• Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! It looks like the injuries keep on rolling in as we found out that DeMarcus Cousins missed tonight’s game due to a rib contusion and knee soreness. He did have an MRI and the results were negative, so that’s a bit of a relief. We will keep you updated on his status as soon as we get more news, but for now, we hope Cousins and the other superstars all come back soon. Anyways, on a less busy Friday night of NBA action, Hoop-Ball has got you covered! John Wall was in a giving mood, James Harden sets a new franchise record, and things got a bit chippy out in Los Angeles! Week 21 is almost over so let’s hop right into Saturday’s Daily Dish! Also follow @HoopBallTweets for up to the minute updates or hit me up on Twitter (@NguyenTDanh) if you have any questions!

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    Wizards 112, Bulls 107

    The Wizards were able to take down the Bulls tonight in a closer game than most expected. John Wall dished out a career-high of 20 assists in tonight’s victory, also adding 14 points (one trey), one steal and one block. It’s surprising that he hasn’t reached 20 assists before in his career but regardless, congratulations Wall. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter followed suit, posting solid performances themselves. Beal dropped 24 points (three treys) and four rebounds, while Porter had 14 points and eight rebounds. When these three are on their A game, they’re a hard trio to beat.

    Jason Smith had his way with the Bulls tonight, torching them for 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. This was his first start all season long, so he’s more suited as a deep league option. Ian Mahinmi and Bojan Bogdanovic both provided the team with a spark off the bench. Mahinmi finished with 16 points, three rebounds and two blocks, while Bogdanovic had 12 points (two treys) and three rebounds. Wizards are clinging onto that two seed and things are looking good for them.

    The Bulls hung around tonight thanks to Jimmy Butler, who finished with 28 points (two threes), five rebounds, five assists and three steals. With Dwyane Wade out, it’ll continue to be the Jimmy B show. Robin Lopez managed a season-high 25 points to go with 12 rebounds, two assists and one block. Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic both came off the bench and played 30-plus minutes each. Valentine scored 11 points (two treys) to go with four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes, while Mirotic had 15 points (two treys), seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks. It’ll be interesting to see if they can become more consistent with their production for the remainder of the season.

    Sixers 116, Mavericks 74

    This game was over by the third quarter as the Sixers blew the Mavericks out of the water tonight. Richaun Holmes got the start at center tonight and dropped a solid 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. He could’ve did more damage tonight, but this game wasn’t even close. Sir Robert Covington didn’t let owners down this time, posting 18 points (three treys), nine rebounds, three assists and one block.

    Justin Anderson faced off against his former team and dropped 19 points (two treys) to go with eight rebounds, three assists and one steal off the bench. Take that, Mavs. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot picked up his fourth straight start and finished with a respectable 12 points (two treys), four rebounds, and one steal. TLC looks to be someone that the Sixers want to make part of the process. Dario Saric was actually quiet tonight in his 26 minutes of action. Saric recorded just 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. He should bounce back next game as he continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year.

    It was a disappointing night for the Mavericks, so there isn’t really much to talk about. Wesley Matthews (calf) returned from a one-game absence and did more bad than good. He shot 1-of-8 from the field, finishing with three points, two rebounds, two assists and two turnovers. Seth Curry scored just seven points (one trey), one rebound and one assist. Nerlens Noel came off the bench against his former team but had just nine points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. This was an ugly game overall and we can expect everyone to play better Sunday against the Nets.

    Raptors 87, Pistons 75

    This wasn’t a great game for either team but a win is a win. Serge Ibaka busted out of his recent funk with a team-high 17 points (three treys), nine rebounds and one assist. The Raptors will need him to contribute consistently if they have any hope of competing for a championship. Jonas Valanciunas managed to record 10 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one block, but it’s clear that his minutes have been trending down.

    DeMar DeRozan struggled tonight, scoring just 14 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists. He is clearly their number one option so there’s no reason to panic. Expect DeRozan to get back on track Sunday against the Pacers. Cory Joseph (nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, one block and one trey) and P.J. Tucker (eight points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and two treys) were both decent in tonight’s victory.

    Reggie Jackson scored a team-high 20 points to go with six assists, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Raptors tonight. Andre Drummond racked up the boards tonight, grabbing 22 rebounds to go with eight points, two steals and one block. These two didn’t do much other than score and rebound, so there’s not much to get excited about. Tobias Harris remains in the starting lineup and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and one steal. The Pistons aren’t looking too good right now and continue to fall down the standings.

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    Celtics 98, Nets 95

    The Celtics held off a late surge by the Nets to get a close win in Brooklyn. With no Isaiah Thomas playing tonight, Jae Crowder lead the way for the Celtics, dropping 24 points (four treys), 12 rebounds, one assist and one steal. He hadn’t scored more than 10 points in five straight games, so this was much needed. Al Horford racked up four blocks tonight to go with his 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal. He isn’t the most exciting player to watch, but he gets it done.

    Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart couldn’t take advantage of IT4 being out tonight, posting just decent lines. Bradley dropped 16 points, five rebounds and one steal, while Smart recorded 12 points (one trey), three rebounds, five assists and three steals. Owners were definitely expecting more and hopefully we get to see that in their next game against the Sixers on Sunday.

    BrookLin put in some solid work tonight but were handed another loss to their record. Brook Lopez finished with 23 points (two treys), five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. He remains a consistent contributor for the Nets and owners should be pleased with him as well. Jeremy Lin added 10 points (two treys), seven rebounds, six assists and one block in his 21 minutes of action. It was a well-rounded performance and hopefully he has a strong finish to his injury-ridden season.

    Pelicans 128, Rockets 112

    The Pelicans pulled out an upset victory over the Rockets tonight without their star, DeMarcus Cousins (knee, rib), in the lineup. We’ll get to Anthony Davis soon enough, but Solomon Hill exploded out of nowhere tonight with a career-high 30 points (six treys) to go with six rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He was on fire tonight and this was easily his best game of the season. It’d be surprising to see him do this again so don’t go rushing to add him. Jrue Holiday also had a productive night in this blowout win over the Rockets, finishing with 19 points, three rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks. He’s got much more value if Boogie is out. #Facts.

    Of course we can’t have a Pelicans’ victory without mentioning Anthony “The Brow” Davis. AD dropped 24 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. Although this isn’t his most impressive line, it did lead to a victory. He’s been producing top-3 value in his past three games and with Boogie possibly being out longer, he could be staying there.

    James Harden put up a monstrous line tonight, notching a triple-double with 31 points (four treys), 14 rebounds, 11 assists and two steals. The Beard set a new record for most assists in a regular season for a Rockets’ player and should finish top-2 in MVP votes by the end of it all. Eric Gordon (12 points, two rebounds, three assists and three treys), Lou Williams (14 points), and Montrezl Harrell (13 points and six rebounds) were decent contributors off the Rockets’ bench but it wasn’t enough to get the W tonight.

    Heat 123, Timberwolves 105

    The Heat cruised past the Wolves tonight as Hassan Whiteside showed he was worth the massive contract he signed during the summer. Whiteside recorded 23 points, 14 rebounds, one assist and three blocks on 10-of-11 shooting. He’s had some ups-and-downs during the season but is poised to finish in the op-10 for fantasy value in 9-cat leagues. Goran Dragic made life easier for his teammates tonight, dishing out 10 assists to go with 19 points (one trey), five rebounds and three steals. These two are complementing each other really well and if the Heat want to make some noise in the East, it’ll be these two leading the way.

    Tyler Johnson and James Johnson continue to be reliable contributors off the bench for the Heat. Tyler went off for 23 points (two treys) and two blocks, while James (one trey) had 17 points, six assists, two steals and one block. These two produce on both ends of the floor and that’s what makes them fun to watch. Teams who aren’t deep enough may have some trouble dealing with this Heat bench.

    The dynamic duo of Andrew Wiggins (26 points, three rebounds, one steal, one block and one trey) and Karl-Anthony Towns (31 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one trey) continue to score at will for the Wolves but that isn’t translating to victories. Even Ricky Rubio had a solid game with 20 points, six assists two steals and one block, but that wasn’t enough. They’re getting there, it’s just taking longer than most would’ve liked. Shabazz Muhammad also chipped in 15 points and is only a target if you need points.

    Magic 109, Suns 103

    The Magic got it done against the Suns tonight in a close game. Evan Fournier scored 25 points (three treys) with three rebounds, two assists and one steal, and remains a fantasy asset for his ability to score in bunches. Aaron Gordon bounced back from his lack-luster game against the Warriors with an efficient one tonight. He managed to post 17 points (one trey), four rebounds, one steal and four blocks.

    Elfrid Payton and Nikola Vucevic both posted double-doubles tonight in the victory. Payton had 10 points, four rebounds, 11 assists and three steals, while Vooch had 18 points, 17 rebounds, two assists and three steals. Both guys have been playing really well and continued to produce tonight.

    T.J. Warren popped off for 26 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He’s known for his scoring and that’s exactly what he’s doing. As long as he can stay efficient, he’ll be a solid contributor for the Suns. Speaking of efficient, Devin Booker was the opposite of that, shooting a measly 3-of-13 from the field and finishing with just 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He couldn’t find his shot tonight and that was a big reason the Suns couldn’t pull out the victory.

    The Suns’ frontcourt was very effective tonight and it was lead by rookie Marquese Chriss, who finished with 13 points (one trey), eight rebounds and four blocks. He’s had nine blocks in his last two games and that’s apart of his fantasy game that owners are salivating at. Alex Len (nine points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks) and Alan Williams (12 points, seven rebounds and two assists) were also productive tonight in the loss.

    Bucks 107, Lakers 103

    The final game of the night had the Bucks squeaking out a victory over the Lakers at Staples Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. It was a chippy game that lead to multiple ejections, including Greg Monroe, who dropped 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks. He got into it with D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young in the fourth quarter and all three got ejected.

    Khris Middleton scored a game-high 30 points to go with two rebounds and one steal. He showed his ability to score tonight and the Lakers had no answer for him. Middleton has the ability to produce across the board so expect more to come from this man. John Henson got in on the action as well, swatting four shots to go with eight points and nine rebounds.

    Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young were both productive in their starts on Friday. Young totaled 16 points (four treys), three rebounds and two assists before getting ejected from the game. Clarkson posted 21 points (four treys), five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, and looks poised to start again in their next game. Ivica Zubac continues to impress as he dropped 18 points with eight rebounds and one assist. He’s worth owning in all formats so don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

    Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram both played 30-plus minutes tonight and had respectable lines. Randle had just 4 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and one block, while Ingram had 11 points, four assists, two steals, one block and one nasty dunk. Ingram also got involved in the scuffle and it shows that he isn’t going to back down to anybody despite being a lot slimmer than most. Once he gains a bit more size, he’ll be ready to take on anyone on any night. Larry Nance Jr. also chipped in with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals.

    That’ll do it for Saturday’s dish. Thank you to all the readers and subscribers! Cheers! #HoopBall #WeTheNorth

    Editor’s Note: We have a brand new APP for all of our FREE Hoop Ball podcasts. You can download it for your Apple devices here and for your Android devices here. ALSO, you can subscribe to our flagship show Fantasy NBA Today on iTunes right here and on Stitcher right here.

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic