With Sunday evening being left alone for the Super Bowl, there were just four games on the NBA schedule. Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden posted lines that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them, but the same can’t be said for Raptors rookie Terence Davis. He had a career day in Toronto’s blowout of the Bulls, and there was also an interesting report regarding Rockets center Clint Capela ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. Below is a look at Sunday’s action, beginning with Detroit’s win over Denver.
Pistons 128, Nuggets 123 (OT) — Denver played its third game in a span of about 64 hours Sunday afternoon in Detroit, but the good news in the defeat was that the rotation expanded by one. Gary Harris, who missed the two games prior for personal reasons, was back in the fold. He came off the bench for this one, playing 31 minutes and finishing with three points (1-of-6 FGs), three rebounds and one assist. Eventually Harris will be back in the starting lineup, maybe as soon as Denver’s next game Tuesday night against Portland. And that would likely mean a return to the bench for Monte Morris, who played 39 minutes on Sunday.
Morris posted a line of 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. Even with the second unit he’s definitely worth holding onto, as the Nuggets are still without the injured Jamal Murray. And with there no concrete timeline when it comes to Murray’s return, Morris’ value remains high. Nikola Jokic posted his 10th triple-double of the season, going off for 39 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, two blocks and one three-pointer in 40 minutes. Over the last month he’s provided first round value in both eight- and nine-category formats, right in line with what was expected of Jokic before the season began.
Will Barton, who would have the ball in his hands more as a playmaker if Harris were to replace Morris in the starting lineup, accounted for 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers against the Pistons. When Barton isn’t sharing the court with the aforementioned Murray this season, he has a usage of 21.8% (up from 18.1 with Murray) while his assist percentages jumps from 12.7% to 21.9%. Also scoring in double figures for Denver were Jerami Grant (14 points four rebounds, one steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers) and Malik Beasley (12/1/4/1 with two 3-pointers). Grant has solid value in standard leagues as the Nuggets are still without both Paul Millsap (knee) and Mason Plumlee (foot). Beasley’s minutes take a hit with Harris back in the fold, which doesn’t bode well for his fantasy value.
Andre Drummond did his usual work in the post for the Pistons, as he tallied 21 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in 30 minutes. But the point guard position is the focus here. Derrick Rose started by played just 13 minutes due to a groin injury, finishing with two points, one rebound and two assists. That opened the door for Reggie Jackson, who in his sixth game back from a back injury played a season-high 34 minutes. He amassed 20 points (8-of-18 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers, and Rose’s injury likely means a move back into the starting lineup for Jackson. He’s currently rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues, and now would be a good time to pick Jackson up.
Bruce Brown will also be affected if Rose has to miss an extended period of time, and he posted one of his best lines of the season Sunday. In 38 minutes he accounted for 19 points (7-of-10 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), 10 rebounds, eight assists and three 3-pointers (on three attempts). in the three games prior Brown scored a total of 18 points, and during his brief NBA career he’s been more valuable as a defender than as an offensive player. With regard to his fantasy value I’d like to see more consistency from Brown as a shooter/assist man before going “all in,” but his spot in the Pistons rotation has never been up for debate. At the very least he’s worth grabbing in deeper leagues.
Sekou Doumbouya, who struggled mightily to end the month of January, got his February off to a solid start with 17 points, five rebounds and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Detroit isn’t out of the race for a playoff spot, but either way the goal down the stretch should be to continue to give the rookie forward consistent playing time. If the Pistons aren’t going to be a credible threat in the East, the least they can do is get Doumbouya all the game reps he needs to make progress. I’d stash him until the trade deadline.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (one rebound, four assists, two steals and one three-pointer) and Tony Snell (two rebounds, six assists and three 3-pointers) scored 13 points apiece, and Christian Wood finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and one three-pointer in 16 minutes off the bench. Should something happen with Drummond ahead of the trade deadline, Wood would benefit with regard to both minutes and touches.
Rockets 117, Pelicans 109 — Houston has gone with an extremely small — by NBA standards — rotation since Clint Capela went down with a heel injury, and they’ve won two of those games. And there was big news regarding Capela after the game, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Houston has been “actively discussing several trade scenarios” with other teams. Some Eastern Conference teams have been involved, with Woj reporting that the Rockets are looking to get a wing and a center in return for Capela. The trade deadline is Thursday afternoon, and despite his currently being injured Capela is Houston’s most valuable trade asset.
While the small lineup has worked in the short-term, it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Houston gets out of the West without a formidable center. Neither Isaiah Hartenstein nor Tyson Chandler offer up any value fantasy-wise, and both were DNP-CDs Sunday afternoon. P.J. Tucker becomes more valuable within the Rockets rotation with Capela out, but he went scoreless (0-of-5 FGs) and finished with nine rebounds and one steal. Over the last two weeks he’s just outside of the top-100 in nine-cat, so he’s worth a look in deeper leagues. But due to the lack of offensive production, that represents Tucker’s ceiling right now.
James Harden fell one assist shy of a triple-double, as he tallied 40 points (12-of-24 FGs, 9-of-9 FTs), 10 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and seven 3-pointers. He appeared to tweak his right knee in a second-half collision with Zion Williamson, so that’s something to keep an eye on ahead of Houston’s game against Charlotte Tuesday night.
Russell Westbrook (six rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one three-pointer) and Ben McLemore (two steals and four 3-pointers) scored 22 points apiece, and Danuel House added 12 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers. McLemore’s coming off the bench, but he’s scored 13 points or more in four of his last five games. Currently rostered in just six percent of Yahoo leagues, he’s worth a look given how well he’s played.
Going back to Williamson, the Pelicans rookie played a season-high 33 minutes Sunday. He posted a line of 21 points (8-of-14 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot, and after the game Alvin Gentry took the blame for Zion not getting more touches down the stretch. The good news from a load management standpoint is that the Pelicans won’t have a back-to-back before the All-Star break (their next one is March 3-4), so we should see Williamson exceeding 30 minutes on a consistent basis.
Brandon Ingram paced the Pelicans with 28 points while also tallying 12 rebounds, three assists and five 3-pointers, with this being his best scoring effort since January 16 against Utah (49 points). And maybe there’s some kind of glitch that I’m not aware of, because Ingram is currently rostered in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues. Not 100 percent…95. Every league in that five percent should be disbanded.
Josh Hart finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes off the bench, with Jrue Holiday (11 points, three rebounds, six assists and one block) and E'Twaun Moore (10 points, one block) also scoring in double figures. Lonzo Ball fell one assist short of his fourth triple-double of the season, as he accounted for 10 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. Over the last two weeks, he’s provided third-round value in nine-cat and second-round value in eight-cat. Just as the move out of Los Angeles has worked out for Ingram, that has also been the case for Ball.
Derrick Favors finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes. Houston's smaller lineup was bad news for Jaxson Hayes, who played just four minutes and finished with two points and two rebounds.
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Bucks 129, Suns 108 — Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to play this one despite being listed on the injury report with a new ailment. Previously having played through a sore right shoulder, the reigning MVP was considered to be questionable due to a sore left hamstring. Not only was Antetokounmpo able to start Sunday’s rout of the Suns, but he was able to play 31 minutes. Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer. The only issues for him were the turnover count (seven) and a 9-of-16 afternoon from the charity stripe.
Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton added 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one block and three 3-pointers, with Eric Bledsoe finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block and two 3-pointers. Brook Lopez also deserves a mention, as he racked up a career-high nine blocks to go along with 17 points, four rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer. Phoenix refused to stop challenging the center who ranks second in the NBA in blocks per game, and those who have Lopez rostered should be thankful for that. Despite averaging nearly one less three-pointer per game than he did in 2018-19, Lopez has been a top-50 player in nine-cat due in large part to his work as a shot blocker.
Donte DiVincenzo (left ankle) shot 6-of-12 from the field in his return to action after sitting out Friday’s game, finishing with 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench. With George Hill dealing with a hamstring injury, DiVincenzo has even greater value in standard leagues. He’s currently rostered in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues despite being a top-100 player in nine-cat formats. Pat Connaughton (seven rebounds, three assists, one block and two 3-pointers), Kyle Korver (one rebound, two assists and two 3-pointers) and Ersan Ilyasova (four rebounds and two 3-pointers) scored eight points apiece, and it’s safe to leave each of them on the waiver wire.
Devin Booker put up a solid stat line, finishing with 32 points (9-of-15 FGs, 12-of-13 FTs), seven rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers. He did turn the ball over five times however, and that area is why he’s providing second round value in nine-cat this season (first round in eight-cat). Deandre Ayton, who has also been a second round player in nine-cat, accounted for 20 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 30 minutes. But the field goal percentage took a hit, as he was just 10-of-27 on the day.
With Ricky Rubio held out due to right ankle soreness Elie Okobo moved into the starting lineup, and in 26 minutes he tallied two points, one rebound, four assists and one steal. Jevon Carter was far more effective, as he posted a line of 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench. Phoenix was down two points guards Sunday, with Ty Jerome sidelined due to a sore left calf, but Okobo was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. What the point guard rotation will look like for Phoenix’s game in Brooklyn Monday night is anyone’s guess, but we could see more of Carter in that one based upon how well he played against Milwaukee.
Kelly Oubre shot a putrid 5-of-20 from the field, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer, while Cheick Diallo added 11 points, seven rebounds and one assist. Mikal Bridges remains a player who should be rostered in standard leagues due to his production in non-scoring areas, as he accounted for seven points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks. Dario Saric being sidelined due to a sprained left ankle opened up a spot in the starting lineup for Bridges, who’s been a top-100 player over the last two weeks.
Raptors 129, Bulls 102 — Toronto beating Chicago handily doesn’t come as a surprise. But who led the Raptors in scoring certainly did. Playing against a Bulls team that includes the man whose AAU team he played for (Thaddeus Young) as a child, Terence Davis went off. In 28 minutes he shot 12-of-15 from the field, scoring a career-high 31 points with four rebounds, one assist and six 3-pointers. In the prior two games Davis combined to score a total of five points, but while this performance was surprising that doesn’t mean the rookie is incapable of having big nights.
Davis had two 23-point games in January, and the majority of his best scoring efforts this season have come against bad teams. Chicago fits that mold. I wouldn’t expect a similar output from Davis on Wednesday night when the Raptors host the Pacers. But with Norman Powell (fractured finger) out indefinitely, Davis is worth picking up for the time being.
In total seven players scored in double figures for Toronto, with Pascal Siakam tallying 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. Serge Ibaka, making another start in place of the injured Marc Gasol added 16 points, six rebounds, one assist, three blocks and one three-pointer, with backup Chris Boucher accounting for 15 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals and one three-pointer. As long as Gasol is out with his hamstring injury, Boucher is a worthwhile play in standard leagues where there’s a need for a backup center (he also has PF eligibility).
Rounding out the double-digit scorers for Toronto were Kyle Lowry (14 points, four rebounds, six assists, one block and three 3-pointers), Fred VanVleet (12/4/8/1 with two 3-pointers) and Patrick McCaw (10/2/2/1 with two 3-pointers). OG Anunoby finished with four points, seven rebounds and one steal, and at this point he isn’t worth holding onto in standard leagues.
The aforementioned Young led the Bulls with 21 points (9-of-12 FGs), seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. And with Jim Boylen being willing to play his veterans, Young has solid value in standard leagues. Zach LaVine posted a line of 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals, with his 10 field goal attempts being the fewest he’s had in a game since November 6 (10 vs. Atlanta). Players such as Young (12 attempts), Chandler Hutchison (13) and Coby White (13) getting more shots than LaVine played right into the Raptors’ hands.
Hutchison had one of his better games from a statistical standpoint, as he finished with 17 points (5-of-13 FGs, 6-of-9 FTs), five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer in 28 minutes. White (one rebound, five assists and four 3-pointers) and Ryan Arcidiacono (one rebound, two assist and three 3-pointers) scored 12 points apiece, with Luke Kornet (five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer) and Tomas Satoransky (five rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers) both scoring eight points. Even with Kris Dunn (elbow) currently sidelined, Arcidiacono doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value in most leagues.
Daniel Gafford made his return to the lineup after missing time with a dislocated thumb, but he was limited to just nine minutes due in part to a sprained ankle that he suffered during the game. Wendell Carter Jr. should be back soon from his ankle injury, and that would limit Gafford’s fantasy value even more. At the very least, there should come a time when the rookie power forward/center is playing more minutes than Cristiano Felicio (four rebounds and one steal in 16 minutes Sunday).
Denzel Valentine accounted for three points, one rebound, two assists and one three-pointer in 14 minutes, and at this point you have to wonder if a change of scenery would be best for him. He’s been dealing with a hip injury recently, but even when healthy there just hasn’t been much room for Valentine in the rotation.
Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Golden State at Washington, 7 PM
Orlando at Charlotte, 7 PM
New York at Cleveland, 7 PM
Dallas at Indiana, 7 PM
Phoenix at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM
Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 PM
Philadelphia at Miami, 7:30 PM
Detroit at Memphis, 8 PM
Minnesota at Sacramento, 10 PM
San Antonio at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM