Bucks vs Cavaliers
Milwaukee’s Big Three showed up to play last night: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Bobby Portis. What? Portis has been an amazing role player and crucial to the Bucks this season. He put up 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds in last night’s loss to the Cavaliers. Who would have thought that this match would determine the 3rd seed in the East for the time being? Who expected the Cavaliers at all this season? A deep team highlighted by Darius Garland’s breakout, Kevin Love’s positive influence off the bench and an early season trade for Rajon Rondo. Speaking of which, man that trade looks like highway robbery, as he’s playing like everyone thought he would in Atlanta last season.
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Hornets vs Pacers
Congratulations to Charlotte for breaking their franchise record for points, highlighted by sneaky 6th Man of the Year contender Kelly Oubre Jr., who scored 39 points on 18 field goal attempts and six free throws, not to mention the 10 threes on 76% shooting. LaMelo Ball triple-doubled last night with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. Shout out to Rick Carlisle as well last night, with the talent he had at his disposal his team put up a solid effort. No Domantas Sabonis, Miles Turner or Malcom Brogdon and his team still put up 126 points.
Clippers vs Magic
Two players available on waiver wires and who might start catching fire soon are Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey. Both players are coming off back-to-back strong performances which should lead to more confidence and playing time. They are not must haves but flag them for sure. A bit of positivity here for Orlando Magic fans after a tough season, as this team could be next year’s Cavaliers. Markelle Fultz starting at point guard, Jalen Suggs or Cole Anthony coming off the bench as a scoring 6th man. Jonathan Isaac returning at PF with either Mo Bamba or Wendell Carter Jr. coming off the bench? Suddenly this team could be ready to make some noise and surprise a lot of teams.
Kings vs Hawks
Is it the trade deadline? Not for another two weeks? Sweet, talk to me then about Sacramento. As for the Atlanta Hawks, Onyeka Okongwu had himself a strong game last night with 18 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steals in only 20 minutes.
Knicks vs Heat
One of my favorite buy-low candidates heading into the trade deadlines for fantasy managers is Julius Randle. He has huge potential for fantasy stats, plus there could be disenfranchised owners looking to shake up their roster. The only downsides are the sunk cost fallacy due to his preseason ranking and playing for the Knicks. The Knicks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Cowboys occupy this space of rapid fan obsession and overdrafting in respective fantasy sports.
When did the Heat jump from 5th to 1st in the conference? As I’ve alluded to before, sometimes focusing on the small details can blind you from the bigger picture. With the Heat starting five back in action, it’s probably safe to drop or sell high on depth pieces such as Max Strus. This may be a bold prediction, but with the starting line up back in action, Duncan Robinson will turn his season around and have a strong second half performance
Nuggets vs Nets
There are few constants in life; death, taxes, and DeMarcus Cousins getting ejected due to two technical fouls. Before the ejection, he was playing really well and should be signed for the rest of the year. If another injury happens next season for the Nuggets, this team will go down in time as the biggest “what if” team in NBA history. They have amazing role players, the best player in the league, amazing co-stars who fit perfectly alongside him, and great depth. This Denver team should be remembered along the same lines as the 2018 Houston Rockets, the 2005 Suns, and the 2012 OKC Thunder.
Not much to say for the Nets in this game as they were missing everybody who makes them competitive. This game just shows how good the Patty Mills signing this offseason was, as well as the power of the buyout market. I wish the NHL had a similar structure as it provides a way for both good teams to get better and good players to leave bad situations.
Raptors vs Bulls
Did you know the Raptors are currently 11th in offensive rating per NBA.com? They are 20th in defensive rating meaning they’re significantly better on offense than defense? I guess I’m still living in the past, but I assumed they were way better defensively and way worse offensively. With players like Gary Trent Jr. dropping 32 points, I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am. With all of the Raptors starting 5 playing, this is absolutely a playoff team but not a true contender. They’re still lacking that one star to make them a true contender. I keep praying to the stars for this but Kristaps Porzingis to Toronto, please.
Grizzlies vs Spurs
Great, the Grizzlies beat a terrible team in the Spurs. Congratulations to Ziaire Williams getting the start and performing adequately. I need to rant about the Spurs and their absolute refusal to tank. There’s a difference between “competing” and “ being competitive.” The Spurs are “competitive.” I can respect them playing hard every game, but management should stop kidding themselves. The team lacks talent, and you know how you get talent as a small market? Maximizing assets and draft capital. Thaddeus Young is rotting away on the bench. Trade him or at least play him and increase his trade value! Same goes for Josh Primo. Play him more and develop the young talent. Sincerely, a fan who’s never had any general manager experience.
Suns vs Jazz
I didn’t think this was possible heading into this season, but is Devin Booker underrated? He put up a 43-point monster performance last night and has been amazing of late. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaged 27 points, including another 40-point performance just over a week ago. Might want to check his availability with owners not paying much attention right now.
Take away any team’s best two players and see how they fair, especially a team like Utah who optimized every position. Maybe a critique of the Jazz and similar teams is how important is flexibility to an NBA team? Is it better to optimize positionality or simply get the best group of players available? Otherwise enjoy a fair few games of inflated Hassan Whiteside stats and Jordan Clarkson buckets.
Mavericks vs Trail Blazers
Is this not the ideal version of the Mavericks? Luka Doncic dominating all aspects of play, Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson both creating their own offense and playing well alongside Luka Doncic? My only critique would be the bench depth, as I still don’t trust Reggie Bullock or Dorian Finney-Smith. As for the Portland Trail Blazers same message to you as the Kings. See me after the deadline when you decide a direction for your franchise.