Indiana Pacers (18-32) at Oklahoma City Thunder (14-34)
The Pacers beat the Thunder in overtime on Friday night behind the fantasy star of the night, Domantas Sabonis, who was questionable to play coming into Friday but suited up against his former team to get revenge. He finished with 24 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and two blocks. He found a way to get it done in almost every category. He is a top-30 player this year and should enjoy an increased role with Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner out for the foreseeable future. Justin Holiday added 22 points and five rebounds on 4-7 three-point shooting, but numbers like this are unable to be counted on in the long run.
The Thunder hung in the game for 48 minutes but was unable to finish the job in overtime. They were without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for most of the game as he exited with an ankle injury after just 17 minutes of playing time. In his absence, Lu Dort stepped up scoring 27 points with eight rebounds and four assists. Josh Giddey had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in the loss. These two would be relied on heavily if Gilgeous-Alexander were to miss any serious time with this ankle injury.
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Detroit Piston(11-37) at Orlando Magic(10-40)
The only thing more fun than two of the best teams playing each other is watching two of the worst teams play each other. In the battle of the two worst teams in the East, the Magic rolled over the Pistons, winning 119-103. The Magic were led by rookie Franz Wagner, who scored 24 points on 7-12 shooting. Wagner has gotten better as the year has gone on and appears to be the main focus of the Magic’s future along with Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr, and Mo Bamba, who scored 18 points and added 11 rebounds and two blocks in the win. He sits just outside the top-50 fantasy players and is one of the best suppliers of blocks averaging 2.1 per game.
The Pistons struggled tonight as a whole, but it was Cade Cunningham who led the struggles. He had just eight points on 3-17 shooting and could not get going as a passer with only four assists. We have seen high highs and low lows for the first overall pick, with the good outweighing the bad. He is near the top-60 players for fantasy this year. He could be a hot commodity going into next season for fantasy if he can improve his shooting numbers and limit his turnovers. Trey Lyles led the Pistons in scoring with 18 points off the bench. He has been a consistent bench piece for them for the bulk of the year but should lose some minutes in the coming weeks as Jerami Grant is soon to return from a thumb injury.
Los Angeles Lakers(24-26) at Charlotte Hornets(28-22)
The Charlotte Hornets sneak away with a 117-114 win over the Lakers in a game that had no business being as close as it was. Miles Bridges led the way for the Hornets, scoring 26 points while adding eight rebounds and six assists. He has been a fantasy goldmine for those who took a chance on him in the middle rounds as he has been a top-40 player this season with almost no negatives to his game. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier each added 20 points in the win. These three Hornets should continue to command a little more usage with Gordon Hayward in the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who recently returned from a knee injury, in the loss to the Hornets. Even with playing an abysmal first half, Russell Westbrook managed to finish with 35 points, five assists, and four rebounds. He propelled them late and would’ve had a much better stat line if he had more than five first-half points. Hopefully, Davis and James will be back next game, but if not, Westbrook will see a lot of usage as the main option. Carmelo Anthony turned back the clock on Friday scoring 19 points off the bench with an array of tough shots. Melo added five rebounds and five assists and should be relied on heavily if Davis or James missed any significant time.
Boston Celtics(25-25) at Atlanta Hawks(23-25)
The Hawks are trying to stay alive in the East and got a big win on Friday, winning 108-92. Trae Young and John Collins tied for a team-high 21 points. Young added nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals. He remains in the top-10 fantasy players while being in the top-five in points and top-three in assists. He should remain as one of the top fantasy players regardless of how the Hawks are playing. Bogdan Bogdanovic played his second game off the bench since returning from a knee injury and finished with 19 points, three rebounds, and three assists. He has been great off the bench in his two games so keep an eye on if he status off the bench or is reinserted back into the starting lineup once he is off his minutes limit.
The Celtics continue to be one of the most puzzling teams in the league. They have all the talent to be great but sit at .500 after this loss. Jaylen Brown took the lead in last night’s game, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Brown has pushed himself into the top-50 players with some strong play in the last month or so and could push even higher if he keeps up his consistency. Robert Williams added 11 points and 10 rebounds and has been one of the best fantasy centers in the game, ranking in the top-25 category players.
Denver Nuggets(27-21) at New Orleans Pelicans(18-30)
The Nuggets win their fourth straight game, beating the Pelicans 116-105. Nikola Jokic continues his unbelievable season, finishing with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in the win. He has easily been the best fantasy player this season with an argument to be made for him being the MVP. Aaron Gordon added 20 points in the win as he stepped up as the second option with Will Barton out of the lineup on Friday. Gordon ranks outside the top-100 players and is much better in real life than in fantasy.
The Pelicans continue to struggle, losing their second straight game without Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas. Willy Hernangomez stepped up with 18 points and 16 rebounds while adding three blocks and a steal. He is always a great fill-in option for Valanciunas but has almost no value when Jval is healthy. Herb Jones led the way in scoring for the Pelicans with 19 points while adding seven rebounds and a whopping five steals. Jones is in the top-100 players and is a great producer of defensive stats, averaging 2.5 steals and blocks per game.
Los Angeles Clippers(25-26) at Miami Heat(32-17)
The Heat pulled away with a 121-114 win over the Clippers as they push for the number one seed in the East. Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat as he normally does with 26 points and nine assists. He ranks inside the top-10 category players with his only downside being a lack of three-pointers made. Bam Adebayo is back to full strength after his thumb surgery, posting 20 points and 12 rebounds in last night’s win. He sits just outside the top-50 and it is unlikely for him to push much higher than that with his poor free-throw numbers and lack of three-point shooting.
The Clippers continue to be one of the most injury-decimated teams in the league but manage to stay afloat and keep games competitive. Luke Kennard led the way on Friday with 23 points off the bench. He added six rebounds and three assists for a well-rounded stat line. He ranks just inside the top-150 players and only has value because of his three-point shooting.
Portland Trail Blazers(21-28) at Houston Rockets(14-35)
The Blazers rolled over the Rockets on the road, winning 125-110 while having three players score 25 or more points. Anfernee Simons, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic combined for 78 of the Blazer’s 125 points. These three should carry a heavy offensive load, along with Norman Powell, for as long as Damian Lillard is out with an abdominal injury. McCollum has the most upside of the group, especially when he is shooting at a high percentage.
The Rockets will be without Kevin Porter Jr. for 10 days as he entered the league’s health and safety protocols just hours before Friday’s game. Garrison Mathews started in his place and tied for the team-high in scoring with 21 points on 4-8 three-point shooting. Christian Wood also added 21 points while grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds. Although Wood has put up some great stat lines this year, he still ranks outside the top-100 category players because of poor free-throw shooting and the inability to be elite in any particular category.
Utah Jazz(30-20) at Memphis Grizzlies(34-17)
The Grizzlies keep on rolling as they move to 17 games over .500 with a 119-109 win over the Jazz. Ja Morant continues to solidify himself as one of the best point guards in the league with a 30-point triple-double on Friday night. Morant has been a top-25 category player this season and seems to just be getting better and better as the year goes on. Jaren Jackson Jr. had a stellar game on Friday, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, six blocks, and two steals. He has six blocks in back-to-back games and ranks in the top-five in blocks per game. He has been a top-50 category player and is one of the best in the league at racking up defensive stats.
Utah continues to struggle without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert as they drop their fourth straight game. Danuel House Jr. led the Jazz in scoring with 21 on Saturday night. House will rarely see bigger minutes so him being the leading scoring is an anomaly. Mike Conley added 15 points and six assists. With Mitchell likely to return this week, Conley will see a decreased role along with Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson.
Chicago Bulls(30-18) at San Antonio Spurs(19-31)
The Spurs managed to beat one of the better teams in the East on Friday, winning 131-122. Dejounte Murray continues to improve every game and finished last night with 29 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds. He is a top-20 fantasy player and has become a walking triple-double. Jakob Poeltl added 21 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Like Murray, he has improved a lot this season as the two continue to grow chemistry.
The Bulls continue to play short-handed but their stars keep stepping up. DeMar DeRozan had a slow start to the game but managed to finish as the leading scorer with 32 points. Zach LaVine ended right behind him with 30 points as the dup combined for 62 of the Bulls’ 122 points. These two players along with Nikola Vucevic should continue to take on massive roles as the Bulls have lost Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball for the near future.
Minnesota Timberwolves(24-25) at Pheonix Suns(39-9)
The best team in the NBA keeps rolling as they win a high-scoring affair 134-124 against the Wolves. The Suns had seven of their nine players score in double digits on Friday. They were led by Devin Booker who scored 29 points and added nine assists. He has been on a tear of late, scoring 25 or more in seven of his last eight games, including two 40-point games in that span. Chris Paul finished with a 21-point triple-double in the win and continues to show that he is timeless. He ranks inside the top-20 category players and is second in assists per game this season, only behind James Harden.
The Timberwolves lose a tough one without D’Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverly in the lineup. In their absences, Anthony Edwards stepped up as a playmaker, finishing with 10 assists to go along with his 27 points and four steals. Karl-Anthony Towns added 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in the loss. He has been a top-10 player this year and remains one of the most consistent producers in the league.
New York Knicks(23-27) at Milwaukee Bucks(31-20)
In a rare 9 pm central game in Milwaukee, the Bucks walked away with a 123-108 win over the Knicks. Giannis Antetokounmpo had his way on Friday, finishing with 38 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. He is a great fantasy player but ranks just outside the top-10 because of his free-throw shooting and lack of three-pointers. Jrue Holiday added a double-double in the win, finishing with 24 points and 10 assists. Almost all of the Bucks production last night came from the starters as they scored 102 of 123 points.
The Knicks continue to have ups and downs as they struggle to find consistent play from their starters. Evan Fournier has struggled at different points of the year but finished with a team-high 25 points in the loss. His scoring is sporadic and can be tough to predict on a game-to-game basis. RJ Barrett has been excellent of late and is a lone spot of consistency for the Knicks. He finished with 23 points even though he struggled shooting last night. They appear to be giving him more offensive freedom, which bodes well for his fantasy production.