• 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

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