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Dose: Lillard Time

Sunday, February 25, 2018


It was another entertaining Saturday evening in the Association, highlighted by another Damian Lillard game-winner, a dominant effort from Joel Embiid, and a brilliant all-around performance from Kyrie Irving.


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Nightly Notables:
Joel Embiid was dominant on both ends of the floor in the Sixers win over the Magic on Saturday, finishing with 28 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one block and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. He has now scored at least 24 points and grabbed 12 boards in five of his last six games. Embiid owners got a second helping of good news when Joel told reporters that he will play in the second night of the Sixers' back-to-back (Sunday at Washington).


Aaron Gordon tallied 20 points, seven rebounds, four 3-pointers, one block and matched his career-high by dishing out seven dimes in 31 minutes on Saturday. Gordon has struggled with his shot since returning from a hip injury after the All-Star break (a combined 11-for-28), but he’s salvaged his fantasy lines by boarding and assisting. Interestingly, coach Frank Vogel had Gordon facilitate the offense by occasionally bringing the ball up the floor in the second half vs. the Sixers.


Kyrie Irving did it all in the Celtics victory over the Knicks on Saturday. He poured in 31 points, pulled down nine rebounds, dished out eight assists, recorded two steals and knocked down six 3-pointers. According to Basketball-Reference, Irving joins Antoine Walker as just the second Celtic in franchise history with at least 31/9/8 and six made treys in a regular season game.


Stephen Curry grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go along with 21 points, six assists, five treys, three steals and just two turnovers in the Warriors blowout victory over the Thunder on Saturday night… Kevin Durant scored 28 points with five rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in his revenge game vs. OKC. The Thunder had beaten Golden State soundly in each of their first two matchups this season.


Damian Lillard is as locked in as any player on the planet right now. Dame dropped 40 on the Suns Saturday night, including the game-winning layup with less than a second remaining on the clock. He also registered ten rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. Over the Blazers last five games, Lillard has scored a total of 197 points. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most by any NBA player over a five-game span this season, topping James Harden’s total of 193 points. In addition, it’s also the highest five-game total in Blazers franchise history. Dame is averaging 39.4 points, 4.2 boards, 4.6 assists and 3.8 treys over this stretch.


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope exploded for 34 points, including eight 3-pointers, to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and zero turnovers on Saturday. KCP was 12-of-20 from the field and 8-of-14 from downtown. Kobe Bryant is the only player in Lakers franchise history with more than eight treys in one game.

 

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On the Radar:
Ben Simmons finished with 17 points (on 7-of-11 shooting), four rebounds, seven assists and a steal on Saturday. It was his 50th time this season scoring in double-figures, which is tops among all rookies… Marco Belinelli scored 15 points with two rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. However, no reason to get too excited, as Belinelli did most of his damage in garbage time… Richaun Holmes tallied four points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 21 minutes off the bench.


Evan Fournier scored 16 points and added six rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes vs. the Sixers. Fournier is in a nice offensive rhythm right now, having scored 20-plus points in four of Orlando’s last five games prior to Saturday… Mario Hezonja finished with 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. It was Mario’s fifth straight game in double-figures. Encouragingly, he has been closing out games for Orlando, and did so again on Saturday… Nikola Vucevic had 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.


Trey Burke poured in 26 points and dished out eight dimes in 26 minutes off the bench on Saturday. That's two terrific outings in a row for Burke, who tallied 26 points and six assists Thursday night vs. the Magic. According to Basketball-Reference, Burke is the first Knicks guard with more than 25 points and more than five assists in consecutive games since Nate Robinson in 2009. Trey will likely continue to see 20-plus minutes a night, so he’s worth taking a flier on, but it’s unlikely he'll come close to maintaining this level of production. Keep in mind: Burke scored 18 points in back-to-back games in late January, but then scored a total of three points over New York’s next two contests… Emmanuel Mudiay started at point guard and scored 13 points with four rebounds, six assists, one steal and four turnovers in 25 minutes… Frank Ntilikina had eight points, five boards and one assist in 24 minutes… With Mudiay, Burke and Ntilikina seeing additional playing time, Courtney Lee logged just 16 minutes and finished with two points, one rebound and one assist. His fantasy stock is plummeting.


Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 23 points, to go along with two rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes against the Grizzlies on Saturday… Surprisingly, Justise Winslow was an important contributor for Miami in their win over Memphis. Winslow scored a season-high 17 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) with seven rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Winslow had scored a total of 17 points over his last five games combined, on just 19.2 percent shooting… Josh Richardson had five steals for the second straight game. He also added 15 points and three boards on Saturday… Hassan Whiteside had 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and three blocks in 26 minutes.


Russell Westbrook finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in the Thunder’s blowout loss to the Warriors. However, he was just 4-of-15 from the floor and also committed five turnovers… Still, OKC’s dud of the night was definitely Paul George. Remarkably, PG-13 missed 13 of the 14 field goals he attempted, finishing with five points, five boards and three assists… Carmelo Anthony joined the inefficiency parade as well, shooting just 6-of-17, for his 14 points. Melo has shot below 50 percent from the floor in 13 straight games.


Draymond Green had 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds on Saturday. However, he also picked up his 15th technical of the season with a minute left in the first half. He is now just one tech away from an automatic suspension.


Jeff Teague stayed hot in the Wolves victory over the Bulls, tallying 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three triples and two steals. Over Minnesota’s last five games, Teague is averaging 20.0 points, 4.0 boards, 7.0 assists and 1.4 steals, while shooting 60.0 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from downtown… Karl-Anthony Towns (22 points and 13 rebounds) registered his league-leading 52nd double-double on the season… Taj Gibson had 19 points, ten rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes. Gibson has been an underrated fantasy producer all season long.


Zach LaVine was superb in his first game back in Minnesota since being traded to Chicago over the summer. LaVine tallied 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot… It was also Kris Dunn’s first game back in Minny. Dunn had 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots over 29 minutes… Lauri Markkanen had another disappointing outing, shooting just 1-of-8 from the floor and finishing with three points, seven boards and two blocks. Markkanen has scored a total of six points on 2-of-16 shooting in Chicago's last two games. He’ll look to get back on track Monday in Brooklyn.


Donovan Mitchell got the Jazz back on track Saturday night, carrying Utah to a win over the Mavs. Mitchell scored 25 points and chipped in six rebounds, five assists, four treys, and two steals. He has scored more than 20 points in six straight contests and leads all rookies in 20-point games this season.


J.J. Barea scored 17 points and dished out a game-high 12 dimes on Saturday. Barea has been a dependable source of assists all year long, and especially so of late. Over his last seven games, Barea is averaging 8.8 assists to go along with 12.7 points… Dennis Smith Jr. was disappointingly inefficient on Saturday. He shot just 2-of-11 from the floor for his seven points. Worse yet, he didn’t record a single assist, while turning the ball over five times.


Devin Booker scored 30 points and added nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and five treys on Saturday. Booked launched 28 shots, and will have the ultimate green light over the final two months of the season… Elfrid Payton had 13 points, six boards, 11 assists and four turnovers.


Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield all played well despite the Kings falling to the Lakers on Saturday night. Cauley-Stein tallied 18 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks over 37 minutes. Hield had 21 points, eight rebounds and an assist in 31 minutes off the bench. Bogdanovic also scored 21 and chipped in six boards, four assists and four 3-pointers.


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