Dr. A breaks down a busy seven-game Thursday night
Hawks 130, Bulls 124 – Trae Young put on a show and came through late as the Hawks came back in the fourth quarter and got a much-needed win over the Bulls. Trae hit 11-of-18 shots, seven triples and 10-of-10 free throws for 39 points and 13 assists, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 on 5-of-13 shooting, Clint Capela double-doubled and De’Andre Hunter bounced back with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting with two 3-pointers in the win. Hunter had been struggling and hasn’t been much use in fantasy for some time now. While this game was encouraging, I’m still not ready to dive in headfirst. However, the Hawks do go 4-4 over the next two weeks so he might be worth a look in certain situations.
The Bulls got a balanced attack with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine each scoring 22, Nikola Vucevic added 21 points, 11 boards and five dimes, and gool ol’ Ayo Dosunmu kept it going with 15 points, four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 7-of-10 shooting. As Raphielle Johnson and I talked about in Thursday’s podcast, Dosunmu is going to eventually take a hit once Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are back but I’m going to ride him until the wheels fall off until that happens. The Bulls go 3-3 over the next two weeks schedule-wise, which is far from ideal. Coby White is in the same boat as Ayo and had 15 points and five dimes on 6-of-8 shooting with three 3-pointers.
Mavericks 122, Warriors 113 – Like Trae Young, Luka Doncic dazzled with 41 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, four triples and six turnovers and the other Mavs starters all scored in double figures. Dorian Finney-Smith hit 7-of-9 shots and four 3-pointers for 18 points, Reggie Bullock and Jalen Brunson each scored 14 and Dwight Powell had 13 points and eight rebounds. DFS is playing well enough to be given a look everywhere and had nine rebounds in each of his previous two games. He’s averaging 16 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 3-pointers over his last three games, although the Mavs only play three times next week. Spencer Dinwiddie added 17 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers off the bench and even with Luka going nuts, continues to get it done. Dinwiddie has scored 17, 14, 24 and 20 points in each of his last four games for the Mavs. No fun Maxi Kleber was out with a sore right ankle after scoring a grand total of 11 points in his last three games combined. No thank you. As for a once streaking Reggie Bullock, he’s playing well enough to be rostered but not well enough to be considered a must-have player. Dinwiddie has rained on his parade and if you feel like you need to make a move there, it makes sense. The Mavs are 38-25 and are stalking the No. 4 Jazz, sitting 2.0 games back at No. 5.
The reeling Warriors have lost three straight and were led, as usual, by Stephen Curry’s 21 points, five boards, nine assists, a steal and four 3-pointers on 8-of-15 shooting in 40 minutes. Andrew Wiggins racked up a fun line of 17 points, one triple, five boards, five dimes, three steals and a block, and Jordan Poole actually led the whole show from the bench with a team-high 23 points, three triples, two steals and a block. All of these guys should be rostered right now. Klay Thompson hit just 6-of-17 shots and two 3-pointers for 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and a block in 28 minutes. I’m kind of glad I haven’t had to deal with him this season. Moses Moody came off the bench and hit all five of his shots for 13 points and three 3-pointers but he’s only useful in fantasy as a flier when he’s starting. Jonathan Kuminga is in the midst of a rough patch and had eight points, two rebounds, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers on 3-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes. The Warriors go four times next week and I’m holding onto Kuminga right now but might be forced to dump him if he doesn’t get it going on Saturday against the Lakers.
Celtics 120, Grizzlies 107 – Despite not having Jaylen Brown (ankle) the Celtics were favorites against one of the league’s most entertaining teams last night and handled Memphis with relative ease in a 13-point win. Jayson Tatum led the way with 37 points, six boards, five dimes, a block and two triples on 14-of-25 shooting in 39 minutes. He’s scored at least 30 in three of his last five games and especially goes off when Brown is sitting. Aaron Nesmith started for Brown but lasted just five minutes before suffering a sprained right ankle of his own and is probably going to miss time. Brown’s injury doesn’t sound too serious but if he misses another one Derrick White is going to be very busy. White had 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes off the bench and was able to return from an arm injury. Al Horford turned back the clock for 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers, and Robert Williams and Marcus Smart both double-doubled. Unfortunately, the Celtics go 3-3-3 over the next three weeks, which is hardly ideal for the fantasy playoffs, but all the aforementioned players are worth a long look. The 21 points for Horford were his most since Dec. 3 so don’t expect that every night. But he has quietly racked up 12 blocks over his last five games and might be getting a second wind. Grant Williams had 11 points, four rebounds and hit three 3-pointers, making him relevant in deeper leagues.
The Grizzlies got another fun one from Ja Morant and his 38 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. had 20 points, seven boards and a block, and Desmond Bane added 17 points, seven rebounds and five triples in the loss. Steven Adams was quiet with four points in 26 minutes and was playing through an ankle injury and the rest of the Grizzlies were very quiet last night. Memphis will limp home as far as fantasy schedules go with a 3-3-3-3-4 finish to the season. Sorry, Ja and JJJ managers.
Heat 113, Nets 107 – Miami ruined the return of Kevin Durant and got 30 points, 11 boards, six assists and two steals on 12-of-15 shooting from Bam Adebayo. Jimmy Butler sat out with big toe injury after hitting 2-of-14 shots on Wednesday, yet the Heat still won. With Jimmy B out Max Strus got the start and had 21 points with five rebounds, a steal, a block and five triples, while Caleb Martin added 22 points and a fun stat line on 8-of-11 shooting in 37 minutes. Both guys are basically must-starts any time Butler is out. Tyler Herro also came through with 27 points, four boards, eight assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 8-of-19 shooting. He salvaged his night by going 10-of-10 at the stripe. The Heat play four games next week but then have a dreaded two-game week, which will be tough. Hopefully, Butler is back for Saturday’s game against the Sixers. Gabe Vincent was highly disappointing with five points on 2-of-9 shooting while Kyle Lowry’s eventual return is hanging over his head, as well. There was a report on Thursday that Victor Oladipo will make his debut on Monday but he hasn’t played since April of 2021 so I’m not racing to the waiver wire to pick him up. Especially with that two-game week looming after next week’s four-game slate.
The Nets welcomed back Kevin Durant and he came through with 31 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Bruce Brown added 21 points, three 3-pointers, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, and Patty Mills added 14 points and four triples off the bench. Those were the only three Nets in double-digit scoring and Andre Drummond had eight points and three rebounds while playing through a sore left knee. The Nets are 32-32, play three games in each of the next two weeks and are generally a fantasy mess right now. So much so that 56-year-old Goran Dragic started for them last night and had nine points and seven assists in 28 minutes. Seth Curry cooled off with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. Everyone I mentioned is worth a look but the only one I really trust is Durant, with a dash of Brown for good measure.
Pistons 108, Raptors 106 – Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 26 points, three rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers, Saddiq Bey had 23 points, six boards, three assists, a block and three 3-pointers, and Cade Cunningham came through with 22 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers in a stellar effort. He also sealed the win with a clutch block on Gary Trent Jr. with just under four seconds remaining in the game. The 12 boards tied his career high. Isaiah Stewart added 10 points, eight boards and two blocks and Hamidou Diallo had 11 points in 16 minutes. Cory Joseph started but hit just 1-of-4 shots for five points and six dimes in the win. Killian Hayes was invisible after missing all three of his shots and failing to score and the Pistons finish up 4-3-4-4-3. Kelly Olynyk continues to be completely unpredictable and had five points in 18 minutes.
OG Anunoby will get a couple weeks off to rest his broken finger and Fred VanVleet was on the shelf again with his sore right knee. He’s due back soon and Malachi Flynn got another start on Thursday but had just 11 points and one assist in 27 minutes. Pascal Siakam led the way with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, Scottie Barnes kept it going with 21 points and 10 boards on 7-of-13 shooting and Precious Achiuwa came through with 18 points and seven rebounds. Gary Trent Jr. hit just 4-of-23 shots for 14 points in a dismal shooting performance. He was 3-of-15 from downtown but should bounce back soon. Chris Boucher added five points and 10 boards off the bench and starter Khem Birch fell back to earth with two points on 1-of-5 shooting. Achiuwa is getting it done in this five-game week but the Raptors only have three games next week. VanVleet should be back soon but the only sure things in Toronto right now are Siakam and Barnes.
Kings 115, Spurs 112 – Harrison Barnes had 27 points, five boards and four triples and De’Aaron Fox hit 10-of-20 shots and two 3-pointers for 26 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block in 39 minutes. Trey Lyles fell back to earth with nine points and four rebounds in another start, Domantas Sabonis had 12 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and Justin Holiday added 12 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers on 5-of-17 shooting. Donte DiVincenzo had a fun line with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers off the bench, while Damian Jones added 10 points and seven boards on 5-of-5 shooting. Davion Mitchell was rough with eight points and not much else in 24 minutes off the bench. The Kings only play three times next week and if you need to drop Mitchell, I can get behind it. Barnes, Fox and Sabonis are truly the only reliable Kings right now.
The Spurs got 29 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two triples from Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker got hot off the bench, hitting 12-of-20 shots and five 3-pointers for 30 points. Walker is on a scoring spree right now popping off for 30, 22, 22, 23, 17, 21 and 17 points in each of his last seven games. His peripheral stats aren’t great but he hits 3-pointers and is a decent rebounder. The Spurs play four times in each of the next two weeks so Walker looks like a fun add, especially if you need a scorer. Jakob Poeltl added 16 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and a block on 8-of-14 shooting and Devin Vassell came through with 14 points, four rebounds, two blocks and four 3-pointers. I didn’t see any news of a Keldon Johnson injury but he played just 16 minutes for two points. If he’s hurt and might miss time, even better for Walker.
Clippers 132, Lakers 111 – Reggie Jackson went off for a season-high 36 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, two steals and four 3-pointers on 14-of-30 shooting, Ivica Zubac added 19 points, nine boards and two blocks and Marcus Morris added 14 points, three boards, two assists and two 3-pointers on 5-of-10 shooting in the win. Nicolas Batum (6 points) and Terance Mann (9 points) were quiet in the starting lineup. Robert Covington had 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench and Isaiah Hartenstein added 12 points, five boards, five dimes, a steal and a block in 23 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting. Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey both played at least 24 minutes but combined for just 19 points and five triples. The Clippers play four times next week, making all of these players somewhat relevant, but then go 3-2 after that. Last call for Clippers.
The Lakers’ ship be sinkin’ and they lost their fourth straight game since the All-Star break, and it wasn’t close. LeBron James had 26 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a block and two 3-pointers on 8-of-18 shooting, Russell Westbrook hit 7-of-16 shots for 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists (with just two turnovers), Carmelo Anthony had 13 points off the bench, and Malik Monk added 12 points and two triples in another start. Melo started the second half and Talen Horton-Tucker sat out with a sprained left ankle. The Lakers are a complete mess and are now the No. 9 seed in the West, sitting 5.5 games behind the No. 8 Clippers and just a game ahead of No. 10 New Orleans, who has won three straight. The clock is ticking on a LeBron shut down as it’s starting to look like the Lakers aren’t going to make much, if any, noise in the playoffs. The Lakers do play four games in each of the next two weeks so LeBron, Westbrook, Monk and Melo are all worth a look for the next two weeks. I wish I had more words for what’s going on with the Lakers but I don’t. They’re just not very good and Anthony Davis isn’t walking back through that door any time soon.
Band of Horses – My boys released their first album in five years this morning and ‘Things Are Great’ is one of their best albums ever. Check it out!