Eight games to start the weekend. The race for the last couple of playoffs spots just got a little bit more interesting. We got a preview of a 4-5 matchup in the East. Bradley Beal is the real deal. Nikola Jokic had his own version of the flu game. Marvin Williams got career-highs at the age of 30. Giannis is the second best player in fantasy. Seth Curry is better than his brother. Let’s get to it.
Magic 81 – Hornets 121
This game was a blow out. Kemba Walker had 23 points and five triples in 24 minutes. The minutes were a season low but he was still able to produce in limited time. Kemba’s been a top-10 player in 9-cat in the last two weeks and he’s heating up at the right time for owners. Marvin Williams finished with 12 points, 18 boards and seven assists in 33 minutes. The rebounds and assists are a career-high and he’s definitely taking advantage of Frank Kaminsky being injured. Kaminsky is another week or two away and Marvin Williams is getting all the minutes he can take. He’s a top-40 player in the last two weeks with really decent percentages. Kemba’s backup, Brian Roberts had 15 points, four assists with three triples and a steal in 24 minutes. This was a garbage time special. He had no value prior to this game so he should be left on the wire. Christian Wood had 14 points, five boards, two steals and a block in 16 minutes. He played a total of nine minutes in his previous four games so he’s not even seeing minutes with Kaminsky out. He should remain on the wire.
The Magic couldn’t put points on the board. After getting two consecutive triple-doubles, Elfrid Payton cooled off with an 8-2-12 line along with a steal and a block in 27 minutes. He’s still returning top-20 value in the last two weeks but the Magic doesn’t have that good of a playoff schedule. Nikola Vucevic missed his fourth straight game with a sore achilles. Bismack Biyombo started and grabbed 10 boards to go along with seven points. He’s averaging 9.3 points, 11.3 boards, 0.5 steals and 0.8 blocks in the four games he’s started in place of Vooch. He’s also averaging 48.8 percent shooting and 40.7 percent from the charity stripe in that span. He’s definitely worth owning if you’re punting free throws but he hasn’t been getting them defensive stats, which doesn’t make him that appealing. Terrence Ross went scoreless in 28 minutes as he only grabbed two boards and two steals, going 0-of-5 from the field. That’s not the kind of performance that the Magic traded Ross for. Even if he’s cold the entire game, five attempts is not enough. Since being traded to the Magic, Ross is averaging 11.5 points, 3.9 boards, 1.6 triples, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks on 38.5 percent. He’s definitely still adjusting to being a starter in the NBA.
Rockets 115 – Bulls 94
The Rockets just have too much fire power for the Bulls to handle. They definitely got their shots to fall this game. James Harden had 19-7-13 with three triples and three steals. Since the Lou Williams trade, Harden took a dip in his production, averaging 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 10.9 assists in 35.3 minutes. Nothing to complain about as the dip is very minuscule. He’s still returning top-10 player in 9-cat in that span. Ryan Anderson returned from missing a game due to back spasms. His back definitely wasn’t bothering him tonight as he led the team in scoring with 21 points and six triples. He hasn’t been that good of a fantasy asset as many predicted he will be. But he’s still able to bomb threes at an absurd rate only because he’s playing for the Rockets. The good thing is, he’s played 62 games and is on pace to reach 70 games this season if he stays healthy and that’s a milestone itself for Ryno. Lou Williams bounced back from the couple of duds he dropped. He finished with 18 point, three boards, two triples, two steals and a block in 27 minutes. He got a bit of garbage time in this one but more minutes for Lou means more opportunities to produce. He’s able to go 1-of-12 in one game and heat up for 30 on the day after so if you can stomach the inconsistency, he’s still a good hold.
The Bulls had three players in double-digits. Jimmy Butler had 16-5-4 in 31 minutes. Dwyane Wade had 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting but he did attempt six triples and only made one. Since the All-Star break, Wade is only returning top-120 value in 9-cat. The popcorn stats is still there for the old man though. Cameron Payne was the third player as he scored 11 points with two triples in 16 minutes. This all came from garbage time and he hasn’t look like the point guard of the future for this Bulls team. Nikola Mirotic was another DNP-CD as Joffrey Lauvergne leap frogged him in the Hoiberg’s pecking order. Joffrey had two points and nine boards in 16 minutes. He’s grabbed a total of 17 rebounds in the last two games in limited minutes. If you’re in need of a boards in super super deep leagues, Joffrey could give you a bit of help there. Cristiano Felicio and Robin Lopez shared time again as Felicio played 22 minutes with four points and seven boards while RoLo only had 20 minutes with four points, four boards and two blocks.
Raptors 99 – Hawks 105
This was a potential 4-5 matchup in the East with the Hawks coming out on top. Dennis Schroder continue his hot streak this game with 26-6-5 with a triple in 35 minutes. Schroder is a top-60 player since the All-Star break but he’s having these unnecessary events that’s causing him to miss out on game time, such as arguing with teammates or missing flights. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points, six boards with three 3-pointers and two steals in 34 minutes. He continued to close games out over Kent Bazemore down the stretch. He’s averaging 17.9 points and 2.4 triples on 50.0 percent shooting since the break and is returning top-70 value. He still has one more year left to his contract with the Hawks and he’s going to earn $3.3 million next season. What a cheap contract. Ersan Ilyasova finished with nine points, six boards with two assists and two triples in 25 minutes. He’s actually the only big that’s coming off the bench so he’s playing backup for both Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. Since being traded to the Hawks, he’s still quietly returning top-100 value in 9-cat but that’s also inflated with low amounts of turnovers. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 4.9 boards, 1.2 triples and 1.1 steals in 22.8 minutes so he’s worth a 14-team look.
The Raptors sorely miss Kyle Lowry, especially his BFF, DeMar DeRozan. DD had 28-8-6 with two steals and a triple but he needed 30 attempts in this game. He only got to the line four times and the Hawks defense on him was very good this game. The Raptors made some nice moves before the trade deadline, which beefed up their defense but they lack scoring when Lowry isn’t on the floor. The Raptors scored below 100 points in five games out of eight since Lowry’s injury. Cory Joseph is doing a solid job filling in for Lowry as he finished with 15 points, eight assists, four steals and a triple in 35 minutes. He’s returning top-90 value since filling in for Lowry but his lack of threes is hindering his value. Jonas Valanciunas got some playing time in the fourth but ultimately got benched in the closing moments of the fourth. He cooled off in this one, finishing with 11 points and 12 boards with two steals and two blocks in 30 minutes. That’s back-to-back games with at least 30 minutes for JV. Maybe Dwane Casey realises that he needs JV to help DD to put some points on the board. Before these two games, JV never saw more than 23 minutes since the Ibaka trade.
Pacers 85 – Bucks 99
The Bucks bounced the Bulls off the eighth seed after tonight’s big win against the Pacers. The Pacers are the sixth seed but they’re only 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 21-8-5 with five steals, a triple and a block and he’s the second best player in 9-cat. With the bucks having one of the best fantasy playoff schedule, Giannis owners have a high chance of winning their leagues. Khris Middleton helped Giannis out too with 21 points and three triples in a season-high 37 minutes. The Bucks need every bit of Middleton in order for them to fight for the playoff spot. The Bucks play the Wolves tomorrow night on the second night of a back-to-back so Middleton might be a rest candidate but I think he plays. It’s a shame that we can’t really see the Giannis, Middleton and Jabari Parker trio all healthy together in their primes yet. Jason Terry is getting crunch time for the Bucks and I’m not sure I’m a fan of that. He finished with eight points, three steals and a triple in 26 minutes for the 39-year old. He’s averaging 25.8 minutes in the last fives games for the Bucks and they’re on a five-game winning streak. That’s why Jason Kidd’s the coach I guess.
The Pacers can’t string a couple of wins together right now and I’m thinking they’re not going to end up with the sixth seed, especially with teams like the Bucks and the Heat trending up. Paul George struggled with his shot tonight as he matched up with Giannis tonight as he finished with 18-11-6 with three steals on 5-of-14 from the field and 0-of-5 from the 3-point line. Myles Turner is still slumping as he finished with six points, four boards, three steals and two blocks. He’s averaging 2.3 blocks and 1.0 steals in his last four games but this is his fourth straight game in single-digit. He’s also not grabbed double-digit rebounds since January 29th as the Pacers continue to be one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. C.J. Miles cooled off as well as he finished with seven points and a triple in 26 minutes. He’s nothing but a streamer for threes and if hit shot doesn’t go down, then he doesn’t really produce anything else that gives him value.
Warriors 102 – Timberwolves 103
The Timberwolves are right there chasing the eighth speed as they continue to pile on pressure to the other teams with this strong win against the Dubs. Ricky Rubio is one of the most savvy point guards in the league as he finished with 17-4-13 with a steal and going 11-of-11 from the line. After a poor start to the season and earning Thibs’ trust, he’s been returning fourth round value in standard leagues in the last three months. Karl Anthony-Towns looked like he was going to have another monstrous game as he finished the first half going 8-of-10 from the field. The second half was another story as he struggled mightily hard, finishing with 23 points, nine boards, two triples and two blocks on 10-of-18 to end the game. He even missed two consecutive free throws and had a few blunders, such as turning the ball over and fouling Curry as he was attempting the three. Things like that shows he’s still young and the Wolves are still learning but he’s a stud. Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points and 12 boards with a triple in 34 minutes, while Gorgui Dieng finished with 12 points and four boards in 24 minutes. Bjelica was the better matchup against Draymond Green and the Dubs as Dieng didn’t see a single minute in the fourth.
The Warriors are struggling to score enough points to get the win. I guess Kevin Durant plays a big part in this team. Klay Thompson went for 30 points, six boards with three triples on 12-of-22 from the field. It’s his first game shooting above 50 percent in eight games. Efficiency drops when KD’s not on the floor. Speaking of efficiency, Curry finished 26-6-7 with only one triple on 10-of-27 from the field and 1-of-8 from the 3-point line. Curry’s now 18-for-76 from the promise land in his past seven games and he’s not returning to the Curry that won the MVP unanimously. Draymond Green had 5-6-7 with two steals and a block on 1-of-8 shooting. I know Draymond isn’t a scorer but if he made one more field goal this game, they would’ve won the game. The Dubs are playing the Spurs tomorrow on the second night of a back-to-back and Kawhi Leonard is ruled out because he’s in the concussion protocol. That’s a good opportunity for the Dubs to increase the lead between them and the Spurs. However, the Dubs are resting Curry, Green, Thompson and Andre Iguodala tomorrow so keep that in mind.
Nets 96 – Mavericks 105
The Mavericks continue to pile up the pressure for that eighth seed in the West. Harrison Barnes led the team in scoring with 21 points, seven boards and two triples. He’s putting points up on the board but he’s not really contributing to other categories. He’s still returning top-75 value for the season and his scoring averages has dropped to 20.0 points per game. With Seth Curry and Dirk Nowitzki playing well, Barnes isn’t relied that heavily on offense anymore. Seth Curry had another solid game with 18-5-4 with three triples on 6-of-11 from the field. He’s playing so well right now, returning first round value in standard leagues since the All-Star break and is completely outplaying his brother with averages of 22.0 points, 3.3 boards, 3.4 assists, 3.4 triples and 1.3 steals on 57.5 percent shooting. He should be a candidate for the waiver wire pick ups for the year. The rookie, Yogi Ferrell finished with 17 points, two boards, two assists and three triples in 34 minutes. He’s been inconsistent and that’s basically what all rookies go through. The good thing is that he’s getting minutes in this young Dallas team. Apart from points and a couple of assists, he’s not contributing much to other categories. I doubt we’ll see another 32 points and nine threes from him this season.
The Nets were hanging in there the entire game until inexperience of closing games out cost them and lost the fourth quarter. Isaiah Whitehead led the team in scoring with 24 points and three triples in 25 minutes off the bench. With the Nets having a really good playoff schedule, Whitehead could be considered a streamer in 16-team leagues. Jeremy Lin played his eighth straight game without any injuries! He finished with 18-5-3 with two steals and a triple in 27 minutes. His minutes are slowly increasing and maybe we’ll see his minutes creep nearer to the 30’s next game. Brook Lopez missed out this one with a sprained ankle so the Nets went small with Quincy Acy starting at center. He had 12 points, four boards, two triples and a steal. If Brook Lopez gets shutdown this season, Quincy Acy, along with Justin Hamilton will see a bump. Rookie, Caris LeVert, who got a lot of hype a couple months ago, only had two points, three boards and two assists in 22 minutes as a starter. There’s talent but he’s still miles away from being a reliable consistent fantasy asset.
Celtics 99 – Nuggets 119
The Nuggets, Timberwolves, Blazers and Mavericks all won these two days and they’re all trending up and playing well. The Nuggets are feeling the pressure so tonight’s win is a big one, considering they were playing one of the top teams in the East. Nikola Jokic apparently was very ill but he toughed it out in this one as he returned from a two-game absence. He finished with 21-10-7 with four steals, a triple and a block on 8-of-10 from the field. He did have seven turnovers but who cares? This is his version of the flu game and continues to be a beast. Danilo Gallinari had 20 points, five boards, three triples and two steals in 34 minutes. He’s played 52 games this season and is surprisingly kind of durable in Gallo’s standards. He’s returning top-20 value in the last month and is trending up for the Nuggets as they head down the stretch for the playoffs. Mason Plumlee finished with 8-5-4 with a block in 20 minutes. When Jokic is playing, Plumlee will struggle to produce. Mike Malone isn’t shy of running Malone and Jokic together but it’ll really depends on the matchup. In fact, when Plumlee and Jokic is on the floor together, the Nuggets have a better net rating. Plumlee is still a deep league hold for some out of position assists and solid boards.
The Celtics are one of the most inconsistent teams, losing to the Suns and Nuggets and beating the Warriors is what they’re capable of. Isaiah Thomas finished with 21 points tonight with only one triple. He was efficient, going 7-of-14 from the field but 14 attempts is pretty low on Thomas’ standards. Marcus Smart started for Amir Johnson in the second half as Brad Stevens wanted to go small against the Nuggets to change things up. He finished with 13 points, seven boards, a steal and a triple on 4-of-14 from the field in 25 minutes. He’s been poor since the break, ranked 171 in 9-cat in that span. That’s partly due to the Celtics getting healthy again with Avery Bradley returning. If you can stomach the field goal percentage, he’s still a solid source of assists and steals. Speaking of Bradley, he finished with 16 points, two boards, two assists, four triples and three steals in 29 minutes. It’s his highest scoring game since his return from sore achilles. He’s no where near his early season form but as long as he’s healthy for the playoffs, owners should be alright.
Wizards 130 – Kings 122
The Wizards were down by 15 to start the fourth and came back to win in the over time in this one. They’re gaining ground on the Celtics for that second seed tonight. Bradley Beal maybe should’ve been an All-Star. He was cltuch down the stretch. He finished with 38 points, 1o boards, three assists with five triples, a steal and a block in 43 minutes with the line of the night. He’s returning first-round value in the last month and is rolling just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Beal has been durable as well, missing only four games this season. Otto Porter had 18 points, six boards, two triples and two steals tonight in 39 minutes. He’s finally stringing a couple of solid games together and that’s good for owners heading down the stretch. Marcin Gortat dropped another dud with two points and nine boards in 22 minutes. Ian Mahinmi had nine points and seven boards with two blocks in 23 minutes. Those two are going to share minutes but none of which played down the stretch, as the Wizards closed this one out with Wall-Beal-Bogdanovic-Porter-Morris line up.
The Kings were solid the entire game but seemingly didn’t know how to close this one out and ran out of steam in overtime. Willie Cauley-Stein had a good game with 20 points, 13 boards, three assists and a steal in 42 minutes. He closed this one and outplayed Kosta Koufos in this one. He even made six straight points for the Kings to force it to overtime in the last few plays in the fourth quarter. He’s been up and down since the Boogie trade but his upside is something that’s very attractive, which makes him worth owning in 14-team leagues. His duds are ugly so he’s not really a consistent standard league option yet. Arron Afflalo, Buddy Hield and Garrett Temple all closed this one out as the Kings went super small. Afflalo finished with 18 points and two triples but he’s nothing but points. He’s a good streamer for a back-to-back set but other than that, he doesn’t really have any fantasy appeal. Buddy Hield scored 18 points with four triples and he’s been consistent with his triples, hitting 3.4 per game in his last five games. I much rather have Hield over Afflalo.
That’s it for tonight. Stay tuned for more and follow me on Twitter to get the latest posts or to ask me any questions about your fantasy team!