• We’re fast approaching the All-Star break and game with the remaining All-Stars to be named this week. There are a lot of fantasy All-Stars who might miss the big game like Nikola Vucevic (14th overall), Bradley Beal (16th overall) and Russell Westbrook (17th overall). While one or two of these guys might make it, they are all on the cusp. Which serves as a great reminder that how success is measured in the NBA is different from how we look at it in fantasy. A guy who delivers hollow stats or fails to make his team better might be a key cog in our lineup, but their peers and coaches don’t measure value in the same ways.

    O-Patrick, my Patrick!

    Patrick Beverley came ready to perform in Sunday’s matinee affair, contributing across the box to drive home a 122-108 win against the Kings. Beverley hit 5-of-10 shots to score 16 points with four triples, with 10 boards, eight assists, a steal and a block. Beverley has a bit more usage available with Danilo Gallinari out with back spasms for a couple more games. Montrezl Harrell was impressive in his own way with 25 points, seven boards and two assists on 11-of-13 shooting. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit 5-of-9 shots for 17 points, four boards, five assists and two steals. He will struggle to be a consistent top-120 guy in his rookie season, he’s ranked 152 on the season but his skill set will continue to mature and translates well to fantasy.

    That’s Bogdan Coach!

    Bogdan Bogdanovic has returned to the bench after earning a spot start earlier in the week. In his first game back to coming off the bench Bogdan fizzled with five points, on Sunday he delivered with 19 points, three steals, two assists and a triple. The Kings are currently three games behind the eighth seed, so it will be interesting to see how much longer they choose to start players like Iman Shumpert (16 points, six boards, two assists, three triples) and Nemanja Bjelica (three points, four boards, one of each counter) over Bogdan and rookie Marvin Bagley III. Bagley played well in 20 minutes with 14 points, three swats and five boards.

    All the King’s horses and all the King’s men… couldn’t make the Cavaliers whole again

    The Cleveland Cavaliers won a game on Sunday, knocking off the Bulls 104-101. This means that the Suns, Bulls, Knicks and Cavs are all in the hunt for the worst record, with each team having 10 or 11 wins on the year. Would LeBron go back to Cleveland again to play with Zion after a couple more seasons in L.A? It’s never to early to speculate. The Cavs were led by Jordan Clarkson with 18 points, six assists, seven boards and a triple and Alec Burks who also scored 18 with eight boards and three triples. Ante Zizic continued his solid play with eight points, 14 boards, a block, a steal and three assists. He should see a falloff coming soon with Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love expected back in a couple weeks.

    I call Bull!

    The Bulls’ season is a loss by all measures, and their top goals should be improving chemistry, developing their young guys and acquiring assets for their vets. They’re probably happy to add a win to the Cavs record on Sunday. Lauri Markkanen led the way with a double-double, scoring 21 points with 15 boards, four triples and a steal. Wayne Selden came out of nowhere to score 15 points while filling the box up with three triples and six boards. Zach LaVine struggled to find his shot but still managed to score 17 points with 12 boards and two assists. Kris Dunn struggled with his shot finishing 2-of-8 for six points, seven assists, two steals, two blocks and two boards.

    The best player in Oklahoma… is rated PG-13?

    Russell Westbrook is a monster,  averaging a solid triple-double for the third straight season and he brought it on Sunday against the Bucks in the 118-112 win with 13 points, 14 boards, 11 assists, two triples and one of each defensive state. That said, it has become apparent that Paul George is the team’s best player. PG-13 is a top-5 value in 8-cat on the season and played like it on Sunday with 36 points, eight triples, 13 boards, three steals and three assists. The sooner Russ accepts that George is a more reliable option in the late game situation the sooner the Thunder becomes a threat to every team not based in Oakland. Jerami Grant delivered a solid performance with five blocks, 16 points, four assists and a triple.

    Bro-Pocalypse!

    Brook Lopez can shoot, and on Sunday he hit five triples en route to 19 points, four boards, two assists, a steal and two blocks. He hit 6-of-7 shots which begs the question of why he didn’t get more opportunities. Khris Middleton did his thing with 22 points, three triples, four boards and six assists, he’s been struggling this year and could be a rebound candidate after the All-Star break. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a big man with the skills of a guard, delivering 27 points, 18 boards, three triples, four assists and a steal. He’s become incredibly aggressive and his game should continue to mature well. Malcolm Brogdon continued his solid season with 18 points, six boards and four assists.

    A little smooth Jazz really calms the pups.

    The Jazz won 125-111 against the Wolves on Sunday, behind a team effort that saw seven players in double-digits with Donovan Mitchell leading the way with 29 points, five assists and four helpers. Ricky Rubio got some revenge against his former team with 18 points, eight assists, two steals and a triple. Rudy Gobert swatted three shots, with 17 points and two steals while Derrick Favors double-doubled while having a “1” in every statistical category with 11 points, 11 boards, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 triple and 1 assist. I’m not sure if that line makes you as excited as it should. Jae Crowder (15 points, five triples) and Kyle Korver (13 points, three triples) did their damage off the bench and from deep.

    A lot of Bark but not enough Bite

    The Wolves had the two most talented pieces on the court on Sunday against the Jazz in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, and they played like it. Wiggins scored 35 points with three triples, four assists, three steals, three boards on 13-of-23 shooting while Towns swatted three shots with three triples to score 22 points with six boards and seven assists on top. Ultimately, the Wolves didn’t have a floor general on the court to get them the win as they had to rely on Jared Bayless to run the team with Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague all out with various injuries.

    A Klaw from above

    Kawhi Leonard has returned from his weeklong break refreshed and dropped his second consecutive 30-point game, scoring 33 points with 10 boards, three assists and three triples. Kawhi is right back to where he left off fantasy wise, clocking in as the 7th-overall player in 8-cat leagues. The scary part is the eye test says that he’s still getting comfortable on the court and could be playing more fluidly in a few months. The Raptors won 123-120 and Kyle Lowry’s well-rounded line of 19 points, nine assists, five boards, five triples, two blocks and a steal was needed as the Mavericks had a star of their own erupting on Sunday. Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet all scored in double digits with Ibaka adding 11 boards.

    It’s Luka-ing like a done deal – ROY

    Luka Doncic will be the rookie of the year, it’s a done deal with his 35-point, 12-board, 10-assist record-setting night in the books. Doncic scored a career-high while also setting a record, becoming the youngest player to record a 30-point triple-double, becoming the only player to do so before turning 20! It’s re-Doncic-lous and he shows no signs of slowing down. Luka played in the pros for four seasons before coming to the NBA and was the Euroleague MVP, he’s fast approaching an All-Star appearance although this season he’ll likely settle for the rookie game. If the West has a last-minute injury before the game, don’t be surprised if the NBA tabs the rookie to step up, he finished 3rd in the fan voting. The Mavs saw Dennis Smith Jr. continue to play well after his extended absence. He’ll live in the 130-150 range on the season but could possibly rise a bit further if things go his way, he filled the box with 13 points, six assists, four boards and one of each counting stat.

    The Big, Bad, LaMarshmallow?

    LaMarcus Aldridge hasn’t always been the most physical player but after a rocky start in San Antonio he’s found his place, and it resulted in 30 points, nine boards, six assists, two blocks and a steal on 12-of-21 shooting and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. DeMar DeRozan missed Sunday’s game but he wasn’t needed as the Spurs dispatched the Wizards 132-119. Patty Mills delivered 15 points off the bench with a team-high seven assists, two steals and three triples. Derrick White continued his hot play with 16 points, five boards, four assists and a steal. Rudy Gay had his first light performance in a while with 11 points, 6 boards, four assists and a steal. He was averaging 20 points per game over his last four.

    All out of Magic

    The Wizards had seven players in double-figures on Sunday against the Spurs and it simply wasn’t enough. At the end of the game we saw multiple Wizards looking dejected as the Spurs outclassed the Wiz. Tomas Satoransky and Bradley Beal both scored 21 points with Sato adding nine boards, eight assists two triples and a steal while Beal brought seven assists, four steals, four boards, and three triples. It might be time to start Otto Porter unless the Wizard want a trade candidate on their hands, he scored 13 points with three steals, three triples and four assists in 28 minutes off the bench. While I own Jeff Green in multiple leagues he’s a vet and knows how to contribute in a bench role, he scored 15 points with three assists and three triples. Trevor Ariza should be safe in the starting lineup though and he delivered 20 points, four triples, two steals and four boards.

    Harden anything to talk about

    If you didn’t know, James Harden has a few clutch bones in his body. On Sunday, he led the Rockets to a late comeback victory over the Magic in Houston 103-98, scoring 40 points with 11 boards, six assists, four triples, three blocks and a steal. He’s setting records with this streak and most importantly he’s keeping his team in the playoff chase, the Rockets are in a three-way tie with 29 wins for 5th-7th seed. Chris Paul made it back from injury as expected tonight, logging 25 minutes with 12 points, six assists, five boards, two triples and three steals. Kenneth Faried double-doubled with 12 points, 10 boards and two steals.

    Will the All-Star bell toll for Nikola?

    Nikola Vucevic is putting together a masterful season after coming into the year surrounded by trade rumors. A top-15 asset in 8-cat leagues he’s averaging a beefy 20 points, 12 boards a game while giving you at least 1 of each of the counting stats! He’s also handing out almost 4 assists a game and he has every right to be named to the Eastern Conference squad by the coaches, despite the lack of organization around him. On Sunday he delivered 19 points, 17 boards, five assists, two steals and a block. Aaron Gordon also chipped in with 23 points, 10 boards, three triples and four assists. Terrence Ross (15 points, six boards, three triples, one block) and Evan Fournier (18 points, two triples, three steals) have been terrorizing opposing swingmen.

    Bringing the Heat to NYC in January

    Double-doubles are cool, kind of like the New York weather in January. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the Heat came into town and made them feel all kinds of uncomfortable. Hassan Whiteside looked like a man among boys with 13 points, 16 boards and three blocks. Dwyane Wade did it his way with 15 points, 10 assists, five boards, a triple and a steal in the 106-97 win. Not all was dandy though as the Heat did have an unfortunate injury occur, with Derrick Jones Jr. going down with an apparent knee injury in the second quarter. With Jones out Kelly Olynyk found himself back in the rotation and scored 11 points with 6 boards. James Johnson (13 points, two steals, three assists) and Olynyk have both struggled to find the spark they had last season and hopefully, the Heat get the most out of their deep roster and make a trade.

    You want to do this the easy way or the Hardaway?

    Tim Hardaway Jr. might be annoyed with the Knicks brass, the team that drafted him, traded him away only to re-sign him might be looking to move him again. He’s been paid and he’s producing, so maybe he won’t mind it that much. On Sunday he delivered 22 points, five assists, six boards, two triples and a steal. Mitchell Robinson clocked in as the second most productive Knick despite only scored six points and pulling down seven boards, most of his value came from his three steals and two blocks, he added an assist. Frank Ntilikina drew the start tonight but wasn’t able to finish the game due to a groin injury. Trey Burke will now take over as the last healthy point guard on the roster and it seems possible that not even Fizdale can mess up his value in the upcoming four-game week for the Knicks.

    You just got Zu-Blocked!

    Ivica Zubac gets it done, delivered 24 points 16 boards and four blocks in the 116-102 drubbing of the Suns in L.A. It looks like we can officially declare the JaVale McGee experience over with McGee only logging 11 minutes with five points and three boards. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also stepped it up with 24 points, six boards, two steals and four triples. This is the Suns we’re talking about though, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the Lakers shot almost 53 percent from the field as a team. Brandon Ingram fouled out with 22 points, two steals, two blocks, a triple, four assists and three boards. Lance Stephenson was putting on a concert, scoring 17 points with a steal and three triples in 22 minutes, he added four assists and three boards… It’s the Suns.

    Welcome Holmes

    Richaun Holmes missed his last four games but was looking spry on Sunday with 12 points, 10 boards, four blocks, a steal and an assist. Dragan Bender got the start but he struggled to contain Zubac and Holmes started the second half while logging double the minutes. Devin Booker did his regular with 21 points, six assists, two boards. Mikal Bridges was solid in a team-high 37 minutes with 16 points, three steals, six boards, an assist and 2 steals. Kelly Oubre Jr. is going to finish the year as a top-100 contributor.  He’s currently ranked inside the top-120 and he’s a top-70 option over the last two weeks.

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