A strange night in the NBA last night with nine games played, old faces finally showing up, new faces coming out of nowhere and one terrible performance from a super star. Without further fanfare let’s get into the recaps.
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Orlando vs Indiana
A fully healthy starting lineup for the Orlando Magic last night and, as I said last week, with incoming reinforcement this team’s got serious potential. Look how they held pace with the Pacers all night, never quitting, never just falling off. Players will be traded at the deadline, however a core is brewing in Florida, so watch out next season. Not being talked about frequently, trade deadline candidate Gary Harris played well. I would bet heavily on a competing team trading a second round pick for him. As for the Indiana Pacers, go sit in the timeout corner with the Kings and Blazers. Sit down on that “X” taped to the carpet, you have until this hourglass of sand runs out to decide a direction for your franchise.
Wizards vs 76ers
The first of many struggling players to have a good performance was Spencer Dinwiddie of the Washington Wizards. Recent rumors speculate that the Wizards were unhappy with his performances, so in response he puts up a triple-double, silencing critics temporarily with 12 Rebounds, 10 assists, and 14 points on 25% from the field. Now I hadn’t realized how far the Wizards had fallen in the standings before last night, as even with this win they sit as the 11th seed in the East. They’re currently not in the play-in game, let alone the playoffs. The East caught up to them and took advantage of their slump, one of those teams being the 76ers. Joel Em-v-biid continues his campaign, putting up 27 points and 14 rebounds. Nothing much more to say about the 76ers, as they played a solid game, but came up just short.
Hornets vs Celtics
Now with trade rumors swirling around the Hornets, I’ve seen a lot of Gordon Hayward slander and I just won’t stand for it. Hayward is more valuable to this team than people give him credit for. Just look at the last six games he’s missed. The Hornets are 2-4 and, aside from the record setting Pacers game, have failed to score over 115 points in any of them. Granted, it doesn’t help that Kelly Oubre Jr., LaMelo Ball, and Terry Rozier all missed six threes each, but give Hayward the credit he deserves. Also worth mentioning was Mason Plumlee with 17 rebounds. Nothing else to say but god damn.
Adding to last night’s theme of players finally showing up, Josh Richardson put up 23 on six made threes. If he could remain this consistent, the Celtics might avoid the play-in tournament and may just steal a few games from a contender. Since I covered him two weeks ago Dennis Schroder hasn’t cracked double-digit point totals once. Maybe they do trade him after all.
Grizzlies vs Knicks
One of my favorite methods to find fantasy value is by tracking and prioritizing minutes and starting roles over efficiency and shooting splits. All it takes is one hot hand and suddenly you’re sitting pretty in the week’s standings. Ziaire Williams is a player I’ve had flagged since last week’s dismissal, and he finally had his breakout game with 21 points on 81% from the field and 91% from the line. Don’t know if he’s necessarily worth picking up in all 12-team leagues right away but keep an eye on him.
We were so close to another golden performance from Kemba Walker, but no, he had to grab three rebounds and assist on two baskets to rob us of the 0-0-0-0-0. On the other end of the spectrum Mitchell Robinson not only had a double-double he also blocked eight shots! Honesty, I dismissed him in most of my mock drafts but I’m sure anyone who drafted him has been more than happy with him.
Cavaliers vs Rockets
Evan Mobley for ROTY might be a safer investment than the GSP 500 these days. 29 points and 12 rebounds on 60% shooting from the field. This is in addition to his already elite level defense. This kid is something special. Kevin Love’s been a valuable bench asset for both fantasy managers and the Cavaliers for a good while now. Check to see if he’s still available and scoop him up immediately if he is. As for the rebuilding Rockets, this was a good win for a young team. Jalen Green is still too inconsistent to recommend picking up, even in a pure scoring league.
Thunder vs Mavericks
Another good win for a young rebuilding team, the OKC Thunder balled out last night. A 30 piece performance from Lu Dort, 29 points from Tre Mann, and yet another double-double for Josh Giddey. A point of concern with Giddey last night were the turnovers, as he ended the night with six. As for the Dallas Mavericks, a tough loss to a rebuilding team without their best player. You wish for more out of Dorian Finney-Smith or Dwight Powell offensively but other than that what more do you want? Luka Doncic dropped 40, Jalen Brunson put up 20, and even Reggie Bullock put up 23.
Nuggets vs Jazz
There’s something charming about a bench brawl, not the hockey ones. I’m talking about the ones in which star players are out so players who normally struggle for minutes can flourish. A few takeaways, the Bryn Forbes trade is working out good so far for the Denver Nuggets as he put up 26 points shooting 80% from three! If you’re in a super super deep league, check out rookie Trent Forrest, who went off for 18 points and eight assists. Finally, Eric Paschall’s name value is worth more than his performance on the court this year. Whatever league you have this man in, trade him as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
Nets vs Kings
Nets, come here for a second. You have Kyrie Irving back in your line up, James Harden playing, and you get a 23-point performance from Nic Claxton and you lose to the 13th seed Kings? Without De’Aaron Fox? I’m blaming this loss solely on Harden’s shoulders, putting up an abysmal four points on 11 field goal attempts. I realize he had 12 assists and seven rebounds, but you’re getting paid how much money and only put up four points? Sacramento, I’ll see you next week. It’s the night before the trade deadline and you better have an answer for me.
Trail Blazers vs Lakers
Honestly, as much as I believe the Blazers should blow up their current core, I was definitely rooting for them to win this game. I don’t like the Lakers, and still like Norman Powell, so sue me. What an odd array of performances last night with 30 points from Powell, 13 rebounds from both Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington, and a disappointing night for Anfernee Simons. As for the Lakers, they might be coming back from the dead. Anthony Davis put up 30 points and 15 rebounds, assisted by Russell Westbrook coming one point shy of a triple-double. Carmelo Anthony added 24 off the bench as well. They might go on a nice run once LeBron James comes back.