• I was told there was a baseball game on last night? Sorry, the Association has begun. Meaningful basketball!

    Meaningful it was on Tuesday night, as we got a great look at several young players vying to be the next star in the NBA. It may have been a smaller six-game slate, but 12 teams left us lots to discuss. Let’s get into the headlines from last night.

    Editor’s Note: You can get the Hoop Ball Premium Membership for FREE (normally $29.99) by signing up as a new user with DraftKings. Check this page to see how the promotion works.

    GORDON EXPLODES FOR 41 POINTS IN CAREER GAME

    Aaron Gordon was more than just a SportsCenter highlight reel on Tuesday night. He was a stud. Gordon shot 14-for-18 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line for 41 points with 14 boards, two assists and five 3-pointers in 36 minutes to lead the Magic to a 125-121 victory over the Nets.

    After a few seasons of fantasy hype and being miscast as a three on the court, Gordon is finally spreading his wings and breaking out. It’s hard to believe he is only 22-years old.

    In opposite fashion, Terrence Ross shot 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from the line for zero points with one rebound, one assist, one steal and one block in 25 minutes. This makes him 1-for-16 from the field in his last two games. This has always been the fear with Ross, who is streaky and can really hurt you when he is off. With the depth Orlando has, Ross could get passed up if he continues on like this.

    As for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell continues to dominate now that Jeremy Lin is out for the season. He would have probably been great anyway, but he playing time is guaranteed to be robust now. Russell shot 9-for-24 from the field for 29 points with five boards, one assist, two steals and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. After shooting 51% in his first three games, his struggles tonight bring back nightmares to his career averages. He does better when he is distributing more.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (18-5-2-1-1) and DeMare Carroll (17-6-2-1-1) also had solid nights and should be owned in standard leagues. There is plenty of opportunity on this Nets team. Grab some stock and see what sticks.

    BROW DOWN? DAVIS LEAVES GAME EARLY

    Another night, another Anthony Davis injury scare. Davis nicked knees with Damian Lillard early in the first quarter, coming up lame and leaving for the locker room. The Pelicans ruled him out fairly quickly, which caused owners to hit the panic button and send over lopsided trade offers. After the game, Davis stayed in Portland and received an MRI. The tests came back negative and Davis is listed as day-to-day. You can exhale now.

    The injury scare to Davis is another reminder of how hard it is to use him in DFS and how scary it can be to own him in season-long leagues. Owning him isn’t for the faint of heart.

    DeMarcus Cousins stepped up in Davis’ absence with 39 points, 13 boards, three assists, one steal, three blocks and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Boogie ‘gonna Boogie.

    Jrue Holiday is your benefactor here as well, since the usage climbs over to make him the No. 2 guy. Holiday dropped in 14 points with five boards, seven assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes. There just isn’t any replacing Anthony Davis.

    The Blazers remained under the radar in their win, taking them to 3-1 on the season. C.J. McCollum led the way with 23 points, four boards, two assists and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. He is living up to his ADP.

    Damian Lillard had an off night, shooting 3-for-16 for 13 points with five boards, seven assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. He was 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. It’s impressive that he Blazers won despite Lillard’s poor night.

    Evan Turner played well again and needs to be owned. Turner had a 13-7-4-1-1 line with one 3-pointer. You could do a lot worse.

    POINT GUARD LEBRON SNEAKS PAST PESKY BULLS

    It’s been a while since we have seen point guard LeBron James in Cleveland. He turned back the clock as the starting PG on Tuesday, shooting 13-for-20 from the field and 4-for-5 from the line for 34 points with two boards, 13 assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in 37 minutes on Tuesday night in a win over the Bulls. With Derrick Rose out, the Cavs tried out a new lineup with James at the helm as the starting point guard. LeBron showed his MVP flexibility with several impressive assists to lead the Cavs over the Bulls in what was a game that was surprisingly close. LBJ is playing up to his ADP thus far and should continue as the season wears along.

    Kevin Love shot 7-for-16 from the field and 3-for-4 from the line for 20 points with 12 boards, two assists and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes in the Cavs win over the Bulls on Tuesday. Love parked outside as usual and spaced the floor well to knock down three triples. He has been as steady as they come so far this season and should match his ADP as a big man who nails 3-pointers courtesy of LeBron James. With Dwyane Wade (11-3-4-1-1 in 19 minutes) out of the starting lineup, his usage should remain constant.

    In a game that was too close for comfort, the Cavs showed no interest in playing defense. That worked out well for the young Bulls, who had some useful fantasy lines and were one 3-pointer shy of a franchise record with 17 triples on Tuesday.

    Justin Holiday shot 8-for-17 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line for 25 points with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Holiday has steadily posted exactly four boards and one steal in all three of his games so far this season. After struggling with his shot on high volume the first two games, Holiday kept on chucking for his best game against the Cavs. Even though the return of Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine threaten to crowd the backcourt, Holiday has made a case for ample playing time and should hold mid-to-late round appeal the rest of the way.

    It was a nice night for rookie sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen as well, as he shot 7-for-12 from the field for 19 points with eight boards, one block and five 3-pointers in 32 minutes. After the Nikola MiroticBobby Portis feud, Markkanen found himself a role much earlier than expected and has made the most out of it. Markkanen got high praise from LeBron and D-Wade after the game. Keep him on your radar. We will reassess when Mirotic comes back.

    PACERS DOMINATE WOLVES IN RECORD SHOOTING NIGHT

    The Pacers shoot 66.7% from the floor on Tuesday, a franchise record, as they cruised to an easy 130-107 win over the Timberwolves. Myles Turner (concussion) sat this one out, which made the win even more impressive for the Pacers.

    Victor Oladipo stayed red hot with 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field with three boards, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Back in his college state, Oladipo is having an excellent start to the season and shows no signs of slowing down.

    It was a fantastic night for Darren Collison as well, dropping 15 points with 16 dimes, five boards, two steals and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. He is having an incredible start to the season. I would be selling high if possible. Kick the tires on slow starting point guards such as Mike Conley if you can. There’s always someone out there in a league that may bite.

    As for the Wolves, Jimmy Butler (illness) was ruled out after DFS lineups locked with an upper respiratory infection. With his early season struggles, he was probably too pricy to start anyway. Shabazz Muhammad got the start and scored 14 points. He is not worth a look on this stacked team.

    Karl-Anthony Towns had a decent line, scoring 28 points (12-for-17 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) with seven boards, two assists and two blocks in 31 minutes. We would like to see those rebounds a bit higher, but we can’t be picky. It will come.

    CELTICS GET SECOND WIN AGAINST LOWLY KNICKS

    The Celtics got even at 2-2 after an easy tilt with the Knicks in a 110-89 dominating win on Tuesday. Kyrie Irving was solid with 20 points (5-for-13 FGs, 9-for-9 FTs), three boards, seven assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. We haven’t seen a Kyrie outburst yet and we know he is capable. He is facilitating too much at this point and trying to make up for Gordon Hayward‘s absence. He shouldn’t be taking the third most shots on the team.

    Jayson Tatum (22-4-2-4-2) and Jaylen Brown (23-4-0-1-1) we assertive and took 15 and 16 shots, respectively. Their efficiency carried the team and the young guys are coming into their own. We beat the Jayson Tatum drum last week so hopefully he was rostered in your league, but Brown has turned some heads as well. No one anticipated he would fill in this well.

    Terry Rozier put up another useful fantasy line, scoring eight points with six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He’s a nice add in standard leagues at the end of your bench.

    We all knew the Knicks would be poor, but Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t supposed to fall with them. He was putrid on Tuesday night, shooting 3-for-14 from the field and 6-for-9 from the line for 12 points with five boards. Porzgod hurt teams across the board and is likely at rock bottom. Send over a buy-low offer.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. has fallen as well and echoed Porzingis’ awfulness. THJ shot 2-for-11 from the field for six points with three boards and one assist and 28 minutes. The Knicks spent a lot to keep him around and should give their investment ample opportunity to succeed. Stay the course or scoop him up if you get a chance. There is nowhere to go but up.

    GRIFFIN KEEPS CLIPPERS PERFECT IN BLOWOUT WIN

    The Clippers moved to 3-0 on the season with a 102-84 win over the Jazz late Tuesday night. Blake Griffin flexed his muscles with a monster line, shooting 8-for-17 from the field for 22 points with nine boards, six assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. The keys are obviously his. It’s his health that is concerning. With his usage through the roof, he is every bit worth his high ADP but owners have to be worried about him inevitably missing time. Good luck.

    DeAndre Jordan nailed a jumper in the game, something you don’t see every night. He had 11 points with 18 boards, one assist and two steals in 37 minutes. He’s as steady as they come.

    The Jazz had a rough night all around and gave their bench a lot of minutes late in the game. Joe Ingles (gastric distress) was a game time decision coming in and started the game. He couldn’t keep food down the previous 24 hours so it is not known if that was effecting his play. Ingles put up a dud with three points, two boards, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer in 18 minutes.

    Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 19 points (7-for-20 FGs, 2-for-2 FTs), two boards, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. The Jazz like him and he should be owned in standard leagues.

    That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish!! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Catch me on the Fantasy NBA Tonight ($) pod on Tuesday nights where we answer your questions and go over box scores. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. We are back, baby!!

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.

    Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.

    The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.

    Source: ESPN

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry posted a solid line in Saturday's Game 6 win scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and only one turnover.

    After a pedestrian series against the 76ers, Lowry stepped it up against the Bucks, averaging almost 20 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. He did a great job making smart plays for the Raptors and they will need him to continue to operate at this high level as they head off into the NBA Finals next week.

  • Marc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol scored six points, all from behind the arc, in Saturday's Game 6 win, adding three rebounds, two assists and a block/steal in 26 minutes.

    Gasol continues to do what the Raptors ask of him though the years of grinding in the paint for Memphis are long gone. He has adjusted his game play and now acts as a facilitator for the rest of the team. Gasol continues to split time in the post with Serge Ibaka (25 minutes, nine points) and will see his minutes fluctuate based on the Raptor's offensive scheme heading into the NBA Finals.

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet was a difference maker for the Raptors' series clinching Game 6, scoring 14 points off the bench on 5-for-6 shooting while adding two assists.

    VanVleet played 34 minutes off the bench and continues to be a menace from behind the 3-point line (4-for-5 today). In the past three games he has gone an unbelievable 14-for-17 from behind the arc. The Raptors will continue to rely on his ability to stretch the floor as they head into their first NBA Finals and will square off against the Warriors and their own formidable shooters.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points in Saturday's Game 6 loss while contributing 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks and two turnovers.

    Antetokounmpo did all that was asked of him on both sides of the ball but could not get past the Raptors this series. Giannis continues to operate at an MVP-level but his freethrow woes continue to plague him. He was "Shaq-esque" this series (55%) and shot 5-for-10 in tonight's loss. This is a tough break for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks as they head into the offseason with four of their five starters entering free agency.

  • Khris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Khris Middleton scored 14 points in Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals loss adding just four 3-pointers, four rebounds and two turnovers.

    All-Star Middleton struggled this entire series as he was tasked with the unenviable task of guarding Kawhi Leonard. He was poised to continue his fabulous playoff success following strong performances against the Pistons and Celtics but failed to deliver this series, with the exception of a 30-point Game 4 loss. Middleton will be a free agent this summer and will be one of the Bucks' top priorities heading into the offseason.

  • Eric Bledsoe - G - Milwaukee Bucks

    Eric Bledsoe scored an inefficient eight points (3-for-9 FGs, 1-for-3 3-pointers, 1-for-2 FTs) in Saturday's loss while adding five rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two turnovers.

    Bledsoe seemed to ebb and flow all series and just could not find the consistency that the Bucks needed during the Eastern Conference Finals. He has always been able to produce outside of scoring but his team really needed him to put the ball in the hoop this game.

  • Brook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    Brook Lopez scored 18 points on Saturday's Game 6 loss, adding nine rebounds, one assist, four blocks and zero 3-pointers.

    Lopez had a productive 4th quarter for the Bucks scoring six points in the paint against the Raptors frontcourt. Unfortunately, he could not get it going throughout the rest of the game and caused most of his damage at the freethrow line, going 8-for-9. Lopez provided a great boost for the Bucks this season and will be a free agent this offseason.

  • Patrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw, who has been dealing with a personal issue for the last few games, is active for Game 6 on Saturday vs. the Bucks.

    It looks like McCaw got things sorted out. With him active now, the Raptros will get a bit more depth at the guard spot. That said, Fred VanVleet has been playing well, so McCaw will not likely see a lot of burn tonight outside of potential garbage minutes (if any).

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter