LaMelo Ball became the second person in his family to break the NBA's record for youngest player to post a triple-double on Saturday in a 115-103 win over the Hawks. He tied his career-best 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting (3-of-5 from 3-point range) with a career-best 12 rebounds and career-best 11 assists. He also added a steal and turned the ball over just once in 31 minutes.
Ball's brother, Lonzo, broke the record in November 2017. Less than four years later, the Ball's re-wrote history again. LaMelo notched his triple-double at just 19 years and 140 days old, beating the record previously held by Markelle Fultz by 177 days.
Saturday night was everything Hornets fans had hoped for when their team selected him No. 3 overall. He found the roll-man off high screens for easy buckets, launched from distance, and knocked down fadeaways. Devonte' Graham should be at least a little worried about his starting job, especially as he continued his slow start to the season, scoring just nine points on 1-of-6 shooting. Ball is growing up quickly. And he's damn good already.
Now let's talk about how everyone else performed in the NBA's eight Saturday games.
Tyrese Maxey — Maxey, a 20-year-old rookie, played the role of Sixers' superstar on Saturday, as the team had just eight active players on their roster, and seven players actually playing. Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier were all out due to medical protocol, and Mike Scott, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Furkan Korkmaz were all out due to injury. The Sixers lost, 115-103, but with all the opportunity in the world, Maxey exploded for 39 points on 18-of-33 shooting (three 3-pointers), seven rebounds, six assists and two steals with two turnovers in 44 minutes. Maxey is absolutely worth scooping up for however long most of the Sixers' lineup is out.
P.J. Washington — This game was LaMelo Ball's, but Washington made a huge contribution, swatting a career-best six shots in 36 minutes. That makes 11 blocks over his last three games. He also scored 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting (two made 3-pointers), and grabbed seven rebounds, one assist and turned the ball over just once.
Mikal Bridges — The Sixers have to be regretting moving Mikal Bridges on draft night right about now, huh? Bridges scored a career-high 34 points and matched a career-best six made 3-pointers on eight attempts. He was the best Suns player of the night in the same game as Hall of Famer Chris Paul, Devin Booker and No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. He also had three rebounds and two assists as the Suns beat the Pacers, 125-117.
Domantas Sabonis — Sabonis tied a career-best with 22 rebounds in 41 minutes on Saturday. Despite Indiana's loss to Phoenix, Sabonis looked like an All-NBA talent, double-doubling with 28 points (12-of-24 FGs) and four assists to three turnovers.
Jimmy Butler — For a game without Russell Westbrook (rest) or Bradley Beal (medical protocol), the Heat played a close one, only winning 128-124. But Butler was tremendous, nearly triple-doubling with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a block with no turnovers in 36 minutes.
Goran Dragic — Butler got serious help from Dragic off the bench. He scored 21 points in 20 minutes, tying a career-best with seven made 3-pointers on nine attempts, adding five assists with three turnovers. Dragic needed a game like this after making just seven 3-pointers in every other game this season combined.
Larry Nance Jr. — Nance Jr. put together an excellent fantasy night in a 100-99 loss to the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks. He scored 17 points including three made 3-pointers with three rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block with three turnovers in 40 minutes.
Andre Drummond — Somehow, 24 rebounds doesn't crack the top-5 most in a single game for Drummond's career, but he still tallied a monster box score night, including 26 points, three assists, a steal and a block in the loss to Milwaukee. He turned the ball over six times, but made 4-of-5 free throws.
DeMar DeRozan — DeRozan carried the Spurs in a 125-122 overtime win over the Timberwolves, scoring 38 points in 44 minutes on 13-of-23 shooting (12-of-13 from the free throw line) with five assists, five rebounds and just one turnover. He's looked great this year, as head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are helping make the most of a star talent yet again.
Tim Hardaway Jr. — Hardaway Jr. erupted for 36 points on 8-of-13 3-point shooting in a 112-98 win over the Magic. He was one shy of his career-best makes from distance yet still scored two more than the entire Orlando team — on 18 less attempts! Hardaway Jr. stepped up when the Mavs needed him with both Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Richardson out to medical protocols.
C.J. McCollum — The No. 7 player in 9-cat leagues had another terrific game in the Blazers' 125-99 blowout win over the Kings, scoring 37 points on 13-of-22 shooting (6-of-11 from 3-point), with three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
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Nikola Jokic — Jokic played against what was essentially the G League Sixers, but he still had an impressive game, nearly triple-doubling with 15 points (6-of-8 shooting), 12 assists and nine rebounds in just 29 minutes. He turned the ball over four times, but fantasy managers can live with that from the No. 3 ranked player in 9-cat leagues.
Gary Harris — His slump is over! Finally! Harris, a career 35.6% 3-point shooter, came into Saturday's game having made just 4-of-29 3-pointers (13.8%). Yikes! But he made 5-of-8 against the Sixers' roster of guys you probably had to Google. He finished the game with 21 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Cam Reddish — Reddish played his first game off the bench on Saturday, but due to Bogdan Bogdanovic's injury, still logged 34 minutes and drained four 3-pointers for 21 points, five rebounds and one assist with four steals and three turnovers. He's made it clear that he's going to continue to shoot (he took 17 shots on Saturday, including 13 3-pointers), which may not always be good for the Hawks, but is good for fantasy managers.
Terry Rozier — Rozier snagged a season-high four steals to go along with 23 points (four 3-point makes), four rebounds, two assists and three turnovers.
Myles Turner — Turner put together another great fantasy night, swatting away four shots and sinking two 3-pointers out of three tries. He finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists without a turnover in 36 minutes.
Tyler Herro — Herro scored 31 points — his most in a regular season game — in the Heat's win over the Wizards. He sunk 12-of-20 field goal attempts, including one 3-pointer, and grabbed nine boards with two assists and three turnovers.
Deni Avdija — Without his team's three best players, Avdija, the rookie, stepped up. He scored a career-high 20 points (more than his last four games combined), dished a career-best five assists, and grabbed five boards with two steals in 32 minutes. He made 5-of-9 tries from range, and looked like the steal of the 2020 draft on Saturday.
Garrison Mathews — Maybe now Scott Brooks will play him more? After showing his strength as a 3-point shooter at the end of last season, Mathews has only appeared in two games. On Saturday, he scored 22 points in 23 minutes, draining 4-of-7 3-pointers, and 6-of-12 shots overall. He also grabbed two boards, dished one assist and snatched two steals with just one turnover. With Beal's status (medical protocol) unclear, Mathews should be on your radar as a sharpshooter.
Bobby Portis — Portis started in place of Antetokounmpo, and had the best night of his Bucks career. He scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting (one made 3-pointer), with 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals (tied a career-best) with five turnovers. It doesn't appear that Antetokounmpo (back spasms) will be out for too long, but Portis should be played whenever he sits.
Karl-Anthony Towns — Towns played his first game back from a wrist injury he suffered on December 26th without a minutes restriction, and he looked great. In 37 minutes, he scored 25 points (9-of-17 shooting, two made 3-pointers on three tries), with 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. He turned the ball over just three times. It wasn't enough to snap the Wolves' seven-game losing streak, but with him back in the lineup, the team has hope.
Malik Beasley — Beasley tied his career-best with seven made 3-pointers on 11 tries on Saturday, finishing with 29 points, four rebounds and two assists to two turnovers in 40 minutes. He made 11-of-20 shots overall, but it wasn't enough to top the Spurs.
Naz Reid — Even with Towns back and playing full minutes, Reid logged a strong 16 of his own, scoring 16 points with seven rebounds, one assist and three blocks. He even sunk three 3-pointers. Reid isn't a player who can be consistently relied on, but in stretches, he's produced some solid fantasy nights.
Nikola Vucevic — The Magic couldn't top the short-handed Mavericks without Jalen Brunson, Finney-Smith and Richardson (medical protocol), but Vucevic had a stellar game, scoring 30 points on 14-of-24 shooting (two made 3-pointers) with 15 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Khem Birch — Birch tied a career-best three steals, and made all four of his field goal attempts for 12 points and eight rebounds in just 24 minutes. That night might be overlooked in the box score, but it's a nice little fantasy night for the No. 144 ranked player in 9-cat leagues.
Trey Burke — With Jalen Brunson out due to medical protocols, Burke got an opportunity and ran with it, scoring 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting including seven made 3-pointers on eight tries in 21 minutes. He also dished four assists and blocked a shot while turning the ball over just once. That's a heckuva lot of production off the bench, and Burke should be scooped up if he's available in your league.
Hassan Whiteside — Whiteside played for just the second time in 2021 after Richaun Holmes was a late-scratch due to ankle soreness that shouldn't keep him out too long. In 24 minutes, Whiteside scored 11 points with eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. If Holmes is out another game, Whiteside is worth playing.
Trae Young — For the second straight game since rumors swirled about John Collins and Trae Young disagreeing with how to run the Hawks' offense, Young put up a mediocre showing by his standards. He scored just 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting (0-of-5 from 3-point range) with 10 assists and two rebounds. In his last two games, he's shooting a combined 7-of-28 (0-of-8 from range) with 13 assists and 11 turnovers.
Danny Green — Green played on Saturday despite being ruled out due to medical protocol the night before. The Sixers needed him from a numbers perspective, but he didn't play up to par, and was clearly outshined by Maxey. Green scored just 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting with five assists, two steals and a block in 36 minutes.
Bogdan Bogdanovic — Bogdanovic went down with an awkward-looking right knee injury after bumping into LaMelo Ball. He was unable to put weight on the knee on his way to the locker room. He'd just replaced Reddish in the starting lineup, but Reddish may have the opportunity to keep his starting job permanently if Bogdanovic has to miss any extended time.
Thomas Bryant — Bryant went down with a scary-looking left knee injury in the first quarter of Saturday's game, and didn't return. He'll get an MRI and X-rays on Sunday. Robin Lopez and Moritz Wagner are candidates to step up in his absence.
More and more NBA players are testing positive for COVID-19, or are missing games due to medical protocols in fear of catching the virus from a close contact.
- After Sixers guard Seth Curry tested positive on Friday, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier all missed Saturday's game, and could sit longer.
- Jayson Tatum tested positive Saturday morning, causing Jaylen Brown, Javonte Green and Semi Ojeleye to be listed as questionable for Sunday's game due to health and safety concerns. Wizards guard Bradley Beal also sat out Saturday's game for health and safety concerns, having played against Tatum the night before. Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams are already sidelined due to medical protocols for the Celtics.