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There were only five games on Sunday, including the LeBron vs Isaiah Stewart heavyweight rematch, the Bucks’ seventh straight win, and Steph being Steph. Let’s break it down!
Warriors 105, Clippers 90
The Warriors won their 8th straight game on Sunday as they moved to an NBA-best 18-2. Stephen Curry got a tech early in the fourth quarter, which triggered him to score 11 of his game-high 33 points over the final nine minutes. The greatest shooter of all time continues to prove why he gets that title, as he hit seven 3-pointers, which was the seventh time this month he’s hit at least six threes in a game. He also added five rebounds, six assists, and six steals in the win. Jordan Poole was Steph Curry-esque to end the third quarter. After Isaiah Hartenstein was called for a technical foul for taunting Poole, he proceeded to score 13 of his 17 points over the final 2:35 of the third quarter, including four 3-pointers and the technical free throw. He’s really taken advantage of the opportunity with Klay Thompson still out and should continue to be a fantasy asset even after Thompson returns.
In Andre Iguodala’s continued absence, Otto Porter Jr. has been taking advantage. He recorded his first double-double of the season, with 18 points and 10 rebounds. As if the Warriors needed more good news, Thompson and James Wiseman were just assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors, their G-League affiliate. Might not be a bad idea to see if they’re hiding on your waiver wire.
Paul George continues to be the focal point of the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard sidelined. The good? He scored 30 points for the sixth time this season. The bad? He failed to record a defensive stat. The ugly? He turned the ball over eight times. PG-13 will continue to be the premier fantasy option on the Clippers, as they’ll need to rely on him heavily just to stay afloat in the Western Conference. Reggie Jackson, who’s been the second leading scorer for the Clippers this season, went scoreless with two assists and three turnovers in 27 minutes. He should bounce back, as he’s averaged 25 points per game over his last three games.
Hartenstein and Serge Ibaka combined for a whopping 21 minutes of playing time and neither did much with it. This was likely because of Golden State’s infatuation with small ball lineups that feature Draymond Green at the five, so the big man tandem should see an increase in minutes (and production) in other matchups. The only Clipper other than PG that has produced at a top-100 level this season is Nicolas Batum, but he’s been in and out of the lineup with injuries. It’s hard to trust any of these guys to get you wins right now, and this game was just more evidence.
Bucks 118, Pacers 100
If Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps this up, we might be looking at his third MVP season. The Bucks started off slow because of a plethora of injuries, but they’ve now won seven straight. Giannis had 26 points and 13 rebounds on 15 shots, but fantasy managers aren’t really wowed by those kinds of numbers anymore. He’s that good. Brook Lopez still hasn’t played since opening night, but could make a difference for fantasy teams when he’s back healthy. Until then, Bobby Portis will continue to be a huge factor for the Bucks. He only had 15 points and six rebounds tonight, but he’s averaging career highs in points and steals and having his second best rebounding season. His role could take a hit when Lopez returns, but he’s a 33-year-old 7-footer with a back injury. Who knows when that will be, and the Bucks would rather be safe than sorry if they’re going to repeat as champions.
Jrue Holiday had 23 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, which gives him 5,000 in his career. Cool accolade for a humble king. Speaking of kings, Milwaukee added former King DeMarcus Cousins to their roster. That shouldn’t take away from Portis’ production, but it’s always interesting when a former All-Star gets another shot. Could work out the way Carmelo Anthony has for the Lakers this season. Definitely someone to keep an eye on. And with the Bucks taking the step of signing Cousins, managers who have Lopez rostered should be a bit concerned, as he does not have a timeline for return.
This is a game that the Pacers are going to try to forget about, and fantasy GMs should too. The lone bright spot for Indiana was the reemergence of Caris LeVert. The Michigan product has struggled out of the gates, but he’s turned it on over the past two games. He scored a season-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The downside is he doesn’t do much aside from score, so he doesn’t give fantasy managers as much as he gives Indiana. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner combined for six points on 2-of-12 shooting. Giannis will need to add this game to his portfolio when making his case for Defensive Player of the Year, but this game shouldn’t cause anyone to worry about either of the bigs for Indiana.
Jeremy Lamb has sat the bench the last two games before finally getting in for 13 minutes against the Bucks. He shot 0-for-4. He’s probably heading back to the bench. Malcolm Brogdon had a below average game. Not a lot of positives for the Pacers. Justin Holiday hit a pair of threes and had a pair of blocks. Just a lot of average-to-poor performances from guys who aren’t losing their spot in the lineup. The return of T.J. Warren is the only thing that will alter their rotation.
Celtics 109, Raptors 97
It seems Marcus Smart’s message may have gotten across to Jayson Tatum. It took Smart’s public comments weeks ago and numerous anonymous scouts and GMs from across the league saying Tatum cared more about his performance than winning to make it happen, but Tatum had a season-high 10 assists, including five in the fourth quarter, to help the Celtics to victory. Tatum also had a season-low eight points on 2-of-16 shooting. He won’t shoot that bad often, he’s just too talented. Hopefully, the assists aren’t correlated with the bad shooting. If Tatum can build off this and bump his assists number up, it increases his fantasy value tremendously. Smart ended up being the leading scorer with 21 points and added eight rebounds, six assists, and four 3-pointers. Smart has now scored 20 in two of his last three games and has averaged 7.3 assists over the past three. If you get the chance, ride the hot hand.
Jaylen Brown had 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 27 minutes as he still gets back into the swing of things after returning from his hamstring injury. The tandem from Tennessee of Josh Richardson and Grant Williams volunteered 18 and 15 points respectively. Richardson says he’s “kind of figured out how to find my role, see a hole, see where I can be helpful.” He’s averaged 1.1 steals per game in his career, so he may start to get towards that mean if he’s truly found his role. He’s a guy that fantasy GMs may have abandoned early on, which could be good news for you if he’s on the wire. Romeo Langford had a career-high eight rebounds. He’s a young, athletic guard that could provide nice rebounding numbers if he ever carves out a consistent role. Al Horford turned back the clock with a 17/11 double-double. Enes Kanter Freedom finished out his career as Enes Kanter with nine points and 10 rebounds. When he officially becomes a U.S. citizen on Monday, his middle name will be Kanter, and his last name will be Freedom. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on his fantasy production.
Scottie Barnes continued his Rookie of the Year campaign with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a career-high four triples. Barnes wasn’t known as a shooter coming out of college and was 5-of-19 from deep before this game. This game may end up being an outlier, but if the trey ball ever becomes a consistent part of his game, watch out. Fred VanVleet scored 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting and has been the seventh best fantasy player over the past month.
Svi Mykhailiuk got the starting nod with both O.G. Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. out. He finished with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds, and two steals in 38 minutes. When the other two wings get back healthy, Mykhailiuk will likely head back to the bench where he hasn’t produced enough to warrant fantasy value. Chris Boucher got hit with the DNP- Coach’s Decision. He’d only played 21 minutes in the past two games. After being a top-40 fantasy asset last season, Boucher probably shouldn’t be rostered.
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Grizzlies 128, Kings 101
No Ja Morant? No problem apparently for the Grizzlies, who collected 68 rebounds as a team in their blowout victory. The team received some good news regarding its star point guard, who is expected to be sidelined for a “few weeks” due to his sprained left knee. Things could have ben a lot worse for Morant and the Grizzlies. As a result, Tyus Jones stepped into the starting role and dished out eight assists. He doesn’t contribute a ton of other numbers fantasy-wise, so he probably isn’t worth rostering until he proves he can contribute a little more scoring. Desmond Bane chipped in 18 points, five rebounds, and four threes. De’Anthony Melton had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three 3-pointers. Both guys offer nice value with Morant out, especially when looking for low budget guards in DFS.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks both had solid nights in limited minutes. They’ll need to continue to step up in Morant’s absence for the Grizzlies to continue to compete. Brandon Clarke had an efficient 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and six rebounds in only 15 minutes. It’s really hard to take away much about how the Grizzlies’ rotation will look in Morant’s absence because they don’t play the Kings every night, even if they wish they could.
Not many bright spots for the Kings in this one. Davion Mitchell had 11 points, six assists, four rebounds, a steal, and a block in 31 minutes. Tristan Thompson shot 3-of-9 from both the field and the free throw line as he finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Marvin Bagley won’t provide much value unless he’s traded. De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Tyrese Haliburton all had off-nights.
With Richaun Holmes, Harrison Barnes, and Moe Harkless out, Chimezie Metu, Terence Davis, and Alex Len have filled the void in the starting lineup. Davis had a solid performance with 13 points, four rebounds, and two blocks in 17 minutes. If he gets an expanded role with all of the injuries, he could provide decent value, especially providing blocks from the guard position. Metu only scored eight points on 2-of-11 shooting, but gathered 11 rebounds. Len only played seven minutes and didn’t provide anything. This game just wasn’t very telling for their future because the rotations were off due to the lopsided score.
Lakers 110, Pistons 106
Round two wasn’t nearly as eventful as the first matchup, and the Lakers came out victorious to complete their season sweep of the Pistons. The Lakers Big Three put up Big Three stats for one of the few times all season. LeBron James had a monster night with 33 points, five rebounds, nine assists, two steals, four threes, and he blocked Isaiah Stewart . Efficient shooting numbers for the King, including hitting one of his four threes over Stewart. Safe to say that he got the last laugh, even if there was never much doubt over who the better player is. Anthony Davis scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting (2-of-2 from deep). Sure he added the 10 rebounds, two steals, and three blocks, but seeing AD shoot that well is huge. Coming into this game, he was shooting 16.7% from three, 38.3% from midrange, and 33.1% on jump shots. That’s bad. Historically bad. But the Brow is too talented for that to stick. It was only a matter of time before he started hitting shots. Hopefully this is a sign that he’s back on track.
Russell Westbrook had 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting with six boards and nine assists. It wasn’t a triple double, and he shot 4-of-8 from the free throw line, so it wasn’t a perfect game. But it shows he can put up numbers when all three are healthy and playing well. Avery Bradley and Carmelo Anthony combined to shoot 0-for-12 and scored zero points. Melo should get back on track, but this is now the third time Bradley has gone scoreless in his past five games. He plays his role for the Lakers, but he shouldn’t have a role on anyone’s fantasy team. Malik Monk has been hot recently, but he shot poorly. He’s a streaky shooter, so it’s a risk if you were to pick him up in DFS. I know because I did on Sunday, and it didn’t work out. The Lakers are built for the Big Three, and it makes it very difficult to trust anybody else in L.A. to produce for your fantasy team.
Isaiah Stewart may have gotten cheers when they played the Clippers, but he got boos from both Lakers’ fans and fantasy GMs for his performance Sunday. He finished with five points, six rebounds, and a block in 27 minutes. He’s made over 50% of his shots this season, so his 2-of-7 shooting performance shouldn’t be the norm. Jerami Grant scored 32 points and tallied six boards and four assists while shooting 11-of-20 from the floor and 4-of-6 from three. Grant is the best player on this team right now and proved it again tonight. He’s shown no signs of slowing down, even if the Pistons are more focused on their rebuild. Cade Cunningham had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds on bad shooting splits and five turnovers. It’ll be a little while before we see him putting up dominant fantasy numbers. Just gotta wait it out and hope he turns it on in the second half of the season, like rookies often do.
Killian Hayes had eight assists in his return. The Pistons seem dead set on him being a critical part of their future and are giving him every chance to prove it. He’s going to consistently get minutes, but he really hasn’t done enough to warrant fantasy relevance. Trey Lyles, Frank Jackson, and Hamidou Diallo all provided double digit scoring off the bench. Lyles can continue to provide some value while Kelly Olynyk is out, and Jackson has now scored in double digits in six of the last seven games. He just doesn’t do much else. The Pistons are now 4-16 and have lost six straight. But after Michigan beat Ohio State, there probably aren’t many people in the state who care. As for fantasy teams, you shouldn’t really be looking past Grant on this roster.