Home Other Sports Nikola Jokic erupts, Steph Curry falls flat

Nikola Jokic erupts, Steph Curry falls flat

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If you caught the early game, you were treated to quite a show. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a shadow of events to come, as Saturday’s evening games were mostly blowouts. Still, there’s plenty of fantasy-relevant information to sift through, so let’s get right to it!

Clippers 106, Magic 104

The Clippers edged out the Magic on a Reggie Jackson mid-range jumper that he sunk with just 2.2 seconds remaining in the game. Jackson finished with a team-high 25 points and played hero for the shorthanded Clippers.

Terance Mann went 16/9 in his second straight start, missing a consecutive double-double by just one rebound. For as long as the Clippers are shorthanded and without Paul George (elbow) and/or Nicolas Batum (ankle), Mann has some streaming value in 12-team leagues. The same goes for Luke Kennard, who has been quite productive as of late, averaging 17.2 points across his last six contests. Kennard started alongside Mann in this one, and he’ll likely remain in that role until George or Batum return.

Brandon Boston logged 24 minutes and went 7/5/2 with a steal. His recent playing time and production are the result of multiple injuries for Los Angeles, but the talented rookie is worth keeping an eye on. Marcus Morris went just 1-of-9 for two points after averaging 19.8 over his last four. He can get hot and cold, so fantasy managers should understand this is just a part of his game.

Wendell Carter knocked in just two points, but he added 14 boards and a career-best seven dimes to make his fantasy night worthwhile. Franz Wagner continues to show out as one of the NBA’s best rookies, and he went 20/3/3 with a steal in the narrow loss. After missing six games due to an ankle injury, Cole Anthony has looked sharp across his last four, save an outlier dud against the Warriors. He reached the 20-point mark for the 12th time in 21 games, and he’s averaging a career-high 20.3 points on the season.

Terrence Ross matched his season-high with 22 points, and he got there with 13 made free throws. Ross is good for a high-scoring game here and there, but unless you’re in a deeper league and looking for a points specialist, there’s no reason to roster the veteran.

Jazz 123, Wizards 98

This was an ugly one through and through, as Utah rolled Washington easily. Both teams emptied their respective benches, as the Jazz played 13 players, and Washington played 14.

Rudy Gobert finished with 20/11 and a block and surprisingly did most of his damage as a scorer rather than a rebounder or blocker. With Utah up big, Hassan Whiteside logged 20 minutes and went for 18 points, 14 rebounds and four swats – all season-highs. It’s just the second time all season that Whiteside has played at least 20 minutes, though he remains one of the most efficient per-minute producers in the NBA. As long as he’s behind Gobert, Whiteside’s upside is obviously capped, and for now, he’s best reserved for deeper leagues.

Things were pretty bleak for Washington in this one, though Daniel Gafford was a bright spot with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He’s recorded four double-doubles across his last games and reached double-digit rebounds in five of those contests. On the season, Gafford is averaging career-bests in minutes (21.1), points (9.0), rebounds (6.2) and blocks (2.1) while shooting 66.2% from the floor. He’s been a top-80 player on the season, though he’s picking up steam as of late.

Cavaliers 117, Kings 103

The score of this one makes the game seem a bit closer than it actually was, but Cleveland handled Sacramento quite handily. With Richaun Holmes (eye) out, Marvin Bagley joined Alex Len and the regular starters, replacing Terence Davis. Bagley’s first start of the season produced just seven points, seven rebounds and a block. His playing time is trending up, but his fantasy value is the same as it’s always been. Bagley is good for rebounds and occasionally points, but he offers virtually nothing else.

After six straight starts, Davis came off the bench and provided just 9/2/2 across 18 minutes. This may have been due to Cleveland’s huge starting lineup that includes Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen. Davis remains a hold due to his recent surge, and his usage against the Raptors on Monday should be telling.

While Sacramento struggled, Cleveland soared. After scoring a season-high 16 points in his last game out, Isaac Okoro set a new season-high with 20 points, adding four boards, three dimes and two swipes. If his scoring can continue trending upward, the defensive specialist could become a very useful play in 12-team leagues. Cedi Osman had a strong offensive showing too, scoring all of his 18 points in the first half. He’s mostly a points and threes guy, whose value is best reserved for deeper leagues.

Darius Garland set a new career-high with 13 assists, adding 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and a block. With Collin Sexton out for the season, Garland is averaging career-highs across the board with 19.2 points, 7.4 assists and 2.7 triples. His value should skyrocket in fantasy drafts next season, especially if he continues to play at this elite level.

Sacramento has struggled mightily against opposing bigs this season, and stats were there for the stuffing. Evan Mobley pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds to go with 15 points, while Jarrett Allen went 19/11 with three blocks and two steals. Unbelievably, both bigs are top-40 fantasy players thus far.

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Heat 118, Bulls 92

NBA fans were treated to one ugly game after another, as Miami rolled a shorthanded Chicago squad with little resistance. Alex Caruso (hamstring) made his return from a two-game absence, and despite his “minutes limit,” he went 6/5/1/1 across 27 minutes in the starting lineup. Expect him to return to form sooner than later as he ramps back up from his short absence.

Nikola Vucevic went just 10/8/2 on 3-of-15 shooting, and fantasy managers will have to ride out his cold streak, as he came into this one shooting 34% over his prior two contests. Zach LaVine unsurprisingly led the Bulls in scoring, going 33/7/4 with seven triples, and he’s scored at least 32 points in two of three games without DeMar DeRozan (COVID-19).

Duncan Robinson got hot and scored a season-high and team-high 26 points to go with five triples. He earned a huge contract extension in the offseason thanks to his elite sharpshooting, though D-Rob has been anything but in his fourth season. Robinson is shooting a career-low 36.7% from the field and a pedestrian 33.3% from three thus far, and he’s not a guy who needs to be rostered in 12-team leagues.

After a dud against Milwaukee, Dewayne Dedmon posted a season-high 20 points to go with 12 points, two assists, one steal and a block. He’s now started six straight, but he hasn’t cracked the top-150 and isn’t worth an add in 12-team leagues. Kyle Lowry posted a monster double-double of 16 points and a season-high 14 dimes. Over his last five games, Lowry has averaged 18.2 points and 10.2 assists. Gabe Vincent made his second start of the season and went 8/8/4 with four swipes. He’s worth streaming in most league sizes for as long as he’s getting meaningful minutes.

Grizzlies 113, Rockets 106

The Rockets have had an up-and-down season filled with terrible losing streaks, encouraging win streaks, and ugly losses like this one. On the other hand, Memphis has continued to win despite numerous injuries throughout the season. The Grizzlies were without Jaren Jackson Jr. in this one but secured a victory nonetheless.

Christian Wood posted a 22/11/3/2 line, but the real storylines for Houston come from the bench. Alperen Sengun went 15/6/6 with three blocks and a steal over 23 mins, posting one of his best games of the season. Though he doesn’t need to be on rosters in 12-team leagues, Sengun could be a league-winner if he starts getting more playing time down the stretch. His per-36 numbers are eye-popping: 18/9/5 with 3.4 combined blocks/steals.

Armoni Brooks shifted to the bench, though he went 18/6/6 with four triples in 34 minutes. Over his last three, Brooks has averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 dimes. He’s a fine add in most league sizes due to his recent production for the shorthanded Rockets. Rookie Josh Christopher had another solid showing, with a 12/2/2 line. Over his last three, Christopher has averaged 12.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 triples and 2.0 combined blocks/steals. He’s worth a deep-league add while Houston deals with multiple injuries, but he doesn’t need to be added in 12-team leagues.

With JJJ out, Kyle Anderson started and posted one of his best games of the season with a 16/7/4/3/1 line. Slow Mo was the obvious benefactor of Jackson Jr.’s absence, though Xavier Tillman is the player to keep an eye on. He went 9/6/1 with two swats and a posterizing dunk on Alperen Sengun over 23 minutes. Should JJJ miss more time, Tillman should be a popular add off the waiver wire. Tyus Jones did what he does best with a full line that included six dimes and three swipes, while Dillon Brooks scored 25 points on just 17 shot attempts.

76ers 102, Warriors 93

In the game of the night, Stephen Curry fell flat and went 3-of-14 from downtown. The game was played in Philadelphia, but you could hear fans gasp with anticipation every time Curry hoisted up a three. He’s now seven triples away from eclipsing Ray Allen for the all-time mark, and the NBA world will be watching him eagerly this week to see that historic record fall.

Curry was stifled by Matisse Thybulle (who blocked two of Curry’s three-point attempts) and ultimately fell flat with an 18/9/5 line that left fantasy managers wanting more. Golden State collectively scored just 93 points, the team’s lowest output of the season. Expect a bounce-back this week when the Warriors face the Pacers, Knicks and Celtics.

Andrew Wiggins continued his strong play with a 20/4/4/1/1 line that included three triples. Kevon Looney went 9/8/4/2, and while he can provide some useful games here and there, he’s not relevant outside deeper leagues due to his typically low volume.

Philly put the clamps on Golden State defensively, and the win was the result of a strong team effort. Joel Embiid just missed a double-double with a 26/9/4/2 line that included an impressive 11-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line. In the battle of the Curry brothers, Seth Curry struggled with his shot too. He went 0-of-3 from beyond the arc and failed to make a triple for just the fifth time this season.

Nuggets 127, Spurs 112

Nikola Jokic saw to it that the rematch between these teams wasn’t close. The Joker missed a fourth-straight triple-double by just two assists but put up a massive final stat line of 35/17/8 with two blocks and a steal. Amazingly, this was his third game of the season with at least 32 points and 16 rebounds. Jokic continues to dazzle and amaze with game after stat-stuffing game.

Davon Reed made his first start of the season and went 2/7/2 with two steals in just 17 minutes. He’s appeared in just five games, and fantasy managers shouldn’t read much into his spot start for Will Barton (illness). The same can be said of Markus Howard, who went for 21 points, six triples and a rebound. The points were easily a season-high, and the triples were a career-high, though Howard is averaging just 1.9 points across 5.1 minutes per contest this season.

Bones Hyland benefited from Will Barton’s absence and the blowout nature of the game, going for 16/3/1 with a steal and four triples across 23 minutes. He’s got plenty of upside if you can afford to stash him on your bench.

All of San Antonio’s starters struggled, though there was some positive play off the bench. Devin Vassell scored 15 points and added five boards and four dimes across 23 minutes. His playing time increased from the 17 he played Thursday, and he’s now played in consecutive games after missing five of his last eight due to a thigh injury. Drew Eubanks has played at least 15 minutes in three straight contests, and as long as he’s included in the rotation, he’s worth a deep-league add. Lonnie Walker scored 16 after scoring 21 in his last game, and he’s fine as a points specialist in deeper leagues.

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