Basketball Daily Dose

Joel Embiid dominates Knicks, Luka Doncic leads big comeback effort

by Noah Rubin
Updated On: February 28, 2022, 11:31 am ET

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This eight-game Sunday started off with Joel Embiid and James Harden showing just how dominant they can be and ended with LeBron James and the Lakers getting ran out of their own building by former Laker Brandon Ingram and his Pelicans. In between that, we had upsets, blowouts, a comeback, and a buzzer-beater. Stars dominated this day, with incredible performances from Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and... Oshae Brissett? Let's break it down!

76ers 125, Knicks 109

Joel Embiid kicked off the Sunday slate by shooting 27 of the combined 79 free throws that were shot in this game, hitting 23 of them. According to StatMuse, Embiid is averaging 0.353 free throw attempts per minute, which has him on track to break Wilt Chamberlain’s record of .351 free throw attempts per minute, which he set during the 1961-62 season. Amazingly enough, last season Embiid averaged 0.346 free throw attempts per minute, which is the next best behind Wilt’s number. His 23 makes from the line fell one shy of tying the team record of 24 free throws, which is held by both Willie Burton and Allen Iverson. James Harden got his first triple-double as a 76er, finishing with a line of 29/10/16/5. Marc J. Spears reported that Harden joined Chris Paul as the only players with two games of at least 25 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, and five steals. He’s playing like a player with renewed energy, which should bode well for fantasy managers. Tyrese Maxey has been excellent playing next to Harden. He’s getting easy looks and averaging 24.5 points while shooting 20-of-30 from the floor and 5-of-8 from deep. Tobias Harris struggled again, but scored a few times in the fourth to make his numbers a little more respectable. We’ll see if he can adjust to getting the fourth most shots on the team. Matisse Thybulle has also been an improved player next to Harden, as he’s averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and three steals per game over the past two games. 

RJ Barrett followed up his career-best 46-point performance with a 24/5/6/2 line. Barrett has been on fire this month, averaging 29.2 points per game in February. He even chipped in two steals, which wasn’t something to get used to. Evan Fournier scored 24 points on six triples. He’s now hit at least three 3-pointers in 12 of the past 13 games. Mitchell Robinson didn’t do much before fouling out. Jericho Sims was the first big off the bench, collecting 10 rebounds before fouling out. It was a common theme among those guarding Embiid. Nerlens Noel wasn’t on the injury report, but hasn’t played the past two games because he’s apparently still dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Sims should be the backup as long as Noel is hurt. Julius Randle struggled again with his shot, and he’s now shot 6-of-28 from the floor since the All-Star break ended. However, he’s found ways to contribute in other categories. He added 10 rebounds and seven assists in this game. Immanuel Quickley is the sole point guard coming off the bench for the Knicks, with Derrick Rose sidelined a bit longer and Kemba Walker shut down for the season. Quickley scored 21 points in 26 minutes. He doesn’t contribute many assists, but he’s the main source of offense off the bench.

Jazz 118, Suns 114

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring as they knocked off the Suns, finishing with 26 points, five assists, and six triples. Mitchell has been on fire from deep lately, hitting 23 treys over his past four games. Rudy Gobert did his thing, finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. He was one of three Jazz players to shoot exactly 5-of-13 from the floor, which is not the field goal percentage you expect from him. Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic were the other two to shoot 5-of-13, as Conley finished with a 13/2/3/1/1 line, while Bogdanovic scored 11 points. Jordan Clarkson and the bench unit were the main reason that they were able to win this game. The five starters had a negative +/-, while the five players that came off the bench had a positive +/-. Clarkson scored 22 points with five boards, three dimes, and two steals. Hassan Whiteside chipped in eight points, eight rebounds, a steal, and a block in 19 minutes. His value is obviously limited by playing behind Gobert, but he becomes an elite streaming option every time Gobert is out of the lineup. Rudy Gay returned to the lineup after not playing since February 4th, finishing with a 3/1/2 line in 13 minutes. Eric Paschall was a DNP- Coach’s Decision with Gay back in the rotation.

Devin Booker has truly taken over point guard duties with Chris Paul out of the lineup. He finished with a 30/7/7 line with two steals and four triples. He's now averaging eight assists in the three games since the All-Star break. With CP3 sidelined until after the fantasy playoffs, fantasy managers should get a nice boost in the dimes category from Book. Deandre Ayton is averaging 10.1 rebounds per game this season, but is only averaging 6.7 boards over the last three games, all without CP3. He’s been excellent from the floor, and the rebounding numbers aren’t likely a direct correlation to Paul not being on the floor, but it is a tad concerning. Cameron Johnson has been the starter with Paul sidelined, and he finished with a 23/4/5 line with four triples in this game. Johnson has been an 8th round value this year, including a 3rd round value since the break, yet is still only rostered in 56% of Yahoo! leagues. Jae Crowder finished with 16 points, four triples, two steals, and just one turnover. But, oh was that one turnover costly. JaVale McGee played 14 minutes off the bench, finishing with seven boards and three blocks. Aaron Holiday returned to the rotation, finishing with five points, three assists, and a steal.

Pacers 128, Celtics 107

Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers scored 128 points on the Celtics, which is the most they’ve allowed since December 3rd. Haliburton has been a playmaking beast since heading to Indiana, averaging a line of 19.8/4.3/10.7/2 in his six games as a Pacer. He finished with a 22/4/9/1/1 line with four triples. Oshae Brissett went off, scoring 27 points with a career-best six triples. Brissett may have led everyone in the game in scoring, but he was one of four Pacers to score 20+. Buddy Hield and Malcolm Brogdon scored 21 and 20 points a piece. Hield added six boards, four assists, and two steals, while Brogdon chipped in six rebounds, five dimes, two steals, and a block. Chris Duarte, the fourth of their group of star guards, finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals in his return to the lineup. He last played on February 13th before injuring his toe. Isaiah Jackson got another start, finishing with 11 points, four boards, and three blocks in 20 minutes. Jalen Smith finished with a 12/10 double-double off the bench. The success of Jackson and Smith seems to have written Goga Bitadze out of the rotation, as he finished with two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

The Celtics really missed Al Horford in this game. Horford was supposed to have his minutes limited on the second night of a back-to-back, which eventually turned into him sitting out the entire game. He’s provided 5th round value this season and been a critical piece to the Celtics’ defensive success. Jaylen Brown scored 23 points while dropping eight dimes. This was an efficient game for Brown, as he shot 10-of-16 from the floor and only turned the ball over twice. Jayson Tatum, however, struggled with his shot. He scored 24 points, but shot 7-of-22 from the floor, including 2-of-12 from deep. He was due for an off night considering how well he’s played, but he should have no problem bouncing back. Robert Williams got back to his double-double ways after falling short in their previous game. The Time Lord finished with 10 points, 11 boards, four blocks, and a steal. Grant Williams started in place of Horford, but didn’t really add much aside from a steal and a block. He’s generally dependent on triples to provide value, so when he’s missing, he’s not a viable option. Marcus Smart finished with 13 points and seven assists. Derrick White struggled in their last game, but bounced back and finished with 11 points, a steal, and three blocks. Payton Pritchard played 17 minutes off the bench, finishing with a 14/6/2 line with four triples. He’s really benefited from Boston trading away Dennis Schroder.

Pistons 127 , Hornets 126

Kelly Olynyk has really struggled since returning from his long term absence, but he put all of that behind him in this one. He finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, two steals, four triples, and hit his first career game-winner in overtime. Olynyk saw some extra minutes, partially due to Marvin Bagley being sidelined. We’ll see how the rotation looks when both are healthy. Saddiq Bey led the Pistons in scoring with 28 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. He had struggled in his first two post All-Star games, so it was nice to see him snap out of his slump. Much like Bey, Jerami Grant had also struggled out of the break, but he turned that around with a 26/4/2/1/1 line in this game. Cade Cunningham continued to struggle with fouls, as he was limited to around nine minutes of playing time in the first half due to three early fouls. He responded well, finishing with only four fouls in 33 minutes of playing time and a 19/5/6 line. Isaiah Stewart put up a 7/11/2/1/2 line in 29 minutes. Hamidou Diallo bounced back after a poor performance in their last game, finishing with a 13/6/3 line with three steals. Killian Hayes had a solid all-around game, finishing with a 6/7/7 line. His streak of games with a block ends at two, while his streak of games without hitting a triple was extended to five. Isaiah Livers scored his first NBA points in his second NBA game, finishing with six points on two triples. As for the last time the Pistons beat Charlotte, this was the starting lineup. That’s pretty amazing.

Terry Rozier was feasting in this game. He finished with 33/5/2/2 line with six triples. After a stinker right before the All-Star break, Rozier has turned in two excellent games in a row. Miles Bridges also had a very nice game, putting up a line of 29/10/5/1/3. Unfortunately for the Hornets, LaMelo Ball really struggled to put the ball in the basket. He still managed a 17/7/7/1/2 line, but he shot 6-of-24 from the floor. Yikes. P.J. Washington finished with 10 points, six rebounds, one steal, and one block. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 1.8 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. Kelly Oubre added 15 points and three triples. Cody Martin was originally listed as doubtful for this game, but ended up playing and finished with 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting with three steals. Montrezl Harrell had his worst game since joining the team, finishing with just two points, four boards, and four assists. 

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Clippers 99, Rockets 98

Ivica Zubac had a monster night in this game, finishing with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks, the last of which came on this game-saving play. He fell one rebound shy of tying his career-high, but he did set his career-high for blocks. Reggie Jackson finished with a 26/9/6 line. He’s really stepped up his playmaking lately, as he’s averaging 8.4 assists per game over his last seven outings. Marcus Morris scored 13 points with two triples after not hitting one last game. Terance Mann put up a 9/8/2/2/1 line, and has now recorded at least one steal in nine straight games. Isaiah Hartenstein only played 10 minutes because of foul trouble, but he still scored 12 points and blocked two shots. Robert Covington also blocked two shots, which gives him two straight games with at least two blocks. Luke Kennard, a finalist in the 3-point shootout, shot 1-of-7 from deep.

Dennis Schroder got the start in place of the injured Kevin Porter Jr. and made the most of his opportunity. He nearly triple-doubled with an 11/8/10 line, though he did shoot 4-of-15 from the floor. Christian Wood had a pretty quiet game, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jae'Sean Tate put together a very solid game, posting a line of 14/6/4 with four steals. Over the past two weeks, he’s been the best fantasy asset in Houston, providing 5th round value. After a solid game last time out, Jalen Green really struggled from the floor, shooting 4-of-18, including 2-of-10 from deep. He does have six steals in his two games since the break, which would really add to his value if he can keep that up. Garrison Mathews paced the bench unit with 17 points on four triples with two steals. That’s back to back games for him with two swipes. Alperen Sengun scored 15 points in 16 minutes off the bench. He didn’t add much else for fantasy GMs, but it was nice to see him getting back on the board. Kenyon Martin Jr. added a 10/2/2 line off the bench.

Mavericks 107, Warriors 101

What a comeback it was for Dallas. They trailed 91-74 early in the fourth, before going on a 26-3 run to take a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. A big reason for that was the play of Spencer Dinwiddie, who played his best game since joining the team. He finished with a 24/4/5 line on 10-of-14 shooting. And of course, Luka Doncic also played a big part in the win. He finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, and a block. He doesn’t usually contribute a ton of defensive stats, so they’re always a nice bonus. However, the two assists along with the nine turnovers are not what you’d like to see from him. The assists are actually a season-low, while the turnovers tie his season-high. Dorian Finney-Smith put together a nice 14/9/2 line with a block. Reggie Bullock hit four triples and had two blocks. He’s been 3-point dependent, so the blocks are an added bonus. He’s averaging four treys per game this month. Jalen Brunson struggled with only eight points and five assists in 32 minutes. Maxi Kleber, who was on fire right before the break, has really struggled post All-Star, scoring a total of five points in two games. He’s still been able to produce the defensive stats, collecting three steals and three blocks in the past two games.

The Warriors may have lost the game, but this pregame shootaround performance from Stephen Curry proved he’s not human. He finished with a line of 27/4/10 with two steals. He tied Chris Mullin as the all-time steals leader in team history with 1,360. It shouldn’t be much longer until he puts his name next to yet another record. Kevon Looney finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The assists tied his season-high. Andrew Wiggins finished with 18 points, two triples, and two steals before fouling out. Gary Payton II got another start, finishing with 13 points and three steals. He’s swiped 11 steals over his past three games. Moses Moody got the start in place of the ill Klay Thompson, but only finished with five points and five rebounds. Jordan Poole is usually the starter when Thompson is out, so maybe not getting the start threw him off. He shot 0-for-7 from the floor in this game. The good news for the Warriors is that Draymond Green returned to practice, so hopefully he’ll be back out there in a few weeks.

Nuggets 124, Trail Blazers 92

The last two games of the night were both blow outs, which threw some players’ numbers off. For example: Nikola Jokic. The Joker finished with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting to go along with 18 rebounds and 11 assists in 26 minutes. Yeah, it was that type of blowout. So, he was making these kinds of passes. Aaron Gordon chipped in 14 points, while Jeff Green put up a 14/3/1/2/1 line. Monte Morris and Will Barton both didn’t do much, but it didn’t matter because the score was so lopsided. However, the bench guys put up numbers. DeMarcus Cousins had a 19/8/6/1/1 line as Denver moved to 10-0 in games that Cousins plays. JaMychal Green had a 20/10 double-double with two steals and a block. That ties his season-high for points, while he set his season-high for rebounds. Bryn Forbes scored 17 points on five triples, while Facundo Campazzo added a 4/7/3/1/2 line. Despite standing just 5’10”, this was actually the fourth time this year that Campazzo has blocked two shots in the same game.

This was an ugly, ugly game for Portland. Anfernee Simons scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Josh Hart had an 11/6/4 line with two steals. Drew Eubanks got another start with Jusuf Nurkic sidelined, finishing with a 13/10 double-double. CJ Elleby had three steals and two blocks, which shouldn’t be something that fantasy GMs should start relying on. Keon Johnson got his first start in the NBA and made the most of it with this dunk. However, he finished with four points on 2-of-10 shooting to go with four rebounds and two steals. Brandon Williams added 12 points and a team-high seven assists off the bench.

Pelicans 123, Lakers 95

Every starter for New Orleans finished with at least two steals and had a +/- of 20 or more. C.J. McCollum led the way for the Pelicans with a 22/5/8/3 line with four triples. Over the last six games, McCollum has averaged 30.2/5.7/5.7 with 1.7 steals and 3.5 triples while shooting 57% from the floor and 48.8% from deep. He’s providing first round value over that stretch. Brandon Ingram added in 19/5/8 with two steals. Jonas Valanciunas put up a 19/10 double-double with two steals. Herb Jones collected three steals for the second straight game, while adding in 11 points and six rebounds. Jaxson Hayes nearly double-doubled with 11 points and nine boards while adding in two steals and a block. The twin towers lineup of JV and Hayes has worked wonders for them, as they’re now 2-1 since making the change that sent Devonte' Graham to the bench. Graham has thrived in his new role. After not fitting well next to McCollum as a starter, Graham has averaged 11.7 points and two triples over the past three games.

LeBron James did all he could do. He finished with a line of 32/6/3/2/2 with seven turnovers. But when he has to play with guys making passes like this, there’s not much he can do. Hopefully you’re not relying on any other Lakers to help you in the fantasy playoffs. Russell Westbrook got a late assist, which prevented him from finishing without one along with 15 points, six rebounds, and seven turnovers. Carmelo Anthony added 13 points off the bench. Malik Monk went scoreless, and he’s now 0-for-6 from deep since the break. However, he did have this insane defensive play. Austin Reaves scored a late lay-up to give him his only stat in 21 minutes. It’s very disappointing that he ended up getting that bucket, especially when you remember that Tony Snell was on the opposing team.

Noah Rubin

Noah is a recent college grad who loves all things basketball. You can find him on Twitter @NoahRubin22 for NBA insights that hopefully aren’t too biased towards his Atlanta Hawks.