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Basketball Daily Dose

Giannis Antetokounmpo is back

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: April 16, 2021, 10:10 am ET

While there were just four games on the schedule for Thursday, there was no lack of news. The day began with LaMarcus Aldridge announcing his retirement due to an irregular heartbeat, and it ended with one of Boston's young stars putting up one of the most efficient 40-point games in league history. Below is a look at all that happened in the Association. 

Aldridge announces retirement from NBA: In a decision that caught many by surprise, Nets center LaMarcus Aldridge announced that he was calling it a career after 15 seasons. Sidelined since Saturday's loss to the Lakers by what was labeled as an "illness," Aldridge offered clarity on both why he hadn't been playing, and why he was retiring. It turns out that he experienced an irregular heartbeat during the game, and things got worse afterwards. While he was considered to be fine after undergoing a battery of tests, Aldridge made the difficult decision to call it a career. During his 15-year career in Portland, San Antonio and Brooklyn, he was a seven-time All-Star game and five-time All-NBA selection. 

The fantasy impact of Aldridge's retirement is pretty big. The additions of he and Blake Griffin, and the emergence of Nicolas Claxton, were supposed to ultimately push DeAndre Jordan out of the rotation. Unless the Nets can sign another quality big man, that's unlikely to happen now. Claxton's minutes should increase but, for now, so will Jordan's. Claxton remains the Nets big with the most upside, and he's going to have the opportunity to show why that is (or isn't) the case.

Bucks 120, Hawks 109: Giannis Antetokounmpo was back in the lineup after missing the prior six games with a sore left knee. To the surprise of no one, the two-time reigning MVP was on a minutes restriction, playing just 25 minutes. Antetokounmpo shot 7-of-12 from the field, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and one blocked shot. The full line helps out fantasy managers, even though Giannis missed both of his free throw attempts. 

Antetokounmpo's return was one of two changes to the Bucks' starting lineup, as Bryn Forbes filled in for the injured Donte DiVincenzo. Forbes played 22 minutes, recording a line of nine points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer. When he isn't knocking down multiple 3-pointers, Forbes doesn't offer much in most leagues. Pat Connaughton (14 points, eight rebounds and four 3-pointers) and Jeff Teague (11/2/5) were both more impactful that Forbes. 

Jrue Holiday (23/4/7/1 with two 3-pointers) and Brook Lopez (19/12/0/0/1 with three 3-pointers) led the way for the Bucks, while Bobby Portis moved to the bench and tallied 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes. While Portis' fantasy potential does take a hit with Giannis back in the fold, he's still worth hanging onto in most leagues as he sits just outside of the top-100. Portis is rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was nearly sent to Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade during the offseason, had a very good night. Shooting 10-of-20 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line, he put up 28 points, six rebounds, seven assists, one steal and six 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Bogdanovic has now scored 20 points or more in eight of the 12 games that he's played in. That stretch coincides with Nate McMillan moving Bogdanovic into the starting lineup, and over the last month he has been a top-20 player in 9-cat formats. Bogdanovic is rostered in 79% of Yahoo leagues, and that feels a bit low given his recent level of play. 

Atlanta didn't get much from its bench and, outside of Lou Williams (six points, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes), that isn't a surprise given the players that they're currently without. Solomon Hill (18/5/1/0/1 with six 3-pointers), Kevin Huerter (16/6/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Clint Capela (16/16/0/1/2) all shot better than 50% from the field, with Hill establishing a new season-high with those 18 points and six 3-pointers. Even if the triples are falling Hill doesn't offer much as far as fantasy value is concerned, but he's worth a look in the short-term in extremely deep leagues. Trae Young (15/2/9 with six turnovers) struggled Thursday night, thanks in large part to Holiday, going 3-of-17 from the field. 

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Warriors 119, Cavaliers 101: Before Thursday's victory, the Warriors announced that James Wiseman underwent a successful procedure to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee. The next update on the rookie won't be coming until September, so it goes without saying that Wiseman is done for the season. The two players most impacted by Wiseman's absence are Kevon Looney and Juan Toscano-Anderson, with the former moving into the starting lineup. Looney played 28 minutes, tallying eight points, ten rebounds and two assists on 4-of-7 shooting. 

Toscano-Anderson played 31 minutes off the bench and had the best game of his NBA career, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. Prior to Thursday, he hadn't reached double figures in a game since the Warriors' March 25 loss to the Kings. Fantasy managers would be better served to hold off on making an impulse add; it wouldn't hurt to wait and see what Toscano-Anderson does for an encore before making a decision. 

Stephen Curry has now scored 30 points or more in nine straight games, as he finished this one with 33 points, four rebounds, five assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Andrew Wiggins (23/6/6 with five 3-pointers) also had a good night offensively, while Draymond Green (5/10/8/3/2 with one 3-pointer) posted a full stat line. That versatility is why Green is still a valuable fantasy option, regardless of his not being much of a scorer. 

Cleveland welcomed back Collin Sexton, who played 34 minutes in his return to action. Sexton shot 10-of-19 from the field and 7-of-10 from the foul line, recording a line of 30 points, four rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. Darius Garland, who returned from injury a couple games ago, played 35 minutes in what was the second game of a back-to-back for the Cavs. Garland finished with 20 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. 

Also playing in both ends of Cleveland's back-to-back were Jarrett Allen (17/14/1/2) and Larry Nance Jr. (3/5/1/2 with one 3-pointer), and their returns pretty much bounced Isaiah Hartenstein out of the rotation. Hartenstein played just four minutes Thursday night, scoring one point and grabbing two rebounds. Deep league fantasy managers heading into the playoffs would be wise to take a look at Taurean Prince

Rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues, he has now hit double figures in seven straight games. Prince played just 19 minutes off the bench, but finished with 12 points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers. He isn't a must-add, but there are many better options lurking on the waiver wires of most leagues at this point in the season.

Suns 122, Kings 114: Phoenix is now 16-4 since the All-Star break, the best record in the league. Deandre Ayton (26/11/0/0/1) shot 10-of-11 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line in one of his most efficient games of the season, while Devin Booker (23/3/4 with three 3-pointers) also surpassed the 20-point mark. Just outside of the top-50 in 9-cat formats, Ayton has been a top-20 player over the last two weeks. Chris Paul (13/3/11/3 with one 3-pointer) and Mikal Bridges (13/3/2/2/1 with three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, while Jevon Carter (13/3/2/1 with three 3-pointers) had one of his best games of the season. 

De'Aaron Fox (27/3/8/1) and Buddy Hield (24/4/2/1 with five 3-pointers) had good nights for the Kings, who have now lost nine in a row. Damian Jones started in the middle but, for some reason, he didn't see any action after playing the game's first five minutes. Hassan Whiteside (11/10/2/0/1) played 24 minutes off the bench, with the Kings going small whenever he wasn't in the game. Harrison Barnes played 40 minutes, recording a line of 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. With Richaun Holmes out for at least a couple more games due to a hamstring injury, Whiteside is worth picking up. He may not start games, but given the way in which Jones' minutes were allocated, it's quite clear that Whiteside is a better fantasy option than Jones.

Delon Wright (16/4/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Tyrese Haliburton (12/1/1/2 with two 3-pointers) both hit double figures off the bench for the Kings, and the latter still sits safely within the top-100 in 9-cat formats. Wright is capable of providing some solid value off the bench, but he's been a bit inconsistent since joining the Kings. Wright's rostered in 38% of Yahoo leagues, so it shouldn't be too difficult for managers willing to gamble to pick him up in most leagues. 

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Celtics 121, Lakers 113: Prior to the game the Lakers received some good news, as Anthony Davis has been cleared for on-court work. A return to the lineup doesn't appear to be far off for him, while LeBron James may need a couple more weeks before he's healthy enough to play. With Andre Drummond also out, Marc Gasol started at center and played quite well in his 21 minutes. Gasol recorded a line of 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four 3-pointers, but he also suffered a volar plate fracture to his left pinkie finger. Gasol, who didn't seem to be too bothered by the injury after the game, is considered to be questionable for Saturday's matchup with the Jazz. 

Kyle Kuzma (13/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) played 29 minutes in his return, while Dennis Schroder (8/1/8 with one 3-pointer) and Wesley Matthews (3/1/0/2 with one 3-pointer), who have also been dealing with injuries recently, failed to have much of an impact. While the Lakers' bench failed to complete their furious rally, they did succeed in forcing the Celtics to bring back some of their key players after both teams cleared their benches with about five minutes remaining. Talen Horton-Tucker (19/6/7/3) and Ben McLemore (17/3/2 with two 3-pointers) led the way, and the former has reached double figures in six of his last seven games. 

Horton-Tucker's fantasy value for the season as a whole isn't great, as he's still well outside of the top-100. But over the last two weeks, he has been well within that threshold in both 8- and 9-cat formats. Horton-Tucker is rostered in 23% of Yahoo leagues, which is too low given who the Lakers are currently playing without. 

While Boston wasn't too happy with having to bench some poor-performing deep reserves late, there was a silver lining. Jaylen Brown was able to go after a 40-point game, which he managed to produce on 17-of-20 shooting from the field. Brown was also responsible for nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. He is the first player in Celtics franchise history to score 40 points or more in a game while shooting at least 85% from the field. 

Six other Celtics scored between 12 and 15 points, including Tristan Thompson (14/6/5/0/1), who started in place of the injured Robert Williams. Rostered in 21% of Yahoo leagues, Thompson has been a greater asset to the Celtics than he has been to fantasy managers on most nights. Marcus Smart (15/6/4/1 with three 3-pointers), Jayson Tatum (14/5/5 with two 3-pointers) and Kemba Walker (12/2/7 with two 3-pointers) also reached double figures, as did rookie Payton Pritchard (15/7/3 with three 3-pointers). 

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.