March 4, 2020, 12:38 am
Lines of the Night
Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets – 51 points, four rebounds, five assists, one steal and five 3-pointers (17-for-26 FG, 12-for-18 FT)
The Nets were down 14 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and LeVert single handedly won the game for the Nets. No, this is not an exaggeration, he was the go-to guy on offense until the final period and scored every single point during overtime as the Nets would pull past the Celtics in overtime. When LeVert emerges as an All-Star in the future, this will be the game to look back on as the first major stamp of “I’m here” to the league. He got kudos from Kevin Durant on Twitter and set the Celtics on fire tonight with every move in the book. He’s battled multiple serious injuries in his young career, but has always shown flashes of potential during his play with his athleticism and IQ. Kyrie Irving had surgery on his shoulder and is out for the remainder of the season and LeVert should roll through the end of the year as a mid-round player with upside beyond that. He’s definitely not an early-round play yet because of his inconsistent efficiency and lack of numbers outside of scoring, but he has a huge runway to production. Looking forward, the tricky part is how he’ll be able to continue his development alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant next season. That’s before we mention Spencer Dinwiddie and the other Nets guards who take up rotation minutes. If he’s going to play third or fourth fiddle, he’ll never be able to explore his true ceiling, just like James Harden on the Thunder. For this season, he’s going to be an exciting play, but for the next few years, this poses an interesting storyline to follow as we head into the offseason.
Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans – 26 points,five rebounds, eight assists, three steals, a block and seven triples (9-for-12 FG, 7-for-10 3PT)
Yeah, the new 3-point shot is legit and Ball is finally growing into the player many thought he could be. Part of it is him just being healthy and staying on the floor and the situation in New Orleans was ripe for him to thrive. He’s a true point guard playing alongside more of a scoring guard archetype in Jrue Holiday and both players are exceptional defenders with high IQ minds on both ends of the floor. Ball’s defense is borderline elite at his position and the numbers show it. Zion Williamson is also an easy target to rack up assists and Ball is constantly feeding his big guy. Health is the only thing stopping Ball from his current top-20 production over the last two weeks.
Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves – 13 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer (5-for-12 FG, 2-for-2 FT)
Reid killed the Pelicans tonight in only 27 minutes of action, but this was by far his best game of the year. The peripheral stats coupled with a big double-double are something we probably won’t see again this year. James Johnson logged 21 minutes off the bench and isn’t going anywhere as their backup center so while we’re enjoying Reid’s big night, it’s a bit flukey considering he’s still outside the top-100 in value over the past two weeks (his best stretch of the year).
Add(s) of the Night
Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors – 26 points, two rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and two triples (8-for-15 FG, 8-for-9 FT)
Powell has produced ad a top-40 clip over his last 14 games of action and has scored at least 20 points in three consecutive games. He’s a stud and is starting with the Raptors a bit shorthanded with no Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka. Powell is available in about 50-percent of Yahoo! leagues so drop what you’re doing now and place a claim on him.
Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers – eight points, five rebounds, one assist and one block
There’s really no reason a guy like Marcus Morris should be owned in 60-percent of Yahoo! leagues while guys like Mikal Bridges have similar ownership numbers. Morris is on a loaded Clippers squad who only has streaming value when either of their star forwards in Kawhi Leonard or Paul George miss time.
Kyrie Irving underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season.
Gordon Hayward (right knee contusion) was injured late in the second quarter on the Celtics’ game against the Nets on Tuesday evening and was out for the remainder of the game.
Kelly Oubre Jr. (torn right meniscus) underwent surgery to repair his right knee on Tuesday and will miss the next four weeks of action for the Suns.
Dennis Smith Jr. (concussion) will remain out of the lineup during Wednesday’s game against the Jazz.
Brandon Knight (right quad strain) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Thunder.
Bruce Brown Jr. (left knee contusion) is being listed as doubtful to play against the Thunder on Wednesday.
Christian Wood (right foot sprain) is being listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Thunder.
Lauri Markkanen (pelvic stress reaction) is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Wolves.
Darius Garland (left groin strain) is being listed as out for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Tristan Thompson (left knee contusion) is being listed as questionable ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Andre Drummond (left calf strain) is being listed as out in advance of Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Victor Oladipo (sore right knee) is being upgraded to a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game against the Bucks after doing some things in Tuesday’s practice.
Steve Kerr said that it is a “possibility” that Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) returns to game action for Thursday’s game against the Raptors.
Jim Boylen confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that Kris Dunn (knee) will miss the remainder of the season.
Zach LaVine (left quad strain), who will not play in Wednesday’s game against the Wolves, said that he will probably be out a week as he takes a cautious approach with his injury.
Dwane Casey told reporters on Tuesday that Luke Kennard (bilateral knee soreness) will miss at least one more week.
Mitchell Robinson (hamstring) is being listed as questionable against the Jazz on Wednesday.
Derrick Rose has a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
In their preliminary injury report for Wednesday’s game in Miami, the Magic have listed Aaron Gordon (right knee inflammation) and Gary Clark (left knee irritation) as questionable to play.
Appearing on 92.9 FM this morning, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said that he fully expects Dewayne Dedmon to play against the Nets on Friday.
The Spurs did not release a timetable for Jakob Poeltl’s return, but the Austrian big posted on his Facebook page that he expects to be sidelined for two to four weeks.
LAC 109 @ OKC 94
The Clippers look absolutely lethal with their full 10-man rotation. Lou Williams’ value is down the drain now and with Reggie Jackson in the fold, it doesn’t bode well for him and Patrick Beverley in terms of consistent production. I like Montrezl Harrell still as he can put up stats in a hurry while Kawhi Leonard has clearly taken the alpha role as they make a push for playoff seeding. Paul George is going through a patented late-season slump as he always has a few weeks somewhere between February and March where he just doesn’t live up to his early-round production, but I’m not too worried. He should pick it up soon as the Clippers just have so many ways to beat you, they’re not as reliant on PG’s scoring.
Danilo Gallinari cooled off while Chris Paul and Shai Gilegous-Alexander both put up a normal night’s worth of production. Steven Adams cooled off in a huge and predictable way. He’s just not going to consistently get you defensive stats, it was a fluke. Dennis Schroder has killed it on the Thunder and continued to do so tonight.
MIN 139 @ NOP 134
I have been on the Malik Beasley train for quite some time now. When the D’Angelo Russell (who has been great on Minnesota as well) trade occurred and the Wolves also traded for Beasley, I wrote that he’d have more value than Wiggins.did on the Wolves. It was a bit of a hot take, but since joining the Wolves, Beasley is the No. 62 player in 9-cat leagues, averaging 21.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.9 3s on .467 shooting while Wiggins was the No. 97 player on the Wolves. Wiggins has been much better since joining the Warriors though, as he’s the No. 52 player in 9-cat leagues so it was a win-win for everyone. Hopefully you listened to me or followed me on Twitter @HB_Nate because I told everyone to make a mad scramble for Beasley and James Johnson (19-6-5-2) who also killed it tonight.
Jrue Holiday got his fourth career triple-double and although Zion Williamson got his four steals tonight, he has not looked good on defense. He’s still fresh in the league, but the defensive ability is a lot lower than I expected considering his play in college. He has a ton of time to turn it around and next year will look a lot different. People can’t stop him getting 20 a night and he still doesn’t know how to fully leverage the space the Pelicans are giving him.
BKN 129 @ BOS 120
This game was all Caris LeVert. I did all my gushing earlier so if youwant to knock yourself out, go read it again up top.
The Celtics didn’t have Jayson Tatum, but they got Kemba Walker back and had another crushing overtime loss at home. I still think the Celtics are a contending team, especially with Jayson Tatum’s steps forward as a defensive player and Jaylen Brown’s development too. They play similarly to the Rockets in terms of no true big man locking down the paint, but all of their wings and guards are capable of stuffing the stat sheet and providing winning plays on both ends of the floor. It’s how Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker are all producing at a mid-round level or higher on a nightly basis. This team is fine.
SAS 104 @ CHA 103
The way I feel about the Celtics is the opposite of how I feel about the Spurs. They just don’t play well in the modern NBA and it’s due to stubborn coaching. Lonnie Walker should be playing more and I can’t stress how badly I want to see Derrick White and Dejounte Murray on the floor together. They both played well in this contest, but still didn’t overlap minutes and it’s just ridiculous. They won by one on the road to the Hornets and are fighting for the eighth seed, but with how the Pelicans, Blazers and even Kings are playing, I’ll take the field.
Terry Rozier played well, but Devonte’ Graham sat this one out. P.J. Washington should continue to do his thing while Miles Bridges bounced back after an awful week shooting the ball. He still went 5-for-14 from the floor, but the good news is he hit two triples. He’s more of a top-80 player than the top-40 player we were getting before.
GSW 116 @ DEN 100
The Andrew Wiggins renaissance is real in Golden State, but it’s mostly due to the fact that no one else is there to produce. I’m not reaching for him in the mid-rounds next year, especially with how Golden State should look with a healthy roster, but it’s an amazing sign that he’s able to do more than just score now. Coach Kerr’s system benefits players like Wiggins as there’s a lot of motion and off-ball movement which leads to assists for everyone. Marquese Chriss should be owned everywhere and although Eric Paschall and Dragan Bender had awesome nights, I’m not trusting them.
Gary Harris’ shot has abandoned him, but he grabbed four stocks tonight. Jamal Murray was putrid from the floor, missing all six attempts from deep while Will Barton couldn’t get things going as usual either, going 1-for-9 from deep. Nikola Jokic was the only player that played up to his usual standards and it was a recipe for a letdown home loss to the lowly Warriors. Ouch.
TOR 123 @ PHX 114
Norman Powell needs to be rostered everywhere. There’s no Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka either so O.G. Anunoby is putting up numbers and I’m going to say he’s one of the most underrated players in the league. I can’t wait to see him do damage in the playoffs alongside Pascal Siakam, who has taken a couple steps forward this season after winning Most Improved Player last year.
Dario Saric and Cameron Johnson are getting minutes now with Kelly Oubre Jr. sidelined with a knee injury, but this really means that Mikal Bridges has all the room in the world to do as he pleases. He didn’t grab a steal tonight, but hit two triples and the shot attempts should stay up which means he’s going to cruise to top-60 value to finish the season. The trio of Devin Booker-Ricky Rubio-Deandre Ayton continues to do their usual business.
WAS 126 @ SAC 133
Thomas Bryant’s minutes continue to be a bit of a concern, but as long as he puts up stats like tonight () then he should be held everywhere. If he’s going to have load management issues and limited minutes when it’s fantasy playoff time, you might be better off with a streaming spot instead of hoping he produces at an absurd per-minute rate. Just something to keep an eye on. Oh and Bradley Beal is unreal.
The Kings frontcourt situation is Nemanja Bjelica giving solid fantasy production and then a crapshoot with Harry Giles, Alex Len and Harrison Barnes. I don’t want any part of that. Buddy Hield is a stud, even off the bench and De’Aaron Fox continues to be the engine for this team that’s actually within striking distance of a playoff spot. Bogdan Bogdanovic hasn’t played well lately, but he’s going to have value as a 3s and points streamer for owners.
PHI 107 @ LAL 120
It took injuries to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but Al Horford is finally back on the map. He should be good for the rest of the year as Simmons and Embiid might be out for an extended amount of time and the Sixers medical staff is suspect to say the least. Glen Robinson III popped off, but I’m still all in on Shake Milton. Please grab him.
The Lakers were once again, Anthony Davis and LeBron James and then a bit of eh from everyone else. That’s the way it has been and the way it’s going to be the rest of the year.