Lonzo Ball back with a bang


Thankfully there weren’t as many blowouts on Sunday as there were Saturday, and what made the day even better is that some teams welcomed back their starting point guards. Atlanta, Golden State and New Orleans were all in that position, while the Clippers added a point guard to their rotation. The Daily Dose will begin in Chicago, as an already shorthanded Nets squad watched two players suffer injuries during their loss to the Bulls.

Bulls 115, Nets 107: From a health standpoint, this was a tough game for Brooklyn, which was already down both James Harden and Kevin Durant due to hamstring injuries. Tyler Johnson (strained right knee; two points, one rebound and one assist in 12 minutes) and Landry Shamet (sprained left ankle) were both injured during the third quarter of Sunday’s loss, with the former not being able to return to the game. Johnson’s injury occurred without any contact, and more will be learned about his status moving forward Monday.

Shamet was able to play 22 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers. Should Johnson have to miss an extended period of time, Shamet and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot would likely absorb his minutes until Harden is cleared to return. Kyrie Irving (24/2/15/2) and Jeff Green (21/1/2 with four 3-pointers) led the way for the Nets, who started LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin in the frontcourt. With those two factoring prominently in the rotation and Nicolas Claxton having emerged recently, now is the time to drop DeAndre Jordan if you still have him. Jordan was a DNP-CD Sunday afternoon.

Chicago was down two rotation players, as Coby White (health and safety protocols) and Garrett Temple (hamstring) were not available. The absences freed up playing time for Troy Brown Jr., who accounted for six points, seven rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes off the bench. Brown’s fantasy value isn’t great, but he may be worth streaming in deep leagues for Tuesday’s action should White and Temple miss another game.

Zach LaVine (25/3/5 with one 3-pointer), Nikola Jokic (22/13/2/2/2 with one 3-pointer) and Tomas Satoransky (19/1/11/2 with two 3-pointers) all posted good lines, with Satoransky establishing new season-highs in both points and assists. He’s rostered in just 26% of Yahoo leagues, which is way too low when taking into consideration Satoransky’s role and the absence of White. Chicago has four games on the slate for next week, making this a good time to grab Satoransky off of the waiver wire if he’s available in your league.

Clippers 104, Lakers 86: The Clippers remain without Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley, but Rajon Rondo was able to make his debut for the team Sunday afternoon. Playing 13 minutes off the bench, he finished with two points, three assists, two steals and four turnovers. Prior to the game Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said that he believed it would take 2-3 weeks for Rondo to get up to speed with the Clippers’ offensive and defensive schemes, which makes some sense. His fantasy value won’t be great, but the Clippers’ decision to acquire Rondo was about having a point guard who can consistently put his teammates in spots where they can be at their best. And that’s critical when it comes to winning a championship.

Rondo’s arrival isn’t a great development for Reggie Jackson when it comes to his fantasy value. Jackson remains a starter but he played just 21 minutes Sunday, putting up six points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals. His value will decrease even more once Beverley returns to action, and there’s also the recent emergence of Terance Mann to take into consideration. It’s fine to hold onto Jackson for now, but there will come a point when he needs to be dropped.

Marcus Morris (22 points, seven rebounds and four 3-pointers) had himself a good day at the office, while Kawhi Leonard (19/10/8/2 with two 3-pointers), Paul George (16/7/3/2 with two 3-pointers) and Luke Kennard (15/3/2 with three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. He can be a bit inconsistent when it comes to his production but, with Ibaka appearing to be far off from a return to game action, it wouldn’t hurt to roster Morris.

The Lakers were once again without Andre Drummond (right big toe), which meant another start for Marc Gasol. He played 18 minutes, posting a line of 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. Gasol’s fantasy value hasn’t been particularly high this season, and there isn’t much of a reason to go back to him now. Montrezl Harrell (19/6/2/2 blocks) will playing the majority of the minutes at center until Drummond returns, and at that point Gasol will likely drop out of the rotation again.

Talen Horton-Tucker (16/5/2 steals) had a solid day off the bench, but Gasol was the only starter to score in double figures. The Lakers will need more consistency from Kyle Kuzma (6/7/1/2 blocks) and Dennis Schroder (8/3/7/1) if they’re to remain within striking distance of the teams with the best records in the West.

Celtics 116, Hornets 86: This was the weekend in which some shorthanded teams took serious beatings, and on Sunday it was Charlotte’s turn. The Hornets are without LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, with the latter being replaced in the starting lineup by Miles Bridges. Bridges played 31 minutes in Sunday’s loss, tallying 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers. Bridges is better coming off the bench, especially when he can be a mismatch option at the four, but Charlotte doesn’t have the luxury of keeping him with the reserves right now. He’s currently rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues and, even with Sunday’s poor showing, Bridges is worth rolling the dice on.

Bridges moving into the starting lineup means that reserves Jalen McDaniels (7/1/1 in 17 minutes), Cody Martin (six points, two rebounds and one 3-pointer in 17 minutes) and Caleb Martin (2/6/1 in 19 minutes) will pick up additional minutes off the bench. None have offered much in the way of fantasy value this season, so leave them alone unless either Bridges or P.J. Washington were to join their injured teammates on the sideline. The injuries have also thrust Brad Wanamaker into the rotation, and in 18 minutes he put up seven points, two rebounds and three assists. There’s no need to grab him off of your league’s waiver wire, either.

Unlike Charlotte, Boston really doesn’t have any depth concerns at this time. Sure, Tristan Thompson is still working his way back after missing time due to health and safety protocols, but Robert Williams (16/8/2/2/1) has made the starting center role his own. And the Celtics added a player to the mix on Sunday, as Romeo Langford (wrist/protocols) made his season debut. Langford played 12 minutes, finishing with three points, one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. He’s unlikely to be a fantasy asset, but his defensive versatility could potentially help Boston in the long run.

Jayson Tatum (22/8/4 with three 3-pointers), Jaylen Brown (17/6/1/1 block with five 3-pointers) and Evan Fournier (17/6 assists/2/1 with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively for Boston, and the latter has looked more comfortable by the game with his new team. Fournier’s fantasy value took quite the hit with his move to Boston, as he’s being called upon to provide scoring off the bench, but he isn’t a player to be discarded automatically. He’s still rostered in 70% of Yahoo leagues.

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Grizzlies 116, 76ers 100: Philadelphia played this one without Joel Embiid, which comes as no surprise given the amount of time that he missed and the fact that this was the second game of a back-to-back. As a result Mike Scott was thrust into a starting role, and he finished with nine points (3-of-10 FGs), three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 20 minutes. This move by Doc Rivers kept Dwight Howard in his usual backup center role, but he still played 24 minutes and posted a line of nine points, 12 rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.

Howard is the much better streaming option of the two whenever Embiid sits, and the future Hall of Fame center even offers some deep-league value to managers in need of rebounds and blocked shots. Tobias Harris (21/8/3/1 block), Shake Milton (14/1/1) and Paul Reed (10/6/2/1/1) were the only 76ers who managed to have solid nights on the offensive end of the floor, which is a credit to the Grizzlies and how they played defensively.

Memphis was once again without the injured Justise Winslow, and his absences essentially protects the minutes of Grayson Allen (15/5/2/2/2), Desmond Bane (14/6/1 with three 3-pointers) and De’Anthony Melton (14/3/3/1 block with four 3-pointers. All three performed well Sunday, with Allen knocking down four 3-pointers and posting a full stat line. Allen, Bane and Melton combined to shoot 11-of-25 from three, with Allen responsible for 13 of those attempts. The minutes split makes all three tough to roster, but Allen may be in line for more fantasy play if he can continue to post lines like the one he registered Sunday night.

Dillon Brooks (17/5/3/1 block with two 3-pointers), Jonas Valanciunas (16/12/1) and Brandon Clarke (15/2/2/1 block) led the way offensively for the Grizzlies, and the team’s balanced scoring effort more than made up for Ja Morant (8/5/10/1 with one 3-pointer) shooting 3-of-8 form the field.

Hawks 117, Warriors 111: Both teams welcomed back their starting point guards, as Stephen Curry and Trae Young were able to play after sitting out Friday due to injury. Curry, who’s still dealing with a painful tailbone injury, played 37 minutes and recorded a line of 37 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers. The impact of Curry’s presence is far-reaching, which comes as no surprise given his importance to the Warriors. Kelly Oubre (20/11/2/2/3 with two 3-pointers) had one of his better games of the season, while Andrew Wiggins (16/5/2/2 with three 3-pointers) and Draymond Green (11/7/11/4 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures.

Curry’s presence also meant a return to the bench for Jordan Poole, who had a rough night shooting the basketball. Going 3-of-10 from the field (0-of-5 3-pointers), he accounted for six points, one rebound and four assists in 16 minutes off the bench. At best, Poole is a streaming option on nights when Curry sits. Keep him in mind for later this week, as the Warriors have a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against the Wizards and Rockets.

The aforementioned Young struggled with his shot, going 3-of-11 from the field and accumulating 13 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and seven turnovers in 28 minutes. The Hawks managed to win due to other players stepping up, most notably Danilo Gallinari (25 points, 10 rebounds and two 3-pointers) and Clint Capela (24/18/1 steal/2 blocks). Lou Williams shot just 5-of-15 from the field, but he still managed to account for 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes off the bench.

Filling in for the injured John Collins (ankle), Solomon Hill played 19 minutes and finished with five points, five rebounds, three assists and one 3-pointer. With Gallinari and Kevin Huerter both rostered in less than 65% of Yahoo leagues, there really isn’t a reason why any fantasy manager should gamble on Hill, regardless of league format.

Pelicans 122, Rockets 115: Lonzo Ball is back, and Sunday night in Houston he managed to have one of the best shooting games of his NBA career to date. Making 8-of-15 from three, Ball finished with 27 points, four rebounds, nine assists and three steals in 37 minutes played. The only negative for him was the turnover count, as he was responsible for six. Ball has improved as a shooter this season, and the hope is that he can be consistent in that area moving forward as the Pelicans are without Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart. And there is now another injury that New Orleans will have to deal with.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who moved back to the bench due to Ball’s return, played 14 minutes before suffering a left lower leg injury. It appeared to be a high ankle sprain, but more will be learned about his injury on Monday. If that is the official diagnosis, Alexander-Walker stands to miss an extended period of time. In the short-term that would mean more minutes for Wesley Iwundu (3/5/1 with one 3-pointer) and Naji Marshall (12/4/5 with one 3-pointer), but it’s possible that Isaiah Thomas (health and safety protocols) will be able to make his Pelicans debut Tuesday night. Eric Bledsoe (19/4/2/1/1 with four 3-pointers) and James Johnson (18/7/3/2/4 with one 3-pointer) posted full stat lines, while Willy Hernangomez chipped in with 15 points, 12 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 26 minutes off the bench.

He played four more minutes than starting center Steven Adams (10/11/3/2/1), and Jaxson Hayes (11/7/2/1/1) played 29 minutes. Keep an eye on the minutes split in the middle, especially once Williamson and Ingram are cleared to play as there would be no room for a second center in the starting lineup (Adams and Hayes started on Sunday).

Houston also lost a player during this one, as Danuel House suffered a sprained right ankle after playing just 12 minutes. And that could mean a return to the starting lineup for Kelly Olynyk, who in 33 minutes off the bench compiled 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one block and five 3-pointers. Whether Olynyk starts or not, he should be rostered in more than 52% of Yahoo leagues. He’s closing in on top-100 value, and it’s usually wise to bet on productive players who are in a contract year.

Jae’Sean Tate (19/5/3/1 with three 3-pointers) continues to play well, while Christian Wood (15/12/3/1 with one 3-pointer) and Kevin Porter Jr. (12/5/5/1 block with two 3-pointers shot a combined 8-of-26 from the field. Wood took just 11 shots, the same as Tate, four fewer than Porter Jr. and six fewer than Olynyk. Hopefully that balance tips a bit more in Wood’s favor the next time out, Monday against the Suns.

Nuggets 119, Magic 109: Denver trailed by as much as 18 points, but they managed to win going away. Nikola Jokic (17/9/16/1) made history, recording at least ten assists in a game for the 81st time in his career. He now holds the NBA record for most 10-assist games for a center, breaking a tie with the late Wilt Chamberlain. Aaron Gordon (24/7/2/2 blocks with one 3-pointer) shot 10-of-13 from the field against his former team, while Jamal Murray (22/5/4/2 with three 3-pointers) and Michael Porter Jr. (20 points, 12 rebounds and two 3-pointers) also scored at least 20 points on the night.

Also of note for Denver was the return of Monte Morris, who played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with ten points, three rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer. He was on a minutes restriction Sunday night, but Morris’ position within the Nuggets rotation is something worth keeping track of. It was said a while back that Morris would move back into the starting lineup once healthy enough to play, but that was before Denver acquired Gordon. Does that change Michael Malone’s thinking? Should it change his thinking? We’ll have to wait and see.

For the second straight night Orlando, which has lost more man games to injury than any other team in the NBA, had just eight available players. The Magic, who have lost 257 man games, are the only team in the league over 200. RJ Hampton made his first career start, filling in for Michael Carter-Williams (illness) and playing 33 minutes as the starting point guard. And the rookie had a solid night, posting a line of 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers with just one turnover. Hampton is rostered in just 4% of Yahoo leagues, but that number should jump considerably in the coming days.

Fellow rookie Chuma Okeke (19/7/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers) continues to play well, while Terrence Ross (19/3/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also posted a full stat line. With Khem Birch still sidelined Wendell Carter Jr. made another start, going for 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and one blocked shot in 35 minutes played. Mo Bamba (illness) was able to play but logged just 13 minutes before fouling out, accounting for 11 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers. He hasn’t been all to consistent with regard to fantasy production, but Bamba is worth taking a flier on in deep leagues due to how shorthanded the Magic currently are.





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