April 11, 2016, 8:34 am
We are all witnesses of a historic season by this season’s Golden State Warriors, as they secured their 72nd win of the regular season in San Antonio for the Spurs’ first home loss of the season in a 92-86 win. Stephen Curry led the way with 37 points on 13-of-22 shooting (4-of-9 3PTs, 7-of-7 FTs) with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 35 minutes. Curry has now made a three-pointer in 151 straight regular season games, extending his own NBA record. Comparisons to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls will live on forever, but make no mistake, this team is special in its own way. The Warriors will chase history for their final regular season game on Wednesday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.
While the watch for 73 is on, the NBA continues in the background. Playoff spots and playoff positioning is at stake, much to the joy of fantasy owners with players fighting to play every minute. Sunday featured a nine-game NBA slate. Let’s take a look at yesterday’s studs and duds:
The Rockets have been playing desperate for a month and James Harden is proving it to fantasy owners. Harden erupted again on Sunday for 40 points (14-for-31 FGs and 6-for-8 FTs) with six threes, 13 assists, four boards, and four steals in a 130-110 win over the Lakers. He has carried many to fantasy championships this season with his incredible stat lines down the stretch. Houston has two games left this season and you can absolutely count Harden to play a ton in both and have an extremely high usage rate. Enjoy.
It is nice to be able to still write about Kobe Bryant having a great night while I still can. Kobe showed flashes of his former self in a vintage line, shooting 10-for-22 from the field for 35 points, four threes, two boards, one assist and two steals. “I remember my first ever game against him,” said Trevor Ariza, who was assigned to Kobe for most of the night. “He had 40. My last one he had 35, so I guess I got a little better.” Kobe expects to play in the Lakers’ final two games. Use him if you are feeling nostalgic.
Picking on the studs from desperate teams is a theme at this point of the season. Add the Utah Jazz to the list. Gordon Hayward stuffed the stat sheet, shooting 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line for 22 points, nine boards, five assists, two steals, two threes and one block. Rudy Gobert double-doubled for the Jazz with 16 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. His mid-round value has remained steady over the last two weeks. Derrick Favors was a late scratch due to right knee soreness and Trey Lyles (22 points, four threes, six rebounds, two assists) was excellent in his place, but you can’t rely on him unless Favors is out again. The Jazz will be battling for a playoff spot to the bitter end, so keep using their studs.
Since the Wizards were eliminated over the past week, shutdowns have occurred left and right. Marcin Gortat seems to be the last man standing and has quickly become the main beneficiary on offense. Gortat was an outstanding 10-for-11 from the field for 21 points, 13 boards, four assists and one block in 31 minutes on Sunday. He did have doctors take a look at his back a few weeks ago, so monitor his status for the Wizards’ two remaining games in case they decide to shut him down as well. If Gortat continues to play, expect more of the same gaudy numbers.
The biggest shutdown on the Wizards was John Wall, who will not return this season. Ramon Sessions has taken over Wall’s point guard duties and needs to be owned in leagues everywhere. Sessions did his best Wall impression with 15 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, one steal and one three ball in 36 minutes for Sunday’s 113-98 win over the Hornets. With two games left, use and abuse this opportunity for Sessions.
Blake Griffin had his best game since his 45-game absence, posting 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 33 minutes of play in Sunday’s 98-91 win over the Mavs. Patient owners should be extremely satisfied with the amount of minutes and productivity. You can expect Doc Rivers to rest Blake in one of the Clippers’ remaining two games this week, so proceed with caution.
The Heat finally gave Hassan Whiteside a start on Sunday. Whiteside shot 5-for-7 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line for 18 points with 15 boards, one steal and two blocked shots. His rise in free throw percentage has vaulted him to a first round fantasy asset since the all-star break. Whiteside will get a fat paycheck this offseason.
February 22, 2020, 12:32 amJaren Jackson Jr.PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. hurt his knee in Friday's game and is doubtful to return.
JJJ logged just 16 minutes in this one and put up seven points on 1-of-3 shooting with four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Before getting hobbled, he was a team-worst minus-21 in the +/- column so it was just a matter of adding an injury to the already insulting evening. Brandon Clarke started the second half in his stead.
Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter
February 22, 2020, 12:08 amJuancho HernangomezPF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Juan Hernangomez started and put up 17 points and added five rebounds in the T-Wolves' loss to the Celtics on Friday.
He played 26 minutes and was efficient from the floor, going 5-of-10 FG and 4-for-5 from behind the three-point line. The T-Wolves have not been able to put everything together yet this year, as evidenced by their lineup this evening. Hernangomez seems to be a primary beneficiary of their struggles and should be owned in all deeper leagues.
February 21, 2020, 11:58 pmNaz ReidC, Minnesota Timberwolves
Naz Reid tied his career-high with nine rebounds on Friday, adding 19 points and three steals in the T-Wolves' loss to the Celtics.
Reid is starting with Karl-Anthony Towns on the shelf for the next couple of weeks. He looks very good and is making the most of his opportunity. Reid's per-36 minute numbers have been mouthwatering all season and it is his time to shine. He should be one of the hottest waiver pickups this week.
February 21, 2020, 11:54 pmMalik BeasleySG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Malik Beasley put up 27 points in 36 minutes in the T-Wolves' loss to the Celtics on Friday, adding four rebounds and going 4-for-8 from three-point range.
Beasley was good again on Friday and continues to thrive in his new threads with the T-Wolves. He is a must-own player at this point and should continue to play next to D'Angelo Russell in the backcourt as the season reaches the homestretch.
February 21, 2020, 11:49 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum registered a double-double on Friday, going for 28 points, 11 rebounds and adding three assists in the Celtics 127-117 win over the T-Wolves.
Kemba Walker did not play tonight but it did not matter, as the Celtics had no trouble with the T-Wolves. Tatum was not very efficient from the floor in this one, going 8-for-21. If Walker is forced to miss an extended period of time, Tatum figures to receive an uptick in offensive volume.
February 21, 2020, 11:42 pmGordon HaywardSF, Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward had 29 points (12-of-17 FG), six assists and five rebounds in Friday's win over the T-Wolves.
Hayward had an extremely efficient outing in this one, going 2-for-4 from beyond the arc and shot 71% from the floor. Kemba Walker was out so Hayward saw more offensive chances on Friday. He may be the player on the Celtics who benefits the most from Walker's absence but is still a solid contributor with Walker on the floor.
February 21, 2020, 11:40 pmRudy GaySF, San Antonio Spurs
Rudy Gay disappeared into the fantasy ether on Friday, playing just 15 minutes and was limited to four points on 2-of-6 shooting with four rebounds and one assist.
Gay is a drop, even in 18-teamers, given how steeply he's dropped over the last month. He's scored in double figures only twice in February and there doesn't appear to be a light at the end of this dark and dreary tunnel.
February 21, 2020, 11:36 pmLaMarcus AldridgePF, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in across the board once again on Friday, checking multiple boxes with 15 points (6-of-17 shooting), eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, one trey and one block in 35 minutes.
The only real blemish on LMA's line was his 6-of-17 shooting from the field. Well, being defended by Rudy Gobert will do that to even the best of bigs. There's no cause for concern and Aldridge's top-25 pace should resume soon enough.
February 21, 2020, 11:35 pmJaylen BrownSG, Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown had 25 points and eight rebounds in the Celtics' victory over the T-Wolves on Friday, going a solid 10-of17 from the field.
This was a solid game from Brown and he hit two of his five threes. He has really fallen off since starting out the season on a high-note and has subsequently been out of the top-100 over the past two months. The opportunity to sell-high is long gone but his volume for the Celtics should remain the same. He still needs to be owned in all formats and if someone happens to drop him during this low period, scoop him up.
February 21, 2020, 11:32 pmDeMar DeRozanSG, San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan (back spasms) led the Spurs in minutes with 36 on Friday, showing no signs of his back issue as he posted 18 points (8-of-17 shooting), five rebounds, seven assists and one block.
DeRozan's minutes are a clear sign that he's out of the woods and is ready to continue on his career season. The efficiency and assists should be enough to carry him to a guaranteed top-50 finish at the least.