New York Knicks (36-45) at Washington Wizards (35-46)
There were quite a few players who exploded for big performances on Friday, but Obi Toppin deserves the fantasy star of the night award the most, for a career-high 35 points on 6-9 three-point shooting. Toppin has scored 19 or more in his last four games starting and looks like he is getting more comfortable in the NBA with every minute he plays. This stretch of starts was a possible look into the future if Julius Randle is traded or if Toppin manages to get more minutes next to Randle next year. Obi will remain as an interesting stash in dynasty leagues with an undetermined role moving into next year. Immanuel Quickley ended the night with 23 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds as he saw more minutes than usual with RJ Barrett leaving the game with a knee injury. Quickley continues to show upside in all facets of the game and is leaving the Knicks with a difficult decision on what to do at the point guard position next year. His role has a lot to do with what the Knicks do in the offseason.
The Wizards have shut down all their veterans at this point in the year and have looked toward next year after an injury-riddled year. Rui Hachimura led the way for the tanking Wizards with 21 points on 3-5 three-point shooting. He will look to reclaim a starting role next year after losing it this year because of extended leave for personal reasons. He will have a lower usage role next year and will likely not be a safe fantasy pick because of his lack of peripheral upside.
Milwaukee Bucks (51-30) at Detroit Pistons (23-58)
The Bucks rolled over the Pistons with no problem on Friday, winning 131-100. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way like usual with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. He will be one of the first players off the board in next year’s fantasy season as one of the best and most complete fantasy players. Bobby Portis added eight points and 15 rebounds off the bench in 22 minutes. It will be interesting to see how Portis is used in the playoffs with Brook Lopez almost back to full strength after his back surgery. They will likely see similar minutes with whoever is playing better seeing a few extras compared to the other.
The Pistons continue to look toward the future as they have for the last few weeks. Cade Cunningham is their primary focus as he played 39 minutes in last night’s contest. He finished with 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. He should be an early-round pick next year with a similar trajectory that LaMelo Ball took over his first two years.
Cleveland Cavaliers (43-38) at Brooklyn Nets (43-38)
The Nets beat the Cavs in what could be a preview of the play-in tournament as these two teams are set to face each other if the standings stay the way they are as of last night. Kevin Durant led the way with 36 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the win. He will be relied on heavily in the playoffs as the Nets have shown their struggles in limited time with Durant off the court. Bruce Brown will look to keep his momentum after he finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in last night’s win. He should be relied on heavily in the playoffs as he is one of the Nets’ best all-around players.
The Cavs welcomed back Evan Mobley on Friday from an ankle injury and he showed no signs of the injury as he played 34 minutes in the loss. He finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. He will continue to ramp up his play as the Cavs look to push into the playoffs. For next year, Mobley should be a very intriguing fantasy option for his high upside in rebounding, defensive stats, and field-goal percentage. Darius Garland added 31 points in the loss. He should be leaned on very heavily in the playoff from both a usage and minutes standpoint.
Houston Rockets (20-61) at Toronto Raptors (48-33)
The Raptors had to battle all the way till the end to narrowly beat the Rockets, 117-115. Pascal Siakam did everything he could to will his team to a win, scoring 29 points while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists. He continues to play massive minutes and that should not change one bit in the playoffs. Expect 40 or more minutes a night for all of the Raptors starters in the playoffs.
The Rockets have nothing to play for except for the development of their players as the season winds down. Kevin Porter Jr. has enjoyed quite a bit of extra usage since the Rockets shut down all their veterans, scoring 35 points in last night’s win. He has shown flashes of great upside but has failed to be consistent over the past year and a half as a Rocket. His role next year is undefined but he should continue to start at point guard and be an important part of the team.
Atlanta Hawks (42-39) at Miami Heat (53-28)
The Heat narrowly beat the Hawks 113-109 in a matchup where both teams were playing for their seeding position. Bam Adebayo led the way with 24 points while Jimmy Butler had 20 points in the win. These two, along with Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry, should be relied on heavily in the playoffs as the Heat look to make a push for the title. Herro had 15 points and nine assists off the bench and could be turned to for an even bigger role come playoff time.
Trae Young led the way with 35 points and eight assists for the Hawks as they continue to battle for the best possible seed in the play-in tournament. He has been one of the best fantasy players this year, contributing some of the best numbers for points and assists. He will be one of the most heavily relied-on stars in the playoffs. Bogdon Bogdanovic scored 25 points off the bench and should continue to see 30-plus minutes off the bench in a high-usage role.
Charlotte Hornets (42-39) at Chicago Bulls (45-36)
Although the score does not look too bad, The Hornets destroyed the Bulls on Friday night, winning 133-117. The Hornets shot over 60% from the field and remain one of the scariest play-in teams as they can explode for 130-plus points in any game. LaMelo Ball led the way in the blowout with 24 points and nine rebounds in just 29 minutes. He will be a premier pick next year for fantasy as one of the highest upside players in the league. He could easily push into the top-10 players next season with any improvement in his shooting numbers.
The Bulls continue to have their struggles against playoff teams and it looks like teams should want to face them in the playoffs based on these performances. With Lonzo Ball shut down for the year and Alex Caruso dealing with injuries, they are a much weaker defense and in turn a much weaker team. Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls in scoring with 23 points and seven assists. LaVine and company will need to find their rhythm soon as they just have one regular-season game remaining.
Portland Trail Blazers (27-54) at Dallas Mavericks (51-30)
The Mavericks beat up on the lowly Trail Blazers as they went on to win 128-78. Luka Doncic was a close second to Obi Toppin for fantasy star of the night as he finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists while only playing 30 minutes. He will not play in his next game for a technical foul suspension since he picked up his 16th of the year last night. He will need to play at his best through the playoffs as they are likely to draw the Jazz or Nuggets in a series.
The Portland tank squad continues to struggle their way through the end of the year as they only had three players reach double-digit points scored today. Drew Eubanks led the way for them with 18 points and seven rebounds. He has shown some nice flashes as a starting center over the last few weeks and could see himself in a sizable reserve role next year because of this stretch.
Phoenix Suns (64-17) at Utah Jazz (48-33)
The best team in the league keeps on rolling as they beat the Jazz 111-105 behind a late fourth-quarter comeback. Devin Booker ended with 33 points in the win while Chris Paul added 16 points and 16 assists in the win. These two will look to continue their dominance as they push for their second consecutive finals appearance. They both should continue to be great fantasy options for the playoffs as they will play massive minutes like we saw last year in the playoffs. DeAndre Ayton ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds as he looks to get back to his dominant self from last year’s playoffs.
The Jazz blew yet another lead on Friday as they seem to be crumbling at the worst time. They have lost multiple late leads in just this past week and it appears they are losing some of their chemistry. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 21 points while Donovan Mitchell added 18 points. These two will be relied on heavily for scoring in the playoff with Jordan Clarkson providing a spark off the bench for this team.
Oklahoma City Thunder (24-57) at Los Angeles Lakers (32-49)
The Lakers win a meaningless game after a disappointing season filled with injuries. They had a balanced attack in the win but were led by 21 points and eight rebounds from Stanley Johnson. He could be back in purple and gold next season but it would likely be in a much smaller role than he has seen in recent weeks. Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard each added 15 points in the win. Horton-Tucker will be in a reserve role next year for the Lakers with hopes that he is part of their short-term and long-term future.
The Thunder continued to roll out players who have barely played in the NBA before last night and they all continued to play their hardest, which made for some great basketball to watch. Jaylen Hoard has shown he can be a legit contributor in the NBA with a monster game last night, scoring 27 points while grabbing 17 rebounds. He also had a 20 and 20 game last week, along with another 20 rebound game. It is unclear if he will remain on the Thunder next season, but it is clear that he deserves a spot in the league even if it is just for his rebounding ability.