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Giannis Antetokounmpo
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Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: Greatness from Giannis

by Tommy Beer

Saturday’s seven-game slate provided plenty of highlights, including the return of Steph Curry, the season debut of Lauri Markkanen, a vintage all-around game courtesy of Gordon Hayward, and a dominant performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

After recapping the important storylines from Saturday, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.

Find me on Twitter: @TommyBeer

Saturday’s Standouts:
Giannis Antetokounmpo was utterly dominant on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. He scored 33 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, dished out seven assists, and tacked on three steals and two blocks in 42 minutes. He was 10-of-17 from the floor and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line. Mario Hezonja dunked on Giannis early in the first quarter and stood over him afterward, which seemed to light a fire under the Greek Freak. Per Basketball-Reference, Giannis joined Wilt Chamberlain to become is just the second player in NBA history with at least 33/19/7 against the Knicks at MSG. Over the Bucks last six games, the Greek Freak is averaging a mind-boggling 31.8 points (on 63.8 percent shooting!), 14.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks.

Emmanuel Mudiay had his best game as a Knick, powering New York to a surprising overtime victory over the Bucks. Mudiay scored a season-high 28 points to go along with three rebounds, seven assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. He scored plenty of big buckets down the stretch, to send the game to OT. It is also notable that Trey Burke injured his knee on Saturday. If Burke misses time, the now confident Mudiay would see an uptick in playing time.

John Wall bounced back from a dud on Friday to score 30 points (on 12-of-24 shooting) and add five rebounds, nine assists, one steal, three 3-pointers, and two turnovers in a win over the Nets on Saturday. Wall has been frustratingly inconsistent at times this season but is always capable of posting these types of stat lines.

Blake Griffin led the Pistons to an impressive victory over the Warriors on Saturday, racking up 26 points, six rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in the win. BG has scored 20-plus points in seven of the Pistons last eight games, with Detroit posting a 7-1 record over that stretch… Andre Drummond did Andre Drummond things in the win over Golden State, tallying 16 points, 19 rebounds, two blocks and three steals in 33 minutes. The only blemish on his nightly resume was his four turnovers and poor shooting from the charity stripe (2-for-8).

Stephen Curry returned from an 11-game absence on Saturday night. He looked rusty early on but still finished with 27 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He turned the ball over seven times and shot 10-of-21 from the floor, but the fact that coach Steve Kerr felt comfortable playing him 37 minutes is a great sign… Kevin Durant scored 28 points with six rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 40 minutes. KD had been posting staggering numbers with Steph sidelined. Prior to Saturday, Durant was averaging 48.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.3 blocks over the Dubs previous three contests, while shooting 52.2% from the floor, 40% from 3PT territory and 95.2% from the free-throw line. He was averaging 30 FG attempts per game during that stretch but took just 19 shots with Curry back in action.

James Harden cruised to 30 points, six rebounds, seven assists, one block, one steal, six 3-pointers, and seven turnovers in 30 minutes in Houston’s easy victory over the Bulls on Saturday. The Beard was 9-of-16 from the field and 6-of-7 from the stripe. Over the Rockets past eight games, Harden is averaging a monstrous 35.3 points, 6.1 boards, 10.6 dimes, 2.3 steals and 2.5 triples. Fantasy owners only request is that he cut down on the turnovers (seven TOs per game over this stretch).

Tristan Thompson continued to dominate the glass on Saturday evening, pulling down 19 more rebounds, to go along with 18 points (6-of-15 FGs), three assists, a steal and zero turnovers. Thompson has grabbed more than ten rebounds in six of the Cavs last seven games. Even factoring a two-rebound dud of a performance earlier this week vs. OKC, he’s still averaging over 13 boards per game during this current stretch.

Gordon Hayward looked like prime Gordon Hayward in Boston’s victory over the Wolves Saturday night. This is the guy Celtics fans were hoping they’d see when he left Utah to sign with Boston back in the summer of 2017. Hayward pumped in a season-high 30 points (8-of-16 FG’s, 10-of-10 FTs), dished out a season-high eight assists, knocked down a season-high four triples and also tied his season-high in boards (nine). So, yeah, I’m gonna go out on a limb and call this his best game of the season. Gordon is currently one of my favorite “buy low” targets, but that window may slam shut soon.


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On the Radar:
Lauri Markkanen (right elbow sprain) made his season debut on Saturday night! He was clearly rusty, shooting 4-of-14 from the floor, but registered 10 points, four rebounds, one block, one steal, and two 3-pointers. In addition, it was encouraging to see him log 26 minutes right out of the gate. It was also great to hear that he reported no issues or setbacks in the contest. Welcome back, big guy… After just eight points in his previous game, Zach LaVine bounced back with 29 points (11-of-17 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs) four rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes on Saturday… Jabari Parker tallied 21 points, 12 rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes. Parker has been playing well of late, logging over 33 minutes and scoring at least 18 points in seven of the Bulls last eight games. The problem is that the return of Markkanen will eat into Jabari’s playing time and production. I’d try to sell-high on Parker if anyone in your league is willing to bite… Wendell Carter Jr. had eight points (3-of-6 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs) eight rebounds and one block in 33 minutes. Interestingly, coach Fred Hoiberg talked up a Markkanen/WCJ pairing after the game, which is good news for Carter owners.

Eric Bledsoe was phenomenal Saturday vs. the Knicks. The Bucks lost in OT, but the defeat can’t be pinned on Bledsoe, who finished with 27 points, five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, two turnovers and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. This month, EB is averaging 15.9 points, 4.4 boards, 5.5 dimes, 1.5 steals and 1.7 treys on 52.2% shooting… Strangely, Khris Middleton logged only 19 minutes against the Knicks, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, two assists, one steal and three treys. He was playing well early on, but may have been benched due to something that earned the ire of coach Mike Budenholzer. We should have more details soon… Malcolm Brogdon (22/6/4) had another impressive outing. He’s averaging 20.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.6 dimes and 3.4 treys over his last five games.

Kevin Knox was in the headlines in the NYC tabloids this week after a New York Post article quoted anonymous scouts ripping his underwhelming first six weeks in the NBA. Well, Knox responded in a big way Saturday night, pouring in a career-high 26 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and five 3-pointers in 37 minutes in a win over the Bucks… Noah Vonleh was perfect from the floor (6-of-6) and from downtown (3-of-3) on his way to 15 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Vonleh is earning more PT with his fine play of late… Damyean Dotson stayed hot, making 7-of-9 from the field for a season-high 21 points with five rebounds, one assist and five 3-pointers in 33 minutes. Over the Knicks past three games, Dot has scored 54 points on just 28 FG attempts. He's shooting 67.9% from the floor (19-for-28), 71.4% from 3-point territory (10-of-14), 100% from the FT line (6-of-6)... Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled with his shot (8-of-22 from the field) but tallied 21 points, four rebounds, eight assists, and three 3-pointers.

Otto Porter (personal) returned from a one-game absence to score seven points (3-of-7 FGs) with 11 rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 38 minutes against the Nets on Saturday… Bradley Beal (22 points, three rebounds, zero assists, zero treys) was disappointingly quiet in 43 minutes… Tomas Satoransky drew a start over Kelly Oubre but finished with just seven points, one rebound and three assists in 26 minutes. Oubre had five points, three rebounds and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes off the bench… Markieff Morris had another solid all-around game: 20 points (9-of-12 FGs), seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, three steals, and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. His fantasy stock is rising with Dwight Howard (back) out indefinitely.

D'Angelo Russell, like the rest of his teammates, struggled in the Nets blowout defeat to the Wizards on Saturday. Brooklyn lost a heartbreaking game to the Grizz in double-overtime on Friday night and clearly had no gas in the tank for this one. Russell scored eight points with two rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. Jarrett Allen had six points and eight rebounds and also committed five turnovers in 25 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie started again but didn’t do much: eight points (3-of-9 FGs) with two rebounds and eight assists in 28 minutes.

Clint Capela dominated the paint on both ends of the floor once again on Saturday evening. He scored 18 points (7-of-11 FGs, 4-of-7 FTs) with 15 rebounds and one block in 33 minutes. CC is in the midst of arguably the best stretch of his career. Over the Rockets last eight games, Capela is averaging 21.4 points (on 72.6 percent shooting), 14.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks… Chris Paul had 12 points and tied a season-high with 13 dimes in 31 mins… Nene (calf) made his season debut on Saturday. He scored four points and grabbed three boards in 12 minutes. As a result, Isaiah Hartenstein logged just three minutes.

George Hill, who had been sidelined since November 7th due to a shoulder injury, returned to action on Saturday. He started at shooting guard and finished with eight points, one rebound, one assist and one 3-pointer in 19 minutes. Collin Sexton remained in the starting lineup at point guard and tallied 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 26 minutes… After an impressive debut with Cleveland on Friday, Alec Burks was solid again on Saturday. He had 13 points, six rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer in 24 minutes… Cedi Osman missed 10 of his 13 field goals attempts and ended up with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes…Larry Nance Jr. was bumped back to the bench and was nearly invisible (three points, three boards, one assist, zero blocks and steals) in 22 minutes.

Kawhi Leonard crushed the Cavs on Saturday, racking up 34 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks, one steal and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. That’s two straight games with at least 34 points and eight boards for The Klaw… Pascal Siakam was at again, with 15 points (6-of-11 FGs), five rebounds, and five assists. The five dimes tied a season-high. Remarkably, Pascal has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in 21 of the Raps 24 games this season.

Derrick Rose refuses to slow down. He was incredibly efficient on the offensive end once again on Saturday, finishing 11-of-18 from the floor, 2-of-3 from downtown and 2-of-2 from the stripe en route to his 26 points in 29 minutes… Karl-Anthony Towns racked up 20 points with nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and two triples… Dario Saric (seven points, four rebounds, one assist in 20 minutes) was quiet… Robert Covington had 17 points, ten rebounds, four steals and two treys in 38 minutes.

Al Horford (rest) was back in action on Saturday registered 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, one block and one triple in 32 minutes… Jayson Tatum (19 points, nine boards) stayed hot… Kyrie Irving chipped in 21 points (6-of-15 FGs), nine dimes, three rebounds, two triples and four turnovers.

Bogdan Bogdanovic continued his strong play of late with 20 points (on 7-of-12 shots and 3-of-3 free throws) six assists, two rebounds, two steals and three triples in 31 minutes on Saturday. Over his last three games, Bogey is averaging 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.0 dimes and 2.7 treys. Yes, he’s worth scooping up off the wire… Willie Cauley-Stein (17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 32 minutes) has recorded double-doubles in two straight games.

Myles Turner bounced back from Thursday’s dud with a solid all-around effort on Saturday: 14 points (6-of-10 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 32 minutes. His inconsistency has been frustrating this season, but he’s still returning top-70 overall value in nine-category leagues… Darren Collison dished out a season-high 12 assists to go along with 11 points, four rebounds, two treys and five turnovers… Bojan Bogdanovic notched a season-high 27 points (10-of-19 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) with three boards, two steals and three triples… Despite the absence of Victor Oladipo (knee), Tyreke Evans remains mostly ineffective. He had 12 points, four assists, two rebounds and two triples in 29 minutes.

Injury Tracker:
Kyle Lowry (back) was a late scratch Saturday night against the Cavs. We don’t have much in the way of details, other than coach Nick Nurse saying Lowry was dealing with a back issue. After a hot start to the season, Lowry has seen his production dip a bit. Over the Raps last seven games, he is averaging just 14.1 points, while shooting 42 percent from the floor. Toronto’s next game is Monday vs. the Nuggets. Fred VanVleet started in place of Lowry on Saturday and chalked up 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. Delon Wright had just two points, one rebound, one assist, two steals in 20 minutes off the bench.

Jeff Green (back) did not play Saturday against the Nets. Green was a game-time decision on Friday but ended up playing. However, he was ineffective, finishing with four points, three rebounds and one block in 22 minutes against the 76ers. With Otto Porter (personal) returning on Saturday, the Wiz decided to hold out Green on the second night of a back-to-back.

Jaylen Brown (tailbone) was ruled out Saturday night against the Wolves. Brown has been sidelined since last weekend when he injured his tailbone in a nasty fall. The Celtics don't play again until Thursday night, so sitting out Saturday gives Brown an additional four full days of rest and rehab.

Ante Zizic (knee) did not play Saturday against the Raptors. He logged 20 minutes on Friday night, but banged his knee late in the game.

Draymond Green (right toe sprain) and Alfonzo McKinnie (left foot) both missed another game on Saturday in Detroit. There is still hope that Draymond will return at some point during the Warriors current road trip.

Trey Burke (right knee sprain) was injured during the first quarter of Saturday’s game when Thon Maker landed on his lower leg. Burke looked to be in a significant amount of pain and had to be helped off the court and into the locker room. Remarkably, despite the fact that Burke played just one minute, Frank Ntilikina never got off the bench. Coach David Fizdale said that even though Frank recieved a DNP-CD on Saturday, he wasn’t in the doghouse and would likely re-enter the rotation soon. Nonetheless, Ntilikina belongs on waivers in all fantasy formats.

Marvin Bagley III did not play Saturday. He injured his back Thursday night vs. the Clippers and did not return to that contest. Nemanja Bjelica logged just 20 minutes on Saturday despite the absence of MB3. Kosta Koufos (calf) returned to action and logged 15 points but didn’t score.

Joe Harris (left adductor tightness) did not suit up on Saturday. Harris has started each of the Nets first 22 games this season, before missing both Friday's loss to the Grizzlies and Saturday's defeat to the Wizards.

Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Devin Booker (left toe) went through practice on Saturday and is expected to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. This is reassuring news, as Booker was surprisingly sidelined Friday night vs. Orlando just an hour before tipoff. It turns out, Booker hurt his toe by stubbing it in a hotel in LA earlier this week when he went got up let his massage therapist into his room. Seriously. The toe turned black and blood needed to be drained from it. Elie Okobo started for Phoenix on Friday but will be bumped back to the bench with Booker back in the mix.

T.J. Warren (right ankle) was originally listed as questionable for Sunday's game vs. Lakers, but was downgraded to doubtful a short time later. The game tips at 3:30 pm EST, so there won't be a shootaround. We should have a final update on his status at approximately 2:00 pm. Assuming Warren is ruled, Josh Jackson will likely draw another start. Jackson put up solid numbers on Friday, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a team-high 38 minutes.

Marc Gasol (right knee soreness) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the 76ers. Gasol looked good on Friday, when he stuffed the stat sheet and logged 47 minutes in the Grizzlies double-overtime victory over the Nets. If Gasol is ruled out, rookie sensation Jaren Jackson Jr. and JaMychal Green would be asked to play additional minutes. Ivan Rabb would also likely re-enter the rotation. Joakim Noah is expected to sign with Memphis next week, which should allow the Grizz to reduce Gasol’s minutes a bit going forward.

Cody Zeller (left rib contusion) is listed as probable for Sunday's game vs. New Orleans. Zeller was sidelined for the second half of Friday's loss to the Jazz after injuring his ribs. However, it appears it's only a minor issue, with Zeller on track to return on Sunday. Frank Kaminsky started the second half on Friday, but will be bumped back to the bench.

Evan Turner (left Achilles tendon inflammation) is questionable for Sunday against the Spurs. It’s a new injury for ET, who logged 27 minutes on Friday. If Turned is unable to play out, Moe Harkless, Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry will divvy up excess minutes.

E'Twaun Moore (left tibial contusion) and Frank Jackson (right ankle sprain) are both listed as questionable for Sunday against the Hornets. Moore took a nasty spill Friday night and it looked like he might be sidelined for a while. So, the fact that he’s questionable for Sunday certainly qualifies as good news. Tim Frazier has played well for the Pels of late, and would see even more playing time if Moore is sidelined… Jackson has seen only sporadic minutes off the bench.

Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson (right hamstring) remain listed as out for Sunday's game against the Jazz. Johnson has been sidelined for over a week, but is reportedly close to a return. The Heat’s next game is Tuesday the Magic… Dragic hasn’t played since Nov. 16.

Derrick Jones Jr. (hamstring) won’t play Sunday against the Jazz. No notable impact here, as Airplane Mode is not on the fantasy radar.

Wayne Selden (left knee) is questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the 76ers. Selden has been hampered by numerous knee issues throughout his short career, so this could be a concern moving forward.

Luka Doncic (right hip strain), Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist), Maxi Kleber (knee) and Dwight Powell (left knee effusion) are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s showdown with the Clippers. Doncic has been on the injury list quite frequently as a rookie, but he’s yet to miss a game this season. Luka played on Friday, but was just 2-of-13 from the floor in his 32 minutes of action… Smith Jr. has also played through his nagging wrist injury. DSJ hit just 5-of-14 shots on Friday… Powell scored 17 points with seven rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes vs. the Lakers on Friday night… Kleber was the only one of these four players that sat out the Mavs' last game.

Marco Belinelli (neck stiffness) is questionable for Sunday's game vs. Portland. Marco is averaging 9.7 points and 2.0 assist in 22 minutes for San Antonio and is not on the fantasy radar.

Wilson Chandler (left quad contusion) is questionable for Sunday's game against Memphis. Ill Will injured the thigh on Friday night when he was hit with a knee. If Chandler is unable to play, Mike Muscala and Landry Shamet would see an uptick in minutes.