Wizards 124, Suns 121 – Thomas Bryant was amazing last night, starting, playing a career-high 40 minutes, hitting the game-winning shot and racking up 18 points, a career-high 19 rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in the best game of his NBA career. He’s been all over the map this season, but I rolled with him due to his four games this week, and he came through in a big way. He had seven points and six rebounds in his previous game, but has been really good in three of his last four games. Go get him. Bradley Beal scored 28 with five 3-pointers, and is showing no signs of being shut down, and Tomas Satoransky had 16 points and three steals in his 38 minutes. Jabari Parker went off for 28 points, 15 boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, Jordan McRae came out of nowhere with a season-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Bobby Portis was serviceable with six points and nine boards in an awkward start. Jeff Green had a big dunk, but scored just five points, Troy Brown Jr. fizzled with two points on 1-of-5 shooting, and Bobby Portis hit just 2-of-8 shots. Bryant’s the pickup here, and this team is worth keeping an eye on in the news feed to make sure the starters are going to keep playing.
For the Suns, Devin Booker kept it going with 50 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. He’s now the youngest player to ever have back-to-back 50-point games, is the fifth player to ever score 50 points in three games before turning 24 years old and is the first player in NBA history to lose in each of his first three 50-point games. Then again, he plays for the Suns, so it makes some sense. Deandre Ayton, who will not be winning the Rookie of the Year Award, had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, and Dragan Bender, Troy Daniels and Jamal Crawford all scored in double figures in the loss. Mikal Bridges hit just 1-of-5 shots for four points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals in the loss. Booker and Ayton are the only reliable Suns right now.
Blazers 118, Bulls 98 – Seth Curry, filling in for C.J. McCollum, led the way with 20 points and the Blazers got a full load of stats from several players, including starters, as well as bench players. Curry was a bench player, but hit 8-of-11 shots and four 3-pointers for 20 points, three boards and two assists in the win. Rodney Hood got loose for 15 points and two 3-pointers, also off the bench, and Enes Kanter was next in line with 13 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. Kanter might have been the most disappointing fantasy player of the night. He started for Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered that disturbing broken leg on Monday night, but basically fizzled for any owners who went all in on him last night. I mean, Kanter wasn’t bad, but I didn’t even look at any other center in DFS, and that’s my fault. I don’t trust Hood, at all. Damian Lillard was actually more disappointing than Kanter, finishing with just 11 points, six rebounds and seven assists on 3-of-12 shooting. If you stacked Lillard and Kanter, I’m sorry. Al-Farouq Aminu came through with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but didn’t do much else, starters Moe Harkless and Jake Layman were quiet, and Zach Collins had 13 points, three boards, two assists and two 3-pointers off the bench. Kanter is still the man here, and Lillard will bounce back, but this was a tough pill to swallow in fantasyland. And, of course, the Blazers won easily over the Bulls.
For the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen has been shut down for the season due to a “fatigue/heart rate issue,” and they started what essentially amounted to a G-League squad: Robin Lopez, Shaquille Harrison, Wayne Selden, Brandon Sampson and Antonio Blakeney were your starters. The Bulls actually had a more appealing fantasy line than the Blazers did. Harrison went nuts with a career-high 21 points, 10 boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, Selden had a double-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and guys like Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio both played well. Brandon Sampson and Antonio Blakeney, who started, and Ryan Arcidiacono, who went off in his previous game, were all disappointing, and the Bulls are currently without Zach LaVine, Otto Porter and Kris Dunn. Someone is going to step up every night for this team, and tonight it was Harrison and Selden. Just know that it could be a different pair in the next one, and the guys you want to think about using are Arcidiacono, Harrison, Blakeney and Selden. But there are no guarantees here, as the Bulls are in total tank mode. My guess is we won’t see LaVine or Porter again this season, but that’s completely speculation.
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Warriors 118, Grizzlies 103 – Kevin Durant hit 12-of-13 shots, 1-of-1 3-pointers and 3-of-3 free throws for the best shooting night of his career, finishing with 28 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. Stephen Curry just missed a triple-double with a 28-10-7 line, and Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson were all decent, although I’d call Thompson’s 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting a disappointment. The bench did nothing, and it’s impossible to tell what scrubs will do going forward. On a personal level, I’m just glad Durant is continuing to play, and play well. We’ll see how long it lasts during the NBA’s silly season. The Warriors are going to rest some guys, and they still have two sets of back-to-back games remaining (April 4-5 & April 9-10). If you own Curry, Durant, or any other Warrior starter, keep a close eye on the Rotoworld newsfeed on game days.
For the losing Grizzlies, the fantasy lines were dynamic. Justin Holiday only had nine points, but added five steals and three 3-pointers, Bruno Caboclo may have been the play of the night with 17 points, a career-high 13 rebounds, three assists, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers, Jonas Valanciunas went off for 27 points, 13 boards and two blocks, Mike Conley had 22 points and eight dimes, and Tyler Dorsey had eight points, six boards, two assists and a 3-pointer in the loss. Chandler Parsons even had 13 points, five boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, and my man Matt Stroup is using him in the 30-Deep Finals, which he’s currently winning. Delon Wright is not worth using when Conley is playing, and hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points, five assists and three steals in the loss. Holiday, Caboclo (who scored a career-high 24 points on Monday) and JV are all hot, and Wright is worth using when Conley is resting. I regret not having Caboclo in my lineup last night.
Thunder 107, Pacers 99 – The Thunder got a much-needed win and Paul George, and Russell Westbrook overcame slow starts to get it done for their owners, and the Thunder, who went on a 24-0 run in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Thunder won the third quarter 31-15. George finished with 31 points and four 3-pointers, and Westbrook had another triple-double (his 29th of the season) with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in the win. Steven Adams was awesome with 25 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and a block, and Jerami Grant added 19 points, seven boards, four assists, a steal, three blocks and five 3-pointers in the win. The Thunder bench did nothing and the guys I mentioned above are who you want to roll with the rest of the way. The Thunder are now 1.0 games behind the Clippers, and 1.0 games in front of the Spurs for the No. 7 seed in the West. So they should keep rolling the studs out there. They’ve now won two of their last three to right the ship.
The Pacers are 1.0 games up on the Celtics for the No. 4 seed, and are basically guaranteed to play them in Round 1. If they lose more than they win to finish the season, they’ll be on the road, but as of now, they hold homecourt over Boston. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 28 points and six triples, Myles Turner double-doubled with 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, and starters Thaddeus Young and Wesley Matthews both scored in double figures. Darren Collison returned from his quad injury and had eight points, six assists and two 3-pointers in the loss. Domantas Sabonis kept it going with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a block off the bench. The Pacers want home court against Brad Stevens, so I think they’ll keep rolling everyone out there the rest of the way.
Jazz 115, Lakers 100 – The Jazz got monster lines from Derrick Favors (20 points, 9-of-13 shooting), Joe Ingles (11 points, 9 rebounds, career-high 14 assists, three 3-pointers), Rudy Gobert (22 points, 11 boards, 2 steals, 3 blocks), and Ricky Rubio (10 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists), while Donovan Mitchell hit just 3-of-11 shots for 11 points. Jae Crowder and Thabo Sefolosha scored double figures off the bench, and the Jazz now sit tied with the Clippers at 6.5 games behind the Warriors in the West. They’re the No. 5 seed currently, but things could still change here. Hopefully, that means the Jazz will keep playing their guys. Ingles has been all over the place this season, but he was all-world tonight and missed his first triple-double by one rebound.
LeBron James sat this one out for the Lakers and will play sporadically the rest of the way, while Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are out for the season, and Reggie Bullock and Josh Hart are banged up. Kyle Kuzma led the way with 21 points, but didn’t have a big stat line, JaVale McGee kept it going with 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, Lance Stephenson started and had 10 points, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, Mo Wagner had 13 points, four rebounds and a block, and Alex Caruso got loose for 13 points, four assists and two 3-pointers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope struggled, hitting just 2-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for seven points, and was one of the fantasy disappointments of the night. Stephenson and Caruso are worth a look right now, McGee is a must-own player, and KCP should bounce back sooner than later.
Thursdays are typically a light NBA day, but not this Thursday, when MLB’s opening day happens, the NCAA tournament gets back underway, and eight NBA games are on the schedule for Thursday night. This will be one of the best sports days of the entire year, so find some friends, get in front of a television, and take it all in. It’s going to be a great Thursday!