It was a light night in the National Basketball Association, and three of the four games were decided by 16 or more points. Despite the fact the games weren’t very good, there were still plenty of decent fantasy performances, including a surprise showing from a guy who was sitting on his couch over the weekend. The San Antonio Spurs slipped to 10th place in the Western Conference standings after their loss, too. That might be the most noteworthy part of the entire night, as it’s been a while since we’ve seen the franchise struggle this much. Let’s get started!
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Monday’s Fantasy Five
Damian Lillard continues to put MVP-type numbers on the board. He went for 32 points across 37 minutes in the 115-99 victory against the Miami Heat, hitting 8-of-19 from the field with 7-of-14 from behind the 3-point line and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also added 10 assists and five rebounds while turning in a game-best plus-25 rating. That’s 13 consecutive games with 20 or more points, and he has two or more triples in 14 consecutive outings. He teamed with Jusuf Nurkic, who had 27 points with 16 rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists in 31 minutes. The Blazers are on a roll, moving to 15 games above .500 after their 10th consecutive victory. Lillard and Nurkic were like 1 and 1A in the fantasy five.
A note-so-obvious fantasy stud from Monday was Brandon Jennings. He resurfaced with the Milwaukee Bucks on a 10-day contract, as they’re banged up in the backcourt in Cream City. Jennings has kicked around the G-League this season, and was obviously amped to sniff the big time again. He went for 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds across 24 minutes off the bench, hitting 5-of-9 from the floor while going 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. It was his first appearance during the regular season, but it won’t be his last. Jennings looked to have plenty of burst and a lot of energy. Tamp down expectations a little, as the performance did come against the Memphis Grizzlies. Still, for a guy making his season, it was impressive regardless of opponent. He entered the day with fantasy ownership at just one percent, but you can expect that number to jump substantially. With Malcolm Brogdon (quadriceps) and Matthew Dellavedova (ankle) on the mend, there is plenty of opportunity for Jennings.
Justise Winslow came off the bench to roll up 15 points and 13 rebounds in 30 minutes in the 115-99 loss in Portland. He also added four assists and two blocked shots with one turnover. While his fantasy ownership isn’t quite as long as Jennings, it still hovers around the 40 percent mark in most leagues. You can expect the buy-low window to slam shut if he continues to put up huge numbers like he did in Rip City, regardless of the outcome of the game. He is having an outstanding March, averaging 13.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game in seven outings while chipping in with 1.6 3-pointers per contest. With Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and Hassan Whiteside (hip) on the shelf, it has opened up plenty of time for Winslow. He has kicked open the door and seized the opportunity. Even when the team heals up, it’s likely he has carved himself a major role for the remainder of the season.
Russell Westbrook posted the 99th triple-double of his career in a 106-101 victory against the Sacramento Kings. He finished with 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds while dumping in a pair of 3-pointers across 36 minutes. Westbrook is on the verge of a giant milestone, as only three players in NBA history have 100 or more triple-doubles – Jason Kidd (107), Magic Johnson (138) and Oscar Robertson (181). He’ll look to make history in Tuesday’s game in Atlanta against a team that will have to deal without Kent Bazemore for the remainder of the season. A team in flux struggling at the defensive end sounds like the perfect recipe for Westbrook to appear in Wednesday’s Daily Dose, too.
De’Aaron Fox didn’t put up a giant stat line, but he did finish with 11 points and 10 rebounds over 34 minutes as he continues to handle a big load. The Kings won’t admit to tanking, and maybe they are and maybe they’re not doing it. But it is clear that they’re squarely focused on leaning heavily upon their younger players and giving them a thorough evaluation for the remainder of the season while pushing their veterans to the back burner. The double-double was the third of Fox’s career, and his first since Jan. 13 on the road against the Clippers. It isn’t necessarily noteworthy than ironic, but the Kings are 0-3 when Fox produces a double-double. Fox is averaging 12.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds in six March outings, and those numbers would be even more impressive if not for a two-point effort over five minutes last Wednesday when he was forced to exit due to a lower back injury. He is averaging 11.5 points and 9.5 assists over the past two outings while rolling up 32.0 minutes per contest.
Steven Adams is having a tough go of it lately. In Sunday’s game against the Spurs he came down on the foot of Dejounte Murray, turning his left ankle to force him out of the game. He was able to make it through the shootaround on Monday and cleared to face the Kings, which was the good news. The bad news is that he checked back out of the game due to a left hip contusion. He was unable to return in the fourth quarter of a tight game, so the injury is a big concern, especially for fantasy owners beginning their fantasy playoffs. An injury on a Monday is an absolute killer. If he is forced to the shelf, the team is likely to play small ball with Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson stepping up to fill the void. Grant might be the better fantasy option of the two, as he is averaging a respectable 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds across the past eight contests.
It will be interesting to see how the Atlanta Hawks handle their starting lineup with Kent Bazemore shut down for the rest of the season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. It appears Tyler Dorsey will be the biggest beneficiary, stepping into the starting five for the stretch run. The rookie out of Oregon had been showing well until a stinker on Sunday against Chicago. Dorsey is averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per game over the past five. He’ll likely see his minutes bumped up into the 30-minute neighborhood. You can expect Taurean Prince to see his usage rate increase, too. He erupted for a career-high 38 points, including seven 3-pointers, in Sunday’s game against the Bulls, his most since dropping in 31 in Boston on Feb. 2. Fantasy owners and Hawks fans hope that Sunday’s performance will be like Groundhog Day and repeat down the stretch.
Quick Hits: The fantasy performances weren’t all great, as Pau Gasol struggled mightily in Houston. He was just 1-of-5 from the field with four points over 15 minutes, as he looks older by the minute. … Tony Parker isn’t letting Father Time get the best of him, as he went for 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He still has a little left in the tank for fantasy owners. … Davis Bertans dropped in three triples, going for 11 points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal. The Latvian center has had the Kevorka in March, averaging 13.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.6 3-pointers per game in five outings. He should see 18-22 minutes of playing time, serving as a decent No. 3 center option in leagues of 12 or more teams. … James Harden was doing his regular thing, going for 28 points on 6-of-17 shooting, although he was an ugly 2-of-11 from behind the 3-point line. He did most of his work from the free-throw line, hitting 14-of-14. … It was an ugly night for Bam Adebayo. He went just 1-of-10 from the floor for four points, clearly not taking advantage of the absence of Whiteside. He did salvage the stat line with nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot. … Goran Dragic was a fairly efficient 10-of-17 from the field while posting a team-high 23 points. He handled himself with aplomb against Dame and the Blazers. … Al-Farouq Aminu continues to struggle with his shot, going 2-of-9 from the field, including 1-of-6 from behind the line. He has five consecutive single-digit performances, as the basket seems to have a lid on it lately. He is hitting just 11-of-40 (27.5 percent) from the floor over six March games, and it’s all been downhill since a double-double on March 1. … Garrett Temple ended up with 15 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot while dropping in three triples in 29 minutes. The 31-year-old doesn’t exactly fit the mold as a younger player the team is evaluating, but he does have 20 or more minutes in five straight outings. In deeper fantasy leagues, you can stick with him. … Kosta Koufos has turned in 10 or more rebounds in four straight outings, and he is averaging 10.0 points and 9.9 rebounds in seven March contests.