol and will not return to game action until he is cleared by team doctors and an independent physician.
Kevin Love (hip) was a late scratch vs. the 76ers on Saturday. Love was reportedly dealing with soreness in his hip during warmups, and the team decided to sit him down. It sounds as if this is a relatively minor issue, and thus we tentatively expect to see Love back in the lineup when the Cavs take on Atlanta on Tuesday. A reliable update should be provided by Monday at the latest… Ante Zizic started on Saturday, but played a total of just five minutes and was held scoreless. Jeff Green was the primary beneficiary of Love’s absence. Green had 13 points and six boards in 30 minutes.
Paul George (calf) was a game-time decision on Saturday but was unable to suit up. It was the second straight game he’s missed, but considered he has been a GTD in both, he’s clearly not far from being healthy enough to play… Alex Abrines started in place of PG-13 on Saturday and finished with 20 points (on 7-of-10 shooting), four rebounds, six treys and two steals in 43 minutes. He’ll have DFS appeal is George is unable to play Monday vs. Charlotte.
Tony Snell (left patellar tendinitis) and Matthew Dellavedova (left knee) were both ruled out of Saturday’s game vs. Utah. Gary Payton, DeAndre Liggins and Rashad Vaughn will continue to divvy up Snell’s minutes while he is out. As for Dellavedova, he’s a fantasy afterthought now that’s stuck behind Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon.
Danny Green (left groin tightness) did not play vs. the Suns on Saturday. It’s a minor ailment and Green should be ready to roll next week. Bryn Forbes started for San Antonio on Saturday and scored 11 points in 36 minutes.
Robert Covington injured his back in the closing moments of the Sixers loss to Cleveland. He dove into the stands in attempts to save a loose ball with 1:08 in the game but crashed into an aluminum pole. He was on the floor for a few minutes and had to be helped back to the locker room. As of now, he’s considered doubtful for Sunday’s game vs. the Pelicans. We should have an update on RoCo’s status by Sunday afternoon.
Raul Neto left the Saturday’s game in the first quarter with concussion-like symptoms and did not return.
Nic Batum re-aggravated his left elbow injury against the Lakers and left the game early. He finished with just two points, two rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes. The Hornets next game is Monday vs. OKC, and Charlotte may need to sit Batum down.
Milos Teodosic (foot) was ruled out of Saturday’s contest. However, it sounds like Milos may make his return to the lineup Monday vs. the Raptors. Teodosic was able to participate in a full-contact practice on Friday. He also worked out on Saturday and will work again on Sunday. He is clearly trending in the right direction. Assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks between now and Monday night, Doc Rivers said there’s a chance he will play. With Patrick Beverley (knee) sidelined indefinitely, Teodosic will have an opportunity log plenty of playing time and should be expected to post a fairly high usage rate. Grab him if he’s still sitting on your league’s waiver wire.
Brandan Wright (groin) was sidelined on Saturday. He has played a total of eight minutes over the last three weeks.
Chandler Parsons (rest) did not play on the second night of a back-to-back for Memphis. Parsons has been able to produce some relatively solid lines this season when in the lineup. He has scored at least 12 points in each of the last four games he’s appeared in and is averaging 13.0 points (on 56.8 percent shooting), 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 treys in 20.5 minutes over that stretch. However, Parsons’ fantasy upside is capped by his minutes limit, not to mention the frequent DNP-rests.
Tristan Thompson (calf) was ruled out of Saturday’s game. Thompson initially injured his calf back on November 1st, and he was projected only to miss 3-4 weeks. Back on Monday there was hope that Thompson would return to the lineup this weekend but he suffered a setback on Wednesday. Thompson’s next opportunity to return to the lineup will be Tuesday vs. the Hawks.
The Sixers provided an update on Markelle Fultz (shoulder) on Saturday. Philadelphia confirmed that Fultz is no longer experiencing soreness in his right shoulder and that the scapular muscle imbalance is resolved. However, the Sixers stated that team physicians would reevaluate Fultz and “gauge his readiness to return” in approximately three weeks. According to the press release, he will continue ongoing physical therapy and maintenance, while participating in increased strength and conditioning training and elevated on-court basketball activities. It now appears we won't see him in game action until early 2017. For those of you in deeper leagues and/or leagues with IR spots that have held onto him this long, it probably makes sense to keep the faith. However, those GM’s in shallow re-draft leagues may want to bite the bullet and move on if there is quality on the waiver wire.
Philly also updated Justin Anderson’s status. Anderson has been sidelined by shin splints since mid-November but will ramp up his rehab by resuming increased physical activities this weekend and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks. Anderson should be back before the end of the month; however, he will have a tough time carving out consistent minutes even when fully healthy. Prior to the injury, Anderson was averaging 5.0 points (on 37.5 percent shooting), 2.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 12.6 minutes per contest this season. He should be left the wire.
Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) will not play Sunday vs. the Timberwolves. Smith Jr. strained his left hip in Wednesday’s game when he fell into a cameraman on the baseline. On Friday, coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that Smith would be sidelined for Friday and Sunday’s games. “We're hoping it's not serious. He's out these next two games and we'll re-evaluate from there," said Carlisle. Smith Jr. downplayed the seriousness of the injury. “It ain't nothing major. We're just being cautious. Better safe than sorry." The Mavs plan to re-evaluate Smith and update his status on Monday. They play San Antonio on Tuesday. Yogi Ferrell, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea will divvy up Smith's minutes on Sunday.
Nikola Jokic (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday against the Pacers. There was some optimism that Jokic would be back in the lineup by this weekend, but that is no longer a possibility. There have been some mildly encouraging reports but it doesn’t appear Jokic is progressing as the team had hoped. After Sunday, Denver will wrap up their road trip by playing at Detroit on Tuesday and at Boston on Wednesday. Mason Plumlee and Kenneth Faried will continue to split minutes at the five while Jokic is sidelined.
The Pacers have a slew of players listed as questionable for their game against Denver on Sunday: Darren Collison (knee), Lance Stephenson (left ankle), Bojan Bogdanovic (left ankle), Thaddeus Young (right thigh). It is important to remember that these are solely game-note designations, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt. Check back Sunday morning after the Pacers shootaround for an update and confirmation. If Collision is sidelined, Cory Joseph would draw the start and would be a tempting DFS option. Indiana would also once again lean heavily on the red-hot Victor Oladipo if they are shorthanded.
Jameer Nelson (left ankle) is doubtful for Sunday against the 76ers. If Nelson does not play, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo may each log a few more minutes than usual. Ian Clark would also see an uptick in playing time of the Pelican bench.