Saturday's stacked 11-game slate provided plenty of highlights, including a record-breaking night for Marcus Smart in Boston, a near 40-point trip-dub by Devin Booker, a virtuoso performance from Kawhi Leonard, and a 42-point explosion from Zach LaVine.
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Kawhi Leonard remained red hot Saturday afternoon, as he poured in 39 points (15-of-28 shooting) and tacked on six rebounds, six assists, five steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. Remarkably, he has scored 30+ points in five straight games and averaged 36 points per contest during this stretch. These 180 points are the most in a five-game span in his career. Oh, and the Klaw is also averaging 5.6 boards, 4.8 boards, 2.8 steals, and 3.0 treys while shooting 58% from the floor, 43% from downtown and 86% from the stripe during this five-game stretch.
Lonzo Ball messed around and recorded another triple-double on Saturday, tallying 18 points, ten rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, one block, six turnovers and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes. It was his third trip-dub over the last eight days, and he has dished out at least seven dimes in each of the Pels' last eight games. Derrick Favors was a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor and racked up an impressive double-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal in 28 minutes. Dating back to Thursday night, Favors has incredibly converted 19 consecutive field goal attempts.
Devin Booker was in Beastmode in Beantown Saturday. Book just missed a 40-point trip-dub (which would have been his first career triple-double) by scoring 39 points, grabbing ten rebounds and dishing out nine dimes in 41 minutes in a Suns victory. The dude clearly loves playing the Celtics in Boston. Here are the numbers over his last four road games vs. the C's dating back to 2017:
* 70 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
* 38 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
* 25 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists
* 39 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists
Deandre Ayton posted a monster double-double of his own by matching a season-high with 26 points to go along with 15 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. Ayton was just 8-of-22 from the floor, but he did convert 10 of his 11 FT attempts. That's three straight double-doubles for the big man, including a mutant 26-point, 21-rebound performance Thursday night. He's hitting his stride now and will be a fantasy monster going forward.
Coming into Saturday night, Marcus Smart had never scored more than 26 points in an NBA game and had never made more than seven treys. The Celtics all-time record for made 3-pointers in a game was nine. Well, Smart changed all that by pouring in 37 points and knocking down 11 triples. Smart tacked on five rebounds, seven assists and four steals in 33 minutes. He joined Klay Thompson as just the second player in NBA history with more than ten treys and at least four steals in a single game.
With both Kemba Walker (sore left knee) and Jaylen Brown (sprained right thumb), the Celtics also needed Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward to step up. Tatum tallied 26 points, ten rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block, and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Hayward heaped on 22 points, seven boards, and seven dimes.
Andre Drummond was utterly dominant on both ends of the floor Saturday night, racking up 16 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, five steals, and a block in only 27 minutes, powering the Pistons to a 136-103 demolition of Atlanta. The Hawks, who had reportedly discussed trading for Drummond, got a glimpse of what could have been. Derrick Rose was brilliant as well for Detroit, scoring 27 points (on 12-of-17 shooting from the field) two rebounds, nine assists, one steal, one turnover and one 3-pointer in just 26 minutes. Remarkably, Rose has now scored 20+ points in 11 consecutive contests, the longest such streak since MVP campaign in 2011. Rose is always an injury risk, but he's jumped up into the top-85 in nine-category leagues this season.
Fred VanVleet (right hamstring strain) returned from five-game absence Saturday and showed absolutely no signs of rust. FVV was super-efficient on the offensive end, pouring in 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting, with four rebounds, two assists, four steals and seven 3-pointers in 29 minutes. His backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry, added 28 points (10-of-17 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), seven rebounds, two assists, five trifectas and one steal.
D'Angelo Russell snapped out of a mini-slump by scoring 26 points and dishing out a season-high 12 dimes in a win over Orlando. DAR also added two steals and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes.
Andrew Wiggins recorded the first triple-double of his career on Saturday, racking up 18 points, ten rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 36 minutes. Unfortunately, the Wolves still lost and Wiggy was just 6-of-14 from the floor. Jarrett Culver looked great on Saturday, capturing a career-high 26 points (8-of-16 FGs, 6-of-9 FTs) with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers. That's 11 straight games in double figures for JC, and with Jeff Teague in Atlanta, Culver's fantasy stock is most definitely on the rise.
Zach LaVine scored 21 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter to carry Chicago to a wild comeback win over the Cavs on Saturday. Chicago was down 15 points down in the fourth quarter but outscored Cleveland 31-14 in the final frame. In addition to his 42 points, LaVine added six rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and a career-high five steals in 39 minutes. He's been simply superb in January, averaging 30.6 (on 50% shooting) 5.1 boards, 4.3 dimes, and 1.9 steals.
LeBron James did LeBron James things in Saturday's win over the Rockets, totaling 31 points, five rebounds, 12 dimes, two steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. It was LeBron's 17th game with at least 12 assists this season, and we're only halfway through 2019-20. He'll shatter his previous career-high of 20 12-assist games set back in 2017-18. The league's leader in dishing shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Russell Westbrook racked up 35 points (15-of-23 FGs, 5-of-9 FTs), nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 40 minutes in a loss to the Lakers. James Harden scored 34 points (8-of-20 FGs, 16-of-18 FTs) with six rebounds, seven assists, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. The problem was no other Rocket scored more than 13 points or had more than three dimes.
Rudy Gobert was brilliant on both ends of the floor in Saturday's beatdown of the Kings. Not only did he rip down 15 rebounds, swat three shots and add two steals, Gobert also poured in 28 points on a nearly perfect 9-of-11FGs and 10-of-11 FTs.
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On the Radar:
In addition to all of the on-court action Saturday night, we had a multi-player deal go down as well, with the Blazers sending Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two future second-round picks to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan. This was mostly a financial move, as the Blazers shed salary and reduced their luxury tax bill. The trade is not expected to be official until Tuesday.
From a fantasy perspective, Ariza is a winner here. Instead of having to fight for minutes against a bevy of wings and forwards in Sacramento, he joins a Blazers team that has been decimated by injuries up front. If Ariza can knock down some open corner 3's, he could have some value in Portland. Remember, Ariza averaged over two made treys per game last season, to go along with 1.3 steals, and finished the year inside the top-100 overall in nine-cat formats. Bazemore and Toliver didn't have much fantasy value with the Blazers and will have even less once they arrive in Sacramento.
Lou Williams poured in 32 points with four rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes against the Pelicans on Saturday. He had a huge offensive rebound with under a minute left his 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining sealed the win for LA. Montrezl Harrell scored 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting but had just two rebounds and nothing else.
J.J. Redick (hamstring) returned from a three-game absence and looked good on Saturday, scoring 19 points with two rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Jaxson Hayes contributed 14 points, five rebounds, a career-high four assists and one block in 16 minutes off the bench. Hayes has plenty of talent and upside, but will have a difficult time carving out consistent minutes, especially once Zion Williamson finally makes his debut on Wednesday. Brandon Ingram was just 7-of-18 from the floor with four TO's, but he did add seven boards and six dimes.
The Bucks only needed Giannis Antetokounmpo to log 25 minutes in their blowout of the Nets on Saturday. The Greek Freak still managed to compile 29 points (12-of-20 FGs), 12 rebounds, four assists, one steal, two 3-pointers and eight turnovers. Brook Lopez had 12/7/4 and swatted five shots in 26 minutes. Khris Middleton finished with 20 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) with four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes.
Kyrie Irving was just 6-of-15 from the field for his 17 points to go along with six rebounds, six assists, four steals and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. The Nets are now 5-10 in the 15 games Kyrie has appeared in this season. The Nets are 13-13 in the 26 games he's missed. Nicolas Claxton saw an uptick in playing time with DeAndre Jordan (finger) sidelined and scored a career-high 14 points with six rebounds, one assist and three blocks in 19 minutes.
Mikal Bridges had the best game of his young career on Saturday, shooting 10-of-13 from the field for a career-high 26 points with three rebounds, two steals, two blocks, no turnovers and a career-high six 3-pointers in 40 minutes. With Kelly Oubre (concussion) sidelined, Borsged has now logged over 32 minutes in three straight games. Dario Saric (13/11/5) was solid. Ricky Rubio had 8/5/9 but was just 2-of-9 from the floor with five turnovers.