There were only four NBA games on Tuesday night, but we bounce back in a big way with 12 games on Wednesday. There was plenty of news, as Brook Lopez returned, Thaddeus Young struggled, D’Angelo Russell went down, and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all went nuts in the same game. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Thunder 111, Rockets 107 – With the Warriors and Spurs both off on Tuesday, the Thunder were left to grab most of the big headlines. Russell Westbrook went off for 21 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists for his third straight triple-double, as well as his sixth in the month of March (15 on the season). The only other two players to do that since Elias started keeping the stats are Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Wow. Kevin Durant, who was a little iffy with a sore elbow, scored 23 points and kept his streak of 56-straight games with at least 20 points alive. That ties his personal record and he’ll look to break it on Thursday against the Jazz. Dion Waiters played well in this one, but it was his best game in recent memory and it has fluke written all over it.
Dwight Howard looked good for the Rockets without his ‘sticky spray,’ hitting 7-of-8 shots and 2-of-3 free throws for 16 points and 13 rebounds, while James Harden went crazy with 24 points, seven rebounds, a career-high 16 assists, four steals and two 3-pointers. He was iffy coming in with a sore ankle, but looked great. Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza both played well in the loss, while Michael Beasley cooled off with 11 points and four rebounds in just 16 minutes off the bench. I’m still not sure why he sat, but Donatas Motiejunas started and had 11 points and five boards in 21 minutes. I’d rather own Beasley, who played 28 minutes and scored 30 points in his previous game. He should bounce back.
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Hornets 105, Nets 100 – The Hornets held off the Nets and Frank Kaminsky had 14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers in a start for Marvin Williams, who was out with a sore ankle. It sounds like Williams might be back for his next game, but if he’s out, Kaminsky is worth a DFS look. Nicolas Batum is scoring a lot of points lately and had 23 on Tuesday, but the rest of his line was lacking. Don’t worry about Batum. Kemba Walker hit just 4-of-14 shots after hitting just 2-of-11 on Monday. He’s shooting just 33 percent from the floor over his last five games, but I just think that means he’s ready to break out of his slump. Earlier this month he was the hottest point guard in the league, right there with Mr. Westbrook, then the slump kicked in. And if you find yourself missing the days of Linsanity, Jeremy Lin is on fire again. He backed up Monday’s heroic 29-point effort with 21 points, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 8-of-12 shooting on Tuesday. He’s got his swag back and looks like a guy to ride while he’s hot.
The Nets saw Thaddeus Young struggle last night as he committed six turnovers, hit just 5-of-12 shots and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds after coming in on fire. He scored 24 points on Saturday and had double-doubled in three straight games prior to that one. The Nets have nothing to play for and Young’s been in the league long enough to earn a rest, but as long as he’s healthy, I’m guessing he keeps playing. Brook Lopez was solid in his return from an illness with 29 points, nine boards and a season-high six dimes, while point guards Donald Sloan (zero points) and Shane Larkin (7 points, 5 assists) were both pretty bad. I’m not touching either of them in any type of league right now. Bojan Bogdanovic went off for 20 points with three 3-pointers and hit 9-of-9 free throws, but he won’t do much outside of score, three and shoot it well (he’s hot). And Sean Kilpatrick, who is probably available in your league, hit 9-of-12 shots and four 3-pointers for a career-high 25 points. He doesn’t do much besides score and three, either, but both of these guys appear to be solid plays in any format right now. Check out their game logs. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returned from a 50-game absence, but had just five points and three boards in 15 minutes. Just keep an eye on him.
Heat 113, Pelicans 99 - Dwyane Wade hit 10-of-21 shots for 25 points, seven boards, three assists and a steal, and Goran Dragic added 21 points, eight boards, five assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in the win. Ride them as long as they’re playing. Amare Stoudemire started and somehow had 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in just 15 minutes, but I don’t trust him. He hadn’t had more than eight points and five boards in six straight games prior to Tuesday. Both Joe Johnson (8 points, 2-of-7 shooting) and Luol Deng (5 points, 1-of-7 shooting) struggled, but both had been playing pretty well. They’ll bounce back, but keep an eye on Deng, as he’s now struggled badly in two straight games. Justise Winslow was quiet despite playing 31 minutes, while Hassan Whiteside hit 10-of-11 shots for 24 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and three blocks off the bench. Dude is ballin’ and is about to get paid. Josh Richardson finally cooled off and had just six points and not much else in 24 minutes. He was rolling coming in and I still like him, but I won’t be using him again in DFS after he burned me badly on Tuesday.
For the Pelicans, Dante Cunningham was a popular play coming in with Ryan Anderson (groin) and Anthony Davis (knee, shoulder) out, but laid an egg with four points and four boards in 27 minutes. I think he’ll be better than that on most nights. Omer Asik started at center and had eight points and nine rebounds, making him worth a deep-league glance, while Jrue Holiday stayed hot with 24 points and a full stat line. And Luke Babbitt stepped up with Cunningham quiet, logging 23 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers. He’s going to play a lot the rest of the way and is another interesting DFS play, as well as a standard-league option for the banged up Pelicans. Toney Douglas (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Tim Frazier (11 points, 4 assists) were both serviceable, and are both worth using in all formats as long as Norris Cole continues to sit with his lingering, frustrating back injury.
Lakers 107, Grizzlies 100 – D’Angelo Russell had 11 points, zero assists and a steal in 22 minutes, but left with a shin/knee injury and didn’t return. Consider him day-to-day until we get more information. Jordan Clarkson finally came through with 22 points, five boards, two steals and two 3-pointers on 8-of-13 shooting, and should be ready to get hot again. Yes, Clarkson’s sexual harassment accusations are concerning, but as long as he’s playing for the Lakers, he’s worth using in all leagues. The same can be said for Lou Williams (26 minutes, 13 points, 2 3-pointers, 3-of-10 shooting) and Marcelo Huertas (19 minutes, 4 points, 7 assists) as long as Russell is out. Julius Randle went off for 13 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, a steal and three blocks on 6-of-8 shooting. He had just two points and nine boards on 1-of-9 shooting on Friday, but bounced back last night. He should be fine the rest of the way. Kobe Bryant hit 7-of-18 shots for 20 points and two 3-pointers, and says he's playing against the Suns tonight. Brandon Bass went off from the bench for 18 points, six boards and two steals on 7-of-10 shooting, but with Randle playing so well, Bass is tough to trust. Additionally, Larry Nance is expected to start at small forward tonight against the Suns, and qualifies as a nice punt play in DFS.
The Grizzlies wanted a win last night, but couldn’t beat the Lakers, despite the heroics of Tony Allen. They appear to be locked into the No. 5 seed in the West, which means they won’t have home court, Marc Gasol and possibly Mike Conley down the stretch. Allen hit 12-of-12 shots (franchise record) for a career-high 27 points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal, and you did well if you used him in DFS. Ray McCallum started at PG, but didn’t score, Matt Barnes was eerily quiet with nine points, three assists and not much else, and Zach Randolph was decent with 16 points, six boards, five assists, three steals and a block. He’s hot and makes for a nice play in all formats right now. Chris Andersen started and had eight points and three boards, but played just 16 minutes. Lance Stephenson led the bench brigade with 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer, and just isn’t going away. JaMychal Green struggled again and is no longer a must-play, and I’d recommend looking into dumping him for a hot free agent. Jordan Farmar, however, played 31 minutes and had eight points, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. He hit just 2-of-9 shots, or he would have been a whole lot better. The minutes were there, McCallum isn’t getting it done, and Farmar now looks like a hot fantasy pickup with his new team.
News and Notes
Editor’s Note: Mike Gallagher wrote most of this, prior to me stealing his Dose in order to give him a much-needed night off.
Chandler Parsons (knee, hamstring) is likely going to miss the rest of the season for the Mavericks. He will have surgery on a torn meniscus and will have his offseason program altered due to knee surgery for the second summer. The Mavs are in deep trouble to hold their No. 8 seed with Utah just one game behind them.
Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs will be counting more on Wesley Matthews, which is not a surprise at all. He should play several minutes at the three with Raymond Felton and J.J. Barea getting a bump. The Mavs will also not be able to go small as much because Parsons was logging huge minutes at the four since the break. We covered this in detail on the pod (click here), so check that out. I’m a David Lee guy while Gallagher likes Salah Mejri more. Gallagher’s a sucker for upside, while I prefer Lee’s proven track record over the last few weeks.
The Raptors had Jonas Valanciunas (hand), Patrick Patterson (ankle) and James Johnson (foot) all practice on Tuesday, and they’re all questionable to face the Celtics on Wednesday. I’d guess JV is a go and the same goes for Patterson. That means Bismack Biyombo is going to lose some value.
Kevin Love (illness) should be back for Wednesday’s game and Channing Frye has been on fire. He’s actually at the top in the NBA for true shooting percentage among the 190 players to play in each of their team’s last nine games. Love’s value doesn’t look good right now, but he’s still worth starting if you own him. He’s probably too risky in DFS, as he’s been benched a couple times in the fourth quarter.
Carmelo Anthony should be back from his migraines but is still a shutdown candidate with the Knicks likely to be eliminated next week.
Jeff Green (face) is good to go for the Clippers on Wednesday. He'll have some value for the next couple weeks, but his upside is kind of low and he just hasn’t been playing very well on a consistent basis since leaving Memphis.
Robert Covington could return from a concussion for the Sixers tonight, so give him a look if you own him.