April 8, 2021, 5:59 am
Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Hoop Ball Daily Dish!
So apparently, I got a well-received response from Tuesday’s “experimental format,” so I’m going to keep running with it and letting it fly, kind of like those Jason Williams (Kings) 3-pointers at the top of the key on the fast break. Some of you might be too young to know about that, so go ahead and look ’em up on YouTube.
You’ve got to hand it to the Pacers and their amazing role-players. The team was severely shorthanded, missing Malcolm Brogdon (sore right hip) and their starting frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner who are both dealing with left ankle sprains. The Wolves were stunned as siblings Aaron Holiday (22 points, 6-of-8 FG, 4-of-4 3PM, 6-of-6 FT) and Justin Holiday (21 points, 8-of-13 FG, 5-of-8 3PM) stepped up for the Pacers in a big way. While the Holidays brought joy and cheer to fantasy GMs, credit should also go to T.J. McConnell who was amazing with 19 points, three rebounds, 15 dimes and two steals. With Sabonis and Turner out, Goga Bitadze drew the spot start and recorded 14 points (6-of-11 FG), three rebounds, five assists, two 3s, one steal and one block. Not bad coming from their second-string big. Put all of those stat lines together and you’ve got a formula for how the Pacers came away with a 141-137 win over the Wolves.
D’Angelo Russell struggled in his second game back, shooting 5-of-15 from the field for 17 points. KAT did KAT things with a 32-12-6 line and solid percentages. Jaden McDaniels had a decent but still disappointing outing with eight points, seven rebounds, one 3-pointer and two steals. He’s underperforming right now but we think he’s got some nice ROS upside that’s worth some patience. Keep the faith, people.
Bradley Beal (right hip contusion) returned to action for the Wizards on Wednesday and it made an instant impact. His 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field with four treys, one rebound, five dimes, one steal and one block went a long way towards their 131-116 win over the rebuilding Magic. Davis Bertans played like it was 2019-20 and exploded for 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting (all from deep) and 4-for-4 shooting from the line. Russell Westbrook produced a gem of a trip-dub with 23-14-15 on, you guessed it, efficient shooting from the field and the line. Rui Hachimura made his return from his issue with right shoulder tightness and quietly chipped in nine points, seven rebounds, two dimes and three steals. Robin Lopez played through right quad tightness and produced 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and not much else.
The Magic were led by Terrence Ross and his 24 points but we expected that out of him. What we were pleasantly surprised with was the sudden availability of Cole Anthony (fractured ribs), who came off the bench and provided the Magic with 13 points (5-of-14 FG), two 3s, one rebound and seven dimes. Chuma Okeke was disappointing with a six-point dud of a game. Again, he’s someone I’m confident has a bright road ahead of him ROS. What was truly magical in this game though, despite the Magic’s loss, was Mo Bamba‘s career-high 19 points and full line. This kid’s had it rough with injuries since Day 1 of his pro career and this is the best we’ve seen him in a regular-season game.
There was little of note in the Knicks-Celtics game. The Celtics won, which we expected, and the usual suspects produced for the Knicks – Julius Randle had 22 points, nine rebounds, six dimes, three steals, two triples and a block. RJ Barrett led the way with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting with a perfect 6-for-6 success rate from downtown. On the Celtics end of the 101-99 win, Jayson Tatum double-doubled with 25-10-5 and Jaylen Brown shined (save for his 3-of-7 shooting from the line) with 32 points (12-of-26 FG), 10 rebounds, three assists, five 3s, two steals and one block. Tristan Thompson (health protocols) was off the injury report and returned to action with seven points, eight boards and three blocks. Kemba Walker was back on the report due to injury management and missed this contest.
Let’s move on.
The Nets gang was nearly complete on Wednesday as Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) finally got back on the floor and posted 17 points off the bench. Kyrie Irving led the Nets offense with 24 points on efficient shooting from all over with four 3s and six assists. That said, it was Bruce Brown, of all people, who came up with a fantasy surprise as he posted nine points, eight rebounds, one 3-pointer, two assists, five steals and two blocks. Between Irving’s 24 points and six other Nets scoring in double figures, it was easy for them to down the Pelicans, 139-111.
A night after leading the Pelicans with a superb shooting performance, Zion Williamson shat the fantasy basketball bed with 4-of-12 shooting from the field and 8-of-14 shooting from the line, I know, “ew!” but it happens. He’s not going to be a fantasy stud overnight and this was just one of the downs amongst the many ups and downs that Zion will still have to go through before the dust settles this season. Eric Bledsoe teased with an excellent 26-point performance but we’re not buying it. There was still no sight of Brandon Ingram (right toe irritation) in this game, yet James Johnson struggled with a 7-6-6 line on poor shooting.
The Grizzlies were still without Brandon Clarke (left calf soreness) and De’Anthony Melton (left leg soreness) but it didn’t really matter as Grayson Allen went bonkers and dropped an efficiently scored 30-point game. Ja Morant (back) felt good enough to play tonight and play he did, recording a 19-7-7 line with two triples, arguably one of his best performances in recent memory. And… surprise, surprise… Kyle Anderson ticked all the category boxes (that mattered) for yet another overall impressive line for the night. Again. He’s been a beast lately. Jonas Valanciunas had a 19-11-4 line for the Grizzlies as he took advantage of the absence of Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness).
Adding injury to injury, Danilo Gallinari also missed this game with left ankle soreness, so it isn’t hard to believe that the Grizzlies managed to pull off the win, 131-113. With Capela out, rookie Onyeka Okongwu started and played great with his first career double-double, posting 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Nice, huh? Sadly, he’s still more of a dynasty stash at this point, so curb your enthusiasm. Trae Young had 14 & 11 and Bogey Bogdanovic led the Hawks in scoring with 24 points and four treys.
The Rockets, yes, the Rockets defeated the Mavs 102-93 even with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (right wrist sprain) scoring 23 points apiece. The Key to the Rockets’ success hinged on their 17-made 3-pointers. John Wall (left knee effusion) and his 31 points, seven dimes and four steals accounted for four of those triples. Christian Wood and his 22-point, 10-rebound double-double accounted for five. Those big games aside, it was Kelly Olynyk who produced an entry for your “cool stat line scrapbook” as he went for 10 points, 18 rebounds, one 3-pointer, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Hornets played nine players in tonight’s game and seven of them scored in double figures, which does explain why they were able to easily defeat the shorthanded Thunder 113-102. Jalen McDaniels, not to be confused by his brother, Jaden, who plays for the Wolves, led the way for the Hornets with 21 points as a starter, making him one of the hotter pickups after tonight’s games. Cody Zeller redeemed himself in the eyes of fantasy managers with a 15-14-2 line off the bench. P.J. Washington shot 3-of-13 from the field for 12 points but chipped in across the board in epic fashion – well worth the price of his 23% FG.
The Thunder had a handful of interesting performances. Théo Maledon shined with a 25-5-5 line on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. Aleksej Pokusevski notched multiple career-highs with seven 3-pointers and 25 points of his own. He did head to the locker room during the game so be sure to check the injury report for updates on his status. Jaylen Hoard had a nice showing, again, off the bench with 13 points on solid shooting but not much else. The thing is he’s likely available in most deep leagues, so there’s that. Moses Brown disappointed, again, with five points, 10 boards and one block in 27 minutes. He’s on thin ice in fantasy right now and many a fantasy GM will agree with that sentiment.
Facu Campazzo and not Monte Morris drew a spot start for Jamal Murray (right knee soreness) but put up a negligible six points, five rebounds and two dimes in 28 minutes. Morris played slightly better off the bench with seven points but still was able to chip in across the board. Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double as he dropped 25-9-10 but that’s something that you’d consider ubiquitous coming from fantasy’s best player.
Derrick White scored 18 points for the Spurs and a returning Dejounte Murray (right foot soreness) did the same to lead their team in a 96-106 loss to the Nuggets. It’s the Spurs and there’s not much more noteworthy fantasy news on that front.
Last but not least, the Suns and Jazz had a thriller of a game that ended with the Suns coming out on top in overtime, 117-113.
Deandre Ayton played like the top-25 stud with an 18-12-2-3 line in this game – something that’s more in line with what GMs were expecting from him on draft day – something he’s failed to live up to this season, unfortunately. Devin Booker led the charge with 35 points on 13-of-31 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the line, though he did miss all six attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Mikal Bridges put up an ugly dud, going scoreless on 0-for-1 shooting with three rebounds and one steal in 20 minutes. It was a rough game, but that’s all it was and shouldn’t be something to lose any sleep over.
On the Jazz’s end, Donovan Mitchell had the highest score of the night with 41 points, while Rudy Gobert posted 16 points, 18 rebounds and three steals on perfect shooting. That was the good news. The bad news was that both Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson couldn’t get their shots going with Conley hitting 5-of-16 shots from the field for 11 points and Clarkson hitting 4-of-12 shots for 11 points of his own.
Whew! That was a mouthful or more like a handful since I typed it instead of spoke it – but I was speaking in my head as I was typing if that counts for anything. Hopefully, you enjoyed it and found it easy to digest – in a smooth yogurt kind of way.
Add(s) of the Night
Jalen McDaniels is likely off your wires by this time, so let’s skip him, though I’d like it on record that he was/is worth a pickup.
I recommended an add for Goga Bitadze in Tuesday night’s Dish and I’d just like to echo that here and now.
Tonight, I’d say that Cody Zeller has earned a bit of must-add status given his recent strong play. The same goes for Jaylen Hoard, though in much deeper leagues.
I didn’t discuss him tonight, but Cam Johnson has been solid lately as a 3-point shooting contributor who’s able to chip in with the odd peripheral here and there.
Oh by the way, before I forget, Cole Anthony should be snatched up all over. Something that should have gone without being said.
This is an out-on-a-limb move, but Moses Brown might be a drop at this point. That said, allow me to qualify. He’s a “desperation drop” and only IF your team is in dire need of consistent production over the next few games. Can he, will he, explode again? I believe so. So, if you can afford to wait, then you should.