Basketball Daily Dose

Caris LeVert's career night sparks rally

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: March 4, 2020, 12:33 pm ET

Thursday’s eight-game slate didn’t lack for exciting comebacks, as Brooklyn and San Antonio erased large second-half deficits to pick up wins. In the case of the Nets, Caris LeVert had a career night as he put the team on his back during the fourth quarter and overtime. Also of note was the return of Anthony Davis, another 35-point night for Bradley Beal, and Malik Beasley catching fire in Minnesota’s win over New Orleans.  

Spurs 104, Hornets 103 — San Antonio was without Gregg Popovich, who was away from the team attending to a personal matter, which left Tim Duncan to run things in Charlotte. As for the players on the court the Spurs were without LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) and Marco Belinelli (illness), with the absence of the former meaning another start for Drew Eubanks. He played just 11 minutes, finishing with three pointers, two rebounds and one blocked shot. Simply put there’s no reason to pick up Eubanks, even with Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl (knee) being sidelined. It’s possible that Aldridge will be back Thursday night when the Spurs visit Brooklyn, which will also impact Trey Lyles. One night after scoring 20 points he came back to earth, shooting 2-of-8 from the field and finishing with six points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one three-pointer in 33 minutes. Feel free to leave him on the waiver wire. 

Dejounte Murray (21/5/6/2 with three 3-pointers) and Bryn Forbes (15/2/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Spurs, with DeMar DeRozan (12/5/10/1) tallying his first double-double since a January 27 loss to the Bulls. Derrick White (12/2/1/2/2 with two 3-pointers) filled the stat sheet in 20 minutes off the bench, which will be welcomed by those who have him rostered, but it wasn’t a line that jumps out at you.

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Charlotte also had some changes to its starting lineup, as Devonte' Graham (ankle) was ruled out and Cody Martin replaced him in the starting lineup. Martin scored a career-high 13 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and one three-pointer in 34 minutes, and should Graham have to miss additional time he’s worth a look due to the versatility. The lineup change also meant even more time on the ball for Terry Rozier, and in 36 minutes he accounted for 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers. The shooting percentages aren’t going to be great, but Rozier would be worth a look in DFS lineups whenever Graham isn’t available (and vice versa).

There was also a swap at the center position, as Cody Zeller (8/7/3) started and Bismack Biyombo picked up the DNP-CD. Zeller played 19 minutes, which may have been because of the matchup. In the three games prior (all Zeller DNP-CDs), Biyombo played no fewer than 22 minutes. I’d leave both alone unless there’s a desperate need for a warm body at the center spot in your league. P.J. Washington shot 5-of-9 from three, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal, with Miles Bridges (15/7/1 with two 3-pointers) and Caleb Martin (12/3/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. Keep an eye on Martin moving forward, especially with Malik Monk currently suspended. 

Nets 129, Celtics 120 (OT) — Brooklyn erased a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to win in Boston, with Caris LeVert leading the way. Having scored 14 points through three quarters, LeVert scored 37 in the fourth and overtime to finish with a career-high 51 (17-of-26 FGs, 12-of-18 FTs) to go along with four rebounds, five assists, one steal and five 3-pointers. With Kyrie Irving (right shoulder) done for the season, he and Spencer Dinwiddie were the players due to gain the most in fantasy. Dinwiddie had a comparatively quiet night, shooting 4-of-10 from the field and finishing with 14 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in just 23 minutes. Why didn’t he play more? Kenny Atkinson going with the “hot hand” may have had something to do with it, as Chris Chiozza was on the floor for much of Brooklyn’s rally and overtime. Chiozza finished with eight points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 21 minutes. I wouldn’t rush to pick him up, but at the very least Chiozza has earned himself another look. 

The “hot hand” approach also had an impact on Jarrett Allen, who played just 18 minutes and finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan was on the floor for 35 minutes, posting a line of eight points, 15 rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot. Timothe Luwawu (16/8/1 with one block and two 3-pointers) and Joe Harris (10/5 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures for the victorious Nets. 

On the other end of the spectrum was Boston, which not only lost the game but also lost two players due to injury. Gordon Hayward (7/1/2 with one three-pointer) did not return for the second half due to a bruised right knee, and Jaylen Brown (22/5/3/2 with three 3-pointers in 35 minutes) did not play in overtime due to a right hamstring injury that had been giving him trouble before Tuesday’s game. Both are considered to be doubtful for Wednesday’s game in Cleveland, and with Kemba Walker (21/3/3 with four 3-pointers) and Jayson Tatum (illness) already ruled out Boston’s rotation is going to look very interesting. Walker played 23 minutes in his return to the lineup, and he wasn’t the only player that Boston welcomed back. Robert Williams played 10 minutes off the bench and was quite effective, contributing 10 points, three rebounds and one steal. No declaration has been made regarding his status for Wednesday, but if he’s good to go the Time Lord may be worth a look. 

Daniel Theis (16/2/2 with two blocks) and Marcus Smart (14/6/10/2/2 with four 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, with the latter having to be restrained after the game while letting the officials know what he thought of their…performance. Smart could be in line for a fine, but if the NBA takes a tougher stance and suspends him then players such as Brad Wanamaker (nine points, two rebounds, four steals and one three-pointer), Javonte Green (two points, eight rebounds, one assist and two blocks) and Carsen Edwards (8/2 with two 3-pointers) become more attractive as cheap DFS options Wednesday night. 

Timberwolves 139, Pelicans 134 — When a team is attempting to get back into the playoff mix, there are games that it cannot afford to drop. This was one of those occasions for the Pelicans, and they lost. But the offense wasn’t the problem, as four of the team’s five starters scored at least 24 points with Jrue Holiday (27/10/12 with two 3-pointers) leading the way. The triple-double was his first of the season and fourth of his career, and he’s hanging around the top-40 in nine-cat formats for the season. Lonzo Ball (26/5/8/3/1 with seven 3-pointers) had one of the best games of his career Tuesday night, with the seven triples (in 10 attempts) being a career-high. The shooting is still a bit inconsistent, but Ball is shooting a career-best 37.1% from three with an average of 2.4 3-pointers per game this season.

Zion Williamson (25/8/3/4/1) extended his run of 20-point games to 12 straight, with Brandon Ingram (24/3/4/2 with three 3-pointers) rebounding from his rough outing against the Lakers Sunday night. Josh Hart (11/6/5/1 with one three-pointer) and Derrick Favors (10/6/1) also scored in double figures, but Hart shot 5-of-13 from the field (1-of-9 3-pointers). The issue for New Orleans was that it couldn’t get stops, as the Timberwolves shot nearly 56% from the field and 41.2% from three. 

Malik Beasley continues to flourish in Minnesota, as he shot 11-of-13 from the field and posted a line of 28 points, three rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. While he won’t be playing in the postseason thanks to the trade from Denver, and it could be argued that he wasn’t going to be playing in the postseason all that much due to the Nuggets’ loaded rotation, he needed more minutes and they were available in Minnesota. Beasley’s averaging 21.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks and 3.9 3-pointers per game with the Timberwolves, and this would be a good time to hop on the bandwagon as he’s rostered in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues. Give him credit for good timing as well, as Beasley will be a restricted free agent this summer. 

D'Angelo Russell 23/3/8/1 with three 3-pointers) also surpassed the 20-point mark, and there was once again overlap between he and backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin (13 points, six assists, one steal and one three-pointer in 20 minutes). The only negative for those two was that they combined to turn the ball over nine times, with Russell racking up five and McLaughlin four. This was the front end of a back-to-back for Minnesota, and the plan is for Russell to be available Wednesday night. That being said, Ryan Saunders could choose to simply limit his minutes to avoid a repeat of the $25,000 fine the team received for holding Russell out during the team’s last back-to-back. I’d keep an eye on McLaughlin either way in standard leagues, and pick him up in deeper leagues if available. 

James Johnson (19/6/5/2 with one three-pointer), Juancho Hernangomez (16/8/2/3 with two 3-pointers), Naz Reid (13/14/3/3/2 with one three-pointer), Josh Okogie (11/4/1/1 with one three-pointer) and Jarrett Culver (11/2/1 with one three-pointer) also scored in double figures, with Reid’s double-double being the first of his career. As long as Karl-Anthony Towns (left wrist) remains sidelined, the rookie power forward has high value in most leagues.  

Clippers 109, Thunder 94 — The usual suspects did the heavy lifting for Los Angeles, with Kawhi Leonard putting up a line of 25 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes to lead the way. Paul George (16/5/3/2 with three 3-pointers), Montrezl Harrell (16/3/1) and Lou Williams (14/2/4/1 with one three-pointer) also scored in double figures, but it’s worth noting that Harrell tweaked his left ankle. He said that he’s fine and plans to play in Thursday’s game against the Rockets, but if there are any issues Marcus Morris (8/5/1 with one block) and JaMychal Green (six points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers) would likely take on an increased workload. Under normal circumstances starting center Ivica Zubac (9/5/2/2) would be the most likely candidate, but given Houston’s rotation I’d lean towards Morris and/or Green being asked to do more if Harrell were to be limited. 

Dennis Schroder led the Thunder with 24 points, shooting 9-of-19 from the field and 5-of-7 from the foul line, with two rebounds and one three-pointer in 30 minutes off the bench. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (15/6/2/1/3 with one three-pointer), Danilo Gallinari (15 points, four rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers) and Chris Paul (14/2/7/1 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, with Steven Adams (4/10/2) reaching double figures in rebounds for the first time in four games. Abdel Nader (5/6/2/1/2) put up a full stat line in his 19 minutes off the bench, but it isn’t enough to turn him into a viable option at this point in the fantasy season. Oklahoma City’s playing for playoff seeding, which limits the fantasy values of bit contributors such as Nader and Luguentz Dort (7/5/2 in 25 minutes).

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Warriors 116, Nuggets 100 — This result may have been the most disappointing of the night, even with New Orleans losing ground in the race for the eighth spot in the West. Denver, which led by nine at the half, was outscored by 25 points in the second stanza by the ragtag Warriors. Andrew Wiggins (22/5/10/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Eric Paschall (22/5/5/1 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively, and in total six players scored in double figures. Mychal Mulder, who played well in his first two games with the Warriors, replaced Dragan Bender (14/5/2 with two 3-pointers) in the starting lineup and accounted for 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and five 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Mulder’s averaging 2.8 3-pointers per game with the Warriors, and he’s scored 14 points or more in each of the team’s last three games. Players in deeper leagues may consider him if there’s a dire need for 3-pointers, but at the very least Mulder has likely earned himself a second 10-day deal. 

Bender played well on what was the final day of his 10-day contract, and if this was it for him in the Bay then he went out on a positive note. Marquese Chriss (16/5/1/2/1) and Jordan Poole (15/3/6/1 with four 3-pointers) also reached double figures, while Damion Lee (4/3/3/3 with one three-pointer) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (eight points, five rebounds, one block and two 3-pointers) had comparatively quiet nights offensively. Lastly former Stanford standout Chasson Randle made his Warriors debut, playing 12 minutes and tallying one rebound and one assist. There’s no reason to pick him up right now. 

Denver had a brutal night from three, shooting 3-of-20 with Will Barton (18 points, five rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer) and Jamal Murray (14/6/3/1) combining to make just one of their 15 combined attempts. They were the only Nuggets that attempted more than two 3-pointers on the night, so they’re going to have to shoulder much of the blame for that putrid showing. Paul Millsap (18/9/3) shot 6-of-9 from the field and 6-of-9 from the foul line, with Nikola Jokic (16/13/7/1/2) and Mason Plumlee (16/9/2) also scoring in double figures. Millsap was back after missing Sunday’s game due to a sprained right ankle, and Jerami Grant (3/4/1 with one block and one three-pointer) took a significant hit when it comes to his fantasy value. Gary Harris only scored eight points, but he also tallied four rebounds, four assists, three steals and one blocked shot in 35 minutes, and Monte Morris (4/1/2 with one block) was held in check. 

Raptors 123, Suns 114Serge Ibaka (right knee soreness) and Fred VanVleet (left shoulder) sat out for the third consecutive game, with Norman Powell remaining in the starting lineup and Patrick McCaw (5/3/2/1) making a spot start instead of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Hollis-Jefferson, who was already a non-factor in fantasy, played just eight minutes and grabbed one rebound. Powell had a very good night, putting up 26 points, two rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Over the last two weeks Powell has threatened top-50 value in nine-cat, and he’s still available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. If VanVleet isn’t available for Thursday’s game against the Warriors pick up Powell, and his price point should be rather affordable in DFS. 

Kyle Lowry took a shot to the face and had to leave briefly but ultimately played 37 minutes, tallying 28 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal and four 3-pointers. Pascal Siakam (33/7/3/1/2 with five 3-pointers) rebounded from his 6-of-21 effort in Sunday’s loss to the Nuggets, and Chris Boucher (19 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers) absolutely feasted Tuesday night. With Ibaka and Marc Gasol (hamstring; and there’s still no timeline regarding a return) out Boucher’s played consistent minutes, but the production hasn’t been there. Is he worth a look given the rotation? Yes, especially given the matchup with the Warriors, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he put up a poor line either. 

Of the eight Suns that played seven scored in double figures, and three of those seven posted double-doubles. Deandre Ayton finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocked shots, but after the game he was seen getting around with the use of crutches due to a sprained left ankle. That doesn’t bode well for his status for Friday’s game against Portland, which could mean a return to action for Aron Baynes (DNP-CD). Devin Booker (22/4/10/1 with two 3-pointers) and Ricky Rubio (16/4/10/1 with two 3-pointers) posted points/assists double-doubles, and on his 24th birthday Cameron Johnson knocked down five 3-pointers and tallied 21 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocked shots in 33 minutes. Rounding out the double-digit scorers were Dario Saric (16/3/2 with two 3-pointers), Mikal Bridges (12/3/3 with two 3-pointers) and Jevon Carter (11/1/1 with one three-pointer). 

Carter played 22 minutes and Elie Okobo (3/2/1/2 with one three-pointer) 14, with rookie Ty Jerome getting the dreaded DNP-CD. The minutes behind Rubio have been up for grabs for much of this season, as none of the three options available to Monty Williams have stepped up to claim the backup job as their own. They can all be left on the waiver wire. 

Lakers 120, 76ers 107Anthony Davis made his return to the lineup Tuesday, and in 39 minutes he racked up 37 points (13-of-19 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs), 13 rebounds, two assists, four steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers. With no Joel Embiid in the middle for Philadelphia to offer up any resistance, Davis was dominant on both ends of the floor. LeBron James (22/7/14/1/2 with two 3-pointers) also filled the stat sheet, with Dwight Howard (11 points, one rebound and one steal), Avery Bradley (10/5/3/2 with two 3-pointers) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (10 points, one rebound and one three-pointer) also scoring in double figures. 

The Lakers now hold a 5.5-game lead atop the West, and with the team having five more back-to-backs to play there may be opportunities to either limit the minutes of (or sit with random maladies) some of their top players ahead of the postseason. LeBron has long said that he doesn’t believe in load management, but the schedule is something to keep in mind down the stretch. 

Brett Brown made two changes to his starting lineup after Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, with Matisse Thybulle and Mike Scott getting the nod on Tuesday. Thybulle replaced Josh Richardson, who was ruled out due to a concussion, but accounted for just two points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 18 minutes. Scott replaced Glenn Robinson III and was much better than Thybulle, tallying 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. The move back to the bench didn’t have a negative effect on GRIII either, as he played 31 minutes and scored 25 points (10-of-15 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs) with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers. 

Tobias Harris (18/7/2 with two 3-pointers) played 33 minutes despite having dealt with a sore knee the game prior, with Alec Burks (12/4/1 with one three-pointer) and Furkan Korkmaz (11/2/2/2 with three 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. And Shake Milton came back to earth after his outstanding performance Sunday, playing 29 minutes and accounting for 12 points, one rebound, six assists, three steals and two 3-pointers while also turning the ball over five times. 

Kings 133, Wizards 126De'Aaron Fox once again played through his abdominal injury and he played well, scoring 31 points with three rebounds, one assist, three steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. He was one of seven Kings to score in double figures, with starters Bogdan Bogdanovic (21/1/4/2/1 with four 3-pointers), Harry Giles (13/6/1/2) and Harrison Barnes (10/4/4/2) being three of the others. Tuesday was Bogdanovic’s first game with at least 20 points since February 22 (five games), and Giles has now reached double figures in six straight and seven of Sacramento’s last eight games. At this point he's worth a look in standard leagues as a supplementary frontcourt option.

Buddy Hield (17/5/4 with four 3-pointers), Cory Joseph (14/4/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Alex Len (12 points, six rebounds and one block) also scored in double figures, with Joseph once again playing through a heel injury. It was a good night for him, but his fantasy value is very low as long as Fox is available to play. 

Bradley Beal offered up more of the usual for the Wizards, scoring 35 points with two rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes, with Rui Hachimura (20/6/3/2 with one three-pointer) being the only other player to score at least 20 points. Hachimura has now reached double figures in eight straight and 12 of Washington’s last 13 games, and he’s consistently hitting the 30-minute mark. That’s good news for those who have him rostered, and with the team’s chances of catching Orlando appearing to be quite slim at this point Hachimura will likely get all the work that he can handle down the stretch.

Davis Bertans (18/7/1/1 with six 3-pointers), Ish Smith (13/3/5 with one three-pointer), Thomas Bryant (12/4/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Jerome Robinson (10/2/2/2/1 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, while Ian Mahinmi was a DNP-CD for the second straight game. 

Wednesday’s Schedule (all times Eastern) 

Boston at Cleveland, 7 PM 

Oklahoma City at Detroit, 7 PM 

Indiana at Milwaukee, 7 PM 

Orlando at Miami, 7:30 PM 

Memphis at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM 

Utah at New York, 7:30 PM 

Chicago at Minnesota, 8 PM 

New Orleans at Dallas, 9:30 PM 

Washington at Portland, 10 PM 

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.