Klay lights up Lakers with vintage performance

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With the Super Bowl kicking off Sunday and just two NBA games on the schedule, the Association decided to smash 11 games into Saturday’s normally tame slate. There’s a lot to unpack after a busy slate, so let’s cut the pleasantries short and get right to it!

Trail Blazers 112, Knicks 103

Don’t look now, but the Josh Hart and Anfernee Simons-led Blazers have won two straight, and they did so Saturday by erasing a 23-point third-quarter deficit.

Hart finished with 23 points, one rebound, two assists and three triples in his Blazers debut, focusing on scoring rather than peripheral stats. His scoring out is the second-highest mark of the season, and he should be an excellent option as one of Portland’s featured players. Justise Winslow came away with another solid line of 14/5/6/1/1 and a triple after averaging 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 triples in his first two starts for Portland. If he’s still available on your waiver wire, you should change that and add him to your roster.

Jusuf Nurkic came away with 12/20/6 for his sixth straight double-double and second 20-rebound effort of the season. Anfernee Simons went off for 30/5/8 for his first 30-point game since Jan. 15. He and Hart should see all the minutes and usage they can handle moving forward.

Quentin Grimes started his second straight game and posted a 20/4/3/2 line in 37 minutes. It was his second-highest minutes total of the season, and in his only other game with at least that many, he went for 27 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 40 minutes on Dec. 12. New York is fading from the playoff picture, and the team could opt to give the youngster some more minutes down the stretch. He’s worth a speculative add in competitive leagues if you have the roster spot.

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Julius Randle posted another gaudy line of 28/16/6. He’s now gone for at least 28 points in five straight, five assists in five straight, double-digit boards in four of five and 16 rebounds (season-high) in three of five. After a brutal stretch of play in January, it looks like he’s rounding back into form, and fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the time being.

Kings 123, Wizards 110

The Kings have won two straight to begin the Sabonis era. The big man went for 16/11/7 after going 22/14/5/1 in his debut. Clearly, the move from Indiana hasn’t affected his play. Sacramento continues to start Mo Harkless and Justin Holiday over Davion Mitchell despite Mitchell’s stellar play when De’Aaron Fox missed time. The magically healthy Mr. Fox went for 26 points, four dimes and two boards while Mitchell made the most of his 20 minutes with an 8/5/5/1 line off the bench. It’s impossible to understand the reasoning for these recent lineup choices, so we’ll chalk it up to “Kings will be Kings” and temper expectations for Mitchell.

Kyle Kuzma impressed with a 22/8/7/1/1 after recording the triple-double of his career Thursday. With Bradley Beal out for the season, the roster gutted and Kristaps Porzingis’ debut still in the works, Kuzma should operate as the team’s primary scorer and playmaker who can make a strong impact with rebounds and defense. Corey Kispert finished with 20/3/6 and four triples and led the team with 16 shot attempts. He went 6/6/1/1 in Thursday’s start, but he’s now scored 20 in two of his last three. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues and someone to keep an eye on in 12-teamers.

Spurs 124, Pelicans 114

C.J. McCollum went off in this one, going for a game-high 36 points and adding 11 rebounds and five dimes. He led the team in shot attempts for the second straight game and posted his first double-double as a Pelican. Brandon Ingram went for 22 points, two rebounds and two assists, and it’s worth noting that while Ingram’s scoring and shot attempts came up from Thursday (McCollum’s debut), his peripherals continued to suffer. This roster’s big enough for the two of them, but it looks like McCollum is going to feast while Ingram settles for leftovers.

Dejounte Murray did what he does best – everything. He finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, 12 dimes and two swipes, narrowly missing another 30-point triple-double. Devin Vassell remained in the starting lineup and went for 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block. He needs to be rostered everywhere with Derrick White out of town. Make sure Vassell isn’t hanging out on your waiver wire.

Grizzlies 125, Hornets 118

Terry Rozier led the way for Charlotte with 35 points, 10 boards, nine dimes, six triples and a block, though his massive line wasn’t enough as Memphis earned another victory. Montrezl Harrell went for 20/9/2 in 29 minutes after a solid debut Friday. Mason Plumlee (4/12/6/1) played 30 minutes, and the two should continue to split minutes pretty evenly the rest of the way. P.J. Washington managed just four points and two boards, though he salvaged that line with four stocks. Speaking of stocks, his is down with Harrell on the team.

Ja Morant (26/6/6) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (18/10/1/1/2) did what they usually do, while Brandon Clarke put up 16/6/2/1/1 in 32 minutes off the bench. He’s another guy who needs to be rostered everywhere. Steven Adams had a huge night with 15 points, 11 boards, four dimes and three swats as the Grizzlies improve to 40-18 on the season.

Nuggets 110, Raptors 109

This one came down to the wire. Trailing 110-106, Fred VanVleet hit a three with 22 seconds left to pull within one, then Nikola Jokic missed both of his free throws after the intentional foul. FVV missed a game-winning three, OG Anunoby grabbed the offensive board and Jokic rejected another game-winning attempt.

The Joker finished with 28/15/6 and two blocks, Bones Hyland posted an 11/4/4 line with three triples and Jeff Green scored 19 to go with five boards and five dimes. Nothing too unusual for Denver here. Bones is worth keeping an eye on as a late-season winner, and Green can be a useful streamer from time to time.

Pascal Siakam continues to do elite things, as he went off for 35/10/7/2. There’s seemingly no end in sight to his blistering play, and he looks like an early-rounder for the rest of the season.

After dropping 42 points on Thursday, Gary Trent fell way back to earth with 11 points, five boards, a steal and a block while shooting just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.

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76ers 103, Cavaliers 93

Joel Embiid absolutely dominated with 40 points, 15 rebounds, 10 dimes and three steals to lead the shorthanded Sixers to another victory. He should be the clear MVP favorite at this point. With Seth Curry shipped to Brooklyn, Matisse Thybulle saw some extra run with 32 minutes. He took advantage of the boost in playing time and recorded a career-high six steals to go with six points, two rebounds, three assists and a block.

It was a rough night for most of Cleveland’s players, as Jarrett Allen went for just 13/5/1/1, matching his lowest rebounding total of the season. Kevin Love played his second-lowest minutes of the season with 17 and finished with just two points, two rebounds, two assists and a block. He matched his lowest point total of the season and second-lowest shot attempts. Darius Garland totaled 27/4/1 with three triples, and Caris LeVert chipped in 11/3/6/2 in 32 minutes off the bench. Better days are ahead.

Heat 115, Nets 111

Brooklyn’s losing streak now stands at a whopping 11 games, and there’s not a ton to take away from the Nets. With Nicolas Claxton still out, Blake Griffin started and did very little, while Day’Ron Sharpe went for 10/12/3/1 in 27 minutes off the bench. He’s not a guy to stream while Clax is out, however, as Andre Drummond is expected to join the rotation very soon. Cam Thomas had another strong performance with 22/4/4/1 after averaging 23.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 triples over four games prior. He should be added, but temper expectations once all of Brooklyn’s new players are added to the rotation.

Miami won with another team effort, as all five starters and seven players overall scored in double figures. Bam Adebayo led the way with 19 points, 14 boards, four dimes and a steal. It was another big double-double, but his stocks were a bit lacking, especially considering the numbers he’s posted recently.

Bulls 106, Thunder 101

The Thunder continue to lose and surge toward another high lottery selection, but there are plenty of interesting fantasy players here. Darius Bazley went for 17/8/5/2/3 in this one, and he’s been quite valuable as of late thanks to his newfound minutes and all-around production. He’s capable of top-100 numbers the rest of the way. Luguentz Dort finished with 31/2/1/1 and five triples and Aleksej Pokusevski had seven points, four boards and three blocks. After flashing his upside a season ago, Poku is back on the fantasy map. Josh Giddey went for 11/12/10 and continued his excellent play sans Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Nikola Vucevic had another tremendous double-double with 31 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. DeMar DeRozan finished with 38/6/5/1 for his fifth straight game with at least 35 points and sixth straight with at least 30. Another game with 35 or more could put him into some elite company. Ayo Dosunmu continues to show why he was selected far too late in last year’s NBA Draft. He led the team in minutes with 42 and teased a triple-double with 12/8/9/1. He could very well prove to be a league-winner when the dust finally settles on this season.

Clippers 99, Mavericks 97

After dazzling with a 51/9/6 line Thursday, Luka Doncic went nuts again with 45/15/8 and six triples. These types of lines shouldn’t be a surprise with Kristaps Porzingis now a Wizard, and Doncic managers can expect him to carry this team on his back down the home stretch. Reggie Bullock finished with 17/2/1 and five triples, and he belongs on 12-team league rosters.

For Los Angeles, Ivica Zubac had a nice game with 11/10/6/2/1, while Terance Mann started and provided 21/9/2/1. Mann isn’t worth adding, as L.A. hasn’t incorporated Norman Powell yet. Robert Covington is already proving to be one of the biggest losers of the trade deadline thanks to his scaled-back role. He played just 12 minutes Saturday, and he can safely be dropped if he puts up another dud in his next game out.

Warriors 117, Lakers 115

The Lakers just couldn’t close the deal here as they lost another close contest. Los Angeles was up 109-103 with 3:47 to play, and the Warriors outscored them 14-6 the rest of the way.

Stephen Curry fouled LeBron James with 2.3 seconds left on a game-tying three-point attempt giving the King three free throws to even the score. He missed the first, made the second and intentionally missed the third. The ball bounced around and LeBron couldn’t get a shot off as time expired. James had some gaudy counting stats (26/15/8), but he shot just 9-of-27 from the floor and 5-of-9 from the charity stripe. Anthony Davis (16/7/4 and three blocks) didn’t have his best game, but Golden State has done a great job limiting opposing centers this season.

In a blast from the past that surely made basketball fans shed a tear of joy, Klay Thompson went for 33 points, five rebounds and five triples, leading the Warriors to a victory with 16 fourth-quarter points. He’s rewarded fantasy managers with top-40 numbers over the last week, and he should continue to be a top-90 guy for the rest of the season. He’s one of the best in NBA history at heating up and taking over a game when it matters most, and Saturday’s performance showed that his long layoff hasn’t changed that. Jonathan Kuminga started and went for 18/9 and a block in 25 minutes. In five prior, he averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 threes while shooting 56.6% from the floor. He’s an add in deeper leagues for now, but he could have value in 12-team leagues if his minutes and production stay in this range.

Suns 132, Magic 105

One of the NBA’s best faced one of the NBA’s worst Saturday, and to the surprise of no one, Phoenix cruised to an easy win. Chris Paul had a 10/15 double-double, Deandre Ayton (17/10) had one too, and Devin Booker scored 26 points on 24 shots. Nothing out of the ordinary. Chuma Okeke had a 15/10 double-double of his own (second of the season) while Mo Bamba finished with just six points, seven boards, an assist and two threes with no defensive stats. Bamba managers are likely freaking out with his post-COVID production, but he’s been inside the top-90 in that span. He’s obviously fallen off from the third-round value he provided to start the season, but there’s no reason to panic.


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