• With UCLA officially out of the tournament, it looks as though LaVar Ball and I have one thing in common: our brackets are busted. All kidding aside, I can’t wait to see what Lonzo Ball can do in the NBA and which team will have the chance to draft him. If the Suns can land Ball or Markelle Fultz, look out! With Devin Booker already emerging as a superstar *cough cough 70 points*, that potential backcourt would be nasty. Anyways, on a busy Friday night of NBA action, Hoop-Ball has got you covered! Super Dario activates his star power, the Rockets and Nuggets keep rolling, and Devin Booker sets multiple NBA records! Week 22 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 129, Nets 108

    The Wizards rolled pass the Nets tonight as John Wall (migraine) lead the way with 22 points, nine dimes, four boards and one steal. He was initially at risk of missing this game but it sure looked like he was perfectly fine the way he was playing. Bradley Beal helped out his backcourt mate by dropping 19 points (one trey), one steal and not much more. Both didn’t have explosive stat lines but that wasn’t needed against the Nets.

    Otto Porter was fairly quiet tonight with just five points (one trey), four boards, two dimes and one block. He didn’t need to go all out tonight but this was still a disappointing night in terms of production. The bench got some solid minutes including Bojan Bogdanovic, who torched his former team for 17 points, seven rebounds and one steal. Ian Mahinmi chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and one block, while Brandon Jennings had 18 points (four treys) and nine assists. Easy win for the squad tonight.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson bounced back tonight with a solid 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal. He continues his inconsistent season but at least he’s gaining valuable experience in the process. Brook Lopez didn’t do much with just six points, seven boards and two assists. Justin Hamilton came off the bench to drop 20 points (two treys), six boards and one block. Maybe he’ll get consistent minutes one day.

    Magic 115, Pistons 87

    The Magic stomped all over the Pistons with a huge blowout win. Elfrid Payton continues to roll with another triple-double, posting 14 points (one trey), 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Terrence Ross lead the team in scoring tonight with 18 points (five treys), four rebounds, one steal and one block. He racked up the money-counters tonight and showed he has the upside to be a strong fantasy option.

    Nikola Vucevic destroyed the Pistons with his own 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block. This game was over by halftime and Vooch was a huge reason for that. Evan Fournier dropped 15 points, Aaron Gordon had his own 18 points and the Magic cruised from there. Mario Hezonja was the only disappointment, playing 28 minutes but only registering six points, four rebounds and six assists.

    The timeshare situation at the point guard position didn’t work out tonight as neither Ish Smith (six points and three boards) nor Reggie Jackson (11 points, four boards, three assists and one block) produced much in their minutes. Andre Drummond continues to rebound and do nothing else, hauling in 14 boards with six points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot just 2-for-11 tonight for eight points, while Marcus Morris shot 1-of-8 for four points, as that summarizes the Pistons night. The only bright spot was Boban Marjonovic scoring 15 points in the 12 minutes of garbage time that he collected. Blow it up?

    Nuggets 125, Pacers 117

    After defeating the Cavaliers the other night, the Nuggets pull off another impressive win against Paul George and the Pacers. Nikola Jokic dropped a huge double-double with a game-high 30 points, 17 boards, five assists and one steal. The Joker showed off some of his sweet passing skills with a couple of no-look passes again, what a stud. Wilson Chandler logged a team-high 35 minutes and scored 24 points (three treys) with four rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Danilo Gallinari also reclaimed his starting role tonight and dropped a solid overall line with 21 points, 11 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Both players looked healthy and will play a major role for the Nuggets playoff race.

    Paul George still did his thing despite the Pacers’ loss. PG13 scored a team-high 27 points (four treys) with nine boards, three assists, three steals and one block. After a disappointing loss like this, I’m sure more questions are running through his head again. Myles Turner was solid against the Nuggets, dropping 20 points with four boards, two steals and four blocks. Jeff Teague did a bit of everything with 21 points (two treys), eight assists, two steals and one block, while Monta Ellis notched 17 points (three treys) and one block. Pacers fans are hoping the team has been on cruise control all this time and will turn it up a notch once playoffs hits.

    Cavaliers 112, Hornets 105

    The Cavaliers got back on track tonight with a win over the Hornets. After saying his team wasn’t “tough”, LeBron James lead the way for the squad with a massive 32 points, nine boards, 11 assists, one steal and two blocks. Kevin Love continues to look good after his knee injury, posting a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards tonight in the victory. He’s an important piece of the puzzle and there’s no denying how valuable he is in reality and fantasy. Kyrie Irving wasn’t too shabby himself, scoring 26 points (two treys) with seven assists and four steals.

    The Hornets had plenty of players producing tonight, but it just wasn’t enough. Kemba Walker couldn’t carry the team despite going off for 28 points (five triples), five assists, two steals and one block. Cody Zeller double-doubled while going perfect from the field, scoring 15 points with 11 rebounds and two blocks. Nicolas Batum (19 points and three steals), Frank Kaminsky (0-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds and two assists) and Marvin Williams (11 points, 11 rebounds, one steal and one block) basically shot the Hornets out of this game and they couldn’t recover. At least Marco Belinelli got hot for 22 points (three treys) and kept the Hornets in it.

    Sixers 117, Bulls 107

    The Sixers continued their impressive season with another win tonight. Dario Saric dropped a career-high 32 points (two treys) to go with 10 rebounds and one steal. Super Dario is legit and we’ve only scratched the surface with him. Shawn Long had himself a nice game tonight with 18 points and seven rebounds. Richaun Holmes (eight points, three rebounds and one block) ran into foul trouble early on and it was actually Long who started the second half for the Sixers. Sir Robert Covington didn’t do much tonight either, mustering just nine points, six boards, one steal and one block. Holmes and Covington should bounce back next game so trust in the process.

    Do we even have to talk about the Bulls? Of course Jimmy Butler got his, going for 36 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and three rebounds. Bobby Portis came off the bench and notched a big double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. The only other player that did anything significant was Nikola Mirotic (15 points, four treys), but still ended a -10 on the court. Rajon Rondo is starting to fade again with four points, five boards and four assists, while Robin Lopez completely disappeared with one point, one rebound and one block. It’s going to be an interesting offseason for the Bulls.

    Celtics 130, Suns 120

    This game was somewhat competitive and it was thanks to the man the call Devin Booker. Before we get into him, let’s talk about the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas lead his team with 34 points (three treys), two rebounds and seven assists in the victory tonight. Normally 34 points is easily a game-high but not tonight. Jae Crowder (13 points, 10 rebounds and two treys) and Al Horford (15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals) both double-doubled tonight and actually got some extra touches without Avery Bradley (illness) in the lineup.

    Jaylen Brown got the start for Bradley tonight and had nine points with seven rebounds and one block. It’s possible that Brown gets another start Sunday with Bradley in the hospital so keep an eye out for a status update. Marcus Smart came off the bench but shot just 1-of-13 tonight for nine points, six assists and two steals. The Celtics are just one game behind the Cavaliers for the No. 1 seed so don’t expect any key players to be rested anytime soon.

    Now for the man of the night, the young gun, Devin Booker. He made NBA history on multiple fronts Friday night after exploding for 70 points (four treys). Booker became the youngest player in league history to score at least 60 points. He also set a franchise-best against the Celtics with this outing. Not only did he score 70 points, but he also added eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block. Booker had a solid overall game and it looks like his sore ankle issue is a thing of the past. It wasn’t the Phoenix Suns tonight, it was Booker and the Boys.

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    Bucks 100, Hawks 97

    This was the closest game of the night as the Bucks continue to be the hottest team since their star Jabari Parker went down with a season-ending injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo put the Bucks on his back and finished the Hawks off with 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks. He was an absolute freak tonight and will be a problem for any team to handle once the playoffs start. This victory was even more impressive because Khris Middleton was ice cold from the field, scoring just six points on 1-of-13 shots. He did manage to pick up three steals to lighten things up just a bit, but there’s that.

    Greg Monroe destroyed the Hawks’ bench on his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He came off the bench and it was clear that no one could stop him from the opposing bench. Malcolm Brogdon also had a solid game with 14 points and seven assists, so fear these young deer.

    With Paul Millsap (knee) still out of the lineup, Dennis Schroder stepped up tonight with 28 points (three treys), seven boards, seven assists, one steal and one block. It would’ve been nice if they could’ve pulled off the win but that makes it six straight losses now. Tim Hardaway Jr. had a bright night tonight with 25 points (three treys), four steals and one block. He has the green light to shoot and he isn’t afraid to do it. Dwight Howard put up a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Ersan Ilyasova had a quiet night with just nine points, nine rebounds and two steals. It’s clear that the Hawks are missing life without Millsap and hopefully he can return as soon as Sunday.

    Rockets 117, Pelicans 107

    The last time these two teams met, the Pelicans got the best of the Rockets, but not this time. James Harden lit it up with a game-high 39 points (four treys) to go with 11 assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Although he isn’t averaging a triple-double, he’s very close to it and racking up these wins makes it hard to vote against him. Eric Gordon added 18 points (four treys) and seems to be fine playing next to Lou Williams. He’ll be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year and we can expect him to keep raining those threes. Clint Capela was still able to contribute with 12 points, nine boards, four assists, one steal and one block despite going up against a tough frontcourt. The Rockets are looking scary right now and if Harden meets Russell Westbrook in the first round, it will be a galore of triple-doubles.

    DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis couldn’t carry the Pelicans over the hump tonight despite posting solid lines. Boogie scored 29 points (five treys) with six boards, four steals and one block, while AD notched 33 points with 16 rebounds, three steals and one block. They’re slowly drifting out of the playoff race in the Western Conference and that could mean fewer minutes for their stars. Jrue Holiday also added 18 points (four treys), nine assists, three steals and two blocks. Not much help came from anywhere else tonight and it’ll be like that for the remainder of the season.

    Warriors 114, Kings 110

    Matt Barnes made it a mission of his to beat the Kings tonight with his new team and that’s exactly what he did. Stephen Curry seems to be back in form as he scorched the Kings with 27 points (five treys), seven boards, 12 assists and six steals. Nothing like an easy matchup to boost your confidence, and once Curry gets confident it will get scary for the league. Draymond Green was solid on both ends of the floor tonight, scoring 23 points (three treys) with eight assists, three steals and one block. Klay Thompson had an off night with just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting, leading to Green having to pick up the slack. As for Barnes, he lit up his former team with his pregame words and two points.

    The young guns in Sacramento showed off their potential tonight, starting with Buddy Hield. He was efficient from the floor and finished with a career-high 22 points (four treys), eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. If he can put up similar numbers on a daily basis, the trade wouldn’t look half as bad as it was. Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points and one steal, while Skal Labissiere put up a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and one block. The Kings are rolling all their players out now and it’ll be interesting to see if they shorten out that list.

    Lakers 130, Timberwolves 119

    This game had to be settled in overtime where the Lakers pulled out a W. Jordan Clarkson caught fire from behind the arc and had a career-high eight treys, finishing with 35 points and five assists. He bounced back nicely after having a five point dud on Tuesday against the Clippers. Julius Randle was also unstoppable tonight, going for 23 points, 12 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Luke Walton must be happy to see the production coming from these two and his lineup experiments may payoff for next year.

    Larry Nance Jr. was hustling all night long and managed to post 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal. Walton has been hinting that he wants to see more of Nance and with a performance like this, he could get a shot in the first unit soon. As for Ivica Zubac, he didn’t get much playing time with the other guys on fire, he finishing with just seven points and one steal. There was some bad news that came out of this as Brandon Ingram (knee tendinitis) left the game and did not return. There’ll be another update on his knees so look out for that.

    The dynamic duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns did what they do best, and that’s scoring. Wiggins dropped 36 points (five treys) with five rebounds, one steal and one block, while Towns went in for 25 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. It didn’t lead to a victory but fans can see the light when it comes to these two. Ricky Rubio continues his tear as of late with 19 points, 15 assists, three steals and one block. Kris Dunn backed him up and had a nice game with 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. It’s clear that the Wolves have guards available for play, but if they end up with a top pick and Lonzo Ball is on the board, I don’t see how they can pass on him.

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

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