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KAT scores franchise-best 60 points, Steph goes off on his birthday

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

We have seen some pretty incredible performances in the last couple weeks by a lot of guys, and it looks like the league is in very, very good hands with elite talent in every age range. That being said, Monday was pi day and it’s the semifinals in some head-to-head fantasy leagues, with some people caring far more about their $3.14 pizza and their fantasy title than the league’s overall level of play, respectively (which isn’t a bad thing). However you look at it, Week 21 is upon us and we’re getting down to the wire. We weren’t eased into things as we had a full nine-game slate on Monday night, and believe it or not, we have just 26 days left of regular-season NBA basketball (27 full days, but no games on April 4). Again I’ll say, where did the time go?

Karl-Anthony Towns.

At least one player has scored at least 60 points in a game in each of the last five seasons, and while time was ticking for someone to do it in this one, Karl-Anthony Towns came through and then some. The KAT was in his bag, as he scored a new career-high, NBA season-best and franchise-best 60 points on 19-of-31 shooting (15-of-16 FTs) while adding 17 rebounds, three assists, one steal, a career-high tying seven 3-pointers and six turnovers (who cares) in 36 minutes of a 149-139 win over the Spurs. Where to begin: KAT had 32 points in the third quarter to tie David Thompson for third all-time in a quarter (Klay Thompson’s 37 is the record), he joins Jordan, Malone and Shaq as the only players with 60 points and 17 boards in the three-point era, and he’s the first center since Shaq (in 2000) to score 60 points in regulation. Oh, and it’s the most points ever scored at the AT&T center in San Antonio (previous was Kyrie’s 57), and he went just 1-of-1 from mid-range on Monday to convincingly illustrate his dominance in the paint (11 FGM in the paint) and three-point land (seven 3PT FGM). If you’re facing Towns in a head-to-head matchup this week, that’s just cruel, and if you have him, he just single-handedly gave you a higher chance to advance, and he has two more games this week to accomplish some more insanity. It goes without saying that the other Wolves were an afterthought, but with 89 non-KAT points scored, there was still some fun stuff on Minny’s side of the box score. Patrick Beverley had a huge 20/4/8/1/1 performance with three triples in 30 minutes, and he went 5-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line while committing just one turnover. D’Angelo Russell was right on his tail with a likewise efficient 19/2/6 line with three steals and three 3-pointers, and it was Anthony Edwards who was nearly silent with just five points on 2-of-7 shooting, but the important thing is that Ant-Man played 30 minutes with a left knee injury that’s been lingering. There were somehow still more points to go around too, as Taurean Prince (13/4/4 with a steal) and Jaylen Nowell (15/6/3) both reached double figures in the scoring column while playing at least 26 minutes each, and they’ve both been fine but there are likely better options out there. For some bad news, Jaden McDaniels (11/4/1/1/1) played 32 minutes but exited the game with less than a minute remaining due to suffering an ankle sprain, which is a huge bummer since he was playing pretty well, but on the positive side maybe this will help Jarred Vanderbilt (left quad) start making some noise again once he’s ready to return. Last, and certainly least, Malik Beasley went full Tony Snell in hist 19 bench minutes with a 0/0/0/0/0 line on 0-of-1 from the field. Nice.

The Spurs scoring 139 points is nothing to scoff at by any means, and there was plenty happening on their side of the equation as well. Keldon Johnson also recorded a new career high with his 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting, and despite no defensive stats, his eight boards, four dimes, five triples and no turnovers in 37 minutes will absolutely do. His value is limited due to not racking up any stocks, but he’s having a career year scoring the ball and is only in his third season, meaning maybe there’s time to change that. Dejounte Murray managed 30 points on 50% from the field (9-of-10 FTs) along with four rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, one block, one 3-pointer and five turnovers in his 36 minutes, but there’s really nothing to see here anymore. Jakob Poeltl scored 21 points of his own on 9-of-12 shooting (3-of-4 FTs, thank goodness) with four rebounds, one assist, three swats and one turnover in 29 minutes, while Devin Vassell flashed his all-around upside that has managers excited about him with a 17/3/3/2/3 showing with two threes in 31 minutes. Lonnie Walker scored 22 points to give him two straight with at least 20, but other than his three treys totaled just three boards and two assists in 26 reserve minutes which is the story with him (he has 16 assists, three steals, and one block over his last 10 games combined). Josh Richardson started for the injured Doug McDermott, which should stick assuming McBuckets misses some time (he probably will) but scored two points in 23 minutes with his two steals being the only exciting part of his line. Zach Collins had a random four blocks and Jock Landale played three minutes with Poeltl active after a career night on Saturday, and they’re basically negligible fantasy options.

Steph scores 47 big ones on the Wizards on his 34th birthday

Happy Birthday, Wardell Stephen Curry II. Steph gave the Wizards a nice gift in Monday’s 126-112 victory, torching Washington for 47 points on 16-of-25 from the field (8-of-8 freebies), six rebounds, six assists, one steal, seven 3-pointers and two turnovers in 35 minutes. He turned 34 years old on pi day but is still playing phenomenal basketball and is still easily a first-round fantasy asset despite shooting the second worst he ever has from the field in his 13 seasons. Draymond Green would have been the story here if Steph didn’t go nuts, as he returned for the first time since January 9 and played 20 minutes off the bench for six points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and three turnovers, and it’s been just one game, but he quickly made it apparent how much easier he makes things on Steph and the rest of team. There’s a good chance he continues to come off the bench for a bit and his minutes will be monitored as well, but not bad at all for a guy who missed that much time. A lot of eyes were on how Dray’s return would affect Jonathan Kuminga, but he was somehow better with Green back as he started and went for 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes in the starting lineup. Again, it’s only been one game, but as long as Kuminga is getting minutes in the high-20s, he’ll be worth holding onto, but be prepared to let go whenever Draymond is fully ramped up. Klay Thompson followed up his season-high 38 points on Saturday with 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting and added just four boards, one assist and four triples in 33 minutes, while Jordan Poole reached the 20-point mark for his seventh straight game with an efficient and full 20/2/3/2/1 effort in 32 minutes. While many were thinking Poole would be a drop candidate in the wake of Klay’s return, Poole has actually been better than Klay over the past month with top-50 numbers as opposed to Klay’s barely top-75 status, so hold on to Poole with confidence and don’t think twice about it. Otto Porter played 22 minutes off the bench for seven points and four boards with nothing else and can probably be let go with Draymond back in the mix and Kuminga still relevant.

Kristaps Porzingis returned from a night off on Saturday and led the Wizards with 25 points (7-of-13 FGs, 10-of-10 FTs), eight rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer and three turnovers in just 27 minutes, and he’ll be great when he’s playing but that’s the key. The Wizards have four more back-to-back sets this season, meaning Porzingis will likely be inactive for at least four more games, but at least the numbers when he’s playing are nice. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kept his offensive uptick going with 19 more points on 8-of-14 shooting but didn’t do much else besides swipe two steals, but he’s been a really sturdy asset as of late. Kyle Kuzma had a rare off night with just 11 points (4-of-12 shooting), eight rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 31 minutes, but don’t worry about one dud, while Corey Kispert (four points) and Raul Neto (8/3/7 with four steals) rounded out the starting five with the latter having the superior line by quite a bit, but Kispert has made plenty of strides in some extended opportunity. Rui Hachimura (12 points, two threes), Ish Smith (11 points, seven assists) and Deni Avdija (13/2/4) each scored double figures off the bench, but none of them are ranked inside the top-150 in the last 30-day stretch.

Trae Young loves the Blazers

After Trae Young went nuts against the Blazers with 56 points and 14 assists back on January 3, he did it again in a 122-113 win over the same Portland team with 46 points (15-of-31 FGs, 11-of-11 FTs), six rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, five triples and three turnovers in 39 minutes. He got the Hawks back to 0.500 for the first time in nearly three months as they continue to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference play-in situation, and Young is a big reason why they’re even there at all. He came in to Monday just a spot away from first-round status, he did this after scoring 47 points against the Pacers just one day prior and he’s averaging 52.0 points in two games against the Blazers this season. Insane. De’Andre Hunter made some noise by not only scoring 20 points, but also in the defensive area with two steals and two blocks in his 34 minutes to go with his three 3-pointers and zero turnovers. He didn’t score efficiently with a 6-of-17 clip, but the 5-of-6 effort from the line helped inflate his scoring total a bit. John Collins (finger/foot) didn’t play, and if you stumbled across a picture of his finger on Twitter, it’s clear to see why (I won’t link it, but it’s not hard to find). He doesn’t have a set timetable which is a bit concerning, and we’re getting to the point where if you need production, you may need to let him go given all the uncertainty, but I don’t blame you if you want to wait it out for a few days given he has early-round upside. With JC out, Delon Wright got the start in a smaller starting five and scored just four points (all on free throws) but did have four boards, four assists, three steals, one block and no turnovers in 30 minutes, and he was incredible in the starting lineup for Sacramento last year and could be worth a look if Collins doesn’t play soon and if he sticks with the first unit. Clint Capela (eight points on 4-of-12 shooting, 16 rebounds, one steal, two blocks in 28 minutes) continues to start over Onyeka Okongwu (12 points, seven rebounds, one steal in 20 minutes), but as we know the former has been rather underwhelming all in all whereas Okongwu does very well in his limited playing time. As long as Okongwu is getting 20 minutes or even close to it, he’s so good on a per-minute basis that he should be on someone’s roster unless you’re in a pretty shallow league. Kevin Huerter scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting with four boards, two assists, one block and two treys, and Bogdan Bogdanovic had a hard time with his shot with a 2-of-13 clip but still had a decent 9/4/6 line with a triple and a pair of steals in 24 minutes, with Bogi obviously being the superior fantasy asset in comparison to Red Velvet.

After scoring a career-high 44 points on Saturday, Josh Hart kept the momentum going with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting (5-of-7 FTs), seven rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers and just one turnover in 38 minutes. He looked like he was going to have another career high as he had 25 points by halftime, but the Hawks held the Blazers to just 46 second-half points after giving up 67 in the first 24 minutes. Surprisingly enough, the tanking Blazers aren’t completely useless for fantasy purposes, and all of the starters proved that tonight, with the most impressive of them all being Trendon Watford. He scored 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting to go with nine rebounds, two assists, four blocks and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes, and with at least 22 points in three straight and plenty of other stats to enjoy, he’s a must-have player for the rest of the season. I’d be willing to put Brandon Williams in that same category, and while he’s off and on, he showed up on Monday with 20 points (8-of-17 FGs), three rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block, two triples and five turnovers in 36 minutes. Anfernee Simons (left knee) is at least two weeks away and may not even play again this season, making Williams even more attractive, and new 10-day signing Kris Dunn (2/5/3 with two steals, four turnovers in 20 minutes) could also make some noise but I’d like to see him score some points one of these days before making a move. Drew Eubanks double-doubled with an efficient 16/10/2/1/1 showing and has had nice lines for two in a row now, so my eyes are officially back on him, and CJ Elleby (6/13/5 in 29 minutes) had a new career high in boards before halftime and has been alright but is the least attractive of the other guys mentioned (besides Dunn, for now). The Blazers bench can more or less be ignored with the starters playing so many minutes, but you never really know with this team, so be on the lookout if any of those first five end up in Chauncey Billups’ doghouse.

Evan Mobley nets career-high 30 points in OT win over LAC

We got free basketball in the earliest game of the night, as the Cavs took the Clippers to an extra five-minute period and came up on top by a final score of 120-111. Evan Mobley notched a new career best in scoring with 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting and added a full line of six rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks, one 3-pointer and just one turnover in 40 minutes, and while he did go just 3-of-6 from the line, the ROY favorite looked as dominant as ever. The freebies are the only reason for his seventh-round value on the season as he’s sitting below 68% from the charity stripe, but the rest of his numbers look fantastic and he’s going to be an early-round fantasy pick for seasons to come. Darius Garland reached the 20-point mark for the sixth time in his last seven games as he posted a 24-point, 13-assist double-double with two rebounds, one steal and four treys in a whopping 46 minutes, but his shot wasn’t at its best as he went just 8-of-21 from the floor. Isaac Okoro made some noise for once with a 20/5/5/1/1 line, with more than half of his points coming from his 11-of-13 mark from the line (both the makes and attempts are career highs) and he made half of his eight shots and drained his only triple to cap off a good night, but we don’t see this from him nearly enough to be worth rostering. Caris LeVert (right foot) returned to action for the Cavs after missing his previous nine contests, and he did fine in his 25 minutes with a 11/7/3 line on 50% shooting, and the minutes should rise in no time, so keep throwing him out there and hope for better things to come. Lauri Markkanen nearly double-doubled with his efficient 17 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, four 3-pointers and one turnover in 46 minutes, as did Kevin Love with his 13 points and nine boards with three triples, but Love’s 4-of-11 mark from the field without any other stats makes this less appealing than it appears. Lamar Stevens didn’t do anything in the starting lineup, and LeVert and Love were the only two reserves out of the six that got in the game to even make a shot. Oh, and Brandon Goodwin had this wild block -- he’s not a fantasy guy anymore but it was pretty ridiculous.

Ivica Zubac has been in beast mode lately, and he did it again with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 14 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two turnovers in 36 minutes before fouling out late. He’s not always this exciting, but he has been over his last three games as he’s sitting at three straight 2x2s and is even flirting with fifth-round value over the past month. Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson were resting, so some other Clippers did better than usual, highlighted by Amir Coffey’s 19 points (7-of-20 FGs), three rebounds, two assists, one block and four triples in 40 minutes, but this was the first time in his last five that he scored in double figures and the two usual LAC starters resting helped him quite a bit. Luke Kennard entered the starting lineup as well and was a bit more efficient with his 5-of-12 shooting as he tallied a 14/2/4 line with one steal and one triple in 40 minutes, but it was Terance Mann that was most impressive with a full 18/10/4/1/2 line with no turnovers in 45 minutes. Mann did go just 7-of-21 from the floor, but his line was significantly more well-rounded than the other two wings mentioned, and it’s not like they were all too efficient either. Isaiah Hartenstein made some noise despite Zubac’s dominance as he tallied a 10/6/3/1/1 line in 20 minutes, and he’ll be a factor in fantasy hoops one day but not while Zubac is playing and playing so well. Brandon Boston Jr. was the final Clipper in double figures with 11 points in 21 reserve minutes, but he went 4-of-11 from the floor and had three assists with nothing else, and Nicolas Batum also had a hard time with his shot but had a far more usable 6/4/6/2/1 line with two treys and three turnovers in 33 minutes. Basically all of Batum, Kennard, Coffey and Boston Jr. will see less minutes when Morris and Jackson return, and with them just resting, we should expect that for their game against the Raptors on Wednesday and tamper expectations accordingly. For what it’s worth, Mann probably has the highest upside but came in very quiet, and Luke Kennard and Batum are fun when they have it going, but the others probably aren’t worth rostering going forward.

Nuggets come back from down 19 in a battle of MVP favorites

The two MVP favorites battled for the first time since 2019, and while they went off as usual, tonight’s Nuggets win was highlighted by a 19-point Denver comeback (largest comeback of the season) thanks to the electrifying Bones Hyland. The rookie played 31 minutes off the bench and hit half of his 14 shots for 21 points, four rebounds, two assists and four 3-pointers, and coach Malone played him the most minutes he’s seen since January 16 (13 points in 37 minutes) simply because he was red-hot. Still, that’s two very nice games in a row for Hyland and six double-digit scoring performances in his last seven games in which he was active. He’s been an eighth-rounder over the past two weeks, so give him a look if you have a spot for him. It’s insane that a 22/13/8/2/2 line doesn’t highlight a team’s most significant part of the box score, but Nikola Jokic does stuff like this all the time and is simply unfair no matter what format you use. Will Barton also scored 20 points of his own on 7-of-of-14 shooting but added just two boards, three dimes and three triples otherwise, but the scoring output was nice since he’s been in and out of the lineup and has struggled with his shot the times he’s been in it. JaMychal Green (10 points, eight boards, one steal in 23 minutes) and DeMarcus Cousins (8/3/4 with one steal and two triples) both outplayed starter Jeff Green (six points, four boards, one steal, one Uncle Jeff dunk), and Jeff is the best fantasy factor, but none of them have been top-150 assets over the last month and it’s fine to stay away from them as long as The Joker exists. Aaron Gordon scored just seven points in 20 minutes but didn’t play late because he wasn’t feeling well, as Malone told reporters that he was throwing up at halftime, so we’ll see if he’s good to go for Wednesday’s meeting with the Wizards.

Philly dominated early but scored 21 and 22 points in the second and fourth quarter, respectively, and ultimately fell to a 41-26 record to drop back to the third spot in the East with a Bucks win on Monday (spoiler alert). Joel Embiid was sensational as always with 34 points (11-of-20 FGs, 9-of-10 FTs), nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks, three 3-pointers and five turnovers in 36 minutes, but like Jokic, this is just another day at the office for the big man. James Harden was just a board shy of a triple-double with a 24/9/11 performance, and he shot 6-of-11 from the field, 11-of-12 from the line and added in a triple and a steal in 39 minutes, of course with his usual four turnovers. Tyrese Maxey played a team-high 42 minutes for an efficient 19/3/3 line, and with these three going off, Tobias Harris was the odd man out with just 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in 37 minutes. Harris scored 26 points with nine boards just a day before this, his best scoring output since the Harden-Simmons deal, but he’s barely been a top-150 fantasy asset over the last month of action, but he can’t get much worse. Matisse Thybulle went full beast mode with the defensive stats as he swiped away a career-high tying six steals along with his nine points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes, and it’s stuff like this that makes him worth holding onto even though he’s averaging fewer than six points per game on the season. Georges Niang had an off night with eight points and two triples on 2-of-12 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan played 12 minutes as Joel Embiid’s backup with three points, six boards, one block and about 34 point-blank misses.

Terry Rozier scores 30 points yet again

For the third time in his last five tries, Terry Rozier scored at least 30 points and notched exactly that many in Monday’s 134-116 over the Oklahoma City Blue Thunder, shooting 11-of-17 from the floor and adding six rebounds, four assists, two steals, four triples and one turnover in 32 minutes. No one talks about him much but he’s been incredible as a top-30 guy on the season and a top-five guy over the past 30 days, and he’ll be talked about far more next season when fantasy GMs see him shoot up substantially on the draft board. Miles Bridges was somehow even more efficient with a 11-of-15 mark (5-of-6 three-pointers) for his 27 points to go with three rebounds, six assists and one steal with no turnovers in 30 minutes, and LaMelo Ball saw his shot fall yet again with a 6-of-13 mark from the floor for his 21/4/7 line with two steals, five treys and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Ball has now made at least 46% of his shots in three straight games, which matches the amount of times he did so in the 11 before that trio, which is going to be huge for his value going forward if he can keep it up. Mason Plumlee only scored five points, but he had a fantastic showing with his 11 boards, eight assists, one steal, four blocks and just one turnover in 28 minutes, and we’ll see nights like this from Plumlee here and there but he could easily flop next time out. Cody Martin (11 points, three steals), Kelly Oubre (11/4/1/1/1) and Isaiah Thomas (12 points, four triples, four assists) all hit double figures off the pine, but they all played between 17 and 21 minutes and haven’t been standard league guys over the past month of games.

This starting five on the Thunder’s side sure was something, as they rolled out Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Theo Maledon and Olivier Sarr to start the game on Monday. Darius Bazley went off again with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting, four boards, four assists, four triples and two turnovers in 35 minutes, and he’s now averaging 27.0 points on 56.8% shooting, 7.0 boards and 3.0 assists per game over his last two, and he won’t be this good, but it’s hard to leave him on the wire right now. SGA was fantastic with an efficient 32/8/5 line with three triples, and he’ll be great whenever he plays but the worry of the Thunder shutting him down is always going to be there. Mann (13/5/6 with a steal and three triples) is the only other starter of this current group you need to worry about, but I’ll shout out Sarr (7/7/3 with a block) and Maledon (6/7/4 with a steal) because they didn’t totally flop, but you can monitor from quite a ways away. Aleksej Pokusevski turned it over six times in his 27 minutes but was still nice with a 17/5/5 line with two treys off the bench, with the big takeaway here being his 6-of-11 mark from the floor, a category in which he’s not known for helping much. He needs to be rostered nearly everywhere as the Thunder have no reason not to play him, and I’m still somewhat a believer in Isaiah Roby (scoreless in 10 minutes, four fouls) despite a mega-dud tonight. Roby had scored in double figures in four straight before his last two no-shows, two of which were massive lines, so hang onto him in the hopes that he keeps his fouling down as he’s one of the only true centers on this roster. Why Sarr started over him, I have no idea, but let’s see what the mysterious Mark Daigneault decides to do for Wednesday’s matchup with the Spurs.

Kings shock Bulls behind Fox’s 34 points

Sacramento hit the brakes on a four-game skid in a 112-103 win over the Bulls, and who else but De’Aaron Fox led the way. He extended his streak of 20-point games to 16 and went for a game-high 34 points on 13-of-25 shooting, adding six rebounds, six assists, one steal, three triples and four turnovers in 42 minutes, and he’s just been on another level since the Sabonis/Haliburton trade and is making his fantasy managers very happy for the playoffs. Domantas Sabonis (suspension/personal) returned from a two-game absence for two different reasons with a 22/7/4 line with a steal and four turnovers, and while he only converted on six of his 15 shots from the field, he didn’t miss any of his 10 attempts from the line. Donte DiVincenzo entered the starting lineup for Justin Holiday (illness) and scored 15 points with seven boards, four assists, one steal and three triples in 35 minutes and has been surprisingly effective, while Davion Mitchell reached double-digit scoring for the second straight game with 16 efficient points but not a whole lot else besides his two steals and two triples. DiVincenzo is much better suited for fantasy, so he’s the choice here, but keep an eye on Davion if they play him more down the line (26 minutes on Monday). Harrison Barnes (6/6/6/1/2) and Trey Lyles (nine points, 11 boards) didn’t score a ton but still made a bit of noise, but while Barnes is of course worth a roster spot, Lyles a very borderline guy to hang on to even in deeper leagues. Chimezie Metu was the only other guy besides Mitchell to score off the bench as he went for 10 points, three boards, three steals and two triples in 20 minutes and has made the slightest bit of noise in three straight, but he isn’t must-roster until we see him string it all together.

Only about 3.5 Bulls showed up in this one, and the list doesn’t consist of anyone surprising. Zach LaVine led the team with 27 points on 8-of-18 shooting (9-of-9 FTs) and chipped in with three rebounds, six dimes, one block and two triples in 36 minutes, and he’s hit the 20-point mark in every game since the break and is still probably too underrated for my liking. DeMar DeRozan had a 21/7/6 showing but of course no defensive stats or threes, and Nikola Vucevic had a 23-point, 10 rebound double-double with three triples in 33 minutes. Alex Caruso flopped big time with six points, two dimes and a block in 27 minutes after a promising first game back, but he’ll be alright, and Coby White scored 13 boring points with three treys in 23 reserve minutes, and that’s about it for the Bulls.

Bucks snap 19-game, 21-year losing streak in Utah

Let’s rewind a bit: The date is October 30, 2001, and the Bucks defeat the Jazz by a final score of 119-112 in an overtime win in Utah. Fast forward to the present day when the Bucks beat the Jazz 117-111 on Monday, and you have yourself one of the weirdest losing streak at one arena snapped, just 21 years later. The Bucks had lost 19 straight games dating back to 2001 when visiting the Utah Jazz, and finally got a win there. We’ll credit the majority of this to the return of Brook Lopez, who played for the first time since the season opener and came off the bench for six points (1-of-4 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), one rebound, one assist, one steal, one trey and one turnover, and the fact that he’s playing again in the regular season at all seems pretty miraculous. Sadly, they want him fresh for the playoffs, and Bobby Portis has been about as solid of a replacement to start as you can find (despite just seven points, six boards and a block in 28 minutes of this one, but be patient), and they’re going to bring Brook back about as slowly as possible. He’s basically not addable in head-to-head settings, but if you want to grab him for a few games in rotisserie formats, have at it (48% rostered in Yahoo! leagues as I type this). Giannis Antetokounmpo did Giannis-like things with 30 points (12-of-24 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one turnover in 34 minutes, and he falls into the “no analysis needed” category of which guys like Jokic, Embiid and Murray are currently a part. The other two members of Milwaukee’s big three each scored plenty as well, with Khris Middleton going for a 23/3/4/1/1 line (7-of-16 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs, two treys, four turnovers) and Jrue Holiday recording a 29/4/7 line (10-of-21 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs, five steals, two triples, three turnovers). These three were the only ones on the Bucks’ side to get to double digits in the scoring column, but they all did so with ease. Serge Ibaka was playing pretty well lately but played just seven minutes with Brook back and will be making noise no longer, and Jevon Carter (5/2/2) and Wesley Matthews (six points, two triples) each got minutes in the 20s but are far more important to the actual team than they are to any fantasy team out there.

The Jazz are now tied record-wise with the Mavericks, each at 42-26 (Utah has the tiebreaker), and a Nuggets win on the same night has them just 1.5 games behind the fifth-seed Mavs. However, we did have a Mike Conley sighting for the first time in a long time, as he went off for 29 points (10-of-13 shooting) with two boards, seven assists, two steals, six 3-pointers and only one turnover in 32 minutes. Conley had scored a total of 18 points in the last four games in which he was active and didn’t shoot more than 20% from the floor in any of those, but he played some superb basketball coming off a day of rest despite his team not getting it done. If someone in your league dropped him, you could do much worse. Donovan Mitchell also made 10 field goals but needed 19 more shot attempts than Conley to get there to bring him to a miserable 10-of-32 clip, tying team-high honors in scoring with a 29/6/8 effort with a steal, five triples and four turnovers in 40 minutes. His shot does come and go, but he’s still a steady second-round option in fantasy and is going to do whatever he can to get Utah home court advantage for the postseason, which is good news if you have any Spida shares. Rudy Gobert (left foot) returned from a one-game absence and was just fine with 18 points, 14 rebounds and a steal, which means Hassan Whiteside only got 16 minutes for three points, five boards and four blocks (which Gobert will take from him soon). Bojan Bogdanovic wasn’t on any of the injury reports but was ruled out with a calf injury anyway, which allowed Danuel House to start, but he scored only three points in seven minutes before being forced to exit with a left knee injury. This is a tough blow for the team especially with Bojan sidelined, but for the sake of fantasy, there’s not much else to say. Jordan Clarkson followed up his career-high 45 points on Saturday with eight points on 3-of-14 shooting, two boards, one steal and two triples in 32 minutes, but if you expected Clarkson to go off twice in a row, that’s silly.

Most Raptors go off against struggling Lakers

The Raptors were running away via a 33-12 first quarter in favor of them, and the Lakers somewhat tried to come back late as always but it wasn’t enough to escape a 114-103 Toronto win. First-rounder Fred VanVleet was actually the worst Raptors starter in this one as he went just 3-of-14 from the field for 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 40 minutes. FVV has been in and out of the lineup and was sidelined in seven of the last 12 games coming in with a lingering right knee injury, and while his efficiency wasn’t ideal, the minutes were there and hopefully the ailment is behind him. Pascal Siakam went 9-of-17 from the field and 7-of-10 from the line for a full 27/11/5/1/1 showing with two treys and four turnovers, and as we suspected, his mini-slump at the end of February is easily a thing of the past by now. He’s also scored at least 20 points in seven straight games to mark a new career-best streak of such games, and he’s clicking on all cylinders and has been for much of the season. Gary Trent Jr. wasn’t as efficient from the field (7-of-19 FGs) but was helpful from the line (11-of-13 FTs) to bring his line to 28 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, three triples and no turnovers in 36 minutes, and this was a pleasant bounce-back game after he scored just eight points on Saturday. Scottie Barnes may have been the most impressive Raptor with his 21/9/5/1/2 line on 9-of-17 shooting with one trey and two turnovers in 40 minutes, and he did about as good of a job as you can do on LeBron James as he didn’t let Bron find his shot until very late in the game. Precious Achiuwa keeps making a little bit of noise in the absence of OG Anunoby (finger) and was a little louder than usual with a 10/11/2/2/2 double-double with plenty to like about it, but he’s still not doing enough consistently to be worth rostering at this point in the season. On the Anunoby front, we just found out that the fracture in his finger is healed and the team will decide if they want him to rest it more or try and play through it as soon as Tuesday’s practice. This could really go any which way, but we’ll know more post-practice on Tuesday, so hold on before doing anything outlandish. Chris Boucher (13 points, eight rebounds in 20 minutes) was the only other Raptor to score in double figures, which wasn’t bad with VanVleet taking his spot in the starting five, but he’s probably been the most unpredictable rollercoaster of a player that we’ve seen.

The Lakers did what they do best and followed up a blowout loss to the Suns with another mark in the loss column to give them their 11th loss in their last 14 games. Their first quarter was atrocious even for their standards as they went 3-of-25 from the field overall and missed all 13 of their three-point attempts (and didn’t make one until their 17th try from deep), meaning half of their 12 first-quarter points came from free throws. That’s not a great start to a game for anyone, and they did crawl back a bit late but they never do it with enough time left on the clock. LeBron James, who was questionable coming in as he always is but this time actually meant more since it was the second half of a back-to-back, scored 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting with nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks, four 3-pointers and five turnovers in 40 minutes. Yes, 40 minutes for a 37-year-old on a bad Lakers team that’s playing their second game in as many nights. Sounds about right, but he’s The King for a reason and is still sitting pretty as the second ranked player on a per-game basis this season, which doesn’t make any sort of sense, but congrats if you got him in the third round of drafts. Talen Horton-Tucker does well every other game at best and had his time to fare well on Monday with 20 points (8-of-13 FGs), five rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, three 3-pointers and one turnover in 27 minutes off the bench. This is about the best you’ll ever see from THT, and it was on a night when Malik Monk scored just eight points, so just proceed with plenty of caution. Russell Westbrook was violently average with a 14/8/4 line on 4-of-10 shooting, but he added a steal, hit six of his seven freebies and only turned it over once in 35 minutes, so it could have been much, much worse. Carmelo Anthony scored 14 inefficient points but was fine with three boards, three triples, and one each in the assists/steals/blocks categories, and he’s worth holding onto until Anthony Davis is back (and maybe longer). Wenyen Gabriel got some run with Dwight Howard (personal) out and grabbed nine boards with a block in 19 minutes, but he’s miles from the fantasy radar unless the Lakers totally blow it up, but they’d have to really, really blow it up in order to make Gabriel relevant.