Saturday’s six-game slate started off slowly with a Celtics/Pelicans snoozer and a Mavs blowout, but things got interesting in a hurry! The Kings/76ers game was decided by one possession, Warriors/Nets came down to the final minute and Raptors/Heat went to three overtimes!
We saw plenty of tremendous performances, including another incredible outing from Ja Morant, a duel between Tyrese Haliburton and Joel Embiid, another Jimmy Butler triple-double and the continued excellence of Pascal Siakam. I’m excited to sink my teeth into all of these juicy storylines, so let’s get right to it!
Celtics 107, Pelicans 97
Boston handled its business Saturday, downing the Pels handily behind 38 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals from Jayson Tatum. Tatum averaged 33.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 4.0 triples over his last four games heading into this one, and that included games of 51 and 36 points. Jaylen Brown accounted for 31 points, four triples, three assists, two rebounds and one steal. Both players had a 50/10 game in January, so it was only right for them to each score 30 in Saturday’s win.
Robert Williams failed to record a block Friday against Atlanta, the first time he’d done that since Dec. 8. He got back on track Saturday with eight points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and a steal. It’s safe to say that there’s no need to worry about Al Horford eating into his workload anymore. Marcus Smart went for 17/6/2/1 in his last game, and he matched his career-high in assists Saturday with 12.
Willy Hernangomez started a third consecutive game and finished with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and four turnovers, coming up a bit short of the 23.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks he averaged over his last two. Josh Hart accounted for 10/13/2 with three steals for his 11th double-double of the season, breaking his previous double-double record of 10 set in 2019-20.
Jose Alvarado has been playing excellent basketball as of late. He started his first game Tuesday and went 11/3/5/2/2, but he’s been great off the bench as well. On Saturday, he accounted for 19 points, four rebounds, three triples, two assists and four steals in just 20 minutes. The points, steals and triples are all career-highs for the rookie whose outlook is trending way up. Alvarado has league-winner written all over him, and if he can get more playing time moving forward, he could be an incredible value.
Mavericks 132, Pacers 105
Luka Doncic finished 30 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal and guided Dallas to a comfortable victory. Kristaps Porzingis played 11 minutes and injured his right knee and has already been ruled out for Sunday’s trip to ORL to get his knee treated. It’s not a good sign, as KP was enjoying one of his most durable seasons in recent memory.
Reggie Bullock posted a season-high 23 points and has now scored 38 over his last two. With Tim Hardaway Jr. out and Porzingis injured, Bullock could be in for more scoring moving forward. He’s worth an add in deeper leagues for teams in need of points. Maxi Kleber ended with 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to go with three triples. He totaled 12 rebounds over his last three games, so the performance was certainly unexpected. With Porzingis out at least one game and maybe more, Kleber could be in line for a boost as well.
There weren’t many notable performances for Indiana, aside from Domantas Sabonis who posted a monster 21/15 double-double to go with eight assists and a block. Incredibly, he played 44 minutes Friday and posted a 24/18/10 triple-double in the Pacers’ overtime win over the Thunder. Sabonis went for at least 20/15/8 on consecutive nights after missing four straight games due to an ankle injury.
Oshae Brissett has averaged just 5.2 rebounds in the month of January but grabbed a season-high 10 boards Saturday. With Goga Bitadze out of action, rookie Isaiah Jackson had another strong performance with 12 points, six boards, one steal, one assist and three swats across 18 minutes before fouling out. I-Jax has a ton of potential due to his scoring and shot-blocking abilities, but he’s averaged five fouls per game across his last five appearances. He won’t be able to make an impact for fantasy teams if he can’t stay on the court. Foul trouble aside, he certainly deserves to be rostered in more than 3% of Yahoo leagues.
76ers 103, Kings 101
This one came down to the wire, as Tyrese Haliburton dueled Joel Embiid until the final possession. Haliburton has struggled with his shot as of late, averaging 14.0 points, 8.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals over his last three while shooting 40.5% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. Saturday, he finished with a career-high 38 points to go with seven assists, three boards and three steals while shooting 11-of-19 from the field and 5-of-9 from three. Hali came in clutch and did all he could to will his team to victory. The second-year man scored 13 points in the final frame, including eight points in the final 80 seconds to pull the team within two points. Harrison Barnes missed a three at the buzzer that would have won the game.
Davion Mitchell remained in the starting lineup in place of De’Aaron Fox, and the rookie went for 15 points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal after notching 20 points, six assists and two rebounds Wednesday in a starting role. Mitchell should be rostered everywhere given his recent play. If Fox or Haliburton are moved by the trade deadline, Mitchell’s value would spike.
Richaun Holmes totaled just 10 points and nine boards, missing out on his first double-double since Dec. 1. Despite his recent slump, he still ranks just inside the top-105 over the last two weeks due to his elite FG% and blocks. He’s not posting the top-40 numbers managers expected when they drafted him in the third round, but top-105 is still quite useful. Do not drop Holmes, despite the understandable frustration he’s caused.
Joel Embiid was masterful yet again with a 36/12/6 line. He’s now scored at least 25 points in 17 straight while averaging better than 34 points and 10 boards in that span. Excellent lines like this have become the norm for Embiid, whose name continues to rise in the MVP race.
Seth Curry missed the 76ers’ last four games due to an ankle injury but returned with eight points, five assists, two rebounds, one steal and a block in 32 minutes. Tobias Harris chipped in a 16/8/2/1 line after averaging 23.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.6 stocks over his last five.
Raptors 124, Heat 120
Talk about a doozy! NBA fans were treated to not one, not two, but three overtimes! Free throws were pivotal in deciding this game. Scottie Barnes made two free throws to tie up regulation, Gary Trent made two more to tie up the first overtime and Pascal Siakam hit two to go up 124-120 at the end of the final overtime period. Toronto’s starters all played at least 54 minutes, while the bench played a total of 37 between three players.
Siakam continued his elite play in the win. In 12 games leading up to this one, he averaged 23.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 6.7 assists while posting three points/assists double-doubles. He finished with a monster 21/13/6/4/4 line and became just the eighth player in Raptors history with four blocks and four steals in the same game. His 56:31 minutes were the most in the NBA in five years. Spicy P has been an absolute revelation for Toronto in the month of January, and he's been a top-35 fantasy player in that span. If you drafted him, you surely got a discount due to his preseason injury, and he's paying off enormous dividends.
Gary Trent stayed hot with another huge scoring performance. After scoring 32 in each of his last two games, he finished this one with 33 points on 28 shot attempts to go with five steals and five triples. The points, shot attempts and steals were all season-highs. Trent is paying off in a big way for fantasy managers who didn’t panic and kept him on their rosters. Fred VanVleet was back in action after missing back-to-back games, and he finished with a 19/8/4/1/2 line with five triples. OG Anunoby accounted for 20/14/6/3/1 including a career-high in rebounds.
Jimmy Buckets was at it again with a 37/14/10 triple-double, his third over the last seven games and his fourth straight game with at least 20 points. The points and rebounds each matched his season-high, and he added three steals and two blocks to complete the incredible stat line. Bam Adebayo went for 14 points, 16 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and one assist for one of his best all-around games of the season. He’s double-doubled in 12 of 25 appearances in 2021-22.
Tyler Herro logged 45 minutes off the bench but finished with a measly 13/6/4 line on 5-of-22 shooting. Gabe Vincent started for Kyle Lowry (personal) again and had a solid 17/3/4/1 line. He averaged 13.7 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 triples and 1.5 steals over his last six games as a starter and should be rostered in 12-team leagues, as he’ll likely keep a starting role until Lowry returns.
Grizzlies 115, Wizards 95
Ja Morant did it again, going for 34/3/2/1 tonight for his sixth straight game with at least 30 points, a franchise record that broke a four-game streak he had earlier in the season. He averaged 35.4 points, 8.8 assists and 8.4 rebounds over his last five games heading into Saturday, including a triple-double in his last game out. The first-time All-Star is on pace to break Shareef Abdur-Raheem’s Grizzlies records of total points (1,829) and points per game (22.3) that date back to the 90’s.
Jaren Jackson has averaged 4.0 blocks over his last 10 games prior to this one, including six in each of his last two games. He’s on pace to beat Pau Gasol’s record of 169 set in 2001-02 and needs 52 more over the final 31 games of the season after posting a 10/7/2/2/2 line Saturday to bring his total to 118.
Could we finally be getting some consistently awesome production from De'Anthony Melton? He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and three triples. He took advantage of the absences of Tyus Jones and Ziaire Williams. John Konchar took advantage too and finished with a 7/10/5/1 line in the starting five.
There’s not too much to say about Washington anymore. Bradley Beal is underachieving relative to where he was drafted, and he ended the game with nine points and 12 assists. It was the first time all season he failed to reach double-digit points. Kyle Kuzma’s Washington renaissance has been a thing of beauty, and he finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Kuz has been a top-45 player over the last month.
The center situation in Washington has been a major headache, but there’s at least some clarity after Saturday’s game. Daniel Gafford averaged just 11.0 minutes per game over his last five and was finally given the axe with a DNP-CD. That’s a great excuse to finally drop him if he’s still cluttering your roster. Thomas Bryant started and posted just four points, four rebounds, one steal and a block across 20 minutes. Montrezl Harrell went 6/4/2 over 19 minutes, so I want none of this trio anywhere near my fantasy team. The minutes and production are far too volatile from night to night.
Warriors 110, Nets 106
With no James Harden or Kevin Durant, it was up to the prodigal son Kyrie Irving to take over for Brooklyn, and take over he did. Kyrie closed with a season-high 32 points to go with seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. He scored 14 points in the third as Brooklyn closed the quarter on a 20-4 run. Irving has appeared in just seven games but scored at least 30 in three of them, and he’s shooting 50/37/100 splits after joining the 50/40/90 club a season ago. Brooklyn will be on the road at Phoenix on Tuesday, which means Irving will be eligible to play again. Patty Mills stuffed the stat sheet with a 24/4/4/2/2 line. He’s enjoying the best statistical campaign of his career.
LaMarcus Aldridge sprained his left ankle and did not return, which should open up more minutes for James Johnson (14/4/2/1/1 over 26 minutes) and Blake Griffin. Nicolas Claxton should remain in the starting five. He’s averaging career-bests this season with 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting better than 65% from the floor. He finished Saturday’s contest with nine points and eight boards.
The Splash Brothers were locked in on Thursday but cooled off a bit Saturday. Stephen Curry ended with 19/7/8/3, while Klay Thompson totaled 16/6/2/1/1. The duo combined for 11 triples Thursday but went just 5-of-18 Saturday. No three was bigger than Klay’s in the waning seconds of the game that put Golden State up 107-103 and prompted a classic Mike Breen, “Bang!”
Kevon Looney went 6/15/2, and he’s averaged double-digit rebounds in the month of January while making a solid case for fantasy relevancy in 12-team leagues. Jordan Poole finished with 17/3/6 and a block, and he’s scored at least 17 in five straight. Poole appears to be acclimated to his new bench role, and he’s not the droppable fantasy player many believed him to be when Klay returned.
Notable players to add/watch following Saturday’s games (Yahoo % rostered):
Jose Alvarado (3%)
Maxi Kleber (22%)
Reggie Bullock (6%)
Isaiah Jackson (3%)
Davion Mitchell (20%)
Gabe Vincent (22%)
De’Anthony Melton (44%)
John Konchar (1%)
Nicolas Claxton (29%)
James Johnson (2%)
Kevon Looney (29%)