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Basketball Daily Dose

LeBron Flies, Lakers Fall

by Matt Stroup

On a five-game Tuesday evening in the NBA, LeBron went off for the evening’s lone triple-double — but the Lakers dropped to 3-8 in their last 11 games — while the lone 30-point performance came from… Avery Bradley??!?!

Yes, that happened. This is your Wednesday morning of All-Star week Daily Dose:

Hawks 117, Lakers 113

The Hawks got an impressive 22-6-14 line from Trae Young, who added a steal, a block and three triples, but also shot just 6-of-19 with six turnovers. John Collins had a typical John Collins game (22-8-3, no steals, no blocks, two 3s), and Taurean Prince stood out with 17 points, six rebounds, four 3s and a block. Prince’s last five games include 14.4 ppg, 0.6 spg, 0.6 bpg and 3.4 3s. He is playing well, but I’d be more excited about him if he was doing something outside of points and 3s. The only real notable disappointment for the Hawks was rookie Kevin Huerter, who had just five points on 2-of-7 shooting, though he did add two steals. On a deep league note, DeAndre Bembry picked up 23 minutes as he took on the backup PG role for the Hawks, finishing with six points, six boards, one assist and two steals.

LeBron threw down his fifth triple-double of the season (28-11-16 with the 16 dimes a season-high), and new arrival Reggie Bullock got another start for L.A., putting up a much better stat line this time, with 15 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block and three 3s in 35 minutes. JaVale McGee got into foul trouble in a fantastic matchup (six points, four rebounds in 13 minutes), so the Lakers went small, which allowed Rajon Rondo to reemerge with 13-7-4 in 34 minutes. Rondo has now played 35, 16 and 34 minutes in his last three games, and while he probably should still be rostered in a lot of leagues, his production may be inconsistent as long as he’s coming off the bench. Meanwhile, the Lakers dropped to 28-29 with the loss, making this the latest a LeBron ball club has been below .500 since 2003-04, LBJ’s rookie year. 

Celtics 112, Sixers 109

Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart both mostly flopped in prime spots with Kyrie Irving (knee) on the sideline. Smart had just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting (and 0-of-8 on 3s — ouch), while Rozier at least salvaged some all-around value with a 5-4-5 line, including a steal, a block and a triple — so it could have been worse.

Those who did post big numbers for Boston sans Irving: Gordon Hayward (26 points and six 3s to tie a career-high in makes beyond the arc), Al Horford (23-8-5 with four steals and three 3s) and Jayson Tatum, who had 20 and 10 with two steals and two blocks. Marcus Morris also added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Jaylen Brown scored just seven on 3-of-8 shooting.

For the Sixers, all five starters played 35+ minutes, and all five hit double-digit points, though Tobias Harris had a letdown in his third game with Philly, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds on 4-of-14 shooting. The good news is he’s still getting nearly 14 attempts per game with Philly (13.7 to be specific), down just a bit from 15.5 in L.A. That will take its toll, but it’s still more than enough for Tobias to maintain pretty good value. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 23 points and 14 boards.

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Spurs 108, Grizzlies 107

LaMarcus Aldridge (22 and 11) and Patty Mills (22 points, six 3s) led the Spurs in scoring, while Rudy Gay (ankle) returned from a one-game absence and put a 15-12-8 line on his former team. (Those eight assists tied his career-high.) Davis Bertans continued to look like an intriguing asset in deeper leagues, with 17 points, four 3s and a block in 28 minutes as a starter.

Jonas Valanciunas (visa issues) made his Grizzlies debut, and with Ivan Rabb (two points, three rebounds in just 11 minutes) getting into foul trouble, JV busted out for 23 and 10 in just 21 minutes. He may not get a ton of minutes for the Grizz, but he proved this year in Toronto that he doesn’t need a lot of playing time to produce. As for Rabb, I’m inclined to give him at least one more chance, as I think he’s got a good opportunity ahead of him in Memphis even with JV around. (Ryan Knaus and I hit this topic on today’s episode of the Rotoworld Fantasy Basketball Podcast)

I might be burying the headline as far as the Grizzlies are concerned though. If you had Avery Bradley as the only person scoring 30+ points on Tuesday, congratulations. Bradley absolutely went off in his second game for his new team, putting up a 33-6-6 line on 15-of-21 shooting. It may have helped his cause that Mike Conley (illness) didn’t play, and I’m really not sure what to make of this outburst given that AB has only topped 15 points one time all year. Nevertheless, if you have an open roster spot, I won’t argue with picking him up and seeing what he does against the Bulls on Wednesday. As for Mike Conley’s fill-in, Delon Wright, he didn’t shoot well (2-of-9), but had a productive all-around line with four points, eight boards, six assists, one steal and one block in 34 minutes. The question will be whether Wright can hit value with Conley back in the lineup, and we may begin to get an answer to that on Wednesday evening.

Magic 118, Pelicans 88

Yikes. When I first checked in on this game it was already 34-9 in the first quarter and effectively over. And for Orlando, this was a four-man demolition crew: Nikola Vucevic (25 and 17), Jonathan Isaac (20 and seven with three blocks), Aaron Gordon (20-4-4) and Evan Fournier (22-6-4). As for Isaac, those 20 points were a career-high, and his last eight games include 13.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, 2.6 bpg and 1.5 3s. This is not a drill. Terrence Ross missed out on the fun entirely, putting up just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in the lopsided win.

How bad was this for the Pelicans? I heard the Magic play-by-play man say that a handful of the Pelicans players — I believe Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor — didn’t come out for the second half until there was about a minute left of halftime, so they basically didn’t warm up. I’m not sure why that was, but the bottom line is the Pelicans are a mess. And I guess we already knew that. As for Davis, he scored a season-low three points — on 1-of-9 shooting — with six rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes. The only players who really salvaged value for the Pelicans were Jrue Holiday (16 points, six dimes), Julius Randle (15-4-4) and E’Twaun Moore, who put up 19 — his highest point total since late December. As for Okafor, he returned from a two-game absence and had eight points, seven rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes, and is certainly a hold in fantasy leagues given all the uncertainty surrounding AD. Also: Elfrid Payton is expected to be out through the All-Star break. The reeling Pelicans next play against the Thunder on Thursday.

Warriors 115, Jazz 108

Kevin Durant (28 points), Steph Curry (24) and Klay Thompson (22) paced the Warriors, with Curry adding in four steals, two blocks and five 3s. Thompson did dislocate the ring finger on his left hand, but returned to play through it. Draymond Green (knee) also played and had the most Draymond stat line ever — six points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Also playing through an injury issue (hamstring, specifically) was Andre Iguodala, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and three 3s off the bench, paying off nicely if you took a risk on him in DFS or a streaming situation. DeMarcus Cousins (12-10-5 on 4-of-17 shooting) is expected to sit out Wednesday’s game for rest aka load management purposes. The Warriors have won five in a row and 16 of 17 with one game left (Wednesday night) before they get to the break.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 25 points (albeit on 10-of-29 shooting), and Ricky Rubio hit the All-Star break in impressive fashion, posting 14.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.0 3s on 46.3 percent shooting over his last five games. Also, for owners in deeper leagues, Royce O’Neale (13 points, four rebounds, three triples in 28 minutes) is averaging 13.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.8 spg and 2.8 3s over his last four games.

In other news…

*This story in The Athletic (subscription required) details how Jaren Jackson Jr.’s role is expanding across the post-Marc Gasol landscape in Memphis. That didn’t exactly come to fruition on Tuesday with JJJ putting up just nine points and five rebounds, but the 19-year-old has still averaged 17.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg and 1.8 3s over his last five games.

*John Wall (Achilles) underwent surgery and is set to miss 12 months, aka one year. The successful return of DeMarcus Cousins has offered a pretty compelling case for why stashing and drafting Wall might make sense next season, but I will probably let someone else in all of my leagues deploy that strategy.

*Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders confirmed that Dario Saric will continue starting for now. Saric had 19 points, eight rebounds, two steals and four triples in his first start on Monday, and has put up 16.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.8 spg and 3.0 3s over his last four games.

*We also got some news on Robert Covington on Tuesday, and that news is: He is “ramping up his workouts”, but doesn’t have a concrete timetable. For what it’s worth, I still think he’s a great trade target in fantasy leagues if you’re in a position where you can wait another week or three on him.

*It sounds like there’s at least a chance we’ll see Isaiah Thomas (hip) in action on Wednesday, as he’s been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against his former team, the Kings. I think he’s worth a look if available, though things are really crowded in Denver with the emergence of Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, in particular. Also, on a related note for Denver — Gary Harris (adductor) will miss his seventh straight.

*Meanwhile, here’s the latest on Lonzo Ball (ankle) from beat writer Bill Oram on Twitter: “He is running on the antigravity treadmill back in LA but has not yet progressed to on-court work. Official update expected after All-Star wknd”. I actually don’t think Ball is a bad stash if you have an open IR spot, as the Lakers clearly need a spark of some sort, and that same tweet from Oram mentioned how much the Lakers D has fallen off without Ball.

Injury Quick Hits: DeMarre Carroll (knee) looks like he’ll play on Wednesday. … Kevin Love says he expects to play on Wednesday against Brooklyn, and is an intriguing start after putting up 14 and nine in just 16 minutes on Monday. Also for Cleveland, Cedi Osman (ankle) and Tristan Thompson (foot) remain out, while Ante Zizic (back) is questionable. … Nikola Mirotic (calf) isn’t expected to play. … Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) is being listed as doubtful. … T.J. Warren (ankle) and De’Anthony Melton (ankle) are both out, as expected, while Tyler Johnson (ankle) is questionable. … Tomas Satoransky (wife expecting baby) is questionable. … Austin Rivers (elbow) is out. … Andrew Wiggins (illness) did not practice and his status for Wednesday is still up in the air as of Wednesday morning. … Josh Okogie (hip pointer) sounds like he will play on Wednesday. … Kris Dunn (bruised tailbone) is questionable. … Jeremy Lin is set to make his Raptors debut on Wednesday, and could play significant minutes right away with Fred VanVleet (thumb) unavailable. ... There are 11 games on the schedule Wednesday night, so make sure you check back (as always) on the Rotoworld player news page for the latest updates. 

Matt Stroup
Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .