Nets 126, Suns 98
This game was a garbage time special, so there aren’t many takeaways here. Jeremy Lin (ankle) returned from a one-game absence and finished with 13 points, five assists, three boards and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes, but he could very easily be rested on Friday. Brook Lopez is also a candidate to rest even though he only played 24 minutes, finishing with 19 points, six rebounds, one block and one triple. Trevor Booker had a nice game with 14 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes, but his playing time has really trailed off lately. All three of these players are on shut-down watch with the Nets going nowhere.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ripped down 16 rebounds in 15 minutes to go with five points, two steals, two assists and one block, while Caris LeVert slowed down with eight points three rebounds, three assists and one triple in 20 minutes. I wouldn’t trust either player in a standard league right now. If the Nets do end up shutting down some players, keep a close eye on K.J. McDaniels. The athletic wing racked up 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and one triple in 24 minutes. Garbage time was a factor tonight, but McDaniels is known for racking up blocks.
T.J. Warren missed this game for the Suns with a left foot contusion, but with two more games this week, he’s a hold until we learn more. This isn’t the same foot that Warren fractured last year, so I can only assume he’s day-to-day and that the Suns were being cautious. Alan Williams returned from a one-game absence due to food poisoning and didn’t look right, scoring four points on 1-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds, four turnovers and four fouls in 17 minutes. He was averaging 13.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his previous March games, so give him another chance since the Suns play two more times this week.
Tyler Ulis had 10 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and four turnovers, while Marquese Chriss went off for 23 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a block in 31 minutes. Both players are must-start assets right now, but if you’re in a dynasty or keeper league, do whatever you can to get Chriss on your roster — his potential in fantasy is scary. "Realistic expectations over the summer are for him to become a better 3-point shooter," Suns coach Earl Watson said. "He’s shooting it in the 40s right now, post All-Star break, which is high. He can be that and more. Post play is important. The last couple games he’s dominated the post and he’s demanding the ball, which is interesting for a guy who’s still 19. Physically, he’s going to get stronger and bigger, which means he’ll be even more of a force down low. The canvas is still blank for him."
Devin Booker finally looked like himself with 28 points, three steals and three triples, while Alex Len posted 11 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, two blocks, one assist and one triple in 25 minutes. Where was this two months ago? Len has turned his season around and is worth a look.
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Raptors 104, Heat 91
DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points to lead the Raptors, adding six rebounds, three assists and one steal in 36 minutes. This comes on the heels of a 42-point game on Tuesday, so expect him to keep eating with Kyle Lowry’s (wrist) timetable still up in the air. Delon Wright outplayed Cory Joseph tonight, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers in 24 minutes. CoJo had just seven points with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer, but it’s still his job to lose. I like Wright better in dynasty, but CoJo is still the better option in re-draft leagues for now.
With Serge Ibaka suspended for this game, Jonas Valanciunas flopped with just two points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes. Coach Dwane Casey just doesn’t trust the guy, and while I’m not moving on, I don’t blame you if you want to. P.J. Tucker drew the start in Ibaka’s absence and had nine points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers, but he can be left on the wire with Ibaka returning to the lineup on Saturday. Norman Powell also stepped up with 14 points, three rebounds, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes, but he won’t be able to sustain that with Ibaka back.
Hassan Whiteside was able to play with 13 stitches in his hand and scored 16 points with 14 rebounds, two assists and two blocks, but he rolled his ankle at the end of the game. While Whiteside downplayed the injury and said that he expects to play Sunday, he will be re-evaluated on Friday to determine how severe the injury is. "It’s nothing crazy like [Dion Waiters' ankle] or anything," Whiteside said. "It’s more just annoying.” If he misses time, Willie Reed would be a nice flier for owners who want to stream some rebounds and blocks.
Goran Dragic added 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one triple for the Heat, while James Johnson salvaged a poor shooting night (3-of-14 FGs) with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, four blocks, two steals and one triple. Those guys are owned in most competitive leagues, but one player who might be available is Josh Richardson. Dion Waiters (ankle) still doesn’t have a timetable to return, and Richardson is averaging 12.0 points, 1.7 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.3 steals and 1.2 treys over his last three games.
Mavericks 97, Clippers 95
Nerlens Noel moved into the starting lineup on Thursday because of the matchup and the move payed dividends, as he racked up eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. After averaging 19.0 minutes per game in his previous three outings, he logged 33 minutes tonight and I don’t see how coach Rick Carlisle can go away from him after a night like this. If he sticks in the first unit, Noel could post early-round value the rest of the way.
With the win, the Mavericks only trail the Nuggets by 3.0 games which means the owners of Dirk Nowitzki (14 points, four assists and two steals) and Wesley Matthews (five points, six assists) don’t have to worry about a potential shut-down. Coach Carlisle said after the game that Seth Curry will play more point guard going forward, so that’s great news for his value. He finished with 23 points, three rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers, and his left shoulder wasn’t an issue tonight. With Curry moving to the point, Yogi Ferrell’s (five points in 16 minutes) owners can move on.
Blake Griffin (21 points, five rebounds and two assists), DeAndre Jordan (14 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks) and Chris Paul (15 points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals) all did their part, while J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford combined to score 18 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Austin Rivers chipped in with 13 points and two triples, and he has some decent low-end appeal for the remainder of the week.
The Clippers have two more games this week and they are both at home, so hopefully Griffin, Jordan or Paul aren’t rested. If they are, you would think Sunday’s game vs. the Kings is the one their owners have to worry about — the Clippers play the Jazz on Saturday and are currently trailing them by 1.5 games in the West.
Spurs 97, Grizzlies 90
Kawhi Leonard was “quiet” with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one triple, and with the Spurs only 2.0 games behind the Warriors for the top seed, Leonard might not be rested as much as the Spurs would like in the final few weeks. The same can be said for Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. Speaking of those two studs, Aldridge scored a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds, three blocks and one assist, while Gasol was relatively quiet with nine points, four rebounds, one steal, one block and a triple. Patty Mills will occasionally break out with a big game and had 15 points, five assists and three triples, but it’s hard to trust anyone outside of Leonard, Gasol and Aldridge. Meanwhile, Danny Green posted a line straight out of a M. Night Shyamalan movie.
Incredibly, the Grizzlies only have two players worth owning in standard leagues right now and that’s obviously Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Gasol had a tough night with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one block, one triple and six turnovers, while Conley had a nice night with 22 points and six assists. JaMychal Green (seven points, six rebounds) and Zach Randolph (eight points, seven rebounds) aren’t worth owning until one of them separates from the pack, especially with just one game left this week.
Blazers 110, Knicks 95
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined to score 50 points with six triples in the win, while Jusuf Nurkic has tallied three consecutive double-doubles for the first time in his career. Nurk Alert finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and the Blazers are on the verge of catching the team that practically gave Nurkic away — the Blazers only trail the Nuggets by one game and have a soft schedule the rest of the way.
The Blazers do have a back-to-back set this weekend, so if you’re looking to stream someone in a deeper league, Noah Vonleh is worth a glance. He logged 32 minutes tonight and grabbed 12 rebounds with four points, one block and one steal.
Derrick Rose (foot), Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Lance Thomas (hip) were all out for the Knicks tonight, and the shut-down watch for Rose and Melo is certainly on. Kristaps Porzingis will be the biggest winner if that happens, as he has a 26.6 usage rate without those two on the floor. He scored a team-high 18 points with nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks and should be a beast if he can stay healthy.
Willy Hernangomez moved into the starting lineup and scored 10 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 21 minutes, and while he’s worth owning, his minutes are being held in check right now because he isn’t doing well next to Porzingis. Kyle O'Quinn scored four points with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 22 minutes and could have some nice value going forward if he can consistently get 20+ minutes, while Chasson Randle is the guy you want if Rose is shut down. Randle finished with 13 points, two rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 19 minutes, but surely he earned a larger role after that performance. Just keep an eye on him.