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Basketball Daily Dose

Russell Westbrook makes history

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: March 30, 2021, 10:39 am ET

Monday's NBA schedule consisted of 11 games, but it didn't take long for history to be made. In the first game of the night Russell Westbrook did something that had never been done in the NBA. And that is where this edition of the Daily Dose will begin. 

Wizards 132, Pacers 124: Both teams were down a rotation player due to injury, as Bradley Beal (hip) sat for the Wizards and Doug McDermott (ankle) for the Pacers. Beal, a top-15 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats, was replaced in the starting lineup by Jerome Robinson. Robinson didn’t offer much offensively to the few who may have streamed him, shooting 1-of-6 from the field and finishing with three points. But he did record three assists, two steals and three blocked shots, so some value was gained there. Robinson would not be worth rolling the dice on if Beal is unable to play in Tuesday’s game against Charlotte.

Two reserves who did step up for the Wizards: Raul Neto and Chandler Hutchison. Neto played 19 minutes, posting a line of 15 points, four rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer, while Hutchison scored a season-high 18 points with five rebounds and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Neto offers little fantasy value, as he’s stuck behind the indefatigable Russell Westbrook, but Hutchison bears watching given the Wizards’ lack of consistent production at the small forward position. Westbrook put up a staggering line of 35 points, 14 rebounds, 21 assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers, while Rui Hachimura (26/8/3) and Deni Avdija (12/8/1 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Westbrook is the first player in league history to post a triple-double with at least 35 points and 20 assists.

Unfortunately for Washington there’s another injury to deal with, as Daniel Gafford left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle. He was solid in his 15 minutes on the floor, recording a line of 11 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. The change of scenery may work out for both he and Hutchison, as neither was able to stick in the rotation in Chicago.

With the aforementioned McDermott being a reserve, his absence didn’t have a major impact on the Pacers rotation. Edmond Sumner (eight points and one rebound in 19 minutes) and Jeremy Lamb (6/4/1 steal/1 block in 15 minutes) played the majority of the reserve minutes on the wings. Lamb suffered a sprained toe on his right foot, which limited his playing time. If both he and McDermott aren’t available for Wednesday’s game against the Heat, it’s more likely that the Pacers starters would absorb most of the available minutes, with Sumner and Aaron Holiday receiving a slight bump. Streaming Sumner would not offer much in the way of upside.

Domantas Sabonis (35/11/6/2 with one 3-pointer) and Malcolm Brogdon (26/4/8 with five 3-pointers) led the way offensively for Indiana, while Caris LeVert (8/5/4/2) shot 3-of-14 from the field.

Pelicans 115, Celtics 109: Evan Fournier made his Celtics debut in this one and, to be frank, he had a night to forget. Fournier missed all ten of his field goal attempts, going scoreless with two rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots in 33 minutes. While his offense did fantasy managers no favors, at least he was productive as a defender. The absence of Jaylen Brown ensured that the newest Celtic would play plenty, so we won’t know how much the move will impact Fournier’s fantasy value until Boston’s rotation is whole.

Jayson Tatum (34/9/5/2 with five 3-pointers) and Kemba Walker (23/4/4 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Celtics, while Robert Williams (7/10/5/3 blocks) played 33 minutes as the starting center. The Time Lord is now rostered in 69% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should continue to rise. Luke Kornet had another solid outing, posting a line of ten points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 13 minutes, but it appears unlikely that his presence will be any kind of threat to Williams’ minutes. We’ll have to revisit this once Tristan Thompson (health and safety protocols) is cleared to play.

Zion Williamson continues to be a nearly unstoppable force for New Orleans, as he put up 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and just two turnovers in 31 minutes. Over the last two weeks, he has been a top-20 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats. Brandon Ingram (25/1/9/1 with three 3-pointers) has dished out four assists or more in five of his last six games, a byproduct of the Pelicans being without Lonzo Ball. Another Pelican whose fantasy value has improved with Ball sidelined: Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He made another start, tallying 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes played.

At this point Alexander-Walker, who’s rostered in 37% of Yahoo leagues, is a must-add. And based upon Monday’s minutes distribution, with Wesley Iwundu playing five minutes and James Johnson none, it’s quite obvious that the two new additions aren’t going to impact Alexander-Walker’s opportunities. If possible, go get him off of your league’s waiver wire.

Nets 112, Timberwolves 107: Kyrie Irving made his return to the starting lineup after missing the three games, prior, and he didn’t miss a beat. After scoring 15 points in the first quarter, Irving finished with a line of 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. His return meant a move back to the bench for Jeff Green, who in 21 minutes posted a full line (ten points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers. His fantasy value isn’t great, and with the signings of Blake Griffin (5/6/5 in 19 minutes) and LaMarcus Aldridge (not available to play just yet) there isn’t much reason to keep Green rostered in most leagues.

James Harden (38/11/13/1/1 with four 3-pointers) posted another triple-double for the winners, while DeAndre Jordan (10/2/1) started but played just 12 minutes. The question to ask once Aldridge is good to go: do the Nets have a center who’s worthy of being rostered in standard leagues? For the remainder of the season, probably not. Nicolas Claxton (2/5/1/3 blocks in 15 minutes) is also a part of the rotation, and there will be times when Griffin moves to the five in smaller lineups. That does none of them any favors as far as fantasy value is concerned.

Karl-Anthony Towns (31/12/5/3 blocks with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for Minnesota, while Anthony Edwards (23/10/3 steals/1 block) had a difficult night as far as his efficiency was concerned. In addition to shooting 9-of-22 from the field (0-of-7 3-pointers), the rookie also turned the ball over four times. Edwards has been better recently, averaging just 1.8 turnovers per game over the last week, but he’s still a work in progress.

A Minnesota player worth grabbing off of the waiver wire right now: Jaden McDaniels. He started and played 38 minutes, posting a line of 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers. Ranking just outside of the top-100 in 9-cat over the last two weeks, McDaniels is rostered in just 7% of Yahoo leagues.

Heat 98, Knicks 88: Goran Dragic made his return to action for the Heat, starting and playing 24 minutes. He didn’t have much of an impact as far as the numbers are concerned, accounting for four points, five rebounds and two assists while turning the ball over four times. Dragic filled the void left by Kendrick Nunn, who sat out due to a sprained ankle. And that spot in the starting lineup will likely belong to Victor Oladipo once he’s cleared to play, as Miami’s recent acquisition has yet to make his debut due to a head cold.

Jimmy Butler (27/5/6/1 block), Bam Adebayo (20/17/4/1/2) and Tyler Herro (18/3/4/1 with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Heat, while Nemanja Bjelica played five minutes in his debut. There’s no need to pick up Bjelica, as Trevor Ariza (2/4/1/1) and Precious Achiuwa (2/3/1/1 block) appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order at the four.

New York welcomed back two starters, as Julius Randle and Reggie Bullock made their returns to the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s win over the Bucks. Randle finished with 22 points, eight boards, three assists and three 3-pointers, but he also turned the ball over five times. Bullock had an even rougher night, going 0-of-4 from three and accounting for three points and three rebounds in 22 minutes. Derrick Rose was about the only Knicks rotation player that got going at a somewhat efficient clip, scoring 16 points with two rebounds, two assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes. 

The minutes at the center position are worth keeping an eye on, especially with Mitchell Robinson out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot. As was the case when Robinson was out with a broken right hand, Nerlens Noel ascends into the starting position with Taj Gibson serving as his backup. Noel, who appeared to tweak his right shoulder during the first quarter, played 30 minutes and recorded a line of eight points, 11 rebounds, two steals and four blocked shots.

Gibson played the other 18 minutes, finishing with five points and four rebounds. Noel is rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues, which is low given the combination of his defensive production, Mitchell’s injury and a buyout market that’s rather barren when it comes to big men. If Nerlens is on your league’s waiver wire, do not hesitate to pick him up.

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Pistons 118, Raptors 104: Jerami Grant made his return to the Pistons lineup after missing a game due to injury, and he looked a bit rusty in his 30 minutes on the court. Shooting 3-of-12 from the field, he accounted for seven points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot. Grant hasn’t put up many duds this season, so those who have him rostered should not be concerned. Sekou Doumbouya, who was limited to five minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Wizards due to injury, was a DNP-CD.

The rookies and the newcomers carried the day for Detroit, as Saben Lee (19/3/5/1/1 with two 3-pointers), Saddiq Bey (19/3/4 with five 3-pointers) and Hamidou Diallo (19/10/3/1/2 with one 3-pointer) led the way offensively. Lee, who’s rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues, is a must-add since it appears that he’ll be the starting point guard for the foreseeable future. Diallo’s rostered in 21% of Yahoo leagues and, with Josh Jackson joining Doumbouya as a DNP-CD Monday night, that percentage should increase between now and Detroit’s Wednesday night matchup with Portland.

Cory Joseph (17/4/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers), Isaiah Stewart (14/2/3/1 block with one 3-pointer) and Frank Jackson (12 points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures for the winners. Joseph is worth tracking for the time being, as Detroit remains without the injured Dennis Smith Jr. If Joseph sticks in the rotation once Smith Jr. returns, that may be the point when managers in deep leagues look to pick him up. He’s currently rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues.

Toronto once again went with its small starting five, with Fred VanVleet (22/5/1 with four 3-pointers) leading all scorers. However, he scored 19 of his 22 points during the first half. Each of the Raptors’ five starters scored in double figures including Gary Trent Jr., who put up a 15/4/5/2 line with three 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He’s rostered in 43% of Yahoo leagues and, while Trent Jr. is unlikely to see the postseason, he’ll have every opportunity to put up numbers and enhance his value ahead of free agency.

OG Anunoby (19/5/3/3 blocks with three 3-pointers) has now scored 15 points or more in each of his last six games. While this season has been a bit disappointing for teammate Pascal Siakam as far as fantasy is concerned, the same can’t be said for Anunoby, who’s a top-50 player in 9-cat. Lastly, while Chris Boucher is capable of the occasional explosion, at this point in the season it may be time to cut bait. He played 16 minutes on Monday, accounting for four points, three rebounds, one assist and three blocks. The rejections are good but, at best, Boucher feels like a deep league streaming option.

Grizzlies 120, Rockets 110: Christian Wood missed his second straight game due to injury, which meant another start for Kelly Olynyk. And he was very good in this one, putting up 25 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 34 minutes played. Until Wood is cleared to return Olynyk, who’s rostered in 40% of Yahoo leagues, needs to be in your lineup. Rookie Jae’Sean Tate continues to impress, as he recorded a line of 24 points, seven rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers. An efficient player, he’s rostered in 36% of Yahoo leagues and approaching top-100 status. D.J. Augustin (13/2/5/1 with two 3-pointers) and Sterling Brown (10/7/1 steal with two 3-pointers) had solid nights off the bench, while John Wall (9/3/8/3/2 with one 3-pointer) and Kevin Porter Jr. (10/3/5) combined to shoot 7-of-29 from the field.

Wall and Porter are both players worth hanging onto, but it would be nice to see those two have some more efficient outings. Give Wall some credit for putting up a full stat line, at least. And Avery Bradley made his Rockets debut, playing 15 minutes and putting up three points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. Unless those minutes get well into the twenties, there’s no need to roster Bradley.

Already down one wing in Justise Winslow, the Grizzlies lost another Monday night as Grayson Allen left the game during the first half due to a hip injury. That meant more playing for Desmond Bane (who started the second half) and De’Anthony Melton, and both played well in their 28 minutes on the floor. Bane shot 7-of-10 from the field, scoring 17 points with four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block with three 3-pointers, while Melton was 7-of-12 and put up 23 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and four 3-pointers.

So, if Allen were to miss additional time, which would be the better option for fantasy managers? I’d lean Melton, even with Bane posting the full line Monday night. Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues, Melton is closing in on top-100 value for the season, while Bane (2% rostered) still lingers outside of the top-200. Jonas Valanciunas (30/15/1) dominated the paint, while Dillon Brooks (17/4/4/1 with two 3-pointers) and Ja Morant (12/5/8 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures.

Mavericks 127, Thunder 106: Dallas welcomed back its two best players, as Luka Doncic (25/3/7/2 with four 3-pointers) and Kristaps Porzingis (20/9/5/1/2 with two 3-pointers) returned to their usual roles. With those two back, Boban Marjanovic and Jalen Brunson were back with the second unit. Boban didn’t get in until the game was well in hand, and he isn’t going to play much (if at all) in games when Dallas is up against more mobile big men. As for Brunson, he played 19 minutes off the bench and accounted for nine points, two rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. He can retain some deep league value coming off the bench, but that’s his ceiling whenever Doncic is active.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (19/3/1 with three 3-pointers) and Dorian Finney-Smith (12/1/2 with two 3-pointers) joined Doncic and Porzingis in double figures, while Nicolo Melli played 11 minutes off the bench and finished with six points, three rebounds and one steal. He can be left on the waiver wire. J.J. Redick was not available due to his heel injury, and he has yet to make his Mavericks debut. At this point, there isn’t much reason for fantasy managers to stash him, as Redick didn’t offer consistent fantasy value in New Orleans pre-trade, either.

Aleksej Pokusevski (21/6/2 with three 3-pointers) and Theo Maledon (14/6/1 with one 3-pointers) can be added to the list of players that fantasy managers need to strongly consider picking up, as the rookies stand to log heavy minutes for a team that won’t be headed to the postseason. Neither posted high-level lines in Monday’s loss, and they’re fantasy values aren’t great at present time. But availability is crucial, especially come fantasy playoffs time, and provided they remain healthy that shouldn’t be an issue for either Pokusevski or Maledon.

With Luguentz Dort in the league’s concussion protocols, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk moved into the starting five and put up 16 points, three rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. With Dort’s status moving forward still undetermined, deep league managers in need of points and 3-pointers may want to consider picking up Svi. Isaiah Roby (12/9/3/3/2) is in the same category as Pokusevski and Maledon, while Ty Jerome (11/3/5/2 with two 3-pointers) and Josh Hall (10/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures. Hall can be left on the waiver wire, but Jerome should remain on the radar just in case Maledon were to suffer an injury.

Kings 132, Spurs 115: Sacramento has now won five straight games, and seven players reached double figures in points Monday night. De’Aaron Fox (24/3/5/2/2 with two 3-pointers) and Richaun Holmes (23/12/3/1/3) led the way, while recent additions Terence Davis (14/3/2/2 with three 3-pointers) and Moe Harkless (13 points, one rebound and three 3-pointers) had solid nights off the bench. Getting minutes behind Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes won’t be easy, but keep an eye on Davis here. If he can string together a couple games in which he’s impactful in multiple areas, he may be worth taking a flier on in deep leagues.

According to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee, Marvin Bagley is making good progress in his recovery from a broken left hand. The expectation is that there will be an update on Bagley, who didn’t travel with the team on this current road trip, at the four-week mark.

Dejounte Murray (23/8/7 with one 3-pointer) and Derrick White (19/3/1/1 with three 3-pointers) led the way for the Spurs, who simply couldn’t get enough stops. Jakob Poeltl (17/11/2/3 blocks) had one of his best games of the season, while DeMar DeRozan (17/3/8) and Rudy Gay (10/4/2/2 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Drew Eubanks played 15 minutes backing up Poeltl and recorded a line of eight points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot. His fantasy value was minimal at best before the Spurs signed Gorgui Dieng, and things may only get worse for Eubanks once Dieng is cleared to play.

Jazz 114, Cavaliers 75: This one was never in doubt, as the Jazz rolled past a Cavaliers team that was without Larry Nance Jr. (illness) and Jarrett Allen (head). As a result Dean Wade (7/5/2/2 blocks with one 3-pointer) and Isaiah Hartenstein (5/14/7/1 block with one 3-pointer) made starts, and the latter may be worth considering for as long as Allen remains sidelined due to that rebounding number. Collin Sexton (20/3/2/2) and Darius Garland (18/5/5/1 with two 3-pointers) were Cleveland’s only double-figure scorers, while Cedi Osman was a DNP-CD.

Taurean Prince saw his first action in nearly a month, playing 18 minutes and accounting for five points, one assist and one 3-pointer. Cleveland doesn’t play again until Thursday, so it would not come as a surprise if it was Prince in the starting lineup and not Wade if everything checks out and Nance has to miss another game. At this stage, neither Prince nor Wade offers enough to merit fantasy league consideration.

Donovan Mitchell (19/2/4/1/1 with four 3-pointers), Mike Conley (18/4/5 with three 3-pointers) and Rudy Gobert (18/17/2 steals/4 blocks) were Utah’s only double-digit scorers, but they didn’t need much else from that trio. If there's a concern, it’s the fact that Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson both struggled with their shot. Bogdanovic went 1-of-5 from the field, tallying three points, two rebounds, five assists and one 3-pointer, while Clarkson (9/6/1 with one 3-pointer) shot 3-of-14.

Clarkson is the more valuable of the two fantasy-wise and, in the case of Bogdanovic, managers may have a hard decision to make. He’s still rostered in 68% of Yahoo leagues, but that’s due to his still being a starter more than anything else. We’ll see if both can bounce back Wednesday night in Memphis.

Warriors 116, Bulls 102: Given the team’s activity at the trade deadline, the Bulls’ rotation was bound to be difficult to figure out for a bit. Ahead of Monday’s game Billy Donovan made another change to his starting lineup, promoting Thaddeus Young with Lauri Markkanen moving to the bench. Young has been good all season long, and in Monday’s loss he shot 5-of-6 from the field and posted a modest but full stat line (10/4/2/1/1 in 24 minutes). As for Markkanen, he shot 5-of-9 and finished with 13 points, six rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 22 minutes.

But after the game he didn’t sound too thrilled with the prospect of coming off the bench moving forward, insisting that he’s “a starter in this league” while also noting that he will do what is necessary to help the team win. He and Nikola Vucevic (21/9/6/1 block) don’t seem to mesh well defensively, so a move had to be made, and more often than not it isn’t the two-time All-Star that’s getting benched. What makes this situation all the more interesting is the fact that Markkanen will be a free agent at season’s end.

Tomas Satoransky (14/2/8/1 with one 3-pointer) and Patrick Williams (14/6/4/1/1) posted solid lines, but Zach LaVine (12/4/4 with one 3-pointer) shot 4-of-16 from the field and looked to be affected by his recent ankle injury. Following the game, he admitted that he may need to consider sitting out a game in order to get closer to full strength. The Bulls finish up their road trip with games against the Suns (Wednesday) and Jazz (Friday), before hosting the Nets on Sunday.

Also of note on the injury front was the absence of Coby White, which meant backup point guard minutes for Ryan Arcidiacono, and Garrett Temple leaving the game after just two minutes due to a hamstring injury. Arcidiacono dished out four assists, but there isn’t much reason to consider picking him up. Temple’s injury likely opens up additional minutes for Troy Brown Jr. (5/1/3 steals), who played 17 minutes. Daniel Theis made his Bulls debut, playing 22 minutes behind Vucevic and accounting for six points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocked shots. Theis is still rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues, but that number is going to drop considerably. The Bulls’ center rotation is nowhere near as fluid as Boston’s was.

Golden State welcomed back its marquee attraction, as Stephen Curry played 30 minutes and posted a line of 32 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal and six 3-pointers. That meant a return to the bench for Jordan Poole, who put up a 7/1/1/1 line with one 3-pointer in 18 minutes played. Those who held onto Poole for Monday’s action can go ahead and free up that roster spot. Also impacted by Curry’s return was rookie Nico Mannion, who played just six minutes.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, with Andrew Wiggins (21/3/5/2/1 with three 3-pointers) and Draymond Green (11/5/9/1/1 with three 3-pointers) posting full stat lines. Before Monday, Green had not hit three 3-pointers in a game since April 5, 2019 against Cleveland. Kelly Oubre (18/11/1 steal) had a good night, and rookie James Wiseman (12/5/4 blocks) established a new career-high in rejections. He entered Monday’s game with a total of three blocked shots in the month of March, so hopefully this performance serves as a catalyst of sorts. Wiseman averaged more than a block per game in the months of December and January, and consistent production there would improve his fantasy value.

Clippers 129, Bucks 105: The good news for Milwaukee was that the rotation was once again whole, as many of the team’s best players sat out Saturday’s loss to the Knicks. The bad news: that didn’t keep them from being on the wrong end of a 24-point beating. Giannis Antetokounmpo (32/6/3/1 block with two 3-pointers), Jrue Holiday (24/4/7/3/1 with three 3-pointers) and Khris Middleton (15/3/3 with one 3-pointer) were the Bucks’ lone double-digit scorers, but the defense was the bigger issue Monday night. Of the players who made surprise starts on Saturday, only Thanasis Antetokounmpo remained in the rotation. He played 19 minutes, scoring seven points with one rebound and one steal in 19 minutes. That playing time is going to decrease when P.J. Tucker (calf) is cleared to return (and there’s also the injured Bobby Portis to take into consideration.

Off the court the Bucks made a move to bolster their rotation, signing Jeff Teague after he was waived by the Magic. While Teague meshed well with Mike Budenholzer when both were with the Hawks, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll get enough playing time to be any kind of factor as far as fantasy basketball is concerned. Does this take Milwaukee out of the running for Austin Rivers, even though the team still has one available roster spot? Even if the answer is no, Rivers will be in the same boat as Teague with regard to fantasy hoops.

Los Angeles played this one without Rajon Rondo, who still isn’t ready to make his Clippers debut, and Paul George. Dealing with a sore foot, George joined Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka on the sideline while Luke Kennard moved into the starting lineup. Kennard had a very good night, playing 36 minutes and recording a line of 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and five 3-pointers. Having fared poorly as a spot starter at the beginning of the season, Kennard is playing well and is worth streaming whenever George (or Kawhi Leonard) has to sit.

In total the Clippers had four 20-point scorers, with Marcus Morris (25/5/3 with four 3-pointers), Leonard (23/9/8/2) and Reggie Jackson (20/2/3 with four 3-pointers) joining the party. And Terance Mann continued his solid run of late, playing 34 minutes off the bench and tallying 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and one blocked shot. Rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues, Mann is still well off the radar in most leagues. At best, he’s worth streaming whenever one of the Clippers’ two starting wings is sidelined.

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.