Happy Thursday everybody! I hope everyone enjoyed St Patrick’s day and hopefully got to tune into some of the action last night! There was a loaded slate that included 12 games, which means there was plenty to talk about. Many of the league’s biggest superstars showed out, but some unsung heroes also emerged from the crop. We’ll hit on a few of both as we gear up for the fantasy playoffs and get you ready to win your league. So without further ado, here are the ten biggest takeaways from Wednesday night’s slate.
Spencer Dinwiddie plays hero for Dallas again
On Sunday, Dinwiddie hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 11.6 seconds to play that ended up being the game-winner as the Mavericks beat the Celtics 95-92 in Boston. On Wednesday, he had Deja Vu as he hit another game-winning three, this time to beat his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Dinwiddie spent five seasons in Brooklyn from 2016 to 2021, so needless to say, the Barclays Center is a second home for him. Luka Doncic found Dinwiddie alone on the right-wing after the Nets sent a double at him, and he drained the game-winning three as time expired.
Dinwiddie finished with 22 points on 6-of-14 shooting (2-of-6 3-pointers) to go with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 33 minutes as the Mavericks beat the Nets 113-111 on Wednesday. Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has been rolling with these three point-guard lineups of late with Reggie Bullock (personal) on the sidelines, and the Mavericks have beaten two great teams in consecutive days. One has to wonder if Kidd will continue this even when Bullock returns because Dinwiddie is playing some great basketball and he has now scored in double figures in 10 straight games in Dallas, including five of at least 20 points.
Torrey Craig has huge night in spot start
The Suns were without Jae Crowder (groin) on Wednesday, so Torrey Craig slid into the starting lineup in his place. He did not disappoint, as he became just the sixth player in NBA history to record a 20 & 10 game while shooting 100% from the floor and 100% from three. He joined Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis, Karl-Antony Towns, Draymond Green, and Mario Ellie as the others. Craig scored 21 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the floor (3-of-3 3-pointers) and grabbed 14 rebounds with three assists and three blocks in 34 minutes.
It is truly remarkable how the Suns keep finding ways to win games despite all the games they have missed key players in their rotation. In 13 games since the all-star break, the Suns are 9-4, and have been without Chris Paul in all 13 games, and have been without Devin Booker, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, and Cameron Payne for multiple games. Now Wednesday’s game was against a rebuilding Rockets team, and Crowder could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday against Chicago, so we won’t overreact to this performance by Craig too much. It is worth noting that he has now scored in double figures in three-straight games, and is averaging 14.3 points per game over the stretch, but he is still not a must-add at this time unless both Crowder and Cameron Johnson (quad) remain out of the lineup.
Donovan Mitchell scores 25 in 3rd quarter against Chicago
It was a record-breaking night on Wednesday for Donovan Mitchell, who set franchise records for three-pointers made in a quarter with 7, and points scored in the third quarter with 25, as the Jazz beat the Bulls 125-110. Mitchell poured in 37 points on 12-of-22 shooting (9-of-15 3-pointers) to go with five assists, three rebounds, and four turnovers in 29 minutes. The nine made three’s tied a career-high and the 37 points were his second-highest outburst of the season. Over his last three games, Mitchell is averaging 30.3 points on 43.4% shooting from the floor (39.5% three-pointers) with 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 5.0 made triples, and 1.0 steal per game. It is looking like he is beginning to find his rhythm, and it couldn't come at a better time as we begin to head down the stretch of the regular season.
Joel Embiid puts up 35 & 17 in win over Cavs
Joel Embiid has been on an absolute tear of late, and there might not be a soul in the NBA that can slow him down at this point. Wednesday was no different, as the big fella scored 35 points on 13-of-19 shooting (8-of-10 free throws) to go with 17 rebounds and five assists. It was also his birthday, so he had even more incentive to go off, as he turned 28 on Wednesday. Embiid is now averaging 34.8 points per game on 47.7% shooting from the floor (52.9% 3-pointers) to go with 13.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 made triples, and 1.6 blocks over his last five. He has also scored at least 30 points 32 times this season, which is the most of any player in the NBA. He is still the likely frontrunner for MVP, but the margin is getting smaller and smaller by the day, namely with Nikola Jokic breathing down his neck.
Jokic fills it up in easy win over Wizards
Speaking of Nikola Jokic, last year’s MVP was up to his usual shenanigans on Wednesday as he put up a huge line in what looked like an effortless outing. The joker scored 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor (2-of-2 3-pointers) to go with 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block, and three turnovers as the Nuggets beat the Wizards 127-109. He also scored his 10,000th point in his career on Wednesday, and he did so in 516 games. He became the second-fastest player in NBA history to record 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 3,000 assists behind only Larry Bird, who did so in 515 games. There is a strong case building for Jokic to win the MVP award for the second-consecutive season as he has the Nuggets in sixth place in the West with 42 wins, and on the cusp of a 50-win season, despite being without Jamal Murray (ACL) for the entire season and Michael Porter Jr. (back) for all but nine games this season.
KAT, Anthony Edwards lead Timberwolves over Lakers
The last time we saw Karl-Anthony Towns, he scored a career-high 60 points, including 32 in the third quarter against the Spurs. This one wasn’t as prolific as that performance, but it was still a damn good outing, as he scored 30 points on 8-of-15 shooting (13-of-13 free throws) to go with eight rebounds, one assist, and one block in just 26 minutes as the Timberwolves beat the Lakers 124-104 on Wednesday night. He got some help from Antony Edwards, who also had a great game, scoring 27 points on 8-of-21 shooting from the floor (6-of-11 3-pointers) to go with six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block in 32 minutes. Edwards was a spectator on Monday against the Spurs as he scored just five points on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor so it was great to see him bounce back in this one.
Minnesota was without Jalen McDaniels (sprained left ankle) on Wednesday, and they are expected to be without him for at least two weeks, so Jarred Vanderbilt is worth a look, but only for rebounding and defensive stats. For the Lakers, they have now trailed by at least 25 points in three straight games, which is the first time this has happened to a LeBron James-led team ever. They are also 11 games under .500, and the last time a LeBron-led team was that far under .500 was in his rookie season in 2003-2004. So to say the least, things are not looking good for the Lakers right now.
Bucks big three has big night in win over Kings
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on a tear recently and he kept it going on Wednesday night. The Greek Freak scored 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting (12-of-16 free throws) to go with 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, and just two turnovers as the Bucks beat the Kings 135-126. Khris Middleton added 32 points of his own, shooting 10-of-20 from the floor (7-of-10 3-pointers) to go with eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and one block in 34 minutes. Last but not least, Jrue Holiday chipped in 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting (3-of-6 3-pointers) to go with four rebounds, three assists, and four steals in 35 minutes. The Bucks have now won eight of their last nine games, with the only loss coming in Golden State when Klay Thompson went off for 38 points. Milwaukee is now 8-0 when all three members of their “big three” score at least 20 points. They will look to keep it going on Friday with a trip over to Minnesota.
Pascal Siakam stays hot in win
The Raptors currently own the NBA’s longest active win streak at five games, and they quietly are tied with Cleveland for the sixth and final spot in the east to avoid the play-in tournament. A huge reason for that has been the play of Pascal Siakam, who has been outstanding of late. On Wednesday, he was at it again, as he scored 31 points on 13-of-22 shooting (3-of-5 3-pointers) and grabbed 12 rebounds with three assists and one steal as the Raptors beat the Clippers 103-100. Over this recent win streak, Siakam is averaging 27.2 points on 51.0% shooting from the floor (50.0 % 3-pointers) to go with 8.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.2 triples, and 1.2 steals per game. The Raptors will host the Lakers on Friday, who they just beat in Los Angeles on Monday.
RJ Barrett scores 31 in win over Blazers
The Knicks have been playing better basketball of late, and they ran into a bad Portland team on Wednesday. The Knicks took full advantage and eared a 128-98 win, which was their fourth win in their last six games. RJ Barrett has been carrying the load offensively of late, and he had another big one against the Blazers. Barrett played 40 minutes, scoring 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting ( 5-of-11 3-pointers), and added five assists, four rebounds, two steals, one block, and one turnover. Barrett has been an absolute beast since the all-star break as he is averaging 26.9 points with 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.1 triples over 10 games. It is awesome to see him begin to show the promise that the Knicks thought they were getting when they selected him third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
SGA goes off in loss to Spurs
Another player who has been on a tear is Thunder guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In eleven games since the all-star break, SGA is averaging 30.7 points per game on 54.0% shooting from the floor (35.4% 3-pointers) with 7.5 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 triples, 1.9 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game. On Wednesday, he scored 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor (1-of-4 3-pointers) and added eight assists, six rebounds, three steals, and one block in 35 minutes. With Luguentz Dort (shoulder) out for the season, and Josh Giddey (hip) still without a timetable to return, expect these numbers to continue for SGA as long as he remains on the court. Darius Bazley also had himself a game on Wednesday, scoring 25 points to go with nine rebounds, four triples, one assist, and one steal in 33 minutes, and he has now scored at least 25 points in three-straight games.