• The NBA schedule lent the busy among us a helping hand on Saturday, allowing those with other obligations to get out without missing too much. Despite just a five game slate, we still had our fair share of big lines and surprise performances. On Wrestlemania Eve, making it’s way to the ring, it’s the Daily Dish.

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    Lakers 104 @ Clippers 115

    The Lakers entered this one with a dwindling roster, now without Ivica Zubac for the rest of the year after he picked up a sprained ankle. That, plus coach Walton tossing LA’s veterans over the top rope, means that every night could feature a noteworthy performance from someone you had no idea was still playing.

    The honor today went to Thomas Robinson, who played 22 minutes and scored 16 points while grabbing nine boards and chipping in three assists and a steal. The fifth overall pick in 2012, Robinson is now on his sixth team. While he’s not necessarily part of the youth movement, someone’s got to play in the Laker frontcourt. This’ll probably be his moment in the sun but you never really know for sure.

    David Nwaba also had a nice day, notching 19 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals. He really had nothing left to prove at the D-League level so it’s good to see him get a shot in the NBA. He always brings the energy and looks like a good defender, so maybe he’ll carve out a rotation spot next year.

    Elsewhere, Brandon Ingram had a nice game that should quiet some injury concerns and filled up the whole box score – 18 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and a block on .500 shooting will certainly work in both fantasy and reality. He was also the only member of the starting five to land on the positive ledger in terms of plus/minus; he was actually the only one to finish better than -20.

    On that note, the starting backcourt had an atrocious day. D’Angelo Russell shot 1-of-9 and could only grab two points, six assists and two steals in 31 minutes. Jordan Clarkson didn’t fare much better, shooting 3-of-12 (1-of-5 from deep) for seven points, three assists and literally nothing else. They were more broken than the Hardy Brothers tonight, but keep rolling with the young duo.

    The Clippers blew the doors off in the third quarter by outscoring their same city rivals 38-22 in the frame, giving the people 12 minutes of garbage time. Blake Griffin had a monster night, including a career-high four threes, with  36 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. He also shot 12-of-15. At this time we can’t confirm if he kissed his fingertips like an Italian chef after the final buzzer, but he deserved to.

    Chris Paul scored 29 points with 12 assists but also committing an uncharacteristic six turnovers. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as he’ll get that in order without a doubt. Paul, like any NXT special, will leave you satisfied even if there’s a clunker on the card. The other starters of note were good, as DeAndre Jordan notched a double-double with three steals and two swats while J.J. Redick was good for 19 points and four longballs.

    Anyone chasing value in the wake of Austin Rivers‘ season ending injury probably left this one disappointed, as Raymond Felton shot just 1-of-8 while Jamal Crawford shot 2-of-7. They’ll be better than that on most nights but it underscores how boom-or-bust the old vets really are.

    Hawks 104 @ Bulls 1106

    The Hawks continue their late season swoon, now in danger of slipping into the sixth spot out east. There was perilously little to like from a fantasy perspective today, and it was the usual cast of characters doing the heavy lifting. Dennis Schroder poured in 29 points and added seven boards, six dimes, a steal and a block. With Malcolm Delaney injured and Jose Calderon being Jose Calderon, Schroder will run the team – for better or worse. He’s got the peaks and valleys of a Dolph Ziggler program but it’s been more up than down lately, so at least he looks to be off his mid-season roller coaster.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped 20-5-5 with a trio of treys while Dwight Howard picked up a cheap double-double and mercifully only attempted two free throws. Taurean Prince got a start but had a rough offensive day, shooting just 3-of-9 and 0-for-4 from deep. A little improvement there would’ve made his nine point, three board, three steal day look a lot better.

    Ersan Ilyasova took 15 shots to get 13 points and should bounce back while Kent Bazemore is still on a minutes limit, topping 21 today. He managed just six points and five rebounds and continues to disappoint.

    Chicago stayed hot and one look at their remaining schedule will clue you into the fact that we’ll probably be seeing the Bulls in the playoffs. It’s a shock to write this, but Rajon Rondo has been a big part of their late-season success. The mercurial guard filled it up again today, posting 25 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three triples and three steals. His seven turnovers are a drag, certainly, but Rondo’s actually controlling the offense and has been hot from deep. Much like the modern-day Undertaker, he was useless for much of the year but resurrected at the right time.

    Jimmy Butler produced 33-5-8 in 43 minutes, chipping in a block and a three while committing just one turnover and shooting 11-of-20. James G. Buckets is some kind of player and will be a terror for whichever opponent he draws in the first round.

    The latest round in the power forward battle goes to Nikola Mirotic, who scored eight points but still provided two triples, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 31 minutes. His biggest competition, Bobby Portis, went scoreless in 17 minutes and was a team-worst -15 on the day. All that hype will pay off someday, but it likely won’t be for five more months at least.

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    Magic 111 @ Nets 121

    The Magic watched another game slip away as they were outscored by 10 in the fourth quarter on Saturday. Despite the poor on-court results, most of Orlando’s fantasy-relevant players had strong nights with Terrence Ross the lone exception. T-Ross could convert on only three of his ten attempts tonight, finishing with six points in 33 minutes. The upside is there and he’s in a good spot, but a full breakout doesn’t look likely over the last few games.

    Elfrid Payton continues to marvel, picking up yet another triple-double with 20-11-11. He even hit 7-of-8 free throws as his owners retired to their fainting couches, completing the greatest career turnaround since The Miz. Nikola Vucevic notched 27 & 11 with a steal, triple and a block while Evan Fournier did his thing with 20 points and a pair apiece of treys and swipes.

    Aaron Gordon couldn’t repeat a monster performance in Boston but still came through with 22 points, 15 boards, five assists, four triples and two steals. Anyone who added him as an upside flier is sitting pretty now, and he’s probably someone you should check to see isn’t available after his strong run of play.

    Brook Lopez celebrated his birthday with 30 points, seven boards, two triples and two blocks. Oh, and a win, which seems nice. Justin Hamilton also celebrated his birthday with 13 points and five boards. Brook’s party seems more fun.

    Sean Kilpatrick had his first really nice game since returning from injury with a 15-5-4 line. Trevor Booker was a monster off the bench, shooting 11-of-12 for 23 points, eight rebounds, a triple and a steal. Booker T was a five time WCW Champion and a fine big man to own earlier in the year but hadn’t had a big night like this in a very long while. We don’t recommend chasing this dream. Hopefully you can dig that.

    Jeremy Lin shot just 3-of-14 but still helped out elsewhere, notching two triples, four boards, eight assists, two steals and a block. It’s been a disappointing year for the oft-injured Lin but at least he’s chipping in somewhere as the season winds down.

    Kings 123 @ Timberwolves 117

    The Kings notched a nice road win on Friday, led by an interesting cast of characters. The JOB Squad decided to turn the tables and actually win some matches for once, as Langston Galloway shook loose for 17 points and three deep balls on 6-of-7 shooting and Arron Afflalo canned four triples on his way to 16 points.

    While Darren Collison disappointed tonight with just seven points and seven assists in 26 minutes, Ty Lawson returned to prominence with a 21 & 11 double-double off the pine. Long thought to be past his due, Lawson cashed in his Money In The Bank and could come out on top of the point guard situation in Sacramento if the Kings decide to rest Collison at all.

    Buddy Hield‘s flaws as a playmaker were on display but he had his shot working tonight, dropping 22 points on 9-of-15 and 4-of-6 from three. Willie Cauley-Stein also had a nice night with a 15 & 10 double-double, adding three dimes and two steals for good measure.

    Ben McLemore‘s crazy scoring run had more longevity than Zack Ryder’s Intercontinental Championship reign, but not by much. He crashed back to earth with just seven points in 18 minutes tonight. Skal Labissiere was also quiet with just six points and six boards in 20 minutes. He’ll be better in the next one.

    Minnesota was eliminated from playoff contention with this loss and will start looking forward to the next stage of development from their core. All five starters hit double digits, led by Andrew Wiggins‘ 32 points on 13-of-20. He hit four threes but was typically deficient elsewhere in the box score. Gorgui Dieng had a tidy line with 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, a block and a triple.

    Karl-Anthony Towns double-doubled with 26 & 11 while Ricky Rubio continues to roll, notching 11-6-13 despite an ugly 1-of-10 mark from the floor. He was over-performing lately but to get this kind of regression in one night seems a bit excessive. He’s still had a masterful second half, manipulating the offense well enough to make Randy Orton blush.

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    Suns 117 @ Blazers 130

    The Suns lost a defense-optional tilt in Rip City but at least delivered some fantasy goodies for owners. T.J. Warren continued his late surge with 25 more points on 10-of-17 shooting. Devin Booker led the way with 31 points and plenty of extras, including seven assists and three steal. Curiously, he committed seven turnovers and didn’t hit a single three in his 42 minutes of action but that’s definitely not a concern going forward.

    Marquese Chriss also had a strong night with 19 points, 13 boards, an assist, a steal, two blocks and a three. He’s just scratching the surface and should be a multi-cat stud for years to come.

    In the frontcourt it sure looks like Alex Len is taking the reigns from Alan Williams. Len notched 12 points, seven boards and two blocks before fouling out in just 16 minutes while Big Sauce had only nine points, five boards and a single block in his 16 minutes of action. While Williams was putting fools in the Hall of Pain for a few weeks, he’s looking about set to pass his expiration date this year. Game flow may also have had something to do with the low minutes for both tonight, as the Blazers played small and kept the pace up.

    Tyler Ulis continues to disappoint and has followed up his first few strong outings with a bunch of duds. He was 4-of-11 and wound up with 11 points and five assists, so hopefully you didn’t blow your whole FAAB budget on the rookie point guard when Ulismania was running wild.

    The Blazers were led by their Brothers of Destruction, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard dropped 31-5-7 with four triples while C.J. posted 29-5-7 with five triples of his own. They helped dig the Blazers out of an early season hole and kept treading water until Jusuf Nurkic dropped down from the rafters like Sting to save the day.

    Speaking of Nurkic, Meyers Leonard entered the starting five as we all entered a post-Nurk landscape. He finished with seven points, a triple and four boards in 22 minutes. He could be worth an add at some point, but we’re not banking on anything.

    Back on the positive side of the ledger, Noah Vonleh double-doubled with 13 & 12 while Evan Turner scored 18 points in 26 minutes with two threes, two steals and a block. ET isn’t all the way back yet, but he’s earned a spot on your watch lists after this one.


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