Monday's NBA schedule wasn't as busy as the prior day, but there was no lack of noteworthy happenings. Boston announced that a key starter will undergo season-ending surgery, while the Lakers and Nets are expecting to welcome back star players at some point this week. But the Daily Dose will begin with the Wizards, whose point guard broke a record that stood for 47 years.
Pacers 111, Cavaliers 102
Hawks 125, Wizards 124
Grizzlies 115, Pelicans 110
Spurs 146, Bucks 125
Warriors 119, Jazz 116
Trail Blazers 140, Rockets 129
1. Westbrook becomes the all-time leader in triple-doubles
As notes above, Oscar Roberson's record for most triple-doubles in a career stood for 47 years. Two days after he tied the Big O with his 181st career triple-double, Russell Westbrook grabbed sole possession of the top spot in Monday's loss to the Hawks. With Bradley Beal (hamstring) sidelined, Westbrook had more heavy lifting to do as a scorer, and he finished with a line of 28 points (10-of-22 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), 13 rebounds, 21 assists and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes. Westbrook had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but his jumper from the right wing fell short. Also impressive was the fact that he was responsible for just three turnovers; fantasy managers whose leagues are both still active and using assist-to-turnover ratio had to love this.
Beal's spot in the starting lineup was filled by Garrison Mathews, who played 14 minutes and recorded a line of three points (1-of-2 FGs), one rebound and one 3-pointer. He may remain in that role for Wednesday's rematch, but there isn't much reason to trust Mathews either as a streaming option or low-cost DFS play. The player most likely to step forward with Beal sidelined is Rui Hachimura, and he posted a line of 20 points (9-of-19 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), three rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes. It would have been nice to get more production on the boards from Hachimura, but that's a tough ask when he's sharing the court with Westbrook and Hawks center Clint Capela (10/22/1/0/4 in 35 minutes).
2. Celtics' Brown (left wrist) done for season
Boston has been without Jaylen Brown for the last three games, and on Monday the team announced that he'll be out for a lot longer. Due to a torn ligament in his left (non-shooting) wrist, Brown will undergo season-ending surgery. To say the least, this is a huge loss for a team that has lost three of its last four, and is hoping to avoid having to take part in the play-in tournament. As a result Evan Fournier, who put up 30 points in Sunday's loss to the Heat, will remain in the starting lineup. After struggling in his first few games back from COVID-19, Fournier seems to have hit his stride, providing top-50 value in 9-cat over the last two weeks.
The Celtics will also need more consistent scoring from Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, in order to keep teams from focusing too much attention on Jayson Tatum. Rookies Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard have also factored into the perimeter rotation, with the former being a top-100 player over the last two weeks. Nesmith and Pritchard are rostered in three and five percent of Yahoo leagues, respectively, so they'll be available in most leagues if you've got a need for a perimeter option in this final week of the regular season.
3. LeBron (right ankle) likely to return Tuesday night
While LeBron James was listed as out for Tuesday's game against the Knicks on the final official injury report of the day, the expectation is that he will be available. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, James was able to go through strenuous workouts on Sunday and Monday without experiencing any issues with the right ankle that sidelined him for 20 games beginning in late-March. Kyle Kuzma, who, when healthy, hasn't been consistently productive with James sidelined, stands to take a hit with regard to his fantasy value.
Wesley Matthews, who started Sunday's win over the Suns, isn't a particularly valuable fantasy option as it is. LeBron's return is likely to push him out of the rotation completely, as Matthews had five straight DNP-CDs before the Lakers' best player left the lineup. LeBron's presence in the lineup will impact everyone, and with Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) still sidelined, he will spend even more time on the ball as the Lakers' primary playmaker than he did pre-injury.
4. Harden (right hamstring) hopes to play Wednesday
Nets guard James Harden may be able to return this week, as it was reported that the earliest he'd be cleared to return from a strained hamstring is Wednesday against the Spurs. Harden has been sidelined since April 5 and, if healthy, that may be a good time for The Beard to return. After Wednesday's game, the Nets aren't scheduled to play again until Saturday night against the Bulls. Brooklyn closes out its schedule with two back-to-backs, and depending upon what happens with the Bucks, who trail the Nets by one game for the No. 2 seed in the East but hold the tiebreaker, there may be opportunities to rest some of their key players.
Harden's absence from the lineup has meant a return to the point guard role for Kyrie Irving, who has been a top-5 player in 9-cat over the last month. Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet have been able to play more minutes, and they're providing late-round value with Harden sidelined. While Irving's value would be fine if Harden were to play Wednesday, Brown and Shamet would both take a hit. The same can be said for Mike James, who has played well enough to earn a contract for the remainder of the season.
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5. Jackson Jr. posts a full line in second start
Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. was finally moved back into the starting lineup for Saturday's win over the Raptors, and all he did was put up 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Jackson Jr. played 27 minutes in Monday's win over the Pelicans, which clinched a play-in spot for Memphis, finishing with 12 points (4-of-8 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, four blocks and one 3-pointer. The Grizzlies continue to exercise caution with regard to his workload, but JJJ remains a quality option as far as fantasy is concerned. Unfortunately, his full fantasy value may not be realized until next season due to the way in which his playing time has been monitored.
Dillon Brooks (23/4/2/2 with one 3-pointer) and Jonas Valanciunas (20/11/2/0/5) led the way offensively, and the Grizzlies has three players reject at least four shots on the night. Kyle Anderson (14/4/4/0/4 with one 3-pointer) joined JJJ and Valanciunas and, as a team, Memphis recorded a franchise record-tying 19 blocks. Ja Morant (12/3/12/1 with two 3-pointers) posted his second double-double in the Grizzlies' last four games.
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6. Hawks' Hunter makes long-awaited return
Also of note from the game between the Wizards and Hawks was the return of De'Andre Hunter, who was back in action for the first time since March 24. Hunter played 14 minutes off the bench, finishing with six points (3-of-7 FGs) and three rebounds. He was on a minutes restriction, and with the Hawks having a back-to-back coming up, Hunter may sit out either Wednesday's rematch with the Wizards or Thursday's game against the depleted Magic.
Tony Snell (Achilles) being sidelined not only freed up minutes for Hunter, but it also meant a move back into the starting lineup for Kevin Huerter. He struggled, going 3-of-12 from the field and accounting for seven points, four rebounds, three assists and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. Trae Young (36/6/9 with one 3-pointer), John Collins (28/8/1/1/2 with one 3-pointer) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (25/5/4/2 with seven 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the victorious Hawks.
7. Rockets go deeper than they have in quite some time
Due to injuries and a few veterans being shut down, Houston hasn't had more than eight active players in recent games. And in some instances, the eighth man has been an injured reserve suited up to ensure that the game would be played. Stephen Silas may have felt like a kid on Christmas morning during Monday's loss to the Blazers, as the Rockets had ten available players. Vets D.J. Augustin (21/2/2 with four 3-pointers) and Kelly Olynyk (21/8/6/2 with one 3-pointer) led the way offensively for the Rockets, while KJ Martin Jr. (15/9/4/2/1 with three 3-pointers posted a full stat line.
Martin and Jae'Sean Tate (12/7/8) are two of Houston's best fantasy options, and the former is rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues (52% for Tate). Cameron Oliver made his debut for the team Monday, playing 19 minutes and tallying 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Anyone considering picking Oliver up should wait until he strings together a couple solid performances. But there isn't much time for him to do so; for that reason, Khyri Thomas (18/4/5 with two 3-pointers) would be the better choice.
Damian Lillard (34/9/6 with six 3-pointers), C.J. McCollum (28/3/7/1 with six 3-pointers), Norman Powell (28/6/4/1 with three 3-pointers) and Jusuf Nurkic (22/6/5/3/1) all surpassed the 20-point mark as the Blazers extended their lead over the Lakers to 1.5 games with three remaining (the Lakers have four games remaining).
8. Bazemore backs up talk with a big night
Some drama was added to the race for the scoring title, as Kent Bazemore took a veiled shot at the aforementioned Beal while propping up teammate Stephen Curry during his media availability ahead of the Warriors' game against the Jazz. Of course Bazemore's comments spread across social media like wildfire, but while that was happening the veteran wing had one of his best games fo the season. Shooting 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line, Bazemore finished the win with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues, Bazemore's percentage spike can be credited to the fact that he's absorbed many of the minutes that would go to the injured Kelly Oubre.
Jordan Poole (20 points, one rebound and four 3-pointers) and Draymond Green (12/6/10/2 with one 3-pointer) also had good nights, while Curry put up 36 points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and three 3-pointers. Utah did a solid job of defending Curry beyond the arc, as he was just 3-of-13 on 3-pointers, but he still hit the 30-point mark due to the adjustment made to do more of his work with mid-range jumpers and floaters. Utah, which trailed by double figures in the fourth, nearly stole this one thanks to Jordan Clarkson. He scored 24 of his season-high 41 during the fourth quarter, extending his streak of games with at least 21 points scored to four. Clarkson, who's likely the favorite for 6th Man of the Year honors, and Bojan Bogdanovic (27/6/2/2 with four 3-pointers) have stepped up their production with Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell still sidelined. The question worth asking is whether or not Clarkson and Bogdanovic can continue to get their offense once Conley and Mitchell are cleared to return.
9. Balanced Spurs make history in blowout win over Milwaukee
For just the second time in NBA history, a team had at least six players score 19 points or more in the same game. San Antonio joined Portland (November 22, 1983) during Monday's rout of the Bucks, with DeMar DeRozan (23/3/3), Dejounte Murray (21/6/9/1 with two 3-pointers), Keldon Johnson (20/7/2/1 with one 3-pointer), Patty Mills (20/2/2 with six 3-pointers), Lonnie Walker (19/4/0/1 with three 3-pointers) and Rudy Gay (19/5/0/1/1 with three 3-pointers) being the six. Devin Vassell also scored in double figures, recording a line of ten points, three rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 19 minutes off the bench.
In the case of Walker, he's scored 16 points or more in three straight and six of his last eight games. He's rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues, with the move into the starting lineup giving his fantasy value a welcome boost. Next up for the Spurs are two back-to-backs: Wednesday/Thursday against the Nets and Knicks, followed by two home games against the Suns on Saturday/Sunday. The schedule could work in Walker's favor with regard to short-term fantasy value, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he was rested in at least one of those games. San Antonio trails Memphis by two games with four to play, and the Grizzlies hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, so the margin is close to three rather than two.
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10. Pacers' Martin has a career night in Cleveland
Indiana and Cleveland were both down multiple rotation players Monday night, which meant opportunities for players who, on most nights, would be lucky to even crack the rotation. One player that would qualify is Kelan Martin, and he had a career night as the Pacers won and moved back into ninth place in the East. Playing 25 minutes off the bench, Martin shot 11-of-16 from the field and recorded a line of 25 points, seven rebounds, one block and three 3-pointers. While Martin has now hit double figures in minutes played in six of the Pacers' last seven games, he hasn't been a consistently productive option. In the six games played before Monday, Martin scored a total of 28 points on 12-of-29 shooting from the field.
Domantas Sabonis (21/20/9/2/4 with one 3-pointer) posted arguably his best all-around line of the season, taking full advantage of a Cavaliers frontcourt that lacked both Kevin Love and Isaiah Hartenstein. Cleveland had ten players on its injury report for Monday, matching Houston for the dubious "honor" of having the longest list. The absences will mean even more scoring opportunities for Isaac Okoro, which is just what the doctor ordered for a player who doesn't get a lot of looks when Collin Sexton (25/5/8/1 with one 3-pointer) and Darius Garland (who was out Monday) are both playing.
Okoro tallied 22 points, ten rebounds, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 43 minutes, shooting 8-of-20 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line. Dean Wade (19/12/2/3 with three 3-pointers) played 38 minutes, and he's worthy of a look in deep leagues that are still active, as Cleveland used just eight players.