Pacers win but lose Domantas Sabonis

The schedule for Monday's nine games was not lacking in action and there were some key events on the injury front. Indiana lost its All-Star Center in the first quarter of a win over the Raptors, while Philadelphia had no All-Star Pivot at all. In the west, injuries robbed Portland of two starters, the Clippers learned their two starts will be canceled, and Golden State changed its starting line-up. Below is a look at what happened, starting with the NBA having to postpone another game.
Monday results
Piston 119, 76er 104
Pacers 129, Raptors 114
Magic 117, hornets 108
Nets 98, heat 85
Lakers 115, Cavaliers 108
Nuggets 117, Mavericks 113
Celtics 119, Bulls 103
Warriors 130, Timberwolves 108
Thunder 125, Trail Blazer 122
Kings in grizzlies, spurs in pelicans moved
League Postpones Spurs / Pelicans Matchup: Unfortunately, the NBA had to postpone another game on Monday as contact tracing measures prohibited the Spurs and Pelicans from playing. According to ESPN's Andrew Lopez, the problem was that a non-team member who was part of both teams' travel groups may have been exposed to COVID-19. As a result, no team was able to meet the minimum requirements for available players (eight). San Antonio is expected to host Boston on Wednesday, while New Orleans will host Washington (which played the Spurs in its first game in almost two weeks on Sunday) that same evening.
Leonard, George Don't Travel By Logs: The Clippers will begin their road trip Tuesday night in Atlanta without their top two players as neither Kawhi Leonard nor Paul George made the trek due to the league's health and safety protocols. A total of three starters will miss this game as Patrick Beverley (pain in right knee) did not travel either. So who should fantasy managers be looking for to take off the waiver wire? Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka have been the most prolific clippers out there when it comes to fantasy basketball as both are top 100 players in 9 cat formats. Even so, Lou Williams and Luke Kennard will see their chances increase significantly on Tuesday night. They are currently represented in 44% and 15% of the Yahoo leagues, respectively. Under the circumstances, learning either or both is really not that big a gamble.
Pacer lose Sabonis, but still manage to win: Indiana managed to take revenge on the Raptors on Monday evening and achieve a split between the two teams. But the win may come at a high price as Domantas Sabonis left the game in the first quarter with a left knee injury. He was able to go back to the locker room on his own, and an MRI is scheduled for Tuesday. Up until this point in the season, Sabonis was a top 50 player in 8- and 9-cat formats, doing slightly better than his Yahoo ADP (48) in both formats.
So what if Sabonis has to miss additional games? For one thing, Myles Turner sees a significant increase in color contact. Averaging 1.5 3-pointers per game for the season, Turner didn't try a Monday night as he ended up with 21 points (5 out of 9 FGs, 11 out of 16 FTs), 10 rebounds, one assist, and three blocks played for 33 minutes.
Jeremy Lamb's fantasy profile would improve too, and in 33 minutes he was responsible for 22 points (7 of 12 FGs, 5 of 5 FTs), seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. He seems like the obvious choice to fill the void on the starting grid, and Lamb is currently featured in 47% of Yahoo's leagues. With Lamb providing a round six value in both 8 and 9 cat formats, he makes for a good pick up even if Sabonis gets a clean health certificate.
76ers play without Embiid: Philadelphia was without its best player for Monday's rematch with the Pistons, as Joel Embiid was sidelined due to back pain. The 76ers are slated to host the Lakers Wednesday night, and on paper that game seemed to be more difficult than Monday's matchup with one of the worst teams in the league. Hopefully Embiid can play on Wednesday as Philadelphia really missed him in that game. Dwight Howard started the game but didn't offer much in terms of production and ended with five points, four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot in 24 minutes.
Most nights, the strategy of adding Howard to the line-up to account for an absent Embiid pays off for fantasy managers. Even if he doesn't score much, the rebound / defensive stats can be valuable. That wasn't the case with Howard on Monday and Doc Rivers decided to go down the middle with Tony Bradley to start the second half. Bradley, who is out of rotation when Embiid is healthy, scored 12 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot in 23 minutes. It's still not worth rusting regardless of the league format, but it was good that Bradley was ready to play rotation minutes.
MPJ, in turn, continues to make waves: The most talked-about topic at the Denver Nuggets is that little forward position as Michael Porter Jr. won the starting job last season, but a case of COVID-19 opened the door to Will Barton. However, who starts the games is not a problem for coach Michael Malone as he focuses on who is on the pitch to finish the games.
“Everyone who starts will be caught up. It's such a big deal. For each. I don't really understand, "said Malone after the victory on Monday over the Mavericks. "If you have the chance to finish the game, it is more important than hearing your name before a game in an arena with no fans. Anyway, I digress ..."
Porter Jr. had one of his best games of the season, beating the Mavericks in Dallas on Monday. He shot 10 of 18 off the field and scored 30 points, along with eight rebounds, two steals and six 3-pointers off the bench in 28 minutes. Barton did not shoot the ball well and made only two of his nine field attempts, but he added seven rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes to his six points. The good thing about both of them is that they can be used together, giving you plenty of minutes.
Porter Jr. offers the higher cap in both the nuggets rotation and fantasy basketball as it has a top 15 value for the season in 9 cat formats. He's featured in 94% of Yahoo's leagues, and for good reason. Barton, on the other hand, was not a top 100 player and is available in 52% of the Yahoo leagues.
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In return, Tatum plays well: Boston was in Chicago without Kemba Walker because he had the night free in the second game of a duel. But they welcomed another of their stars back when Jayson Tatum played for the first time since January 8 due to a COVID-19 case. There were no limits to him either, as Tatum played 31 minutes and scored a line of 24 points (10 of 21 FGs), four rebounds, five assists, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers. Boston will have its three stars Tatum, Walker and Jaylen Brown (26/5/2/2 with two 3-pointers in 30 minutes) available for Wednesday's game in San Antonio (if the Spurs have enough players available). In this case, the question must be asked who is sitting to make room for Walker.
The answer to this question seems to be Tristan Thompson, at least on paper. He didn't attempt a shot in his 17 minutes on Monday night, but he scored ten rebounds at team level. Daniel Theis brought more offensively on the table, scored 19 points and distributed three assists. He was also responsible for three rebounds, three steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer. Marcus Smart (13/5/11/2/1 with a 3-pointer in 26 minutes) is another option, but he's been a staple on the grid throughout the season. I'd bet Thompson, who ranks 21% of the Yahoo leagues, is the weird man. While his rebound can be useful to fantasy managers, the seasoned power forward / center hasn't brought much else to the table so far.
Looney replaces Wiseman on the starting line-up: After the defeats to Knicks and Jazz, the starting line-up of Golden State was noticed by fans and media members alike. The focus of a lot of those conversations was on the offense, with Kelly Oubre being the player who many (myself included) believed was destined to move to the second unit. Steve Kerr's focus, however, was on the other end of the floor and before Monday's game against the Timberwolves he made the decision to move to the center position with a more experienced hand.
James Wiseman was transferred to the bench, with Kevon Looney replacing him on the grid. Looney didn't offer much offensively, scoring two points on the 4-1 shoot-out while adding five rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot in 19 minutes. His value to the rotation of Warriors vastly outweighs his fantasy value, so there is no reason for anyone to sign Looney, even if they stay on the grid. Wiseman played 16 minutes and scored 13 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.
The rookie's Fantasy score has dropped significantly in the past few games, to the point where he is outside the top 200 in 9 cat formats. And if Wiseman played in his teens for minutes, that would be bad news for those who have him on the roster.
"Development is not the same as playing time or vice versa," said Kerr after the win on Monday. Development is more difficult to define. Sometimes you can learn to observe. We find creative ways to teach him between games. Its development takes place all the time. "
Golden State will be playing three more games this week, so it's best to stick with Wiseman for now as he'll stay on rotation. But keep an eye on his minutes.
Maledon replaced the injured Hill in the first five games: After George Hill was excluded due to a bruised right thumb, Thunder rookie guard Theo Maledon started his career against Portland for the first time on Monday. He played 22 minutes and made six points, four rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. Even if Hill is on pause, Maldon is not worth rusting up regardless of the league format. In addition to its lack of production, the surplus of young perimeter players in Oklahoma City Maledon makes it difficult to get the opportunities it needs to be a fantasy asset. Another reason why he should be left alone no matter what happens to Hill: The Thunder are only slated to play twice this week.
After playing a total of 16 minutes in the last three games he appeared in, Justin Jackson hit that total on Sunday night, scoring six points, two rebounds and three assists. There's no reason to ever think of picking up Jackson, especially in standard leagues.
Melo, Trent Jr. for absent starters: In addition to C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic dropped out of Portland on Monday night due to an injury to two other rotation players. Robert Covington (concussion) and Rodney Hood (thigh contusion) were both injured in Sunday's win over the Knicks, and while the latter was originally available for Monday's loss to Donner, he ultimately didn't play. These gaps in the starting grid were filled by Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr., who each scored 22 points that night. Trent Jr. was the more efficient of the two shooters as he went 9 of 17 to Anthony's 9 of 21, but he was only responsible for one rebound, two steals, and four 3-pointers in his 41 minutes.
Anthony, on the other hand, scored six rebounds, an assist, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes. The future Hall of Fame striker, who is represented in 38% of the Yahoo leagues, is offering round 11 value in 9-cat formats for the season. Covington and Hood are expected to be available at some point during Portland's six-game road trip that begins Thursday in Houston, but the team has not given an exact schedule. Anthony and Trent Jr. (who make up 14% of Yahoo's leagues) are well worth checking out for this reason. Anfernee Simons (26/2/1/1 with six 3-pointers in 26 minutes) had a productive night off the bench, and Portland's lack of depth makes him a player worthy of consideration in lower leagues.
Garland comes back from the bench: As for the bench, Cleveland's Darius Garland started Monday's game against the Lakers with the second unit. He has had a minute limit since returning from a shoulder injury and coach J.B. Bickerstaff has decided to leave the point guard with the reserves for the second year. That could change as soon as Cleveland's next game takes place against the Pistons on Wednesday night. Garland played 26 minutes on Monday and made 11 points (5 out of 10 FGs), two rebounds, five assists and two turnovers.
A key for Garland when it comes to his fantasy value will be his revenue, as he averages a little under three per game. In 9-cat formats, it provides a value for the 13th round and its value increases until the eighth round in 8-cat formats when sales are reduced. Taurean Prince is the player most likely to be moved to the second session once Garland's minute limit is lifted. In 25 minutes he has seven points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Prince, who is featured in 20% of the Yahoo leagues, offers a top 50 score for 9 cats last week. Cedi Osman (20/2/2/3 with five 3-pointers in 32 minutes) is also worth a look as he's featured in 34% of the Yahoo leagues.
The Cavs were without their best fantasy actor as Larry Nance Jr. was out with a right wrist injury. Prince and Osman used most of the minutes available.
Lowry fights in return and is thrown out: After missing two games with a toe injury, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was back on the starting line-up for Monday's game against the Pacers. And boy, he looked rusty, shot 2-11 off the field and finished with 12 points, two rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a 3-pointer in 33 minutes before being thrown at the end of the fourth quarter. The disappointing thing when it comes to Lowry's line is the assistant list, as he averages more than six per game in the season. Toronto starts with a three-game home game against the Bucks on Wednesday night and they need a more effective Lowry for that.
Lowry's return put Stanley Johnson back on the bench and likely back on the waiver wire in most leagues. Johnson made four points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot in his 26 minutes. Even if the unrated numbers are as they were, he's not a player worth playing regardless of the size of the league.
Norman Powell (24/6/6/1 with two 3-pointers in 40 minutes) continues to produce in the absence of Pascal Siakam. He has scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games and has scored an 11th round score in the last week. This isn't a great production, but a lot better than what Powell brought to the table earlier this season. Siakam missed both games against the Pacers and had a groin injury in addition to the swelling of his left knee.
Gordon (hip / back) plays 34 minutes in victory: Orlando welcomed his second playmaker back to the line-up on Monday night as Aaron Gordon was on the starting line-up after losing to the Hornets on Sunday to hip and back pain. He played 34 minutes and made 12 points (3 of 9 FGs, 4 of 10 FTs), 11 rebounds, seven assists, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers. Gordon's problem when it comes to fantasy value: sales.
For the past week he's averaged just over four turnovers per game, which essentially undermines whatever boost he's getting by giving him the freedom to initiate the offense when Cole Anthony is on the bench. Gordon has been a top 70 player in 8 cat formats for the past week and sits outside of the top 100 in 9 cat formats. Gordon's return makes Jordan Bone completely out of rotation, but he wasn't a worthy fantasy option even while gaming.
Anthony has made positive progress as the Orlando starting point guard, posting a line of 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, four 3-pointers and three turnovers in 31 minutes on Monday. For the past week, Anthony was a top 75 8- and 9-cat player, but he's only featured in 38% of Yahoo's leagues. That needs to change.
Some notable stat lines
LeBron James: 46 points (19 of 26 FGs, 1 of 2 FTs), eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks and seven 3-pointers in 38 minutes against Cleveland.
Malcolm Brogdon: 36 points (10 of 17 FGs, 13 of 14 FTs), seven rebounds, nine assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes against Toronto.
Stephen Curry: 36 points (11 of 21 FGs, 7 of 8 FTs), four rebounds, three assists, three steals and seven 3-pointers in 34 minutes against Minnesota.
Delon Wright: 28 points (8 of 12 FGs, 8 of 9 FTs), seven rebounds, nine assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 36 minutes against Philadelphia.
James Harden: 20 points (7 of 10 FGs, 3 of 5 FTs), four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes against Miami.
Andre Drummond: 25 points (11 of 21 FGs, 3 of 3 FTs), 17 rebounds and an assist in 28 minutes against the Lakers.
Luka Doncic: 35 points (11 of 23 FGs, 10 of 10 FTs), 11 rebounds, 16 assists, four steals, a block and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes against Denver.
Zach LaVine: 30 points (11 of 19 FGs, 2 of 2 FTs), six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and six 3-pointers in 34 minutes against Boston.
Malik Beasley: 30 points (10 of 18 FGs, 6 of 6 FTs), seven rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers in 30 minutes against Golden State.
Enes Kanter: 13 points (5 of 10 FGs, 3 of 4 FTs), 22 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 32 minutes against Oklahoma City.
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Indiana Pacers

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