Anthony Davis went down, Jonas Valanciunas and Elfrid Payton went crazy, the Spurs pulled off a remarkable comeback (or the Kings had an epic meltdown), and the Celtics beat the Warriors on the road on a busy 11-game Monday. The Wizards were in play again, but I’ll try to refer to John Wall as John Wall this time, and not Agent Zero. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Raptors 94, Pelicans 87 – Nine Raptors players gave us some pretty mediocre production last night, except for the man named Jonas Valanciunas. JV has been the subject of “should I drop him?” texts, emails and tweets and my answer, for the most part, has been ‘yes.’ So it should not be surprising that he went off for 25 points, 13 rebounds and a block last night, hitting 9-of-13 shots against Boogie Cousins. JV hit rock bottom last Friday when he had two points and three rebounds in 13 minutes, and hadn’t double-doubled since Feb. 15, or a streak of six games. Which is basically around the time Serge Ibaka showed up to ruin the JV party, that wasn’t even that much of a party to begin with. I just hope you weren’t one of the folks to drop JV in the last couple days, or this one is going to sting. He’s shooting it lights-out right now, hitting 14-of-18 shots in his last two games. So the answer is now ‘no’ - keep him around and see what happens the rest of the way. DeMarre Carroll’s season of disappointment continued as he sat out with an ankle injury. P.J. Tucker started, but had just eight points in 38 minutes.
Anthony Davis burned us with a bruised left wrist after just 17 minutes. X-rays were negative and he’s simply day-to-day for now. This just further affirms the fact that the Brow should be traded in fantasy at the All-Star break, as he simply can’t stay healthy for a full season. Hopefully he’s not going to miss much time with his latest ailment. DeMarcus Cousins (25 & 10) gets a boost if AD’s going to miss time, but the only other Pelicans in double figures were E’Twaun Moore (13) and Jordan Crawford (10). Jrue Holiday had a bad night and Dante Cunningham played 26 minutes, but had just six points and five boards while filling in for Davis. I’m not picking him up. Crawford played 26 minutes and hit a couple threes, and is worth a look if you’re in a deep league with a bare waiver wire now that he’s getting meaningful run for his new team.
Editor’s Note: Golf is coming soon to FanDuel! And they’ve created the Tee Off Classic to celebrate, offering you an opportunity to win a VIP trip for 3 to play a round of golf with Jerome Bettis! Play now.
Magic 98, Bulls 91 – Elfrid Payton is out of his mind right now, posting his second straight monster triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, two steals and two blocks. He almost had one on Friday, too, and is averaging 16.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.5 steals over his last four games. The question now becomes, when will he cool off? Evan Fournier scored 20, Bismack Biyombo flopped in a start for injured Nikola Vucevic (achilles), while Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon didn’t do much besides score some points.
Jimmy Butler played through his illness, but hit just 7-of-21 shots for 21 points and nine assists. Bobby Portis has been disappointing and played just 19 minutes, while Robin Lopez had 10 points, nine boards and two blocks in 36 minutes. Dwyane Wade sat out again with a thigh injury while Joffrey Lauvergne, Rajon Rondo and Denzel Valentine all failed to impress, despite playing heavy minutes. Lauvergne has displaced Nikola Mirotic, who didn’t even get off the bench last night. The Bulls are a mess and I was expecting a lot more out of Butler the last couple games with Wade in street clothes.
Heat 108, Hornets 101 – Dion Waiters backed up Monday’s 29-point game with 24 and five 3-pointers last night, meaning he’s officially hot again. Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic double-doubled, and James Johnson came through with a stat-stuffing line despite a sore elbow. Tyler Johnson played through a shoulder injury, but struggled for six points in 22 minutes, while Josh Richardson continued to disappoint with six points on 2-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes. I’ve given up trying to figure out when Richardson will stop disappointing us. Luke Babbitt scored 12 points in 18 minutes, but there’s no reason to think about picking him up.
Kemba Walker went off for 33 points and five triples, Marvin Williams double-doubled, and Nicolas Batum played through a sprained ankle for 16 points, seven boards and four steals, but hit just 5-of-14 shots. Cody Zeller was disappointing with eight points, five boards and two blocks, but I’m still holding him as long as Frank Kaminsky (shoulder) is out. Check on Batum's status later on Thursday.
Hawks 110, Nets 105 – The Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak but struggled to beat the lowly Nets in Atlanta. Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder and Tim Hardaway Jr. all played well, and it was nice to see Schroder (31 points) avoid Mike Budenholzer’s doghouse after Monday’s meltdown. Ersan Ilyasova had 10 points, seven boards, two steals and a 3-pointer off the bench and is still worth a look in most leagues.
Sean Kilpatrick had another big game with 27 points and three 3-pointers, and it looks like the Nets are going to trust him down the stretch. If he was dropped, I like him as a pickup. Jeremy Lin continues to defy the odds and had 16 points, eight dimes and three 3-pointers, so maybe I was wrong about him. I still think he’s going to fade and the only Nets I trust right now are Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker and Kilpatrick. And I don’t really trust any of them that much.
Bucks 104, Knicks 93 – Giannis Antetokounmpo was silly with 32 points, 13 rebounds, seven dimes, four steals and two blocks, and Khris Middleton added 18 points and four 3-pointers in the win. Tony Snell scored 10 after going off for 21 points on Monday, and Malcolm Brogdon hit just 1-of-8 shots for four points in 22 minutes. He’ll bounce back. Terrence Jones didn’t get off the bench, but should be ready to start logging power forward minutes in the next one. He’s not the most trustworthy guy around, but I like the idea of holding him right now.
All five Knicks starters (Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, Willy Hernangomez, Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee) played well and it was nice to see Willy come through with 13 points, 12 boards and a block in the loss. Lance Thomas came off the bench and missed all six of his shots, so it looks like that ship has sailed.
Jazz 115, Rockets 108 – Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood all played well to help the Jazz get a very tough win, while Joe Johnson started for Derrick Favors (knee) and scored 16 points. Dante Exum started again with George Hill (toe) out, but had just five points in nine minutes. The Jazz basically ran without a point guard and went small, as Joe Ingles had a 6-5-6 line off the bench in 28 minutes. No Jazz point guards are worth using as long as Hill is out, while I’d personally cut old man Favors if I owned him. And no, I still don't trust Johnson.
James Harden scored 35 but was 0-for-8 from downtown, Clint Capela added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Eric Gordon scored 14 with two 3-pointers in a start and 40 minutes. He started with Ryan Anderson out with a back injury, but it sounds like Anderson has a chance to play over the weekend. I’m not ready to drop him just yet, but I get it if you want to cut him loose. Lou Williams has now hit just 8-of-39 shots (21%) over his last four games after a hot start to his Rockets' career. Cut him if you want to, but my guess is he gets hot again very soon. He’s getting solid minutes, so it’s just a matter of time before Lou's threes start falling again.
Timberwolves 107, Clippers 91 – Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio double-doubled and Andrew Wiggins scored 20 as the Wolves used stellar defense to knock off the Clippers. Shabazz Muhammad got loose for 17 points, while Gorgui Dieng was quiet again with seven points and nine boards, but also had four steals and two blocks. Nemanja Bjelica disappeared, missing all three of his shots and failing to score in 19 minutes. He’d scored in double figures in four straight games, so last night was disappointing. Lance Stephenson played 16 minutes after signing a 10-day with the Wolves, but I don’t see a reason to pick him up. Muhammad is always on the cusp of being worth a pickup, but never seems to be able to put it all together for long stretches at a time.
The Clips were baffled by the Wolves’ D and Chris Paul hit just 3-of-9 shots for a season-low seven points and 10 assists, while DeAndre Jordan had a 20 & 13 double-double, and Blake Griffin scored 16 in the loss. Jamal Crawford also cooled off, hitting just 2-of-9 shots for seven points after scoring 44 points over his last two.
Pacers 115, Pistons 98 – Thaddeus Young awoke from his coma for 18 points and eight boards on 9-of-14 shooting and the Pacers blew this one open in the third quarter. I’m still really down on Young and wouldn’t feel too bad if I’d recently cut him. He should fade away quickly, but if you want to pick him up, go for it. Myles Turner struggled again with eight points and five boards in 25 minutes, and is averaging just 5.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over his last five games. He also hasn’t had 10 rebounds in a game since January. C.J. Miles scored 15 with four 3-pointers and is averaging 14.4 points and 3.6 3-pointers over his last four games, making him worth a look off the wire.
Andre Drummond had a 14 & 15 double-double, Jon Leuer scored 15 and Tobias Harris had 22 points, five boards and two 3-pointers off the bench. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris combined to hit just 6-of-25 shots on a bad night for the Pistons. And Ish Smith wasn’t any better, hitting 1-of-6 shots in 25 minutes. Stanley Johnson woke up to hit 7-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for a season-high 17 points, five boards, a steal and a block. Ignore him unless he does it again tonight against the Cavaliers.
Spurs 114, Kings 104 – The Spurs got their ninth straight win despite resting Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and also overcame a 28-point deficit to beat the Kings. Wow. They won their 50th game, extending their streak of 50-win seasons to 18. Unreal. Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills (17 & 10 double-double), David Lee (18 & 10 double-double), Jonathan Simmons and Danny Green all played well in the remarkable comeback. And I don’t trust any of them.
The Kings became the first team to blow two 20-point leads this season as the tank is on. Tyreke Evans moved into the starting lineup and scored 26 points in 29 minutes, and Kosta Koufos had another double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. KK has double-doubled in four of his last five games and is worth grabbing if you need a center. Skal Labissiere hit 7-of-10 shots for 15 points, six boards and a block, but played just 15 minutes, making him tough to recommend for a pickup. Willie Cauley-Stein, Ty Lawson and Garrett Temple all played at least 24 minutes, but they all struggled, while Buddy Hield had 11 points and three 3-pointers in just 18 minutes. I thought Hield would be rolling right now, but the emergence of Evans isn’t going to help him. Lawson reportedly violated his probation and has a hearing set for March 22 in Denver, but it sounds like he’ll continue playing until then.
Wizards 123, Nuggets 113 – John Wall, not to be confused with Gilbert Arenas (wink), went off for 30 & 10, Bradley Beal scored 23 and Otto Porter Jr. bounced out of a funk with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting in 34 minutes. Porter’s been really bad lately, while Bojan Bogdanovic has been en fuego. But Bojan was really quiet in 22 minutes last night and took a backseat to Porter. The timeshare is on and both players are worth owning until further notice. Marcin Gortat bounced back with 11 points and 15 rebounds after Tuesday’s debacle, while Ian Mahinmi turned back into Ian Mahinmi, and Jason Smith didn’t even play. Both of them were great on Tuesday, which was a classic fluke. Markieff Morris had 11 points and six boards, but was ejected in the fourth quarter after kicking Mason Plumlee below the belt. Classy.
Gary Harris, Mason Plumlee, Juan Hernangomez and Wilson Chandler all played well in starts for the Nuggets. Plumlee and Hernangomez got the starts with Nikola Jokic and Danilo Gallinari both out due to illness. Jamal Murray added 17 points and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes, but there aren’t any real pickups here with Jokic and Gallo due back soon. Will Barton played 26 minutes off the bench, but was disappointing with just eight points. And Jameer Nelson managed just five points and six dimes in another start. He’s been bad, averaging just 7.8 points and 4.5 assists over his last four.
Celtics 99, Warriors 86 – The Celtics win at Oracle was the first for an Eastern Conference team this season. Al Horford (elbow) was back from a two-game absence and had 10 points, six boards and six assists, and Isaiah Thomas dropped 25 points and four 3-pointers in the win. Kelly Olynyk got loose for 17 points, five boards, five assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench. He’s shown flashes all season, but isn’t worth grabbing with Horford back. Marcus Smart hit just 1-of-8 shots for five points, Jaylen Brown played just 15 minutes off the bench, and Avery Bradley scored 12 with six boards in 30 minutes. With Bradley nearing full strength, Smart’s minutes will take a small hit. But Smart just didn’t make his shots last night. This was a big win for the Celtics who are now eyeing taking the East and winning it all.
The Warriors were a bit sloppy in this one, going 6-of-30 from downtown. Stephen Curry had 23 points and six assists, Klay Thompson scored 25 with six rebounds and Draymond Green added 13 points and a full stat line. But the Big 3 combined to hit just 5-of-23 from downtown. Andre Iguodala played 29 minutes off the bench, but had a quiet stat line. Patrick McCaw started again and had an equally quiet line, while Matt Barnes didn’t even score in 13 minutes. The Big 3 plus Iguodala are the only players worth owning for the Warriors these days.