The Hawks won their seventh straight game, Bradley Beal, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Russell Westbrook all put on a show in the same game, LeBron James, Julius Randle, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns all went crazy and Damian Lillard had a really weird stat line in a win. And it was just another night in the NBA.
Hawks 116, Thunder 93 – The Hawks won their seventh straight game, Trae Young finally got a win over the Thunder on Thursday and the triple-double watch was on early. But the Hawks blew the game open with a 27-point lead in the third quarter and Young didn’t play long enough to complete the mission, sitting out the entire fourth quarter. He finished with a 23-6-9 line with a couple treys and just two turnovers in the win. John Collins was solid with 19 points, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer, and Bogdan Bogdanovic finally had a breakout game with a season-high 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and five triples on 9-of-14 shooting. He’s worth a look, but the Hawks are going to messier than Florida swamp timeshare ownership when everyone is healthy again, which is coming soon. Clint Capela was back in action tonight and while he didn’t go off (eight points, 8 boards, 2 blocks) it was nice to see him out there after missing the last couple games with pain in his left heel. De’Andre Hunter went through a full practice on Wednesday and is hoping to play on Saturday. Capela’s return pushed Danilo Gallinari back to the bench and he cooled off to hit 3-of-9 shots for eight points and nine rebounds last night. He has been on fire from downtown but couldn’t get one of his three attempts to fall tonight. He’s still a hot forward and the return of Hunter is going to hurt him, but I’m still hanging onto him until he starts disappearing regularly.
The Thunder’s box score isn’t very pretty to look at as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points with three rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer on 8-of-18 shooting, but then things get dicey. Aleksej Pokusevski continues to be maddingly inconsistent and hit just 2-of-11 shots for four points, six assists and two assists, while waiver-wire phenom Moses Brown went back to the bench with the return of Al Horford (rest) for five points, four rebounds, a steal and a block in 23 minutes. He hit just 2-of-7 shots and I’m recommending that we all hang onto Brown until the trade deadline passes. It might be a painful week and could backfire if the Thunder roll with Horford the rest of the way, but it’ll totally be worth it if Brown ends up the man in the middle for the Thunder. Ty Jerome went off for a career-high 18 points with six 3-pointers and a steal in 24 minutes. While garbage time was a minor factor, Jerome has been coming on, averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his previous three games. There’s no reason to run out and pick him up unless you’re in a really deep league, but he should at least have your attention after this. Horford got no revenge on the Hawks by hitting just 3-of-13 shots for 11 points but did at least have a full stat line outside of the shooting. SGA and Horford were a combined 3-of-18 shooting in the first half. Lu Dort started despite his toe injury and had eight points, while Theo Maledon came off the bench for 10. Both guys are worth hanging onto until the deadline passes. Darius Bazley is week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day due to his shoulder injury, which is a bummer. And that means that Poku should continue to start and get an opportunity to figure this out. His 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, steal, block and five 3-pointers on Sunday are now a distant memory, thanks to his 4-of-20 shooting over his last two games. Then again, he’s due for another explosion soon, so I’m probably hanging onto him, too.
Wizards 131, Jazz 122 – The Wizards got 43 points on 16-of-24 shooting from Bradley Beal (his fifth 40-point game of the season) and Russell Westbrook had a monster triple-double with 35 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in the win. The Wizards have lost six of their last eight games and it will be interesting to see what happens at the trade deadline, but they say they’re keeping Beal. Rui Hachimura had 12 points and seven boards and Robin Lopez came off the bench for 11 points and five rebounds, rounding out the double-digit scoring in this one. The 15-25 Wizards are a mess.
The Jazz got 42 points and four 3-pointers from Donovan Mitchell, as he, Joe Ingles, Westbrook and Beal all put on a show last night. Mitchell scored 20 in the third quarter and Ingles hit 12-of-17 shots and a career-high eight 3-pointers for a career-high 34 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, and guess who wasn’t on the court? That’s right – Mike Conley, who was out for rest. I don’t know what it is about Ingles and Conley together, but it apparently doesn’t matter to me. I still have him in several leagues, thankfully. He won’t have another game like this, probably ever, so don’t go chasing him if you don’t already have him. Especially since Conley, who Ingles started for last night, will be back for the next one. Rudy Gobert was kind of quiet with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but also had two steals and two blocks.
Knicks 94, Magic 93 – Julius Randle hit just 8-of-20 shots and a 3-pointer but finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high 17 assists and a steal for his third triple-double of the season. To put this in perspective, Randle has three triple-doubles this season, while Carmelo Anthony has two of them in his career and only one as a Knick. The 17 dimes were the most in Knicks’ history by someone other than a guard and they’ve won four straight at home. Say hello to the fantasy steal of the year.
Reggie Bullock came off the bench and hit 7-of-16 shots and six 3-pointers for 20 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals, one of which secured the win for the Knicks and found him mobbed by his teammates at the buzzer. Ironically, Alec Burks replaced Bullock in the starting lineup last night and went off for 21 points, 10 rebounds, a block and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley were all out for this one, so Burks and Bullock were able to get loose for big games. Burks came into this one averaging 15.8 points, 3.0 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers in his last four and those numbers are going up after this one. He’s worth a look but may not stick in the starting five going forward. Bullock has also been playing well, averaging 16.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 4.5 3-pointers in his last four games before tonight. Neither player is a must-have, but both of them are worth a look in all leagues right now with the Knicks so banged up.
Frank Ntilikina started at point guard with every other Knicks’ guard hurting and had 13 points, three 3-pointers, two boards, one assist, one steal and a block in 27 minutes. He hadn’t scored a point in his previous three games and while he’s a great defender, he’s just not a fantasy-friendly guy. And he’ll take a big hit once any of the Knicks point guards are healthy. RJ Barrett added 17 points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, but he was overshadowed by three of his teammates last night. Nerlens Noel has been a disaster of late and had two points, two boards, a steal and a block in 17 minutes and Mitchell Robinson is getting close to a return from his broken hand. It’s time to move on.
For the Magic, Michael Carter-Williams sat this one out with an illness so Chasson Randle started and played 30 minutes, but had just five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal. There’s nothing to see here. Aaron Gordon was the backup point guard and came through with 17 points, five rebounds, seven dimes and a 3-pointer in 31 minutes. He’d been out for the previous two games but he’s hopefully good to go going forward. He’s on the trading block and I’m hoping the Magic try to showcase him between now and the March 25 deadline. Evan Fournier led the way with 23 points, four 3-pointers, two steals and a block and Nikola Vucevic had 17 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in the loss. Terrence Ross was out with a sore knee and Vuc and Fournier are the only two Magic players you can count on right now. As Dinosaur Jr. once sang, what a mess.
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Timberwolves 123, Suns 119 – The Timberwolves shocked the Suns behind a historic performance from Anthony Edwards, who scored a career-high 42 points to become the third-youngest player to scored 40 points in an NBA game. He wasn’t exactly efficient, hitting 15-of-31 shots, 4-of-13 3-pointers and 8-of-13 free throws, but he added seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and just two turnovers in the win. Karl-Anthony Towns was right there with him and more efficient, hitting 15-of-24 shots, five 3-pointers and 6-of-7 free throws for 41 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal in 36 minutes. Hopefully, this game gets both KAT and Ant Man going.
Devin Booker hit 13-of-22 shots and three 3-pointers for 35 points, four rebounds, six assists, a block and five turnovers in 35 minutes of the loss. The Suns have cooled off and fell out of second place last night, as the Lakers overtook them for the No. 2 seed in the West. Chris Paul had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-14 shooting and Malik Bridges had 17 points, five boards, eight assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers on 6-of-10 shooting in 34 minutes. Deandre Ayton hit 6-of-8 shots for 14 points, seven rebounds and a block but fouled out in 26 minutes. Ayton just can’t seem to get it going and is posting more boring stat lines than ones that get fantasy managers excited.
Blazers 101, Pelicans 93 – The Blazers won a weird game against the Pelicans as Damian Lillard posted a bizarre stat line. No assists, seven turnovers, 36 points and six 3-pointers for Lillard, while the Blazers handed out just 11 assists as an entire team. Lillard had 50 points and 10 dimes in his previous game so he should bounce back with the assists in the next one against Dallas. This was Lillard’s first zero-assist game of the season and I’m pretty confident that he’s never had a zero-assist, seven-turnover game in his life. Lillard also scored his 16,000th point, joining Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the only players to score that many points in their first nine seasons. And make no mistake about it – Lillard is a serious MVP candidate at this point. C.J. McCollum hit just 3-of-16 shots for 11 points and three 3-pointers in 21 minutes and has not hit just 6-of-27 shots in his two games back from a broken foot. Oddly, all six of his makes have been 3-pointers and now is a great time to try to deal for McCollum, as he’s not going to play this poorly for much longer once he shakes off the rust. Robert Covington filled it up again with 10 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and is rewarding those of you who held on through the rough start. Enes Kanter double-doubled, Derrick Jones Jr. had eight points, five boards, two steals, four blocks and a 3-pointer, and Gary Trent Jr. hit just 1-of-11 shots for three points, a steal and a block. Trent Jr. will bounce back, Jones Jr. is still very intriguing, and Kanter will take a hit once Jusuf Nurkic is back in 10-14 days.
The Pelicans didn’t have a lot going on in this one, as Zion Williamson had another nice game with 26 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks, Brandon Ingram scored 19, and Lonzo Ball had 15 points, four rebounds, eight assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in the loss. Every other Pelican was a yawner and they really need Eric Bledsoe (7 points, 3-of-8 shooting) to step up and contribute to the offense.
Lakers 116, Hornets 105 – LeBron James backed up a pair of double-doubles with 37 points, eight rebounds, six assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers on 14-of-22 shooting. He’s only missed one game this season and the Lakers have won all four games since the All-Star break to move back into second place in the West. Dennis Schroder has really picked up the slack of a missing Anthony Davis, who hasn’t played since Feb. 14, and had 22 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers in the win. Schroder has scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games. Kyle Kuzma was quiet with 12 points, five boards, three assists, a block and four 3-pointers, and Talen Horton-Tucker added 12 points in 19 minutes. Those were the only four Lakers to score in double figures, but it’s also all they needed.
The Hornets got a fun line from P.J. Washington with his 18 points, eight rebounds, one steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting in the loss. I can’t seem to pick him on the right night and, of course, didn’t play him in DFS last night. He’s generally good to go on a nightly basis but does have the occasional disappearing act. Either way, he’s been a pleasant surprise this season. LaMelo Ball led the way with 26 points, five rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 10-of-18 shooting, and you can go ahead and give him the Rookie of the Year Award. Terry Rozier had 20 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and Devonte Graham hit 3-of-8 shots (all 3-pointers) for 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals in 22 minutes off the bench. He’s lost a lot of luster with the move to the bench, but he’s still worth holding onto unless there’s a hot free agent on the waiver wire you can’t live without. Gordon Hayward had a rough night (again) hitting 3-of-8 shots for seven points, but also had nine rebounds and 10 assists, neither of which was a season high. Hayward has taken eight or fewer shots in three of his last four games and his numbers reflect his lack of aggressiveness. It’s on the coaching staff to find him more looks and I’m guessing he starts shooting a lot more in the next few games. But this is a good buy-low opportunity on Hayward.