LeBron James and Kyle Lowry both got the night off to rest, Aaron Gordon, John Wall and Damian Lillard all had massive outings and Joe Johnson made his debut for the Miami Heat on a busy seven-game Sunday. The only major storyline of the day was that Danilo Gallinari (ankle) said that he expects to miss 3-4 weeks of action, so be on the lookout for my “The Week Ahead” article on Monday where I will break down the fantasy implications of his injury and more. With that said, let’s take a brief look at the action from Sunday.
Wizards 113, Cavaliers 91
LeBron James sat this one out for rest purposes, but I’m afraid that this likely won’t be the last maintenance day he has this season. The Cavs are comfortably in first place in the East, so their top priority will be to keep him fresh for the postseason. Kyrie Irving was basically the only Cavalier to step up in the blowout loss, scoring 28 points with six assists and four treys and he should have no problem being a top-20 player moving forward. Kevin Love was very quiet with 12 points and five boards, but the lopsided score explains the low minutes (24).
Richard Jefferson started in place of LeBron and had 10 points and five boards, but he shouldn’t be picked up anywhere. J.R. Smith only had eight points in 18 minutes, but let’s be honest, his owners should just be thankful that the Cavs didn’t sign Joe Johnson. Timofey Mozgov double-doubled with 10 points, 10 boards and two blocks, but he also had four turnovers. Ignore him.
John Wall led the Wizards with a massive double-double, scoring 21 points with 13 assists and seven boards. Washington has now won three out of their last four games and are just two losses behind the Bulls for the eighth seed. Bradley Beal said this weekend that he has no idea what his minutes restriction is, but he only needed to play 26 minutes tonight due to the blowout, finishing with 17 points and two treys. If the Wizards can keep their postseason hopes alive, Beal will benefit the most.
Marcin Gortat (13 points, nine rebounds) and Otto Porter (21 points, four 3-pointers) both looked great and should be mid-round players going forward. Markieff Morris’ struggles continued with just nine points and three boards in 21 minutes, and he was only averaging 6.4 points and 5.0 boards as a Wizard prior to Sunday. It’s time to throw in the towel on Morris’ fantasy outlook.
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Hawks 87, Hornets 76
Al Horford led the Hawks to a massive win with 13 points, 16 boards, six assists and a 3-pointer, while Paul Millsap added 13 points and five boards on 6-of-11 shooting. The Hawks are in fifth place in the East, so they don’t have the luxury of resting Horford and Millsap down the stretch like they did last season. Their fantasy owners won’t mind that, though.
Jeff Teague wasn’t great with 10 points and nine assists, as he had a game-high five turnovers. Regardless, this is still Teague’s team and he was coming off a 19-point performance vs. the Bulls with nine dimes. Dennis Schroder again showed that he’s still nothing more than a stash with just eight points and three assists in 15 minutes, and it’s safe to say that he’s not taking Teague’s spot in the lineup any time soon. Kyle Korver’s roller coaster of a season continued with just four points in 22 minutes, while Kent Bazemore had his second productive outing in a row with 14 points, six boards, three assists and two treys. Bazemore is the wing you want to own in Atlanta.
The Hornets box score is difficult to look at, and you could argue that Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lin were the only players who had a productive night. Williams finished with 16 points, nine boards and four treys, while Lin had 15 points off the bench in just 21 minutes. Cody Zeller had just six points and seven boards, and it’s probably just a matter of time before Al Jefferson replaces him in the starting lineup. Big Al had six points and seven boards as well, but I’ll take him over Zeller any day.
Kemba Walker finished with nine points on 3-of-15 shooting, but he gets a pass here because he has put the Hornets on his back all season and has been a top-20 player in standard leagues. He should’ve been an All-Star, as well. Nicolas Batum also struggled with two points on 1-of-6 shooting with not much else, while rookie Frank Kaminsky had another pathetic line with just four points on 2-of-6 shooting. He’s been awful and one of his 3-point attempts hit the top of the backboard tonight…
Pistons 114, Raptors 101
Andre Drummond led the Pistons with his 13th double-double in a row, scoring 15 points with 18 boards. He didn’t even play in the fourth quarter because the Pistons took care of business early, but as usual he shot just 3-of-8 from the line. Tobias Harris needed just 25 minutes to score 14 points with seven boards, and the move to Detroit is proving to be great for his value. He could be a top-50 player moving forward…
Reggie Jackson had an efficient 19 points with eight assists, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had another productive game with 16 points, five assists and a triple. Former D-League stud Justin Harper had nine points (three 3-pointers) in 15 minutes, but he’s not on the radar yet. The Pistons have won four straight games and Drummond, Harris, Jackson and KCP all look like they are poised for a strong finish to the season.
Fresh off a 43-point performance in a huge win over the Cavs on Friday, Kyle Lowry got the night off for rest purposes. He’s not injured and hopefully this won’t be a common thing for him down the stretch. Cory Joseph drew the start in his place but struggled with foul trouble, scoring 10 points with two assists in 20 minutes. The Raptors were forced to turn to rookie Delon Wright because of Joseph’s foul trouble and he actually played really well, scoring 13 points with six assists, three boards, one steal and two treys in 31 minutes. Unless Lowry sits again, leave Wright on the wire.
DeMar DeRozan played through an illness on his way to 20 points, seven assists and four boards, while Terrence Ross erupted off the bench for 27 points and four treys. He was averaging just 11.6 points in February prior to Sunday, so I would need to see him do it again. Keep in mind that he soaked up a bunch of Lowry’s touches.
Blazers 111, Pacers 102
The Blazers may be one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, as they have won 13 out of their last 15 games. This was supposed to be a rebuilding season, but Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been playing out of their minds. Lillard has scored 30 or more points in seven out of his last eight outings and had 33 points tonight, adding five boards and five triples. McCollum chipped in with 19 points, three assists and two treys, and both players are obviously going to finish strong.
Mason Plumlee (one point, eight boards), Allen Crabbe (three points) and Noah Vonleh (five points, two boards) were all quiet, but Meyers Leonard had 17 points off the bench with four triples and Gerald Henderson had 19 points. Unless they do it again, I’m not interested.
Myles Turner finally had a quiet night with just eight points, eight boards and one block, shooting just 4-of-12 from the field. He’s been a top-70 player over the past two weeks, so there’s no reason to panic. George Hill must finally be getting over his elbow injury, as he scored 14 points with six boards and five assists. Paul George had his worst game in a while with just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting, adding just four boards, two assists, two steals and three turnovers. He was averaging 24.0 points per game in February prior to this dud, so cut him some slack. Monta Ellis added 18 points and five assists and Jordan Hill had 15 points and five boards.
Magic 130, 76ers 116
It wasn’t a marquee matchup by any means, but I probably enjoyed this game the most. Evan Fournier sat out with a sore right wrist, opening the door for Mario Hezonja to start. The rookie had 13 points with three assists and two treys in 27 minutes, but Fournier is day-to-day and the Magic aren’t going to give Mario big minutes until they are out of the playoff hunt. Aaron Gordon had a career night with 22 points, seven boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks and two triples and he is going to be an absolute beast the rest of the way. Over his last five games, Gordon has been a top-25 player with averages of 15.8 points, 9.0 boards, 2.8 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.2 steals and 1.0 3-pointers on 52.6 percent shooting. Stud…
Nikola Vucevic dominated his former team for 28 points and six boards, while Victor Oladipo also had 28 points with a couple of treys. Dipo is a ton of fun to own when he’s not in Scott Skiles’ doghouse… Elfrid Payton double-doubled with 11 points, 10 assists and one steal, and I still think he’s the PG you want to own in Orlando. As for Brandon Jennings, he struggled again with three points in just 16 minutes.
Nerlens Noel played through a leg issue in the loss, but he didn’t look great with 10 points and three boards in 19 minutes. Knowing the 76ers, it’s still a good sign that he was allowed to play and he should be fine. Jahlil Okafor was solid with 26 points, but he only managed to pull in three boards and didn’t have any blocks. Ish Smith (17 points, seven assists) and Robert Covington (14 points, five boards) both played well, but Jerami Grant was fantastic with 13 points, eight boards, three steals and five blocks. Grant is a unique talent and is a fun player to own if you don’t mind his poor shooting percentages.
Mavericks 128, Wolves 101
The game was a blowout, so there were not a lot of fantasy implications in this one. Chandler Parsons needed just 26 minutes to score 29 points, adding six boards, four assists and four 3-pointers. He was painful to watch earlier in the season when he was limited by his knee, but now he’s consistently flirting with early-round value. Dirk Nowitzki only played 17 minutes due to foul trouble, finishing with 10 points, four boards and two treys. Zaza Pachulia had just six points and seven boards and has lost a lot of steam, so you have to wonder if all those minutes earlier in the season are catching up to him. Deron Williams added 10 points and nine assists while Wesley Matthews had 15 points and a few triples.
Zach LaVine started for the second straight game which will hopefully be the norm going forward, scoring 10 points with nine boards, four assists, two steals and one 3-pointer on 3-of-14 shooting. His shot was off tonight, but I have a feeling that he’s going to be a stud down the stretch. Shabazz Muhammad dropped 24 points in the loss, but the lopsided score was definitely the main reason why. Andrew Wiggins had 15 points, Ricky Rubio had 14 points and five assists and Gorgui Dieng scored nine points with nine boards and two blocks. Karl-Anthony Towns managed to double-double in 25 minutes with 12 points and 11 boards, but he will be so much better than this on most nights.
Heat 98, Knicks 81
Joe Johnson made his Heat debut in the win and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with three boards, three assists and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. This line will probably be pretty close to what Johnson will end up averaging in Miami, so obviously there is not a lot to be excited about. Justise Winslow moved to the bench and a grabbed a career-high 13 boards with four assists, but he failed to score on four shot attempts. He still played 36 minutes and the Heat only used an eight-man rotation, so his role should still be pretty stable with Johnson around.
Dwyane Wade looked healthy on his way to 26 points, seven boards, six assists and two steals, while Goran Dragic finished with 13 points and six assists. Hassan Whiteside had yet another double-double with 15 points, 11 boards, three steals and two blocks, and Luol Deng joined in on the fun with 15 points of his own, adding seven boards, two assists and one steal. The Heat have still not provided an update on Chris Bosh (blood clots) which leads me to believe that his season is likely over, so Wade, Dragic, Deng and Whiteside will all continue to pick up the slack.
Aaron Afflalo tweaked his thigh and sat out of this one which allowed Langston Galloway to draw a start. He was pretty disappointing with seven points, five boards and four assists, though he did have four steals. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis were both held out of Saturday’s practice as a precaution, but they both played in this one. Anthony was solid with 25 points and seven boards, but I’d hate to own him because the shut-down risk due to his knee is very real. Porzingis only played 22 minutes due to foul trouble, finishing with nine points, eight boards and four blocks. I still love his outlook the rest of the way and he is one of my favorite players to target in keeper leagues. Robin Lopez stepped up with 14 points, 14 boards and three blocks, while Lance Thomas chipped in with 12 points off the bench.