Washington Wizards (29-36) at Los Angeles Lakers (29-37)
There was no doubt in this Friday’s fantasy star of the night as LeBron James scored 50 points in a must-win game as the Lakers try their best to stay afloat in this season. James has been a top-five category player this year and will look to continue his hot streak to close out the fantasy season. Malik Monk added 21 points on 5-7 three-point shooting while battling early foul trouble last night. Monk will continue to operate as the second scoring option until Anthony Davis returns from injury.
Kyle Kuzma returned to Los Angeles and scored a team-high 23 points but it was not enough to stop LeBron James and company. Kuzma has still been operating as the number one option for the Wizards, but that could change as Kristaps Porzingis is still ramping up his minutes as he returns from injury. Porzingis played 25 minutes last night and contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds. He will continue to slot in as the starting center for the Wizards so he should have more rebounding upside to end the year.
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Minnesota Timberwolves (38-30) at Orlando Magic (18-50)
The Magic were down by 12 points after the first quarter but battled back to win 118-110 over the Wolves. Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. both ended with double-doubles as the Timberwolves frontcourt had no answer for the duo. Bamba led the way with 27 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 5-8 from beyond the arc. He has been a top-60 player with the occasional flash of upside as seen from last night. Carter Jr. ended with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in the win.
The Timberwolves were rolling early after three early three-pointers from Patrick Beverley, but he was quickly pulled after three fouls and he would end up not returning with an ear injury. His status with be worth monitoring in the coming days. Anthony Edwards led the way in the narrow loss with 25 points and five assists. D’Angelo Russell ended the night with 13 points and seven assists. Both guards will take on a larger ball-handling role if Beverley were to miss any time with Malik Beasley likely to start in his place.
Boston Celtics (41-27) at Detroit Pistons (18-49)
Jayson Tatum continued his offensive tear last night as the Celtics went on to beat the Pistons 114-103. Tatum ended with 31 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. He has struggled with his shooting efficiency all year and will look to turn that around in the coming weeks. Jaylen Brown added 22 points and eight rebounds while Marcus Smart was right behind him with 20 points and a whopping five steals. The Celtics have now won five games in a row and look like a serious threat in the East with the playoffs just over a month away.
The Detroit Pistons might have lost on Friday but they continue to develop their future talent in each loss. Cade Cunningham scored 27 points in 41 minutes while adding eight rebounds and six assists. He has shown that he is the real deal this season and could have a jump in ADP next season just like LaMelo Ball did this year. Marvin Bagley has started at center for the last two games with Isaiah Stewart out for at least a week with a knee injury. After struggling in the first game, Bagley turned it around last night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He should continue to play roughly 36 minutes with Stewart out.
Los Angeles Clippers (35-34) at Atlanta Hawks (32-34)
The Hawks sneak away with a much-needed win over the Clippers as they try to stay within the play-in tournament. Trae Young led the way with 27 points and 11 assists as he continues his top-10 fantasy player season. Clint Capela finished the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes. Capela continues to see his minutes scaled back when Onyeka Okongwu is active but remains a reliable option for rebounds and blocks while struggling in other categories.
Ivica Zubac has been excellent over the past two weeks and continued that trend last night, tying for the team-high with 24 points and adding 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks to his impressive scoring night. He has ranked outside of the top-125 players this year but has provided fantasy managers with top-70 value over the last two weeks. Reggie Jackson also finished with 24 points in the loss. He should continue to play massive minutes as the Clippers push for the playoffs.
Dallas Mavericks (41-26) at Houston Rockets (17-50)
The Mavericks only won by 13 in the 113-100 win over the Rockets but they were in full control and were even blowing out the Rockets until the fourth quarter. Luka Doncic continues to shine, scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the win. He ranks around the top-20 players but has been one of the best fantasy assets if you’ve been able to combat his poor shooting numbers. Dwight Powell was Luka’s right-hand man on Friday, scoring 26 points and adding 12 rebounds. It was a rare scoring outburst for Powell, but it was nice to see that someone can be called upon when the Mavericks are shorthanded. With that being said, these numbers can not be relied upon.
The Rockets continue to play without Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate, which is no problem for them as they have been giving their younger players some more reps. Kevin Porter Jr. led the way for the Rockets with 17 points, four assists, and four rebounds. Porter was limited because of foul trouble and a blowout but still managed to provide in multiple categories. Bruno Fernando added 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Rockets. He will likely not provide numbers like this again this season as he was extended because of the blowout and Alperen Sengun’s foul trouble.
New York Knicks (28-39) at Memphis Grizzlies (46-22)
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies closed out a 31-18 fourth quarter to beat the Knicks 118-114 on Friday. Morant finished with 37 points and eight assists in the win, scoring 15 in the fourth quarter. He continues to be one of the most exciting players in the league and is translating his exciting play to both real-life and fantasy success.
The Knicks once again blow a late lead in a game that can essentially sum up their season. On the bright side, Julius Randle played aggressively and finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals. It was an excellent all-around night for Randle as he stuffed the stat sheet in the narrow loss. RJ Barrett struggled from the field last night but managed to finish with 23 points and seven rebounds.
Cleveland Cavaliers (38-28) at Miami Heat (45-23)
The Miami Heat seemed to be in control of the game last night from start to finish as they beat the Cavs 117-105. Bam Adebayo had an excellent night, scoring 30 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in the win. Centers will certainly have an easier time without Jarrett Allen on the court for the Cavaliers. Jimmy Butler added 24 points with Tyler Herro scoring 22 points off the bench. Butler has been a top-15 category player this season but has struggled to find peripheral stats in the last few weeks.
Evan Mobley drew a second-straight start at the center position with Jarrett Allen out for the foreseeable future. He posted his second double-double in this role, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He has been a top-100 player this year but could be on the rise with his new role on the team. Darius Garland scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists last night. Garland continues to shine as the primary playmaker for the Cavs and should continue to be a top-30 player with huge boosts in the assist category.
Charlotte Hornets (33-35) at New Orleans Pelicans (27-40)
The Hornets steamroll the Pelicans in a 142-120 win on Friday. Miles Bridges led the way with 26 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Bridges continued his top-40 fantasy season with last night’s well-rounded performance. Terry Rozier added 25 points and eight assists while LaMelo Ball added 17 points and nine assists. This backcourt duo continues to thrive alongside each other because of the Hornets’ fast pace of play.
The Pelicans were without CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram on Friday and that should continue for at least the next few days. Naji Marshall and Devonte’ Graham started in their places and both have increased value for the near future. Graham finished with 19 points, seven assists, and three steals in the loss. Trey Murphy was the star of the night for the Pelicans as he scored 32 points on 7-12 three-point shooting. He won’t score like this one on a nightly basis but he should see an expanded role with the two Pelicans’ stars out of the lineup.
Utah Jazz (41-25) at San Antonio Spurs (26-41)
Greg Popovich sits alone at the top now after the Spurs win 104-102 against the Utah Jazz. He now is the all-time leader in regular-season wins for a coach with 1366 wins. Dejounte Murray led the way in the historic win with 27 points, nine rebounds, five steals, and four assists. He was not the passer he normally is but made up for it by leading the way in scoring. Jakob Poeltl added 15 points and 11 rebounds on Friday.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 24 points, seven rebounds, ad six assists in the close loss. Mitchell has been a top-25 player this season and should continue that through the fantasy playoffs. Rudy Gobert finished the night with 13 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocks. Gobert is one of the most consistent players in fantasy and provides huge boosts in rebounding and block numbers.
Toronto Raptors (36-30) at Phoenix Suns (53-14)
The Toronto Raptors pick up their second straight win after losing three straight before that. They beat the Suns 117-112 as they fight to push above the play-in tournament. The Raptors were led by 42 points from Gary Trent Jr. This is a welcoming sign for Trent who has struggled since the All-Star Break. Pascal Siakam added 25 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. He has been a top-45 player with his only struggles being free-throw shooting and turnovers.
The Suns continue to hang around in almost every game, even with a depleted roster. Cam Payne has enjoyed a larger role without Chris Paul in the lineup and continued to thrive in it as he led the way with 24 points for the Suns. Devin Booker finished with 22 points and seven assists in the loss. He should command the highest usage moving forward, but the Suns likely continue to stagger Booker and Payne’s minutes to keep a ballhandler on the floor at all times.