• It was a busy Wednesday night for fantasy basketball. Wednesday is normally a swing day with the number of games played and this day delivered in spades.

    The highlight of the day’s action had to be Russell Westbrook‘s 35th triple-double of the season. Not only is the guard on pace to match if not surpass Oscar Robertson‘s record (41), he also made history by logging the first triple-double with perfect shooting. The ridiculously talented guard could not and did not miss any of shots in the Thunder’s blowout win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, en route to his 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists. While that was impressive and all, the most insane part of it was that Russ needed only 28 minutes to record his amazing feat.

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    Charlotte Hornets 109, Orlando Magic 102

    This was a great comeback win by Charlotte, powered by Kemba Walker and his 22 points and seven assists. However, the biggest takeaway from this game was how critical a role Frank Kaminsky played in that rally in the second half. The big man logged 33 minutes off the bench and finished the game with 18 points, five rebounds, four triples, and a blocked shot. He’s a must-own player right now considering the Hornets’ hunt for a playoff berth. He should be in for some big games down the stretch. Nicolas Batum struggled in this one and was limited to 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field while committing five turnovers. His six assists and two steals were a small consolation.

    Marco Bellinelli heated up and finished with 20 points off the bench. While it was nice to see him get his offense in gear, Bellinelli is too much of an inconsistent factor to hang your fantasy team’s championship hopes. He’s a streaming option for threes at best right now.

    Nikola Vucevic was arguably the lone bright spot for Orlando with 14 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, a steal, and three blocks.

    Indiana Pacers 100, Boston Celtics 109

    Paul George had a big game for Indiana with 37 points, five rebounds, two assists, five triples, three steals, and a block. Unfortunately, it was not enough to carry the Pacers for the win. Jeff Teague was the only other Pacer to score in double figures with 25 points and six assists.

    Boston’s more balanced offense was spearheaded by, of course, Isaiah Thomas. He dropped 25 points, four treys, five assists, a steal, and block in 33 minutes. Al Horford flirted with a triple-double, scoring 15 points, pulling down eight rebounds, and handing out eight assists.

    Philadelphia 76ers 97, Oklahoma City Thunder 122

    The Thunder ran away with this game early, pretty much on the shoulders of Westbrook’s aforementioned perfect triple-double. Credit also goes to Enes Kanter who had a solid double-double performance off the bench with 24 points, 11 boards, a steal, and a block.

    Russell ran rings around Philly’s guards leaving T.J. McConnell limited to two points, four assists, and four steals. Both Dario Saric and Robert Covington had relatively quiet outings, scoring 12 points apiece. Jahlil Okafor returned to the starting lineup but was his usual disappointing self, scoring six points in 17 minutes. Even Richaun Holmes was a mild letdown with his 11 points and two boards in 16 minutes off the bench.

    It wasn’t all ugly for Philly. Nik Stauskas exploded for 20 points, hitting 5-of-8 shots from deep. This is second straight solid game for the Sixers and could be in line for more minutes moving forward. Give him a serious look if your team is in need of threes.

    Atlanta Hawks 100, Washinton Wizards 104

    The Hawks were in charge for most of this game, but the Wizards came up with a big rally in the fourth quarter. John Wall shook off a sluggish start to finish with 22 points, 10 assists, four steals, two blocks, and one trey; almost willing his team to victory with a Herculean effort in the final minutes of the game. Bradley Beal also had a big game of his own with 28 points, four triples, nine boards, four steals, and a block.

    Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter were quiet in this game, combining four 14 points and 14 rebounds.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with 29 points, three treys, three assists, a steal, and two blocks. Dennis Schroder had the ugly kind of double-double with 18 points and 10 turnovers. Atlanta was still without Kent Bazemore and Paul Millsap, who are both nursing injuries.

    Detroit Pistons 95, Chicago Bulls 117

    Saying that the Pistons are in trouble is a massive understatement at this point. When you are slaughtered, mercilessly, by an undermanned Chicago Bulls team that’s missing Robin Lopez (suspension) and Dwyane Wade (elbow); you know there’s something that just ain’t right. Sigh.

    They’re grasping at straws at this point and even started Ish Smith for the struggling Reggie Jackson. Smith posted a marginally decent line with nine points, seven assists, and three steals. He’s a decent speculative add in standard leagues for Detroit’s upcoming 4-game week ahead. Jackson had a forgettable 3-of-10 shooting night off the bench, so Ish might just stick as a starter moving forward.

    The Bulls rode an explosive game from Nikola Mirotic who blew up for 28 points, four treys, five rebounds, three steals, and a block.

    Joffrey Lauvergne started in place of the suspended Robin Lopez and posted a good game with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a trey, and a steal. He should fall off once again when Lopez returns.

    Rajon Rondo followed up his season-high 24-point game on Tuesday, with a quiet five points and nine assists. Despite his up-and-down ride (mostly down) for most of the season, rondo has emerged as a reliable source of assists and steals in recent games.

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    Cleveland Cavaliers 113, Denver Nuggets 126

    The Cavs couldn’t keep up with a Denver Nuggets squad that was firing on all cylinders. The Nugs got production from everywhere and everyone, with seven players scoring in double figures. It was simply too much for Cleveland’s trio of superstars to match let alone overcome.

    Kyrie Irving ended with a game-high 33 points on some efficient shooting, but it with only three assists and no defensive stat contributions to speak of, it was a vanilla night for Uncle Drew. LeBron James had 18 points, six rebounds, and five dimes. Kevin Love was relatively quiet but still managed to contribute a little bit across the board with nine points, seven rebounds, three triples, two steals, and a block.

    Gary Harris paced the Nuggets with 21 points, three rebounds, four assists, and three treys. Will Barton got in on the action with 20 points of his own off the bench. Nikola Jokic did his usual flirtation with a triple-double, going for 16 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists.

    Wilson Chandler returned to action after missing a few games. He started and ended up scoring 18 points, with five rebounds, three assists, a trey, and a steal.

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    Milwaukee Bucks 116, Sacramento Kings 98

    The Bucks ran away with this one on the shoulders of yet another stat-sheet-stuffing performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo. He scored a game-high 32 points and supplemented it with 13 rebounds, six assists, one trey, two steals, and a block. Khris Middleton‘s line was less impressive, but he still managed to chip in a little bit across the board. K-Mid scored 13 points, got two rebounds, hit three triples, handed out three assists, got two steals, and blocked one shot.

    The Kings were led by Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans, who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively. Despite Evans’ encouraging game, his minutes limit and propensity to miss games for rest purposes dampens his outlook. Buddy, on the other hand, is another story. He’s been quite consistent lately and has scored in double figures in four of his last five games.

    New York Knicks 101, Utah Jazz 108

    Rudy Gobert took full advantage of New York’s soft frontcourt and crushed them with a career-high 35 points, 13 rebounds, a steal, and four blocks. Gordon Hayward played second fiddle in this one but was in tune with 19 points, eight boards, three assists, a trey, and a steal.

    Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 24 points, seven rebounds, three triples, a steal, and a block, with zero turnovers. Derrick Rose hurt his ankle in this game but still finished with 17 points and six rebounds. X-rays came back negative but the oft-injured guard could easily miss a game or two with an injury like this, especially if it swells up on him overnight. So stay tuned to get updates on his status for the next game. Carmelo Anthony was underwhelming with 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.

    Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.

    Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.

    "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.

    Source: Yahoo! Sports

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.

    The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.

    "Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.

    Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.

    With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.

    Source: Charlotte Hornets

  • Jon Leuer
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.

    Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.

    Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Following Governor Andrew Cuomo's greenlight from earlier on Sunday, the Nets will reopen their practice facilities on Tuesday.

    The team will open its doors to voluntary player workouts. The team's statement went on to elaborate that they would strictly follow NBA and infectious disease expert protocols as they resume activities. It's another small step in the right direction as the NBA continues its climb towards trying to play actual games.

    Source: Malika Andrews on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker feels that his left knee hampered him earlier this year because of all of the basketball he's played over the course of his career.

    The knee pain has been a constant this season, and Walker has missed eight games due to the injury overall. He should be fully recovered for when the season does resume at this point, and if he is able to get enough practice reps in he'll be able to avoid any restrictions whenever the league-wide shutdown is lifted.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Ante Zizic
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    If Ante Zizic chooses to leave the NBA when he hits free agency this offseason, he could draw interest from Maccabi Tel Aviv.

    Zizic had a lot of success in 2016-17 when he was last in the Euro League with Darussafaka, averaging 9 points and 6.7 rebounds in under 21 minutes per game. In comparison, he's been an afterthought for the Cavs this season, only averaging 10 minutes per game. Moreover, the Cavs declined to pick up his player option for next season, and they already have plenty of options for the frontcourt between Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., and possibly DeAndre Drummond (player option). Maccabi will have to see how much salary flexibility they have this offseason as ticket sales are likely to take a hit in Israel next year.

    Source: Euro Hoops