Thursday gave us six video games, a few of them blowouts and a few of them enjoyable, and the Nets, Wizards and Bucks are all on successful streaks proper now.
Now that the ultimate season schedule has been launched there are a bunch of five-game weeks on the horizon. Sadly, a number of them occur within the closing week of the season when many leagues could have already shut it down. Do with this what you’ll.
The Lakers go 5 instances in Week 13, beginning on March 15.
The Pistons go 5 time in Week 16, beginning on April 5.
The Mavericks, Thunder and Raptors play 5 instances in Week 19, beginning on April 26.
The Pistons play 5 instances once more in Week 20, beginning on Might 3.
The Pacers, Grizzlies, Bucks and Spurs all go 5 instances in Week 21 (the ultimate week), beginning on Might 10.
Bucks 129, Pelicans 125 – This was one of many higher video games of the evening and it performed out on nationwide TV as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson went at it on TNT. The Bucks had been led by Giannis’ monster line of 38 factors, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and two 3-pointers on 14-of-27 capturing and he even hit 8-of-10 free throws within the win. This was his 14th 30-point recreation of the season and he’s scored no less than 35 factors in three straight video games, marking the primary time he’s ever completed the feat. Giannis was additionally bothered by some type of decrease again or hip discomfort and was utilizing a heating pad whereas on the bench. I don’t assume it’s something to fret about, however monitor it in case you’ve bought him. Khris Middleton scored 31 and all 5 starters scored in double figures on this one. Talking of starters, Bobby Portis bought the nod with D.J. Augustin out for private causes and got here by with 12 factors, eight boards, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He was already value holding in lots of leagues and if he may really exchange DJA within the beginning 5 completely, he’d grow to be vital participant. Donte DiVincenzo went off for a season-high 24 factors with seven rebounds, 9 assists, two steals, a block and 4 3-pointers. He additionally mainly sealed the win when he drew a cost on a driving Brandon Ingram with the sport on the road. DiVincenzo has hit double digits in scoring in 10 of his 14 February video games and is an efficient supply of rebounds, assists and 3-pointers. He must be rostered in every single place. The Bucks have now received 4 straight after dropping their earlier 5 video games.
For the Pelicans, Zion hit 15-of-26 photographs and 4-of-5 free throws for 34 factors, eight boards, six dimes, a steal and a monster block in 37 minutes. He’s scored in double digits in each recreation this season and has scored no less than 30 in 5 of his final eight video games. And better of all, he’s managed to remain wholesome. He’s solely going to get higher, which is horrifying. Ingram scored 23 regardless of hitting simply 1-of-10 3-pointers, Steven Adams had seven factors, 13 boards, a steal and two blocks, Lonzo Ball added 20 factors, eight dimes and 6 triples, and Eric Bledsoe bought some revenge in opposition to his former staff with 16 factors, 4 boards, 5 assists, a steal and 4 3-pointers. It might be good if he may play the Bucks each evening.
Wizards 112, Nuggets 110 – The Wizards bought the thrilling win for his or her third win in 4 tries on a four-game highway journey and have someway received seven of their final 10 video games. They’re simply 1.5 video games out of the playoffs proper now and so long as Russell Westbrook can keep wholesome, they’re going to be a staff nobody will wish to face, regardless of their shaky file (because of a 3-12 begin). Russell Westbrook had his ninth triple-double of the season with 16-10-10 and tied Darrell Walker for the Wizards’ franchise file, Bradley Beal scored 33 and Rui Hachimura got here by with 20 factors, 5 boards and a 3-pointer on 9-of-16 capturing. I want Hachimura did extra together with his large minutes, however I nonetheless picked him up in a pair leagues final tonight. Raul Neto was enjoyable with 15 factors, two rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes off the bench. Neto’s been enjoying properly with Ish Smith out, averaging 10.2 factors, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 3-pointers over his final six video games, 5 of which had been Wizards wins. I solely absolutely belief him when Westbrook is sitting, however he no less than deserves a glance in most leagues given what he’s executed over his final six video games.
The Nuggets had been a catastrophe down the stretch with an opportunity to win the sport, making an attempt for contested 3-pointers as a substitute of hitting open cutters for a two-pointer to tie the sport. Facundo Campazzo missed badly on his 3-point strive on the buzzer, whereas Jamal Murray inexplicably stopped on the 3-point line regardless of having a 4-1 break. It was bizarre. Anywho, Murray stayed scorching with 34 factors, six boards, six dimes and two blocks and he’s now scored 34, 24, 30, 50 and 35 factors over his final 5 video games. Nikola Jokic had a enjoyable 24-11-7-1-2-3 line, and Michael Porter Jr. got here by with 18 factors, 10 boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers within the loss. He’s really hit double digits in 5 straight video games and has performed no less than 31 minutes in 4 of them. Perhaps he’s lastly been turned unfastened by Michael Malone. MPJ additionally had double-doubles in back-to-back video games for the primary time this season. Will Barton was terrible, hitting simply 1-of-7 photographs in 22 minutes, and he’s getting squeezed for minutes by MPJ, Monte Morris and Campazzo, who’ve all been getting large minutes these days. I’d say give Barton a little bit extra time in case you’ve bought him, however if you wish to reduce him, I wouldn’t be mad at you. Campazzo hit simply 1-of-8 photographs and 1-of-7 3-pointers however performed 32 minutes and had a pair blocks. He’s been getting large run and is a blast to look at for his hustle play, however he’s hit simply 2-of-13 photographs in his final two video games. He was enjoying properly previous to the capturing stoop and as Adam Schefter, Matt Stroup and I talked about lately, he’s no less than value a glance in all leagues, particularly when he breaks out of the stoop. Regardless of Murray’s heroics, Jokic’s dominance and the reemergence of MPJ, the Nuggets have misplaced 4 of their final six video games, dropping to the Wizards twice and the Hawks throughout that stretch.
Nets 129, Magic 92 – The Nets destroyed the Magic behind 27 factors and 9 dimes from Kyrie Irving, 20 factors, 9 boards and 7 assists from James Harden, a stunning 19 factors from Landry Shamet, and 14 factors from Joe Harris and Bruce Brown, who each began with Durant out once more. Maybe probably the most intriguing factor within the Nets field rating was Nicolas Claxton, who bought unfastened for 10 factors, three rebounds, one help, 4 steals and two blocks. Simply regulate him in case the Nets begin giving him critical run on a nightly foundation. The Nets misplaced three straight video games in early February after which went on an eight-game streak and I don’t see it ending any time quickly with Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Boston, Detroit and New York developing of their subsequent six video games. Perhaps the Pacers can get them on March 17, however I’m not going to carry my breath. Brooklyn’s upcoming schedule is extremely beneficiant and so they may simply win each recreation from now till April 10 if they’ll get by the Pacers and Jazz (March 24). They play the Lakers on April 10.
The Magic’s field rating is a brutal mess and Nikola Vucevic is the one man who lived as much as the hype with 28 factors, 12 boards and three 3-pointers. Terrence Ross was scorching coming in however hit simply 1-of-9 photographs, Michael Carter-Williams was pedestrian, and James Ennis bought unfastened for 15 factors in 16 minutes. Gross.
Knicks 140, Kings 121 – Elfrid Payton sat out with a hamstring damage and it appeared to work wonders for the Knicks in a blowout win over the Kings. Immanuel Quickley hit 12-of-12 free throws and scored a team-high 25 factors with a pair steals and three 3-pointers, Alec Burks lastly bought unfastened for twenty-four factors with 5 3-pointers, Julius Randle had 21 factors and 14 boards, and Derrick Rose, RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock all scored in double figures. If Quickley’s nonetheless sitting in your wire that is in all probability your signal to select him up. Burk and Rose are additionally value a glance if Payton’s going to overlook time, however I feel Quickley is value holding in most leagues, with or with out Payton.
The Knicks blew by the Kings’ so-called protection like a scorching knife by butter and Marvin Bagley appeared significantly inept on a couple of possessions. It’s really exhausting to imagine he was drafted in entrance of Luka Doncic, but it surely’s one thing that truly occurred. De’Aaron Fox led the best way with 29 factors, Harrison Barnes had 22, Bagley scored 19 and Tyrese Haliburton had 17 factors and 4 steals within the ugly loss. And to cite Corky St. Clair, Luke Walton in all probability went house final evening to “chew his pillow” because the Kings misplaced their, gulp, ninth straight recreation. Granted, in contrast to the Nets, the Kings have had a tricky schedule, dropping to the Nets (twice), the Bucks, the Warmth, the Grizzlies and the Sixers in six of these 9 video games. They’ll attempt to proper the ship in opposition to the Pistons on Friday evening.
Grizzlies 122, Clippers 94 – The Grizzlies bought an enormous win by blowing out the Clippers and dominated them in paint, outscoring them by an unimaginable 72-24 rely down low. The Clippers had no protection for the Grizzlies and Memphis performed nice protection all evening. The Grizzlies noticed all 5 starters rating in double figures and all of them shot no less than 50 p.c from the ground, though solely Jonas Valanciunas had a powerful stat line together with his 16 factors and 15 boards. Dillon Brooks was additionally good, scoring 19 factors with three 3-pointers, a steal and a block. Brooks isn’t vital fantasy participant due to how damaging his subject aim share is, however in case you’re simply searching for counting stats, you might do worse. Tyus Jones performed simply quarter-hour off the bench however caught fireplace, hitting 9-of-11 photographs and two 3-pointers for a season-high 20 factors, two rebounds, three assists and a steal. His season-low in minutes is 14 and his season excessive is 32, so It’s sort of loopy he bought his season excessive in factors on an evening he performed so couple of minutes. Jones has scored in double figures in three straight video games as De’Anthony Melton has fallen out of the rotation, however Jones goes to be very robust to belief if he’s not getting 25 minutes an evening. And I don’t assume he’ll get greater than 20 now that the staff is fairly wholesome once more.
The Clippers had been damaged tonight with solely Kawhi Leonard (17 factors), Paul George, Serge Ibaka (13 a chunk) and Reggie Jackson (12) scored in double figures. Marcus Morris Sr. performed 25 minutes off the bench and scored 9 factors, however now that the Clippers are getting wholesome once more, I’m afraid he’s going to essentially cool off. Jackson is value maintaining a tally of however may even be a tricky play so long as Patrick Beverley is wholesome. Perhaps I’m leaping the gun, however I’m dropping Morris in a lot of the spots the place I’ve bought him rostered. The Clippers and Grizzlies play once more on Friday evening and my guess is we’ll see a a lot completely different Clippers staff out for revenge.
Sixers 111, Mavericks 97 – In one of many extra boring video games of the evening the Sixers labored over the Mavs regardless of not getting large traces from anybody, though Seth Curry got here by with 15 factors, three 3-pointers, three steals and a block. He missed his final recreation with a sprained ankle and is inconsistent however had himself a pleasant revenge recreation in opposition to his former staff tonight. He’s additionally scored in double digits in eight of his final 9 video games, but it surely’s too dangerous he can’t play the Mavs each evening. The large information for the Sixers was Tobias Harris leaving early with a proper knee contusion. The very fact it’s a contusion (bruise) is the excellent news, however there’s nonetheless an opportunity he may miss some video games. If he does, Curry goes to be a scorching pickup in leagues the place he’s obtainable and Mike Scott goes to be compelled into heavy motion.
The Mavericks had been lower than spectacular with a field rating that’s robust to take a look at. Luka Doncic had 19 factors, three boards, 4 assists, three blocks, three 3-pointers and 7 turnovers and hit 4-of-6 free throws. Josh Richardson was the second-leading scorer with 13 factors and 6 boards, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 12 factors and two blocks, and Jalen Brunson added 11 factors within the loss. The Mavs want Kristaps Porzingis (again) again in a nasty method however have received two of their final three video games with out him. He stays day-to-day, whereas Boban Marjanovic began in his place final evening and had 10 factors and eight rebounds in simply 17 minutes. As a lot as I’d like to see Boban grow to be a fantasy issue, I simply don’t assume it’s going to occur. The Mavs are doubtless going to take one other loss within the subsequent one in opposition to the Nets, who’ve received eight straight video games regardless of not having Kevin Durant (hamstring) for six of these.