It was another busy night in the National Basketball Association with 22 teams on the hardwood. The public made a lot of money, too, as bettors sunk plenty of money on the Celtics laying seven in the Metroplex against the Mavericks. However, it didn't quite go according to plan, as Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock and posted a double-double, and Dallas forced Boston to play into overtime. However, like the past 15 games entering play, the Celtics came away with a victory thanks to the heroics of Kyrie Irving, and bettors came away with a miraculous cover.
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Monday's Fantasy Five
Irving took his teammates on his back and delivered his best performance of the season in Big D, helping the C's to the fourth-longest win streak in franchise history. He helped the team force overtime, and then he scored six straight points to open the extra session. He hit 16-of-22 field-goal attempts while adding 5-of-7 from behind the arc with 10-of-11 from the free-throw stripe. The final tally was a season-best 47 points, six assists, three rebounds and a steal with just three turnovers across 39 minutes. The point total was fourth-best in the NBA this season, with the best performance coming from, yep, you guessed it, Kyrie's old buddy LeBron James (57).
If it wasn't for Kyrie's heroics, Twitter might have been ablaze about Victor Oladipo's successful return to Orlando. Oladipo hit 8-of-19 from the floor, while hitting 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, to posted 29 points against his original NBA team. The former Indiana University standout also posted nine rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and a career-high seven steals. The thefts were also an NBA-high for the season. He took a shot to the head in the final quarter, but was able to return and finish the game after satisfying NBA concussion protocol requirements. He is on pace to be a Top 25 fantasy option in 9-category leagues.
Dwight Howard finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots in 30 minutes against the Timberwolves, showing Karl-Anthony Towns and all of the other big men in the NBA that 'The Daily Double' has plenty left in the tank. It was the 49th-career 20-20 game for Howard which is the most among all active players. Not only was he 8-of-10 from the floor, but he was a much-improved 9-of-14 from the free-throw stripe. He also tied a season high with the four swats, as he is enjoying quite the rejuvenation in the Queen City. Howard is averaging 20.5 PPG and 18.0 RPG over the past two games, and he has ripped 15 or more rebounds on seven different occasions this season. He is averaging 12.9 RPG, his best average since 2011-12, his final campaign in Orlando.
There aren't many nights that the league's only triple-double will be overshadowed, but fantasy owners tend to take Russell Westbrook's heroics for granted by this point. While he posted 22 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists and three steals, his biggest contribution in the game might have been his surprising acting skills. In the third quarter DeMarcus Cousins raised an elbow near Westbrook's face after snagging a rebound, and Westbrook fell to the ground holding his head. The play led to an ejection of Cousins, and apparently fueled the Pelicans down the stretch.
With Cousins getting the gate it was Anthony Davis stepping up and carrying his team. A.D. was busy down low with several dunks and high-percentage shots in the paint, while also stepping out to show his versatility from mid-range. He also stepped up his game at the charity stripe, hitting 18-of-22. The final results were 36 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. If fantasy owners were going to complain, it might be about his seven turnovers. However, with 36 points and 15 rebounds, it's really hard to quibble about a handful of turnovers.
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Fantasy Game of the Night
The Portland Trail Blazers are from Rip City, and the Memphis Grizzlies have been using the Grind City moniker over the past couple of seasons. On the banks of the Mississippi River, it was Rip vs. Grind, but also a very good professional hoops game. Noah Vonleh was repping his side with 11 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots. The board total was one short of a career high set last season against the Pels on April 12. Moe Harkless matched Vonleh with three blocked shots while chipping in with four points and four rebounds. Damian Lillard didn't have a great shooting performance, hitting 5-of-15, but he made up for it from the line with a perfect 10-of-10 night to finish with 21 points, four assists and three rebounds across 34 minutes. C.J. McCollum was good for a team-high 24 points while bagging three 3-pointers, and Shabazz Napier was good for 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot in 27 minutes off the pine.
For Memphis, Marc Gasol was on fire at both ends of the floor. He dumped in 19 points while grabbing 12 rebounds, seven assists, two blocked shots and three 3-pointers over 40 minutes. Mario Chalmers, who continues to play heavy minutes with Mike Conley (Achilles) on the shelf, rebounded from an ugly 1-of-7 shooting night Saturday against Houston to hit blackjack. He dropped in 7-of-12 from the floor to finish with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists. Tyreke Evans also had a tough night against the Rockets with a 3-of-10 night, but he was 7-of-15 with 20 points, three assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench. Deyonta Davis only played 14 minutes, but showed his value to fantasy owners. He posted two blocked shots and three rebounds with three points. If you need a cheap source of blocked shots, Davis is a solid short-term play with Brandan Wright (groin) on the mend.
Quick Hits: Kevin Love had a strong line with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists across just 26 minutes in the blowout win at Detroit. If not for the lopsided nature of the game Kevlar's line would have been even better. Jose Calderon also stepped up with 14 points and four rebounds, as he was in the starting five with Iman Shumpert (knee) and Derrick Rose (ankle) in street clothes. … Ben Simmons continues to see his star rise, posting 27 points with 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists across 34 minutes. He has four straight double-doubles, with two coming with double-digit rebound totals, and two coming with double-digit assists, showing his versatility. … Joel Embiid also had another strong line, posting 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assist and two blocked shots, while Amir Johnson had eight points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field. … Enes Kanter continues to be a beast, as the Knicks are finally resembling an NBA team for the first time in years. The big man posted 12 points, 16 rebounds and two steals with a blocked shot across 33 minutes. His partner in crime, Kristaps Porzingis, added 25 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots. … Frank Kaminsky was a disaster Saturday against the Clippers, hitting just 1-of-9. There were no shooting woes off the pine Monday, as he hit 9-of-15 to finish with 25 points, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc. … John Collins hit 10-of-12 from the floor, erupting for 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. … In that Indiana-Orlando game, Bojan Bogdanovic was a nice sidekick to Oladipo, posting 26 points, including five 3-pointers on seven attempts. On the other side, Nikola Vucevic was a beast down low with 25 points and 13 rebounds across 29 minutes.