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Giannis, Jokic, and CP3 dominant on Friday

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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Friday was a busy night in the NBA, as there were 11 games on the slate. And of the 22 teams in action five will play again on Saturday, which could make for some interesting rotations for that night’s action. Among the standouts on Friday were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Dejounte Murray, and Chris Paul. Let’s get into the Daily Dose.

Magic 119, Pistons 103

There were no surprises on the injury report for either team in this one. With three lottery picks from the most recent draft in action, the rookies were bound to take center stage. Jalen Suggs (6/1/4/2/1) and Cade Cunningham (8/2/4) struggled, shooting a combined 6-of-26 from the field, but Franz Wagner had himself a night. Shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line, he recorded a line of 24 points, three rebounds, and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. It would have been nice to get some assist/defensive production from Wagner, but you’ll get that from him on most nights. Wagner’s holding steady as a top-100 player in 9-cat formats according to Basketball Monster, yet he’s rostered in “just” 77% of Yahoo leagues for some reason. He should be safely into the 80s at this point.

Terrence Ross (21/3/2/0/1 with four 3-pointers) and Chuma Okeke (17/6/2/0/3 with three 3-pointers) had good nights off the bench for the Magic, who also received a double-double from Mo Bamba (18/10/0/0/2 with one 3-pointer) and an 11-rebound effort from Wendell Carter Jr. Okeke, who’s rostered in 32% of Yahoo leagues, has been a 6th-round player over the last two weeks. If he can continue to get 25 (or more) minutes per night, then there’s a chance to get deep-league value here. But that can be a tricky proposition, due to the presence of Bamba, WCJ, and Franz.

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As for Detroit, Trey Lyles (18/1/0/2/2 with two 3-pointers) led the way in 23 minutes off the bench. With Kelly Olynyk (protocols) sidelined, Lyles is worth streaming due to starting center Isaiah Stewart (6/8/1/0/1 in 25 minutes) not offering much in the way of points on most nights. Still rostered in 72% of Yahoo leagues, “Beef Stew” is in that class of players whose only reason for being on standard league rosters is the fact that he’s a starter. Saddiq Bey (17/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Cory Joseph (10/6/1/1/1 with two 3-pointers) were the only starters in double figures, but the latter has seen his fantasy value take a hit recently.

Joseph only played 20 minutes, as Killian Hayes (11/6/6/1/2 in 25 minutes) and Frank Jackson (12 points, one 3-pointer in 21 minutes) gave the Pistons solid production off the bench. Joseph is rostered in only 8% of Yahoo leagues, which makes sense despite his now being in the starting lineup. Does he stay there long-term? Or will Dwane Casey get back to the Cunningham/Hayes partnership that the Pistons were committed to going with before the season began?

Hornets 117, Lakers 114

Both teams were down multiple rotation players, with the Lakers playing without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Malik Monk sidelined. As for the Hornets, Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre were out, with the former in the league’s health and safety protocols. With James and Davis out the Lakers inserted DeAndre Jordan (four points, seven rebounds) and Wayne Ellington (9/5/0/1 with three 3-pointers) into the starting lineup, but neither offered much to the few who may have streamed them. Carmelo Anthony (19/5/5/2/2 with two 3-pointers) was a worthwhile play, as was Austin Reaves (16/8/3 with two 3-pointers).

The biggest star for the Lakers in this one was Russell Westbrook, whose 3-point attempt to win the game missed the mark in the final seconds. He scored 30 of his 35 points after halftime, becoming the first Laker to have a half of 30 points or more since the late Kobe Bryant scored 38 in the second half of his final game. Westbrook shot 12-of-23 from the field and 8-of-10 from the line, while also tallying four rebounds, five assists, three 3-pointers, and just one turnover. DFS players who decided to plug Westbrook into their lineups were rewarded handsomely.

Charlotte had five double-digit scorers, with one being backup point guard Ish Smith (22/2/5/0/1 with two 3-pointers). With Hayward and Oubre sidelined there were more shots for reserves who don’t shoot much otherwise, and Smith was a very good 10-of-12 from the field. For those wondering, Smith scored a total of nine points in his prior seven appearances. So don’t expect a similar effort on Sunday when the Hornets host the Clippers. Cody Martin (7/6/2/0/1) once again replaced Hayward in the starting lineup, and the Hornets essentially went with a seven-man rotation. Rookie James Bouknight (two points, one rebound) played seven minutes off the bench as the eighth man.

Miles Bridges (26/8/6/2/1 with one 3-pointer) played 41 minutes, the most for him since he logged 42 in a January 14 loss to the Magic. So long as Hayward and Oubre remain sidelined, Bridges and the other starters will be asked to take on an even heavier workload. While Charlotte only playing three games next week (none until Wednesday) isn’t great for fantasy managers, it is good for James Borrego‘s team. LaMelo Ball (20/7/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Terry Rozier (20/6/3 with four 3-pointers) hit the 20-point mark, while Mason Plumlee (8/17/6/1) established a new career-high with the 17 boards. Plumlee isn’t much of a scorer, but the lack of consistent defensive production makes him a tough sell in standard leagues despite being the lone “true” center in the Hornets rotation.

Hawks 108, Celtics 92

Atlanta began Friday as healthy as it has been in more than two years, but De’Andre Hunter (9/4/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Danilo Gallinari (14 points, two rebounds, and one 3-pointer) were eventually added to the injury report ahead of the team’s game against the Celtics. The good news is that both were able to play, which afforded Nate McMillan the luxury of going 10 players deep. Following the win, he said that he plans to leave the Hawks’ current rotation “as it is,” which would keep Kevin Huerter (5/2/3/2 with one 3-pointer) in the starting lineup. His production has been down recently, but Huerter appears to be a better fit for the starting lineup than Bogdan Bogdanovic.

And this may help Bogdanovic as far as his production is concerned. He finished Friday’s game with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. While there are still times when he shares the court with Trae Young (21/9/6/2 with two 3-pointers), coming off the bench leads to Bogdanovic experiencing a boost in his usage. Going back to McMillan’s comments on the rotation, that may not be great news for managers holding onto Onyeka Okongwu. He played 16 minutes off the bench, scoring two points to go along with three rebounds and two blocked shots. Okongwu is worth holding onto, but there may be the occasional night in which he fails to offer much production on offense. John Collins (21/9/0/0/4), whose name has come up in trade rumors recently, joined Young as the lone starters in double figures.

Boston also had its full rotation, with Jaylen Brown (26/12/3 with two 3-pointers) and Jayson Tatum (20/6/4/1 with two 3-pointers) leading the way offensively. But those two combined to shoot 14-of-39 from the field, and Brown was also responsible for a game-high seven turnovers. While those two had no issues hitting double figures in field goal attempts, next in line was Josh Richardson (7/1/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer) with nine. Marcus Smart (17/6/2/1 with two 3-pointers) had an efficient night, but the ball dominance of the Celtics’ two stars limited his impact on the action. Lastly, we’re approaching the point where Al Horford will be a drop candidate in standard leagues. He played just 16 minutes Friday, tallying one point, three rebounds, and two blocked shots.

With the continued growth displayed by Robert Williams (11/10/1/1) and so much of the Celtics’ offense going through Brown and Tatum, there isn’t a whole lot for Horford to do concerning preserving his fantasy value. While Grant Williams did not play well in his 23 minutes on the floor, he may be a better fit in the starting lineup than Horford at this point.

Nuggets 116, Pelicans 105

Both teams were a bit banged up in New Orleans, as the Nuggets were without Will Barton while Pelicans starters Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas also sat. Barton’s absence meant another start for Austin Rivers, who in 35 minutes recorded a line of 12 points, one rebound, one assist, three steals, one block, and two 3-pointers. He’s worth streaming for as long as Barton sits, with Denver scheduled to visit the Bucks Sunday night. Nikola Jokic (29/13/10/2 with three 3-pointers) tallied six turnovers but managed to record his sixth triple-double of the month, with one game left to play, while Monte Morris (13/8/8/0/1 with one 3-pointer) also posted a solid stat line.

Aaron Gordon (20/4/2/1 with two 3-pointers) has been a top-100 player over the last two weeks, and he’s closing in on that value for the season as a whole. The improved offense, with Gordon averaging 16.8 points per game on 49.5% shooting during these two weeks, is why his value has improved. Neither Jeff Green nor JaMychal Green played well, with the former logging 21 minutes in another start and the latter playing just four. Green’s worth holding onto in deeper leagues, but that’s his ceiling at this point.

For New Orleans, Garrett Temple and Willy Hernangomez remained in the starting lineup due to the absences of Ingram and Valanciunas. Temple missed all five of his shot attempts and went scoreless, but he did tally a career-high five steals to go along with one rebound and three assists. Hernangomez’s night was much better, as he accounted for 18 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and three blocks in 33 minutes. His production meant fewer minutes for Jaxson Hayes, who in 16 minutes recorded a line of 13 points, three rebounds, and one assist. Hernangomez has been a top-10 player in 9-cat over the last two weeks and should be streamed whenever Valanciunas sits. He’s currently rostered in 12% of Yahoo leagues, so managers should be proactive here.

New Orleans will host Boston Saturday night in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams. Two things to watch regarding the Pelicans is the availability of Josh Hart, who has been dealing with a sprained left ankle. He started Friday’s game and played 37 minutes, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer. With that workload, it would not come as a surprise if the Pelicans were to give him Saturday night off. Devonte’ Graham remained in the game after injuring his left knee early in the fourth quarter, only to limp off in the final minute. He’s another candidate to sit out Saturday’s contest, which would open the door for Jose Alvarado to make his second career start. Herb Jones (19/7/3/5 with one 3-pointer) continues to impress and has been a 3rd-round player over the last two weeks.

Heat 121, Clippers 114

Jimmy Butler, who had been dealing with some irritation in his left big toe, was able to get through pregame without any issues and filled his usual spot in the starting lineup for this one. He would finish with a line of 26 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and one blocked shot, doing a lot of his scoring from the foul line (16-of-16). A top-10 player for the season, Butler has provided top-5 value over the last week, as the Heat have been without starting point guard Kyle Lowry for personal reasons. Another player who has stepped up in Lowry’s absence has been Gabe Vincent (23/4/3 with seven 3-pointers), a top-100 player during the same period. Rostered in 16% of Yahoo leagues, Vincent is a must-stream for as long as Lowry is away from the team.

Miami’s entire starting five had productive nights, including Duncan Robinson (16/2/2 with four 3-pointers), who’s been a top-25 player over the last week. He’s back to his usual self after going through a dip in performance earlier this month, scoring 16 points or more in each of Miami’s last four games. Bam Adebayo (20/12/4/1) posted another double-double, while P.J. Tucker (18/5/2/2 with two 3-pointers) has scored a total of 38 points in his last two games.

The Clippers’ center rotation remains something worth tracking from a fantasy standpoint. Tyronn Lue only played two of his three available options Friday, with Isaiah Hartenstein (8/3/1) getting 16 minutes behind starter Ivica Zubac (6/3/2/0/1 in 23 minutes). As for Serge Ibaka, he was a DNP-CD after logging a total of 10 minutes in the two games prior. Despite his poor showing opposite Adebayo, Zubac is the only Clipper center that fantasy managers need to concern themselves with at this point.

At other positions, Luke Kennard (23/6/3/1 with five 3-pointers), who’s rostered in 40% of Yahoo leagues, should be rostered in most standard leagues despite coming off the bench. While Amir Coffey (15 points, three rebounds, and two 3-pointers) continues to produce offensively, Terance Mann‘s struggles have made Kennard a figure of even greater importance for a team in search of consistent offense. Something else to watch moving forward is the minutes split at point guard. Reggie Jackson (13/1/3 in 21 minutes) struggled defensively, opening the door for Eric Bledsoe (19/4/6/3 in 27 minutes) to earn additional playing time.

Jackson has played 16, 19, and 21 minutes in his last three games, ranking just inside of the top-250 in 9-cat during this stretch. Bledsoe hasn’t been much better fantasy-wise, but he’s the better defender of two. Lastly, Justise Winslow (10/10/5/1/1) celebrated his return to Miami with his first double-double since last May, when he was a member of the Grizzlies.

Blazers 125, Rockets 110

Portland welcomed back Robert Covington (13/5/1/2/3 with three 3-pointers) after he missed Wednesday’s loss to the Mavericks due to injury, and he was right back in the starting lineup. As a result Tony Snell was back on the bench, logging 10 minutes and finishing with more fouls (two) than points (zero) or rebounds (one). There’s little to be had there in the form of fantasy value with Snell returning to a reserve role. Anfernee Simons (27/3/6/1 with five 3-pointers). C.J. McCollum (26/3/5 with four 3-pointers), and Jusuf Nurkic (25/13/0/1/1) dominated the action for Portland, as one would expect given the opposition.

Houston was down a starter, as Kevin Porter Jr. was placed in health and safety protocols ahead of Friday’s game. His absence meant a promotion to the starting lineup for Garrison Mathews, who accounted for 21 points, one rebound, three assists, two steals, and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Rostered in 9% of Yahoo leagues, “Garry Bird” is an obvious pickup with KPJ inactive. Rookie Jalen Green handled the lead guard role for the starters, and in 33 minutes he accounted for 17 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal, two 3-pointers, and three turnovers. Green’s shooting (4-of-11 FGs) still leaves something to be desired, but getting more time on the ball could be what turns things around concerning his fantasy value.

Christian Wood (21/15/3/0/2 with one 3-pointer) had a big night, while KJ Martin (17/3/2/0/1) continues to play well. Rostered in just 5% of Yahoo leagues, Martin has provided 10th-round value over the last two weeks, averaging 23.3 minutes per game. Now would be a good time for deep-league managers to take a flier on him, as the Rockets will play four games in the final full week of action before the February 10 trade deadline. Depending upon what Houston does with a few of its veterans, Martin may not struggle to exceed 25 minutes come mid-February.

Grizzlies 119, Jazz 109

There hasn’t been a more dominant defensive big man over the last month in the NBA than Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. He added six more blocks to his tally against a Jazz squad that was once again without Rudy Gobert, while also accounting for 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. Just imagine what he could have done if not for the foul trouble (JJJ would finish with five). Jackson has now blocked 50 shots in January, 19 more than any other player in the league. He’s providing 4th-round value for the season, due in large part to his field goal percentage (42.0%).

All-Star Game starter Ja Morant (30/10/10/1/1 with two 3-pointers) celebrated the good news by recording his first triple-double of the season, while Brandon Clarke (22/3/1/1) and De’Anthony Melton (13/9/6/2/1 with three 3-pointers) had good nights off the bench. Clarke (36%) and Melton (39%) are both rostered in less than 40% of Yahoo leagues, percentages that should increase ahead of Saturday’s game against the Wizards. The bad news here is that Memphis will only play three games next week, thus limiting the impact that adding a Clarke or Melton can have on a fantasy manager’s roster in the short term.

As noted above Utah was once again without Gobert, and Donovan Mitchell did not play either. Hassan Whiteside (11/8/0/0/1) and Joe Ingles (5/4/4 with one 3-pointer) remained in the starting lineup, with both having underwhelming nights. Whiteside shot the ball well, going 5-of-6 from the field, but on multiple occasions when filling in for Gobert, it has felt like he’s capable of doing more. He’ll have another tough matchup on Sunday, as the Jazz will visit the Timberwolves to end their brief two-game road trip. With an eye towards that game, Danuel House (21/2/1/2 with four 3-pointers) may have earned himself more playing time after logging just 16 minutes on Friday. But there are two reasons why managers should not rush to stream him: the availability of Mitchell (who is traveling with the team) will have a major impact on the distribution of minutes, and House is still on a 10-day contract.

Pacers 113, Thunder 110 (OT)

The combination of Domantas Sabonis (24/18/10/2/2) returning from a sprained left ankle, and his sore foot, effectively eliminated Goga Bitadze from the rotation Friday night. He played just two minutes, which is a bad sign as the Pacers visit the Mavericks on Saturday to play their second game in as many nights. If healthy Bitadze can still have some value coming off the bench, but that goes out the window if his foot issue lingers. Sabonis had a huge night and played 44 of a possible 53 minutes, so we’ll see if the Pacers decide to give him a day off due to that workload and his recent injury.

If so, rookie Isaiah Jackson would have value as a streaming option despite being a DNP-CD Friday night. He’s rostered in just 3% of Yahoo leagues, and it wouldn’t be the worst idea to hold onto Jackson until after the trade deadline. If the Pacers move Sabonis or the currently injured Myles Turner, that could result in Jackson getting extended minutes. What’s weird about Jackson’s sudden drop from the rotation, even with the return of Sabonis, is that he played well (scoring 17 points) in Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets. Justin Holiday (20/5/2/1 with four 3-pointers) could be a name to watch at the trade deadline, as there’s no shortage of teams looking for a 3-and-D wing to bolster their rotations ahead of the postseason.

Chris Duarte (5/7/2/1 with one 3-pointer) was largely ineffective in his 31 minutes and added injury to insult by spraining his right ankle. If the rookie is held out of Saturday’s game, Jeremy Lamb and two-way contract recipient Terry Taylor could be in line for increases in playing time. In the case of Taylor, the Pacers have wanted to evaluate him, so this could be their opportunity to do so.

Oklahoma City took a major hit during this one with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaving after 17 minutes due to a sprained right ankle. Following the game, he was seen with a boot on his foot while moving with the aid of a pair of crutches. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said after the game that more will be learned about the severity of the injury on Saturday. Oklahoma City is not scheduled to play again until Monday against Portland. If SGA has to miss time, Josh Giddey (15/10/5/1 with one 3-pointer in 40 minutes) becomes a player of even greater importance as far as fantasy is concerned. Giddey is already rostered in 81% of Yahoo leagues, so this may be a note more useful to DFS players than fantasy managers.

Luguentz Dort (27/8/4/2 with three 3-pointers) had a big night, while rookie Tre Mann (9/1/1/3 with three 3-pointers) served as the fifth starter. That spot has been an interesting one to watch this season. Derrick Favors, who missed another game due to lower back soreness, filled that role at times, and the same has gone for Aaron Wiggins and Darius Bazley, depending on the matchup. Wiggins was a DNP-CD on Friday, with Theo Maledon (3/2/2) re-entering the rotation after spending some time in the G League. While Dort is worth a roll of the dice despite his inconsistent offensive production, there’s no reason why any Thunder players beyond SGA or Giddey should be rostered in standard leagues. Why Favors still boasts a rostered percentage of 21% in Yahoo leagues is beyond me, because either the back issue is more serious than the Thunder are letting on, or they’re giving him the same treatment that they did Al Horford last season.

Spurs 131, Bulls 122

Before getting into the bad news for the Bulls, there was some good on Friday. Before the game, Billy Donovan announced that Lonzo Ball‘s surgery to repair a torn meniscus had gone well, and he remains on a 6-8 week timeline for return. The bad news is that Chicago was torched by the Spurs, underlining the importance of Ball and Alex Caruso (left wrist fracture) on the defensive end of the floor. DeMar DeRozan (32/6/8 with one 3-pointer) and Zach LaVine (30/4/4/0/1 with two 3-pointers) had little trouble scoring inside of the arc, with Nikola Vucevic (18/8/4/2 with one 3-pointer) and Coby White (18/2/1 with four 3-pointers) also having solid offensive nights. But the Bulls shot 8-of-30 from three (LaVine was 2-of-10), with the Spurs outscoring them by 24 points.

Javonte Green (8/2/2/1/1) remains on a minutes restriction (24-26 minutes) for the time being, and he played 23 Friday night. Whether or not he can provide the defensive boost that the Bulls need remains to be seen, but Green being able to play without restriction would help clean things up rotation-wise.

San Antonio experienced an injury scare during the second half, as Dejounte Murray (29/9/12/3 with two 3-pointers) exited the game due to a sprained left ankle. But he was able to return, ultimately playing 37 minutes and falling one rebound shy of yet another triple-double. Derrick White (14/4/9 with two 3-pointers) nearly recorded a double-double, while Jakob Poeltl (21/11/4/0/1) and Keldon Johnson (23/8/2 with four 4-pointers) both had good nights offensively. Johnson doesn’t offer much in the way of defensive production, but he has been a top-75 player in 9-cat over the last two weeks (Poeltl and Murray are both in the top-15). You’ll certainly take that value from him.

Suns 134, Timberwolves 124

In addition to once again playing without Patrick Beverley, the Timberwolves had to account for the absence of D’Angelo Russell. This meant two things: first and foremost, Anthony Edwards would have to take on even more responsibility running the offense. Second, Jaylen Nowell (10 points, one rebound, and two 3-pointers in 15 minutes) would fill the resulting void in the starting lineup. Going back to Edwards, he finished with 27 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, four steals, one block, and four 3-pointers in 37 minutes. While he had just one turnover, Edwards made it clear after the game that he doesn’t like bringing the ball up the court. Given the comfort level or lack thereof in that role, this was an impressive showing from the second-year wing.

Malik Beasley (26 points, two rebounds, and four 3-pointers) had the breakout performance that fantasy managers have been waiting for, but Nowell getting into foul trouble freed up even more playing time than was already available. Beasley’s rostered in 30% of Yahoo leagues and would be worth a look if Russell and Beverley are forced to sit out Sunday’s game against the Jazz. Karl-Anthony Towns (23/9/5 with two 3-pointers) had some foul trouble to deal with, which limited his overall impact on the action.

Phoenix was once again down three frontcourt rotation players, with starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder, and backup center JaVale McGee all sidelined due to injury. In the case of Ayton, it was reported ahead of the game that he still hasn’t resumed on-court work. He could be out longer than many anticipated, given the fact that he’s dealing with a sprained ankle. As a result, Bismack Biyombo (14 points, 12 rebounds in 29 minutes) and Cameron Johnson (23/5/4/2 with five 3-pointers in 37 minutes) remain in the starting lineup. Both players should be streamed as the Suns await the return of the three injured players mentioned above.

Devin Booker (29/3/9/1 with four 3-pointers) and Chris Paul (21/10/14/1/1 with four 3-pointers) combined to dish out 23 assists while committing just three turnovers, with the latter recording his second triple-double of the season. Landry Shamet (17/4/5 with four 3-pointers) had one of his best games of the season, but there needs to be some consistency before he’s worthy of fantasy consideration.

Bucks 123, Knicks 108

Giannis Antetokounmpo (38/13/5/1 with two 3-pointers) was dominant in this one, shooting 12-of-19 from the field and 12-of-16 from the foul line, as the Bucks coasted past the Knicks. However, it isn’t the reigning Finals MVP who’s providing 1st-round value over the last two weeks. That would be Khris Middleton, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer. Middleton didn’t have his best night shooting the ball, going 7-of-18 from the field, but he still managed to produce a solid stat line. Jrue Holiday (24/5/10/1 with four 3-pointers) got off to a hot start and finished with his sixth double-double of the season.

There wasn’t much of note going on with the Bucks rotation, but Wesley Matthews was back in action and played 14 minutes after sitting out Wednesday’s loss in Cleveland due to a sore left knee. His return dropped Jordan Nwora out of the rotation, as he logged just one minute after playing 15 two nights prior.

For the Knicks, the return of Nerlens Noel (5/5/1/1/1) from a sore left knee meant that Taj Gibson was dropped from the rotation. Starting center Mitchell Robinson wasn’t particularly effective either, as he played 25 minutes and finished with seven points, six rebounds, and one blocked shot. Also, Robinson was 1-of-6 from the foul line. Evan Fournier (25/7/3/1/1 with five 3-pointers) and RJ Barrett (23/4/3/2 with three 3-pointers) shouldered most of the load offensively, but the latter was just 6-of-20 from the field.

That’s still a better night than the one had by Julius Randle, who continues to struggle. Shooting 4-of-9 from the field, he finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, and three assists in 37 minutes. Meanwhile, Obi Toppin (five points, two rebounds) played 14 minutes, 11 of which came as Randle’s backup. Not saying that Toppin should be starting by any stretch of the imagination. But for a team that, for long stretches, appears to need an energy boost, limiting the minutes of players such as Toppin and Immanuel Quickley (11 minutes) seems a bit off given the recent struggles. A positive development for the Knicks has been the play of Quentin Grimes, who played 18 minutes and finished with 11 points, two rebounds, one steal, one block, and three 3-pointers. Depending upon what the front office does at the trade deadline, the rookie wing is a player to watch.