The final day of Week 23 had a hefty slate of eight games for us to digest, including a massive 48-point outburst from LaMarcus Aldridge. More on that in a minute, but first, here's a game-by-game fantasy breakdown of Sunday's action:
Clippers 124, Knicks 113
Lou Williams (29 points), Danilo Gallinari (26) and Montrezl Harrell (24) did most of the lifting for the Clips, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shot just 3-of-10, but stayed productive with 10 points, eight assists, one steal and one block in a team-high 38 minutes. SGA was the headline player in the Waiver Wired column and looks like a must-start with four games in Week 24.
In other waiver wire developments, Landry Shamet played just 14 minutes due to a “left ankle impingement” and “could miss a few games”, so look elsewhere if you added him for L.A.'s upcoming four-game week.
As for the Knicks, Emmanuel Mudiay continued his late-season heater with Dennis Smith Jr. sidelined — 26 points, six rebounds and seven dimes on 10-of-19 shooting — and DeAndre Jordan had a big-time revenge game with 20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Kadeem Allen added 16 points in 20 minutes, but that’s mostly a moot point considering that the Knicks only have two games in the upcoming week.
Bucks 127, Cavs 105
Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) played, and put up a 26-10-7 line with four blocks in 32 minutes. Meanwhile, recent waiver wire person of interest Pat Connaughton had nine points, seven boards, two assists, two steals and a trey in 25 minutes, and is worth a long look as a potential pickup — even more so considering that Tony Snell (12 points in 18 minutes) left this game early with an ankle sprain. George Hill put up 17 points against his former team, but it was his first time hitting double-digit points since before the All-Star break.
There’s not a lot of intrigue to report from the Cavs side of things. Kevin Love put up 20 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and four 3s on 8-of-21 shooting. Larry Nance had 13 points, six dimes, three steals and two 3s, while Jordan Clarkson scored 19, and that’s about it. Ante Zizic was a DNP-CD.
Pacers 124, Nuggets 88
Yikes. Bojan Bogdanovic torched the Nuggets for 35 points on 13-of-16 shooting, including 26 in the first half, with a season-high five 3s, while Myles Turner had 17 points, 11 boards, one steal and two blocks on his 23rd birthday, and Domantas Sabonis went 15-13-4. Darren Collison (quad) missed his third straight game, and Tyreke Evans (11-5-3 in 20 minutes) had his third straight double-digit game in Collison’s absence.
It’s also worth noting as far as Indiana is concerned that Nate McMillan said (per The Athletic) that he’s “absolutely” thinking about load management (aka rest) when it comes to his team’s remaining games.
Not to be outdone, Nuggets coach Michael Malone is also thinking about resting players during Denver’s remaining games. As for Sunday, Nikola Jokic still managed a monster game in the 36-point loss (19 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and a season-high four blocks), but this was otherwise a pretty hideous afternoon for the Nuggets, who now trail the Warriors by a half game for the top seed in the West, and have four games to try to redeem themselves next week.
Hornets 115, Raptors 114
Jeremy Lamb hit a roof-scraping buzzer-beating bank shot from just beyond half court to give the Hornets a victory. For the game, he had 13 points, three treys, one steal, two blocks — and zero rebounds or assists. With Nicolas Batum (illness) out again, Charlotte got another strong game (make that four in a row) for Miles Bridges, who posted 16 points, six rebounds, one steal, one block and two 3s in 33 minutes. The rookie is now averaging 13.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.0 spg and 1.5 3s in his last four games, and I’m all for picking him up wherever he’s available. Dwayne Bacon also had career-highs of 20 points and five 3s in this one, so keep him on your radar as a potential streamer — albeit one with limited upside. He came into Sunday averaging 8.6 ppg and 0.6 3s on 36.9 percent shooting in March. We also had a Willy Hernangomez sighting in this game, as he scored 13 points — his most since early January — with 10 rebounds, four assists and two 3s. I still think Hernangomez is going to be too erratic (he's averaging 16 minutes a games in March) to be much more than a deep-league streaming play.
Kyle Lowry (ankle) returned to action for the Raptors, but had just seven points and six dimes in 28 minutes, saying (per beat reporter Josh Lewenberg) that his ankle isn't going to be 100 percent the rest of the way, but that Sunday was "a good first step". Lowry's return sent Fred VanVleet back to a bench role, but he remained reasonably productive with a 12-5-3 line (and two 3s) in 31 minutes. Also for Toronto, Kawhi Leonard put up 28, Pascal Siakam had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Marc Gasol had one of his better all-around games since joining the Raptors, with 17-4-6, adding one steal, three blocks and two 3s in just 23 minutes.
Rockets 113, Pelicans 90
After back-to-back 57- and 61-point games, James Harden only needed to score 28 (with six 3s and four assists) against a Pelicans team that wasn't competitive enough to keep him on the floor (he played just 29 minutes in the blowout win). Chris Paul added 10 points, 13 assists and five steals, while Danuel House got back on track after a couple off games with 14 points, six rebounds, four 3s and one block — although he had to hit 5-of-6 shots (and 4-of-5 3s) to get that done. Kenneth Faried also resurfaced in the blowout win with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks after being a DNP-CD on Friday as Mike D'Antoni continues to juggle his rotation.
New Orleans had three days off after a 119-96 loss to Orlando on Wednesday, and even though Anthony Davis returned (12 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes), the Pelicans still didn’t show up for this one. The only real positive fantasy development here was Frank Jackson scoring 19 with three 3s, a steal and a career-high six assists. Jackson hasn’t done much in terms of dimes all season, but he now has four, four and six of them in his last three games (4.7 apg). Add something around 4.0 apg into his already solid scoring and 3s (15.3 ppg, 1.6 3s over his previous 10 games), and suddenly there’s something interesting going on here. Jackson is owned in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, though the Pelicans play three times each of the next two weeks.
Spurs 115, Celtics 96
LaMarcus Aldridge steamrolled the Celtics with 48 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, shooting 20-of-31 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line, tossing in a 3-pointer as well. This was actually not the highest scoring game of the season for L.A., who unleashed 56 on OKC in a double overtime game back in January.
With Aldridge scoring 42 percent of the Spurs' points — and the Spurs winning by almost 20 — there wasn't a lot else to report from San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan double-doubled with 16 points and 11 dimes, continuing his stout all-around play in counting stats lately. Over his last five games, he's averaging 19.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 7.2 apg. Also, Jakob Poeltl bounced back (sort of) after a couple quiet games with six points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes.
The Celtics didn't have Jayson Tatum (lower back contusion), Al Horford (knee) or Robert Williams (back), and though Gordon Hayward (concussion) returned, and Kyrie Irving played the second half of a back-to-back set, Boston dropped its fourth straight, with no one topping 15 points in the ugly loss. Hayward did score 13 points with 10 rebounds and three assists in his return to action, and Kyrie Irving double-doubled with 11 points and 12 dimes, but shot just 5-of-17. Beat writer Gary Washburn tweeted that Irving is "playing like he needs a day off", and Washburn speculated that the Celtics PG might not make the trip to Cleveland for Tuesday's game.
Warriors 121, Pistons 114
Speaking of rest, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala both sat this one out, and Steve Kerr said that Cousins won’t play in Golden State's two remaining back-to-backs (April 4-5 and April 9-10). Andrew Bogut got a start in Boogie's absence, finishing with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 24 minutes.
Stephen Curry (rest) returned and scored 26, Klay Thompson had 24, and Kevin Durant decided to pass instead of shoot, finishing with 14 points and 11 assists on 5-of-6 shooting. Draymond Green scored 14 — his highest point total in the last month — with five rebounds and eight assists.
Down 14 at halftime, the Pistons went bench-heavy, which meant Ish Smith (14 points, four assists) outplayed Reggie Jackson (seven points, two assists). Luke Kennard scored 20 off the bench, giving him three straight double-digit games (16, 13, 20) after breaking out of a recent shooting slump. Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 24, adding six rebounds, eight assists and three 3s, shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Lakers 111, Kings 106
The Lakers snapped a five-game losing streak behind a triple-double from LeBron James (29-11-11), and 28 points (and five 3s) from Kyle Kuzma. JaVale McGee backed up his 33-point, 20-rebound, six-block tour de force from Friday with 17 points, 14 rebounds, one steal and five blocks on 8-of-8 shooting. During a four-game week for L.A. in Week 24, I can't envision a scenario where I'd be comfortable benching JaVale.
Reggie Bullock (foot) was out, so Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got the start, and played well despite shooting 5-of-15. KCP had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and is another Laker I'd be inclined to start this week. Meanwhile, I have a bit more hesitation now about Alex Caruso, after he stalled out with six points in 17 minutes on Sunday. He could certainly still bounce back, but I would look at him as more of a streaming play after Sunday's dud.
De'Aaron Fox had a dreadful shooting night (3-of-16), but hit the jackpot in counting stats with six rebounds, four assists, six steals and a block. Buddy Hield was also off target (6-of-20), but hit five 3s en route to 18 points. Marvin Bagley looked phenomenal again, with 25 and 11 — his fourth game of 20 or more points in his last five. Bogdan Bogdanovic broke out of a recent slump with 17 points and four assists, his highest scoring game so far in March.
Editor's Note: Looking for an edge when it comes to fantasy hoops? Our new NBA DFS Toolkit has a Lineup Optimizer, Customizable Projections, Next Man Up tool and more for FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo! And for season-long, the NBA Season Pass provides weekly projections, rankings, Pickups of the Day and more.
Quick Hits: Tyler Johnson (knee) is out for Monday, while Josh Jackson (ankle) is questionable… … Otto Porter, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn all didn’t practice on Sunday, and Jim Boylen was reportedly “worried” about Dunn’s status for Tuesday. … Allen Crabbe (knee) is out for Monday. … Joakim Noah (knee) is doubtful for the start of the Grizzlies' four-game week. … C.J. McCollum (knee) won’t play Monday, as expected. … In case you were wondering, Al Jefferson has officially retired.