The Magic pulled off a comeback win over the Hawks with an explosive second half and a season-high 135 points, Jordan Clarkson went off for the Jazz in the absence of Mike Conley, and Domantas Sabonis had his fourth triple-double of the season for the Pacers, who have now lost six straight games.
Magic 135, Hawks 126 – The Magic pulled off a second-half comeback, scoring 79 points after the break and 42 points in the fourth quarter of the win. The Magic hit a season-high 18 3-pointers, shot nearly 53 percent from the floor and scored a season high in points this season. It’s not surprising all this goodness happened against the Hawks, who aren’t exactly known for their defense. Aaron Gordon (26 & 9), Nikola Vucevic (24-9-9), Evan Fournier (22 points), Terrence Ross (21 points, five 3-pointers) all went off for the Magic, and Markelle Fultz added 13 points and eight assists.
The Hawks were playing the second half of a back-to-back and looked pretty good early before running out of gas. Trae Young led the way for the Hawks with 29 points and nine assists, hitting 7-of-19 shots and 3-of-11 3-pointers. Five of his misses from downtown came from more than 30 feet, but Lloyd Pierce isn’t about to reel him in. “He’s proven he can make those shots,” he said. “Sometimes he takes them a little too early for my liking, but we’re looking for that balance of when to take it and when to execute.” John Collins had a streak of 20 &10 games stopped at five with 22 points and eight boards, while De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Dewayne Dedmon and Cam Reddish all barely scored in double figures. Dedmon and Hunter look like solid adds right now, while Reddish is worth keeping an eye on. Dedmon will take a hit once Clint Capela (heel) is cleared after the break.
Jazz 123, Mavericks 119 – Jordan Clarkson led the way off the bench with 25 points, eight assists and four 3-pointers, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 23, and Rudy Gobert hit all seven shots for 17 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Joe Ingles hit 2-of-8 shots for seven points, eight assists and three steals on a night that Mike Conley was rested. And Conley’s rest was also a big reason why Clarkson was so good. The Jazz hit a season-high 59 percent of their shots.
Luka Doncic (ankle) was out again but is hoping to play on Wednesday so he’ll be allowed to play in the All-Star Game. My guess is he’ll play in that one, but I just hope he’s not rushing back too early. Tim Hardaway Jr. got hot and hit 12-of-18 shots and five 3-pointers for a season-high 33 points and has scored in double figures in five straight games, hitting 16 3-pointers in them. He’ll also take a bit of a hit once Luka is back. Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points, three 3-pointers, a steal and two blocks in his return from a rest, while most of the other Mavs struggled in the loss. Willie Cauley-Stein only played five minutes and he’s been tough to use since landing in Dallas.
Nets 106, Pacers 105 – The Nets beat the Pacers in one of the games of the night as eight of the Nets nine players scored in double figures. Spencer Dinwiddie led the way with 21 points and 11 assists, also hitting the game-winning shot with 5.2 seconds left. He hit just 4-of-15 shots but salvaged his line by hitting 13-of-15 free throws. DeAndre Jordan came off the bench for 11 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks, and Caris LeVert filled the stat sheet with 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, but also hit just 4-of-13 shots and committed six turnovers. LeVert gets a pass due to how well he’s been playing for the Nets and saw his streak of 20-point games stopped at three. Jordan has quietly turned it on in February and is averaging 10.4 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in his five games. Dinwiddie looked great without Kyrie Irving (knee) around and we still don’t know exactly when we’ll see Irving again.
Domantas Sabonis went off for a 23-10-11 triple-double, his fourth of the season, hitting 11-of-15 shots, T.J. Warren scored 19, Myles Turner had 15 points, five boards, zero blocks and two 3-pointers, and Victor Oladipo continues to struggle with his shot, hitting 5-of-14 for 12 points, four boards and three assists in the loss. The reeling Pacers have now lost six straight games, and while no one in Indy will say it out loud, it’s probably not a coincidence that Dipo has been back for seven games, playing in six of them. I love Dipo, but he hasn’t played well and has disrupted the Pacers’ rotation. Hopefully they figure it all out before the playoffs.
Raptors 137, Timberwolves 126 – OG Anunoby is one of the most frustrating fantasy players to own, bouncing between disappearing acts and the occasional monster night, teasing owners all the way. With Serge Ibaka (illness) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) out last night, Anunoby went crazy with a career-high 25 points, 12 boards, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers in the most fantasy-friendly game of the night. Pascal Siakam, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (season-high 21), Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet all went off for the Raptors. You know who didn’t go off? Chris Boucher, who some of us thought might go off with the Raptors’ big men all out. He had six points, two rebounds and nothing else in 13 minutes. Duly noted. The Raps have now won 15 straight games. RHJ started for Ibaka and had his best game of the season.
The Wolves lost another one but got a huge 23-10-7-1-1-3 stat line from Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell scored 22 with four triples, and Juancho Hernangomez, Malik Beasley and Jarrett Culver all scored 15 points in the loss. Beasley and Hernangomez are both worth grabbing now that they’re starting for their new team. And even though Russell is “super excited” about his new teammates, the Wolves committed a season-high 23 turnovers. The Wolves also had their winning streak stopped at two games. Since starting the season off 3-0 they’ve managed just three more two-game winning streaks this season and are 16-36 on the year. But at least KAT is playing well.
Bucks 123, Kings 111 – Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed home on baby watch so Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez all scored at least 20 points in a comeback win over the Kings. Giannis is still iffy for Wednesday at Indiana after the birth of his son, Liam (congratulations!) on Monday. Ersan Ilyasova started for him and hit 3-of-10 shots for seven points, eight boards, a 3-pointer, a steal and a block, while Donte DiVincenzo was mildly disappointing with 10 points, four rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers in the win. Sterling Brown filled the stat sheet with 11 points, six boards, two assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers, which wasn’t only a fluke, but also hurt D.D. The Bucks are somehow 5-0 without Giannis this season and hold the league’s best record at 46-7.
The Kings De’Aaron Fox flirted with a triple-double with 17 points, eight boards, 11 assists, a block and two 3-pointers, Harrison Barnes led the way with 23 points and five triples, Nemanja Bjelica filled the stat sheet with a fun 16-8-2-1-1-2 line, Bogdan Bogdanovic also scored 16, and Buddy Hield had 15 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers off the bench. With Marvin Bagley’s (foot) return this season in question and Richaun Holmes still out with his shoulder injury, Bjelica is a must-own player the rest of the way. After seemingly losing his way over the last few weeks, Barnes has scored 25 and 23 points in each of his last two games. Jabari Parker sat again but could play on Wednesday, and his return could hurt the streaking Barnes.
Nuggets 127, Spurs 120 – The Nuggets overcame a 23-point deficit to come back and win on Monday. Jamal Murray, still bothered by a sore left ankle, had 26 points and six assists, Nikola Jokic had 19 points,13 rebounds and a block, Paul Millsap had 22 points, seven boards, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers in just 19 minutes off the bench, and Monte Morris scored 16 off the bench with four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes, also off the bench. Millsap’s return has hurt Jerami Grant and he had just eight points and five boards, despite starting and playing 30 minutes. Don’t be surprised if Millsap overtakes Grant as the starter some time soon. Will Barton was out with a knee injury and Torrey Craig scored 11 with seven rebounds in the start, while Gary Harris stayed quiet with eight points and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Murray’s ankle was really bothering him, and he considered sitting out the second half, but stuck it out and scored 14 in the fourth quarter after a quick phone call to his father at halftime. Hopefully he’ll play against the Lakers on Wednesday before getting some rest over the All-Star break.
The Spurs got a 33-6-5 line from LaMarcus Aldridge, who hit four 3-pointers, while Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills and Trey Lyles all scored between 10 and 15 points in the loss. Murray was fun with 14 points, six rebounds, nine assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, as DeMar DeRozan was a late scratch with back spasms, giving the rest of the roster a usage boost. The only Spurs I really trust are Aldridge and DeRozan, when he’s playing. The Spurs have lost five straight and are at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night as their eight-game rodeo road trip continues. The Spurs are now 5.0 games behind the Grizzlies (and Blazers) for the No. 8 seed in the West and with three more tough road games on the horizon, their playoff dreams could be coming to an end. They’re 2.5 games behind the No. 9 Blazers and sit tied with the Pelicans, who are trying to make a playoff push of their own.
Heat 113, Warriors 101 – Jimmy Butler (shoulder) was back and had a 21-10-5-4-1 stat line, Bam Adebayo flirted with another triple-double with 13 points, 11 boards, seven assists and two steals, Duncan Robinson stayed hot with 17 points and five triples, and Jae Crowder kept it going with 21 points, eight boards, three steals and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes off the bench. Goran Dragic added 15 points and six dimes, while Derrick Jones Jr. and Kendrick Nunn were both quiet in the win. Nunn’s really struggling right now, hitting just 17-of-67 shots over his last four games, while Dragic has been hot. I’m a bit shocked at how well Crowder is playing for his new team and it’s possible that he just needed a change of scenery. He’s averaging 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 4.5 3-pointers in his two games with the Heat. Pick him up before he cools off, as the Heat’s schedule goes 2-4-4 over the next three weeks. Kelly Olynyk also turned some heads with 12 points, six boards, a career-high 11 assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers off the bench. Olynyk, Robinson and Crowder are all worth a look off waivers, while Andre Iguodala had just two points in 17 minutes off the bench, but the Heat were +25 with him on the floor.
The Warriors were led by Damion Lee’s 26 points and five 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins scored 18, Marquese Chriss had 17 points, nine boards, two steals and a block, and Draymond Green returned from a one-game rest with five points, nine rebounds, nine assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. Ky Bowman was a disaster, hitting 1-of-5 shots for two points in just 15 minutes, while the Warriors bench was a G-League special, with only Jordan Poole hitting double digits with 12 points and six boards on 3-of-11 shooting in 31 minutes. Lee looks like a pickup, while there were no reports of an injury to Bowman.
Lakers 125, Suns 100 – Anthony Davis led the way with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block, LeBron James added 17 points, eight boards, nine assists, a steal, three 3-pointers and eight turnovers, Rajon Rondo had a season-high 23 points, six assists and four triples, and Dwight Howard had 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench in the win. Rondo was fun last night, but I still don’t trust him as long as LeBron is playing. Speaking of LeBron, he's considering playing for the Olympic Team, if his body will allow it.
The Suns got just 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting from Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges led the way with 18 points and a fun stat line, Ricky Rubio had 13 points and five dimes, and starter Cheick Diallo hit 7-of-9 shots for 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and a block, filling in for Deandre Ayton (left ankle) and Dario Saric (left ankle). Kelly Oubre came off the bench for 10 points and Jevon Carter had 13 points and three 3-pointers, also off the bench. Oubre was reportedly benched for missing a team bus. Cam Johnson started and had eight points and three steals, but Oubre should be back in the starting unit for the next one. If Ayton misses Wednesday’s home game against Golden State, Diallo should be a sneaky DFS play.
Hornets 87, Pistons 76 – The Hornets one behind a balanced attack in a very low-scoring game on Monday, led by Miles Bridges’ 18 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers, while Malik Monk added 17 points, two 3-pointers and three steals off the bench. Monk is relevant again and has scored in double figures in five of his February games. Devonte’ Graham had a fun stat line with 14 points, seven boards, 11 assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, Terry Rozier struggled, and Cody Zeller had six points, 10 rebounds and a block in the win. That brutal stretch of bad weekly schedules is over for the Hornets so don’t be afraid to pick any of them up if you’re interested.
The Pistons had the dog box score of the night, led by Thon Maker’s 12 points, career-high 12 boards, a steal and two blocks, while Christian Wood, Bruce Brown (10 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists) and Markieff Morris each scored 10 points. Reggie Jackson hit just 2-of-11 shots for eight points and three assists in the loss. Wood is still a must-own player, but Maker’s trending up, averaging 12.7 points, 7.3 boards, 1.7 blocks and a 3-pointer per game over his last three. He might end up being one of the biggest draft-day winners with the Andre Drummond trade to Cleveland.