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Basketball Daily Dose

Joel Embiid wrecks a shoulder on Wednesday

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: February 27, 2020, 12:08 pm ET

Joel Embiid got hurt again, Caris LeVert went off and I have no idea what the Jazz are doing with Mike Conley, Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale.

Cavaliers 108, Sixers 94 – Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 28 points, starter Tristan Thompson and bench player Larry Nance double-doubled, and Kevin Love had a nice game in an unlikely win over the Sixers. Sell Love if you can, as he’s going to eventually be shut down, and roll with Thompson and Nance, as Andre Drummond (out with a sore calf) could miss more games. Sexton is a great scorer but isn’t much of a point guard and Darius Garland’s 12 points and one assist didn’t raise any eyebrows. Kevin Porter Jr. stunk with five points, five boards, six assists and a block on 2-of-6 shooting, but at least played 27 minutes. Nance and KPJ are must-own players in my book. 

The Sixers’ box score was a dumpster fire on a night they lost Joel Embiid to a shoulder injury. Shake Milton led the way with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers, Furkan Korkmaz had 14 points and four triples off the bench, Alec Burks had 13 points off the bench and Tobias Harris had 11 points in another start. Embiid left early with a left shoulder strain and left the arena with his arm in a sling, which is not good. If he’s out, Al Horford, who had 10 points, five boards and five assists in a start, will become very relevant, but my guess is the Sixers will turn to a smaller lineup. For the record, I have a very bad feeling about Embiid’s injury. Milton looks like he’s going to roll for as long as Ben Simmons is out with his back injury. If he’s still sitting out there, pick him up. If Embiid’s injury is serious, Horford is the guy to own, while Josh Richardson (9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks 1 3-pointer) is also a guy to own with Simmons out indefinitely. Korkmaz has also played very well in three straight and is worth grabbing in all leagues.


Magic 130, Hawks 120 Aaron Gordon stayed hot against the Hawks with 25 points, 10 rebounds, six dimes, a steal, three blocks and three 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting. Maybe he should get dissed in more dunk contests going forward, as he’s been on a tear ever since. Oh wait, he recently said he’ll never compete in one again. That’s OK with me if he’s going to play like this. Dude is averaging 22.6 points, 10 boards, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.6 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games and might finally be showing us what he can do. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 28 points and a full stat line, Nikola Vucevic double-doubled and Mo Bamba had 15 points, 10 boards and four blocks off the bench in just 17 minutes. I don’t see any hot pickups here, but James Ennis started again and had 12 points, four boards and a 3-pointer, and is at least worth monitoring as a starter in Orlando. Bamba was great, but one look at his game log should scare you away. I like to call Bamba’s blowup the ‘Hawks effect.’

Trae Young, fighting off the flu, went off for 37 points, 11 assists and four ridiculously deep 3-pointers, John Collins scored 26 and Bruno Fernando had 10 points and nine boards in a start over Dewayne Dedmon. I’ve given up on Dedmon, who was out with an elbow injury, but he could easily come back and play well. Clint Capela is out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis and I’m not sure he’ll play again this season. Fernando and Dedmon are both worth monitoring, but I’m not feeling either of them as a must-own player. De’Andre Hunter missed all eight of his shots and scored just two points but had 11 rebounds and played 36 minutes. Hang in there with him. 

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Mavericks 109, Spurs 103 – Kristaps Porzingis (28 & 12, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 4 3-pointers) and Luka Doncic (26 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists, 1 steal, 3 3-pointers) played very well together on Wednesday and got a big win over the Spurs. Luka’s right ankle looked fine and he played well through a left-hand injury he suffered during the game. They should both be good to go and I get the sense that KP is going to finish in a flurry. Tim Hardaway added 17 points and three 3-pointers and Dorian Finney-Smith had 14 points, four rebounds, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers in a start. Hardaway’s worth owning, but I’m not sold on DFS, who had scored in single digits in his previous five games. Luka had his 13th triple-double of the season and the 21st of his career, tying him with Jason Kidd for the Dallas franchise record. 

With LaMarcus Aldridge sitting out with a right shoulder injury, DeMar DeRozan went off with 27 points, eight boards, nine assists and a steal on 9-of-15 shooting. Dejounte Murray struggled again with eight points, eight boards, two assists and a block on 3-of-13 shooting, and the rest of the Spurs’ box score was a disaster. The Spurs are still 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed, but sit behind the Pelicans and Blazers, tied with the Kings and are just 1.0 games ahead of the Suns. They’re not going to make the playoffs and Aldridge and DeRozan scare me as shutdown candidates. I still think Murray’s a great option to pick up right now if he was dropped in your league. Lonnie Walker started in place of Aldridge and had 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, three blocks and two 3-pointers and is worth a look in deep leagues. He could become a beast if the Spurs finally fall out of the way of the playoff race. 

Hornets 107, Knicks 101 – All five Hornets starters (P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Bismack Biyombo, Terry Rozier and Devontae Graham) scored in double figures last night and while none of them double-doubled, PJW and Biyombo filled up the stat sheet, and Rozier led the way with 26 and Graham, who bounced back from a slump, scored 21 points. If you’re playing DFS, be careful, as the Hornets have two guys named C. Martin. Cody played 25 minutes and had nine points and nine rebounds, while Caleb had five points and two rebounds in just 14 minutes. Cody’s the one you want to take a flier on in DFS, especially with Malik Monk out indefinitely with due to a drug suspension Biyombo started over Cody Zeller, but the Hornets may mix-and-match centers going forward, making Biyombo tough to trust. 

The Knicks got good games out of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Allonzo Trier (don’t pick him up yet), but the news was that Elfrid Payton returned from his ankle injury and had six points and nine assists in 27 minutes, and Mitchell Robinson went nuts with 12 points, a season-high 16 rebounds, two assists, a steal and three blocks in 30 minutes while committing just one foul. He’s played 26 and 30 minutes in his last two games and the fantasy gods might finally be listening to me. I hope that Robinson goes crazy over the next six weeks and if he does, I won’t be at all surprised. And if Payton’s on your waiver wire, go get him. The Knicks have lost five straight, to no one’s surprise.

Wizards 110, Nets 106 – Bradley Beal didn’t score 50 points for once and the Wizards actually won a game. Beal had a 30-5-5 line with three steals and four 3-pointers, Rui Hachimura added 17 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers and Davis Bertans had 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, a steal and four 3-pointers, finishing as the only Wizards to score in double digits in the unlikely win. This team is a fantasy nightmare outside of Beal, while Hachimura, Shabazz Napier (9 points, 5 assists, 4-of-15 shooting in a start), and Bertans are the only ones I trust. Thomas Bryant played 15 minutes off the bench for eight points and seven rebounds, but I feel like he’s fading fast. And Ish Smith moved to the bench and hit 2-of-9 shots for five points and five assists in 23 minutes. I’d easily rather own Napier. Beal has scored 25 or more in 16 straight games. 

Caris LeVert went nuts with 34 points, six boards, seven assists, four steals and five 3-pointers in the loss, while Taurean Prince, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan were the only other Nets in double figures. Jordan had 16 points and 16 boards off the bench in 30 minutes but benefitted from the fact that Jarrett Allen fouled out with five points and eight rebounds. LeVert is going to finish the season on a high note after a rough start to the season. And keep your eye on Garrett Temple, who played 34 minutes, but hit just 3-of-12 shots for eight points and two assists. I like Temple’s minutes going forward, but he didn’t have it going tonight.  

Timberwolves 129, Heat 126 – D’Angelo Russell led the way a 17-5-6-3-1-7 line, Malik Beasley added a 21-6-5-2 line with three 3-pointers, Juancho Hernangomez tied his season high with 17 points, five boards and three 3-pointers, and James Johnson, Kelan Martin and Jordan McLaughlin all scored in double figures in the win. Russell’s line was awesome, Beasley was great, and Johnson filled the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks, while starter Naz Reid added nine points, a steal and a block in the rare win. I don’t know if Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) will play again this season, but I do know that Beasley, Hernangomez and Johnson all look like must-own players. I love Reid’s game, but he’s not a must-own player as long as JJ is going off. Martin and McLaughlin are simply worth monitoring going forward. 

The Heat have lost three of their last four games and something isn’t right, as those three losses have come to the Wolves, Cavaliers and Hawks. They were up 12 with 3:59 left in this game, but still managed to fall to one of the league’s worst teams. Bam Adebayo is fine and flirted with another triple-double, Kendrick Nunn is heating up and had 24 points and six assists, Jimmy Butler had 18 points and nine assists, and Kelly Olynyk had 11 points, eight boards, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in just 16 minutes! Jae Crowder had five points, nine boards, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 2-of-9 shooting, Derrick Jones Jr. scored 14 and Goran Dragic had 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the loss. Bam and Jimmy are must-own players, Nunn should be picked up everywhere, and Olynyk, Crowder, DJJ and Dragic are all worth owning in many leagues. The Heat need to get back on the move, as their losing ways are jeopardizing their first-round home-court advantage. They’re only 0.5 games up on the No. 5 Sixers and the No. 6 Pacers are just 2.0 games back. 

Rockets 140, Grizzlies 112 – Russell Westbrook led the way with a 33-9-8-4 line on 15-of-24 shooting and James Harden had 30 points and seven 3-pointers in the win. PJ. Tucker and Robert Covington played well, while Danuel House didn’t do much of anything on Wednesday. I still like House, despite his four-point game. Austin Rivers caught fire off the bench with Eric Gordon (knee) sitting and had 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Looks like a fluke to me. Jeff Green had 11 points, five boards, four assists and three 3-pointers in 23 minutes and has played well in three of his last four games in Houston, so just keep an eye on him. If Gordon misses more time, Rivers is worth a DFS look. 

The Grizzlies are reeling and were run out of the building tonight. Ja Morant bounced back with 12 points and nine assists, while Dillon Brooks broke out of his funk with 22 points and four 3-pointers. Jonas Valanciunas had a 16 & 10 double-double, but only Gorgui Dieng joined the double-digit scoring crew from the bench with 10 points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in just 19 minutes. I still like Dieng as a pickup and I have no idea why his minutes were so low. Kyle Anderson started again and scored just seven points, but also had seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in the loss. He’s worth a look. The Grizzlies have lost four straight and now sit just 2.5 games ahead of the Blazers, 3.0 games ahead of the Pelicans and 3.5 games ahead of the Kings for the No. 8 seed in the West. The Grizzlies, who are without Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, are not going to make the playoffs. De'Anthony Melton had a 9-7-3-1 line in a start and is worth a look in all leagues right now, but I'd rather grab Dieng, despite his 19 minutes. 

Clippers 102, Suns 92 – Kawhi Leonard had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Marcus Morris came through with 18 points and four triples, Pat Beverley and Paul George (4-of-13 shooting) scored 11, and Reggie Jackson scored 12 off the bench in just 16 minutes. Morris won’t be this good on most nights, while George is probably about ready to get it going. Montrezl Harrell was quiet tonight but will be fine. 

The Suns were without Kelly Oubre (knee) and I’m a little concerned about his injury, which the Suns aren’t talking about. Deandre Ayton went off with 25 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks, Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker double-doubled and Cam Johnson had 11 points and three triples off the bench. If Oubre misses time, I like Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to fill in for him, making them both worth a look. I’m worried about Oubre and think he could miss multiple games going forward. Hopefully Ayton’s ready to finish strong, while it’s been nice to watch Rubio destroy teams every night for the last couple weeks. 

Celtics 114, Jazz 103 – Jason Tatum kept it rolling with 33 points and 11 boards, and has scored at least 28 points in four of his last six games, and at least 33 in three straight. The other four Celtics starters (Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown) all scored in double figures and it was nice to see Smart bounce back with 17 points, nine assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers as Kemba Walker sat out another game with his knee injury. Smart will take a hit once Walker is back but will probably still hold some fantasy value. 

The Jazz got 37 points from Donovan Mitchell and he’s scored 37, 38 and 31 points in each of his last three games. Royce O’Neale may be a full-time starter now as Joe Ingles moved to the bench and had 14 points, three steals and two 3-pointers in the loss. Mike Conley stuck in the starting unit after a report that he’d be benched and had 15 points, three assists and five 3-pointers, while Rudy Gobert (9 points, 9 boards) and Bojan Bogdanovic (1-of-8, three points) were both quiet. Ingles played 26 minutes after the demotion but hit just 1-of-3 shots for two points, two rebounds and two assists. I have no idea why the Jazz are sticking with Conley, but I’m guessing that will end up being bad fantasy news for Gobert, Bogdanovic and Ingles the rest of the way. If I know that Conley’s a bad fit, you know that Conley’s a bad fit, and every Rotoworld user knows he’s a bad fit, why can’t the Jazz see it? #FreeJingles!

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.