Basketball Daily Dose

Mr. Big Shot - Victor Oladipo is back!

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: January 31, 2020, 11:26 am ET

Victor Oladipo (knee surgery) played for the first time in over a year and hit a clutch 3-pointer to help the Pacers win in overtime, Damian Lillard had his first career triple-double, James Harden’s slump is fully intact, and the Knicks and Elfrid Payton went after Jae Crowder after he disrespected them with an ill-advised 3-pointer late in their game. 

Pacers 115, Bulls 106 OT – Victor Oladipo (knee surgery) played 21 minutes and hit 2-of-8 shots, 1-of-7 3-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws for nine points, two rebounds and four assists, but that’s only half the story. His only triple with 10 seconds left on the clock sent the game to overtime and the Pacers were able to hang on for the win over Chicago. Oladipo left the court in tears after speaking to the media. “I just shot it,” he said. “Mamba mentality, man. Mamba mentality. That’s for Kobe and all the people that were on the helicopter.” And then he was gone. I’ve not been high on Oladipo’s fantasy value, but he did start the season off with 21 minutes in his first game in over a year and should only go up from there. And the fact he sent the game to overtime in front of the home fans is only going to fire him up that much more. It’s going to be baby steps for a week or two with Dipo, but I’m hoping he is on the path to proving me wrong. And it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening. He’ll sit in one of their back-to-back games on Feb. 7 & 8 and will come off the bench until the All-Star break, but may very well be good to go after that. Myles Turner sat out again with the flu so JaKarr Sampson got the start and had six points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Turner should be back for the next one. T.J. Warren led the way with 25 points, and Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon each had a big game. Sabonis had 15 points, 11 boards and five assists and Brogdon returned from his concussion for 15 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a 3-pointer in 36 minutes. Jeremy Lamb had 10 points, five rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes, and is my pick for the guy Oladipo hurts the most. Justin Holiday and Goga Bitadze both scored in double digits off the bench, but aren’t exactly fantasy friendly. 

Before we look at the Bulls let’s take a look at their awful schedule. After they finish this four-game week they go; 2-1-3-2-4-4-3-3-3-3-2 to finish out the season. Several teams play four times in that first two-game week, most teams play twice in their one-game week, and the Bulls lead the way with three games the following week, as the rest of the league plays just one or two games. Then they have another two-game week when several teams play four times, and most others play three times. After those four weeks the schedule opens up with back-to-back four-game weeks, so you’ll want to think about adding Bulls back into the mix starting the week of March 2, and you will also want to think about using Bulls the week of Feb. 17 for their three-game week. Chandler Hutchison somehow led the way with a career-high 21 points, three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench and I bet that’s the last time I write a sentence like that about Hutchison this season. Zach LaVine scored 20, but hit just 7-of-23 shots and 1-of-11 3-pointers, Thaddeus Young had 16 points, two rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer, while starters Luke Kornet, Kris Dunn and Tomas Satoransky were all pretty quiet, although Sato did have four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer with 11 points in 36 minutes. Cristiano Felicio had 11 points and eight boards off the bench, but every Bull not named LaVine is going to be tough to hold over the next month.


Nets 125, Pistons 115 – Kyrie Irving returned from a one-game absence after mourning the death of Mamba and had 20 points, five boards, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. Taurean Prince led the way with 22 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four 3-pointers, while starters Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple all scored between nine and 11 points. Allen had four blocks and Temple had five assists and two 3-pointers in the win. Spencer Dinwiddie led the way with 28 points, six assists and four 3-pointers on 8-of-13 shooting off the bench, while Caris LeVert was quiet again with an empty stat line that included 11 points and almost nothing else in 11 minutes. If you want to drop LeVert, I get it. But I’m still hanging onto him for now. DeAndre Jordan had four points, eight rebounds and three blocks, but is going to be a tough play as long as Allen is healthy and starting. 

Derrick Rose (knee) was back for the Pistons and hit 9-of-15 shots and a triple for 22 points, six boards and five assists and starter Andre Drummond added 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, hitting just 5-of-16 shots. The other Pistons starters (Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown) were very quiet on Wednesday night. Reggie Jackson led the way with a season-high 23 points, five assists and four 3-pointers off the bench, Christian Wood got loose for 20 points, eight boards and two steals, and Markieff Morris had 15 points, four assists, a block and a 3-pointer in 32 minutes. Svi Mykhailiuk was very quiet off the bench with three points in 19 minutes, missing both of his shots. If Svi continues to come off the bench behind Doumbouya, you have to think about cutting him. And I still think Rose is a sell-high player given his impending knee issues. Jackson looks like a strong pickup and has played really well in four straight games after returning from his back injury and Wood is worth owning in most leagues as the Pistons look to be active at the trade deadline. 

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Grizzlies 127, Knicks 106 – All five Grizzlies starters scored in double figures, led by Dillon Brooks with 27 points and three 3-pointers. Ja Morant had a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists, and Jonas Valanciunas also double-doubled with 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and a steal. Jaren Jackson Jr. finally cooled off with 10 points, two 3-pointers and a block with five fouls in 19 minutes, and Jae Crowder came through with 18 points, seven rebounds and four 3-pointers before causing some chaos and getting ejected. With the Grizzlies up 18 with just 48 second left in the game, Crowder stole the ball from Elfrid Payton, who wasn’t really paying attention, and then threw up a 3-point attempt from the corner. Payton decked him on the shot attempt, forcing him violently into the stands and starting a mini brawl. Crowder, Marcus Morris and Payton were all ejected after the chaos and Payton is likely looking at a suspension. Brandon Clarke had a nice game with 17 points, five boards, three steals and a block on 7-of-10 shooting and might be ready to heat up again. 

The Knicks were led by Morris and his 17 points, six boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, but his postgame remarks may get him in some trouble. “I think the dude (Crowder) plays the game a different way,” he said. “He’s got a lot of female tendencies on the court. Flopping and throwing his head back the entire game. This is a man’s game and you just get tired of it.” He apologized later for his comments, saying that he has the “utmost respect for women and everything they mean to us,” but it might have been too little, too late. Julius Randle had 16 points, 14 rebounds and six assists on 5-of-14 shooting, Payton was fun with 15 points, seven boards, 11 assists and two steals before the ejection, and Mitchell Robinson came through with 10 points, nine rebounds, three steals and four blocks with just one foul. It feels like Robinson might finally be ready to turn it on after a mostly lost season. Damyean Dotson had 15 points and four 3-pointers off the bench, but the rest of his stat line was empty and he’s not worth using right now. Frank Ntilikina was a DNP and Dennis Smith Jr. had eight points and three assists. DSJ might be worth a look for a game if Payton is suspended (he will be). The Knicks play four times next week and then go 1-1 over the All-Star break before a pair of four-game weeks after the break. Payton will be worth owning next week and then for those back-to-back four-game weeks, along with several of his teammates, including Robinson. 

Spurs 127, Jazz 120 – LaMarcus Aldridge (right thumb) sat out again and we’re not sure if he’ll play on Saturday against the Hornets. Jakob Poeltl started again but had just four points, eight boards and five assists in 22 minutes. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 38 points with five boards and five assists on 11-of-19 shooting in the win, Dejounte Murray bounced back with 16 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block on 7-of-10 shooting, and Patty Mills came through with 18 points, two steals and three 3-pointers off the bench. Bryn Forbes and Derrick White were pretty quiet and trying to predict when Forbes, White, Murray and Mills will play well is nearly impossible. I trust Murray and Mills the most of the four, but they’re a roll of the dice every night. But the Spurs have a nice playoff schedule, so they all deserve a look in weeks when the Spurs play four times. 

The Jazz got 31 points from Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson scored 20 with three 3-pointers off the bench, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert each scored 17 points in the loss. The Jazz somehow didn’t block a single shot last night, but Bogdanovic had nine rebounds and four 3-pointers and Gobert added 19 rebounds while hitting just 9-of-18 free throws. Joe Ingles hit just 3-of-8 shots for seven points, two rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer in his 30 minutes, while Mike Conley added 12 points and one assist in 21 minutes. I still don’t know why, but these two just can’t seem to play together, which has been an issue all season. The Jazz may have the best playoff schedule in the league going 4-4-4-3-4-2-2 to finish out the season, so Conley and Ingles have some time to get it going before the schedule turns in their favor starting on March 2. 

Blazers 125, Rockets 112 – Damian Lillard led the way with a 36-10-11 triple-double with six 3-pointers on 11-of-21 shooting, but also had eight turnovers. It was Dame’s first career triple-double, and it’s pretty wild that we saw him and Kawhi Leonard go this deep into their careers before notching their first triple-doubles within a few days of each other. C.J. McCollum had 22 points, five boards, three assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, Trevor Ariza had 21 points, four boards, two steals and three 3-pointers, Hassan Whiteside added 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, and Carmelo Anthony had 13 rebounds, five assists and a steal, despite scoring just six points on 2-of-11 shooting. The arrival and emergence of Ariza could hurt Melo going forward, while Ariza looks like a solid pickup after scoring 21 points in two of his three games while starting with the Blazers. The Blazers’ schedule is pretty nice the rest of the way, meaning Ariza is a solid pickup. Whiteside’s name is being kicked around in trade rumors, making Jusuf Nurkic an intriguing name, but we still haven’t seen Nurkic play after last year’s broken knee. And if Whiteside doesn’t get moved, he’s still the center to own in Portland.

James Harden’s 10-game slump continued last night, as he hit just 5-of-18 shots and 2-of-8 3-pointers while shooting just six free throws (he hit all six of them). He finished with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers, as his buy-low window remains wide open. Russell Westbrook kept it going with a massive line of 39 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 16-of-29 shooting, while Eric Gordon fell back to earth with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting after blowing up for 50 points on Monday when Harden (thigh), Clint Capela (heel) and Westbrook (rest) were all out. Capela was back last night but lasted just 17 minutes for two points, seven boards and nothing else. There were no reports of an injury, but his heel is clearly still bothering him. Hopefully he springs back to life against the center-less Mavericks on Friday. P.J. Tucker stayed relevant with five points, nine boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 2-of-7 shooting, while Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore both scored 17 points off the bench. Danuel House played 24 minutes off the bench and had six points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. I trust him more than Rivers and McLemore, but that’s about all I can say about him. The Rockets play four games again next week so I’m going to stick with him for that one, while Rivers, who is hot, and McLemore might be deep-league options if you’re looking for games played. But they’re just as likely to post a dud every night as they are to score 17 points. 

Thunder 120, Kings 100 – Dennis Schroder stayed hot off the bench and led the way with 24 points, nine assists and three 3-pointers, and a guy named Luguentz Dort started and hit 8-of-12 shots and five 3-pointers for a career-high 23 points, two rebounds, a steal and a block. Terrance Ferguson (personal) and Andre Roberson (knee) remain out, so maybe Dort continues to start and play well for OKC. I don’t think Dort’s worth grabbing just yet, but if he does anything close to this again in the near future, that thinking would quickly change. Danilo Gallinari had 19 points and four 3-pointers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers as his dream season continues, and Chris Paul had nine points, seven boards, 10 assists and a steal, despite hitting just 3-of-12 shots after sitting out a game to mourn the death of Kobe. Steven Adams played through his sore left ankle and had eight points, eight boards, a steal and a block in the win. Nerlens Noel came through with 12 points, five boards, four steals and a block on 6-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench and is playing well enough to be given consideration in most leagues. He would likely blow up if Adams is moved. 

For the Kings, Bogdan Bogdanovic came through with 23 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 10-of-19 shooting. He’s in the starting lineup and could be ready to take off. De’Aaron Fox had 19 points and five assists, while the other starters (Nemanja Bjelica, Harrison Barnes and Dewayne Dedmon) were all very quiet. Bjelica missed all five of his shots and failed to score, which was highly disappointing. He had scored in double figures in nine straight games and has been fun to own with Marvin Bagley (foot) and Richaun Holmes (shoulder) hurting. Hopefully Bjelica bounces back against the Clippers tonight. I’m sticking with Bjelica for now. After a 42-point explosion on Sunday, Buddy Hield hit just 5-of-12 shots off the bench for 13 points, two rebounds and two assists. He’ll bounce back, but the move to the bench is not ideal for Hield. Harry Giles had 10 points, six boards, a steal and two blocks in 17 minutes, but I don’t trust him. Holmes has been out for 10 straight games and we still don’t know when he’ll play again, while Bagley has played in just 13 games this season. We also don’t know when he’s going to play again. 

Steve Alexander

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