We got six games to cover on a Tuesday. The Morris brothers went off tonight. Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook both had ridiculous triple-doubles. Marc Gasol continues to be a beast. We have another Nurk Alert. Kemba showed why he’s an All-Star and Julius Randle had the line of the night. Unfortunately, Kevin Durant went down after two minutes of the game with a hyperextended knee. Let’s get to it.
Warriors 108 – Wizards 112
Regardless of Kevin Durant’s injury, it’s an impressive win by the Wizards tonight. Markieff Morris bounced back in this game with 22 points, six boards, four blocks, two triples and two steals in 33 minutes. After the turn of 2017, Markieff turned over a new leaf after struggling to produce good value in 2016. Since January 1st, Markieff is a top-40 player in 9-cat and he’s been doing it consistently. With the Wizards having an ideal schedule for the fantasy playoffs, Markieff is going to be a stud. Otto Porter had another impressive night with low usage rate. He finished with 14-8-3 with two triples and two steals with super efficient percentages and no turnovers. What’s even more impressive is that he had a 9.4 usage rate in this game, the lowest since the 24th of last month. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 points with three triples and a steal in 24 minutes off the bench. It’s his second straight game in double figures. The Wizards usually stagger the minutes between Beal and Wall to play with the second unit, which means Bojan is usually the second score of that second unit. But with Brandon Jennings going to Washington, Bojan might see a bump in usage rate when he’s playing with Jennings.
The results of this game could’ve been a lot more meaningful if Durant did not hurt himself in the really early stages of the game. They’re calling it a hyperextended knee and usually time table varies with those kind of injury. Durant owners should keep an eye out on the MRI results on the severity of the injury. Meanwhile Andre Iguodala will have a bump, even though he finished with a 4-3-3 line tonight in 31 minutes. Draymond Green did his thing with 14-8-14 with two triples, two steals and a block. It’s good to see Draymond hitting double figures in back-to-back games. If Kevin Durant misses time, Draymond will be required to score a bit more. Stephen Curry kind of found his shooting stroke again after failing to hit a three in his previous game. He finished with 25-7-4 with three steals and two triples. He did attempt nine threes this game so he’s kind of in a cold stretch of games.
Trail Blazers 113 – Pistons 120
Marcus morris scored a career-high 37 points with eight boards, six assists, three triples in 42 minutes. He was having a stretch of poor shooting nights so it’s surprising to see him bounce back in this way. He’s returning top-80 value for the past month, so he should be owned in standard leagues. Ish Smith bounced back after a dud against the Celtics with 12 points, seven assists and seven steals in 29 minutes. SVG went with Smith over Reggie Jackson again down the stretch. It’s going to be a toss up between the two and Smith is a good handcuff if you own Reggie as well. Jon Leuer dropped an egg tonight with zero points on 0-of-8 shooting. That’s three straight duds from Leuer. He’s averaging 27.3 percent shooting in that span when he’s a 49.6 percent shooter for the season so he’s clearly in a slump. If you can’t afford owning him and there’s somebody better on the wire, feel free to drop him.
Damian Lillard flirted with a triple-double with 34-11-9 with three triples and a steal on 13-of-25 shooting in 41 minutes. That’s three straight games from Dame shooting above 50 percent from the field with at least 20 attempts. He’s stepped up his efficiency since coming back from the All-Star break, which he isn’t really known for so that’s good for owners. Jusuf Nurkic bounced back with 19-7-5 with a block in 35 minutes. It’s the most he’s scored since becoming a Blazer and since he got traded, Nurkic is returning top-70 value in 9-cat. Moe Harkless had a solid game with 10 rebounds, eight points and a block in 37 minutes. He’s been getting heavy minutes since Evan Turner broke his hand, capable of getting a triple-one on any given night. Turner is scheduled to remove his cast from his broken hand on Friday and he’s still about a week and a bit away so Harkless still has some value until then, especially with the Blazers playing five games next week.
Jazz 106 – Thunder 109
It was a close game this one, a potential 4-5 matchup in the playoffs. Russell Westbrook did his thing as he picked up his 30th triple-double this season with 43-11-10 and six triples on 13-of-28 shooting. This is his fourth consecutive triple-double and is making a strong push for the MVP race. Doug McDermott finally did something useful for the Thunder as he scored 16 points with five boards and four triples in 25 minutes. The addition of McDermott along with inserting Alex Abrines into the starting lineup has actually been beneficial for Westbrook and the Thunder. They’re spreading the floor really wide open and just their presence alone allows the driving lanes to open up for Westbrook, resulting in four straight wins for Oklahoma City. We’ll have to see this again for McDermott before adding him. Enes Kanter is doing his thing again with 15 points, nine boards with a steal and a block in 27 minutes. His minutes haven’t really dropped significantly with Taj Gibson’s arrival, as Domantis Sabonis seems to be the biggest loser in this situation. The Thunder will need every bit of Kanter’s scoring off the bench to have a better playoff spot.
The Jazz lost a close one as Gordon Hayward missed the game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds. He had a subpar game with 19 points, five assists, three triples and three steals on 7-of-17 shooting. Just a season ago, Hayward averaged around 19 points and 41 percent shooting so it speaks volume of the leap he made this season if this is a subpar game from him. Rodney Hood is slowly finding his groove back after missing seven games with a bone bruise and a LCL sprain. He scored 18 points with six boards and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. This is the most he’s played since January 14th so owners are hoping that he stays healthy. He’s worth owning in 14-team leagues and is a specialist for threes and points in shallower leagues. After two solid performances from Derrick Favors, he cooled down a bit with eight points, four boards and two assists in 27 minutes. Expectations for Favors shouldn’t be high even after his two previous teaser games. His knees are clearly bothering him and he’s looking old even though he’s only 25-years of age.
Suns 112 – Grizzlies 130
A surprising high scoring game from the Grizzlies where little defense has been played as both teams shot above 50 percent from the field. 130 points is the most the Grizzlies have scored since 2010. Mike Conley had a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He added eight assists and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes. In a game like this, 39 minutes seems a bit too much for Conley but owners shouldn’t complain. Conley’s a top-25 player in the last month and has really increased his scoring, averaging 22.3 points in that span. Marc Gasol finished with 28-7-5 with five triples, a steal and a block in 31 minutes. The 32-year old who recently broke his foot is a top-20 player for the season. Ridiculous. Zach Randolph added 23 points, eight boards with a triple and a steal in 28 minutes off the bench. He’s outplaying JaMychal Green and is starting to get the bulk of the minutes towards the final stretch to the post season. Green only had four points and three boards in 18 minutes and should be dropped.
The Suns’ youth movement continues on as Tyson Chandler had his third straight DNP-CD. He’s just enjoying his time sitting on the bench and I’m curious to know why the Suns didn’t aggressively trade him for anything in return. Alex Len started again and finally wasn’t in foul trouble. He finished with 12 points and five boards with a steal in 25 minutes. Alan Williams posted 11 points, three boards and two blocks in 22 minutes and both of them seem to be sharing the time at the center position. There’s still 22 games left to be played and Chandler won’t sit on the bench for that long. It’s going to be tough to figure out who gets to play on any given night. Tyler Ullis got some backup point guard action with nine points, seven assists and a steal in 17 minutes off the bench. He hasn’t done anything before this game but the Suns might shut down Eric Bledsoe, knowing his injury history and that could mean more minutes for Ullis. Keep an eye out.
Nuggets 125 – Bulls 107
Nikola Jokic finally bounced back after a few duds after the All-Star break. He finished with 19-16-10 with three triples and a block to make it his third triple-double of the season. Good to see him finally return to form as it seemed like he was finding it hard to adjust to life with Mason Plumlee. Danilo Gallinari added 22 points with three triples and a steal in 32 minutes. He’s been playing well since coming back from the All-Star break and has been relatively healthy this season. Jamal Murray added 14-2-3 with two triples in 18 minutes off the bench. He’s playing behind Jameer Nelson right now as Emmanuel Mudiay is not even getting minutes for garbage time. Murray hasn’t been contributing much though and is still only a deep league look. He’s ranked 193 in the last month and is shooting 39.4 percent from the field in that span.
The Bulls’ best performer today was Rajon Rondo. He finished with 19-4-5 with three steals and a triple in 24 minutes off the bench. The point guard situation in Chicago is a mess but the only constant is that Rondo is going to lead the second unit off the bench. Meanwhile Cameron Payne played 17 minutes and didn’t do much. Jerian Grant started and played 12 minutes while scoring seven points. Lastly, MCW was a DNP-CD, so it’s clear Rondo is the guard to own. Bobby Portis had a solid game with 12 points, six boards, three steals and two triples. He’s getting the opportunity to fill the void of losing Taj Gibson but has looked sporadic at times. He’s worth a look, especially if he starts hitting his treys. Jimmy Butler looked horrible after getting a triple-double in his last game, as he scored eight points on 3-of-13 shooting in 35 minutes. Look for him to bounce in the next one.
Hornets 109 – Lakers 104
Kemba Walker is on one of those hot stretches again, scoring at least 30 points in three of his last four games. He finished with 30-5-7 with five triples in 34 minutes and is looking to make a run at the last playoff spot in the East. Frank Kaminsky also had a good game with 24 points, 12 boards with four triples and a block in 36 minutes. Cody Zeller did return in this one after missing out a lot of games with a quad problem. He finished with six points, five boards in 18 minutes and closed this one out. With him slowly ramping up his workload, he’s eventually going to be back into the starting lineup, which means Kaminsky will fall back to the bench. Nicolas Batum couldn’t get it going in this one as he shot 2-of-13 from the field en route to a 5-7-4 line in 36 minutes. You’re going to get lines like these occasionally from Batum as he’s not really known for his efficient shooting.
Julius Randle was a monster this game and tried to do everything on the court to help get the W for the Lakers but unfortunately, he fell short. He finished with 23 points, 18 boards, six assists with three steals and two blocks on 10-of-14 shooting and only one turnover in 34 minutes in his best game of the season. He’s back to his old ways, grabbing double digit rebounds in four straight games now and tonight he was the point-center to close out the game. Randle just needs to work on his consistency but his talent is there. Nick Young finally broke out of his shooting slump with 15 points and five triples in 30 minutes. He was slumping hard in his previous three games, only averaging 1.0 three in that span. Knowing Uncle P, he can blow up anytime. D’Angelo Russell had another solid game with 23 points, nine assists, five triples and two steals in 36 minutes. Since shipping Lou Williams away, DLoading is averaging 23.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 3.3 triples and 2.0 steals. The breakout is real.
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