• It may not have been a quiet Thursday night, with just one game on tap. The battle in the East between the Celtics and the Bucks did not disappoint.

    As expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo stepped up. He delivered a game-high 31 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Greek Freak’s big game was enough of a difference maker for the Bucks to even the series 3-3 with a 97-88 victory. Both Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 16 points apiece.

    John Henson (back) was ruled out before the game and Thon Maker got another start at center. Maker had been making a decent impact with his extra minutes in recent games. He came up with four points, seven boards and one blocked shot in this one.  Eric Bledsoe struggled with his shot and managed to put up nine points, four dimes, a trey, a steal and one block. Jabari Parker delivered a solid performance off the bench, as he flirted with a double-double, recording nine points, 11 boards, two assists, a triple and one steal.

    This was not a cake walk for the Bucks. The Celtics fought hard, led by Jason Tatum’s 22-point effort and Terry Rozier’s 18 points. Coach Brad Stevens has been just spectacular this season with how he’s managed to squeeze every ounce of value and production from the guys he’s had to work with. Unfortunately for the Mean Green Machine, they could not grab this game by the horns.

    Both Jaylen Brown and Al Horford dealt with some foul trouble in portions of the game and finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively.  Marcus Morris was effective off the bench with 12 points to his name. Greg Monroe, not so much, with a scoreless effort in three minutes of action.

    This series is headed for a photo finish and Stevens will need to dig deep into his bag of tricks to deflect the Bucks’ versatile, mutli-talented tools. My gut tells me, despite the Celtics being favored to advance, the Bucks will progress to the Eastern Conference semis after all is said and done.

Fantasy News

  • Aaron Gordon
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Aaron Gordon notched 21 points (9-for-15 shooting), six rebounds, four assists and two triples in Wednesday's loss to the Rockets.

    Gordon had a nice showing offensively, though the lack of defensive numbers is annoying. It will be tough for him to return his draft day price on the season, but he should improve on what he's done so far this year.

  • Terrence Ross
    SG, Orlando Magic

    Terrence Ross played 27 minutes off the bench on Wednesday night, scoring 13 points (4-for-10 shooting), two assists, two triples, two blocks, a steal and a rebound.

    The minutes were a team-high off the bench for the Magic, as Ross seems to be settling into a sixth-man role that is offering him plenty of opportunities to hoist shots and be an option as a points and threes streamer. There will be rough shooting nights mixed in so be prepared for that as well.

  • De'Aaron Fox
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    De'Aaron Fox (ankle) said that he's targeting a return, either vs. the Hornets or against the Grizzlies, adding that he worked out hard on Thursday and is not experiencing any pain.

    This is amazing news for Fox owners for sure. He's going to eased in slowly but should be able to return at least mid-round value once he's back to or closer to 100 percent.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Dennis Smith Jr.
    PG, New York Knicks

    Dennis Smith Jr. (illness) is available to play for the Knicks on Friday.

    His availability throws a monkey wrench into the already-chaotic game of tug-of-war between Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton. That said, we maintain that Payton remains the guard to own amid the Knicks' glut of low-end PGs.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Cory Joseph (lower back soreness) will start for the Kings on Friday.

    Joseph has been a marginal deep-league play as of late but has been worth a streamer for assists while De'Aaron Fox remains sidelined.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Jeff Teague
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jeff Teague (left ankle soreness) will be available for the Wolves on Friday.

    Teague has been able to adjust reasonably well to his reserve role for the Wolves and has managed to maintain relevance in standard leagues. He's a hold for now.

    Source: Wolves PR on Twitter

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Keita Bates-Diop (illness) is available to play on Friday for the Wolves.

    KBD missed one game with flu-like symptoms but it appears that he's been cleared to play. He's just a deep-league guy when he's healthy and should take up some of Josh Okogie's minutes tonight.

    Source: Chris Hine on Twitter

  • Delon Wright
    PG, Dallas Mavericks

    Delon Wright (right adductor strain) is questionable for Saturday's game vs. the Heat.

    Wright has been a drop in standard leagues and his injury has made him a tough hold even in 18-team leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Isaiah Thomas (left calf strain) is questionable to play in Saturday's game vs. the Grizzlies.

    Thomas has been out for a week and change with this injury. During that time, Ish Smith has produced serviceable standard-league value. There should be a timeshare situation brewing between these two guards moving forward – curtailing both their upsides.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Fred VanVleet
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors are listing Fred VanVleet (right knee contusion) as doubtful for Saturday's game.

    This is an update to a previous blurb having him as a game-time decision. Still consider him as up in the air and stay tuned for more updates closer to tip off.

    Source: NBA.com