I would be looking forward to a Celtics-Lakers matchup any time my beloved C’s are good, nevermind when they’ve got a primetime Saturday game during a pandemic when the only safe thing to do is stay home, anyway. Needless to say, my night was ruined.
Lakers 96, Celtics 95
Best Work, LAL: Anthony Davis
The Brow is a The Beast. Rumors of a right-quad contusion were greatly exaggerated, or at least, it wasn’t enough to noticeably slow this unstoppable force. 22.2/9.1/3.4 on the season and opponents might want to look into ritual incantations and other dark arts to slow him down because this whole “defense” thing doesn’t much phase him.
Biggest Jerk, LAL: Montrezl Harrell
Harrell was back to Sixth Man of the Year form after being held to eight total points and four total boards in his last two tilts against Philly and Detroit, nabbing some crucial swipes and stuffs with excellent FG% for your squads as the H2H week winds down. Per Yahoo! he went from 86 percent to 83 percent rostered from Friday into Saturday so, if you’re in a public league or kick it with mouth-breathers and window-lickers, check your wire.
Notes: LeBron James posted 21/7/7 over 37 minutes and, on the opposite end of the Productivity Spectrum, Marc Gasol played 18 minutes, scored one point, grabbed one board, and had one steal. Go play another kind of 18, guy. He’s inexplicably rostered in 21 percent of leagues.
Best Work, BOS: Jayson Tatum
Any presumption Tatum might need a bit to ramp back up after being out with The ‘Rona has been categorically defenestrated, as he continues his All-NBA bid. Yeah, he threw a nice no-look dime about 40 feet to hit a sprinting Robert Williams III in stride. Who cares, they lost.
Biggest Jerk, BOS: Kemba Walker
Kemba just disappears against superior opponents. I was terrified of his remaining three years on his max pact after his bed-shitting against Toronto and Miami in last year’s playoffs. Forget the knee troubles (you couldn’t tell he’s hobbled by watching him), he just looks lost when he’s doubled and he goes ice cold for long stretches. Am I glad Kyrie’s gone? Absolutely. Do I want Kemba gone? Also yes. That’s great he’s a great person and nice to reporters but he’s a liability against good competition, and lottery teams by rule cannot be playoff opponents.
Kemba could’ve made it 2-for-12 and gotten a pass (not from me and my Jerk Superlative) if he had made an 8-foot fadeaway for the Dub on a chaotic play at the end of regulation but he was long, and Daniel Theis (14/7/1 with a steal and a block) couldn’t put it back.
The Celtics have lost the last four of five games in which Cardiac Kemba has played. Maybe it’s time to see a cardiologist and take some medication, guy, because your bullshit needs to stop.
Notes: Marcus Smart sprained his calf and has an MRI scheduled. DO NOT put him in a weekly lineup this week and, as of Sunday morning, he’s likely out one to two weeks. Jaylen Brown was spectacular himself, posting 28/1/3 with a steal and a block, shooting 13-for-19 from the field plus 2-for-4 from deep. Tell me that Kemba’s not the problem.
Grizzlies 129, Spurs 112
Best Work, MEM: Ja Morant
Wow, the Grizzlies played a game?!?! Memphis finally returned from winter break (a 5-game ‘Rona-related vacay). Ja definitely showed some rust, but it was good to see him back out there doing work, dishing dimes.
Biggest Jerk, MEM: Xavier Tillman
If you held onto Tillman since he scored in double figures in three straight before the Memphis hiatus, this was disappointing, as he only logged 21 minutes with foul trouble. Out of the 10 who played for the Grizz last night, only three DIDN’T score in double-figures, ya boy included. Considering he’s only rostered in eight percent of Yahoo! leagues, it’s clear most bailed during the layoff; don’t rush to amend that.
Notes: When considering any Grizz transactions, weigh them with the number of games the team will have in the second half of the season to make up for this stoppage. De’Anthony Melton led the Grizz with 20 points and 32 minutes, plus five boards and two blocks coming off the bench. He’s only four percent rostered and, while streaky, he may be worth a speculative add.
Best Work, SAS: Derrick White
In his first game back since busting a toe (I’mma presume it was a big one; trust me, I’ve got an index-toe that’s been broken for months, it only hurts when I stub it and no one really gives a shit about your other eight toes unless one of them is literally falling off), White paced the Spurs with a team-high 18 in 22 minutes off the bench. He’s still out there in 36 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Make sure someone didn’t drop him to free up roster space from ‘Rona-related and other absences.
Biggest Jerk, SAS: DeMar DeRozan
Atypical off-night for the normally bankable DeRozan. Nothing to see here, as he’s still slashing 19.8/4.8/6.7 for the year and even the most oblivious of fantasy owners won’t be looking to deal him after one outlier.
Hornets 126, Bucks 114
Best Work, CHA: LaMelo Ball
The 27 points are a season/career-high for Young LaMelo with maximum efficiency in 31 minutes off the bench. While he’s only scored in double digits in five of his last 10 games, 27 points is a great number.
Biggest Jerk, CHA: Gordon Hayward
27 points? Jerk. The Saab, who’s invariably going to miss like a month when he breaks a pinkie-toe any day now continues to enjoy his career resurgence in Charlotte, where I hope his house sucks and his neighbors constantly block his driveway inadvertently. He’s slashing 23.2/5.2/3.6 thus far, on pace for a career-high in PPG while I’m on pace for a pacemaker since this piece of trash shattered my heart.
Best Work, MIL: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Why does he ever linger around the perimeter, nevermind shoot from long range? He’s shooting .280 from deep this year, on par with his .284 career mark. He’s also shooting a career-low .591 from The Nail this season; since suffering through numerous seasons watching Antoine Walker, I’ve long believed that no one who shoots less than 65 percent from the line is allowed to shoot a 3-ball. It’s not even a Luka-like situation where he’s got the stroke but just needs to tweak it; I’m pretty sure my personalized version of hell involves, amongst other things, being forced to watch hoops where everyone shoots like Giannis, Shawn Marion, and any of the Ball brothers, but has the antithesis of the rest of their skill sets.
Biggest Jerk, Team: Donte DiVincenzo
Lots of double-macaronis (‘cuz they make a zero! I’m the worst!) for DiVincenzo last night, who’s otherwise having a career year after vaulting into the Bucks starting lineup. Still, he’s only slashing 9.4/3.9/2.5, has only scored in double figures in three of his last 10, notching less than five dimes and three treys in nine of those, and grabbing more than four boards in just two of those. I’m confused as to why he’s still rostered in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues; I’ll surmise that 20 percent of owners don’t pay attention, .07 percent are Villanova fans, and the rest? I dunno.
Rockets 126, Pelicans 112
Best Work, HOU: Christian Wood
Wood’s back to doing work like he never missed a beat after a brief absence, continuing his emergence as one of the best bigs in the game. He’s not? Tell that to 23.6/10.7/1.2 on the year with 1.6 blocks and 0.8 steals. Who are you taking after Nikola Jokic and AD? And how much would you have to pay them?
Biggest Jerk, HOU: Victor Oladipo
‘Dipo’s not a real jerk, it’s just that no one of any fantasy relevance deserved any vitriol on the Houston side. He’s scored 20-plus in three straight and is adjusting quite well to his new digs.
Best Work, NOP: Zion Williamson
Zion has been throttling dudes lately, garroting them even as he’s shooting 58.7 from the field on the season. Incredible. After the knee injury to start his career, Zion’s seemingly surpassing the career-high expectations this season, putting up 23.9/7.5/2.3. If you didn’t draft him this year, be prepared to use a first-rounder going forward for the privilege.
Biggest Jerk, NOP: Brandon Ingram
The Big Sleepy faltered in this one after scoring 23-plus in four straight contests. He’s still playing all-star ball, no need to fret.
Blazers 123, Bulls 122
Best Work, POR: Damian Lillard
With C.J. McCollum still out for a stretch, Dametime did Dame-type things, most notably splashing a 3-point game-winner from 27 feet with 0.3 left on the clock.
Biggest Jerk, POR: Enes Kanter
Kanter has played admirably in Jusuf Nurkic’s absence, including this effort last night. Why call him a jerk, then? Because it’s lazy to pick Robert Covington (9/2/4) every Portland game, and it’d defeat the point to talk about fantasy-irrelevant players here.
Best Work, CHI: Zach LaVine
9-for-12 from the field, 6-for-8 from deep, LaVine is a marksman this season.
Biggest Jerk, CHI: Lauri Markkanen
More like Lauri Mercurialanan. He follows up relative duds against the Lakers and Celtics with this bombardment. He can frustrate, but when he’s rolling, he’s a pleasure to watch and own.
Heat 105, Kings 104
Best Work, MIA: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Java is another one who looked like he never missed a beat in returning from COVID protocols; he notched a tough bucket (and Miami’s last points of the night) on a bullish take or the go-ahead hoop with under a minute to play. The Heat sorely missed him and will need him at his caffeinated best to rebound from a 7-12 start.
Biggest Jerk, Team: Bam Adebayo
Not a bad night from Bam but no one good had a bad enough game to warrant this dubious distinction, and Andre Iguodala (1/6/6) is only rostered in one percent of Yahoo! leagues. Bam is very good and, while he may not get as many looks now that Butler’s back, you can expect plenty of lines like this.
Best Work, SAC: De’Aaron Fox
If Fox wants to be considered among the game’s elite, he’s going to need more nights like this and less of Wednesday’s misstep against Orland0 (4/17 FG, 16/10/8), but shooters need to shoot and Fox will continue to get looks.
Biggest Jerk, SAC: Richaun Holmes
First, we were supposed to drop Marvin Bagley III (17/4/1 with 2 steals last night) because Holmes was going to make him redundant, and now Holmes is making owners wonder if they should jettison him, as he followed up a 5/5/2 effort on Friday with this line. He’s only averaging 1.0 blocks and .06 steals on the year and owners want more from players who occupy roster spots when they don’t crack double-figure points. Holmes is putting up 12.7/7.9/1.9 on the year; don’t do anything rash in the interim, but maybe try to sell high after his next strong stretch.
Suns 111, Mavericks 105
Best Work, PHO: Chris Paul
Clearly, CP3 has no problem shouldering some extra weight while Devin Booker recovers from a hamstring strain (and is still considered day-to-day), as he keeps the Suns in the playoffs conversation at 10-8.
Biggest Jerk, PHO: Deandre Ayton
Ayton’s another who’s definitely not jerk-worthy but I already felt bad writing up Jae Crowder once this year, and the focus is on fantasy-relevant players. Ayton’s been the subject of some scorn and derision for his play this year, but lines like this are exactly how you tell those people to stuff it.
Best Work, DAL: Luka Doncic
Luka was slightly better from deep and one of the few bright spots for Dallas, who was without Kristaps Porzingis on the second night of a back-to-back. If Luka can get to 37 percent from deep, he’s a perennial MVP candidate. If not? Ben Simmons with a better shot and without the supporting cast.
Biggest Jerk, DAL: Josh Richardson
It seems like the Mavericks have this glut of tweener types like Richardson who we’re all waiting to see someone distinguish himself from, and if you thought he was the guy, it’s not looking good of late, as this line is coming off 6/2/0 and 6/2/2 efforts, both against Utah.
Warriors 118, Pistons 91
Best Work, GSW: Stephen Curry
Steph’s just carrying The Dubs this year, who are sitting in playoff position despite universal dismissal at 11-9, while the Mavericks (8-12) and Pelicans (7-11) are the third and second-worst teams in the Western, yet seemingly have categorical fan adulation. NBA heads this season are constantly talking about what Curry’s going to do in retirement when he probably has four-plus great seasons left. What gives? Do Californians need him to go away to make it less awkward they bailed for Lakers fandom at the first sign of trouble? Friggin’ Buzz Aldrin’s still hoopin’ and guys are talking about upstart astronauts who’ve flown like one mission as if THEY’RE the ones who landed on the goddamn moon.
Biggest Jerk, GSW: Kelly Oubre, Jr.
More like “Kareer Lowbre, Jr.” Oubre’s dad was probably one dud away from saying “Look, I love you but you need to drop the ‘Jr.,’ son, it’s gotten too embarrassing,” and then he posts a line like this that will stop Oubre owners from dropping him without remorse in the near future. He’s still shooting .372/.228/.741 this season, compared to .352/.511/.780 last year. I’m surprised it’s not a bigger disparity. After posting 4/4/1 on Thursday in a reverse-revenge game against his former Phoenix mates, Kellying You Softly redeemed himself…for now. He’s slashing 12.5/5.6/1.3 thus far. Brace for frustration if you’re not selling.
Best Work, DET: Jerami Grant
It’s just hard to say many positive things about any Pistons after last night. Grant was least-worst. The End.
Biggest Jerk, DET: Wayne Ellington
This roundup would’ve been much easier to write from an evisceration standpoint if I could put four guys from the Pistons onto other rosters temporarily to write about how bad they played, but Ellington took the Suck-Cake with an abundance of donuts. It’s his 12th year in the league and it’s rare for fantasy owners to have given a flip about him, but when you’re making 50 percent of your 3-balls for the season, journeyman or not, you’re gonna get some adds. Ellington was lights out for seven straight contests, but we’re all suspect to Regression to the Mean, and he’s a career .382 shooter from deep.
Note: Josh Jackson was the only other Piston to score in double figures (17/6/1) in a dismal night for Detroit.