Saturday’s nine-game slate provided plenty of highlights, including James Harden extending an incredible streak, Jamal Murray marauding in Phoenix, Giannis Antetokounmpo recording another triple-double, and Kemba Walker nearly notching 50.
After recapping the important storylines from Saturday, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.
However, before we recap Saturday’s on-court action, let’s first tackle the big news out of Washington, D.C., one involving a different type of Wall. The Wizards announced that point guard John Wall will undergo a "debridement and repair of a Haglund’s deformity and a chronic Achilles tendon injury in his left heel." The procedure will be performed next week and Wall is expected to be sidelined for approximately six to eight months, ending his 2018-19 season. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Wall has been bothered by the issue for more than a year, and doctors determined the surgery was necessary. Wall was trying to play through the injury, but it was getting worse. The procedure was determined to be the best course of action to relieve pain and inflammation.
The clear beneficiary here is obviously Tomas Satoransky. Sato stepped in for Wall last season when he was injured and performed admirably. Satoransky started a total of 30 games in 2017-18 and averaged 10.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 30.7 minutes in those 30 starts, while shooting a stellar 53.2 percent from the floor, 50.8 percent from downtown and 90.4 percent from the free-throw line. He now has a decent chance to post top-100 fantasy value over the remainder of this season. Satoransky tallied 20 points, four rebounds, six assists and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes in a Saturday’s victory over the Hornets. He should be owned in all leagues.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was in beast mode once again on Saturday, posting his 12th career triple-double in a blowout victory over the Nets. The Greek Freak scored 31 points, grabbed ten rebounds and dished out ten assists, and still found time to tack on three steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Giannis has now scored at least 30 points in four the Bucks last five games.
James Harden refuses to cool off. He poured in 41 more points on Saturday, to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, two blocks, seven turnovers and seven 3-pointers in 37 minutes. Incredibly, The Beard has now registered at least 35 points, five dimes and five treys in six straight games, which is the longest such streak in NBA history. In fact, Stephen Curry is the only other player with more than two consecutive games of 35/5 and five triples. Over his last 11 games (not a tiny sample size!), Harden is averaging whopping 39.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 5.5 treys. Incredible.
Kemba Walker did all he could to keep the Hornets close on Saturday, scoring 24 of his 47 points in the fourth quarter in a loss to the Wizards. Kemba finished with four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and six 3-pointers to go along with those 47 points. After being mired in a shooting slump over the first half of the month, Kemba has now shot 50% or better in five straight games. During this current stretch, he’s averaging 30.8 points and 4.2 assists, while shooting 55.1 percent from the floor and 51.1 percent from downtown. That buy-low window has slammed shut.
Kyrie Irving tallied 26 points with four rebounds, 13 assists, one steal, and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes on Saturday. Down 19 at one point, Irving put Boston on his back and scored 22 in the second half alone. For the game, Kyrie was 8-of-16 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the stripe.
Larry Nance had an incredible all-around performance on Saturday night in Atlanta. He finished the game with 18 points (on 7-of-8 shooting), 15 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one block in 36 minutes. He joins Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons as just the third player this season with at least 18/15/7/4 in a game. The only other player in Cavs history to match or exceed those numbers across the board is LeBron James. The looming return of Tristan Thompson and (eventually) Kevin Love is concerning, but one would think Nance has played well enough to secure plenty of playing time going forward.
Rudy Gobert logged only 25 minutes in Utah’s dismantling of the Knicks on Saturday, but he packed plenty of goodness into his limited playing time. The Stifle Tower matched his season-high with 25 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked a shot. He was 10-of-12 from the field. Gobert is now averaging 20 points per game over Utah’s last four contests, while shooting over 65 percent from the floor… Dante Exum, filling in for an injured Ricky Rubio, looked excellent in his first start this season. He carved up the Knicks perimeter defense, penetrating into the paint at will. He handed out a career-high 13 assists to go along with 13 points and one turnover in 26 minutes.
Deandre Ayton exploded for a career-high 33 points to go along with 14 rebounds, one assist, and four steals in 39 minutes on Saturday. Ayton, who poured in 24 points in the second quarter alone, was remarkably efficient, shooting 16-of-20 from the field. Ayton is the real deal. The only rookie with 33 and 14 in a game this decade was Blake Griffin. Per Basketball-Reference, the only other rookies with 33/14 and four steals over the last 40 years are Derrick Coleman, David Robinson and some guy named Michael Jordan.
Jamal Murray tweaked his right ankle on Friday, but it didn’t slow him down at all on Saturday night, as he pumped in 46 points (16-of-24 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) with six rebounds, eight assists, one block, and a career-high nine triples in 40 minutes against the Suns. The Blue Arrow is now averaging better than 25/5/6 over the Nuggets last five contests. Fantasy owners can’t ask for much more than that… Nikola Jokic messed around and just missed a triple-double: 23 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, three steals and one block, while shooting 8-of-11 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the stripe.
Damian Lillard reached the 40-point plateau the fifth time in 2018-19, as he finished with 40 points (14-of-23 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), five assists, two rebounds, one steal and six 3-pointers in a loss to the Warriors on Saturday… Jusuf Nurkic posted a terrific all-around line for the second straight game, tallying 21 points (8-of-14 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs) with ten rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 32 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots Saturday night. LA is averaging 29.7 points on 59.4 percent shooting over the Blazers last three games… DeMar DeRozan stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, four steals and one blocked shot in the victory over the Clippers.
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On The Radar:
Khris Middleton stayed hot on Saturday, pouring on 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Middleton was in a nasty slump for most of December and actually shot below 47% from the floor in 12 straight games. However, he’s 21-of-32 over his last two contests. Hopefully, he can keep that positive momentum going forward… Eric Bledsoe is in the midst of a frustrating slump of his own. He was 2-of-7 from the field for six points with three rebounds, four assists, one steal and four turnovers in 24 minutes on Saturday. Over Milwaukee's last three games, he’s averaging just 8.3 points and 3.7 assists in 27.7 minutes. Yes, the presence of George Hill is worrisome, but there’s no need to panic and sell-low on Bledsoe… Brook Lopez bullied his former team on Saturday by tallying 24 points, two rebounds, one block, one steal and seven treys in 29 minutes in an easy win over the Nets.
Rodions Kurucs had another dud on Saturday. He scored just two points (and missed all five of his field goal attempts) with one rebound, two assists, three turnovers and two fouls in 22 minutes. This after scoring only five points in 20 minutes on Friday. The young rookie has officially crashed back down to earth… Spencer Dinwiddie started in place of D'Angelo Russell (rest) but played just 21 minutes in a blowout loss, finishing with 10 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, two turnovers and two 3-pointers in 21 minutes… Shabazz Napier tied a career-high 32 points with four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 32 minutes off the bench.
Anthony Davis had a relatively pedestrian performance on Saturday, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, three steals, one block, one turnover and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Incredibly, it’s just the second game this season he hasn’t scored at least 25 points or grabbed 12-plus rebounds… Julius Randle recorded another strong double-double: 23 points, 11 rebounds, three rebounds, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 40 minutes. We thought Randle would put up big numbers with Nikola Mirotic (ankle) sidelined and that’s precisely what he’s done this month… The supremely consistent and effective Jrue Holiday tallied 20 points, six rebounds, nine assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 42 minutes.
Danuel House had 15 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes on Saturday… Austin Rivers scored 10 points with five rebounds, seven assists and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes… Clint Capela (six points, seven rebounds) was unusually quiet.
Thomas Bryant continues to exceed expectations. He balled out again on Saturday, finishing with 21 points, ten rebounds, three assists and one block in 36 minutes. Over his last five games, Bryant is averaging 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists, while shooting a scorching 75 percent from the floor and 88.2 percent from the charity stripe. He’s a must-own in fantasy leagues right now… Bradley Beal recorded a career-high six steals to go along with 19 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three turnovers. Beal will be the focal point of the Wizards offense with John Wall out for the year… Trevor Ariza flirted with a triple-double, scoring 24 points with seven rebounds, nine assists and four 3-pointers in 41 minutes. He gets a boost in value with Wall sidelined as well.
Jayson Tatum scored only seven points (3-of-6 FGs) but chipped in eight rebounds, five assists, one block, four steals, and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes on Saturday… Al Horford scored 18 points (6-of-12 FGs) with six rebounds, three assists, one block, and five 3-pointers in just 23 minutes… Marcus Morris scored 20-plus points once again, finishing with 22 points (7-of-13 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), four rebounds and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes.
Trae Young scored 21 points and dished out a game-high nine assists in the Hawks victory over the Cavs on Saturday. Young, who has been much more efficient of late, was 8-of-12 from the field… John Collins (14 and 12) posted another double-double… The ageless Vince Carter scored a season-high 21 points, with four rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers in 23 minutes.
Cedi Osman played well on Saturday, totaling 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes against the Hawks. He’s averaging better than 14 points and five boards over his last five games, while shooting over 50 percent from the field… Collin Sexton tallied 18 points, three rebounds, six assists and four fouls in 28 minutes. The bad news was he was just 6-of-15 from the floor and didn’t register any steals or blocks. The good news is he didn’t commit a turnover.
Enes Kanter put up a donut on Saturday in Utah. He was booed by the Jazz faithful nearly every time he touched the ball and missed all six of his shots. He finished the night with zero points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 17 minutes. Kanter is averaging just 5.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over the Knicks last four games… Luke Kornet, on the other hand, put solid numbers once again in another start. Kornet had 14 points, six rebounds, a career-high tying five assists, one steal, four 3-pointers in 29 minutes… Tim Hardaway Jr. (illness) returned from a one-game absence and tallied 18 points, two rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes.
Devin Booker (lower back contusion) finished with 27 points (11-of-18 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) one rebound, and eight assists in 36 minutes on Saturday. He went to the locker room in the second quarter, but was back at the start of the second half. Booker said he played through the lower back contusion on “just adrenaline, honestly. I’m not sure how it’ll feel when I get home.” We should have an update on his status by Sunday evening... T.J. Warren had 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, one block, three 3-pointers and a career-high five steals. He flies under the radar but puts up impressive numbers on a nightly basis.
Stephen Curry has been surprisingly inefficient of late and was just 6-of-15 on Saturday, but still totaled accounted for 25 points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers… Kevin Durant failed to meet his averages, finishing with 25 points, five assists, two rebounds and zero triples in 34 minutes… Klay Thompson finally got in a groove offensively, shooting 12-of-21 from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown for 32 points with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and in 34 minutes.
Nikola Mirotic (ankle) did not play Saturday vs. the Rockets. Nico has been sidelined for nearly three weeks and we still haven't had much in the way of an update on his status moving forward.
David Nwaba (left ankle) was ruled out of Saturday's game vs. the Hawks. Nwaba appeared to badly sprain his ankle last weekend and has been sidelined since. He could be looking at an extended absence.
Rodney Hood (left Achilles) was originally listed as questionable but did not play Saturday against the Hawks. It was his fourth straight game on the shelf.
Tristan Thompson (foot) did play Saturday vs. the Hawks but is inching closer to a return to game action. He was able to practice in full on Thursday and there is a decent chance he is cleared to play in the Cavs next game, which is Wednesday.
Ricky Rubio (left lower back and left knee contusions) was ruled out of Saturday's game vs. the Knicks. Ricky took a tough spill after a hard foul from Joel Embiid on Thursday night and, although he was able to stay in that game, he was not able to play last night. As noted above, Dante Exum looked awesome in relief of Rubio on Saturday.
Eric Gordon (knee) exited Saturday’s victory over the Pelicans in the fourth quarter. He had 21 points in 27 minutes before being forced to the bench. Coach Mike D’Antoni says Gordon had some irritation of the kneecap after bumping knees. Woj tweeted late Saturday night that Gordon will get an MRI on the knee Sunday. Austin Rivers would soak up extra minutes if Gordon misses time.
Markieff Morris (upper back/neck stiffness) did not play Saturday vs. Charlotte. It was his second straight game out of the lineup. However, the injury doesn’t sound overly serious so hopefully, he’ll be cleared to return to action next week.
Otto Porter Jr. (right knee strain/contusion) was also ruled out for Saturday's game. Porter has been inching closer to a return, as he was able to go through a pre-game workout on Friday. It’s possible he’s upgraded early next week. And, with John Wall (heel) likely out for the year, his fantasy value will rise once he’s fully healthy.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson exited Saturday’s game vs. the Bucks due to a right adductor strain after only three minutes of action and was unable to return. RHJ has had trouble staying healthy this season and hasn’t been very productive when on the court.
Allen Crabbe (right knee) sat out Saturday's game vs. the Bucks. Crabbe, who was able to practice in full on Thursday, is getting close to a return. Saturday was his ninth straight game on the shelf.
D'Angelo Russell (rest) will not play Saturday vs. the Bucks. DAR looked sharp on Friday, pouring in 33 points. However, the Nets choose to rest him on the second night of a back-to-back. It was the first game Russell has missed all season. The Nets don't play again until Wednesday.
Ed Davis was also rested on Saturday. Like Russell, he had also played in each of Brooklyn's first 37 games this season. Kenneth Faried filled in for Davis against the Bucks on Saturday and scored a season-high 21 points with ten rebounds and one block in 27 minutes.
Dewayne Dedmon (left knee soreness) was ruled out of Saturday’s game vs. Cleveland. Dedmon played very well Friday night in Minnesota, tallying 19 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. However, it appears he injured his knee in the process. Alex Len returned to action on Saturday and scored 12 points with four rebounds, one assist and one block in 24 minutes.
Kent Bazemore (right ankle sprain) exited Saturday win in the second half and did not return. He had logged 20 minutes before leaving the contest, scoring five points (2-of-9 FGs) with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal. DeAndre Bembry will be the biggest beneficiary in Bazemore misses any time.
Emmanuel Mudiay (right ankle) went back to the locker room during the third quarter of Saturday's game against the Jazz. After the game, David Fizdale said Mudiay has a mild ankle sprain. Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, and Allonzo Trier will divvy up minutes if Mudiay is sidelined.
Paul Millsap (foot) played his first game since December 7th on Saturday and scored six points with one assist and one block in 14 minutes off the bench.
Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Derrick Rose (right ankle sprain) and Jeff Teague (left ankle inflammation) are both listed as doubtful for Sunday's game vs. Miami. Rose scored 25 points in 38 minutes on Friday night vs. Atlanta before twisting his ankle late in the game. Teague has missed each of the Wolves last six games, but being upgraded to doubtful is at least an indication he is inching closer to a return. Assuming both Rose and Teague are unable to play Sunday, Tyus Jones would draw the start and would be a popular streaming/DFS option.
Paul George (right quad) is probable for Sunday against the Mavs. Good news for PG-13 owners, as it appears George will return to the lineup after a one-game absence.
DeAndre Jordan (left knee contusion) is questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Thunder. Jordan logged 35 minutes in Friday’s loss to the Pelicans, but seem to be limp at one point in the second half. If DJ is unable to play, Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri would be the primary beneficiaries, with Dirk Nowitzki seeing some extra time at center as well.
Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) did not practice on Saturday and is listed as questionable vs. Portland on Sunday. It’s a bit concerning when we see Embiid’s legs giving him trouble, and this is the same knee he had surgery on late in his rookie season. We’ll await an update Sunday afternoon and hopefully, we get some good news. Mike Muscala, Jonah Bolden and Amir Johnson would soak up extra minutes at center if Embiid is unable to play.
LeBron James (groin) will not play Sunday against the Kings. After King James injured himself on Christmas, it was widely reported that he’d miss “several games.” This will be his third straight game on the shelf. His teams have lost each of the last 13 games he's missed, but L.A. will look to snap that streak against a surging Sacramento squad. After a 20/12/9 line in the first game LeBron missed, Lonzo Ball logged 43 minutes in on Friday. He, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram will all look to cash in on Sunday.
JaVale McGee (illness) is questionable for Sunday. McGee is improving and is back with the team, but his conditioning is still not where it needs to be. It will be interesting to see if Ivica Zubac can stay in the rotation once McGee returns.
Kyle Lowry (lower back pain) will not be able to play Sunday night against the Bulls. This will be the seventh out of the last eight games that Lowry has missed. Fred VanVleet is expected to draw another start, with Delon Wright serving as the primary backup at point guard.
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is probable for Sunday against the Thunder. DSJ returned from his wrist injury on Friday and tallied 14 points, one rebound, four assists, and two 3-pointers.
Wesley Matthews (right foot) is "likely out" against the Thunder on Sunday, according to coach Rick Carlisle. Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber will likely divvy up additional minutes if Matthews does not play.