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Basketball Daily Dose

Kyrie picks up right where KAT left off with 60 points of his own

by Brad Stonebraker
Updated On: March 16, 2022, 10:40 am ET

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Four games on Tuesday, and half of them were blowouts, but Kyrie Irving was able to pick up right where Karl-Anthony Towns left off just 24 hours later. KAT had the highest scoring game this season on Monday night with 60 points, and Kyrie Irving tied him up about as soon as he possibly could. Plenty more below:

Nets 150, Magic 108

Wow, Kyrie Irving. Just wow. Kyrie led the Nets to a convincing win over the Magic and went berserk for a new career-high and franchise-best 60 points on 20-of-31 from the field and 12-of-13 from the line, also contributing six rebounds, four assists, four steals, one block and eight 3-pointers in 35 minutes of action. He and teammate Kevin Durant became the first teammates in NBA history to each record a 50-point game in consecutive games as KD had 53 points in a win over the Knicks on Sunday, and Kyrie somehow bettered him too. The 60 points are the most ever scored in Amway Center, which Towns also did in San Antonio on Monday, and it’s the first time since 1962 that there were 60-point games on consecutive nights, with the instance 60 years ago being Wilt Chamberlain doing it by himself. Irving also went for 41 points in the first half alone to mark the second most points in a first half over the past 25 seasons, second only to no other than Kobe Bryant, who scored 42 points in the first 24 minutes way back in 2003. There are probably 100 more records he broke on Tuesday but you get the idea that he was simply unstoppable, and the fact that he and Durant are on a team that’s not even technically guaranteed to make the playoffs is just mind-blowing. They aren’t going to be a fun first-round matchup for anyone if they make it in, but yet again, the same issue remains unless the mandate is lifted -- Kyrie can only play in three of the Nets’ remaining 14 games (3/23 @ Grizzlies, 3/26 @ Heat, 4/2 @ Hawks) and won’t be able to play in home games once the postseason arrives. For now, just take in the greatness, and we’ll see how this whole ordeal plays out in due time. No one on the team, Kevin Durant included, scored more than 20 points with Kyrie hogging exactly 40% of the team’s total points on this occasion, but Durant was quite close with a 19/5/7 line with a steal and one turnover on 6-of-8 from the field (7-of-8 FTs) in 30 minutes. It’s incredibly rare that we see such an electric scorer like KD attempt single-digit field goals, but you know, Kyrie Irving. Bruce Brown was a stud yet again with another full 10/5/8/2/1 line and is a must-roster guy, while Andre Drummond was good given he only played 18 minutes with 10 points, six boards and one block, with his lone swat being really nice one on Mo Bamba, who thought a posterization was in his future. Nic Claxton had a random double-double but is just a low-end hold in deep leagues while LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip) is out, while Kessler Edwards (14 points, six boards, two steals, two threes) and Patty Mills (15 points, five triples) made some noise but had plenty to do with garbage time. Edwards did play in the game before it got out of hand, however, but he’s just someone to toss on your watch list just in case.

The Magic actually had the best defensive rating since the break coming into Tuesday’s game, but that won’t be the case after getting 150 scored on them, which marks the most points the team has allowed in franchise history. At least they still broke the 100-point mark, so it wasn’t a total loss for fantasy purposes, and Cole Anthony was one of the better options with 19 points (5-of-11 FGs, 6-of-9 FTs), four rebounds, seven assists, three 3-pointers and two turnovers in 25 minutes, and his low minute count allowed Markelle Fultz to get the most minutes he has since his return (20) for a 5/2/3/1/2 line. Moritz Wagner made some noise yet again with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double with a pair of assists and a triple in 22 minutes but he’s still not even a top-150 guy over the past two weeks but has been putting up decent numbers since an extended absence. Hs brother Franz scored a boring 16 points with a pair of threes, Mo Bamba scored just eight with three boards and two 3-pointers in 17 minutes and Wendell Carter Jr. was great as always with a 18/7/4 line with a block and a triple in 26 minutes. R.J. Hampton still isn’t a streaming option with Jalen Suggs (right ankle) out, and that’s about it for this awful showing from Orlando. It was also announced Tuesday that Jonathan Isaac (left knee) won’t be playing this season, but you probably don’t even remember who that is at this point.

Grizzlies 135, Pacers 102

The Grizzlies dominated the Pacers by 33 points, which is even more impressive given the absence of Ja Morant (back soreness), and they’re now 13-2 without Ja in there and are just a well-oiled machine no matter what. Ja is fine, by the way, and since he sat this one out, he’ll have four full days of rest before heading to Atlanta to play the Hawks on Friday. None of the starters played more than 26 minutes, with popular streaming option Tyus Jones getting the most run with exactly that many and he was just fine with eight points (3-of-11 shooting), two rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, two triples and no turnovers. This was probably a better line for points leagues/DFS because of the field goal percentage, but at least he didn’t hurt you anywhere else and he’ll always be a quality option when Morant sits. Desmond Bane needed only 23 minutes to score 21 points (7-of-12 FGs) and he did a bit of everything with his four rebounds, six dimes, two steals, one block, four 3-pointers and three turnovers. Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t hit a triple but that was the only issue with his 19/8/1/2/3 line on 8-of-16 shooting with no turnovers in only 21 minutes of action and should be brought up much more in the DPOY conversation, and Brandon Clarke went for 13 points without missing any of his six shots (1-of-2 FTs, though), chipping in two boards, one assist, one steal and three blocks in the process. De’Anthony Melton came off the bench and played the most out of anyone and had an efficient 18 points to go with three rebounds, six assists, three steals, four triples and this emphatic dunk that probably not many knew he was capable of. Melton is quite hit or miss but he’s a great steals guy at the least and will have his moments scoring, and did far better than starter Dillon Brooks (10/1/4/1/1 on 3-of-12 shooting) and Ziaire Williams (11 points, three triples in 16 minutes).

Like the Magic, the Pacers weren’t a total lost cause, but it wasn’t pretty. Jalen Smith had his usual with 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists in 27 reserve minutes, and Isaiah Jackson scored nine with seven boards and two blocks but did commit three turnovers in 21 minutes. Both guys have been great and their lines weren’t awful, but Terry Taylor (14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, eight boards, two blocks in 27 minutes) was better on the stat sheet than the other two this time but keep in mind he wasn’t even in the rotation less than a week ago. Malcolm Brogdon returned from a two-game absence with a lackluster 12/4/5 line on 4-of-13 shooting with a steal in 28 minutes and Buddy Hield was the only guy in the starting group to make at least 46% of his shots, as he scored 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and three turnovers in 27 minutes. Oshae Brissett woke up on Sunday but fell right back asleep with seven points and four boards with nothing else in his 21 minutes of action and he’s almost getting too unreliable to hold onto in standard leagues, and Duane Washington Jr. (13/4/2 with a steal and two triples) fared far better than Tyrese Haliburton (4/3/8 with a steal and four turnovers), but Hali is almost never this bad and was just a victim of the lopsided affair.

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Heat 105, Pistons 98

I interrupt a blowout fest for a game that easily could’ve been a blowout but was by far the most competitive game of the evening. The Heat escaped this one against a far inferior team, and the win was nice, but Jimmy Butler suffered yet another injury and didn’t touch the court in the second half. Butler appeared to roll his right ankle on Killian Hayes’ foot late in the second quarter and played just 18 minutes before exiting, finishing with eight points on 2-of-9 shooting, two boards, three assists and one block. The Heat are off until Friday when they play the Thunder, so we’ll see how he feels after a couple full days off. Gabe Vincent started the second half for him but didn’t even score in his 13 minutes, and it was Max Strus that came through with 16 points all in the fourth quarter as he went on a personal 13-0 run to help Miami increase the margin. Strus did add just three rebounds and four 3-pointers, but he’ll be on the radar as a streaming option if Butler has to sit out come Friday night. Tyler Herro was phenomenal yet again with a game-high 29 points on 8-of-15 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the line, and also managed five rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers and one turnover in a team-high tying 34 minutes. He’s been on another level with top-30 numbers over the past two weeks and is a huge reason why his team is faring so well in an Eastern Conference as competitive as we’ve seen in quite some time. Bam Adebayo was a little boring but still fine with 16 points (4-of-8 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), eight boards, three assists and nothing else besides his two giveaways in 24 minutes, and the low minute total was because he battled some foul trouble as he committed three of them with just under 10 minutes left in the second period (but only committed one after that). Kyle Lowry was pretty brutal with a 6/7/4 line with nothing else, and he didn’t make any of his three shot attempts and all of his points came from the line. Besides one solid game on Saturday and his assists mostly staying up, he has been almost unusable and as crazy as it sounds, he’s not a must-have guy at this point.

Jerami Grant was the top scorer on Detroit’s side, as he scored 22 points (8-of-20 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs) along with four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, one 3-pointer and no turnovers in 39 minutes. He’s pretty predictable, as he’s generally not too efficient and doesn’t grab a lot of boards but is good for a handful of defensive stats, all of which equates to sixth-round value on the season. Isaiah Livers was the surprise factor tonight, as he notched a new career high in scoring with 16 points on an ultra-efficient 6-of-7 shooting clip while also tallying six rebounds, three assists, one steal, four 3-pointers and zero turnovers in 32 minutes. Livers has now played at least 27 minutes in each of his last two games, and this was highly encouraging, but he’s just a guy to monitor for now. Isaiah Stewart (right knee) returned from a three-game absence but scored a whopping two points (0-of-5 FGs, 2-of-2 free throws) with eight rebounds, two blocks and two turnovers in 22 foul-plagued minutes, and Marvin Bagley (13 points, six boards, two blocks in 30 minutes) still made much more noise despite the return of Beef Stew. Stewart isn’t Mr. Consistent by any means and Bagley has been playing pretty good basketball since landing in Detroit, so he’s far from an automatic drop even though Stewie is back. Saddiq Bey made just four of his 12 shots (and just one of his nine triples) for a so-so 13/3/5 line, with his 4-of-6 mark from the line not helping matters, while Killian Hayes had a decent 9/4/8 line with a steal in 30 minutes off the pine. Finally, Rodney McGruder started this one for Cade Cunningham (non-COVID illness) but scored just eight points in 20 minutes and simply isn’t a fantasy option no matter how he enters the game.

Suns 131, Pelicans 115

And just like that, the blowouts are back. It wasn’t that bad, but the Suns won every quarter by three to five points as they won their second straight and fourth in their last five tries. Devin Booker hit tough shot after tough shot on his way to a game-high 27 points, and he got them efficiently via a 11-of-20 mark from the field and added five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, four 3-pointers and two turnovers in 30 minutes. In his seven games without Chris Paul (right thumb) so far, his scoring and rebounding are about the same, but he's seen a 69.4% increase in assists and a 116.7% increase in steals in those seven compared to his regular season numbers, which has been good for top-three value over that range, much to the delight of his managers that are loving his second-round value on the season overall. Cameron Payne continues to fill in nicely for the injured Point God and had a 14/3/8 line with three steals, two triples and two turnovers, and he did so while only missing one of his six shots and sinking both shots from the line. He’s now 70% rostered in Yahoo! leagues, which still may be too low given his seventh-round numbers in the past two weeks, so make sure he's not lurking on your wire. Deandre Ayton scored 18 very efficient points but only hauled in five boards along with two dimes and a steal in 23 minutes, and Mikal Bridges’ 20/3/3/1/1 line with four triples doesn’t even jump off the page anymore. JaVale McGee was the surprisingly productive one and saw 21 minutes (his most since February 7), totaling 19 points and six rebounds in the process. He didn’t block a shot but he went 7-of-10 from the floor and made all five of his freebies to round out a good showing, but he remains one of those guys that has nice games here and there but can’t do it on a consistent basis. Jae Crowder finally quieted down after posting top-50 numbers over the past month with his 9/3/4 line with three triples in 22 minutes, but hang onto him, and Torrey Craig scored 11 points in 28 reserve minutes to give him his second straight usable game, but he’ll disappear any day now. 

Despite CJ McCollum’s return from two games spent in the NBA's health and safety protocols, Herb Jones wanted to make sure he wasn’t an afterthought in the return of CJ. Jones saw his third highest scoring output of the season with 22 points (7-of-11 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs) and also recorded five rebounds, thee steals, three 3-pointers and two turnovers in 32 minutes. Jones was admittedly much better at the beginning of the year, but his upside in the defensive categories (1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks per game) alone will always keep him in the standard-league conversation, and the moment he develops his offensive game a bit, he’s going to be an absolute blast to roster. McCollum was just fine in his return as he went 9-of-17 from the floor (0-of-2 from the line, weird) for a 21/5/9 line with a steal, three 3-pointers and five giveaways in his 32 minutes, and he should be able to post similar numbers, if not better, with Brandon Ingram (hamstring) still not playing. Jonas Valanciunas had the only double-double of the game with a full 17/12/3/1/1 line with a triple for good measure, Devonte’ Graham had some nice counting stats among his 10/5/7 line but didn’t steal the ball and of course went just 3-of-11 from the floor and Jaxson Hayes scored 16 points with four boards and a block in 31 minutes and is fine to hang onto at least until Ingram returns. Willy Hernangomez is pretty great on a per-minute basis as he scored 10 points with four boards in just 12 minutes, but backing up JV isn’t ideal, while Trey Murphy posted a 11/4/0/1/1 line in 24 reserve minutes. Murphy had a 32-point night just two games ago, so keep an eye on him, and you should do the same with Jose Alvarado, who did little else besides dish out seven assists on Tuesday but is coming off an incredible 16-point, 10-assist, six steal game last time out.

Jaden McDaniels injury update

Unfortunately, we got bad news on Jaden McDaniels, who is being listed as out indefinitely with a left ankle sprain he suffered in the final minute of Monday’s win over the Spurs, and he’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks. This is a big blow for two reasons, the first of which is because Jarred Vanderbilt (left quad contusion) is injured and has missed three of his last four, and the second being because McDaniels was starting to play very well, including top-100 numbers over the past two weeks. If Vando comes back soon, he may finally start to put up better numbers (but don’t count on it), while Taurean Prince and Jaylen Nowell could benefit, but are just options for deeper leagues.

Brad Stonebraker

Brad has a finance degree and works in Business Management. He has been playing fantasy basketball since 2012 and specifically enjoys sports statistics and crunching numbers. You can find Brad on Twitter @bradbraker97.