March 16, 2016, 3:00 am
Tuesday featured a mild six-game slate in NBA action, but there was nothing mild about Bojan Bogdanovic matching his jersey number for 44 points. The Croatian sensation caused quite a stir around the Twitterverse on Tuesday night. Bed, Bath & Biyombo was open for business again in back-to-back nights and he is a fun one to follow this week. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo was on triple-double watch again but Jason Kidd couldn’t possibly want Alphabet to eventually catch him in triple-doubles someday. More on that below. Fortunately, there was only one significant injury tonight as Kenneth Faried (back) did not return. It’s Darrell Arthur’s time to shine. Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s Daily Dish:
Magic 116, Nuggets 110
The Magic were down Nikola Vucevic (groin) and Elfrid Payton (elbow) tonight, but they weren’t needed in a Magic win. This makes five-straight games for Vucevic sitting out, and with the Magic playing for next season, the Magic don’t have much incentive to rush him back. If you are in a head-to-head playoffs league, I’d cut him if he’s pronounced out again vs. the Hornets on Wednesday. Payton is starting a streak of his own on the injury front, missing his third straight. Give him a much shorter leash than Vooch. Don’t hesitate to move on.
Jason Smith did his best Vooch impersonation with his first double-double of the season on Tuesday in 28 minutes off of the bench, shooting 10-of-15 for a season-high 25 points and 13 rebounds. Don’t expect outbursts such as this one, but as long as Vooch is out, keep trusting Smith. Evan Fournier also had some fireworks of his own in this one, tying a career-high 30 points on 11-of-19 from the field with five threes, three assists, three rebounds, one steal and three turnovers. For owners who were patient through Fournier’s tough stretch last month, reap your rewards.
With Payton out and C.J. Watson (illness) under the weather tonight, Brandon Jennings (Achilles) returned and got the start at point guard. Jennings did made the most of his opportunity with a double-double in 27 minutes, shooting 3-for-7 for 12 points with one three ball, 11 assists, three rebounds, one steal and one turnover. He isn’t usually this efficient, but if you are in need of a cheap point guard at this time of the season, he can be worth a flier. Beware of Skiles, though.
Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon were up to their usual tricks, performing on par with expectations for owners on Tuesday. They have a nice 4-4-4 schedule in these three weeks. Dewayne Dedmon earned a start at center, but he put up a dud. Jason Smith is the player you want with Vooch sitting. Ersan Ilyasova (leg) was available tonight and did see 21 minutes, but he didn’t produce much. Since he came to Orlando, he has tailed off significantly in value. Super Mario Hezonja also saw an unproductive run off of the bench. Neither Ersan nor Mario are worth owning.
Starting for the Nuggets doesn’t mean much these days, as the bench saw similar minutes as the starters. That might be partially due to the injury of Kenneth Faried in this game, as the Manimal tweaked his back and did not return. This comes off of a perfect 11-for-11 game in his last outing. If Faried misses an extended amount of time, Darrell Arthur is the your add. Arthur played 28 minutes for 13 points, one three, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Stay tuned for updates on Faried as we find out more.
D.J. Augustin had a very useful night with three steals, dropping 12 points, eight assists, and four rebounds to supplement. He is posting mid-round value over the last two weeks and benefits from the Nuggets’ 4-4-4 schedule during Weeks 21-23. Sign me up. Emmanuel Mudiay saw less minutes than Augustin, but still kept his effectiveness with 14 points, two threes, four assists and two rebounds. Keep using the rookie.
Nikola Jokic was up to his usual ways, going for 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and 3-for-3 from the line. Jokic is posting fourth-round value over the last two weeks in a modest 27 minutes per game. Not to mention, Jokic is an asset from the free throw line at nearly 87 percent on close to four attempts per game. Gary Harris continues to lead the Nuggets in minutes each night and has risen to a superb fourth round value as well. Be glad you have him. Meanwhile, Will Barton picked up his shooting efficiency for the first time in a while with a 5-for-8 game and scored 15 points with four rebounds in 32 minutes off of the bench. Hold on to Barton a bit longer.
Joffrey Lauvergne also saw significant minutes in 23 minutes off of the bench for 12 points and eight rebounds. He is clearly ahead of Jusuf Nurkic right now. King Joffrey still isn’t a recommended pickup unless you are in a deeper league and need desperate big man stats.
Pacers 103, Celtics 98
The Pacers are 26-5 when they hold their opponents under 100 points this season. They made sure to halt the Celtics just shy tonight. Paul George was a big reason, as he bounced back from a 3-for-15 night on Sunday to provide a full line tonight with 25 points, two treys, seven boards, four assists, four steals and one block. I’m sure owners weren’t panicking after Sunday’s game and they sure aren’t now.
Monta Ellis continued to roll as well with 16 points, two threes, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. Ellis flies under the radar in fantasy basketball, putting up top-50 numbers since the all-star break. He has also quietly recorded a steal in 33 out of his last 34 games. I wouldn’t want to be on a subway cart with Ellis because he will pick your pocket.
George Hill (sore toe) was a game-time decision and ended up drawing the start on Tuesday. He must still be feeling “uncomfortable” as Hill put it after Sunday’s loss, as he shot 2-of-9 for 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and one block on Tuesday. He has struggled to shoot the ball lately, but at least he is fighting to play for his owners. Hill missed two uncharacteristic free throws late in the game, but recovered on the next possession to knock down his next two. His soreness doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon, so watch his status closely each game night.
The Pacers front court shared the wealth on Tuesday. Lavoy Allen and Jordan Hill played more minutes than Ian Mahinmi and Myles Turner, but that won’t be a trend moving forward. Pacer coach Frank Vogel was likely trying to keep his bigs fresh tonight. Mahinmi was the best of the bunch, shooting 5-for-10 for 13 points and six rebounds in his 24 minutes. Jordan Hill did come out and score 15 points for owners, but he didn’t do much else. Mahinmi and Myles Turner are the big men to own for the Pacers.
With Jae Crowder (right ankle sprain) missing his first of many games, everyone in the fantasy community was interested to see how the Celtics would come out tonight. They elected to start Marcus Smart to keep defensive intensity, and it didn’t work much as Paul George had his way. Smart played 32 minutes, but he had a very average line by his standards, shooting 4-for-12 for 12 points, four rebounds, two points and one steal. With a high volume of minutes, Smart is worth owning in standard leagues for his defensive stats.
Evan Turner, who was the best guess to replace Crowder in the starting lineup, disappointed with just six points, five rebounds and five assists tonight in 27 minutes. You can still trust him despite Tuesday’s effort. Jonas Jerebko also saw a lot of action at forward in 26 minutes, shooting 7-for-12 for 17 points, two threes, threes rebounds and two assists. Put Jerebko on your watch list in deep leagues.
Isaiah Thomas continued to roll with his second-round value, scoring 21 points with eight assists, six rebounds, two steals and one block to go along with an 8-for-8 night at the line. Jared Sullinger double-doubled in 30 minutes, going for a 15/11 line with three assists and two steals. Amir Johnson also posted cheap big man stats with eight points and nine rebounds, but he isn’t on the radar in standard leagues. Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) almost gave it a go tonight, so watch his status closely in the coming days. He will likely be limited in his return, but he could get to fantasy relevance pretty quickly.