The Hawks and Hornets put on a double-overtime show that featured a career-high 40 points from Terry Rozier, the Bucks ruined a seemingly promising Monday night by resting everyone, Joe Ingles came out of nowhere for a huge game, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka went off, Norman Powell got hurt after just two minutes, and Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic disappeared on Monday.
Hawks 143, Hornets 138 2OT – If you added up the Hawks and Hornets win totals prior to Monday’s contest you came up with a combined total of 41 wins. The Bucks, Raptors, Celtics, Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets all had more by themselves going into the night, while the Heat and Jazz were tied with them at 41 wins. Leave it to those two teams to have one of the better battles of the season in a game that easily could have gone to three overtimes.
Trae Young went crazy with 31 points, 16 assists and six 3-pointers on 11-of-25 shooting and John Collins hit 12-of-13 shots (and 4-of-8 free throws) for 28 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while De’Andre Hunter double-doubled, Cam Reddish had 22 points, seven boards, two assists, a steal and three 3-pointers off the bench, Dewayne Dedmon had 14 points, nine boards and three blocks, and Kevin Huerter scored 10 in the win. Things got interesting at the end of regulation and the OT periods. Charlotte’s Terry Rozier hit a big 3-pointer to tie the score at 138, but Young missed a late free throw that would have won the game in regulation. Then a play was reviewed at the end of the first overtime that originally resulted in a foul by Atlanta’s Treveon Graham with free throws for Rozier included. But instead, the call was reversed after another review and Rozier was called for an offensive foul with 0.8 seconds left. Luckily for the Hornets, Young then missed a floater that would have won it. Later, Hunter hit three straight free throws with 13.3 seconds left in the second overtime that ended up sealing the win for the Hawks. Young, Collins, Hunter, Dedmon and Reddish are all worth owning in all leagues right now, while Huerter is worth having, despite his low scoring in March.
For the Hornets, Rozier shot it lights out (15-of-26 with eight 3-pointers) and scored a career-high 40 points with four rebounds, three assists and a steal in the tough loss. I haven’t been keeping score at home, but it sure feels like the Hawks have given up a ton of season- and career-highs this year. DeVonte’ Graham came through with 27 points, 10 assists, four steals and four 3-pointers, and all four bench players scored in double figures. On a side note, Graham injured his left ankle last night, but returned in the fourth quarter to play through it. Just keep an eye out for news in case it lingers. From the bench, Caleb Martin went off for a career-high 23 points, five 3-pointers, four assists, three steals and two blocks, but also fouled both Young and Hunter with the game on the line late, allowing them both to shoot free throws for a chance to win it (Hunter came through). Cody Martin, which is the Martin brother you generally want to own here, had 11 points, four boards, five assists and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes, while Jalen McDaniels also scored 11 and Bismack Biyombo had 10 points, six boards and two blocks off the bench. Starter Cody Zeller had 10 points and seven rebounds, while starters P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges both took a major backseat to the Martin brothers tonight and did almost nothing. PJW has been playing well, but Bridges has been a disaster in March. I’m guessing Washington just got derailed tonight and I bet he bounces back. Here’s how’d I’d rank the fantasy Hornets.
Dwayne Bacon (who was recalled from the G-League tonight)
The Hornets are still officially in the playoff race but sit a full 7.0 games behind the No. 8 Magic, with the Wizards sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Hornets in ninth. Their season is essentially over, barring a miracle.
Nuggets 109, Bucks 95 – I’m going to try to keep it together right here, but I make no promises. The Nuggets got a freebie on Monday after Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and Eric Bledsoe (knee) were both (understandably) ruled out, which was well publicized on Rotoworld and everywhere else in plenty of time before Monday’s games. However, what wasn’t well publicized, until well after lineups locked and just before the game started, was that the Bucks would also be benching/resting Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Marvin Williams and Donte DiVincenzo, who the entire free world assumed was starting in place of Bledsoe, while Middleton was supposed to go crazy with Giannis out. None of them were on the injury report. They were all healthy. And they were all simply rested by the Bucks, which is against the rules. And yes, the team will probably be fined, but if you are reading this column there’s an excellent chance that at least one Buck in some form or fashion ruined a perfectly good Monday night for you, which just happened to coincide with the start of the fantasy playoffs for many of us. Not to mention the money we lost in DFS and legalized gambling, while you also have to think about those poor souls who paid big money in Denver to take their children to see their favorite Bucks play last night. I don’t know that there’s an answer for fixing the load management problem that is making fantasy hoops really hard to play after the All-Star break, but I won’t exactly be rooting for the Bucks any time soon. And there’s more.
The Bucks, who have lost three straight games and four of their last five, still hold a comfy 6.5-game lead on the Raptors in the East but have seen their lead over the Lakers for the league’s best record cut to just 2.5 games. And, as you know, the owner of the league’s best record gets home court advantage all the way through the playoffs. A lot of us aren’t convinced the Bucks can even get out of the East again this season and not having homecourt if they were to face the Lakers in the Finals would probably be a dagger in their championship hopes, especially if Giannis’ knee is going to be funky the rest of the way. Kyle Korver led the way for the Bucks with 23 points, Sterling Brown scored 16 points, Robin Lopez scored 11 and D.J. Wilson scored 10 points, accounting for the only Bucks in double digits last night. I hope the league throws the book at the Bucks and I’ll just leave it at that. And yes, this is the first time I’ve ever written up the losing team first in a Daily Dose recap, at least that I can remember. Hopefully the healthy scratches will be on the court going forward, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m also aware that there are a lot of important and concerning issues going on in the world right now and a guy not playing in an NBA game and killing a fantasy team is small potatoes in the big scheme of things, but it’s super annoying, nonetheless.
The Nuggets got big games from Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray, Jerami Grant, Gary Harris and Will Barton, while Nikola Jokic was quiet with his 10 points, seven boards and no blocks. Jokic has scored just 18 points on 8-of-24 shooting over his last two, but the Nuggets are going to need him to get back on track quickly. OK, rant over and I will just now stew silently for the rest of the night. Oh, and Murray had a monster dunk waived off after he was called for a ghost offensive foul that sent the crowd into a frenzy and fired the Nuggets up, helping them to pull away against the Bucks’ G-league lineup.
Raptors 101, Jazz 92 – Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka both had 27-point double-doubles and Kyle Lowry added 21 points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in the win. OG Anunoby (ejected) was quiet again and has really cooled off (which was predictable) and red-hot Norman Powell was another fantasy disaster, leaving after just two minutes with an ankle injury after a collision with Anunoby that forced him out of the game and to the locker room for the remainder of the night. Patrick McCaw played 43 minutes in his absence but scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting. Keep in mind Fred VanVleet is out with his shoulder injury and he might not play this week. McCaw could be in line for a lot more minutes this week, but as we saw on Monday, outside of his six rebounds, three steals and solid real-life defense, he was a fantasy disaster. Powell’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for his owners and the Raptors just want him healthy for the playoffs at this point.
Joe Ingles, whom my opponent in Rotoworld Live picked up at the last minute on Monday, led the Jazz with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with five rebounds, six assists, two steals and four 3-pointers in his best game off the bench this season - of course he did! Royce O’Neale scored 15 with a fun stat line, Mike Conley had 13 points, six boards, seven assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, and Donovan Mitchell was quiet with 11 points, three boards, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers on 4-of-16 shooting. Rudy Gobert was ejected for jawing with Anunoby and left after 32 minutes, but I don’t think a suspension is in the cards for either player. Bojan Bogdanovic joined Mitchell in the disappearing act and had just five points and an empty stat line in his 24 minutes, wrapping up one of the stranger and more frustrating Mondays that I can remember in NBA hoops.
I’m going to go attempt to write Buy Low, Sell High now, even though I have no idea how that’s going to turn out given that we are officially in the NBA’s silly season despite the fact teams still have about 17 games left on the schedule. It’s going to be a long month.