Kevin Durant
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Basketball Daily Dose

Nets, Lakers and Clippers lose key players

Updated On: February 15, 2021, 7:02 am ET

With this being the first Sunday without the NFL, the NBA schedule was a loaded one with ten games on the slate. And there was no shortage of injury news either, as the Nets and both L.A. teams lost key players. Monday’s Daily Dose will begin with Brooklyn, which will be without one-third of its superstar trio for at least the next two games due to a hamstring injury.

Sunday’s Scores
Wizards 104, Celtics 91
Timberwolves 116, Raptors 112
Spurs 122, Hornets 110
Pistons 123, Pelicans 112
Trail Blazers 121, Mavericks 118
Thunder 114, Bucks 109
Suns 109, Magic 90
Nuggets 122, Lakers 105
Grizzlies 124, Kings 110
Clippers 128, Cavaliers 111

Durant to miss at least two games: It was announced Sunday afternoon that the Nets will be without one of its stars for at least the next two games, as Kevin Durant suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday’s win over the Warriors. Nothing seemed to be wrong with Durant during that game, as he played 33 minutes, but that obviously wasn’t the case. He won’t be available for games against the Kings (Monday) and Suns (Tuesday), and given the finicky nature of hamstring injuries it’s possible that Durant misses time beyond that. Following those two games, the Nets close out their road trip with games against the Lakers (Thursday) and Clippers (Sunday).

The question that many fantasy managers are asking: which players are the best options to go with in what will be a four-game week for Brooklyn? Obviously, James Harden and Kyrie Irving won’t be available on any waiver wires. With Durant sidelined, Harden (who leads the league in assists) will likely be a bit more aggressive when it comes to looking for his own shot. As for players who may actually be sitting on your waiver wire, there really isn’t a “lock.” Jeff Green makes sense, especially when taking into consideration the fact that DeAndre Jordan (personal reasons) was not available Saturday night. Green is rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues, and is providing late-round value in 9-cat formats.

Joe Harris may have a little more room to be more than just a catch-and-shoot option with Durant out, and he has been a top-100 player all season long. Harris is rostered in 71% of Yahoo leagues currently, so it will be more difficult to grab him than Green. Bruce Brown played well Saturday and is rostered in just 2% of Yahoo leagues. Look for that percentage to rise, but he’s better for managers in need of rebounding/defensive stats. The 18 points that Brown scored Saturday are the most for him in a game since January 29. Lastly, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is in a spot similar to that of Brown. While he can have the occasional outburst as a scorer, his value tends to come as a defender/rebounder.

Davis suffers right Achilles strain: Not only did the Lakers lose their game, falling to the Nuggets by 17, but they also lost Anthony Davis. Davis left the game late in the second quarter after injuring his right Achilles tendon, with it being announced by the team later in the night that he had suffered a strain. Davis, who will undergo an MRI on Monday, missed a couple games earlier this month due to tendonosis in that same Achilles.

“It’s a part of the game, it’s more so frustrating that I’m not able to go out there and play,” said Davis, who noted that he felt good before the game. “... I don’t want to mess around with this type of injury.”

Kyle Kuzma started the second half for Davis, and finished the game with 19 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes. Rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues, he would be the most obvious answer to the “who should be picked up” question. On most occasions when the Lakers have been down a starter, it has been Kuzma who has been tasked with filling the void.

Markieff Morris also has a couple starts to his credit this season, but he hasn’t been a consistent rotation contributor. Even if he were to be inserted into the starting lineup, leave him on the waiver wire. Montrezl Harrell will likely remain with the second unit, and he struggled Sunday night. Attempting just three shots, he finished with four points, six rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes. Talen Horton-Tucker (10 points, five assists in 25 minutes) isn’t an interior player, but the likely rotation changes should free up more minutes for him. THT isn’t worth grabbing right this instant, but it would be wise to keep him on your radar just in case Davis has to sit for an extended period of time.

Leonard sits due to lower leg contusion: Already playing without Paul George, who remains sidelined due to a bone edema in his right foot, the Clippers had to play Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland without Kawhi Leonard. He suffered a lower leg contusion during the team’s just-completed road trip, and when asked about a timeline for return coach Tyronn Lue didn’t have an answer. Leonard’s absence meant a rare start for Lou Williams, arguably the greatest sixth man in league history.

Williams has long said that he prefers to start, and in Sunday’s rout of the Cavaliers, he went off. In 32 minutes he shot 10-of-22 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line, tallying 30 points, two rebounds, 10 assists, two 3-pointers and just two turnovers. Rostered in 63% of Yahoo leagues, Williams hasn’t had the best season when it comes to fantasy value. But with it being unknown when Leonard and George will be back, and with the Clippers having four games to play this coming week, Williams is an obvious pickup in leagues where he’s still available.

Serge Ibaka (21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 29 minutes) and Marcus Morris (23/6/1/1/2 with four 3-pointers in 26 minutes) also played well, but it’s going to be tough to get a hold of the former as he’s rostered in 79% of Yahoo leagues. Morris, on the other hand, has a rostered percentage of just 20%. Luke Kennard (12/4/2 with two 3-pointers in 28 minutes) is rostered in 9% of Yahoo leagues, but he hasn’t done enough to merit being picked up.

Graham departs early for shorthanded Hornets: Charlotte entered Sunday’s game against the Spurs down four rotation players. P.J. Washington, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin were all sidelined due to health and safety protocols, while Gordon Hayward was ruled out due to lower back discomfort. Hayward’s issue isn’t believed to be all that serious, so it’s likely that he will be back on the court Wednesday night when the Hornets host the Bulls. As for the other three, it is unknown when they will be cleared to return.

And the Hornets lost another player during the defeat, as Devonte' Graham (five points, four rebounds, three assists and one 3-pointer) played just 19 minutes due to left knee patella femoral discomfort. That left Charlotte with just eight healthy players for the second half, with one (Nick Richards) being a non-rotation player. Should Graham have to miss additional time, Terry Rozier (33/7/4/2/1 with three 3-pointers in 40 minutes) and LaMelo Ball (17/12/8/3/1 with three 3-pointers in 39 minutes) would be asked to do even more of the heavy lifting on the perimeter. While that would be good news for the fantasy managers who have those two rostered, that would not be the best spot for the Hornets to be in due to the lack of depth.

Miles Bridges (5/6/2/1/1) was back in the starting lineup due to Hayward’s absence, but he was nowhere near as productive as he was in Friday’s win over the Timberwolves. That being said, he’s worth rolling the dice on due to Washington’s absence. Another Hornet worth gambling on right now: Malik Monk. He played 31 minutes off the bench, tallying 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and five 3-pointers. While providing late-round value in 9-cat formats over the last two weeks, the combination of Monk’s shooting ability and Charlotte’s light rotation means that he won’t lack for opportunities to prove himself. The Hornets only play three times this week, but that may not be an issue here.

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Blazers lose Giles to non-contact leg injury: While Portland did manage to hold off Dallas for a three-point victory, the triumph may have come at a cost. Harry Giles appeared to suffer a non-contact lower left leg injury with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and he was unable to return. Giles finished the game with five points and six rebounds in 13 minutes, and he doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value on most nights. But to lose him would leave the Trail Blazers extremely thin in the post, as Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) and Zach Collins (ankle) are both sidelined due to injury.

No Giles could mean more minutes for Robert Covington at the five, and in 39 minutes he tallied 15 points, five rebounds, four steals and four 3-pointers. After getting off to a slow start with his new team, Covington is providing seventh-round value in 9-cat and eighth-round value in 8-cat. Enes Kanter (14 points, eight rebounds and one steal), who has been starting in place of Nurkic, played just 23 minutes Sunday. He will play more than that on most nights, and has been one of the bigger surprises in fantasy basketball this season. Kanter has been slightly more productive than Covington, providing sixth-round value in 9-cat and seventh-round value in 8-cat.

Portland also played this one without Rodney Hood, who was out due to a sprained left foot. Carmelo Anthony (15/5/3 with one 3-pointer in 31 minutes) and Anfernee Simons (12/3/1 with four 3-pointers in 24 minutes) absorbed the majority of the minutes that would have gone to Hood. Rostered in 46% of Yahoo leagues, Anthony would be the better choice for fantasy managers in deep leagues. The negative here is that Portland is only scheduled to play three games in each of the next two weeks.

Nuggets’ Morris injures right arm: Monte Morris was back in the starting lineup for the first time since February 6, as Will Barton was sidelined due to personal reasons. Normally the Nuggets’ backup point guard, playing alongside Jamal Murray he tallied 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Unfortunately Morris was seen on the sideline during the game’s final minutes with his right arm/shoulder heavily wrapped. Hopefully this was simply for precautionary reasons, as in addition to Barton the Nuggets are also without Gary Harris.

Should Denver be in a spot where all three aren’t available to play, Facundo Campazzo and RJ Hampton would move up in the pecking order. Neither is worth rostering in most leagues, but Campazzo would be the much better option for desperate fantasy managers. He played 26 minutes in the win over the Lakers, tallying 15 points, one rebound, four assists, two steals and three 3-pointers.

Morris’ arm wasn’t the only injury concern for Denver, as Paul Millsap played just 16 minutes after banging knees with another player. JaMychal Green would be the obvious choice here, but he didn’t play particularly well Sunday night. As a result he played 14 minutes, while rookie Zeke Nnaji played 24 and made the most of his time on the court. Nnaji shot 4-of-5 from three, finishing with a career-high 16 points, three rebounds and one steal. Nnaji isn’t worth rostering, but he may be in line for another shot to show what he can do based upon how well he played against the reigning champs (especially defensively).

Beasley continues to shine for Timberwolves: Malik Beasley said after Friday’s loss to the Hornets that he has a desire to play more, which was an interest statement given the fact that he’s averaging 32.2 minutes per game. But the veteran guard said that he’s in the best shape of his career, and Beasley is putting up his best numbers as well. In Sunday’s win over the Raptors he got his wish, playing 37 minutes and accounting for 20 points, three rebounds, six assists, one steal and six 3-pointers. Over the last month he sits just outside of the top-50, providing fifth-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats.

While the Timberwolves remains one of the league’s worst teams, Beasley has shown that he is more than capable of being the perimeter shooter that the team needs to play off of Karl-Anthony Towns (20/11/3/1/3 with two 3-pointers in 33 minutes). And for his part, Towns said after the game that they need to get Beasley more shots.

"You're going 6 for 10 and 7 for 13, we need to find ways to get you the ball more at the 3-point line and let you let that ball fly,” Towns said. “He gives us a chance every night to win. We just gotta feed off that energy and feed off the talent he has.”

White, Murray flourish in Spurs comeback: After getting off to a slow start and scoring just 17 points in the first quarter, San Antonio erupted for 47 second-quarter points in its 12-point win over the Hornets in Charlotte. Having a deeper bench helped, but the biggest reason why Gregg Popovich’s team managed to win the game was the play of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray. White shot 9-of-15 from the field and 3-of-5 from the foul line, posting a line of 25 points, two rebounds, four assists, four steals and four 3-pointers in 27 minutes. As for Murray, he went for 26 points (10-of-22 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs), 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals in 32 minutes.

Their play more than made up for DeMar DeRozan scoring just eight points, which had to be a bit of a letdown for those who have him rostered. But all wasn’t lost, as DeRozan did also account for a team-high nine assists and two steals. White and Murray have both been more productive players over the last week, providing seventh and second-round value, respectively, in 9-cat. White is currently rostered in 62% of Yahoo leagues, and it’s time for that number to increase. The only bad thing here is that the Spurs are scheduled to play three games in each of the next three weeks.

Also worth mentioning is Jakob Poeltl, who continues to produce as a rebounder and shot-blocker. He racked up 12 boards and four blocks Sunday night, with eight points, two assists and one steal. Over the last week he has been a top-25 player in 9-cat, while sitting just outside of that threshold in 8-cat. Rostered in 45% of Yahoo leagues, Poeltl’s lack of scoring and his low free throw percentage are the likely reasons why that percentage is where it is. But with LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) out indefinitely, now would be a good time to pick up Poeltl.

Beal torches Celtics, outplays fellow St. Louis native: There was just one early afternoon game Sunday, and the visiting Celtics could never get going in the nation’s capital. Wizards guard Bradley Beal outplayed fellow Chaminade HS alum Jayson Tatum in Washington’s victory, as he tallied 35 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes. The only negative for Beal was his turnover count, as he racked up six, matching his total from the prior four games combined. It goes without saying that fantasy managers shouldn’t be concerned about this, especially when considering the fact that he leads the league in scoring.

Washington made two changes to its starting lineup, as Moe Wagner replaced Alex Len and Garrison Mathews replaced Davis Bertans. Wagner had himself a good afternoon at the office, tallying 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in 22 minutes. Len fell completely out of the rotation, picking up a DNP-CD while Robin Lopez (10/4/3/1 block in 26 minutes) took the remaining minutes at center. Len has been the most productive of the three over the last two weeks, providing ninth-round value in both 8- and 9-cat, but there really aren’t any great options here for fantasy managers in need of a center.

Going back to the Boston side of things, Tatum shot 3-of-14 from the field and finished with six points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal in 23 minutes. This was, by far, his worst game of the season. Boston has four games on the schedule for this upcoming week, including two against the Hawks (19th in defensive rating) and one against the Pelicans (28th), so look for Tatum to bounce back.

Kemba Walker (25/7/2/2 with four 3-pointers and five turnovers) and Jaylen Brown (25/7/1 steal/1 block with two 3-pointers and five turnovers) were Boston’s only double-digit scorers, and their turnover numbers were a bit concerning. Both sounded confident after the game that the Celtics could get back on the right track, but improved ball movement will be the key to making that happen.

Plumlee, Pistons reserves lead the way: Mason Plumlee made history during Detroit’s win over New Orleans, spoiling Stan Van Gundy’s return to the Motor City. With 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, he became the fourth center in franchise history to post a triple-double (Greg Monroe, Ben Wallace and Bob Lanier are the others). Plumlee (30 years, 346 days old) is also oldest center to post his first career triple-double since Patrick Ewing (33 years, 258 days) did so in 1996, according to STATS. The Pistons won each of the final three quarters after getting torched for 40 points in the first, with six players scoring at least 15 points and 34 of the team’s 45 made field goals being assisted.

Saddiq Bey started for Blake Griffin, who was given the night off, and he tallied 16 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. The rookie’s minutes take a hit whenever Griffin is available, but that will likely change during the second half of the season. Over the last two weeks, Bey has been a top-100 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats. Bey is rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues, but that number is likely to increase this week and with good reason. Josh Jackson (21/3/1 with two 3-pointers in 21 minutes) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (18/2/3/2 blocks with four 3-pointers in 25 minutes) also played well, but the latter is a bit too inconsistent to be rostered in most leagues.

Mykhailiuk is a victim of the trickle-down effect whenever Griffin is active, as the Pistons need to find minutes for Bey elsewhere. And on most occasions, that means fewer opportunities for Svi to show what he can do. Dennis Smith Jr. (9/2/2/1 block with one 3-pointer) played 12 minutes off the bench, and he doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value with Delon Wright gobbling up most of the minutes at the point. Wright is rostered in 73% of Yahoo leagues, which is low considering the fact that he’s a top-100 player regardless of league format.

Magic’s Ross makes a rare start in Phoenix: Orlando was once again limited to just eight available players, as Al-Farouq Aminu (knee), James Ennis (groin), Cole Anthony (shoulder) and Evan Fournier (back) were all ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Suns. Ennis’ absence opened up a spot in the starting lineup, and Terrence Ross received the call to make his first start in three years (180 appearances). He certainly didn’t get cheated on the shot attempts, as he put up 23 (making nine) and finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes.

Ross can be a bit of a gamble, given his ability to shoot the lights out one game and do nothing the next. But with the Magic being as shorthanded as they currently are, he should be rostered in all leagues. The injuries also mean that there is more playing time available to Chuma Okeke and Mo Bamba, who played 28 and 23 minutes, respectively. Okeke finished with nine points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and one 3-pointer, while Bamba shot poorly (1-of-7 FGs) but accumulated 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. If Orlando continues to struggle, those are two names to keep in mind for the second half of the season.

Clarke returns for Grizzlies in Sacramento: Memphis forward Brandon Clarke made his return to action after a four-game absence due to a calf injury, but he was not in his usual starting role. Clarke came off the bench in Sunday’s win over the Kings, playing 22 minutes and finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. His fantasy value takes a slight hit when used as a reserve, as Clarke is averaging 10.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.4 blocks per game on the season. As a starter, those averages jump up to 14.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks per. Clarke was a game-time decision Sunday night, so it’s certainly possible that this was the reason why he came off the bench.

Usually a team playing four times in a week would automatically be good news, but that may not be the case when it comes to the Grizzlies and Clarke. Memphis has two back-to-backs this coming week, Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday/Saturday, and that isn’t the best setup for a player who is just returning from injury.

Jonas Valanciunas continues to produce, as he played 26 minutes and posted a line of 25 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. Valanciunas, who shot 11-of-14 from the field, has been a top-25 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats over the last two weeks. And while Xavier Tillman (12/5/2/1 with one 3-pointer in 22 minutes) has managed to retain a little fantasy value since Memphis’ starting center returned to action, the same can’t be said for Gorgui Dieng. Dieng was a DNP-CD Sunday night, and he’s scored a total of 26 points since going off for 19 in a February 1 win over San Antonio.

Bagley sits out loss due to sore calf: Kings forward Marvin Bagley sat for a second straight game due to a sore left calf, which meant a move into the starting lineup for DaQuan Jeffries. Jeffries, who made his second debut in Friday’s loss to the Magic, played just 12 minutes and went scoreless with three rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. There isn’t much reason to roster him, even if Bagley were to be sidelined for an extended period of time. Some value could be found in Nemanja Bjelica, who moved back into the rotation when the Kings are down a big.

He played 27 minutes off the bench, accounting for nine points, four rebounds, three assists and one 3-pointer. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but fantasy managers would be better served to gamble on Bjelica than on Jeffries. The Kings play the second game of a back-to-back Monday night vs. Brooklyn, and no decision will be made on Bagley until after he’s evaluated pre-game. Rostered in 69% of Yahoo leagues currently, he has been well off the radar in both 8- and 9-cat formats when it comes to production.

Some Notable Stat Lines

Nikola Jokic: 23 points (8-of-17 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs), 16 rebounds, 10 assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes vs. the Lakers.

Damian Lillard: 34 points (12-of-26 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), three rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 36 minutes vs. Dallas.

Devin Booker: 27 points (10-of-16 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), four rebounds, six assists and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes vs. Orlando.

Luka Doncic: 44 points (14-of-20 FGs, 11-of-12 FTs), seven rebounds, nine assists and five 3-pointers in 36 minutes vs. Portland.

Justin Jackson: 22 points (9-of-16 FGs), three rebounds, five assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes vs. Milwaukee.

LeBron James: 22 points (9-of-18 FGs, 4-of-7 FTs), 10 rebounds, nine assists and one block in 31 minutes vs. Denver.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: 24 points (10-of-18 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes vs. Oklahoma City.

Kyle Lowry: 24 points (6-of-12 FGs, 10-of-12 FTs), four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes vs. Minnesota.

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