The Magic have been everyone’s favorite fantasy outlet this season, from Bol Bol Euro-stepping into monster jams to Paolo Banchero compiling historic rookie numbers. The play of Franz Wagner has by no means been lost in all the excitement, but his games of late have been next level good. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 24 points on 55% shooting, 68.3 TS%, pitching in about 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and 3 threes per game.
Friday night, Franz posted 30 points (10-16 FG, 5-7 3pt, 5-5 FT), 6 boards and 9 assists as the Magic beat the red-hot Pelicans 123-110. Cole Anthony (22-3-4) outplayed Markelle Fultz (9-2-3), but will need to string together a few efficient games to spike my interest as a rosterable piece. Bol Bol put up what we’d hope from his bench role, with 12 points, 5 boards, a three/assist/steal and two blocks in 20 minutes. But we’ll have to see how the eventual return of Jonathan Isaac affects the rotation.
Jose Alvarado again played 30 minutes, posting 17-4-4 with a steal and 3 steals. He’s been a back-end standard leaguer this month who’s value increases if you’re punting FG% (he shot 6-of-15 in this one). CJ McCollum is in a mini shooting slump himself, but did contribute 5 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals to go with his 23 points (6-21 FG, 2-11 3pt, 9-10 FT). Trey Murphy III ran a team high 40 minutes, and has been averaging 2 stocks and 1.5 threes a game over his last 7.
The Atlanta Hawks have cooked up a five-game win streak after a 139-124 victory over the Knicks in which everyone for Atlanta got theirs. Dejounte Murray led the way with 29-6-12 and 3 steals. Onyeka Okongwu moved back to a bench role, but still played 27 minutes (compared to Capella’s 20) and posted 14-7-1 with 3 blocks. De’Andre Hunter contributed an efficient 20 points (7-11 FG, 3-7 3pt, 3-4 FT) with 3 boards, 2 assists and a steal.
Jericho Sims had 12 points, 8 boards and 2 steals in the starting role with Mitchell Robinson out at least a few weeks. Isaiah Hartenstein (2-6-1 in 17 minutes) is very Meh, so Sims has the opportunity to play 30 minutes a game in the coming weeks. But more than likely the Knicks go small ball. Immanuel Quickley got 36 minutes of run off the bench, but wasn’t too involved with a 11-1-2 stat line. Jalen Brunson managed 5 on the defensive end (2 steals and 3 blocks) with 9 assists and 19 points.
Kawhi Leonard is, needless to say, back. He scored 36 point (13-18 FG, 4-5 3pt, 6-6 FT) with 4 boards, 7 assists and 2 steals to lead the Clippers over the Spurs, 131-126. Ivica Zubac grabbed 16 boards to go with 12 points, and I’m starting to wonder if I should have dropped him in the Razzball Writers League (I’ll feel better about it after a sure-to-be dud next game). Paul George dished 12 assists to go with his 16 points, and Norman Powell continues to be a trusted bucket-getter off the bench, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting with 4 threes.
Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins played 24 minutes each, posting 11-6-4-1-0 and 17-2-4, respectively, and each with a three. Collins is about due for a solid stretch of play, and at the least is worth a stash with that pending deadline trade deal of Poeltl.
Kyrie Irving went gangbusters in Utah, amassing 48 points (18-29 FG, 8-15 3pt, 4-6 FT), 11 boards, 6 assists and 4 steals in a 117-106 win over the Jazz. Nic Claxton scored 20 on 8-of-9 shooting with 5 boards and 4 blocks. And none of the role players have stepped their game up in Durant’s absence, although Royce O’Neale was decent with 13-5-6 plus a block.
Jordan Poole captained the Golden State B Squad over the Cavaliers, 120-114, with 32 points (10-23 FG, 5-12 3pt, 7-8 FT) and some scraps across the board. Kevin Looney seems to benefit the most from Warrior rest nights. He had just 4 points but tallied 17 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Ty Jerome dished out 8 dimes to go with his season high 22 points, and Donte DiVincenzo snagged 4 steals with his 17-6-4 streamer stat line.
Darius Garland finished with 31-2-9 with 2 steals. His assist numbers are ticking up lately, as they did about this time last season, so hopefully a trend that continues. Caris LeVert with his second straight solid outing, replacing Donovan Mitchell (groin) in the starting lineup with 22 points (7-16 FG, 5-8 3pt, 3-4 FT), 5 boards, 2 assists, a steal and two blocks.
Reggie Bullock has been shooting nearly 50% from deep since the calendar turned to 2023. He hit 5-of-6 from three Friday in the Mav’s blowout win over Miami 115-90, totaling 15-3-1-2-1. He scraps together counting stats well enough to be fantasy viable when he’s on a heater. His diet of threes and low turnovers have led to a No. 51 per game value rank over the last two weeks. Christian Wood is out for at least a week, so Bullock could see an increased role while he’s hot. Dwight Powell managed just 6-6-1-2-0 in 33 minutes. And Luka Doncic did his thing with 34-12-7, adding 5 threes, a steal and just 3 turnovers.
Throw away game for the Heat, who had just one worthwhile fantasy stat line – Bam Adebayo’s 20-11-4. Gabe Vincent played 28 minutes compared to Kyle Lowry’s 21, but tallied just 10 points on 3-9 shooting (1-6 3pt) with 3 assists. But as long as the minutes remain up, probably worth rostering in standard leagues.
No Joker No Problem for the bright shining Nuggets of Denver. Aaron Gordon made a public pitch to make the All Star roster (promising to compete in the slam dunk contest if he did) and posted some All Star style numbers, 28 points (11-15 FG, 1-2 3pt, 5-9 FT), 5 boards and 6 assists. He’s been under 60% from the charity stripe in the last two weeks, a blemish on an otherwise solid fantasy game. Jamal Murray made sure Denver still had a mess-around game (his career first), with 17-10-14 and 2 steals, and Bruce Brown produced 17-4-5-2-1 with 2 threes in 27 minutes off the bench.
Still no sure thing on the Haliburton-less Pacers streaming options. Andrew Nembhard rookie inconsistencies reared their head again Friday, with just 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting (1-8 3pt) 6 assists, a steal and 5 turnovers. TJ McConnell posted 8-3-6 while Chris Duarte and Bennedict Mathurin scored 18 and 19, respectively, but added little else.
Lakers point guard tandem Russell Westbrook (29-5-6) and Dennis Schroder (19-8-8-3-1) led L.A. over Memphis, 122-121. Schroder’s woeful shooting continued (4-11 FG) but made up for it by hitting 10-of-11 from the free throw line. LeBron James was Lebron, with 23-9-6-2-2.
When not threatening Shannon Sharpe to a wrastlin’ match, Steven Adams was collecting 17 points to go with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-9 from the line, now shooting a paltry 35% 3 free throw attempts per game. Brandon Clarke continued his solid play with a 20-10 performance and 3 stocks, but missed a game-tying free throw. You’ve got … to make … your free throws. [RIP Bill Schonely; one of the best announcers and ambassadors the Association will ever know.] Clarke has been standard league relevant his last 4 games, but his value is capped with only about 20 minutes a game. Same for Tyus Jones, producing No. 55 per game value over the last two weeks, averaging 2 threes a game a spattering of counting stats.
Welcome to the NBA Keegan Murray. The rook hit 5-of-7 from deep, 10-of-12 overall, for 29 points and (more important) 15 rebounds. That’s back-to-back double digit rebounding games for Murray after only one such game in his first 40. Would be great to see some consistency from the No. 4 pick going forward.
Oh, and Domantas Sabonis did that thing he likes to do: 18 points, 14 boards and 14 dimes. Light the beam!