Embiid, Jokic, DeRozan all score at least 40

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With no games on Monday, Tuesday night was completely loaded with a full 12-game slate. I’ll break the evening down game by game, with scores, standings and of course some fantasy tidbits.

Magic 120, Cavaliers 115

Seeding updates: The Cavs are officially a play-in team with the loss and the four play-in teams in the Eastern Conference are solidified. They’re 1.5 games ahead of the Nets and Hawks and 2.5 games ahead of the 10th-seeded Hornets, so they should stay at No. 7, but you never know with the way they’ve been playing.

The Magic stunned the Cavs to hit the brakes on a six-game losing streak, but with this season not meaning anything, the main priority right now is the health of Franz Wagner. He was questionable coming in with a left ankle sprain, but played only seven minutes before being forced to exit after injuring his right ankle. It’s a tough blow for the rookie, and we may not see the younger Wagner brother again this season. Mo Bamba caught fire early and hit five triples in the first quarter, finishing with 21 points, 12 boards, three dimes and six swats in 29 turnover-free minutes, and he’s now double-doubled in three straight games and has nine total blocks and nine total assists in that trio of games. The team still isn’t playing Markelle Fultz much, but he’s still getting it done, as he started for the first time this season for Cole Anthony (left toe) and scored 16 efficient points with six dimes and a pair of steals in 24 minutes, and he could be a fantasy option for Orlando’s final two games if they shut down Anthony. Ignas Brazdeikis was a point shy of his career high with 20 points off the bench, also adding six rebounds and a pair of triples, while Moritz Wagner tallied a 15/3/3 line in 20 minutes and may have benefitted from the absence of his brother. Wendell Carter Jr. (left wrist) remained out, which means Chuma Okeke was useful in a start with a 11/8/2/2/1 line, while R.J. Hampton (10/2/7 with a steal) and Devin Cannady (10 points, four boards, two steals, three 3-pointers) both reached double figures in scoring off the bench, but neither are fantasy options. Jalen Suggs (right ankle) finally returned but didn’t do a ton in his 18 minutes, and there’s a chance they just don’t play him heavy minutes to end the season, if they even play him at all.

The Cavs have now lost four of their last five and seven of their last nine and are struggling at just the wrong time, much in part due to Jarrett Allen (finger) and Evan Mobley (ankle) still being sidelined. Without this pair, Kevin Love (17-point, 13-rebound double-double with three treys), Lauri Markkanen (25 points, six triples, two swats) and new starter Moses Brown (10/12 with one steal and a block) have all been better than usual, with Brown being the best story. Brown tallied his third double-double over his last four games and grabbed double-digit rebounds for the fourth straight game and looks like a cheap source of big-man stats for Cleveland’s final two games. Darius Garland was awesome as always with a 27/6/10 line with two each in the steals/triples categories, and Caris LeVert was very quiet with a 11/4/4 line in 31 minutes, but he’s been much better since he’s entered the starting lineup.

76ers 131, Pacers 122

Seeding updates: Record-wise, Philly is in a three-way tie with the Celtics (second) and Bucks (third) in the East, but they’re behind both of them at spot No. 4 because of the tiebreaker rules. They’re three full games ahead of the Raptors, so anywhere from spots two through four are where they’ll end up.

Philly was up by as many as 27 and Indy came storming back, but the former was able to hold on. Joel Embiid went bonkers with 45 points (18-of-30 FGs, 7-of-10 FTs), 13 rebounds, two assists, one block, two 3-pointers and three turnovers in 39 minutes as he continues to make his MVP case, but the main storyline for the 76ers was emerging star Tyrese Maxey. Maxey went off for 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including a career-high eight makes from downtown, which easily bested his previous high of five. The craziest part about this is that he bested his career high before the second half even began, drilling seven triples in the first two periods, which is more than Ben Simmons made in his four seasons in Philly (sorry, I had to). He added three boards, seven assists, one steal, one block and three turnovers in his 38 minutes, and whatever worries about he and James Harden (11 points, 14 dimes, two steals, two triples, four turnovers) being able to both produce simply shouldn’t exist anymore (and shouldn’t have existed for a while now). Tobias Harris took just 11 shots, making five of them (all triples) for a 17/6/5 line with four steals, and he just wasn’t needed as much as normal but this will absolutely suffice for fantasy managers.

Tyrese Haliburton (21/8/5 with two steals, three triples and six turnovers) and Buddy Hield (25/11/5/1/1 with three 3-pointers) controlled Indiana’s offense yet again, but they’ve both been posting big lines for a while now as the two best players on this current squad. Jalen Smith gets a nice shoutout after tying his career high of 19 points, and he didn’t stop there as he added seven boards, two assists, one steal and three blocks in 30 minutes. He played more than usual due to the absence of Goga Bitadze (right foot) and Isaiah Jackson (16 points, four boards, two steals, four blocks in 25 minutes) battling some foul trouble, but I-Jax still did plenty on the defensive end in particular to make utilizing him worth it in the end. Oshae Brissett came in pretty hot but flopped, while Terrry Taylor (13/3/3/1/1 in a start), Duane Washington Jr. (12 points, three triples, one hit to the head that resulted in a DeAndre Jordan ejection) and Lance Stephenson (10 points) all reached double figures, but Taylor is the only one from this group worth keeping an eye on from a fantasy standpoint.

Raptors 118, Hawks 108

Seeding updates: Atlanta will be a play-in team with the loss, and as mentioned above, are tied record-wise with the Nets but don’t hold the tiebreaker, placing them at the ninth spot. Charlotte is on their tail, and they’re on Cleveland’s tail, so it should go down to the very end.

Pascal Siakam better be getting some all-NBA consideration. He’s put up top-25 numbers over the last two weeks coming in and posted a huge 31/13/6/1/1 line with a triple and no turnovers to lead his team to an important victory, and he’s really been crushing it all season without a ton of people talking about it. The Raptors really aren’t a fantasy mystery with Nick Nurse playing who he likes and that’s it, but a couple key guys struggled with their shot. Fred VanVleet scored 12 points with nine dimes, one steal and one block in 36 minutes, but his 4-of-21 shooting clip is downright atrocious. Gary Trent Jr. was better but still bad as he went 5-of-13 for a 14/4/2/1/1 line with a triple, and these guys are lucky they did other things on the stat sheet on less-than-ideal shooting nights. Scottie Barnes still really wants to win the Rookie of the Year award and posted a 19-point, 14-rebound double-double in an otherwise boring line, while Chris Boucher (18 points, seven rebounds, one steal) finally came to life again since OG Anunoby (right quad) was sidelined (he’ll be irrelevant if Anunoby is back for Thursday’s game against the Sixers).

Another pretty predictable team fantasy-wise, it was who else but Trae Young that led the way with 26 points (10-of-23 FGs), four boards, 15 dimes, three 3-pointers and three turnovers in 37 minutes. The shooting and lack of defensive stats weren’t great, but the massive assists volume is really hard to find as he’s averaging 12.2 dimes per game over his last six. De’Andre Hunter followed up a double-double in Sunday’s win with a 20-point effort on 8-of-17 shooting on Tuesday, also helping out with six boards, two assists and a block in 37 minutes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic hauled in a season-high nine rebounds to go with 19 points (7-of-17 FGs), three assists, one block and five more 3-pointers off the pine. Kevin Huerter rejoined the 20-point club (fifth 20-point game in his last six) with a 21/2/4/1/1 line with five treys, and will continue to do more on offense with John Collins (foot/finger) and Danilo Gallinari (left knee) inactive.

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Nets 118, Rockets 105

Seeding updates: Brooklyn (ninth seed) was locked into their play-in spot a game ago, and all details have been mentioned above.

With Kevin Durant (18/9/7 on 4-of-13 shooting with two swats) having a rare off night, Kyrie Irving made sure to take matters into his own hands with 42 points (13-of-24 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs), three rebounds, six assists, two steals, one block and four turnovers in 40 minutes. He wouldn’t have even played this game if the vaccine mandate stuck, which is wild. Bruce Brown (15/3/3 with three blocks) and Andre Drummond (10/11 with one steal, two blocks) brought the defensive goodies, and Brown especially just won’t slow down, while Patty Mills hit two triples with little else to his name in 25 minutes of a start for Seth Curry (left ankle). Cam Thomas scored 13 points but played just 16 minutes and should be playing/doing more in general with Curry out, but that just hasn’t been the case.

Jalen Green cannot be stopped, as he tallied his fifth straight 30-point game with exactly that many points, adding six boards, two assists, one steal, one block, four 3-pointers and two turnovers in 41 minutes. Green shot 12-of-23 from the field, and while the Rockets aren’t good and you may not be watching them, you can already tell he’s incredibly special if you’ve tuned in to the post-All Star break Green. Kevin Porter Jr. has been a madman lately too as he went off for 36 points to go with four dimes, six triples, one steal and one block in 41 minutes, and he was efficient (13-of-26 FGs) and pretty careful with the ball (three turnovers) for his standards. It’s really just this duo plus Alperen Sengun (14/11/5 with a block) on this team that I fully trust going forward, but Jae’Sean Tate (6/9/3 with three steals) and especially Josh Christopher (5/8/2/2/2, but on 2-of-11 shooting) both made some noise and are getting plenty of minutes to be worth keeping track of.

Thunder 98, Trail Blazers 94

Seeding updates: The Thunder still have the fourth worst record in the league even with the win, trailing only Detroit, Orlando and Houston, in that order. They don’t want to win their final three games.

NBA fans around the globe were lucky enough to get a rematch of one of the best silly season games of the season after the Blazers beat OKC in overtime back on March 28, and the Thunder got their revenge by completing a 19-point comeback. Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon, Aaron Wiggins and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl were all healthy, but simply didn’t enter the game because, you know, the tank continues, so the team started Isaiah Roby, Vit Krecji, and three 10-day signees named Jaylen Hoard, Zavier Simpson and Georgios Kalaitzakis. You seriously can’t make this stuff up. It was a seven-man rotation, and most of the seven went off, with the aforementioned Hoard going berserk for 24 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, three steals, one triple and one turnover in 46 minutes of a non-overtime win. He wasn’t even in the NBA before April began and now has two 20-rebound efforts in three games with the Thunder, and he became the seventh player in Thunder history to record a 20/20 game. I guess if he starts, keep rolling with him, but approaching this team for fantasy basketball is so weird and you can basically roll out whoever is active. Isaiah Roby (18/6/3 with a steal and six blocks), Kalaitzakis (17/1/2/3/1 with seven turnovers), Simpson (10/3/5/1/2 with one incredible hook shot that the G-League is quite familiar with) and Oliver Sarr (10 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks) all played well, and once again, just pick any Thunder player at random for DFS and you’ll probably do fine.

The Blazers’ side of the box score was not as pleasing as OKC’s but it could be because they played 10 guys as opposed to seven. Go ahead and use Kris Dunn (7/8/8 with a steal) as long as Brandon Williams is sidelined with a fake quad injury, along with Keon Johnson (18/6/7/1/2) and Drew Eubanks (14 points, six boards, one steal, two blocks), who have both been good for a bit now. Greg Brown scored a career-high 17 points and is officially worth monitoring, while Ben McLemore (17 points, two steals, three triples) somehow keeps playing well despite being the old man of the group.

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Heat 144, Hornets 115

Seeding updates: Miami is now 2.5 games ahead of the Celtics and Bucks, and while they hold the tiebreaker over the Bucks, the Celtics won the season series with Miami 2-1. The Heat would only drop down if they lost their last two games and Boston won their final three.

This game wasn’t even far out of hand to begin the fourth but the Heat outscored the Hornets by a count of 42-18 in the fourth quarter to get it done. Nothing about this side of the box score was too shocking, with Jimmy Butler (27/5/8 with two steals and two triples) and Bam Adebayo (22/9/3/1/1) taking charge of the starting unit. However, it was Tyler Herro who really took over off the bench, scoring a game-high 35 points (11-of-18 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs) along with six rebounds, three assists, one steal, six treys and five giveaways in 34 minutes. He’s been the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award for the entire season and he fully deserves it, especially with the success of his team and the way he’s been contributing to it. Even Duncan Robinson had some fun with 21 points and seven triples in 27 reserve minutes, but be ready for him to flop next time out. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus were both pretty underwhelming even though Kyle Lowry (his whole body hurts because he’s old) didn’t play, while Caleb Martin was just alright with 12 points, three triples and two steals in 26 minutes. P.J. Tucker (7/7/2 with a steal) played just 22 minutes before exiting due to a calf strain, and the team said they’ll know more about his status tomorrow.

On Charlotte’s side, Miles Bridges led the team by quite a bit with his 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting and also chipped in with six boards, four assists, one steal and three triples in 35 minutes, and he should be getting far more love for the Most Improved Player award (odds sit at +3300 via PointsBet). LaMelo Ball posted an efficient 18-point, 14-assist double-double with five boards, one steal, four 3-pointers and five turnovers in 34 minutes, while P.J. Washington (13/6/4 with a block) and Terry Rozier (16/2/6 with a triple) were fine but could have been slightly better, especially Rozier. Besides Jalen McDaniels’ 11 points and Cody Martin’s three steals, the bench can be ignored, as Montrezl Harrell got a healthy scratch.

Wizards 132, Timberwolves 114

Seeding updates: Minny will finish no lower than the seventh seed in the West, and they’re two games behind the Nuggets, with the Wolves holding the tiebreaker. Expect them to play the Clippers in the first play-in game (LAC holds the tiebreaker with Minnesota too).

Despite being eliminated from the postseason already, the Wizards have actually been playing great basketball and got their third win over the last four games on Tuesday. Daniel Gafford came out of absolutely nowhere for career highs in both points and boards, scoring 24 points (10-of-11 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs) with 12 rebounds, also recording three dimes and a block in 31 minutes off the bench. When I say “out of nowhere”, I really mean it, as he was barely a top-200 fantasy asset over the past month and combined for 15 points in his last two games. It’s even more impressive that this was with Kristaps Porzingis (25 points, eight boards, three 3-pointers and one block in 27 minutes) active and starting, and while it’s a lost cause now, maybe Washington can hang onto both guys for next season and hope they coexist like they did so well in this one. With Kyle Kuzma (knee) out again and probably out for the season, Rui Hachimura (21/5/4 with three triples) and Deni Avdija (17/8/5/1/2 continue to far exceed expectations, with Avdija being the superior fantasy asset even though he’s not starting (still just 12th-round value over the last two weeks coming in, though). Tomas Satoransky started and scored eight points with seven dimes, but it was Ish Smith who went off despite a reserve role with a near triple-double including 11 points, eight rebounds, 14 assists and a steal in 30 minutes, and he’s actually been relevant over his last three games. Corey Kispert and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored 13 in starts to round out an eight-man Wizards rotation.

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After the game, Karl-Anthony Towns said: “This one hurts, it hurts a lot. One of the toughest losses of the year.” He’s not wrong, and while the implications aren’t horrible, it’s not the kind of momentum they want heading into the play-in. KAT did all he could but to no avail as he scored 26 points (10-of-24 FGs) with 10 boards, four assists, two blocks, two 3-pointers and no turnovers in 35 minutes, but no one else on the team scored more than 18 points, which won’t get it done when the opponent scores 132 of them. Anthony Edwards posted an efficient yet pretty boring 18/6/4 line with a triple and two turnovers, while D’Angelo Russell shot 7-of-14 from the field for a 17/3/11 line with a pair of threes but no defensive stats, just like Ant-Man. Malik Beasley hit four treys in a start for Patrick Beverley (right ankle), while Taurean Prince and Jaylen Nowell had 11 points and a steal apiece off the pine. Jaden McDaniels (left ankle) played for the first time since mid-March, but he didn’t score in his 15 minutes and won’t affect fantasy teams.

Bucks 127, Bulls 106

Seeding updates: The Bucks situation was mentioned above, and the Bulls are the final actual playoff team in the sixth spot, but they could catch the fifth-seeded Raptors, who are just one game ahead of them.

The Bucks got some key guys plenty of rest in the blowout, with Jrue Holiday being the only starter to play more than 20 minutes. Holiday had a nice 11/6/13 line with a block and surprisingly no steals, and Giannis Antetokounmpo only needed 24 minutes to post an efficient 18/9/7 line with a triple. However, the main story here is Brook Lopez, who shot 9-of-14 from the field and drained all nine of his freebies for a season-high 28 points, also adding a big line inclusive of seven rebounds, two steals and three blocks with a triple in 29 minutes. He’s scored in double figures in seven of his last eight and if he’s clicking like this in the postseason, Milwaukee’s chances of going back-to-back are going to be far, far better. Khris Middleton (19/4/5 with three steals), Bobby Portis (13 points, nine boards, two assists in 26 reserve minutes) and Grayson Allen (13 points) all looked like usual and all shot at least 47% from the field, and Portis especially has been playing much better after an awful stretch when Lopez first returned to action.

With no Zach LaVine (left knee), DeMar DeRozan dropped 40 on the Bucks, doing so by hitting 16 of his 26 shots (8-of-8 free throws), and also added three boards, six assists, one steal and four turnovers in 37 minutes. Patrick Williams started for LaVine and had his best game of the season with 18 points, six boards and a pair of triples in 32 minutes, and he hasn’t been bad but this is probably his ceiling over Chicago’s final three games. Other than Coby White’s 13 points and Alex Caruso’s eight dimes, go ahead and throw the rest of the Bulls’ box score away and hope for better things when they play the Celtics on Wednesday (it’s a back-to-back, so check on players’ statuses first to be safe).

Spurs 116, Nuggets 97

Seeding updates: San Antonio is officially a play-in team and, and they could catch the Pelicans, who are just one game ahead, but that’s it. Both squads have three more games to play, and the Spurs have the tiebreaker with New Orleans, which makes it that much more interesting. Minnesota could catch Denver (sixth seed), but it seems unlikely, but the Nuggets are just half a game behind the No. 5 Jazz.

What a huge win by the Spurs despite being without Dejounte Murray, who missed his third straight game with an upper respiratory illness and is also “improbable” to play Thursday, according to coach Gregg Popovich. Six Spurs scored in double figures, with Keldon Johnson (20/8/3) and Devin Vassell (20/8/4/1/1) leading the way. Keldon Johnson has a made a huge leap in his third year in the league, but Devin Vassell has already solidified himself as an all-around contributor in just his second campaign, bettering Johnson by almost three rounds in fantasy rankings on the season. Jakob Poeltl (back) returned from a one-game absence with 14 points (5-of-7 FGs, 4-of-8 FTs), eight boards and three dimes with no defensive stats in just 23 minutes, while Tre Jones continues to impress in the starting unit as he tallied a 14/4/10/1/1 double-double with no turnovers (he hasn’t turned the ball over in four straight, the last three of which were starts). With Dejounte unlikely to play Thursday, Jones basically has must-stream status for that one, so go get him if he’s there. Zach Collins followed up his double-double in Saturday’s start with 13 points, seven boards, three assists, one steal and one turnover in 25 minutes as has looked much better even with Poeltl active, while Josh Richardson piled on 18 points with four triples and two steals in 25 minutes.

Well, this loss was surely not on Nikola Jokic. He saw Embiid’s massive line and thought he should probably get 40 or so points himself, and he did just that with a line of 41 points (18-of-35 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs), 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one triple and two turnovers in 40 minutes. He’s the MVP favorite for a reason and has been putting up video game numbers for months now, and it’s a shame he doesn’t have more help. Aaron Gordon had a full 18/13/2/1/2 line, which was just his sixth double-double of the season, but like Chicago’s box score, go ahead and throw the rest of Denver’s side of it in the nearest garbage can.

Jazz 121, Grizzlies 115

Seeding updates: Utah is a playoff, not play-in, team, but are just half a game ahead of the Nuggets per the section above. They’re also two games behind the Mavericks, with both teams having three more games to play, but the Mavs also hold the tiebreaker.

This was the lone overtime game of the night, and boy was it a fun one. The Jazz are officially a playoff team after getting the narrow victory, and there were plenty of guys that popped off in Tuesday’s win. Jordan Clarkson got hot with 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting and also added five boards, five assists, one steal, three triples and one turnover in 31 bench minutes, but Rudy Gobert gets the game ball. He tallied his second 20-rebound game in a row and his ninth of the season, scoring 22 points (5-of-8 FGs, 12-of-18 FTs) while hauling in 21 boards to go with a steal and a block in 34 minutes. The free throws weren’t ideal, but he’s still a monster. Donovan Mitchell had a horrid showing from the field with a 6-of-24 shooting clip but still got to his 20 points thanks to draining seven of his eight freebies, and he chipped in with eight boards, five assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and one turnover in 41 minutes. Spida has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his last 13 games and he’s shot at least 47% from the field in more than half of those, so shake this one off and hope for better shooting against the G-League Thunder on Wednesday. Mike Conley turned it over five times but still recorded a 13/6/8 line with two treys and a steal in the process, while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting with three random steals and three very normal triples. Even Hassan Whiteside got in on the fun with a 14/10 double-double with four swats in only 19 minutes, but with Memphis shooting just 38.6% from the floor, there were plenty of rebounds to go around.

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Jaren Jackson Jr. shot a miserable 8-of-27 from the floor for a team-high 28 points, but he hit a couple huge triples that allowed his team to even get to the overtime period. He added seven boards, two assists, one steal, three 3-pointers and three swats, and he has officially passed Pau Gasol (169 blocks in 2001-2002) for the most blocks in a single season in Grizzlies history. Tyus Jones’ offense was flowing with a 24/2/5 line with a steal, making all four of his triples and 10 of his 19 shots overall, but he missed a layup with seconds remaining in regulation that may have changed the outcome of the game. Desmond Bane stole the ball a career-high five times and scored 23 points (8-of-21 FGs), with seven rebounds, two assists, three 3-pointers and three turnovers in 37 minutes, while De’Anthony Melton had a cheap double-double with four dimes and a block in 28 minutes off the pine. Steven Adams did everything but score as he had one basket and one free throw (1-of-4 from each) but grabbed 13 rebounds along with eight assists, two steals, one block and three turnovers in 28 minutes. Kyle Anderson tallied a 8/4/2 line with a pair of blocks back in his usual bench role, but one of his three field goals was the buzzer-beating layup off a Desmond Bane miss to send his team into an extra five-minute period.

Pelicans 123, Kings 109

Seeding updates: The Pelicans clinched a play-in berth with the victory Tuesday, and they’re ahead of the Spurs by a game, so they’ll either finish as the ninth or tenth seed, which doesn’t make a ton of difference.

C.J. McCollum was fantastic in Tuesday’s win with a 23/4/5 line with four steals all while going 10-of-19 from the floor, but tonight was all about Jaxson Hayes. With Jonas Valanciunas (right ankle) taking the night off, he saw plenty of extra touches in his 29 minutes and tied his career highs in both points (23) and rebounds (12), adding an assist, a steal and two triples along the way. He’s played very well in three of his last four after a string of four straight single-digit scoring peformances before those and could feast again if JV misses more time. Willy Hernangomez posted a 12/12 double-double with three dimes and a swat in 26 minutes of a spot start, and Brandon Ingram posted a 17/7/8 line but shot just 5-of-16 from the floor with no defensive stats, which is the main reason he’s only a sixth-rounder on the season. Trey Murphy III and Devonte’ Graham each had 14 points with seven combined triples but little else, Larry Nance Jr. had a quietly nice 10/4/3/1/1 line in 22 minutes and Herb Jones kept his thievery going with four more swipes despite a quiet night otherwise.

Before Tuesday’s game, Kings coach Alvin Gentry said that rookie Davion Mitchell wouldn’t play his usual workload over his last three games (Tuesday’s included) because he’s been playing so much, and then decided to play him a team-high 40 minutes (10 minutes more than the closest King). Thanks, Gentry. Davion went nuts, however, and finished with a career-high 17 assists, which easily topped his previous best of 10, and he also scored 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting with a board, one triple and unfortunately five turnovers. Gentry also said that De’Aaron Fox (right hand) and Domantas Sabonis (left knee) haven’t technically been ruled out for the final two games, but you’ve learned in this paragraph alone that he’s probably not telling the truth and I highly doubt they suit up again. Damian Jones has been a beast in the starting lineup lately, posting third-round numbers over the past two weeks and helping that with 22 points (8-of-10 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), four boards, one assist, one block and one triple in only 29 minutes of the loss. No Richaun Holmes (personal) or Alex Len (back) helps, but even if Len is active next game, Jones is the easy choice. Harrison Barnes scored 12 points with six rebounds, as did Chimezie Metu (but Metu had two blocks) and even Jeremy Lamb made some noise with a 15/5/5/1/1 line in 23 minutes. Donte DiVincenzo completely flopped, but Lamb got semi-hot and DiVincenzo will likely outplay him for the remainder of the season.

Suns 121, Lakers 100

Seeding updates: There it is, everyone. The Los Angeles Lakers, a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, will not be competing in the play-in tournament. It’s shocking to those who haven’t been watching them, but if you have been, you know they don’t deserve it whatsoever. I wouldn’t expect LeBron (ankle) to play again, while Anthony Davis may not either. The Suns are sitting pretty with the best record in the league and that won’t change.

Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder all sat out their previous game against the Thunder but all suited up for this one, and while Crowder shot just 3-of-11 from the field for a 8/4/5 line with two steals and two treys, Booker and Ayton led the team to a victory. Booker hit six triples on his way to 32 points (12-of-22 shooting overall) and also contributed seven boards, four dimes, one steal and one turnover in 30 minutes, while Deandre Ayton needed just 27 minutes to post a 22-point, 13-board double-double with a block on a blistering 10-of-14 shooting clip. The rest of the scoring wasn’t all too impressive, but Cam Johnson scored 12 points with five boards, one steal and three triples, Mikal Bridges scored just 10 points and added four boards, two assists and two steals in 27 minutes and Chris Paul scored just six points but controlled Phoenix’s offense with 12 dimes in addition to four rebounds and two steals in only 24 minutes.

Anthony Davis was questionable with his foot injury but played through it, grimacing his way to a 21/13/1/1/1 line in 36 minutes. He was clearly hurting but he gets some credit for playing the most minutes on the team, but to no avail given the result. Russell Westbrook shot 10-of-20 from the field and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe for a 28/5/3 line, which is all good, but the lack of defensive stats and six turnovers is not so good, but that’s Russ. Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley and Malik Monk all played less than 20 minutes each despite starting and were all underwhelming, while Carmelo Anthony (10/6/2/2/1) and Austin Reaves (18/4/6 with a steal and two triples in 31 minutes) were the only other Lakers besides AD and Westbrook to make any noise. This is not how the roster will look next season, so expect the front office to make plenty of changes and hopefully get back to their winning ways.



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