Sunday was a busy day in the NBA, as the Nuggets and Lakers made noteworthy roster moves. While Denver's bloated rotation shrunk by one with Jordan McRae agreeing to a buyout, the Lakers freed up a roster spot by waiving Troy Daniels. On the court there were seven games, headlined by standout performances by LeBron James, Zion Williamson and Kristaps Porzingis, and OG Anunoby and Shake Milton both establishing new career-high point totals.
Bucks 93, Hornets 85 — With Khris Middleton (neck soreness) sidelined, Donte DiVincenzo made a second straight start and Giannis Antetokounmpo did even more of the heavy lifting on offense. While DiVincenzo (two points, seven rebounds, five assists and one blocked shot) wasn’t much of a factor offensively he did contribute in other ways, and given how well the reigning MVP played the Bucks didn’t need a whole lot from the second-year guard. DiVincenzo and George Hill are the players to keep an eye on in case Middleton is unable to return to the lineup Monday night in Miami.
Antetokounmpo went off for 41 points (17-of-28 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), 20 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 35 minutes (the first 40/20 game of his career). He appeared to have a minor back issue pop up during the fourth quarter, so we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any impact on Giannis’ availability for Monday’s game. Brook Lopez (16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and one three-pointer) and Hill (11/5/2/2 with one three-pointer) were the only other double-digit scorers for Milwaukee, and Wesley Matthews chipped in with a line of eight points (3-of-11 FGs), eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers.
Devonte’ Graham (17/2/3/1 with three 3-pointers) and Terry Rozier (13/3/4/1) led the way offensively for Charlotte, but they combined to shoot 13/of-36 from the field. In fact, Cody Martin (11/5/2 with one block and two 3-pointers) was the only Hornet to make at least 50 percent of his shots with at least six attempts. He played 29 minutes, shooting 4-of-8 from the field, and has been more involved in the rotation since the All-Star break. While he’s worth a look in deeper leagues, I wouldn’t pull the trigger on him at this point.
Willy Hernangomez (10/13/4/2) is also worth consideration, if only because Cody Zeller has been a DNP-CD in each of Charlotte’s last three games. Bismack Biyombo (8/9/2 with two blocks) has been the starting center, and if there’s a dire need for blocks he can be of some service down the stretch. But he isn’t a must-have, either. Jalen McDaniels is dealing with some heel discomfort, but even when healthy he’s isn’t a viable option in fantasy hoops.
Mavericks 111, Timberwolves 91 — Luka Doncic (left thumb) sat this one out, with Delon Wright replacing him in the starting lineup. Wright scored just four points (2-of-9 FGs) in his 32 minutes on the court, but he also tallied eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Kristaps Porzingis (38/13/4/1/5 with six 3-pointers) and Seth Curry (27/1/4/1 with three 3-pointers) were the stars for Dallas, with the latter having scored 64 points in his last two games. Over the last two weeks Curry has been a top-50 player in nine-cat, averaging 19.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.7 three-pointers per game.
Porzingis has also played well during this stretch, providing top-5 value in nine-cat. When he isn’t sharing the court with Doncic, Kristaps’ usage jumps up nearly six percentage points (from 23.6 to 29.3) and his true shooting percentage improves from 52.6% to 57.7%. I’d classify him as a must-play in DFS whenever Doncic is unable to go. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 19 points, six rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers, with Dorian Finney-Smith (9/11/4/2/1) putting together a solid overall stat line.
D’Angelo Russell (16/9/7/2 with two 3-pointers) and Malik Beasley (14/3/1/1 with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for Minnesota, but they did so while shooting a combined 11-of-33 from the field. Something to watch with Russell moving forward is his workload, as the Timberwolves are scheduled to play a back-to-back Tuesday/Wednesday. And with this also being a four-game week for Minnesota, Jordan McLaughlin (4/2/3/4 in 17 minutes) has a little more value in standard leagues. The same can be said for Jarrett Culver, who in 25 minutes off the bench accounted for 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers.
Juancho Hernangomez (12/12/1 with one block and two 3-pointers) posted his second double-double in as many games, while Naz Red accounted for nine points, 12 rebounds and two assists. When Karl-Anthony Towns (fractured left wrist) will be able to return to action hasn’t been determined, and until that time comes Reid is worth hanging onto. Lastly Josh Okogie, who’s provided 10th-round value in nine-cat over the last two weeks, posted a full line of nine points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and one three-pointer. Wouldn’t classify him as a must-own, but he’s worth a look in deeper leagues especially for the defensive numbers.
Clippers 136, 76ers 130 — This matchup proved to be wilder than some may have anticipated, as Philadelphia is still without Ben Simmons (back) and Joel Embiid (left shoulder). And Shake Milton deserves a lot of credit for that, as he dropped a career-high 39 points (14-of-20 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs) to go along with three rebounds, five assists, one steal and seven 3-pointers in 40 minutes. He’s scored 17 points or more in four of his last five games, and over the last two weeks Milton has been a third-round player in nine-cat formats. He’s currently rostered in just 34 percent of Yahoo leagues, so if you’re in need of supplementary production at the guard spots heading into the fantasy playoffs you can do a lot worse than grabbing Milton off the waiver wire (if he’s still there).
Tobias Harris (25/4/4/1 with three 3-pointers) had a productive afternoon, with Alec Burks (15/6/3 with three 3-pointers) and Al Horford (12/8/6/1/2 with one three-pointer) also scoring in double figures. Josh Richardson (9/1/1 with one three-pointer) played just 10 minutes due to a clash of heads with Burks, and he has since been placed in the team’s concussion protocol. Milton is the obvious pickup should Richardson have to miss games, beginning with Tuesday’s matchup with the Lakers, and Harris’ usage will increase as well.
On the Clippers side of things, four players scored at least 24 points with Kawhi Leonard (30/6/3/1 with two 3-pointers) leading the way. Paul George (24/4/1/2 with four 3-pointers), Lou Williams (24/2/8/1 with three 3-pointers) and Montrezl Harrell (24 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot) were the others, with Reggie Jackson chipping in with a line of 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one three-pointer. What’s been interesting to watch since Jackson’s arrival has been the impact that it’s had on Williams. He’s scored 17 points or more in three of the five games that the two have played together, including 24-point efforts against the Kings and 76ers. There were the two comparatively lean scoring efforts in wins over the Grizzlies and Suns (14 points total), but the chemistry between Williams and his new backcourt sidekick appears to be improving by the game.
Patrick Beverley went scoreless but contributed four rebounds and four assists, while Landry Shamet (three points, two assists and one three-pointer) struggled to have much of an impact in his 15 minutes on the court. He isn’t worth rostering at all currently, while Marcus Morris (9/2/1/1/1 with one three-pointer) has some appeal in deeper leagues. That being said, his fantasy value is nowhere near what it was when he was in New York.
Nuggets 133, Raptors 118 — Denver reportedly made a move before this game tipped off, as Jordan McRae agreed to a contract buyout. The expectation is that he’ll land in Phoenix, which is in need of another wing scorer with Kelly Oubre (knee) out indefinitely. McRae is definitely worth a look if that move comes to fruition. On the court Paul Millsap (right ankle) did not play, meaning a move back into the starting lineup for Jerami Grant. Grant played 35 minutes, contributing 16 points, three rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers. Should Millsap have to sit out Tuesday’s game against the Warriors, Grant would be the obvious play in all leagues.
Nikola Jokic posted his 12th triple-double of the season, tallying 23 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists and one steal, with Jamal Murray (22/1/5 with six 3-pointers) also surpassing the 20-point mark. In total eight Nuggets scored in double figures, including two players in Gary Harris (15/4/3 with three 3-pointers) and Torrey Craig (17 points, three rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers) who had struggled to have much of an impact offensively in recent games. Harris shot 6-of-7 from the field, with Craig making seven of his 11 field goal attempts.
Toronto played this one without Fred VanVleet (shoulder) and Serge Ibaka (knee), meaning another start for both Norman Powell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Powell played 40 minutes, scoring 24 points with six rebounds, one block and one three-pointer, while Hollis-Jefferson contributed nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 25 minutes. The star of this one for Toronto was OG Anunoby, who shot 12-of-16 from the field and scored a career-high 32 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, seven steals and three 3-pointers. It goes without saying that, result aside, this was great to see. Consistency has been an issue for Anunoby throughout much of his career, but the hope here is that Sunday’s effort will serve as the catalyst he needs to turn the corner.
Pascal Siakam scored 16 points but did so on 6-of-21 shooting, while also tallying seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and one three-pointer. Kyle Lowry (17/5/8 with two 3-pointers) shot 4-of-14 from the field, which included a 2-of-10 effort from three. Due to the injuries Toronto effectively went seven deep, with Patrick McCaw (7/2/1 with one three-pointer) playing 24 minutes off the bench and Terence Davis (8/3/3 with one three-pointer) 17.
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Kings 106, Pistons 100 — De’Aaron Fox played through his abdominal injury Sunday and led the Kings to a win, posting a line of 23 points, three rebounds, seven assists and one blocked shot in 32 minutes. Sacramento has four games on the slate this week, including a back-to-back Saturday/Sunday against Portland and Toronto. We’ll have to wait and see if that impacts Fox’s workload at the end of the week, but at the very least he should be good to go Tuesday night against the Wizards.
Buddy Hield (19/6/2 with three 3-pointers) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (15 points, four steals and three 3-pointers) both scored in double figures, as did Harry Giles (12 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot) and Harrison Barnes (10/8/4/1 with one three-pointer). Giles was limited to 20 minutes due to early foul trouble and that opened the door for Alex Len, who in 28 minutes compiled eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. Both bigs are worth a look for those in need of interior options but especially Len, who over the last two weeks is averaging 8.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Detroit’s rotation took two noteworthy hits, as Derrick Rose (right ankle; 9/3/2 with one three-pointer) left the game during the first half and Brandon Knight (right knee; 16/3/7 with five 3-pointers) departed during the fourth quarter. With Bruce Brown (left knee) also sidelined, Derrick Walton Jr. would be the player that benefits with regard to playing time should that trio have to miss the Pistons’ next game Wednesday against Oklahoma City. Walton played 13 minutes Sunday, finishing with three points, two assists, two steals and one three-pointer.
Dwane Casey continues to stick with the John Henson/Christian Wood tandem in the frontcourt, an easy decision to make especially with Thon Maker (right ankle) sidelined, and the latter put up 20 points, 12 rebounds, one blocked and one three-pointer. Henson added a full line of 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot, with Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (14/6/2 with four 3-pointers), Tony Snell (12/4/6/1/1 with three 3-pointers) and Langston Galloway (11/2/1 with three 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures.
Lakers 122, Pelicans 114 — Like Denver the Lakers made a roster move prior to their game, as Troy Daniels was waived in order to free up a roster spot. Who Los Angeles will pick up has yet to be determined, but it was reported that they’ll be working out Dion Waiters on Monday. Despite being down two rotation players in Anthony Davis (right knee) and Alex Caruso (right hamstring) Los Angeles came back to win in New Orleans, with LeBron James (34/12/13/2 with three 3-pointers) pulling into a tie with Luka Doncic for the league lead in triple-doubles (13). With Davis out Kyle Kuzma moved into the starting lineup, playing 35 minutes and tallying 20 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers. This season has been an adjustment for Kuzma, who had a larger role last season but on a far worse team. His value as a reserve hasn’t been great, but it’s been good enough to keep him on the fantasy radar in standard leagues.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13 points, two assists, three steals, one block and one three-pointer) played 31 minutes off the bench, with Avery Bradley (10/2/3/1/1 with two 3-pointers), Danny Green (right hip; 10/3/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Markieff Morris (10/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. Not to be forgotten is JaVale McGee, who tied his season-high with six blocked shots to go along with eight points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. He and Dwight Howard (8/6/1 with one block) are tough plays due in large part to the presence of Davis, but on the rare occasion that he sits the fantasy values of those two bigs increases slightly.
Zion Williamson gave the Lakers all they wanted and then some, shooting 12-of-16 from the field and 11-of-13 from the foul line. He finished with 35 points and seven rebounds, making it ten straight games with at least 20 points. Even if Anthony Davis were healthy, it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Los Angeles would have been able to keep Williamson from getting to the rim. Lonzo Ball (19/9/9/3/1 with one three-pointer) fell one rebound and one assist shy of a triple-double, while Brandon Ingram (15/4/2/1 with one three-pointer) struggled mightily from the field as he was 5-of-23 on the night.
The absence of J.J. Redick (left hamstring) has resulted in even more minutes for Ball and Jrue Holiday as the Pelicans attempt to chase down Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West. Both played 38 minutes Sunday, with Holiday accounting for 11 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. Derrick Favors (12 points, 14 rebounds, one steal and one block in 27 minutes) tallied his first double-double since February 8, and Nicolo Melli chipped in with 10 points, two rebounds, one steal, one block and one three-pointer in 21 minutes off the bench.
Wizards 124, Warriors 110 — Bradley Beal made franchise history Sunday night, scoring at least 25 points for the 18th consecutive game. He finished with 34 to go along with two rebounds, eight assists, five steals and seven 3-pointers in 35 minutes against the Warriors, with Davis Bertans also taking advantage of Golden State’s porous (and shorthanded) defense. Bertans shot 8-of-10 from three, tallying 29 points, four rebounds and one blocked shot in 30 minutes off the bench. From a rotation standpoint Scott Brooks inserted Thomas Bryant into the starting lineup in place of Ian Mahinmi, and in 15 minutes Bryant accounted for 12 points, two rebounds, one steal, two blocks and one three-pointer. Mahinmi, who didn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value to begin with, was a DNP-CD.
I’d expect to see a lot of Bryant and rookie Antejs Pasecniks (three points and one rebound in 11 minutes) moving forward, with the former’s playing time Sunday night likely being limited due to the matchup. Rui Hachimura (15/8/1 with one three-pointer) won’t lack for playing time either as the Wizards play out the remainder of their schedule. Shabazz Napier posted a line of nine points, three rebounds, five assists, three steals and one three-pointer in 25 minutes.
Golden State was once again without Draymond Green (left knee), and Kevon Looney (left hip) was also held out. Juan Toscano-Anderson (2/5/5/2/1) continues to start with Eric Paschall coming off the bench, and in 33 minutes Paschall tallied 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and one three-pointer. The absences also mean even more time on the ball for Andrew Wiggins, who posted a line of 27 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and one three-pointer in 35 minutes. He’s definitely worth a look in DFS on nights that Green doesn’t play, but given Wiggins’ ability to post lines in which he does little else but score that can be a bit of a gamble.
Jordan Poole (17/3/7 with two 3-pointers) and Marquese Chriss (12/13/2 with two blocks) are good plays right now, and 10-day contract recipient Mychal Mulder (17/2/1/1/1 with three 3-pointers) continues to impress. Dragan Bender reached double figures in rebounds for the first time since joining the Warriors, as he grabbed 10 to go along with eight points in 19 foul-plagued minutes of action.
Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Utah at Cleveland, 7 PM
Houston at New York, 7 PM
Portland at Orlando, 7 PM
Memphis at Atlanta, 7:30 PM
Milwaukee at Miami, 7:30 PM
Dallas at Chicago, 8 PM
Indiana at San Antonio, 8:30 PM