New York Knicks (25-38) at Phoenix Suns (51-12)
The Suns capped off a wild game with Cam Johnson hitting a buzzer-beater three-pointer to finish off a career night. Johnson comes in as the fantasy star of the night after scoring 38 points on 9-12 three-point shooting. Cam Payne provided the game-winning assist and was a major catalyst for the offense all night. Payne finished with 17 points and a career-high 16 assists. He should continue to play a large playmaking role with Chris Paul out and he will dominate the ball until Devin Booker returns from the league’s health and safety protocols.
It was another brutal loss for the New York Knicks behind a third-quarter ejection by Julius Randle. Before the ejection, Randle was having a stellar game, scoring 25 points in 28 minutes. Randle’s ejection was followed by a Sun’s run that led to a 34-21 fourth quarter. The tough loss cannot overshadow one of the better games of Mitchell Robinson’s career as he finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, and three blocks, dominating DeAndre Ayton on both sides of the ball.
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Cleveland Cavaliers (36-27) at Philadelphia 76ers (39-23)
The 76ers win their fifth straight game and move to 4-0 in the James Harden era. Harden was excellent again on Friday, finishing with 25 points and 11 assists. He is averaging 26.8 points and 12 assists through four games in Philly and seems to be exactly what they needed. He is still an elite fantasy asset and could have more upside next to a big man of Joel Embiid’s caliber. Although Harden is the talk of the team, it was Tyrese Maxey who stepped up on Friday, scoring 33 points on a masterful shooting night. Maxey has been a huge beneficiary of the James Harden trade and looks like the clear third option ahead of Tobias Harris since the All-Star Break.
The Cleveland showed what they have shown all year as they battled for four quarters against one of the best teams in the league. Darius Garland continues to play through back soreness but showed no ill effects of the pain tonight as he finished with 26 points and a career-high 19 assists. Garland seems to get better with every game he plays as the main playmaker and it appears he still has plenty of upside to grow into. He has been a top-30 player this year and should continue that trend with the potential to push higher with the high level of his recent play.
Indiana Pacers (22-43) at Detroit Pistons (17-47)
The Pistons have not done many things right this season and tanking can be added to that list as they win a close game over the Pacers, 111-106. They are now 1.5 games ahead of the last spot in the league, which should ultimately be the goal for a team in their position. Saddiq Bey led the team in scoring with 25 points on 6-8 three-point shooting. He has shown flashes of efficient scoring this year and last night was no different. He sits outside of the top-100 players with a lack of consistency and field goal percentage being major reasons for his lack of fantasy production. Cade Cunningham ended the night with 16 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. He had been nursing a wrist injury and was questionable coming into last night so his production and game status will be worth checking on in the coming days. Regardless he should continue to be a top-75 category player with massive night-to-night upside.
The Pacers’ season is essentially over as they are very unlikely to make the play-in tournament. They are continuing their development for next year with Malcolm Brogdon and Tyrese Haliburton being the core duo moving forward. Brogdon has looked great since returning from injury and continued it last night with 26 points, five rebounds, and four assists. He has taken on a scoring role since returning to the lineup next to Tyrese Haliburton and that will likely continue as the year moves on. Haliburton ended the night with eight points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. It was not the best night for the sophomore guard, but he has shown the ability to produce across all categories even when struggling. He ranks inside the top-25 players in category leagues and will look to push near the top-20 as he continues to settle into the Pacers’ offense.
Atlanta Hawks (31-32) at Washington Wizards (28-34)
The Atlanta Hawks held on to survive a late run from Wizards as they went on to win 117-114. De’Andre Hunter had a huge night for the Hawks, scoring a team-high 26 points. Trae Young finished right behind Hunter with 25 points and eight assists, but only shot 6-22 in the win. Young remains in the top-10 fantasy players as he has for most of the year and will continue to be an elite fantasy producer.
The Wizards stuck around in a game against a better team thanks to a perfect shooting night from behind the arc from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 28 points and finished 6-6 from behind the arc. He ranks inside the top-150 category players this year but his only value comes from his three-point shooting as seen from last night. Kyle Kuzma continues to thrive in a leading offensive role as he finished with 22 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds. Kuzma has been a top-70 player this season with increased value since the trade deadline. His shooting numbers remain a negative for fantasy owners, but he makes up for that with consistent all-around play.
Milwaukee Bucks (39-25) at Chicago Bulls (39-25)
The Bucks stormed back to win the game 118-112 after outsourcing the Bulls 37-24 in the fourth quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo was dominant in the close win finishing with 34 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists. He has crept into the top-10 category players this season after hovering outside of that range for part of the season. Jrue Holiday added 26 points and Khris Middleton added 22 in the win. Both rank just inside the top-40 and should have no problem staying in that range to end the season.
The Bulls have run through many different starters this year due to injury, but they likely had their most interesting start of the year on Friday in Tristan Thompson. He was out there to match the size of the Bucks but struggled to contain Antetokounmpo in his time on the court. It was Zach LaVine who led the Bulls in scoring on Friday, finishing with 30 points. It was very encouraging to see him have a big game as he has been recovering from a knee injury and says “He is not 100%”. Lavine has been a top-30 category player so managers will hope that last night’s game is a sign he is back to that form.
Orlando Magic (16-48) at Toronto Raptors (34-29)
The Magic win for the third time in four games, beating the Raptors 103-97. They ended the game with seven players scoring in double figures. Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs tied for the lead in scoring with 15 while they combined for 12 assists. Anthony added 12 rebounds as he continues to supply managers with all-around stats. He has been a top-80 player this season despite poor shooting numbers.
The Raptors played without Fred VanVleet for the fourth straight game with Malachi Flynn starting at point guard in his place. He ended with 20 points and eight assists and was able to keep the Raptors alive on a night when Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. provided very little offense. Pascal Siakam broke out of a slump on Friday, scoring 34 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the loss. Siakam sits just outside the top-40 players but will have increased value until Fred VanVleet returns from his knee injury.
Minnesota Timberwolves (35-29) at Oklahoma City Thunder (20-43)
The Timberwolves had no problems against the Thunder on Friday night as they went on to win 138-101. Karl-Anthony Towns led the team with 20 points and his backup, Naz Reid, tied him for the lead in points off the bench. None of the Wolves starters surpassed 25 minutes so fantasy managers lost out on about 10 minutes on Friday night.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to lead the tanking Thunder squad, but he has been doing it in style, finishing with 29 or more points in each of his five games since he has returned from injury. He scored 33 points while dishing out seven assists. He will continue to be a scoring force until teams figure out how to slow him down. Isaiah Roby had another great game last night finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes of playing time. Roby has played 34 and 37 minutes in his last two games and was on pace for 30 or more minutes two games ago if not for foul trouble. He seems to be locked into a larger role moving forward, especially with his strong play recently.
Utah Jazz (39-23) at New Orleans Pelicans (27-36)
The Pelicans move to 4-0 since the All-Star Break, beating the Jazz 124-90. Brandon Ingram led the way on Friday, scoring 29 points while adding eight rebounds, and six assists. CJ McCollum took a back seat to Ingram scoring 24 points while dishing out four assists. These two have meshed well and have been able to find winning ways early in their career as a duo. McCollum has shown he is the better fantasy option most nights but it will not be unlikely to see Ingram lead the charge.
The Jazz lose a rare game in blowout fashion as they shoot 34% from the field scoring just 90 points. Donovan Mitchell led the way with just 14 points shooting 5-18. Mitchell is a top-15 player this year and should be able to bounce back from this rough night with ease. Rudy Gobert finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds while adding a steal and an assist to his stat line. He is one of the most consistent fantasy players in the game, ranking inside the top-20 players.
Houston Rockets (15-48) at Denver Nuggets (37-26)
The Nuggets were without Nikola Jokic on Friday, who was ruled out late in the day with a non-covid illness. DeMarcus Cousins filled in the starting center spot and ended with a game-high 31 points in the win. He added nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Boogie has always been an excellent producer and he showed it once again on Friday. He is a great handcuff for Jokic but it is unlikely that Jokic is out next game.
The Rockets were the only team in the bottom three of the league to lose on Friday, moving them a little closer to the best odds for the number one pick. Christian Wood had a great all-around game on Friday, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Wood still ranks outside the top-100 with poor shooting numbers being his downfall. Jalen Green continued his improved efficiency, scoring 18 points on 7-14 shooting. He has not been viable for category leagues because of his dreadful shooting numbers, but his improvements of late are a great sign moving forward.