Luka Doncic went for 30-17-10 but hurt his thumb again, Kristaps Porzingis, Lonzo Ball, Christian Wood and Hassan Whiteside went off, Damian Lillard and Lauri Markkanen returned to action, and Malcolm Brogdon and Kevin Porter Jr. went down on Wednesday.
Mavericks 127, Pelicans 123 OT – The game of the night featured the dream matchup of Luka Doncic vs. Zion Williamson, but this game had so much more to offer, including some great performances from Kristaps Porzingis, Lonzo Ball and Seth Curry. Luka hit a dagger step-back 3-pointer in overtime to seal the win and finished with 30 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, a steal and a block on 9-of-20 shooting. He also hit four 3-pointers but committed seven turnovers and hit just 8-of-13 free throws. This was Luka’s league-leading 14th triple-double of the season and 22nd of his career, and in just 122 games he’s passed Jason Kidd for the franchise record. Oh, and it took Kidd 500 games in a Mavs’ jersey to get his 21 triple-doubles. Doncic put Jrue Holiday in the blender a few times and was fun to watch, but he was also clearly bothered by his left thumb injury, which got banged several times tonight and required X-rays after the game (they were negative). I’m a little worried about it and it’s going to bother him for the rest of the season, but hopefully he’s OK. Oh, and he also passed Magic Johnson to become the youngest player in history with a 30-15-10 game. Porzingis, who was the WC Player of the Week last week, went off for 34 points, 12 boards, five blocks and three 3-pointers and has clearly figured out how to play with Luka. Maxi Kleber also had five blocks and the duo combined to stifle Zion for much of the night, Dorian Finney-Smith left early with a hip injury, and Seth Curry, who started for DFS in the second half, hit 6-of-9 3-pointers for 21 points and four assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. also chipped in with 18 points and four triples, and both THJ and Curry are going to see a boost if DFS misses time with his injury, not to mention Luka’s pesky thumb. This was a big win for Dallas, who has had trouble closing out games at home all season.
While all eyes were on Zion, it was Lonzo Ball who put on the show 25 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals, a block and tied his career high with seven 3-pointers. He was fired up to play against Luka and his 3-point shot has come a long way in the last year. Brandon Ingram had 27 and a full stat line before fouling out, Zion had 21 points and six boards, and Jrue Holiday had a 19-6-6-2 line in a game the Pelicans needed to win. Nicolo Melli hit just 1-of-9 shots, but his 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left in regulation that sent the game to overtime with Porzingis right in his face was a thing of beauty. Surely you can find someone better than Melli on your waiver wire. Derrick Favors had 10 points, 14 boards, a steal and a block, while Jaxson Hayes (four minutes) and Josh Hart (13 minutes) were invisible off the bench. I’m a little surprised Hart doesn’t really fit into this team’s rotation. The Pelicans, who have lost three straight, need to start winning games if they’re going to sneak into the No. 8 slot in the West. They’re not 5.0 games behind the Grizzlies with the Blazers, Kings and Spurs all still standing in their way.
Celtics 112, Cavaliers 106 – Jaylen Brown (hamstring) and Gordon Hayward (knee) were both out and Jayson Tatum played through the flu and went off for 32 points and a full stat line that included five 3-pointers. Marcus Smart somehow avoided a suspension after going after a referee on Tuesday and had an empty 18 points in a start, while starters Grant Williams, Daniel Theis and Brad Wannamaker were all pretty quiet in the win. Semi Ojeleye came out of nowhere and survived a knee to the groin with a career-high 22 points, five 3-pointers, six rebounds, two assists and a block on 8-of-11 shooting. Brown’s supposed to miss “at least a week,” and I’m not confident we’ll see Hayward any time soon, either. Ojeleye might be a fun DFS flier, but I need to see him do something like this again before picking him up. Enes Kanter double-doubled, but the Celtics box score is nothing to write home about and the only reason they got the win was because of who they were playing.
For the Cavs, Kevin Love and Larry Nance both double-doubled and Collin Sexton hit 17-of-30 shots on his way to a career-high 41 with six assists, a steal and three 3-pointers. I’ve been calling Nance a must-own player and he went off with 19 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two 3-pointers with Andre Drummond (calf), Tristan Thompson (knee) and Darius Garland (groin) all sidelined. Speaking of sidelined, Kevin Porter Jr. followed up a role of coming off the bench because he forgot to put his jersey on in the locker room to suffering a head injury just 10 minutes in and never returning to the game. As you know, I’ve been all about KPJ over the last month and if he has a concussion and misses time, it’s going to hurt me everywhere. Hopefully he’s OK. And no, I don’t know when or if we’ll see Drummond, Thompson or Garland again.
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Thunder 114, Pistons 107 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 27 points and a nice line on 12-of-15 shooting, Dennis Schroder had 23 points and nine dimes, and Danilo Gallinari, Chris Paul and Steven Adams were all effective in the win. There was nothing to learn in fantasy here, although Nerlens Noel did have three blocks in his 16 minutes, for what it’s worth. The Thunder made things interesting by blowing a 16-point second-half lead, but held on.
For the Pistons, our guy Christian Wood hit 12-of-16 shots and five triples for a career-high 29 points, nine boards and a block and fill-in point guard Brandon Knight hit 6-of-15 shots and three 3-pointers for 18 points, seven assists and two steals in another loss. Guys like John Henson, Tony Snell and Svi Mykhailiuk started and didn’t do much, while newcomer Jordan McRae provided some instant offense off the bench with 15 points and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He was picked up off waivers yesterday and made an immediate impact, making him worth a look in fantasy leagues. But the timing is bad with the Pistons only playing two games next week. It’s also a bummer for Wood, who has been a blast to own, as well as Knight, who should also be owned as the last point guard standing.
Bucks 119, Pacers 100 – Giannis Antetokounmpo went off with 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, Khris Middleton had 20 points and eight boards, Eric Bledsoe had a 16-5-7 line and Wesley Matthews came through with 15 points and three triples. Brook Lopez was a disaster with three points on 1-of-6 shooting, but did have two steals and a block, and will bounce back. Donte DiVincenzo was nice with 19 points (ties career high), seven boards, three assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers off the bench and has been a solid deep-league fantasy player. And I don’t trust Matthews. The Bucks haven’t lost back-to-back games all season.
The Pacers had a four-game winning streak snapped, lost Malcolm Brogdon to a sore left hip in the second quarter, were without Victor Oladipo (knee) again and fell into a tie with the Sixers for the No. 5 seed in the East. T.J. McConnell, Edmond Sumner and Justin and Aaron Holiday would all see a boost if Brogdon, who has been banged up all year, misses time. As for Oladipo, I’m fine with dropping him and never even tried to acquire him at any point this season. His year off and the seriousness of his injury have taken a toll and I’m just hoping he returns to form next year. T.J. Warren led the way with 18, Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Doug McDermott had 16 points and three 3-pointers in 19 minutes off the bench. Starters Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday struggled against the tough D of the Bucks. McConnell had 14 points and six dimes in place of Brogdon and is probably the pickup, but the Pacers join the Pistons, Sixers, Suns and Kings with just two games next week.
Heat 116, Magic 103 – Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 27 points on 9-of-12 3-pointers, Goran Dragic had 25 points, nine assists and five 3-pointers off the bench in the win. Robinson is a true 3-point specialist but is worth using if you need points and triples. Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Kendrick Nunn were all quiet in this one while Kelly Olynyk had 16 points, five boards, two assists and three 3-pointers in just 16 minutes. He’s worth a look, but the minutes are a big concern. Jae Crowder hit just 1-of-8 shots but at least posted a stat in every category. The Heat hit a franchise-record 22 3-pointers in the win, and they needed every one of them. The Heat play three games next week and have won four straight games.
Aaron Gordon returned from his knee injury but struggled for just 11 points, but also had six rebounds, nine assists and two steals on 5-of-10 shooting. Hopefully he’s good to go. Nikola Vucevic went off for a 22-16-7 line, Markelle Fultz had 14 points and six assists, Evan Fournier scored 17 with three 3-pointers and Terrence Ross was the hero with season highs of 35 points and eight 3-pointers on 12-of-18 shooting. Of course, he didn’t do anything else, but he’s scored at least 19 points in eight of his last 10 games and is averaging 29 points and 6.0 3-pointers in his two March games. He’s worth picking up and the Magic play three times next week.
Grizzlies 118, Nets 79 – The Nets didn’t show up for this one and the Grizzlies got modest stat lines from several players, including Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and De’Anthony Melton, while Tyus Jones and Josh Jackson played very well and led the team in scoring off the bench. Gorgui Dieng also came through with six points, 14 rebounds and two blocks despite playing just 19 minutes. I have no idea why he’s not playing more but him, Jones and Jackson have all been playing well. Jones, Jackson and Dieng have all played well in two straight games and are worth a look with three games next week and four games the following week. Jaren Jackson Jr. could return from his knee injury next week, which would hurt Dieng the most of those three. The Grizzlies have won three straight and are 3.5 games up over Sacramento for the No. 8 seed.
The Nets were led by Taurean Prince’s 15 points, five boards and two 3-pointers, Joe Harris added 13 points, eight boards, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers, and Caris LeVert came through with 14 points, four boards, six assists and a steal on just 6-of-19 shooting. Spencer Dinwiddie hit just 1-of-9 shots for four points, Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan were quiet, and only a guy named Chris Chiozza did anything off the bench with his 14 points and two 3-pointers on 5-of-8 shooting. Dinwiddie is about to get hot and LeVert will bounce back. Garrett Temple sat out with a sprained left ankle but was playing well prior to the injury.
Jazz 112, Knicks 104 – The Jazz got 23 points from Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert had 18 points, 14 boards and two blocks, Mike Conley had 17 points and six dimes (yes, he’s been playing much better), and Royce O’Neale disappeared with three points. The Jaz got nothing off the bench, although Joe Ingles had an 8-5-6 line in 30 minutes off the bench.
For the Knicks, Julius Randle had 32 points and 11 boards, Elfrid Payton bounced back with a 20-7-9 line and RJ Barrett hit 5-of-12 shots for 14 points, four boards, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Bobby Portis added 21 points and three triples off the bench, but why the Knicks are still featuring their old guys while stashing their young players makes about as much sense as Jim Dolan picking a fight with, and chasing away, their No. 1 fan, Spike Lee. Mitchell Robinson was out with a hamstring injury just as he was starting to go on a tear and the Knicks are a dumpster fire.
Timberwolves 115, Bulls 108 – The Timberwolves have somehow won two straight games and got 24 points from Malik Beasley, a double-double from Naz Reid (16 points, 12 boards, two blocks), 19 points and four triples from D’Angelo Russell, and 12 points, seven boards, a steal and two 3-pointers from Juancho Hernangomez. James Johnson has finally given way to Reid but had a nice line of eight points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer off the bench, Joe McLaughlin had 10 points and seven dimes, and Jarrett Culver had 13 points and three 3-pointers in the win. McLaughlin has played well in two straight, Culver has hit double figures in three straight and Reid is averaging 12.7 points, 12.3 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks over his last three games. Pick Reid up and give the other two a deep-league look.
Lauri Markkanen returned from a 15-game absence and had 13 points in 21 minutes, Shaq Harrison led the starters with 17 points, three steals and three 3-pointers, while Wendell Carter Jr., Tomas Satoransky and Denzel Valentine were all relatively quiet. Thaddeus Young stayed relevant with 13 points, six boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but should take a hit once Markkanen gets going, and Coby White went off for 26 points, six assists and two 3-pointers off the bench. I’m glad I’m not sitting on WCJ, I don’t trust Harrison or Valentine, and White is really fun to own, even on his off nights. The Bulls play four games this week.
Blazers 125, Wizards 105 – The Blazers starters were awesome in this one, led by Carmelo Anthony’s 25 points, Hassan Whiteside had 24 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, Damian Lillard (groin) returned from his six-game absence and had 22 and a fun stat line, and C.J. McCollum came through with 22 points and a solid line. Trevor Ariza filled the stat sheet with 15 points, three boards, four assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, while the bench, including Gary Trent Jr., did absolutely nothing. Trent did play 28 minutes but hit just 1-of-7 shots with Lillard back out there. Melo hadn’t scored more than 14 points in his previous four games.
The Wizards got 29 points and another fun line from Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans scored 21 with four 3-pointers, and Rui Hachimura had 11 points, four boards, four assists and a steal. No one else scored in double figures, although Moe Wagner started and had nine points and nine boards, and Shabazz Napier had nine points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes. Thomas Bryant rested on the back-to-back, but should be back for the next one, which will ruin Wagner, and Ian Mahinmi has fallen completely out of the rotation. I think Napier will eventually get hot, but he’s been a rough ride in five straight games.