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Basketball Daily Dose

NBA mourns Kobe Bryant's passing

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: January 27, 2020, 11:31 am ET

It goes without saying that Sunday was an incredibly difficult day for the NBA, and the sports world in general, as it was learned that Kobe Bryant was one of nine people who lost their lives in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in southern California. Tributes poured in from around the world, and within the NBA teams paid homage to one of the sport's all-time greats during Sunday's games. Below is a look at each of the eight matchups on the schedule. 

Nuggets 117, Rockets 110 — Denver was once again down three rotation players, as Paul Millsap (knee), Jamal Murray (ankle) and Mason Plumlee (foot) all remain out. As a result Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig were once again in the starting lineup, with Grant playing 29 minutes and Craig 31. Grant had his best game of the season, posting a line of 25 points, four rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers. Since Millsap went down with the knee injury, and there’s no definitive timeline regarding a return, Denver’s offseason addition has been a player who should be rostered in standard leagues. Craig, whose value isn’t as high as Grant’s, finished with seven points (3-of-10 FGs), two rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.

Another player whose value has increased as a result of the injuries is Monte Morris, despite his remaining with the second unit. He played 35 minutes Sunday, scoring 17 points with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. Morris is currently rostered in just eight percent of Yahoo leagues, and that number should increase for as long as Murray is out with his ankle injury. Michael Porter Jr. also had a solid game off the bench, scoring 17 points with nine rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes. They helped supplement the efforts of Nikola Jokic, who finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and two steals in 38 minutes. He’s up to nine triple-doubles on the season, three shy of his total during the 2018-19 campaign.

Will Barton had an efficient yet somewhat quiet night, as he shot 5-of-8 from the field and finished with 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 25 minutes. Gary Harris (six points, two rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Malik Beasley (10 points, three rebounds, one assist and three steals) were also quiet, with the latter not providing enough across the board in recent games to warrant grabbing him off the waiver wire. 

Houston was without the injured James Harden (thigh), which meant a heavy usage night for Russell Westbrook and a start for Eric Gordon. Westbrook played 39 minutes, scoring 32 points with seven rebounds, seven assists two steals and one blocked shot. But the high point total wasn’t as impactful fantasy-wise as one would have hoped, as he also committed 10 turnovers. Westbrook (rest) has already been ruled out for Monday’s game against the Jazz, which makes Gordon one of the players who stand to benefit. 

Gordon had a rough day shooting the basketball, as he was 5-of-14 from the field. But he made all seven of his free throws, finishing with 19 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, one blocks and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Ben McLemore (15 points, three 3-pointers), Austin Rivers (13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers) and Danuel House (11 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers) are all worth a look for Monday’s action, but the absences of both Harden and Westbrook raise questions when it comes to the effectiveness of Clint Capela

Capela didn’t have his best outing Sunday, as he finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot in 29 minutes. And on Monday he’ll be up against the NBA’s best defender in Rudy Gobert without the Rockets’ two best playmakers. For that reason I’d leave him alone when it comes to DFS lineups. P.J. Tucker filled the stat sheet Sunday, finishing with five points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and one three-pointer in 38 minutes. 

Raptors 110, Spurs 106 — Toronto managed to hang on to beat San Antonio after building a sizable lead, something that the Raptors failed to do in the first meeting between the teams. Pascal Siakam went off for 35 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 37 minutes, shooting 12-of-23 from the field and 6-of-9 from the foul line. Twenty-five of those points were scored in the first, establishing a franchise record for most points scored in a quarter. This was Siakam’s first game of at least 30 points since December 16, when he dropped 33 on the Cavaliers. 

The rotation at the forward position may be in for a change, as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went down with what was announced as a right ankle sprain. RHJ appeared to point to his knee when initially signaling to the bench, so he may have dodged a bullet there. Should he have to miss time beyond Sunday that would free up minutes for Terence Davis, who shot 3-of-6 from three and accounted for nine points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 12 minutes. OG Anunoby remains the starter at the three, and he finished with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. 

Kyle Lowry (16 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one three-pointer), Fred VanVleet (13 points, four rebounds, seven assists, four steals, one block and three 3-pointers) and Serge Ibaka (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals) all scored in double figures, while Marc Gasol accounted for eight points, 12 rebounds, five assists and one three-pointer. Over the last two weeks VanVleet has provided first round value in nine-category formats, and he’s been in that second round area in both eight- and nine-cat for the entire season. The fact that he’s rostered in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues feels a bit low at this point in the season. 

DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White scored 14 points apiece to lead the Spurs, with the former also tallying six rebounds and seven assists. White, who got off to a slow start this season, has been a top-50 player in nine-cat over the last two weeks and the defensive numbers are a big reason why. Averaging 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game during that stretch, he blocked four shots on Sunday to go along with his four rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. The negatives were the field goal percentage and turnover count, as White shot 4-of-11 from the field and racked up a team-high six turnovers. White still being rostered in just 50 percent of Yahoo leagues is a bit of a surprise, even if he’s still coming off the bench. 

Bryn Forbes (two rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers) and Dejounte Murray (six rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers) added 13 points apiece, with the latter having his best three-point shooting performance since January 6 (3-of-4 vs. Milwaukee). Since that game Murray was 4-of-12 from beyond the arc ahead of Sunday’s showing. Marco Belinelli (12 points, one rebound, five assists and three 3-pointers), Jakob Poeltl (11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks) and LaMarcus Aldridge (10 points, 10 rebounds and one three-pointer) also scored in double figures for the Spurs. 

Belinelli has scored in double figures in three of his last five games, but he’s a tough sell with averages of 5.8 points and 1.0 three-pointers per game for the month. While he may be trending up, I’d leave him on the waiver wire in standard leagues for the time being. And Rudy Gay had a tough one, as he shot 1-of-5 from the field and finished with four points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 18 minutes. He’s currently rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that number feels high given his recent production (or lack thereof). 

Knicks 110, Nets 97Kyrie Irving (personal) was a late scratch for this one, as he was unable to play after learning of Kobe’s death. That meant a move back into the starting lineup for Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the Nets with 23 points (7-of-17 FGs, 7-of-10 FTs), four rebounds, five assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. After breaking out while Irving was sidelined with his shoulder injury Dinwiddie has struggled, but he’s still a player who should be rostered in all standard leagues. Taurean Prince added 14 points, three rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers, getting back into double figures after scoring just six points in Saturday’s win over the Pistons. 

Also scoring in double figures for Brooklyn were Rodions Kurucs (12 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers), Joe Harris (11 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and one three-pointer) and Garrett Temple (11 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers). In the case of Kurucs this was his second double-digit scoring effort of the month, with the first coming back on January 10 vs. the Heat. He should be left on the waiver wire in standard leagues. 

If there’s a concern it’s the recent play of Caris LeVert, who has struggled mightily with his shot. LeVert was 2-of-12 from the field Sunday, scoring seven points with three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 23 minutes off the bench. For the month of January he’s shooting just 34.8 percent from the field, but at this point it’s difficult to explain this as LeVert shaking off the rust from the thumb injury that sidelined him for six weeks. Brooklyn really needs LeVert to snap out of his slump, and the 72 percent of Yahoo players who have him rostered are saying the same. 

Julius Randle and Marcus Morris led the way offensively for the Knicks, scoring 22 and 21 points respectively. Randle supplemented his scoring effort with 15 rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot, but he also committed a team-high six turnovers. No other Knick had more than two. But given his role within the offense, and the fact that New York lacks offensive firepower, the occasional high-turnover game comes with the territory. As for Morris, he was also responsible for four rebounds, one steal, one block and one three-pointer in his 34 minutes, and he’s been a top-75 player in nine-category formats this season. Morris being rostered in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues feels off; he should be picked up immediately if available. 

Mitchell Robinson played just 17 minutes before fouling out but he made the most of his time on the court, scoring 12 points to go along with five rebounds, one assist and two blocked shots. Robinson made all six of his field goal attempts, and he remains a top-100 player in spite of the inconsistent minutes (due largely to foul trouble). Whenever the second-year center isn’t in foul trouble he needs to be approaching 30 minutes per night; with all due respect to the Knicks veterans the remainder of the season needs to be about getting the younger players as much time as possible. 

Frank Ntilikina was also solid off the bench, as he scored 11 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 18 minutes. Elfrid Payton remains the starter at the point and that’s certainly understandable, as he dished out a team-high nine assists Sunday night. That leaves Dennis Smith Jr. as the odd man out, as he picked up a DNP-CD. Reggie Bullock finished with 10 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers, and he’s worth a look in deeper leagues if there’s a pressing need for three-pointers (1.5 per game over the last two weeks). 

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Hawks 152, Wizards 133Trae Young and Bradley Beal both went off in this one, as the former scored 45 points and the latter wasn’t far off with 40. Young also racked up six rebounds, 14 assists, one steal and six 3-pointers, as he shot 13-of-24 from the field and 13-of-16 from the foul line. The All-Star Game starter has been a top-10 player in both eight- and nine-category formats over the last two weeks, averaging 32.7 points, 11.8 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 3.8 three-pointers per game during that stretch. At this point nothing that Young does comes as a surprise. 

In total six Hawks scored in double figures, with the production of De'Andre Hunter standing out. He shot 8-of-11 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line, scoring 25 points with three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes. The point total is the highest for the rookie since December 10, when he scored a career-high 28 in a loss to the Heat. Rostered in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues, now would be a good time to hop onto the Hunter bandwagon as he stands to get a lot of playing time as the Hawks finish out the season. The same can be said for Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish, who played 39 and 23 minutes respectively. 

Huerter put up a line of 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and four 3-pointers, while Reddish added 13 points, two rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer. While Reddish being rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues is understandable given his struggles shooting the ball earlier this season, Huerter’s percentage (57) feels a bit low as he’s just outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat over the last two weeks. John Collins (16 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block) and Bruno Fernando (14 points, 12 rebounds and one block) also scored in double figures, with the latter posting his first career double-double. Fernando’s currently rostered in just one percent of Yahoo leagues, and with Alex Len (hip) sidelined the rookie out of Maryland is worth a look. 

DeAndre' Bembry (right hand neuritis) missed his seventh straight game, and his absence has opened up additional minutes for the recently acquired Jeff Teague and Brandon Goodwin. However neither is worth rostering at this point, as Teague accounted for four points, three rebounds and five assists, and Goodwin tallied nine points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer. 

To go along with his 40 points, Beal accounted for three rebounds, six assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 38 minutes, shooting 12-of-22 from the field and 15-of-18 from the foul line. He led seven double-digit scorers for the Wizards, with Troy Brown Jr. adding 19 points, three rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes off the bench. Brown is rostered in just 27 percent of Yahoo leagues, and he shouldn’t lack for minutes moving forward. While he hasn’t been the most consistent player of late Brown is worth a roll of the dice, especially in deeper leagues.

Davis Bertans (five rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers) and Jordan McRae (seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks) scored 12 points apiece, with Thomas Bryant (11 points, five rebounds and one three-pointer), Isaiah Thomas (10 points, three rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers) and Ish Smith (10 points, three assists) also scoring in double figures. McRae was one of two Wizards who did not finish the game however, as he sprained his right ankle during the third quarter. Also leaving due to injury was Isaac Bonga, who departed with a fractured tooth. Should either (or both) have to miss additional time that would free up even more minutes for the aforementioned Brown. 

Clippers 112, Magic 97Kawhi Leonard followed up his first career triple-double with another good line, as he tallied 31 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes Sunday night. And with the Clippers having just one back-to-back over the course of the next six weeks, those who have Leonard rostered should be in a good spot with regard to his availability. Landry Shamet (three rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers) and Montrezl Harrell (five rebounds, two assists and three blocks) scored 19 points apiece, while Lou Williams (two rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers) scored 15 points and Patrick Patterson (four rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers) 10. 

Patterson was considered to be questionable for this one due to a sprained left ankle, but he was ultimately able to start (replacing Jerome Robinson) and play 22 minutes. While this was a solid effort for the veteran forward, who’s been splitting minutes with Moe Harkless and JaMychal Green, it doesn’t represent the norm. Patterson should be left on the waiver wire. Ivica Zubac grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with his six points and one assist. Patrick Beverley (groin) and Paul George (hamstring) remain sidelined, which has opened up opportunities for the aforementioned Shamet. Rostered in just 15 percent of Yahoo leagues, he’s worth a look for as long as those two vets remain sidelined. 

Michael Carter-Williams put up 15 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and one three-pointer for Orlando, hitting double figures for the second time in his last three games. With D.J. Augustin (knee) sidelined MCW is worth a look in deeper leagues, but that’s about it as Markelle Fultz will continue to play the majority of the available minutes at the point. Fultz struggled Sunday night, finishing with eight points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals and one three-pointer in 26 minutes, shooting 3-of-7 from the field and 1-of-3 from the foul line.

Nikola Vucevic (13 points, six rebounds and five assists), Wesley Iwundu (12 points, four rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers), Evan Fournier (11 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer), Aaron Gordon (10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one three-pointer) and Mo Bamba (10 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, three blocks and one three-pointer) also scored in double figures. Bamba’s line was especially noteworthy given his struggles in January. Prior to Sunday he hadn’t scored in double figures in more than a month (December 14 vs. New Orleans), and he got back in the blocks column after falling to get any in Friday’s loss to the Celtics. He isn’t worth stashing however, with the inconsistent production being the reason why. 

Grizzlies 114, Suns 109 — Memphis was down two rotation players, as Jae Crowder (foot) and Grayson Allen (hip) were held out. Crowder was replaced in the starting lineup by Kyle Anderson, who played 29 minutes and finished with six points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Even if Crowder has to miss more time due to the injury, Anderson should be left on the waiver wire as the production just hasn't been there. Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. all scored at least 20 points on the night, with Morant supplementing his 23-point effort with five rebounds, eight assists and one steal. 

Brooks and Jackson Jr. (three rebounds, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers) scored 20 points apiece, with the former shooting 9-of-17 from the field and also accounting for five rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. Over the last two weeks Brooks ranks just outside of the top-25 in both eight- and nine-category formats. Rostered in just 55 percent of Yahoo leagues, now would be a good time to grab him off the waiver wire if available. 

Jonas Valanciunas (12 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block), Brandon Clarke (10 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one block) and De'Anthony Melton (10 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer) also scored in double figures for the Grizzlies. 

Devin Booker (36 points, two rebounds, five assists, one block and five 3-pointers) and Kelly Oubre (27 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Suns, while Deandre Ayton added 17 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Other than that it was a tough one for Phoenix, as Ricky Rubio shot 1-of-10 from the field and finished with five points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and one three-pointer.

Dario Saric also had a tough night, as he scored all five of his points at the foul line to go along with two rebounds, three assists and one steal. Mikal Bridges finished with six points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots, and he's worth a look in deeper leagues. Just outside of the top-50 in nine-cat over the last two weeks, Bridges is rostered in just 45 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Pelicans 123, Celtics 108Zion Williamson's minutes tally increased Sunday, as he played 27 minutes in New Orleans' win over Boston. His fourth quarter minutes were managed so that he could be on the court in crunch time, which is good news for those who have hung onto the rookie. He finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one steal, shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from the foul line. The free throw percentage needs to be higher, but outside of that and the four turnovers there isn't much to complain about here. 

Jrue Holiday (25 points, six rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers), J.J. Redick (17 points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and three 3-pointers), Brandon Ingram (16 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers), Derrick Favors (15 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks) also scored in double figures for the Pelicans. And while he scored just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting Lonzo Ball shouldn't be left out either, as he dished out a game-high 15 assists while also tallying six rebounds, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers. 

Ball has provided top-100 value over the last two weeks (as have Holiday and Favors), and Josh Hart can be thrown into that mix as well. He finished Sunday's win with eight points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Hart is rostered in just 25 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that needs to change. 

Boston was without Jayson Tatum (groin), who was held out for a second straight game. And things got worse for the Celtics as Marcus Smart, who replaced Tatum in the starting lineup, went down with a sprained right ankle. He was able to return to the game but was largely ineffective, finishing with seven points (3-of-13 FGs), four rebounds, seven assists and one three-pointer. Jaylen Brown (ankle) was back in the lineup after missing two games, as he would play 36 minutes and finish with 20 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer.

Also worth noting on the injury front is that Enes Kanter (hip) did not play Sunday and has already been ruled out for Tuesday's game in Miami. That opened up some playing time for Semi Ojeleye, who played 15 minutes and finished with two points, one rebound, one assist and one steal. Leave Ojeleye on the waiver wire. Kemba Walker produced a quality stat line, as he finished with 35 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers.

Gordon Hayward (23 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers) and Daniel Theis (15 points, nine rebounds, one assist and two blocks also scored in double figures. Theis is rostered in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues, with Kanter ruled out for Tuesday it would be wise to grab him if available. 

Trail Blazers 139, Pacers 129 C.J. McCollum is back! After missing time due to a sprained left ankle he was back in the starting lineup Sunday night, playing 36 minutes and accounting for 28 points, one rebound, five assists and six 3-pointers. And his return has squeezed Mario Hezonja, who was a DNP-CD, out of the rotation. Gary Trent Jr., who played well in McCollum's absence, remains and he tallied six points, one rebound, three assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. It's time to cut bait there, as Portland is going to rely heavily on McCollum and Damian Lillard as they look to make a run at that last playoff spot in the West.

Speaking of Lillard, he continued his scoring tear by racking up 50 points to go along six rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and eight 3-pointers. He shot 14-of-23 from the field and 14-of-16 from the foul line on the night, and he's now scored 47 points or more in each of Portland's last three games. Carmelo Anthony added 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers, while Anfernee Simons accounted for just four points and one assist in 15 minutes off the bench. Like Trent Jr., now would be a good time to drop Simons. 

Domantas Sabonis entered the season without a triple-double in his NBA career, and now he's got two. Sabonis finished Sunday's loss with 27 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists and one blocked shot in 41 minutes, taking advantage of the space that's come available with Myles Turner (flu) sidelined. JaKarr Sampson started for the ill Turner but was largely ineffective, finishing with two points and three rebounds in 17 minutes. 

Jeremy Lamb led the Pacers with 28 points while also tallying two rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. With Victor Oladipo due back this week (January 29), it will be interesting to see whose minutes/scoring opportunities are impacted the most. Indiana is also without Malcolm Brogdon (concussion), so that may leave some room for a Lamb or T.J. Warren (14 points, two rebounds and four assists) in the short-term. But if I had to pick between the two I'd hold onto Warren once the Pacers' rotation is back to full strength. 

Going back to Brogdon, his absence meant a start for T.J. McConnell with Aaron Holiday coming off the bench. McConnell shot 3-of-10 from the field, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, eight assists and one steal in 28 minutes. Holiday was the more effective of the two, scoring 17 points, dishing out four assists and making three 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench. While the latter gives the Pacers more of a punch scoring-wise, McConnell's assists are tough to overlook.

Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday, who will also be impacted by the return of Oladipo, scored 19 and 11 points, respectively, with the former shooting 6-of-8 from three. They're currently rostered in seven and four percent of Yahoo leagues, which makes some sense given the rotation, but keep an eye on those two as they can provided three-point shooting (and Holiday is a productive defender as well). 

Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern) 

Cleveland at Detroit, 7 PM 

Orlando at Miami, 7:30 PM 

Dallas at Oklahoma City, 8 PM 

San Antonio at Chicago, 8 PM 

Sacramento at Minnesota, 8 PM 

Houston at Utah, 9 PM 

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.