James Harden turned in his third career 60-point performance during a 111-105 win over the Spurs, tallying 61 points, nine triples, seven boards, one assist, three steals and three turnovers through 37 minutes of floor time. Harden was ridiculously efficient in this one, going 19-of-34 from the field, 9-of-13 from beyond the arc and 14-of-17 from the charity stripe for a superb 73.5 true shooting percentage to accompany his gaudy 53.7 usage rate. The Beard racked up 27 points through his first 12 minutes of play, and he’s now tied with Elgin Baylor for the fourth-most 60-point performances in NBA history, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. There’s no way he doesn’t bring home another MVP trophy this season, and the Rockets look like a serious threat to the Warriors out West.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) returned from a two-game stint on the sidelines, registering 27 points (12-of-19 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), eight boards, seven dimes, one 3-pointer, one steal, two swats and three turnovers across 28 minutes in a 116-87 win over the Heat. He did appear to tweak his right ankle while battling for a rebound with Hassan Whiteside early in the second quarter, but after getting checked up on the bench during a timeout, he got right back out there without missing a possession and didn’t seem all that hindered throughout the game. The Bucks do have a matchup with the Cavs on Sunday, so there’s a chance he’ll get hit with a rest day for that one, although the Bucks may not want to hold him off the floor after getting embarrassed in Cleveland on Wednesday with Giannis on the sidelines. Still, owners would be wise to just confirm his status prior to that game.
Kawhi Leonard dropped in a game-high 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting Friday, to go with six boards, four dimes, four triples and two steals across 36 minutes. Kawhi went 4-of-5 from distance and 9-of-10 from the line to give him a sterling 67.5 true shooting percentage to go with his Russell Westbrook-like 42.7 usage, but he also committed an unfortunate eight turnovers, and that certainly factored into the loss.
The Raptors don’t have any more back-to-back sets this season, but that just means the random rest days for Kawhi will be more difficult to predict. The Raptors have two games against the Bulls and one game against the Knicks next week, so I’d say there’s a decent chance he’ll only be available for two out there three games during Week 24; if that.
Big Night For Bigs
Jonas Valanciunas posted a monster 23-point, 24-board double-double during Friday’s overtime loss to the Magic, adding one 3-pointer, three assists, four swats and four turnovers through 41 minutes of floor time. He’s been a top-50 stud since the All-Star break and has really hit his stride through the month of March with averages of 19.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 dimes, 1.6 blocks and 2.6 turnovers per game on 57.5% shooting from the field and 80.9% from the stripe. Because he’s already missed so much time this season, I’d say it’s less likely that he’ll get hit with random rest days down the stretch, plus, the Grizzlies probably want to see what he looks like playing a feature role in Memphis. He’s primed for a strong finish to the 2018-19 season.
JaVale McGee set career-highs in points and rebounds during Friday’s 111-106 loss to the Nets, popping off for 33 points (15-of-20 FGs, 3-of-7 FTs), 20 rebounds, six swats, one steal and three turnovers through 35 minutes as a starter. This was arguably the best game of his career, and will assuredly be the high-water mark of the season for McGee. As a side note, this was the first game by a Laker with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and five swats since Shaquille O’Neal did it back in 2004.
On the Radar
Delon Wright flirted with a triple-double through 39 minutes as a starter sans Mike Conley (rest) and Avery Bradley (shins), going 6-of-12 from the field on his way to 12 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers. He’s been trending up over the past few weeks with averages of 9.2 points, 5.0 dimes, 3.8 boards, 1.4 steals, 0.6 swats and 1.6 turnovers per contest on 40% shooting, which has been good enough for late-round value in 9-cat leagues if you ignore his free throw shooting (57.1% on 2.8 attempts). He’s also been averaging 32 a night over that five-game stretch, and he should continue to see heavy minutes down the stretch for Memphis. He’s worth a look in most leagues.
Tyler Dorsey popped off for a career-high 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting (2-of-7 from the line) to go with five treys, three boards, nine dimes, one steal and two turnovers through 43 minutes of floor time. Mike Conley will be back in action on Saturday vs. the Timberwolves, so Dorsey’s value will take a hit, but he could be someone to think about as a 3-point streamer in deep leagues. He’ll also be someone to keep in mind the next time Conley gets hit with a rest day.
Chandler Parsons scored 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting (3-of-3 from the stripe) to go with two 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, one block and one turnover in 31 minutes off the bench. He’s now hit double-figures in the scoring department in three straight games and has posted averages of 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 triples, 1.3 steals and 1.0 turnover on 47.1% shooting over that three-game stretch. The Grizzlies are desperate for healthy bodies, so maybe Parsons will be relevant in deep leagues down the stretch.
Justin Holiday went 8-of-13 from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe on his way to 22 points, four triples, four rebounds and two turnovers across 43 minutes. He’s another guy who will benefit with Memphis extremely banged-up, and is on the radar as a 3-point and steals specialist in deep leagues.
Landry Shamet scored 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting (3-of-4 from the line) to go with seven rebounds, two 3-pointers and one assist over 25 minutes. He’s drilled at least two trey-bombs in every game through the month of March, so he could be someone to think about as a 3-point streamer on Sunday with a matchup against the Knicks.
Speaking of the Knicks, Emmanuel Mudiay logged 34 in another start sans Dennis Smith Jr. (back), scoring 21 points on 9-of-21 shooting (1-of-1 from the line) to go with seven rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers, one block and three turnovers. DSJ could be done for the year, so Mudiay could close out the season as New York’s starting point guard, giving him some low-end appeal in deep leagues. Across 37 starts this season, Mudiay has put forth averages of 16.4 points, 4.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 triples and 2.3 turnovers per game on 45.4% shooting.
Derrick Jones Jr. got another start and finished with 11 points (4-of-8 FGs, 1-of-3 FTs), seven rebounds, two 3-pointers, three assists and one steal over 25 minutes turnover-less minutes. In his nine starts this season, DJJ has come through with averages of 9.2 points, 4.3 boards, 0.9 triples, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block and 0.9 turnovers per game on 40.3% shooting, so he’s on the radar as a low-end, defensive specialist in deep leagues.