Elfrid Payton had a monster triple-double, Jimmy Butler had a season-high 38 in three quarters in an easy win over the Sixers, and Kristaps Porzingis is celebrating life without Luka with a season-high 38 points in another Dallas win on Monday.
Knicks 139, Cavaliers 134 OT – Elfrid Payton returned from his one-game suspension and went nuts with a monster triple-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists, Marcus Morris played through an illness and scored 26 with a couple 3-pointers (but not much else) and Julius Randle came through with 20 points, eight boards and a couple steals in 38 minutes as the Knicks got a much needed win. Bobby Portis, Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. all played pretty well off the bench, while Mitchell Robinson celebrated his Rising Stars snub with four points, two rebounds and zero blocks in just 15 minutes. The Knicks are trying to trade DSJ so he got some nice run and had his best game in recent memory, while I have no idea why Robinson can’t seem to get anything going. The Rising Stars snub may have damaged his confidence and I’m concerned that he may never get it going this season. But yes, I’m still sticking with him for now. As for Payton, he looks like a must-own player as long as he stays with the Knicks. Shout out to my podcasting mate, Brian Rosenworcel, for being bullish on Payton for the last month or so. Frank Ntilikina returned from a groin injury and had nine points, seven boards and two assists, but Payton’s the Knicks point guard to own right now.
Kevin Love led the Cavs with a season-high 33 points, 13 boards, six assists and four 3-pointers in an effort to boost his trade value, Collin Sexton racked up 29 points, seven dimes and three 3-pointers, and starters Larry Nance, Cedi Osman and Darius Garland all played well in the loss. Kevin Porter Jr. added 12 points, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers off the bench and all the aforementioned players should be owned at this point. Tristan Thompson sat out with a sore right quad which helped Love and Nance.
Heat 137, Sixers 106 – Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 38 points in three quarters, Bam Adebayo flirted with another big triple-double (18-8-11), Duncan Robinson scored 19 points with four 3-pointers and Goran Dragic came off the bench with 24 points, six assists and four 3-pointers as the Heat blew out the Sixers. Starters Kendrick Nunn and Meyers Leonard were quiet, Tyler Herro only scored six points off the bench in 10 minutes, and Derrick Jones Jr. added 15 points, a couple steals and three 3-pointers in the win. It’s really hard to gauge what the Heat outliers will do from night to night and I don’t really trust Jones Jr. But Dragic is worth owning after averaging 17.6 points and 5.2 assists over his last nine games, Robinson has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games and has hit at least four 3-pointers in nine of them, and Butler and Adebayo have been must-start players all season. And the Heat have three more games this week. Herro (foot) and Leonard (ankle) were both banged up last night and will be iffy for the next one.
Joel Embiid had 29 points, 12 boards and a couple 3-pointers on 9-of-12 shooting. He banged his injured finger pretty hard and was in some pain but was able to play through it. Al Horford and Tobias Harris were both mostly invisible, but starter Ben Simmons, who called his team ‘soft,’ had a 16-8-7 line and Mike Scott came off the bench for 17 points and five 3-pointers. I touted Horford as a sell high with Embiid on his way back and he’s going to be a tough guy to start in fantasy as long as Embiid is healthy. Harris will bounce back in the next one.
Mavericks 112, Pacers 103 – No Luka Doncic, no problem. Kristaps Porzingis went off for a season-high 38 points and 12 boards with six 3-pointers, draining all 12 of his free throws. If it feels like Porzingis has been better without Doncic on the floor this season, it’s because it’s true. “I want to figure out how I can be effective also when Luka is playing,” he said after the game. Dorian Finney-Smith had a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 25 points, four boards, five assists and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes of the win. Jalen Brunson started for Luka (ankle) but had just nine points and three assists after torching the Hawks for 27 & 8 in his last one. Maxi Kleber, who also played well in his last one against the Hawks, had just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. The Mavs bench was also nearly invisible, and Willie Cauley-Stein played just six minutes in this one. Porzingis is the only Mav you can really trust right now, while Kleber, DFS, Brunson and Hardaway are all capable of going off at any time. I’m done messing around with Cauley-Stein in fantasy, at least for now. J.J. Barea sprained his left ankle and didn’t return, which will help Brunson for as long as Luka’s out.
For the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis just missed a triple-double with 26 points, 12 boards and nine assists, and Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and Doug McDermott all scored in double figures as T.J. Warren sat out with a concussion. Your guy, Victor Oladipo got up plenty of shots in his 23 minutes of work but finished with just nine points and not much else on 4-of-17 shooting. He hit just 1-of-10 3-pointers and is still shaking the rust off after missing more than a year of action. No one really stepped up in the absence of Warren, so it’s tough to trust any Pacers outside of the core guys; Sabonis, Brogdon and maybe Turner.
Celtics 123, Hawks 115 – Kemba Walker sat out with sore knee and is day-to-day, so Jayson Tatum (28), Gordon Hayward (24) and Jaylen Brown (21) all went off in a win over the Hawks. Daniel Theis was quietly disappointing in his 19 minutes, while Grant Williams had 13 points, six boards, a steal and two blocks off the bench, Enes Kanter had eight points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes, and Brad Wanamaker had 16 points and five assists. The only Celtics bench player I trust is Kanter, and he’s been out for five games with a hip injury, and Wanamaker might be worth a flier on nights when Walker’s out. Theis had been playing pretty well but has hit single digits in scoring in his last three games. He also went down hard with a sprained right foot and was checked for a concussion and never returned, despite being cleared to do so. I have a pending trade offer of him for my Jerami Grant, which I’m going to decline as soon as we’re done here.
The Hawks were getting blown out for most of this one but came back late to make it a game. As usual, Trae Young (34 points, 7 assists, 4 3-pointers) and John Collins (22 points, 11 boards) were great for the Hawks, while Kevin Huerter came through with 23 points and five triples in the loss. With both De’Andre Hunter (ankle) and Cam Reddish (concussion) sitting out, Jeff Teague got the start for his once former team and went off with 18 points, six assists and four steals. If those two remain out, Teague might be worth a look. But I have no interest in messing with Teague if the Hawks are healthy. Huerter’s slump is over so make sure he’s not sitting on the waiver wire in your league. He also had 20 points and six triples on Saturday.
Magic 112, Hornets 100 – The Magic snapped a five-game losing streak and got double-doubles from Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz, Nikola Vucevic had a 22-7-5 line and Evan Fournier added 17 points and three 3-pointers in the win. Gordon’s looked much better over his last three games, so he’s hopefully busted his slump and Fultz had a career-high 14 assists in the win. Mo Bamba had 12 points, seven boards and two blocks in fewer than 12 minutes, so just keep an eye on him.
The Hornets, who have lost 11 of their last 12, got a balanced attack that saw Miles Bridges, Cody Zeller, Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Cody Martin and Malik Monk all score between 11 and 18 points. Martin had a career-high 13, but can be ignored, Bridges is hot, scoring between 15 and 25 points in each of his last four games, while Zeller and Monk have also been playing very well over the past week or so. The Hornets only have two more games this week, but most of those guys are worth using right now.
Warriors 125, Wizards 117 – Draymond Green filled the stat sheet with a huge 12-10-7-2-1-2 line, Marquese Chriss started and had 13 points, five boards and two blocks on 5-of-5 shooting, Glenn Robinson had 22 points, six boards, seven assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and Damion Lee started and had 19 points, six assists and five 3-pointers in the win. Alec Burks led the way with 30 points and five 3-pointers off the bench and Eric Paschall double-doubled off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes. Despite some inconsistency, all these guys are worth a look in most leagues, while Green and Robinson have been playing at a pretty high level lately. Lee has also been heating up as D’Angelo Russell sits out with a right quad injury, and Russell’s injury and pending trade status helps everyone I mentioned in this paragraph.
The Wizards suffered another tough home loss and Bradley Beal went off for 43 points, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on 15-of-30 shooting. He’s scored at least 30 in seven straight games and continues to defy my ‘shut down’ prediction. We’ll see how that one plays out as we go forward. Rui Hachimura started and had 11 points and eight boards in his first game since Dec. 16 and is worth a look in all leagues now that he’s back from his groin injury. Starters Ian Mahinmi, Isaiah Thomas and Gary Payton combined for 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, while Davis Bertans came through with 19 points, four boards, five assists, a steal, a block and five 3-pointers off the bench, while Thomas Bryant added 11 points, seven boards and two blocks off the bench in 29 minutes, also off the pine. Troy Brown Jr. was quiet with six points, three boards and three assists, but did have a steal and a block in his 23 minutes. Moe Wagner was back after missing 24 games with a sprained left ankle and had eight points in 11 minutes.
Nets 119, Suns 97 – Caris LeVert blew up for 29 points and seven assists and will benefit from the absence of Kyrie Irving (knee), who will be out for at least a week. Hopefully this one gets him going full time. Taurean Prince, Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie all scored in double figures, but Dinwiddie was disappointing with 14 points and four assists on 4-of-12 shooting. He will be better on most nights that Irving is sitting.
Kelly Oubre and Deandre Ayton both played well while Devin Booker came back to earth with 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in the loss. Ricky Rubio played through a sprained ankle but only saw 19 minutes after sitting out on Sunday. Hopefully he’s good to go going forward and Booker should bounce back against the Pistons on Wednesday.
Grizzlies 96, Pistons 82 – Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks all played well in the win, while Jae Crowder hit just 2-of-5 shots for four points. I no longer trust Crowder in fantasyland. Brandon Clarke was very quiet off the bench and is a borderline fantasy own, while Tyus Jones had 13 points and five assists off the bench. De’Anthony Melton played just 14 minutes for two points on 1-of-6 shooting, and I’m still not sold on him.
The Pistons got a big 25 & 18 game from Andre Drummond, Bruce Brown had 12 points, seven boards and four assists, and the other three Pistons starters (Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya and Reggie Jackson) combined for just 11 points on 4-of-38 shooting. Jackson was 1-of-16 and Doumbouya was 2-of-15 on the night. Christian Wood had 17 points, five boards, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers off the bench and Langston Galloway also scored 17 with three 3-pointers. Brown, Doumbouya, Jackson and Wood are all worth owning in most leagues, although Doumbouya’s been pretty disappointing on most nights. But I could still see him and Wood blowing up down the stretch. Derrick Rose was out with a strained hip and I hope you sold him when I told you to.
Kings 113, Timberwolves 109 – De’Aaron Fox scored 31, Bogdan Bogdanovic had 23, Harrison Barnes had 14 points and a fun stat line, Nemanja Bjelica stayed relevant with 12 points, a couple threes and a full stat line, and Buddy Hield scored 16 off the bench. Dewayne Dedmon hit 2-of-8 shots for four points, 12 rebounds, two steals and five blocks in another start, and is worth owning across the board as long as he’s not traded. But he should take a big hit once Richaun Holmes is finally back from his shoulder injury. I picked Bogdanovic up everywhere once he became a starter and he’s been playing well since the calendar hit January. It was also nice to hear coach Luke Walton encouraging him to shoot more after the game, although there’s still a chance he could be traded on Thursday.
The Wolves have lost the last 16 games that Karl-Anthony Towns has played in and haven’t won a game with him in the lineup since way back in November, yet he thinks he should be all All-Star. He’s a great player, but the losing culture in Minnesota has become incredibly toxic. I’m just glad he’s still out there putting up solid fantasy numbers as the 15-34 Wolves continue to play themselves further into the lottery with each loss. Shabazz Napier had 17 points and seven assists and is worth owning, Andrew Wiggins hit just 3-of-11 shots for 10 points, and Jarrett Culver continued to struggle with three points on 1-of-5 shooting in just 18 minutes. I’m giving up on him as long as Napier is starting. The Wolves haven’t won since Jan. 9.
Clippers 108, Spurs 105 – Paul George double-doubled despite getting popped in the nose and just missed a triple-double with eight assists. It was nice to see him get 31 minutes and it looks like PG-13 is good to go again. Kawhi Leonard had a 22-6-7-1-2-2 line, Patrick Beverley had a 12-4-5 line with four 3-pointers, and Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams each quietly scored in double digits off the bench. Landry Shamet disappeared with two points in 28 minutes and is toast with George back.
The Spurs were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (27) and DeMar DeRozan (26), and Patty Mills came through with 18 points and six triples off the bench. Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes and Derrick White were all quiet in this one and it’s impossible to figure out which Spurs guards are going to play well from night to night.