LeBron James made history on Wednesday, Derrick White, Zach LaVine and Luka Doncic went nuts, and Frank Kaminsky is suddenly coming on for the Hornets.
Nuggets 115, Lakers 99 – Will Barton had 23 points, four boards, five assists, a block and five triples and Gary Harris finally came through with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting. I’m sold on Barton, but I wrote Harris off earlier this season, and don’t have a longing need to own him. But if he’s sitting on waivers, go for it. The Nuggets bench was incredibly quiet, making it tough to sit on guys like Malik Beasley, Isaiah Thomas, Monte Morris and Mason Plumlee right now.
LeBron James had 31 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers to pass Michael Jordan on the scoring list. LeBron, who was wearing some Air Jordan III tribute shoes, only trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant on the scoring list, sitting at 32, 292 points. But the Lakers lost and making the playoffs would now take some sort of miracle from LeBron and company, as they’re now 6.5 games behind the No. 8 seeded Clippers. Alex Caruso and Mo Wagner both had big games off the Lakers bench, which was weird. Now that the Lakers are just about out of it, I can’t help but think LeBron is going to get some rest, even though he says he won’t shut it down.
Spurs 111, Hawks 104 - Derrick White went bananas for the Spurs, racking up 18 points, six rebounds, nine assists and a career-high six blocks on 8-of-11 shooting. He also hit a 3-pointer and became the first player under the height of 6’8” to post that kind of stat line, per Elias. We’ve been calling him must-own for weeks, and he finally came through with the big breakout game we’ve been waiting for. Rudy Gay moved into the starting lineup for the Spurs and double-doubled.
The Hawks got a double-double from John Collins in his return from the flu, Alex Len started for Dewayne Dedmon (knee) and was decent with 11 points, seven boards and two triples, and Trae Young hasn’t looked right since his shady ejection three games ago. Young hit just 8-of-24 shots, was 1-of-7 from downtown, had just four assists, and finished with 22 points in the loss.
Heat 91, Hornets 84 – Kelly Olynyk racked up 22 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, a block and five triples, and the days of him being an afterthought in Miami are clearly behind us. Hassan Whiteside came off the bench, which was weird, and could be in that role the rest of the way, as Erik Spoelstra currently likes Bam Adebayo in the starting unit. Whiteside shined with 18 points, 15 boards and four blocks in just 20 minutes, while Adebayo had 10 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 25 minutes. Adebayo needs to be owned.
For the Hornets, Frank Kaminsky is suddenly cooking for the Hornets and I have been sleeping on him. He hit 8-of-11 shots and four 3-pointers last night, racking up 20 points, three rebounds and a block. He’s scored 15, 18 and 20 points in his last three games, is getting close to 25 minutes a night, and has hit 20-of-33 shots over that stretch. I’m not picking him up in standard leagues (yet), but he looks like a solid DFS option right now. Jeremy Lamb is now the sixth man for the Hornets and struggled last night, but should be fine despite losing his starting gig.
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Pistons 131, Wolves 114 – Andre Drummond went off with 31 points, 15 rebounds, a steal, two blocks and a rare 3-pointer, and Blake Griffin struggled, hitting just 4-of-13 shots for nine points, but also had six boards and seven assists. It was a rare misstep for Griffin this season, while Drummond had one of his best lines of the year. Ish Smith had a big line off the bench with 19-5-5 on a night when Reggie Jackson fell flat, and my man, Luke Kennard, kept it rolling with 21 points, three rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers. I love Kennard, and Smith should officially be on your radar now.
The Wolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 24 points and Jeff Teague had 15 points and eight assists, but trust me when I say that there was nothing to see (or love) about the Wolves’ box score last night.
Wizards 132, Mavericks 123 – All five Wizards starters hit double digits in scoring last night and Tomas Satoransky double-doubled, while Jabari Parker came through with 20 points and nine boards on ridiculous 10-of-11 shooting in the win.
For the Mavs, my guy Luka Doncic went off for 31 points, 11 rebounds seven assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, and had just two turnovers on another big night. Hopefully he’s back on track for a strong finish on his run to a possible Rookie of the Year Award. Trae Young was tracking him hard, but has fallen into a funk recently. And Dwight Powell went crazy last night with 26 points, 10 boards, a block and a 3-pointer. I called him something like “the pickup of the week” in Waiver Wired on Sunday and he’s coming through in a big way. Jalen Brunson started at point guard again and had 11 points, eight dimes and two 3-pointers, so give him a look if you’re in a deep league. Additionally, Justin Jackson had his best game as a Mav with 18 points, five boards and five triples in 25 minutes. He had only hit double figures in Dallas one time and the minutes (and stats) were a Dallas high for him, so just put him on the radar.
Nets 113, Cavs 107 – Spencer Dinwiddie had 28 points, four boards, five assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers off the bench. I’m having trouble figuring out how he can remain relevant on such a deep team, but it’s happening. D’Angelo Russell scored 25, Jarrett Allen double-doubled, and Rodions Kurucs stayed in the starting lineup and had 10 points, seven boards and three blocks. I’ve been enjoying him in DFS lately.
Kevon Love (24 & 16) and Larry Nance Jr. (17 & 10) both came through with big lines for the Cavs, while Cedi Osman hit just 2-of-10 shots, and Collin Sexton hit just 4-of-13. I’m into all four guys, but you have to wonder if Love will keep playing in these meaningless games. He says he will, for what it’s worth. David Nwaba hit 9-of-13 shots and three 3-pointers for a career-high 22 points, but didn’t do much more, outside of a steal. That snapped a nine-game streak of single-digit scoring games for Nwaba, so it’s tough to get too excited. Just put him on your radar.
Bulls 108, Sixers 107 – Zach LaVine willed the Bulls to a win over the mighty Sixers, racking up 39 points, five boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 14-of-26 shooting, including the game-winning driving layup near the end for the win. He was fantastic and, not to sound too dramatic, his game was a thing of beauty last night. Robin Lopez kept it going with 19 points and nine boards, but it was really the LaVine show last night.
Tobias Harris was quiet for most of the night and finished with just 13 points, Ben Simmons overcame a slow start for an 18-11-7-4 line, and Amir Johnson made the most of his start with nine points, eight boards, a block and a 3-pointer. I’m fine using guys like him in DFS when Joel Embiid is out, but it’s fluky. Speaking of Embiid, it sounds like there’s a decent chance he’ll join the team in Houston and play on Friday. And if it happens, you can forget about guys like Amir, Mike Scott and Jonah Bolden.
Jazz 114, Pelicans 104 – Starters Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles all went off in the win. Favors had 25 points, Jingles just missed a triple-double with a 10-10-8 line, Gobert double-doubled, Rubio had nine points and 10 dimes, and Mitchell scored 22 on 10-of-18 shooting. That didn’t leave much for the bench, but Jae Crowder had 11 points, six boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, and Kyle Korver had 12 points and two triples. It’s hard to trust Crowder with Favors playing well, but he’s put up solid numbers in his last two games. And Jingles is one of the more underappreciated players in fantasy.
For the Pelicans, no one really stood out and Jrue Holiday was flat-out disappointing with just 16 points and three assists. Anthony Davis was out there for 21 minutes as he slogs his way toward the end of the season, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds, a shell of his former fantasy self. Kenrich Williams was decent with 12 points, six boards and two 3-pointers, Julius Randle led the way with 23, and Frank Jackson quietly had 13 points, four boards, a steal and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Jackson is intriguing, but is just as likely to fizzle on any given night, as he is to go off. Cheick Diallo is crushing dreams right now and failed to score a point in 10 minutes. Being the impatient soul I am, I dropped him a week ago, even though I didn’t want to. But I’m glad I did.
Suns 107, Knicks 96 – Devin Booker went off for 41 points on 14-of-23 shooting in the win, Kelly Oubre overcame a quiet first half for 18 points and a full stat line, Deandre Ayton was quiet with 110 points and six boards, and Tyler Johnson was decent with 14 points, four rebounds, six assists and two triples. All of them should be starting in fantasy right now. Josh Jackson missed all seven of his shots for two points and is having a rough go of it these days, but was coming off a pair of 16-point games. Richaun Holmes is worth a deep-league look and had 10 points, two boards, two steals and two blocks off the bench.
For the Knicks, starters Noah Vonleh, DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr. and Damyean Dotson all hit double figures in scoring, and Jordan (double-double) and Dotson (15-9-5 with two triples) had fun stat lines. Allonzo Trier finally cooled off with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists on 3-of-9 shooting. He also hit a 3-pointer and came into this one on fire, so don’t give up on him just yet. Mitchell Robinson had eight points, eight boards, two steals and four more blocks, despite Jordan’s big game, and continues to tease his fantasy owners by teetering on the edge of greatness without actually getting there. I’m holding him. Trier and Dotson are both intriguing enough to be owned as well.
Celtics 111, Kings 109 – Gordon Hayward fizzled before hitting the game-winning shot in this one, finishing with 12 points, three boards and five assists in 29 minutes off the bench. I think he’s going to finish up strong for fantasy owners. Terry Rozier was very quiet and on the bench late in the game, but still came through with 16 points, six boards, two assists, two steals and four 3-pointers in a start for Kyrie Irving (thigh). Rozier’s a must-start player any time Kyrie is out, but I don’t think his injury is serious, as this was a back-to-back situation. Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford were all solid, and Marcus Smart had five assists, five steals and a 3-pointer in the start. Irving should be back for the next one, making Rozier and Smart shaky prospects the next time out.
For the Kings, Harrison Barnes led the way with 24 points, eight boards and four triples, and has come into his own after a slow start in Sacramento. Buddy Hield had 23 points, four triples and a full stat line, Willie Cauley-Stein was awesome with 19 points, seven boards, three assists and two steals, and De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic both came through with solid stat lines. All the starters are worth owning right now. Nemanja Bjelica played 30 minutes off the bench, but scored just five points. He also had five boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but he’s not trustworthy, even with Marvin Bagley (knee) out. Harry Giles played 21 minutes, but had just six points, four boards, two assists and a block, and neither big man has done anything consistently enough to be relied upon in fantasy lately. Just keep both of them on your radar as long as Bagley is out.