• Thursday night brought us a slate of five games and thankfully it did not have too many news items on injuries. Instead, we were blessed with more than a few excellent fantasy performances to warm our hearts for a change.

    For starters, let’s get the injury news out of the way.

    Austin Rivers dislocated his finger in the Clippers’ game against the Trail Blazers. He could be in line to miss a few games, leaving the Clips extra thin at the wing. If he should miss time, expect more production from Lou Williams and Wesley Johnson.

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    Bullish on Markkanen

    Lauri Markkanen has been great as a starter for the Chicago Bulls and recorded his second double-double performance in his last five games with 14 points and 12 boards. Markkanen leapfrogged Nikola Mirotic (concussion) and Bobby Portis (suspension) on the depth chart. Markkanen should remain the player to own even when those two return to action. His numbers will dip but the starting gig is his to lose.

    Jerian Grant has quietly been averaging 7.3 assists per game and had a solid performance last night with 11 points, seven dimes and two steals. Kris Dunn is expected back soon but Grant has a firm hold on the starting job for now.

    Robin Lopez continues to be solid as a rock for the Bulls. He dropped 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

    It was easy for the Bulls to come away with this 91-86 win.

    Kent Bazemore filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, five boards, three dimes, three steals and a block for the Hawks. He did a good job stepping up while Taurean Waller-Prince (three points, 28 minutes) fell flat.

    Mike Muscala had himself a nice double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block in a spot start for the injured Ersan Ilyasova.

    “Big Al” steps it up

    Al Horford was a model of efficiency on Thursday for the Celtics. He made 11-of-14 shots from the field and 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc to lead his team with 27 points, nine rebounds and four dimes. The spotlight has been on Boston’s younger players as of late but Horford reminded us last night of why he’s such a valuable big man in fantasy basketball.

    Kyrie Irving played solid as well with 24 points of his own and seven assists.

    Jaylen Brown struggled with his shot from all over, making just 2-of-10 shots from the field and 3-of-6 from the line. He did get a steal and a block to go with his nine points and nine boards.

    Marcus Smart (ankles) returned to action and eight points and four assists and a steal in 27 minutes off the bench.

    The Bucks were led by the stellar performance of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who dropped 28 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block. This is the first game Antetokoumpo scored less than 30 points this season. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon (ankle) added 15 points apiece in the loss.

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    Cruising in Memphis

    The Grizzlies dropped the Mavericks, 96-91, led by the efforts of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, who scored 25 and 22 points, respectively. Gasol added 13 boards, while Conley chimed in with four dimes and a couple of treys. The Grizzlies got a boost on defense from Jarell Martin, who blocked five shots in 32 minutes.

    The Mavericks lost as their star rookie, Dennis Smith Jr. struggled in this game. He made just 4-of-14 shots from the field to finish with nine points and nine assists.

    Harrison Barnes did his best on the offensive end, delivering 22 points, 11 rebounds and not much else. Dirk Nowitzki was productive in 28 minutes on the floor with 14 points, seven boards and three steals. Nerlens Noel disappeared in 20 minutes with just five points and eight boards to his name.

    Griffin delivers in the clutch

    Blake Griffin helped the Clippers edge out the Blazers in a 104-103 win with a smooth 3-pointer as time expired. Not only did he deliver the win for his team, Griffin also was a beast in the box score with 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two treys and a steal. He’s been cooking since the start of the season and looks like he’s in for a big year. The key for him now is to simply stay healthy.

    Griffin’s partner in the paint, DeAndre Jordan, had a field day as he cleaned up on the glass with 18 rebounds. DA also had six points and three blocks. Kind of the line you’d expect from him on a good day.

    Patrick Beverley did not record an assist in 34 minutes but was able to score 13 points and bring down seven rebounds.

    Aside from Griffin’s clutch trey, the biggest surprise of the night came from Al-Farouq Aminu who erupted for 19 points on the heels of his 5-of-8 shooting from deep. He looked good as he completed his full line with six boards, two assists, three steals and a block.

    Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum “did their thing,” scoring 25 and 23 points, respectively.  Jusuf Nurkic got into foul trouble and was limited to 12 points and eight boards in 27 minutes.

    Boogie gets a huge revenge game

    DeMarcus Cousins went bonkers as he destroyed his former team with 41 points, 23 rebounds, six assists and three treys. DMC was simply unstoppable and went HAM on the Kings to lead the Pelicans to a 114-106 victory.

    Jrue Holiday gave him some support with 20 points and seven assists in 41 minutes. He’s a sell-high guy right now, with his value sure to drop when Anthony Davis (knee) and Rajon Rondo (sports hernia surgery) return to action after dealing with their respective injuries. Another player whose value is getting a short-term boost is Jameer Nelson, who exploded off the bench with 18 points, four treys and six assists.

    The Kings were led by De’Aaron Fox who scored 14 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield added 12 points each.

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!

Fantasy News

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse said Kyle Lowry is playing through a lot of pain in his left thumb.

    "Kyle's hand is not great," Nurse said, "it's hurt and it's sore and it causes him a lot of pain." Lowry hurt the thumb in the series against Philadelphia and has been wearing a protective mitt on it since. He's not on the injury report and is in no danger of missing games, which speaks to his toughness.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on ESPN

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Dan Gilbert said he thinks the Cavaliers "killed it" in the Kyrie Irving trade.

    Gilbert preceded that statement with, "I don't know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston. We could have ended up with nothing." Gilbert is thinking very results based instead of what went into the process of the trade. While Irving may leave Boston, he's a phenomenal player. The Cavs traded him while they still had LeBron James and received a good draft pick and a ball dominant, but injured Isaiah Thomas. It looks good now to have Collin Sexton instead of nothing, but when you have LeBron James on your team and are automatically in title contention, it's almost impossible to "kill it" by trading away a superstar.

    Source: Terry Pluto on Cleveland.com

  • Kiki VanDeWeghe - Team - Brooklyn Nets

    The NBA has cancelled the 2019 NBA Global Camp due to "logistical issues" but they plan to have it return in the future.

    The NBA Global Camp is essentially a draft combine for international players. There originally was the Adidias EuroCamp that ran from 2003-2017, but was stopped after the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption. The NBA picked it up and had success in it's first year last year. Unfortunately, it appears the venue in Monaco was double-booked due to AS Monaco turning their season around and needing the facility for TV production and practice for their playoffs. Many international draft prospects entered the draft early with the hopes of getting to workout and interview with teams at the Global Camp.

    Source: Jonathan Givony on ESPN

  • Myles Turner - F/C - Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner tweeted that it is a "Blatant Disrespect" he did not make an All-Defensive team.

    While Turner had a phenomenal defensive season, there are only two spots overall for centers, so someone was going to be left off. Rudy Gobert was the center on the first team and is a finalist for DPOY, while Joel Embiid was the center on the second team and had a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Sixers. Turner had a marvelous season defensively and there is an argument to be made for him over Embiid, but the nature of positions on the All-Defensive teams means someone was getting left off.

    Source: Myles Turner on Twitter

  • Richaun Holmes - F/C - Phoenix Suns

    Richaun Holmes was arrested on Wednesday night for a misdemeanor marijuana charge in Miami-Dade.

    It's the second time a Suns player has been arrested in Miami-Dade, the southeastern-most county in Florida, this month – Josh Jackson was arrested at Rolling Loud, a music festival. Holmes was ironically booked as "Richard" Holmes, which we would certainly spin as an ode to how underrated he is. James Webb, who last played for the Nets in 2017-18, was also arrested. They were charged with possession of cannabis and spent a few hours in jail before posting bond. We'll see if this has any affect on Holmes' upcoming free agency.

    Source: David Ovalle on Miami Herald

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet credited the birth of his son, Fred Jr., on Monday night for his turnaround in Game 4.

    FVV said regarding his shooting woes, "Obviously it's been rough shooting the ball. I had a pretty bad stretch, so it was good to see one go in." It would make sense that he could relax mentally now that his son, his second child, was born. A big congrats to the VanVleet family on the birth of their second child; we'll see if FVV can keep the strong play going in a pivotal Game 5 in Milwaukee.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Miles Bridges - F - Charlotte Hornets

    Miles Bridges tweeted on Tuesday that he was not snubbed from the All-Rookie teams.

    "I didn't get snubbed. I played like ass all year. I don't deserve to be on any team. Next year will be different," was Bridges' full tweet. He had an alright rookie season, especially when given the opportunity. All 25 of his games played after the All-Star break were starts and he averaged 9.6 points, 5.3 boards, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.1 threes on 49.0%/35.1%/83.3% shooting splits in 26.2 minutes per game. There's a lot of athleticism and untapped potential that could bear fruit in year two, especially if Kemba Walker is not with the team and there's a lot more usage to go around.

    Source: Miles Bridges on Twitter

  • Kristaps Porzingis - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Knicks president Steve Mills claimed that Kristaps Porzingis threatened to return to Europe had the Knicks not completed a trade elsewhere according to Kurt Heln of NBC Sports

    The tense history between Porzingis and the Knicks front office has been well documented, which makes a startling headline like this one not all that surprising. It's safe to assume that Dallas' front office will not be hearing such requests, as they represent an opportunity for optimism for both Porzingis and their franchise as a whole.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • Tacko Fall - C - College

    Tacko Fall of UCF, Marques Bolden of Duke, Nick Weiler-Babb of Iowa State, Jalen Hudson of Florida, Amir Hinton of Shaw University and Myles Powell of Seton Hall will all be participants of the Kings pre-draft workout.

    All of the players that will be working out for the Kings are not projected to be drafted next month. The Kings are looking at guys for their second round selections as they have three picks in that round. Unfortunately, those are the only picks they have this year as their first round selection is owned by the Celtics. Expect the Kings to continue to look at players with high ceilings like Tacko Fall. Fall, a 7’7″ center has a 10’2″ standing reach and an 8’2″ wingspan. These measurements are why Fall will get to the NBA at some point. The question of how big of an impact he will make remains to be seen. Perhaps the Kings will draft the large center with one of their three second round picks.

    Source: Deuce Mason on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - SG/SF - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (personal reasons) will remain sidelined for Thursday's Game 5 vs. the Bucks.

    McCaw has missed the entire ECF thus far due to personal reasons. The basketball community hopes the best for the youngster. Even if he were to come back, he wouldn't be in line for many minutes as Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet have established themselves as part of the team's shortened eight man rotation.

    Source: NBA Injury Report