Miami Heat (39-21) at New York Knicks (25-35)
The Miami Heat survived RJ Barrett’s career night as they went on to win 115-100. Tyler Herro led the way off the bench with 25 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. The frontrunner for the 6th man of the year award has been a top-100 fantasy player this year and continues to provide managers with a healthy stream of points, rebounds, and assists. Jimmy Butler followed right behind Herro with 23 points in the win.
The fantasy star of the night rarely comes from a losing team, but RJ Barrett fully deserves it. After missing the last four games before the All-Star Break with an ankle injury, Barrett returned on Friday night to provide the best game of his career. He finished with 46 points and nine rebounds on 6-11 three-point shooting. He has been on a tear over his last 20 games and appears to be taking a leap forward as a player. He has been a huge disappointment for category players this year because of his shooting numbers and consistency but will look to finish strong in the remaining weeks of the fantasy season. Julius Randle added 11 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the loss. He struggled shooting the ball but was still a focal point of the offense. He should see a large facilitating role with Kemba Walker out of the rotation and with Derrick Rose set to have a cleanup surgery on his previously injured right ankle.
Oklahoma City Thunder (19-41) at Indiana Pacers (20-41)
The Thunder closed out a 129-125 overtime win on Friday, winning 6-2 in the overtime period. With Josh Giddey out of the lineup with a hip injury, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stepped up with 36 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in the overtime win. He has looked excellent in his first two games since returning from injury and will be a top-50 player for the remainder of the season. Tre Mann started in place of the injured Josh Giddey last night. He finished with 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Mann has flashed upside in games where one of Giddey or Gilgeous-Alexander do not play, so he could have increased value if Giddey’s hip injury more than a short-term injury.
The Pacers played their first game in the Brogdon and Haliburton era but could not come away with a win. Malcolm Brogdon showed little signs of rust as he got off to a hot start in the first quarter, but was unable to provide a complete game as he had some conditioning issues and a minutes limit. He finished with 15 points in 31 minutes. He should remain heavily involved in the offense even with Haliburton playing the same position next to him. Tyrese Haliburton finished with 14 points and 11 assists and should continue to provide high assist numbers as the primary playmaker for his new squad.
Toronto Raptors (32-26) at Charlotte Hornets (30-31)
The Hornets continue to show that they are one of the scariest teams to come across for the play in, blowing out the Raptors 125-93. They can put up 120 or more points on any team and have had some hefty blowouts over the past month. Terry Rozier led the starters with 23 points while Kelly Oubre Jr. matched that total off the bench. Montrezl Harrell continues to thrive on his new team as he finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. He has played a sizeable role in each game for the Hornets and has even played alongside Mason Plumlee at times which bodes well for their fantasy outlooks. Until Gordon Hayward returns, Harrell should continue to have a clear path to playing time.
The Raptors could not get anything going against the Hornets with only two players scoring 10 or more points. Scottie Barnes was the lone bright spot for his team as he finished with 28 points and five rebounds. The rookie first-rounder sits just outside the top-90 category players, but scoring nights like these could boost him up the ranks if he can pair it with his average peripheral stats. Gary Trent Jr. was the only other Raptor to surpass 10 points as he scored 12 in the blowout loss.
Houston Rockets (15-44) at Orlando Magic (14-47)
In the battle of the two worst teams in the league, the Magic snuck away with a 119-111 win over the Rockets. It was an awkward game filled with fouls as Jalen Suggs fouled out in 15 minutes and Mo Bamba fouled out in 25 minutes. Wendell Carter Jr. shined because of Bamba’s foul trouble, scoring 24 points while adding 12 rebounds. He had been a top-100 player this season with consistency and free-throw shooting as his major flaws. Chuma Okeke added 26 points, nine rebounds, and three steals off the bench. He has shown huge upside in the past, but he was extended tonight because of foul trouble and excellent shooting. He is worth keeping an eye on, but these numbers are unlikely to continue.
The Rockets battled foul trouble of their own as Jae’Sean Tate fouled out in 28 minutes and Christian Wood lost a few minutes because of early foul issues. Wood managed to finish with 21 points and 11 rebounds in only 28 minutes. He continues to have poor shooting numbers that hinder his fantasy production, especially from the free-throw line where he shoots just over 60% from. Jalen Green was the Rockets leading scorer on Friday, scoring 23 points on 4-9 three-point shooting. His shooting efficiency was a welcoming sight as that has been the main concern for him in his short career.
San Antonio Spurs (24-36) at Washington Wizards (27-32)
The Spurs sneak away with a great win in double-overtime as Dejounte Murray continues his career season. He ended with 31 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds in a 157-153 win over the Wizards. Murray has been a top-15 category player this season and will continue to have limitless upside as a nightly triple-double threat. Keldon Johnson has picked up some of the slack from Derrick White being traded as he finished with 32 points and seven rebounds. He has been a bigger scoring threat lately and will look to continue his hot shooting as the year continues.
Kyle Kuzma shined in the overtime loss, scoring 36 points while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists with just one turnover. Kuzma has been the main scoring option since Bradley Beal went down and has taken over an even bigger role since Spencer Dinwiddie was traded at the deadline. Kristaps Porzingis will hurt Kuzma’s value when he returns from injury but it is unclear when that will happen.
Philadelphia 76ers (36-23) at Minnesota Timberwolves (32-29)
The 76ers start off the James Harden era on the right foot as they win 133-102 over the Timberwolves. James Harden was spectacular in his debut finishing with 27 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds. Joel Embiid added 34 points and 10 rebounds before both he and Harden lost almost five minutes to a blowout. Both of these players will remain elite fantasy options alongside each other and they could even help each other as they complement each other’s skillsets. Tyrese Maxey added 28 points on 75% shooting, although it is unlikely that he scores like this on a nightly basis.
The Wolves split their first back-to-back to open up the second half of the year as they look to push into the playoffs. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 25 points last night but struggled to contain Joel Embiid, which overshadowed his scoring performance. He is still a top-10 fantasy player regardless of this performance and will continue to provide fantasy managers with some of the most well-rounded stats in the game. D’Angelo Russell finished with 21 points and has now scored 20 or more in each of the two games to open up the second half of the year.
New Orleans Pelicans (24-36) at Phoenix Suns (49-11)
The Pelicans win a much-needed game as they push for a play-in spot in the Western Conference. CJ McCollum continues to be the top scoring option for the Pelicans as he finished with a team-high 32 points in the win on Friday. He has scored 30 or more in four of his first six games as a Pelican and looks to be in control of this team alongside Brandon Ingram, who finished with 28 points and seven assists. This was his first big game next to McCollum and the hope is that they can both consistently produce while still winning games.
The Suns split their first two games without Chris Paul, who is expected to be sidelined until the playoffs with a thumb injury. Devin Booker will take on a massive workload and will have all eyes on him offensively as he looks to fill the void of one of the most valuable players in the league. Booker has stepped up to the plate in the last two games scoring 25 points on Thursday and 30 points on Friday. He’s had 17 assists across the two games without Paul and will have to continue to take on a large playmaking role for the rest of the year. Cam Johnson and Cam Payne are the top options to see an increased workload over the final two months of the season.
Dallas Mavericks (35-25) at Utah Jazz (37-22)
The Utah Jazz got back on track to start the second half of the year with a hard-fought, back-and-forth win over the Mavericks, winning 114-109. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers in the game with 33 points while dishing out five assists in the win. He has been a top-15 player this year and should have no problem keeping that up as he commands a very high usage rate along with having solid peripheral stats. Rudy Gobert looked like himself after getting back from a calf injury right before the All-Star Break, posting 14 points and 17 rebounds in last night’s win. He is one of the most consistent players in fantasy basketball with huge boosts in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentages.
Luka Doncic was unable to continue his excellent shooting numbers from before the break but still finished with a respectable stat line of 23 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. He has been just outside of the top-20 players this year and will look to push higher now that he has a more expanded role than normal without Kristaps Porzingis on the team. Dwight Powell tied his season-high in points last night scoring 22 points and adding seven rebounds. He should not be expected to score like this but he is locked into the starting center role and should play at least 24 minutes a night.
Los Angeles Clippers (31-31) at Los Angeles Lakers (27-32)
The Clippers defend their home court as the road team as they close out a tight game at the end, winning 105-102 over the Lakers. Terance Mann led all Clippers players with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. It was a great all-around night for Mann who should continue to see a larger role on this team as long as Paul George is out with injury. Reggie Jackson has been playing much better of late and continued it last night with 17 points and six assists. He has been a great facilitator of late and should continue to provide managers with a steady stream of points and assists as the Clippers push for a playoff spot.
The Lakers lose a must-win game as they let a lead slip away from them late in the game. LeBron James led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds but struggled shooting-wise as he finished just 6-18 from the field. He will have to take on a massive role offensively as Anthony Davis is out for the foreseeable future and the Lakers are on the edge of the play-in tournament. Dwight Howard started in AD’s absence and provided 14 points and 16 rebounds in 26 minutes. He will likely have another opportunity to start but there is no certainty in his minutes or even that he will start again.