Although many stars were sidelined on Saturday night for a variety of reasons, we were lucky enough to witness some truly historic performances in a jam-packed, 12-game slate.
The highlights included Russell Westbrook recording yet another record-setting triple-double and Anthony Davis posting one of the better statistical games in recent NBA history, on his birthday no less.
Thunder 112, Jazz 104:
In a season in which he seems to break a new record on a nightly basis, Russell Westbrook topped the great Wilt Chamberlain on Saturday. Westbrook scored 33 points, dished out 14 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win over Utah. It was his 32nd triple-double in 2016-17, passing Chamberlain (who had 31 in 1967-68) for the second-most trip-dubs in a single season. Russ also added three 3-pointers, two steals and two blocks for good measure… Victor Oladipo had another strong game, finishing with 22 points, two rebounds, four assists, and three 3-pointers. ‘Dipo has been on an incredibly efficient scoring binge since returning from a back injury earlier this week. He is averaging 19.3 points while shooting 55.3 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from 3-point range over OKC’s last three games… Taj Gibson hurt his hip in the second half, but the team announced he was available to return. He had scored 15 points with six rebounds in 22 minutes before exiting.
Saturday started off on a down note for the Jazz. Derrick Favors (knee) was ruled out for the second straight contest, and then it was announced shortly before tip-off that Rudy Gobert (right leg soreness) was a late scratch. Fortunately, Gobert is just dealing with soreness and is expected to play on Monday against the Clippers. Jeff Withey started in place of Gobert on Saturday and finished with two points, five rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. Withey can be left on waivers… George Hill (toe) did return to the lineup but had just nine points, two steals and two turnovers in 18 minutes… Gordon Hayward also struggled on Saturday. He had only nine points and three rebounds in 21 minutes. This game was a blowout for much of the second half, so Haywood was left to watch most of it from the bench... It wasn’t all negative for Utah. Dante Exum had arguably the best game of his career and took most of Hill’s minutes. Exum scored a career-high 22 points and added one rebound, one assist and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes… Alec Burks scored a season-high 21 points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes.
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Clippers 112, Sixers 100:
Chris Paul poured in a season-high 30 points to carry the Clips to a victory over Philly. CP3 also chipped in seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and four 3-pointers… Blake Griffin’s usage rate and fantasy numbers have taken a big hit since Paul returned to the lineup. Griffin had 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals on Saturday. His stats are still solid but pale in comparison to last month when he was the focal point of L.A. attack… DeAndre Jordan hauled down 20 rebounds and added 19 points, four assists, one steal and three blocks. It was the league-leading ninth time this season DJ had at least 20 rebounds. No other player in the NBA has more than six such games.
Richaun Holmes was the star of the show for Philly. He scored a career-high 24 points and added nine rebounds and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Holmes fantasy stock is surging, as he's scored in double-figures in six of his last seven games and is averaging 13.6 points (shooting 61.9 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent from downtown) and 5.9 rebounds over that stretch. He’s worth a roster spot in standard leagues… The Sixers other center also played well on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and four turnovers in 21 minutes... Dario Saric scored 16 points with five rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes… Gerald Henderson (hip) did not play and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot started in his place. TLC played a career-high 33 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. Henderson is expected to play on Sunday, so there is no need to consider snatching Luwawu-Cabarrot off waivers.
Pistons 112, Knicks 92:
Andre Drummond dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, powering the Pistons to victory over the hapless Knicks. He scored 24 points (on 10-of-12 shooting) and ripped down 15 rebounds, to go along with three steals and a block. It was the third straight game he had at least 15 boards and his 45th double-double of the season… Reggie Jackson continued his strong play, tallying scored 19 points, three rebounds, eight assists and four 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Over his last five games, R-Jax is averaging 18.6 points, 5.2 dimes, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 treys… Tobias Harris started again on Saturday and scored a season-high 28 points. He also added seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers.
Kristaps Porzingis reminded us once again why he is a unicorn. He tallied 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers and six blocks on Saturday. Remarkably, it was KP’s third career game with at least six blocks and the three treys. No other player in Knicks franchise history has ever produced even one such game… Another lackluster performance from Carmelo Anthony in this one. He ended up with 13 points, one rebound, four assists and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Amazingly, it was the fifth straight game in which Melo has played at least 35 minutes yet scored fewer than 20 points. That is the longest such streak of his career. In fact, as of last week, he never had more than two such games in succession. The good news is that the Knicks continue to play Melo heavy minutes. He should snap out of his slump sooner rather than later… Derrick Rose had been putting up solid numbers but finished with just 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, and four turnovers in 27 minutes… Chasson Randle leapfrogged Ron Baker in the rotation as Rose’s backup on Saturday. Randle scored a career-high 12 points, with three rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers in 19 minutes.
Cavs 116, Magic 104:
The Cavs relied on the best player on the planet and LeBron James delivered. LeBron triple-doubled to the tune of 24 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds. It was his ninth triple-double of the season. Surprisingly, that’s the most he’s had in any season of his illustrious career… Kyrie Irving also stuffed the stat sheet on Saturday night. Irving had 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two 3-pointers. It should be noted that Kyrie logged 36 minutes and LeBron saw 38. The Cavs play the back-end of a back-to-back on Sunday in Houston. The last time Irving and James played heavy minutes in the first game of a back-to-back, they were both rested the next night. Keep an eye on this situation Sunday… Tristan Thompson (14 points and 13 rebounds) posted a strong double-double… It was reported on Saturday that Kyle Korver (foot) will miss up to a week due to a strained tendon.
Nikola Vucevic (Achilles) had missed each of the Magic’s previous four games but showed no signs of rust on Saturday night, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds… On a related note, Bismack Biyombo was bumped back to the bench. He finished with six points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. If you scooped up Biyombo as a short-term add while Vucevic was sidelined, you can send Biz back to the waiver wire… Elfrid Payton (eight points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 34 minutes) had another solid all-around fantasy night.
Pelicans 125, Hornets 122:
It was Anthony Davis’ 24th birthday on Saturday, so he decided to give his fantasy owners a truly memorable present. Simply put, AD had a fantasy night for the ages in the Pelicans overtime victory at Charlotte. Davis scored 46 points, pulled down 21 rebounds, knocked down four 3-pointers, and dished out three assists. Read that last sentence again. That actually happened. Per Basketball Reference, Davis is the first player to score more than 45 points and corral more than 20 boards in one game since Chris Webber in January of 2001. In fact, Davis has three 40/20 games over the last three seasons, while no other NBA player has even one. Davis is also believed to be the first player in NBA history to make more than three treys in a game in which he also had 40-plus points and 20-plus rebounds. We’ll be talking about this stat line for quite a while… On the other end of the spectrum, DeMarcus Cousins had a sour night in Charlotte. He was benched for the final 9:25 of the fourth quarter and the entirety of the overtime period. Boogie finished with a disappointing 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, five fouls, and six turnovers in 25 minutes. Hopefully, Cousins handles this bump in the road professionally and bounces back in New Orleans' next game… Jrue Holiday had been struggling this week but responded with a strong outing on Saturday, tallying 15 points, 13 assists, four rebounds, and three steals… The Pelicans second-leading scorer was a guy that has been on the roster less than a week. Jordan Crawford had 19 points, six assists, five 3-pointers and zero turnovers in 27 minutes.
Marvin Williams has been an absolute beast of late and kept it going on Saturday, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers. It was his fourth double-double over the Hornets last five games, and he is averaging 14.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 blocks over that stretch. It’s unfair to ask him to keep up at this pace, but Williams has a chance to be a real difference-maker in the fantasy playoffs… Kemba Walker is also riding a nice hot streak. Kemba tallied 24 points, 12 assists, eight assists and four 3-pointers on Saturday and has now scored at least 20 points in eight straight games, the longest such streak of his career. Also, it was the 16th career game in which Walker had at least 20 points and 10 dimes, which is a new franchise record. Baron Davis, who had 15 20/10 games for Charlotte, was the previous record-holder… Nicolas Batum (24 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and four treys) was solid as usual.
Bucks 102, Timberwolves 95:
It was all about balance for the Bucks on Saturday, as Milwaukee had seven players score in double figures. Tony Snell was the team’s leading scorer with 19 points. Snell also added six boards, four 3-pointers and two steals… Khris Middleton didn’t have a great game (11 points, eight rebounds and four assists) but it is encouraging that he played 33 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back… Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points (on 6-of-15 shooting), seven assists, four rebounds and two blocks. Not up to his unusually high standards, but we’ll let the Greek Freak slide… Malcolm Brogdon (back) was sidelined again on Saturday, but the injury is believed to be minor. Matthew Dellavedova started his second straight game in place of Brogdon and finished with 16 points, four treys and two assists in 28 minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns refuses to slow down. KAT poured in 35 points (on 14-of-21 shooting) and grabbed 14 boards. He also blocked two shots and knocked down three treys. Towns has now scored at least 20 points in 20 straight games. That’s the longest active streak in the NBA. Over the Wolves last 15 contests, KAT is averaging 28.2 points (on 60.8 percent shooting) 13.5 rebounds and 1.1 3-pointers… Andrew Wiggins wasn’t able to provide the scoring support he typically delivers. Wiggins (11 points, four rebounds and one assist) was just 3-of-13 from the floor… Ricky Rubio, on the other hand, did all he could to help his stud center. Rubio matched his season-high with 22 points (on 9-of-14 shooting) and also handed out eight helpers… Other than the three players mentioned above, no other Timberwolf had more than eight points.
Heat 104, Raptors 89:
At 21-4, Miami has the best record in the NBA since Jan. 15th. Hassan Whiteside, as he has often done in Miami's many wins over the last two months, patrolled and controlled the paint. Whiteside finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks… After cooling down at the start of the month, Dion Waiters has caught fire once again. Waiters had 20 points, five assists and four treys on Saturday and is averaging 24.3 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.7 3-pointers over his last three games… The only negative news for the Heat on Saturday was seeing Goran Dragic (15 points, two rebounds and two dimes in 17 minutes) head to the locker room 41 seconds into the second half after catching an elbow in the eye from Cory Joseph. While Goran didn’t return to the game, he did return to the bench with an ice pack over his swollen eye. Fortunately, Dragic is traveling with the team to Indiana for Sunday’s game and does plan on playing.
This was an ugly loss for the Raptors. Clearly missing Kyle Lowry (wrist), Toronto had only seven assists in the entire game. That’s an NBA low for any team this season. DeMar DeRozan led the Raps with 17 points, but brought very little else to the table (four boards and two assists) and needed 16 shots to score those 17 points… Norman Powell started in place of DeMarre Carroll (ankle) and scored 14 points on 5-of-14 from the field with one rebound in 35 minutes… Jonas Valanciunas (10 points with 10 boards) double-doubled, but just barely.
Hawks 107, Grizzlies 90:
Atlanta blew Memphis out of the building, which typically results in funky box scores that don't provide much reliable information. Rookie Taurean Prince was the Hawks leading scorer, putting up a career-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, to go along with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and three triples in 31 minutes. It was just the second time this season he has scored more than 10 points. Known more for his defense; Prince likely won’t duplicate this type of performance anytime soon. He can be left on waivers… Dennis Schroder (16 points, eight assists, seven boards and three steals) had another strong outing. He is averaging 22.8 points, 5.6 dimes, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals over his last five… Schroder was backed up bay Jose Calderon, who had 14 points and one assist in 19 minutes off the bench… Dwight Howard (rest) did not play. Kris Humphries started in his stead and scored one point with eight rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes.
You would have thought Marc Gasol would have been able to take advantage of Dwight Howard's absence, but Gasol dropped a dud on Saturday, finishing with just eight points (on 3-of-11 shooting), six boards and two assists… JaMychal Green moved back into the starting lineup and played well. He scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds… Mike Conley had 16 points, five assists and a game-high five steals… Chandler Parsons (knee, rest) returned to action on Saturday but didn’t do much: five points, three assists and two rebounds in 23 minutes. It's probably time to cut Parsons loose if you haven't done so already. It's hard to imagine there isn't a more appealing option on your league's waiver wire.
Spurs 107, Warriors 85:
This game was about who didn’t play. We knew the Spurs were going to be without Kawhi Leonard (concussion), but were stunned to learn early Saturday that LaMarcus Aldridge will be out for an indefinite period due to an occurrence of a minor heart arrhythmia. This is an issue that Aldridge has dealt with previously, so he does have some familiarity with it. Back in 2011, he ended up missing only two weeks of action. San Antonio will determine Aldridge's status going forward after he undergoes a battery of tests on Monday. We will pass along an update as soon as it's available… Regarding Leonard, coach Gregg Popovich said Kawhi is progressing through the league's concussion protocol and that he is hopeful Leonard will be cleared to return Monday against Atlanta… The Spurs were also without Tony Parker (back) and Dejounte Murray (groin) on Saturday. Patty Mills started at point guard and poured in a team-high 21 points, adding four assists, two boards and five treys… Pau Gasol (10 points, seven boards, three assists, five turnovers) was surprisingly quiet in his 20 minutes… Kyle Anderson had a solid around effort. Slo Mo started and had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes.
As it turns out, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are pretty valuable to the Warriors. With Golden State having played Friday night and having played eight games over 13 days, coach Steve Kerr decided to sit four of his best players on Saturday. The result was a whopping at the hands of the Spurs second unit… The Warriors futility was best highlighted by Pat McCaw, who missed all 12 of his field goal attempts. McCaw played a career-high 42 minutes but managed just two points, two rebounds and an assist. Golden State’s other starting guard, Shaun Livingston, was 1-of-7 from the floor. Thus, “The Splat Brothers” were a combined 1-of-18 (5.3 percent)… Ian Clark, on the other hand, took advantage of the top guns day off. Clark scored a career-high 36 points and tacked on five rebounds and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes.
Suns 100, Mavericks 98:
Devin Booker carried the Suns past the finish line on Saturday. Not did he score a game-high 36 points, he scored Phoenix's last eight points, including a buzzer-beater to seal the victory. Booker tacked on five rebounds and two assists… Eric Bledsoe struggled through another disappointing evening. He was just 4-of-16 from the floor and finished with 12 points, six assists and two rebounds. After the game, coach Earl Watson said Bledsoe “has been limping with a knee injury recently, so we're going to make sure we keep track of that." This knee issue is trending in the wrong direction. The Suns play again on Sunday, so we should have an update fairly soon… Tyler Ulis didn’t put up huge numbers (eight points, five assists and three boards) but did log 28 minutes off the bench. Ulis has emerged as Bledsoe’s handcuff and is a strong plug-and-play option if Bledsoe misses any time… Alex Len (hip) did not play, so the Suns shifted Marquese Chriss (five points and eight rebounds) to center. This created an opening for Derrick Jones Jr., who was slotted into the starting lineup. However, Jones failed to impress, finishing with just two points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
Mr. 30,000 still has some gas left in the tank it seems. Dirk Nowitzki put up another solid line on Saturday, scoring 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and adding 11 boards. Over his last four games, Dirk is averaging 19.8 points and 9.5 rebounds, while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor, 44.4 percent from downtown and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe… Harrison Barnes had seven boards and tied Dirk for the team-high with 23 points. Barnes was just 5-of-16 from the floor but matched a career-high by converting 13 of his 14 free-throw attempts… Seth Curry came into this contest averaging 22.0 points per game over his last six games but laid an egg in this one. Curry missed seven of the eight shots he attempted and finished with just three points, three boards and three assists… Nerlens Noel (sore left knee) missed his second straight game, but coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs are hoping he can play Monday.
Nuggets 105, Kings 92:
Nikola Jokic posted his sixth straight double-double on Saturday by tallying 20 points and 14 rebounds. He only had two assists, but we won’t hold it against him… Gary Harris (24 points, three boards, two assists, two steals, two treys) was Denver’s leading scorer… Danilo Gallinari had 15 points and five rebounds… Jamal Murray had 14 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes, including a handful of clutch buckets in the fourth quarter… Mason Plumlee packed plenty of stats (eight points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three blocks) into his 21 minutes of action.
Buddy Hield led the Kings in scoring with 17 points and added six rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Hield has now scored in double figures in six straight games, the longest such streak of his career… Willie Cauley-Stein played five more minutes than any other King on Saturday. He finished 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and three turnovers in 35 minutes. Due to his consistent playing time, WCS has become a more reliable fantasy option. Cauley-Stein is averaging 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 34.2 minutes over his last five… Tyreke Evans returned to action after resting on Friday and scored 16 points with three rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. The Kings play four times next week, but that includes a back-to-back set, which means Evans will likely only suit up for three of those games.
Wizards 125, Blazers 124:
The Wizards were down 21 at the half and needed every second of overtime to pull out a thrilling victory in Portland. With the win, Washington overtook the Celtics for second place in the Eastern Conference. John Wall led the way on Saturday, scoring 39 points with nine assists, two boards, five turnovers and three 3-pointers. Wall has scored at least 25 points in four consecutive contests and is averaging a whopping 29.8 points and 11.3 dimes over that span… Bradley Beal was also effective and efficient in Portland. Beal had 26 points (on 9-of-18 shooting), six assists and five 3-pointers. In the 10 games the Wiz have played since the All-Star break, Beal is averaging 28.3 points while shooting a scorching 53.6 percent from the floor… Otto Porter had 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers… Markieff Morris, who nailed the game-winner with less than a second left in overtime (after the refs missed him stepping out of bounds) finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
This was a tough loss for the Blazers to swallow. However, the Portland backcourt did their best to keep pace with their counterparts from Washington. Damian Lillard scored 33 points with three rebounds, seven assists and four 3-pointers. C.J. McCollum tallied 34 points, six assists and five 3-pointers… Jusuf Nurkic came back down to earth on Saturday, scoring seven points with seven rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 28 minutes. However, Nurk’s numbers in Portland are still staggering, and he’s locked and loaded to make a significant impact over the final month of the season.