Loading scores...
Basketball Daily Dose

Kevin Durant shows out in return

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: April 26, 2021, 10:57 am ET

Sunday's seven-game slate was headlined by the return of one of the game's most-lethal scorers, and Kevin Durant looked anything but rusty in the Nets' win over the Suns. Among the other headliners were Stephen Curry and Bradley Beal, while Devonte' Graham rebounded from a rough Friday night to help lead the Hornets past the Celtics.

Hornets 125, Celtics 104: James Borrego said before Sunday's win over the Celtics that he would stick with the eight-man rotation that he utilized in Friday's win over the Cavaliers, and that is likely to remain the case until LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward cleared to return. The center position is impacted the most by this change, as P.J. Washington (22/12/5/1/1 with four 3-pointers) has logged the majority of his minutes in that role. That leaves room for one of Bismack Biyombo (4/7/3/0/1 in 22 minutes), Vernon Carey Jr. or Cody Zeller to play. While Biyombo received rotation minutes, Carey Jr. didn't check in until late, and Zeller picked up a DNP-CD. It remains difficult to make a case for Biyombo as a deep league add for managers in the midst of their playoff rounds. 

Devonte' Graham (24/2/9 with six 3-pointers) rebounded from a rough Friday night, and Borrego remains confident in his starting point guard. "No matter what [percentage] he shoots, he is a positive for us," Borrego said prior to Sunday's game. "I want him to shoot the ball more." Graham has gone five straight games without a steal, which is unfortunate, but he has dished out seven assists or more in four of his last five outings. Terry Rozier (21/5/11/1/1 with five 3-pointers) continues to shine, while Miles Bridges (20/6/3/0/1 with four 3-pointers), Cody Martin (13/10/5/1/2 with one 3-pointer) and Brad Wanamaker (12/2/1/2) also scored in double figures.

Martin, who's rostered in just 1% of Yahoo leagues, sits well outside of the top-200 in 9-cat over the last two weeks. While he has been more productive in recent games due to the move into the starting lineup, he'll need to show a bit more in order to become a worthwhile pickup in deeper leagues. 

Boston welcomed Jaylen Brown (20/8/2/2 with two 3-pointers) and Kemba Walker (20/6/4/2 with three 3-pointers) back to the lineup, but they combined to shoot just 15-of-39 from the field. Walker sat out Friday's game as it was the second game of a back-to-back, and the upcoming schedule isn't a great one for those who have him rostered. Boston is scheduled to play another back-to-back Tuesday (Oklahoma City)/Wednesday (Charlotte), so it's safe to assume that Walker will be on the shelf for one of those games. Also worth noting here is that Walker appeared to tweak something in his left side while closing out on a shooter during the first half, but he was able to return. 

Brown was back after missing the prior three games due to bursitis in his left shoulder, so we'll have to wait and see how Boston handles him for the upcoming back-to-back. Tuesday may be the game where they look to rest some of their banged-up rotation players with an eye toward the rematch with Charlotte Wednesday night. Jayson Tatum (19/11/2/1 with one 3-pointer) shot 6-of-16 from the field and turned the ball over five times on what was a rough afternoon for him, while Marcus Smart (17/1/4/1/1 with three 3-pointers) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Celtics. 

Grant Williams shot 3-of-4 from three and finished with nine points to go along with three rebounds and two assists, but he isn't a trustworthy fantasy player. Prior to Sunday, Williams last made multiple 3-pointers in the same game on March 22 (2-of-3 vs. Memphis). 

Nets 128, Suns 119: Kevin Durant made his return to action after missing three games with a left thigh contusion, and he looked just fine. He came off the bench in this one, playing 28 minutes and recording a line of 33 points (12-of-21 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs), six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers. Durant will remain on a 30-minute limit for Tuesday's game against the Raptors. As for who will move to the bench once Steve Nash is ready to start KD, Jeff Green (10/5/3/1/1 in 34 minutes) is likely to be that guy as he moved to the bench to begin the second half. 

Green as a reserve is more valuable, as far as fantasy is concerned, than DeAndre Jordan (6/12/1/0/1). Speaking of Jordan, it's a two-man split at the center position as the Nets are still without Nicolas Claxton due to health and safety protocols. Jordan played 21 minutes, and Blake Griffin (16/5/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) picked up the other 27. Over the last two weeks both have provided late-round value in 9-cat formats, with Jordan rostered in 50% of Yahoo leagues and Griffin in 46%. Determining which player would be a better fit on a fantasy roster depends on the need. Rebounds, go Jordan. But if a more offensively inclined player is needed, Griffin would be the better choice. 

Kyrie Irving (34/6/12 with five 3-pointers) was sensational Sunday afternoon, and he has now dished out eight assists or more in five straight and six of his last seven games. Over the last two weeks, Irving has been the top player in 9-cat formats (he's ranked second in 8-cat). Tyler Johnson (8/1/2 with two 3-pointers) made his return to the lineup, playing 16 minutes, with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot picking up a DNP-CD and Bruce Brown (4/1/0/1) playing just 10 minutes.  

With Jae Crowder (ankle) sidelined, Cameron Johnson made his second consecutive start for the visiting Suns. He hasn't been all that impactful in either, finishing Sunday's game with a line of nine points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. The concern is the lack of 3-point production. After going 6-of-15 in the two games prior, Johnson went 1-of-11 in losses to the Celtics and Nets. He'll look to turning things around Monday night when the Suns visit the red-hot Knicks. 

Devin Booker (36/3/1/0/1 with four 3-pointers), Deandre Ayton (20/13/3/2) and Torrey Craig (20/14/0/0/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively, with the latter having his best game in a Suns uniform. The absences of Crowder and Dario Saric (ankle) freed up additional opportunities for Craig, but that makes it difficult to trust him as far as fantasy value is concerned. Saric sat because this was the first game of a back-to-back, so he'll be back in the fold Monday night. We'll see when Crowder is cleared to return, but when he does, Craig stands to drop a spot in the pecking order. Chris Paul (14/4/8 with two 3-pointers) struggled by his lofty standards, committing six turnovers on the day. 

Grizzlies 120, Trail Blazers 112: Memphis didn't have Jaren Jackson Jr. for this one, as he was held out for injury management reasons, but they did welcome back starting center Jonas Valanciunas. Back on the court after missing three games due to a concussion, Valanciunas played 30 minutes and recorded a line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers. This was the first game of a back-to-back for Memphis, so those who have Valanciunas rostered should prepare for the possibility that he sits Monday night in Denver (and Jackson Jr. slots back in). 

The recent returns of Memphis' two best big men means that it's time to bid farewell to Xavier Tillman (two points, four rebounds and one block in 18 minutes) as a deep league fantasy option. At best, the rookie will be a streaming option in back-to-back situations, as Memphis has four more on the schedule after Monday night. But even that isn't a guarantee given how tight the race is in spots 6-10 in the West. Ja Morant (28/8/3/2 with three 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Grizzlies, with Dillon Brooks (18/8/0/1/2 with two 3-pointers) shooting 5-of-16 from the field, and Kyle Anderson (16/6/2/1 with two 3-pointers) did a little bit of everything. 

Grayson Allen (9/5/2/1/1), like Brooks, struggled offensively as he was just 3-of-12 from the field. But he managed to fill his stat line, so there's something to be gained there at least. Allen remains the starter next to Morant and played 27 minutes Sunday night, while De'Anthony Melton (8/3/6/0/1 with two 3-pointers) played 21 and Desmond Bane (2/3/4/0/1) 18. Add in Brandon Clarke (10/4/1/0/1) and Justise Winslow (6/3/2/2), and the Grizzlies have a host of options that can be used at the shooting guard, small forward and power forward spots. It's worth noting that Melton has been getting the majority of his minutes in the backup point guard role, with Tyus Jones (DNP-CD) dropping out of the rotation. 

Portland was led offensively by its usual suspects, as C.J. McCollum (27/2/3 with four 3-pointers) and Damian Lillard (23/6/5/1/1 with four 3-pointers) both surpassed the 20-point mark. But Lillard shot just 8-of-27 from the field, and McCollum was responsible for a team-worst four turnovers. Norman Powell (17/5/4/3) had a solid game before fouling out, while Jusuf Nurkic (17/19/5/1/2) and Carmelo Anthony (12/3/0/2 with four 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Anthony has made multiple 3-pointers in five straight games, his second-longest such streak of the season (six straight games in early March). He's rostered in 47% of Yahoo leagues currently. 

Portland will begin its upcoming road trip with a back-to-back against the Pacers and Grizzlies (Tuesday/Wednesday), so Enes Kanter (7/5/0/2/1 in 14 minutes) may be back in play as far as fantasy is concerned. The aforementioned Nurkic has played in both games of a back-to-back just once (out of three opportunities) since he returned to the lineup in late-March. Kanter is rostered in 75% of Yahoo leagues, so he's still lurking on a few waiver wires. 

Editor’s Note: Drafting is only half the battle! Get an edge on your competition with our NBA Season Tools - available in our EDGE+ Roto tier for $3.99/mo. (annually) or $9.99/mo. (monthly) - that are packed with rankings, projections, a trade evaluator, start/sit tools and much more. And don't forget to use promo code WELCOME10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

Wizards 119, Cavaliers 110: Washington has now won eight games in a row, but there was a scary moment late in Sunday's win over Cleveland. Bradley Beal (33/6/3/1 with two 3-pointers) appeared to get kicked in his left calf, and while he did remain in the game after a timeout was taken, the All-Star guard wasn't on the court for long. Following the game Beal did say during the television interview that the leg was feeling better, but keep an eye out for the injury report ahead of Monday's game against the Spurs. This is the first of two back-to-backs that the Wizards will play this week, so the timing of this injury isn't great for Beal, the Wizards or fantasy managers who have him rostered. 

Behind Beal there were four Wizards that scored 12-14 points, including Daniel Gafford (12/6/2/4/4 in 27 minutes). He's rostered in 33% of Yahoo leagues, which is understandable given the presence of Alex Len (2/2/1 in 10 minutes) and Robin Lopez (14/5/1 in 11 minutes) within the Washington rotation. But over the last two weeks, Gafford has been a top-100 player in 9-cat despite averaging just under 20 minutes per game. With Washington's schedule being a bit loaded, and Lopez limping off late with an apparent left knee injury, now is the time to pick up Gafford if he's still available in your league. Russell Westbrook (14/5/11/2) and Raul Neto (14/1/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also reached double figures for the winners. 

Cleveland was without Collin Sexton for this one, as he was ruled out due to a concussion. Cedi Osman moved into the starting lineup and had a good night, finishing with 19 points, two rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. This game was the first of a back-to-back for the Cavaliers, who visit Toronto Monday night, but it's hard to buy into Osman as a streaming option. Prior to Sunday, he hadn't appeared in a game since April 14 (five straight DNP-CDs). Darius Garland (28/4/9/1 with four 3-pointers) has to do even more offensively with Sexton sidelined, and he shot 9-of-20 from the field while also committing six turnovers Sunday night. 

A positive for the Cavaliers was the play of Jarrett Allen, who scored a career-high 27 points (10-of-12 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs) while also tallying 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in 34 minutes. In 39 games with the Cavaliers, Allen has averaged 13.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.6 blocks per game (39 games), while shooting 63.5% from the field. Due to be a restricted free agent this summer, he won't lack for suitors, but it's very difficult to envision a scenario in which Cleveland lets him walk. 

Kevin Love (12/5/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Isaac Okoro (10/2/2) also reached double figures for the visitors, with the latter failing to record a steal or a block in consecutive games for the first time since March 27-29. Okoro's fantasy value hasn't been great this season due in large part to the inconsistent offensive production, but the defensive numbers haven't been there recently, either. 

Hawks 111, Bucks 104: This was the second game of a back-to-back for Milwaukee, but the rotation was largely intact save P.J. Tucker (ankle). Giannis Antetokounmpo (31/14/4/1/2 with one 3-pointer) played well in his 35 minutes, which is a good sign given the time that he missed earlier this month due to the sore left knee. This was the two-time reigning MVP's first opportunity to play in both ends of a back-to-back since his return. Milwaukee has three more back-to-backs this season, with the first coming on May 4-5 (Brooklyn and Washington, both at home). Khris Middleton (23/6/2/1 with three 3-pointers) and Jrue Holiday (19/5/11/2) had productive nights, but the Bucks' issues were on the defensive end as they were unable to slow down the Hawks in the fourth quarter. 

Atlanta outscored Milwaukee 41-26 in the final stanza, with Bogdan Bogdanovic being a big reason for the surge. Bogdanovic (32/1/3/3 with six 3-pointers) matched his season-high with the 32 points, while Kevin Huerter (20/2/3/1 with one 3-pointer) and John Collins (18/5/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also had solid scoring nights for the Hawks. Add in the contributions of Danilo Gallinari (15/3/2 with one 3-pointer) and Lou Williams (15/3/6 with four 3-pointers) off the bench, and Atlanta had enough to race past the Bucks without the injured Trae Young

One player that Milwaukee did manage to slow down was Clint Capela, who scored just six points (2-of-6 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs). But he still chipped in with 14 rebounds, one assist and one steal in his 34 minutes on the court. Solomon Hill also hit double figures in rebounds, grabbing 12, while scoring two points and dishing out one assist. Hill's rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues, and that percentage is about right, as his value to the Hawks rotation far outweighs what he brings to the table in fantasy basketball. Give him credit for the good night on the glass, though. 

Pacers 131, Magic 112: Already hit hard by injuries this season, Orlando lost another player Sunday night as Devin Cannady went down with an open fracture of his right ankle. Just a brutal development for a player who earned his shot by starring on the Magic's G-League affiliate in the bubble during that team's run to the title earlier this year. Terrence Ross was held out due to back spasms, sitting for the third straight game. RJ Hampton's minutes have increased slightly recently, playing 27 minutes in Thursday's loss to the Pelicans and 29 Sunday night. The rookie finished this defeat with 14 points, two rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers, shooting 5-of-10 from the field. Hampton isn't a great fantasy play at this point but, so long as he stays healthy, he's a candidate to hit the high-20s in minutes on a nightly basis. 

Mo Bamba (17/7/2/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Robert Frank (11/5/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also had good nights off the bench for Orlando. Bamba can be a tough sell due to past durability issues, and the presence of Wendell Carter Jr. (10/13/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer), but he's still rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues. And he's going to get minutes, provided he stays healthy. Dwayne Bacon (20/5/1/2 with one 3-pointer) has hit double figures in five of his last seven games, but there hasn't been much production outside of points and rebounds. You would have to be in a very deep league to consider slotting him into a lineup at this point in the season. Cole Anthony (14/7/7/0/1 with one 3-pointer) and Chuma Okeke (12/3/3/3 with two 3-pointers) shot a combined 10-of-26 from the field, but both rookies managed to produce in other areas. 

Flipping over to Indiana, what would Edmond Sumner do for an encore after notching a new career-high Saturday night? Well, he put up 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes against the Magic. So long as Myles Turner (toe) and Domantas Sabonis (back) remain sidelined, Sumner won't lack for opportunities as a scorer. Over the last week he has been a top-100 player, but the matchups will get tougher as Indiana's next two games are at home against the Blazers and the Nets. In addition to Sabonis and Turner, the Pacers were also without Goga Bitadze (ankle), so Oshae Brissett (13/8/1 with two 3-pointers) and JaKarr Sampson (11/5/0/0/2 with one 3-pointer) remained in the starting lineup. 

Brissett has hit double figures in each of his last four games, and he is now rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues. Given the current state of Indiana's frontcourt, he's worthy of a look if you're in need of a serviceable player with eligibility at multiple positions (SF and PF). Malcolm Brogdon (24/8/9/0/1 with three 3-pointers), Justin Holiday (20/7/2 with six 3-pointers), Caris LeVert (18/3/6/1 with one 3-pointer) and Doug McDermott (16/2/4 with two 3-pointers) also hit double figures, while T.J. McConnell (2/3/7/1/1) posted a full line. 

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!

Warriors 117, Kings 113: Stephen Curry made some more history Sunday night, as he is now up to 85 made 3-pointers this month. That's an NBA record for the most in a calendar month, passing James Harden (82 in November 2019). Curry, who had a minor right foot issue come up during Friday's win over the Nuggets, played 38 minutes and recorded a line of 37 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and seven 3-pointers. The only negative was that he turned the ball over seven times, so this could have been an even bigger night for the league's top scorer. Draymond Green (8/14/13/1/1) also posted a full stat line, while Kelly Oubre (19 points, seven rebounds and one 3-pointer) led the way off the bench. 

Another Warriors reserve worth keeping tabs on is Juan Toscano-Anderson, who recorded a line of 10 points, four rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes. The Warriors were able to get some good mileage out of a lineup that included he and Green manning the power forward and center spots, and over the last two weeks, Toscano-Anderson has provided late-round value in 9-cat formats. Is he a must-have at this point? No. But JTA has managed to carve out a consistent role for himself on his hometown (before they moved across the Bay, of course) team. Andrew Wiggins (13/6/6/2 with one 3-pointer) and Mychal Mulder (11 points, three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, while Kevon Looney (8/8/1/1) put up a season-high 12 field goal attempts. Now it's worth noting that a lot of that damage was done on one sequence in which Looney racked up four offensive rebounds before finally scoring. 

Once again playing without De'Aaron Fox (health and safety protocols), the Kings received quality production from Buddy Hield (25/6/3/1 with six 3-pointers), Tyrese Haliburton (24/3/8/1 with two 3-pointers) and Harrison Barnes (23/7/2/0/1 with five 3-pointers). Barnes scored 16 of his 23 in the first half, as the Warriors managed to do a much better job of defending him after the intermission. Also of note was the return of Richaun Holmes (hamstring), as he played 22 minutes and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and one blocked shot. His return meant a DNP-CD for Hassan Whiteside, while Damian Jones played eight minutes (no stats recorded) and Chimezie Metu (7/1/1/2/3) 17. Metu, who will also see some time at the power forward spot, is the only one worth considering now that Holmes is back. And he doesn't offer much in the way of fantasy value either, even with Sunday's defensive production. 

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.