March 23, 2017, 12:45 am
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.
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.