Friday was a fun night in the NBA if you had Kevin Porter Jr., Isaiah Stewart, Tim Hardaway Jr. or Kevin Durant, just as long as you aren’t relying on Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kristaps Porzingis. Here are 10 things you might have missed if you were out enjoying yourself on Thursday night.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves with ankle injury
Giannis was in the process of eurostepping against Kelly Olynyk just a minute into Thursday’s game when his right ankle took a wrong turn. The Bucks are basically locked into the No. 3 seed in the East, sitting 3.0 games behind the Sixers and 3.5 games in front of the Knicks, which doesn’t bode well for Giannis as far as the Bucks needing him to grind this thing out. The ankle sprain didn’t look great on TV and the Bucks play tonight against the Bulls. I don’t see how he’ll play in that game and if I’m the Bucks, I’m not touching Giannis again until he’s 100 percent as we get ready for the playoffs. We’ll have to see what the next report out of Milwaukee looks like, but from a guy sitting in an attic in Georgia, this doesn’t look like a good situation for Giannis, the Bucks or his fantasy managers. Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez will get a boost if Giannis is out, while Bobby Portis, who had 10 points, 11 boards, three assists and four steals last night, looks like a must-have player until we find out the extent of Giannis’ injury. Oh, and they somehow were beaten by the Rockets last night, which should tell you just how badly the Bucks need a healthy Giannis in the playoffs.
2. Kristaps Porzingis goes down… again
The Mavericks rested Luka Doncic (elbow) and Dorian Finney-Smith (leg) last night and welcomed back Kristaps Porzingis from his sprained ankle. However, the KP party didn’t last long as he left the game citing right knee soreness, which is not great news for Dallas or KP’s fantasy managers. Especially when you consider it’s the same knee he had surgery on last year. The Mavericks are off on Friday and then have a back-to-back set on Saturday and Sunday. Fingers crossed that Luka and DFS play in that one, while my guess is that we won’t see Porzingis in either game. Again, that’s coming from a guy in an attic in Georgia, so you’ll want to watch for updates on Porzingis over the next couple days. The Mavs welcomed back Josh Richardson and J.J. Redick last night and Tim Hardaway Jr. went nuts with a career-high 42 points with six 3-pointers in a win over the Pistons. Jalen Brunson started for Luka and had just 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer on 5-of-15 shooting, and I dropped him in my matchup in order to activate Robert Williams. Hopefully, Luka got his rest day out of the way on Thursday and will be good to go on Saturday and Sunday as the Mavericks need to keep winning games to avoid a play-in situation. And if THJ is available in your league, he’s probably worth a pickup given the Porzingis injury situation.
3. Kevin Porter Jr. drops 50 burger in win over Bucks
Kevin Porter Jr. is now the man in Houston with John Wall likely shut down for the season and hit a grand slam on Thursday night, draining 16-of-26 shots, 9-of-15 3-pointers and 9-of-11 free throws on his way to a career-high 50 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, a block and just five turnovers in 41 minutes. Considering how much he had the ball in his hands last night I’ll take the five TOs all day. Kelly Olynyk kept it going with 24 points, 13 boards, two steals and a block and three 3-pointers and my guy Christian Wood went off with 31 points, nine boards, four assists, a steal and a block. D.J. Wilson somehow had 15 points, 12 boards and three 3-pointers off the bench, but he’s tough to trust in fantasy given his inconsistency. But if you’ve got KPJ, Olynyk or Wood, you probably had a good fantasy night. The Rockets are off on Friday and get the Warriors on Saturday and the Knicks on Sunday. Hopefully, KPJ, Olynyk and Wood are good to go for those two games. If you’re in a desperate situation and in a deep league and want to take a flier on Wilson, be my guest but I’d take a look at his game log before doing so. He had 15 & 12 last night, 5 & 2 in his previous game, 25 & 8 last Saturday, and then a long string of single-digit games prior to that. And if KPJ ends up winning you a fantasy championship this may go down as one of the wildest NBA seasons in fantasy history.
4. Isaiah Stewart drops a career-high 20 points, 10 rebounds, a steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers on the Mavericks
The Pistons rested Mason Plumlee on Thursday and Isaiah Stewart when nuts with the above line against the center-less Mavs. I wish the Pistons would just make up their mind and either play the kids or at least let us know when the veterans are going to play. Jerami Grant and Cory Joseph were also rested on Thursday and we saw decent fantasy lines from Saddiq Bey, Sekou Doumbouya, Josh Jackson, Frank Jackson and Hamidou Diallo as a result. The Pistons have one game remaining this weekend in a Saturday matchup with the Hornets and we’ll have to see who is going to play in that one. But if you’ve got Stewart, you should probably hold onto him for dear life.
It’s safe to say KD is back after his 16-of-24 shooting line with 42 points, three boards, 10 assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in a 130-113 win over the Pacers. The Nets play again on Friday night and then on Sunday against the Bucks, so make sure KD is good to go tonight before setting your lineups. Kyrie Irving was rested with a sore groin and the Nets didn’t miss him against a depleted Pacers’ lineup. Starters Jeff Green, Joe Harris, Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet all scored in double figures while Alize Johnson came off the bench and went nuts with 20 points and a career-high 20 rebounds and two blocks on 7-of-12 shooting in 32 minutes. He also hit 6-of-6 free throws and the center-less Pacers were easy pickings for the young big man. He had failed to score in his previous two games and hadn’t even played since April 21, so it was somewhat miraculous if you actually had him in a lineup. He had literally done almost nothing in the month of April until last night so the chances of him going off again on Friday against Portland or on Sunday at Milwaukee aren’t great. Maybe Kyrie Irving will be back for those games. If you choose to roll the dice on Johnson this weekend you might as well grab some lottery tickets while you’re at it.
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Caris LeVert hit 14-of-24 shots, five 3-pointers, four rebounds and five dimes a loss to the Nets. LeVert has been a beast in April, scoring in double digits in every game and averaging 21.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers on 47 percent shooting. If you picked him up off the waiver wire he might just win you a fantasy ring with his strong play for the banged-up Pacers. Oshae Brissett had 14 points, nine boards, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers and might be solely responsible for me losing to Daniel Walters in my Rock & Roll league, Edmond Sumner had 16 points, Doug McDermott scored 15 and Aaron Holiday had 12 off the Pacers’ bench. Malcolm Brogdon played just 12 minutes and missed all five of his shots for a one-point dud before leaving the game with a sore hamstring. If he’s going to miss time, Sumner is someone who could really benefit, along with T.J. McConnell, who was quiet on Friday. McConnell and Sumner are worth a look with Brogdon’s injury and Brissett looks like a must-start player for Saturday’s meeting with the Thunder. The banged-up Pacers are clinging to life as the No. 9 seed and are 1.0 games up on the No. 10 Wizards and 3.0 games up on the No. 11 Bulls.
Stephen Curry came through with 37 points, six boards, eight dimes, two steals and six 3-pointers on 11-of-27 shooting in Thursday’s loss to the Wolves. Andrew Wiggins went off for 27 points, a block and three triples, Draymond Green filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, five boards, five dimes, three steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 5-of-6 shooting, and Kent Bazemore double-doubled with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers in another start. Mychal Mulder had 11 points off the bench, but Bazemore looks like the potential fantasy pickup here as long as he keeps starting for the Warriors. Kelly Oubre was out with his sore wrist and I can’t take it anymore. I cut him for Kendrick Nunn, who has two games left this week.
8. Ricky Rubio finally did something on Thursday with 26-point explosion
Ricky Rubio, who has been absolutely dreadful in April, went off for 26 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and five 3-pointers in 31 minutes of Thursday’s win. He’s been unplayable so don’t feel bad if you didn’t have him in your lineup. Anthony Edwards scored 25, Karl-Anthony Towns came through with 22 points, 11 boards, seven dimes and two 3-pointers and Naz Reid had 13 points, five boards, a block and a 3-pointer off the bench in 15 minutes. The Wolves have now won four straight games and play one more time this week, on Saturday against the Pelicans.
9. Pelicans handle tanking Thunder 109-95
Zion Williamson had 27 points, eight boards, six assists and a steal on 12-of-24 shooting and Brandon Ingram added 24 points and six boards in a win. Willy Hernangomez started for Steven Adams (ankle) and racked up a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block. If Adams is going to miss time Willy H is worth a look in all formats. The Pelicans have one game left this week, facing the Timberwolves on Saturday.
The Thunder got 17 points form Lu Dort, 16 points from Theo Maledon and 15 points and six boards from Darius Bazley. Moses Brown had just five points but also had 18 rebounds in a start, while Isaiah Roby came off the bench for a solid line of 13 points, nine boards, three steals and two 3-pointers. The Thunder have two games left against the depleted Pacers on Saturday and against the streaking Suns on Sunday.
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10. Nuggets take down Raptors 121-111
Michael Porter Jr. led the Nuggets to a win with 23 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers, Nikola Jokic double-doubled and Facundo Campazzo had 12 points and four assists. P.J. Dozier disappointed again with 10 points and I’m dropping him. JaMychal Green scored 15 and Austin Rivers and Shaq Harrison each scored 11 off the bench, but I don’t trust anyone in Denver right now outside of MPJ, Jokic and Campazzo.
The Raptors got 25 points from OG Anunoby, although he hit just 8-of-21 shots, while Khem Birch, Kyle Lowry and Malachi Flynn all came through with solid stat lines in the starting lineup. Birch was particularly fun with 20 points, eight boards, four assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 8-of-10 shooting. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you this was coming. Flynn apparently still has some life left and had 16 points, six boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. The Raptors play the Jazz on Saturday and the Lakers on Sunday, so Birch and Flynn are worth grabbing if you need a two-game player.