• Wednesday was a roller-coaster ride, both in real life and in fantasy. Favorites fell, while others rose to the challenge. The NBA had a huge serving of monster games on Wednesday, from, 20-20 lines delivered by big men or a record-setting triple-double by the usual suspects Russell Westbrook.

    Most fantasy teams are either in midst of their league finals or semi-finals, depending on what the commissioner set. That said, for this Thursday’s daily dish, we’re going to zero-in on players who are worth adding for some last-minute value and of course celebrating amazing fantasy performances which mad waves in fantasy.

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    Atlanta Hawks 99, Philadelphia 76ers 92

    Robert Covington‘s absence from this game with a sore knee was a huge blow to his owners, who odds are, sorely missed his multi-cat production.

    Kent Bazemore returned to action after missing several games. He came off the bench and was impressive as he filled the stat sheet with 19 points, four rebounds, four dimes, four treys, two steals, and a block. He looks healthy but remains a risky add outside of very deep leagues because of his inconsistency. If your team is desperate, he could be worth a gamble.

    Dwight Howard had his way against a soft Philly interior and dropped a 22-20-4 line for his owners.

    Richaun Holmes quietly filled the stat sheet with 25 points, eight boards, a three, a steal, and a block.

    Dario Saric couldn’t get it going, hitting only 5-of-18 shots from the field.

    Oklahoma City Thunder 114, Orlando Magic 106 (OT)

    Russell Westbrook made NBA history by delivering the highest scoring triple-double ever recorded. He willed his team into overtime and eventually the victory with 57 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, five treys, three steals, and seven turnovers. If that’s not enough to give him another notch in the MVP race between him and James Harden, then I don’t know what would be.

    Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier combined for 47 points and eight triples in this game, but it was Aaron Gordon who would deliver the unconventional goods with 13 points, five rebounds, a trey, four steals, and block with zero turnovers.

    Milwaukee Bucks 103, Boston Celtics 100

    Malcolm Brogdon sank the game-winning jumper but his heroics were not confined to that one shot. He also was a boon in fantasy for his owners as he scored 16 points, dished out nine assists, grabbed four boards, got a steal and a block.

    The statistical gem of the night probably went to Giannis Antetokounmpo who filled up the stat sheet real good with 22 points, nine rebounds, two treys, three assists, three steals, and three blocks.

    The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas who hit 5-of-9 shots from deep en route to a game-high 32 points. He also grabbed five rebounds, dropped four dimes, and got three steals.

    Jae Crowder was a tad disappointing as he missed all six attempts from downtown and finished with a quiet 13 points, two rebounds, and three assists.

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    Miami Heat 105, New York Knicks 88

    This was a slaughter. Not only because the Knicks were without Derrick Rose (knee), but because Carmel Anthony played and he sucked. So they sucked. His comments after the game about not knowing his role with the team could be a signal that he’s going to be faded or even completely shut down for the season.

    From a statistical standpoint, Kristaps Porzingis was the lone bright spot for New York. He finished the game with 20 points, eight rebounds, a three, and three blocks.

    Finally! After pretty much an entire season, Josh Richardson busted out of his shell and exploded for an excellent game his fantasy owners could write home about. J-Rich was a beast with 17 points, three treys, five steals, and a block. Still no Dion Waiters (ankle) in sight. Which means more games like this one could be on the horizon for Richardson.

    The Heat got big games from Goran Dragic, who dropped a 20-7-9-2 line, and James Johnson, who bounced back in this game with a stat-sheet-stuffing performance. He scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, hit two triples, handed out four assists, got three steals, and blocked two shots.

    Charlotte Hornets 110, Toronto Raptors 106

    Charlotte’s depth came into play here. Marco Bellinelli and Frank Kaminsky delivered for them off the bench with 21 and 13 points, respectively. Marco is worth a stream target if your team is in the market for three-pointers.

    Marvin Williams had a good game as he scored 18 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and hit four treys.

    Cody Zeller was a big disappointment as he dropped a zero-point, six-rebound dud in 27 minutes.

    On the other side of the big-man coin, Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas had a great game with 14 points, 15 rebounds, a steal, three blocks, and zero turnovers.

    DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 28-6-8, but it would be his partner in the backcourt, Cory Joseph who would wow his owners with a full stat line. CoJo scored 18 points, pulled down seven rebounds, dished out five dimes, hit two treys, got two steals, and blocked two shots.

    Dallas Mavericks 118, New Orleans Pelicans 121

    The Pelicans’ Twin Towers of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were like dueling tornados that ripped through the Mavericks’ porous defense. They combined for 59 points, 29 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Jrue Holiday was not to be outdone, as he chipped in 18 points, seven assists, two triples, and two blocks of his own.

    Nerlens Noel had his hands full. Obviously. He was slowed down by foul trouble and ended the game with seven points, six boards, a steal, and a block. Dirk did his damage from mid-range, as usual, and was successful with 23 points, seven rebounds, and two treys.

    Seth Curry (shoulder) returned from a one-game absence and logged 34 minutes as the starting point guard. He scored 18 points, hit two triples, and handed out three assists. Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea rounded out the three-headed star PG and combined for 23 points, 12 assists, and four treys.

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    Indiana Pacers 97, Memphis Grizzlies 110

    With Marc Gasol (foot) still out of commission, Mike Conley stepped up in a big way and had a sick game for the Grizz. Conley scored 36 points, on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc, grabbed three rebounds, handed out six assists, and got four steals. This was one his best two-way games all season.

    Age was just a number for Vince Carter, who defied Father Time and exploded for 21 points, four treys, and eight rebounds. He’s good stream fodder for threes, with Memphis still having two games left this week.

    In a surprising move, Brandan Wright slid into the starting lineup for JaMychal Green (shoulder). Even though we haven’t seen Wright’s shadow on the court all season long, his 13 points and two blocks in 28 minutes makes him a viable add for an extra boost in blocks.

    Jeff Teague bombed in the box score but not in a good way. He was limited to four points and five dimes. Paul George filled it up with 22 points, three boards, four assists, three triples, two steals, and two blocks and it was not enough. Yeah, we’re not likely seeing him in a Pacer jersey in 2017-18.

    Thaddeus Young surprisingly came alive with a 16-13 double-double. Could his wrist finally be feeling better? If so, he’s worth a grab in standard leagues for a shot at him returning to some of his pre-All-Star break glory.

    Golden State Warriors 110, San Antonio Spurs 98

    Draymond Green was a hot mess in this one with four points, six rebounds, four dimes, two steals, and seven turnovers. The “Splash Brothers”, on the other hand, were just hot as they combined four eight treys, en route to 52 points. Curry added 11 dimes and was the catalyst for the Dubs’ comeback against a tough matchup in the Spurs.

    Andre Iguodala hit 6-of-9 shots from the field to finish the game with 14 points, two triples, six boards, and two steals. Picking him up last week in a few leagues has been a clutch move for my fantasy teams.

    Kawhi Leonard had an off night, at least relative to the standards we’ve grown accustomed to measuring him against. He connected on just 7-of-20 shots from the field to end the night with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five turnovers.

    Pau Gasol showed shades of his former/younger self in this game with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a trey, a steal, and a block.

    Tony Parker fizzled in 24 minutes with zero points, two assists, and two steals. He should not be on any fantasy rosters right now.

    Utah Jazz 112, Sacramento Kings 82

    This one was over early and definitively. The Jazz dominated the hapless Kings from start to finish. Gordon Hayward (quad) returned from a one-game and picked up where he left off without missing a Jazzy beat. He scored 20 points, pulled down seven boards, handed out four assists, and hit three treys.

    Rudy Gobert got a 16-15 double-double but failed to deliver any defensive stats.

    Rodney Hood busted out of his slump with 18 points, making all five of his shots from downtown, while also adding two assists and two steals. He’s a risky add, but worth the gamble if your team needs threes.

    George Hill and Derrick Favors missed this game.

    Buddy Hield, who had been tearing it up over the last couple of weeks fell flat for his owners with two points. It was Ben McLemore who found his groove and dropped 22 points off the bench. Hield owners shouldn’t worry too much. He’s still the guy to own out of the Sacramento guard logjam-slash-revolving-door-of-rest-days.

    Skal Labissiere got a start for a resting Kosta Koufos and had a decent line with nine points, seven rebounds, a steal, and a block.

    Washington Wizards 124, Los Angeles Clippers 133

    The Clips finally got their act together and they did it in this game with extreme prejudice. Their big men, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin each exploded for double-double performances. DeAndre dropped 23-18-1-2, while Blake flirted with a triple-double with 26 points, 10 boards, and nine assists.

    J.J. Redick was the leader on offense for LAC with 31 points on 7-of-11 shooting from deep. Chris Paul had 27 points and 13 dimes.

    John Wall did his darnedest to keep his team in it and finished with a game-high 41 points, that came with seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and six turnovers.

    Bradley Beal hit 5-of-11 shots from downtown and complemented Wall with 27 points and four dimes of his own.

    Otto Porter was disturbingly quiet in this one with four points to his name. Hopefully he bounces back in their next game.

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic