TOP: Editor’s Note: Now, all our premium tools for Fantasy, DFS, and Betting are included in one subscription at one low price. Customers can subscribe to NBC Sports EDGE+ monthly ($9.99) or save 20% on an annual subscription ($95.88). And don’t forget to use promo code SAVE10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!
The final Friday of the regular season is in the books, and there was no shortage of interesting happenings as far as rotations are concerned. Portland and Oklahoma City continue to roll with the youngsters, with teams such as the Knicks and Lakers also boasting limited rosters. But the big news on this night may have been Luka Doncic picking up his 16th technical foul of the season, so he won’t be available on Friday. Let’s get into the Daily Dose.
Knicks 114, Wizards 92
Neither Julius Randle nor Mitchell Robinson made the trip south, which meant another start for Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims. While Sims was productive in his 34 minutes on the floor, recording a full stat line (6/9/3/1/2), Toppin took his production to another level. Shooting 14-of-22 from the field and 1-of-1 from the foul line, he scored a career-high 35 points to go along with four rebounds, one assist, two steals, and six 3-pointers. There’s no reason why the Knicks would play Randle or Robinson in Sunday’s season finale, so fantasy managers/DFS players should strongly consider playing Toppin.
Sims and Immanuel Quickley (23/6/10/2 with four 3-pointers in 36 minutes) are also worth playing, even with the latter continuing to come off the bench. Hopefully, Miles McBride (3/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer in 19 minutes) can take on a heavier workload on Sunday. What may help here is the fact that RJ Barrett suffered a sprained right knee during the first half. He hasn’t officially been ruled out for Sunday, but there is absolutely no reason for the Knicks to have him play. Quickley could get the starting nod that fans have been clamoring for, which would also result in McBride taking on a more prominent role within the bench unit.
Washington played this one without Kristaps Porzingis, which meant a start for Daniel Gafford (nine points, two rebounds, and one blocked shot). The Wizards felt a bit nostalgic concerning the center position, as Gafford (20 minutes), Thomas Bryant (zero points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in 26 minutes), and Vernon Carey Jr. (one point in seven minutes) all saw playing time. Gafford would be the best choice if Porzingis doesn’t play on Sunday, and why would he, but these aren’t great options.
KP’s absence also means more touches for Rui Hachimura, and in 28 minutes he tallied 21 points, three rebounds, one assist, one block, and three 3-pointers. Solid down the stretch, Hachimura will be a decent low-cost DFS option for Sunday’s loaded slate. And the point guard position remains a mess. Tomas Satoransky (4/2/8 in 20 minutes) started, with Ish Smith (7/1/4/1 with one 3-pointer in 20 minutes) and Raul Neto (14/1/1 with one 3-pointer in 20 minutes) coming off the bench.
Bucks 131, Pistons 101
This one was finished early, as the Bucks outscored the Pistons by a 30-8 margin in the first quarter. Despite this being Milwaukee’s second game in as many nights, Mike Budenholzer stuck with his regular starting lineup, but none of the first five played more than 28 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo (30/12/8/2 with one 3-pointer) and Brook Lopez (17 points, four rebounds, one block, and three 3-pointers) led the way offensively, while Bobby Portis (eight points, 15 rebounds) added a double-double off the bench.
Milwaukee has a one-game lead on Boston for the East’s 2-seed with both teams having one game left on their respective schedules. Milwaukee takes on Cleveland, which is still in the fight for the 7-seed, while Boston closes out its regular season in Memphis. The Grizzlies have already locked up the 2-seed in the West, which could be reason enough for Taylor Jenkins to rest most of his key players.
Detroit was once again without Cory Joseph, so Killian Hayes (6/3/3/0/1) was in the starting lineup. As you can tell by those numbers, he had a bad night. That being said, the Pistons should be encouraged by how Hayes has played down the stretch. He’ll have the chance to finish his season on a high note Sunday, likely as a starter. Saddiq Bey (20/1/2 with two 3-pointers), Cade Cunningham (14/6/7/0/1), and Isaiah Stewart (5/12/4/0/2 with one 3-pointer) are still taking on their usual workloads, but we’ll see if that remains the case on Sunday.
Veterans Rodney McGruder (26/3/2/2 with four 3-pointers) and Kelly Olynyk (17/5/5/0/1 with one 3-pointer) had good nights off the bench, possibly playing well enough to encourage the Pistons to rest them on Sunday. Detroit heads into its final contest one game “ahead” of Oklahoma City in the race for the third-worst record in the NBA, which would give them better odds of landing the top overall pick in next month’s draft lottery.
Nets 118, Cavaliers 107
Brooklyn took a step towards earning home-court advantage in the 7 vs. 8 game, beating Cleveland to move into a tie record-wise. The Nets hold the tiebreaker, so a win on Sunday is all that is needed to make sure that game is played in Brooklyn. Kevin Durant (36/5/5/1/2 with four 3-pointers) did the usual, while Bruce Brown (18/10/8/1/4 with two 3-pointers) was outstanding and Andre Drummond (15/12/2/1/1) also recorded a double-double. Brooklyn went eight deep on Friday, with LaMarcus Aldridge logging another DNP-CD. Nicolas Claxton (4/5/1/0/1 in 16 minutes) is ahead of Aldridge in the pecking order, and there have also been stretches in which the Nets have used Durant at the five.
That makes things even more difficult for Aldridge when it comes to getting on the floor. His role during the postseason will likely be dictated by the matchups, which is a bad deal as far as DFS is concerned.
The good news for Cleveland is that one of their big men returned to action, with Evan Mobley (17/7/3/2/2) playing 34 minutes in his return. That the rookie was able to play that many minutes without any flare-ups is a very good sign ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale and the play-in tournament. Moses Brown (two points), who started when Mobley was sidelined, only played three minutes so he’s clearly out of the rotation when at least one of the Cavaliers’ preferred big men is available. Jarrett Allen is still without a timeline for return, so the center rotation at this point will consist of Mobley and Kevin Love (10 points, nine rebounds, one block, and two 3-pointers in 21 minutes). Darius Garland (31/0/3/2 with three 3-pointers) logged 41 minutes, but the Cavaliers were quite poor in the seven minutes that he did not play.
Raptors 117, Rockets 115
Toronto will be no worse than the 5-seed in the East due to this result, and the game was won with Fred VanVleet sitting out. Armoni Brooks (2/4/3) started but did not offer much in the way of production, playing just 15 minutes as a result. Depending upon what happens in Philadelphia’s game against the Pacers on Saturday, the Raptors could go into their finale with a shot at finishing fourth (Toronto holds the tiebreaker). If the 76ers do what’s expected, Brooks could very well get another shot at extended minutes on Sunday. Pascal Siakam (29/12/7/3/1) and Gary Trent Jr. (26/1/0/3 with five 3-pointers) led the way offensively, and Thaddeus Young (14/4/3/1) had a productive night off the bench. OG Anunoby being sidelined has freed up minutes in the frontcourt, with Young and spot starter Khem Birch (8/4/2/2/1) being two of the beneficiaries. Those are guys who may figure even more prominently in the rotation if Toronto goes into Sunday’s finale locked into the 5-seed.
Houston now holds a one-game lead on Orlando in the race for the NBA’s worst record, which would mean a lot more had the NBA not changed the draft lottery odds a few years back. Young talents such as Kevin Porter Jr. (35/10/4/2 with four 3-pointers), Alperen Sengun (17/2/3/1), Josh Christopher (20/5/4/1 with two 3-pointers), and Jalen Green (8/6/3) aren’t at risk of being shut down for that very reason. Fantasy managers whose leagues are still active will want to strongly consider rostering these guys on Sunday if they’re available.
Heat 113, Hawks 109
Miami guaranteed itself home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, while also dealing the Hawks a blow in their attempt to climb out of the 9-spot. The Heat were down just one starter, P.J. Tucker, with Caleb Martin (8/4/1 with one 3-pointer) replacing him in the starting lineup. With Miami finishing its season in Orlando, there isn’t a reason for the Heat to not rest their key players on Sunday. As a result, guys such as Martin, Max Strus (8/3/0/1 with two 3-pointers), and Gabe Vincent (11 points, one rebound, and three 3-pointers) could be in line for heavier workloads.
Dewayne Dedmon (3/4/1/1/1 in 15 minutes) exited Friday’s game during the third quarter after rolling his ankle, but he was able to return. He’s another player that the Heat have rested at various points this season, but with Omer Yurtseven out due to illness, it is anyone’s guess which big men will be available on Sunday, especially if Bam Adebayo (24/6/4/2) sits.
Atlanta won’t have the luxury of resting guys on Sunday, as the Hawks are now tied with Charlotte for ninth (ATL has the tiebreaker). The Hawks finish their regular season in Houston, which could be a dangerous game even with the Rockets boasting the NBA’s worst record. Trae Young (35/2/8/1 with three 3-pointers), Bogdan Bogdanovic (25/7/2/2 with three 3-pointers), and Clint Capela (17 points, 14 rebounds) had good nights, and the same can be said for Kevin Huerter (15/7/3/3 with one 3-pointer). But Danilo Gallinari and DeAndre Hunter combined to shoot 4-of-16 from the field, something that cannot happen when playing a team the caliber of the Heat. Atlanta’s rotation will be the same for Sunday’s finale, and Young will make for an attractive DFS target given the opposition.
MIDDLE: The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, and mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
Hornets 133, Bulls 117
Charlotte will need some help to move into either the seven or eight seed, but they’ve at least got a shot at earning home-court advantage in the 9 vs. 10 game due to Friday’s results. With his brother sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, LaMelo Ball (24/5/9 with five 3-pointers) led seven double-digit scorers. Ball and Miles Bridges (20/3/1/0/1 with three 3-pointers), one of the league’s most improved players, led the way offensively while Kelly Oubre (18/4/2/2 with four 3-pointers) had a good night off the bench.
Due to what’s on the line for the Hornets, their rotation should look the same for Sunday’s game against the Wizards. In other words, fantasy managers in search of hidden gems may want to look elsewhere. Cody Martin (11/3/3/1 with one 3-pointer) and Jalen McDaniels (13/5/4/1/1/ with three 3-pointers) are both taking on additional rotation minutes, due in part to Gordon Hayward being sidelined. That may be as close as you can get to finding an under-the-radar option on the Hornets roster for Sunday’s action.
With Chicago now locked into the 6-seed, fantasy managers who have Zach LaVine (23/4/7 with two 3-pointers) rostered may want to look for alternatives. Following the game, he did say that his “love” for the game could be what has him on the court for Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves. However, with both teams already knowing their seeding (Minnesota will be 7th in the West), there is no reason for any key players to take on their usual workloads in that one. As far as LaVine is concerned, I’d anticipate him sitting. Ayo Dosunmu (16/1/3/2 with one 3-pointer) and Coby White (19/1/4/1 with six 3-pointers) stand to benefit, with the latter having started on Friday in place of Alex Caruso. DeMar DeRozan (17/1/1) and Nikola Vucevic (6/5/3) had relatively quiet nights, and while they’re healthier than LaVine, why would either of those two play on Sunday?
Mavericks 128, Trail Blazers 78
The major development in this one was Luka Doncic (39/11/7/0/1 with seven 3-pointers) being whistled for his 16th technical foul of the season. That means an automatic one-game suspension, so he will not be available for Sunday’s game against the Spurs. That’s a brutal blow for fantasy managers who were hoping for one more big game from Doncic to take. Jalen Brunson (9/3/2 with one 3-pointer) and Spencer Dinwiddie (14/1/2/1/1 with three 3-pointers) are the obvious fantasy targets if available in your league, especially with Dallas needing a win and at least one Warriors loss to lock up the 3-seed in the West.
So expect Dallas’ available starters and key reserves to play their usual minutes, allowing for an increase in a few spots due to Doncic’s suspension. Depending upon what happens on Saturday, as San Antonio hosts Golden State and New Orleans visits Memphis, the Spurs may already know their fate ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Mavericks. Ninth place New Orleans leads San Antonio by two games with both teams finishing their regular-season slates with Saturday/Sunday back-to-backs. If the Spurs know that they’ll be the 10-seed, Gregg Popovich may decide to rest many of his key players in Dallas.
Portland is playing out the string, and the players available did not offer much in the way of resistance Friday night. Brandon Williams (9/2/5) started but played just 23 minutes, despite backup Kris Dunn being sidelined due to injury. Ben McLemore (14 points, three rebounds, three steals, and three 3-pointers) and Drew Eubanks (18 points, seven rebounds, and one steal) may be the only Trail Blazers who are reliable as far as fantasy value is concerned. Chauncey Billups‘ team finishes its season Sunday night against the Jazz, in a game that Utah needs to win to remain ahead of Denver for 5th in the West.
Greg Brown sprained his left ankle during this one, so he may not be available on Sunday. Didi Louzada (three points, three rebounds, one block, and one 3-pointer) and Elijah Hughes (8/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) may take on a few more minutes if that’s the case, but neither is appealing as a streamer at this point. You’d be better served mining the Thunder roster.
Suns 111, Jazz 105
Monty Williams played most of his usual rotation in this one after four starters sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, with the only absentee being the injured Cameron Payne. Aaron Holiday played 10 minutes in the backup point guard role, but he missed all three of his shot attempts and finished with a pair of turnovers and nothing else. Chris Paul (16/6/16/2) logged 38 minutes, while Devin Booker (33/4/3 with two 3-pointers), and Deandre Ayton (19/10/4/1/2 with one 3-pointer), and Mikal Bridges (18/4/2) also scored in double figures.
Phoenix locked up the best single-season road record in franchise history (32-9) with the comeback victory, so that may be the only reason why those four starters all played between 34 and 38 minutes. And with the Suns hosting the Kings in their regular-season finale, it would not be all that surprising if Williams decided to lighten the workload of his stars, if not rest them altogether.
Utah could have taken a major step towards locking up the 5-seed, but their offensive struggles in crunch time remain troublesome. Bojan Bogdanovic (21/7/1/2 with three 3-pointers) and Rudy Gobert (16/12/2/0/1) were decent, while Donovan Mitchell (18/7/5/1 with one 3-pointer), Mike Conley (13/2/8/1/1 with three 3-pointers), and Jordan Clarkson (nine points, three rebounds, and two 3-pointers) all struggled shooting the basketball. The good news for Utah is that it plays a team that appears to be all-in on losing (Portland), while the Nuggets will host the Lakers on Sunday. Not that the Lakers are any good, but they don’t have any lottery odds to worry about (L.A. doesn’t have full control of its first-round pick until 2025).
Lakers 120, Thunder 101
Thunder forward Jaylen Hoard has been a “silly season” stud, and he had another big-time performance on Friday. He played 47 minutes, recording a line of 27 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block, and one 3-pointer. At this point, Hoard must be slotted into DFS lineups and rostered in active fantasy leagues as well. Isaiah Roby spraining his ankle early in the first quarter and struggling with foul trouble opened things up even more for Hoard, and to his credit he took advantage.
Roby logged 14 minutes on a night when the Thunder only played six players. Georgios Kalaitzakis (25/4/6/3 with two 3-pointers) had the best game of his NBA career, while Roby (14/4/2 with two 3-pointers), and Melvin Frazier (16 points, four rebounds, and one 3-pointer), and Zavier Simpson (13/6/7/0/1) all finished in double figures. Like Hoard, Simpson played 47 minutes, with Kalaitzakis (45), Frazier (44), and Vit Krejci (43) all playing at least 43. Sunday’s game against the Clippers should be “fun”, especially with Tyronn Lue‘s team locked into the 8-seed (they’ll visit Minnesota in the play-in tournament). The only suspense as far as Oklahoma City is concerned is whether or not they’ll add a seventh man to the rotation.
Fantasy managers and DFS players who were hoping for another offensive explosion from Talen Horton-Tucker (15/8/5/2 with one 3-pointer) were likely disappointed, as he shot just 4-of-16 from the field. However, when it comes to his development, the Lakers needed THT to take on the role of a facilitator on Friday. Because unless the roster changes in a major way, Horton-Tucker is not going to enjoy the freedom to shoot that he has currently in 2022-23. He didn’t commit a single turnover in Friday’s victory, and the overall stat line outweighs the poor field-goal percentage. Eight of the nine Lakers that played his double figures, with Stanley Johnson (21/8/0/1 with one 3-pointer) leading the way.
Dwight Howard (15/8/3/1/1) started and played 23 minutes, with Wenyen Gabriel (16/7/1/0/2 with one 3-pointer) playing 25. Gabriel was given a standard contract in the aftermath of the Lakers waiving Trevor Ariza, so there is certainly interest in getting a longer look at him. Mason Jones (13/3/1 with one 3-pointer) played well in his Lakers debut, but there are better streaming options on this roster for Sunday’s game against the Nuggets. And with Mac McClung having been signed to a two-way contract, he’s another player who could log rotation minutes in Sunday’s finale. LeBron James has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, and it would be a major surprise if Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, or Carmelo Anthony played on Sunday, either.
Source: Yahoo Sports