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Basketball Daily Dose

Fred VanVleet's 54 points set NBA records

by Matt Ellentuck
Updated On: February 10, 2021, 3:41 pm ET

On a night of basketball that included Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Jayson Tatum, the best player of the night was ... Fred VanVleet? Yeah, Toronto's beloved guard was absurd on Tuesday night, beating the Raptors' franchise-record by scoring 54 points on a scorching 17-of-23 from the field. He sunk 11 out of 14 3-point tries in a 123-108 win over the Magic. 

VanVleet's performance was silly. He made all nine of the free throws he took, and the only thing stopping him was tired legs. Late in the fourth quarter, he missed his final two looks from distance. He added two assists, three rebounds, three blocks, and three steals with just one turnover in 37 minutes. It was a masterclass night from a guy who 30 general managers didn't think had what it takes to hang around the league during the 2016 draft. Of course, VanVleet now has an $85 million contract, championship ring, and franchise record to shove in their faces.

VanVleet's historic night was a win for all future and present undrafted players. It's unbelievable to think that this guy was passed up 60 times. His 54 points were the most by an undrafted NBA player ever, besting Moses Malone's 53 in 1982.

The 6-foot point guard's night was also fruitful for fantasy managers who've seen success from the No. 13 player in 9-cat leagues all season long. He's taken a leap even further than last season's impressive top-25 ranking, and scarily, the best is yet to come from the 26-year-old star nobody saw coming.  

Let's talk about everyone else from Tuesday night's six-game slate.

Nets 124, Clippers 120

The great

James Harden — The Nets avenged their disastrous late-game loss to the Wizards on Sunday with a 124-120 win over a good Clippers team. Sure, their defensive struggles showed, but they can out-offense the best offenses. Harden's a big reason why. He triple-doubled with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting with 14 assists, 11 rebounds, one steal, and just three turnovers in 43 minutes.

Kyrie Irving — Harden didn't do this all by himself. Irving scored a season-high 39 points on 15-of-23 shooting including six makes from distance on nine tries. He added two assists, one steal, two blocks, and just one turnover in 37 minutes.

Kawhi Leonard — Leonard scored a team-high 33 points with five rebounds, five assists, four steals, two blocks, and no turnovers in 39 minutes. His four steals tied his second-highest mark of the season.

The good 

Kevin Durant — Durant was the Third Musketeer on Tuesday, scoring a "mere" 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting, but made just one triple, and aside from nine rebounds only logged one block. He also had five turnovers. 

Paul George — George had a nice night scoring 26 points on 11-of-24 shooting with three 3-pointers, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals. It just wasn't enough to top Brooklyn's Big Three.

Nicolas Batum — Batum's come to life again in his starting role for L.A. He scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting including five 3-pointers. He's made 12 in his last three games.

The disappointing

Lou Williams — This hasn't been Williams' year. He scored just four points with five assists, one rebound, and two steals. He didn't even attempt a 3-pointer in 20 minutes.

The noteworthy 

DeAndre Jordan — Jordan moved to the bench in favor of Jeff Green for this one. Jordan played 16 minutes and logged seven points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and no turnovers. Green scored seven points with four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Neither are great fantasy options, and minutes will probably be situational. 

Raptors 123, Magic 108

The good

Kyle Lowry — He was second-best to VanVleet, but Lowry's first triple-double of the season was crucial to Toronto's win. He scored 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting with three made 3-pointers along with 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and a season-best four steals.

Norman Powell — Powell returned to the lineup on Tuesday after sitting Sunday to score 23 points on four made 3-pointers with two rebounds, two assists, and a season-high four steals. He ranks No. 117 in 9-cat leagues this year as a three-and-D wing.

Nikola Vucevic — Vucevic shot 31% or worse in each of his last two games, but bounced back to score 21 points on 47.4% shooting. He also grabbed a season-best 18 boards and dished four assists. 

Dwayne Bacon — Off the bench, Bacon had a big night. He scored 15 points on a season-high four 3-point makes with five rebounds and an assist in 21 minutes.

The disappointing

Terrence Ross — Ross scored a season-low three points on 1-of-8 shooting in 24 minutes. Don't look too closely into this off night for one of the league's most threatening microwave shooters.


Chuma Okeke — Playing his first rotation minutes since Aaron Gordon's injury, Okeke scored 10 points with three assists and a steal in 18 minutes. No need to add him just yet, but keep an eye on the backup forward.

Pacers 134, Grizzlies 116

The great

Domantas Sabonis — Sabonis's incredible year continued with the forward double-doubling on 32 points with 13 rebounds. He sunk a ridiculous 13-of-15 of his shots from the field including both of his three-point attempts. He also added five assists and two steals. He's been a top-50 9-cat talent all year.

Myles Turner — Turner had yet another block party on Tuesday. He swatted five shots to go along with 22 points (three 3-pointers), 11 rebounds, and three assists. This was his seventh game with five or more blocks this season. That's incredible.

The good

Jeremy Lamb — Lamb's been great since his return from a torn ACL and logged 19 points with five rebounds, three assists, and a steal in the win. He made a season-best five 3-pointers which should only bolster his top-50 9-cat standing.

Dillon Brooks — Brooks was one of few Grizzlies who got anything going on Tuesday. He scored a team-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting with two made 3-pointers, three rebounds, one assist, three steals, and a block in just 28 minutes. 

Desmond Bane — Bane was Brooks' best complementary scorer, notching 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting (three made 3-pointers) with five assists and three rebounds. This was his fifth consecutive game in double-digit scoring, making at least two 3-pointers in each. 

The disappointing

Ja Morant — Morant struggled in this one, scoring just 10 points (his fewest this season save for the game he was injured in) with five assists, one rebound, two steals, and a block. He missed eight of his 10 shots from the field and turned the ball over four times.

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Blazers 132, Wizards 121

The great

Bradley Beal — Who else for D.C.? Beal scored a game-high 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field including 6-of-12 from distance to go along with two rebounds, four assists, one block, and four turnovers in 38 minutes. The Wizards still lost, and no, Beal still does not want a trade. But Washington is now officially the worst team in the league by record.

The good

Rui Hachimura — Hachimura played his best game of the season, scoring a season-best 24 on 10-of-12 shooting including three 3-point makes. The second-year forward also grabbed five rebounds with an assist and a block. The Wizards' season might be a mess, but if Hachimura shows improvement, maybe it'll be worth the struggle. 

Russell Westbrook — I mean he wasn't amazing, but he did triple-double on 7-of-15 shooting. He scored 17 points with 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and four turnovers in 33 minutes. He came off one of his best games in recent memory, but this is where he stands on most nights.

Enes Kanter — Kanter's top-70 value continued in the win as the big man scored 14 points with 15 rebounds, and two assists as a starter. He made 6-of-10 shots from the field and even contributed a pair of steals. 

Gary Trent Jr. — When Trent Jr. catches fire, it's impossible to cool him down. For the second time this season, he sunk seven 3-point shots. This time it was off just nine attempts as the guard finished with 26 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in place of C.J. McCollum in the starting lineup.

Damian Lillard — It's always Dame Time. The All-Star scored 32 points on 9-of-23 shooting with four made 3-point shots. He added eight assists, two rebounds, and a block. Keep an eye on his status for future games, though, as the vet said he's dealing with an abdominal issue that made it hard for him to move early in the game.

Jazz 117, Pistons 105

The great

Donovan Mitchell — Mitchell bounced back on Tuesday after consecutive games shooting 25% or worse from the field. He scored 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting with six rebounds, one assist, one steal, and just one turnover in 35 minutes. 

Jerami Grant — Grant's monster season is still rolling as the forward scored 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the loss. He made two 3-pointers and added four rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 38 minutes. He's providing top-30 value in 9-cat leagues. 

The good

Royce O'Neale — O'Neale is a big reason why the Jazz look like a threat this season. To beat the Pistons, he scored 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, and two turnovers in 34 minutes. His defensive upside and 3-point shooting (two makes) have him inside the top-100 in 9-cat leagues. 

Josh Jackson — He cooled down after a hot start to the season, but played really well on Tuesday. His 22 points were the highest he's totaled in 2021, and he did it on 3-of-7 shooting from range (7-of-15 overall.) He also grabbed eight boards, dished two assists, and swiped a pair of steals. Monitor Jackson to see if this was a fluke, or if he's found his rhythm again.

The disappointing 

Rudy Gobert — Gobert left a lot to be desired in this one, scoring just nine points with a season-low seven rebounds and two assists. At least he added three blocks and made 5-of-6 free throws.  

Celtics 111, Warriors 107

The great

Stephen Curry — Have you heard of him? The point guard from Golden State. He's got a pretty good jumper. Yeah, Curry nearly triple-doubled with 38 points on seven 3-point makes with 11 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and just three turnovers in 38 minutes. It's a shame he isn't surrounded by a better roster.

The good

Jayson Tatum — Tatum led the way for Boston scoring a team-high 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting with four 3-pointers. He also grabbed nine boards with three assists. It's been amazing to see him play this well so soon after returning from a two-week battle with COVID-19.

Grant Williams — Williams showed his worth on both sides of the ball in the win. He scored a season-high 15 points and made all four shots he took from the field including three 3-point attempts, featuring a step-back. He also blocked two shots.

Juan Toscano-Anderson — Toscano-Anderson had a huge opportunity to play with Kevon Looney injured early in the game, and James Wiseman sitting with a wrist injury. In 27 minutes, he scored a season-best 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting including three triples with two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. He's worth monitoring with so many Warriors bigs out of the picture.

The injury

Kevon Looney — Looney sprained his left ankle after playing just 13 minutes and didn't return. Steve Kerr said he expects him to miss some time. That leaves no true centers left to play for Golden State. Toscano-Anderson and Draymond Green could be in for big minutes.

Matt Ellentuck

Matt Ellentuck is a freelance fantasy NBA writer for Rotoworld. Previously, he was an NBA and WNBA reporter for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @mellentuck