Karl-Anthony Towns, who I was touting as the No. 1 pick this season, is doing me proud and had a monster night, while LeBron James did as well. Joel Embiid and Lonzo Ball got hurt and the Blazers lost without Damian Lillard on Wednesday.
Timberwolves 126, Hawks 114 – Karl-Anthony Towns went crazy, racking up a career-high 56 points, 15 rebounds and six 3-pointers in a win over the Hawks. I know those of you who followed me from the beginning were all in on him, just like I was, but this was almost too much for me to handle. Wow! Nemanja Bjelica also showed up and had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting with two 3-pointers, but outside of Bjelica, there’s not much to gain here. Bjelica has been hit-or-miss, so enter at your own risk.
For the Hawks, Taurean Prince had 21 points and seven boards, which was nice, but Isaiah Taylor was the star of the show with 20 points, eight assists and two steals in the loss. If Dennis Schroder continues to sit with his ankle injury, Taylor is a fun add. Mike Muscala also went off with a career-high 24 points and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Dewayne Dedmon started and had a 13-12 double-double, so I don’t think you need to move on Muskie just yet, but his line was interesting, nonetheless. I’d still rather own John Collins or Prince.
Cavaliers 118, Hornets 105 – As predicted, LeBron James went off with 41 points, 10 rebounds and eight dimes, and Jeff Green added 18 points and a quiet stat line after a bad line in his previous game. Larry Nance had four points, nine rebounds, four steals and a block. He looked much better than Tristan Thompson, who started and was in foul trouble. Green and Nance are the pickups here.
For the Hornets, Nicolas Batum returned and had six points and five assists, but there are much better attractions for you right now. However, the Hornets are not where you’ll find them. The shutdown clock on Dwight Howard is ticking and Kemba Walker may be trying to find an exit strategy out of Charlotte, as a shot at the playoffs might be nice for once.
Sixers 118, Knicks 101 – Joel Embiid went to the hospital for facial X-rays but there’s not been any talk about a concussion. He’s in jeopardy of missing a bunch of games, but then again, the Sixers are clinging to the No. 4 seed and would LOVE to have homecourt in the first round, so maybe he’ll be ready to go on Friday in Atlanta. Then again, as Ben Simmons recently told Karl-Anthony Towns, he can probably take the night off against the lowly Hawks. Richaun Holmes had 15 points and seven rebounds, and is worth a look if Embiid is going to miss time. Dario Saric had 26 points, 14 rebounds, five dimes and two steals, Robert Covington had 17 points and has redeemed himself, J.J. Redick scored 21 points and Ben Simmons just missed yet another triple-double in a big win over the Knicks.
Michael Beasley had 22 points, Enes Kanter double-doubled and Trey Burke hit 7-of-15 shots for 18 points and six dimes. Burke has been incredible over the last 10 days and I hope you picked him up a few days ago. Speaking of incredible, Emmanuel Mudiay had 22 points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer. He did most of his damage in the fourth quarter and I still don’t trust him.
Nets 111, Magic 104 – DeMarre Carroll and D’Angelo Russell double-doubled, and starters Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen, Allen Crabbe, and bench players Joe Harris and Caris LeVert all played well in the win. Allen had a nice bounce-back game after Sunday’s dud and every player I listed is worth a look in fantasy over the home stretch.
The Magic starters were all pretty good and it was especially nice to see Mario Hezonja come back to form with 23 points seven rebounds and two 3-pointers. I don’t know why he fell into a deep freeze recently, but he’s played well in two straight games and might be ready to go back to work for you.
Grizzlies 108, Blazers 103 – MarShon Brooks came off the Grizzlies bench and went off for 21 points and hit five 3-pointers in 21 minutes. He signed a 10-day contract on Tuesday and this was the first time he’s played in the league since 2014, which pretty much sums up the NBA’s silly season. If he does it again, pick him up. Marc Gasol was the only Grizzlies starter in double digits, while Chandler Parsons (15) and Wayne Selden (10) also hit double figures off the bench. This team is a fantasy train wreck.
Al-Farouq Aminu and Evan Turner were both pretty bad last night, while C.J. McCollum enjoyed Damian Lillard’s baby vacation by dropping 42 points, five assists and three 3-pointers in an ugly loss to Memphis. Hopefully Lillard is back on Friday. Aminu and Turner will be better in that one, Lillard’s return will hurt McCollum, and Shabazz Napier, who had eight points in the start, would return to the bench. The Blazers are still 2.0 games up on the Thunder, but this loss hurt.
Celtics 97, Jazz 94 – The Celtics got a nice win and got solid stat lines out of starters Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer. Al Horford sat out with a sprained ankle and the Celtics are basically being held together by duct tape right now. And they’re going to finish up as the No. 2 seed in the East. The Celtics play on Saturday, but that’s their only game until April 2. If you feel like you have to drop Horford, I can understand it. Guershhon Yabusele started in his place, but lasted just 15 minutes and scored three points.
The Jazz are now just 1.0 games up on the Clippers and 2.0 games up on the Nuggets, and just 0.5 games behind the Timberwolves and 1.0 games behind the Spurs and Pelicans. The Western playoff race is pretty amazing right now. Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio double-doubled, Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder all played well and Derrick Favors is starting to look like the old man at the retirement center again, as he had just eight points and five rebounds. He’s still worth holding, despite the pain it causes fantasy owners.
Clippers 111, Suns 99 – Four of the five Clippers starters played well, including Tyrone Wallace, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He’s interesting right now as a pickup due to Milos Teodosic is now out indefinitely with his recurring foot problem. Wes Johnson started and didn’t score and Lou Williams was held to just 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The Clips got a big win and are now only 1.0 games behind the Jazz.
Man, the Suns are bad. But our man Marquese Chriss had 12 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and a block, and if you picked him up for the stretch run, he’s paying off. And I still wake up in the middle of the night haunted by the inconsistency of Chriss. Tyler Ulis had 23 points, two assists and three 3-pointers, and is also worth owning right now, Troy Daniels had 15 points and four 3-pointers, and Josh Jackson was fun with 18 points and a packed stat line. If you need 3-pointers, Daniels can help, while Jackson’s been one of the waiver-wire pickups of the season. Shaquille Harrison had a career-high 17 points and is worth keeping an eye on since he plays for the Suns.
Lakers 103, Mavericks 93 – Lonzo Ball hurt his left knee and will have a precautionary MRI on Thursday. This might be enough to shut him down for the season and I’d be shocked if he plays on Friday. Alex Caruso or Tyler Ennis might step up, but I don’t really see any Lakers replacing what Ball was doing if he’s going to miss a bunch of time. Brandon Ingram finally returned from his hip injury and had 13 points and a decent line. Maybe he’ll be strong down the stretch, especially with Ball potentially out. Julius Randle and Brook Lopez were great and Kyle Kuzma had a nice game for the Lakers.
Outside of the Suns, the Mavericks might be the team most ready for the season to end. Dirk Nowitzki was out there for 13 points, Harrison Barnes scored 17, Dennis Smith Jr. had 14 points and eight assists, and Yogi Ferrell offered 12 off the bench. There is nothing exciting about the Mavericks in fantasy or reality at this point. Oh, and Nerlens Noel played 20 minutes and had five points and six rebounds, which isn’t great.