Tuesday’s seven-game slate is the third to last day of NBA games before the All-Star break, but it barely slows down as there will be 11 games on Wednesday and five on Thursday. Six teams (Hawks, Celtics, Pacers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves and Suns) both have Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back sets, so keep an eye on the potential injures as there should be no shortage of streamable options on a busy Wednesday in particular.
Hawks 124, Cavaliers 116
If this became a playoff matchup, I don’t think anyone would mind. This was a fun one and Trae Young went bonkers in the victory with 41 points on 13-of-22 shooting (11-of-13 FTs) along with three rebounds, nine assists, one steal, four triples and four turnovers in 35 minutes. Young has scored at least 30 points in three of his last four and has scored at least 40 points in two February games, and he’s been cookin’ and is justifying his lofty ADP nicely. John Collins (right foot sprain) is out at least until the All-Star break, and while Danilo Gallinari completely flopped on Sunday, he came to life with an efficient 25 points with three rebounds, one assist, one steal, three treys and one turnover in 32 minutes of a start and will be worth deploying basically everywhere until Collins is cleared to play. De’Andre Hunter’s surrounding stats weren’t all that exciting as he only grabbed two boards and stole the ball once, but his offense was going with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting with a pair of triples in 35 minutes, and his fantasy game isn’t great but he’s fine as a deep-league asset. Clint Capela’s minutes (31) nearly doubled reserve Onyeka Okongwu’s (16) but Capela was pretty miserable for a 5/7/3 line with a pair of blocks, while Okongwu scored eight points with three boards and a block. Capela is just a 12th-rounder on a per-game basis over the past month and it could be no time before the Hawks move away from him and unleash Okongwu, which would be a lot of fun, but Capela has far too much upside to cut. Kevin Huerter hit half of his eight shots and three triples for a 13/2/3/1/1 line with no turnovers and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored just 10 points but did so efficiently and had a nice line including seven rebounds, three assists, four steals, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 29 reserve minutes.
Cleveland has lost their last two contests (their first two-game skid since late-December) and they’ve looked a bit tired, so the break should help with that. Who else but Darius Garland led with 30 points (12-of-22 FGs), two boards, eight dimes, one steal, one block, four 3-pointers and four turnovers in a team-high 35 minutes, and he’s averaging 28.0 points on 58.3% from the field in his last three games. He’s such a stud, and I can’t imagine how excited he must be to play in his first All-Star game on Sunday, and in his hometown, too. Evan Mobley was phenomenal as well with an efficient and full 22/10/4/4/1 line with just two turnovers, while other big man Jarrett Allen wasn’t as elite but barely missed as usual for his 14/7/4 effort with a swat and three giveaways in 33 minutes. This duo coexisting has been a lovely sight, and veteran Kevin Love being able to exist with them has made it even better. Love scored 21 points off the bench on 7-of-17 shooting while also adding seven rebounds, two assists and five more 3-pointers in 26 minutes, and with his eighth point on Tuesday, he became the fourth player in NBA history to reach 14,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 1,400 three-pointers, joining Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James to reach such numbers. Plus, he’s been a surprisingly useful fantasy option, so it can’t get much better for Love this season on a surging Cavs team. Caris LeVert was very quiet with nine points, two assists and a triple in 29 reserve minutes, but he fits just fine with this team and I’m not too worried about him.
Mavericks 107, Heat 99
Despite Luka Doncic shooting just 5-of-19 from the floor, Dallas still did a great job with a Heat team that came in as winners of five straight and got help from a ton of guys. Luka still posted a 26/10/6 line with a block, two triples and three turnovers, but you probably remember that this is the same guy who combined for 96 points in his last two games, so he was kind of due for this. Maxi Kleber was fantastic off the pine with a season-high 19 points (5-of-10 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs) to go along with six rebounds, one steal, five blocks, three 3-pointers and just one turnover in 35 minutes. The departure of Kristaps Porzingis is only going to benefit him, and while he’s really only been good for some rebounds and defensive stats sprinkled in, he has a shot to have a strong finish to the season if he can get some offense going. Jalen Brunson went 6-of-14 from the floor for his 19/4/6 line with two steals and has been so reliable in a career year, and Dorian Finney-Smith was fine with 14 points, five boards, one block and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Davis Bertans played 13 minutes in his Mavs debut and looked really good out there with 12 points, three boards and three triples, and he won’t be worth rostering if this is how many minutes he’ll actually get each night, but maybe he gets some run over Dwight Powell (7/3/3 with a steal in 26 minutes) at some point. Josh Green got his first start of the season and the sixth of his career but only had a 8/4/3 line with two treys in 20 minutes, but he can be ignored with Reggie Bullock (left hip) likely not too far from playing again.
Like I mentioned, the Heat were hot coming in and this loss ended a five-game winning streak, and they’re now exactly tied with the Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference at 37-21. Jimmy Butler posted a big 29-point, 10-rebound double-double on 8-of-18 from the field and 13-of-14 from the line, and while he didn’t get you any defensive stats, that’s rare and that free throw mark is going to seriously inflate that category for your fantasy team this week, as it usually does. Bam Adebayo joined in on the double-double party with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three dimes and two blocks in 33 minutes, and Kyle Lowry started off pretty hot but ended with a semi-quiet 13/4/4 evening with a steal and two triples in 38 minutes. The important thing for Lowry is that he’s finally healthy again and he had a triple-double just two games ago, so he’ll be fine. The final notable Heat contributor was Omer Yurtseven, who got some extra run with Dewayne Dedmon (back) inactive, and Yurt had some fun with 11 points, eight rebounds and one assist in just 15 minutes. He scored eight points in his four first-quarter minutes, and while this was encouraging, he can’t be trusted anymore with Bam playing big minutes like he has been. Remember when Omer Yurtseven had a three-week stretch of fifth-round value when Bam and Dedmon were both injured amidst the calendar turning? Does that seem like a lifetime ago or is it just me?
Celtics 135, 76ers 87
For those of you who are only able to watch nationally televised games, I’m sorry that this was one of them. It was an equal combination of the Celtics looking really good and the 76ers looking really awful, but despite the convincing win, the Celtics are probably more worried about the status of Marcus Smart than anything, who injured his right ankle in the second quarter of the game and didn’t return. Smart was driving to the hoop and stepped on Joel Embiid’s foot and was clearly in some pain, and he scored just seven points with an assist in 13 minutes before being ruled out. The Celtics play tomorrow, and the chances of Smart playing in that one are about as close to zero as possible without actually being zero, so hopefully he makes a full recovery so he’s ready post-All-Star break. This was an NBA-best ninth time that the Celtics held an opponent under 90 points this season, and they’re 9-0 in those, so their commitment to the defensive end of the ball (where Smart truly excels) has worked wonders for them. Jaylen Brown (29 points, eight rebounds, three assists, five triples) and Jayson Tatum (28/12/6 with two blocks and four treys) were both phenomenal in the blowout, and fun fact, this is the third time in the last 11 games that Brown and Tatum have either been tied or beating the other team by themselves at halftime (tied at 42 on Tuesday). To answer a widely asked and lingering question from a while ago, yes, I believe that they can coexist. Roto-legend Robert Williams (calf) didn’t play, but Al Horford didn’t get any extra opportunity because of that as he played just 20 minutes for six points, nine boards, two dimes and two triples, but there was understandably a lot of weird stuff going on in this box score. Derrick White looked pretty good again with a 11/1/2/1/1 showing in 28 minutes off the bench and could be better if Smart has to miss time, and Aaron Nesmith caught fire for a career-high 18 points with three boards, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 23 minutes, but check the score one more time before considering him for your team. Daniel Theis even made some noise in his second Celtics debut with five points, nine rebounds, two assists, four blocks and a triple for good measure in 29 minutes, but Time Lord is too good to allow Theis to be relevant.
James Harden is still battling a hammy injury and isn’t ready to debut yet, so that may explain some of this, but a 48-point loss is still pretty inexcusable. Boston’s tenacious defense caused Joel Embiid to finally look human in this one, and his streak of games with 25+ points will end at 23 as of Tuesday evening. Embiid posted a 19/9/6 line with a block on just 3-of-9 shooting, but his 13-of-16 mark from the free throw line (where he basically resides) helped his line look not all bad. There’s not much else to report on the 76ers’ side as Tyrese Maxey (11 points on 3-of-11 shooting) was the only other double-digit scorer, and while Paul Millsap did look pretty good in his 76ers debut with nine points in nine minutes, he’s miles from my watch-list. Things don’t get easier for Philly as they face the Bucks on Thursday for their last game before the break, but it can’t be worse than this (right?).
Timberwolves 126, Hornets 120 (OT)
First things first, Anthony Edwards suffered a right ankle sprain at the very end of the first half, and while he was on the bench with his teammates for the second half, he was ultimately ruled out. Ant-Man finished with a 9/4/1/1/1 line in 18 minutes, and with the Timberwolves playing their second game in as many days on Wednesday, there’s a chance he plays it safe and rests. Jaden McDaniels started the second half for Edwards and had a huge 18/6/3/4/2 line, and he’ll be worth a look if Edwards can’t play on Wednesday. Karl-Anthony Towns was a man amongst boys in the overtime victory, going nuts for 39 points (12-of-26 FGs, 11-of-13 FTs), 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, four 3-pointers and three turnovers in a team-high 41 minutes, and he looked about as good as ever in the fourth quarter and overtime and took full reins of his team. Fresh off of a contract extension, Patrick Beverley had a helpful 15/7/4/3/2 line with two turnovers before fouling out, but he hit just one of his eight 3-pointers (made all four from two-point range, though). Jarred Vanderbilt has quieted down considerably but tallied his first double-double since January 25 with 10 points, 14 rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes, and while this wasn’t an otherworldly performance by the big man, at least it’s a step in the right direction. D’Angelo Russell’s 18-point, 11-assist double-double looks good until you see his 5-of-20 shooting mark (and 4-of-7 mark from the line, for that matter) and he didn’t have any steals or blocks, but at least he added four rebounds and four treys in his 37 minutes. Malik Beasley could have a nice game if Edwards can’t suit up for the next one, but he didn’t even score in his 14 minutes on Tuesday and McDaniels is the better target for fantasy purposes.
Despite the loss, Charlotte was still full of fantasy goodies as James Borrego ran a tight eight-man rotation, so while the Hornets lost their second straight (and eighth in nine games), fantasy managers who deployed them are mostly happy. Miles Bridges went insane for a 28/13/7 line with a block and three triples, but he did convert on just 9-of-21 field goals and 7-of-10 freebies, so it wasn’t perfect but he’s still awesome. LaMelo Ball struggled even more that Bridges from the field with a 8-of-22 shooting clip but also filled it up with a 22/9/6/1/1 effort with three triples in his 41 minutes, and fellow guard Terry Rozier joined on the shooting struggles with 25 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Rozier’s surrounding stats returned to normalcy with only a board, five assists, a block and a triple in 41 minutes, but he combined for 20 each in the rebounds and assists departments in his last two, one of which was a triple-double, so we can expect somewhere in the middle of those two sides of the spectrum for Scary Terry going forward. Speaking of triple-doubles, Mason Plumlee darn near notched the third of his career with 14 points, 17 rebounds and a season-high nine dimes in 36 minutes, but besides his rebounding and decent dimes from the center position, he’s rarely this fun. Montrezl Harrell looked just fine despite Plumlee’s outburst and tallied a 12/7/2/1/2 line in 34 minutes off the bench, and I’d still choose him over Plumlee of course. P.J. Washington scored just three points in 33 minutes as a starter but did add eight rebounds, four steals, one block, one triple and zero turnovers, so it wasn’t a total loss, and Kelly Oubre’s three steals were the most exciting part of his 11-point night on 4-of-13 shooting in a 25-minute reserve role.
Bucks 128, Pacers 119
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Monday’s ugly loss to the Trail Blazers and was probable coming in with left ankle soreness, but you sure couldn’t tell. The Greek Freak went berserk for a season-high 50 points (first 50-burger since the 2021 Finals), adding 14 rebounds, four assists, two triples and three turnovers in 36 minutes. Giannis shot 17-of-21 from the field and 14-of-18 from the line, and it’s insane how efficient he is but he’s a two-time MVP for a reason. Khris Middleton (19/2/8 with a steal and one 3-pointer) and Jrue Holiday (14/3/8 also with a steal and a triple) both shot at least 50% from the floor, and it goes without saying that their counting stats won’t be as inflated when Giannis is active, but they didn’t really hurt you at all and they’re just fine. Bobby Portis shot just 3-of-14 from the floor for six points but still helped with 14 rebounds, two assists and three steals, and he’s been superb so he can get a pass. Grayson Allen wasn’t able to finish the game as he scored just three points in 16 minutes before exiting due to a left hip contusion, so Lindell Wigginton picked up the slack with a new career-high 12 points with two boards, one assist, one steal and three triples in 28 minutes. With Pat Connaughton (right hand surgery) and possibly Allen out of the lineup for Thursday’s game against the 76ers, Wiggington or Jordan Nwora (9/4/2 with a steal and a triple in 26 minutes) could be worth a dart throw in DFS, but that’s as far as their appeal goes. New Buck Serge Ibaka was immediately demoted to the bench with Giannis back in action, and while he did play 24 minutes, he went for just nine points, five boards, one dime and one 3-pointer and should just be monitored in case he starts to get it going (which I’m not confident in).
After hitting just 12-of-36 shots in his first two games as a member of the Pacers, Buddy Hield righted the ship with a 14-of-20 clip for a season-high 36 points with two rebounds, four assists, one steal and eight 3-pointers in a team-high 37 minutes, and as long as you expect some shaky shooting, Hield has a bit more upside in the peripheral stats and is always going to hit a ton of threes. Tyrese Haliburton hit half of his 12 shots for a nice 17/4/8 line with four steals and three triples, and he’s been so incredible that this doesn’t even stand out anymore. Keep rolling with Hali with as much confidence as possible. The big man situation turned into a mess again, and while it was Oshae Brissett who looked awesome in three straight games coming in, he flopped with just six points on 2-of-8 shooting in 27 minutes. Jalen Smith started his first game as a member of the Pacers and posted a 11/7/3 line in 17 foul-plagued minutes, and this may have been prettier had he not been so foul-happy, and Goga Bitadze came back to life with a 12/6/4 effort in 25 minutes of a start. Even Terry Taylor, who’s listed as a shooing guard but has played big for this team in the past, did well with 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 32 minutes off the pine, and this all happened with Isaiah Jackson (ankle) not suiting up, with his return making things even more complicated. It’s only been a few games for this new-look Pacers team, and we may have to wait until Jackson returns to get a clearer picture of what the move is, and we can’t forget about Myles Turner’s (foot) eventual return either. This could get messy, and I’m not confident to call any of those bigs must-roster options at this moment, but if Brissett turns it around soon, I’d probably prioritize him and Jackson, but it’s incredibly murky at the moment.
Grizzlies 121, Pelicans 109
Who needs Ja Morant (left ankle soreness) when you have Tyus Jones? I’m kidding, but Jones was fantastic in a spot start for King Ja as he accumulated a new career-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting along with one rebound, nine assists, one steal, three 3-pointers and two turnovers in 32 minutes. He’s not a standard-league asset by any means and has been quieter than usual lately, but if Morant plays it safe and sits out of Wednesday’s game against the Blazers, you know what to do. Jaren Jackson Jr. was excellent with a 23/7/2/1/1 line with three triples and no turnovers, and besides his 40% shooting (8-of-20 FGs), everything else was pretty perfect for the DPOY candidate. Steven Adams had his third straight double-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and one steal, and I’d call him Mason Plumlee-esque (but a little better) for his consistent rebounding and out-of-position dimes, but like Plumlee, the defensive stats not being there hurts. Desmond Bane quieted down with a 11/6/4 evening on 3-of-11 from the field with a steal and two triples, and Ziaire Williams didn’t do much in the box score but did a decent job on Brandon Ingram defensively and is going to be really good one day. Brandon Clarke continues to be under-appreciated as he went for 18 points (8-of-9 FGs), eight boards, one dime and two steals in 23 turnover-free minutes, and I will continue to bring up his low roster-ship (43% rostered in Yahoo! leagues as I type this) until people start putting some respect on one of the best backup big men in the league. De’Anthony Melton was fine with a 13/4/1/1/1 showing, and he could have played more minutes with Ja out but his stats and minutes both looked pretty standard for him.
C.J. McCollum excelled yet again and led his team with 30 points (12-of-25 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs), six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and no turnovers across 38 minutes of action, and he didn’t hit a three, but who cares. He’s adjusted to his new home in wonderful fashion, and I’m more worried about Brandon Ingram than C.J. Ingram was just fine with a 18/4/4 line on 8-of-18 shooting in 34 minutes, but he’s scored over 20 points just one time in four games played with McCollum. If anything, maybe you could call this a buy-low opportunity as your league’s trade deadline likely approaches given the Pelicans are actually competing for a play-in spot and will therefore continue to play their main guys. Jonas Valanciunas only grabbed four rebounds but scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (4-of-4 FTs) along with a dime and two blocks in 27 minutes, and Herb Jones was quiet with just eight points, four boards and a swipe but is still getting plenty of minutes and is in must-roster territory for the rest of the season. The Jaxson Hayes extravaganza looks like it’s going to continue for now, as he logged 29 minutes and hit all six of his shots for a 13/5/2/1/1 line with no turnovers, and if someone dropped him after two duds on February 10 and 12, go get him. Willy Hernangomez fared similarly to Hayes with 12 points (also didn’t miss), five rebounds and one steal in 18 minutes, but Hayes is the guy to target out of these two, and if you haven’t dropped Devonte’ Graham (4/1/3 in 23 minutes) yet, please do.
Suns 103, Clippers 96
Another day, another Suns win, and they’ve officially started another winning streak with six straight victories. They’re the most dangerous team in the league when they’re clicking, and they almost always are, so I would be afraid if I had a shot at playing them in the first round of the playoffs come mid-April. Devin Booker hit 11-of-19 shots for a nice 26/3/4/3/1 line with three triples and four turnovers in 36 minutes, and it’s the first time Book has had three steals in a game since mid-January, but he’s actually been helpful there this season with a career-high one swipe per game which only boosts his value. Chris Paul made half of his shots and both of his free throws for a 17/5/14 effort with a steal, a triple and three turnovers in 35 minutes, and he just doesn’t need analysis anymore, while Deandre Ayton posted a decent 12/12/1/1/1 line in his 30 minutes but had a rare off-night from the floor with a 6-of-16 shooting effort. Mikal Bridges nearly double-doubled himself with 19 points (8-of-14 FGs), nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and just one turnover in 33 minutes, and Cam Johnson scored just nine points in 21 minutes but is generally better than that to round out the top fantasy options in Phoenix.
The Clippers are coming off of a great win over the Warriors on Monday evening and kept this one close throughout, and they’ll need to keep winning games if they want to remain in play-in territory. Marcus Morris Sr. led the way with 23 points on a nice 10-of-17 shooting mark, adding four boards, one assist, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers to finalize a neat 9-cat effort. Nicolas Batum was really good for the second straight game with a 18/7/1/1/2 line with four triples and no turnovers to join Morris with the 9-cat fun, and both guys will remain two of the better wing options on the Clippers simply because they’re starting. Luke Kennard wasn’t bad with a 11/4/4 line with a steal and three triples in 24 minutes, while Robert Covington had his usual with a 6/8/2/3/1 showing. Ivica Zubac tallied a 12-point, 13-rebound night with five dimes and a block in 31 minutes, and Reggie Jackson missed all eight of his three-pointers and went 7-of-26 from the field overall for a 14/2/8 line with a pair of blocks and three giveaways, which is borderline unusable with that horrid of a shooting percentage on volume that’s about as high as can be. Terance Mann was coming in red-hot and pretty expectedly cooled off with just two points but at least had three boards, two steals and a block in his 32 minutes, and he’ll have nights like these but was playing well enough to hold onto for the time being. The plethora of wings in L.A. may make their fantasy values ever-changing, so you can either keep a close eye on them going forward or totally ignore it, with the latter being far less of a headache, of course.