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The Pistons and forward Blake Griffin have mutually agreed to a contract buyout, making him a free agent. The veteran averaged a career-low 12.3 points throughout 20 games during the 2021 campaign. He has a lengthy history of knee injuries, but he may have enough gas in the tank to make a difference for a team looking to win a title this season. He is worth hanging on to in deeper leagues, but only if fantasy managers have room to spare as he still has plenty of upside to offer, especially if he remains healthy and on the floor.
Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis notched his fourth triple-double of the year in a loss to the Nuggets. Sabonis was held to just 10 points but racked up 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals in 38 minutes of action. The All-Star big man played through a sore ankle for the second straight game, as he was on the court for 35-plus minutes in both contests. Sabonis did struggle with his shot a bit, though the 10 assists matched his season-high. He'll get a couple of days to rest his ankle before he takes part in the All-Star game. Sabonis should be rid of the questionable tags when he takes the court in the second half.
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner drew a tough player matchup against MVP candidate Nikola Jokic on Thursday- and lived to tell the tale, despite his team's loss. Turner contributed 22 points, 12 boards, three triples, three blocks, and a steal in 38 minutes of action. The 24-year-old continues to be a shot-blocking menace for Indiana and his fantasy managers, particularly in category formats. Turner's versatility has delivered top-20 value in such formats, powered by his 4.4 combined blocks and steals, as well as a career-high 1.5 makes from beyond the arc. He'll rest up during the All-Star break before he attempts to keep Indiana in the thick of the playoff race in the second half.
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. had an excellent game in a win over the Pacers on Thursday. Porter scored 24 points with 11 rebounds, five triples, two steals, and a block in 38 minutes. The 22-year-old slumped through the first half of February but has turned it on recently, perhaps motivated by head coach Mike Malone wanting more out of him. He's recorded a double-double in five of his last six games, with at least a couple of threes and some nice defensive stats mixed in. Porter has embraced the small-ball four role, though it will be interesting to see what the Nuggets decide to do when Paul Millsap (knee) and JaMychal Green (shoulder) return to the lineup.
New Orleans Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram did a little bit of everything in Thursday's loss to Miami, recording 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds, two steals, and one block. He looked set for a huge night with Zion Williamson (toe) out, but Ingram ended up being surprisingly passive by taking only 12 shots, hitting half of them. He went 3-for-3 with the freebies. Ingram went seven straight games with 20-plus points, so he'll be disappointed that his streak ended. However, the 23-year-old scoring machine can start a new streak in a pair of dream matchups straight after the All-Star break against Minnesota and Cleveland, who both have leaky defenses. Ingram had an easy 30-point game on 55 percent shooting in his last meeting with the T-Wolves.
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac had a strong game off the bench in Thursday night's loss to the Washington Wizards. Zubac shot 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from the line. He scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while also adding an assist and a steal. He played nearly 29 minutes in the game, well above his season average of nearly 20 minutes per game. Zubac is averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on the year while shooting 65.9% from the field. When the minutes have been there, he's delivered strong rebounding numbers, but he's seen limited playing time in certain matchups and that should continue after the All-Star Break as well.
Miami Heat forward/center Kelly Olynyk left a big mark on Thursday's 103-93 win against the Pelicans, picking up an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double while also handing out seven dimes and snatching one steal. He shot 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown in 37 minutes. The 29-year-old got some extra burn with Bam Adebayo (knee) sitting out this one. Olynyk rarely gets a chance to shine in Miami, but he's had a few really good outings and it's been a solid season overall by him. The Heat has had a lot of injury issues and fantasy managers should keep a close eye on the situation, as Olynyk will be one of the beneficiaries if their rotation shortens.
Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook had a strong game in Thursday night's win over the Los Angeles Clippers, despite some shooting woes at the free throw line. Westbrook scored 27 points to go along with 11 assists, nine rebounds, four steals and two threes. He committed just one turnover in the game, an encouraging output after he'd committed at least five turnovers in each of his previous four games. Westbrook shot 9-for-19 from the field on Thursday, but was only 7-for-15 from the free throw strike. He's now shooting 58.3% from the free throw line on the year, well below his career mark of 79.4%. Westbrook goes into the All-Star Break nearly averaging a triple double with 20.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game.
Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler returned from a two-game absence with a vintage performance on Thursday, finishing a 103-93 win over New Orleans with a game-high 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting. He was 8-for-9 at the foul line while adding nine assists, three rebounds, and three steals with three turnovers in 34 minutes. Butler has done it all for Miami this season, as he finished the first half of the year averaging 20.5 points, eight assists, 7.5 rebounds, and two steals. The Heat will face a few struggling defenses when action restarts, so Butler should have a productive three-game week against Orlando and Chicago.
Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal led all scorers with 33 points in Thursday night's 119-117 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He shot 9-for-23 from the field and 14-for-15 from the line in the game. He also had seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and he committed just one turnover. Beal heads into the All-Star Break as the league's leading scorer, averaging 32.9 points per game. He's also averaging 5.4rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 48.2% from the field.
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant made it back-to-back 30-point games for himself when he had 35 points on 11-for-25 shooting in Thursday's narrow loss to Milwaukee. It was a pretty inefficient scoring night, but Morant just hurt his shooting percentage with a 3-for-13 effort from downtown. He went 10-for-11 from the foul line, adding six rebounds, five assists, and one steal with four turnovers in 39 minutes. Morant was limited to just six points in a blowout win over Houston on Feb. 28 and he's gone completely wild since then. Fantasy managers will hope that last year's top rookie won't cool down during the All-Star break. Morant starts off the second half of the season with a very favorable matchup against the Wizards, who are giving up the second-most points in the league to the point guard position this season.
Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee had a solid game in Thursday night's 114-104 loss to the New York Knicks. Plumlee shot 4-for-7 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line while racking up 12 points and 13 rebounds. He also had four assists and a block. Plumlee is off to a great start in March as his previous game before this one was a triple-double. Jerami Grant (quadriceps) has been sidelined the past two games, which has forced Plumlee to take on a greater responsibility. Plumlee heads into the All-Star Break averaging 10.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 60.7% from the field.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo flirted with a triple-double in Thursday's win over Memphis, going for 26 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. He also had two steals and one block with four turnovers in 36 minutes of action. Giannis, who shot 10-for-19 from the field on Thursday, became the top pick of this year's All-Star draft and he's definitely the first choice in the MVP voting for many as well. He finished the first half of the season averaging 29 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists on 55.7 percent shooting, which are very close to the numbers he has posted during his previous two MVP campaigns, and he's been improving them as the season has gone on.
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday had 15 points off the bench and hit the game-winning shot in Thursday's 112-111 victory over Memphis. He shot 6-for-14 from the field and had three assists, two rebounds, and two steals with one turnover in 23 minutes. Holiday has been coming off the bench in recent games and hasn't played much as he is working his way back from COVID-19. With the All-Star break now coming up, Holiday will have some extra time to focus on his conditioning, and he should be back among the starters soon. Milwaukee starts the second half of the season with a potentially tricky matchup against the Knicks, but they will then face Washington and their horrible defense in back-to-back outings.
New York Knicks center Nerlens Noel had one of his best all-around games of the year in Thursday night's 114-104 win over the Detroit Pistons. Noel shot 5-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line. He scored 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds, two assists, four steals and two blocks. He played a season-high 42 minutes in the contest. He's now grabbed double-digit rebounds in three straight games, but this was his first double-double of the year. Noel has seen extended opportunities with Mitchell Robinson (hand) sidelined and he's taken full advantage. Robinson is set to be reevaluated after the All-Star Break. Noel's minutes will certainly take a big hit when Robinson returns, but Noel has done enough over this recent stretch to earn more playing time the rest of the way.
New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle led all scorers with 27 points in Thursday night's win over the Detroit Pistons. He shot 11-for-19 from the field in the game. He also grabbed 16 rebounds to notch his sixth double-double over his past seven games. He hit a three on Thursday night and dished out seven assists, also adding a block. Randle goes into the All-Star Break with career-best averages almost across the board. He's averaging 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 48.3% from the field.
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher posted a season-high 30 points in Thursday's loss to the Celtics. Boucher also had five rebounds in the contest during 35 minutes of play. With Pascal Siakam out as of late (COVID-19 protocols), the forward has stepped up, posting at least 18 points and five rebounds in the past two contests. Boucher is only averaging 13.1 points per game this season and his numbers may return to this range after the All-Star break if Pascal Siakam is able to return to the court.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry finished with 14 points, three rebounds, 19 assists, and one steal during Thursday's loss to the Celtics. In six of the past eight games, Lowry now has at least 20 points. He also has a triple-double or double-double in two of the past three games. Overall, Lowry is heading into the All-Star break on a good note and will look to rest up before gearing up for the next half of the season.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum racked up 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 37 minutes during Thursday's win over the Raptors. The 23-year-old has been a little hot and cold recently but he does have at least 27 points in two of the last three games. The youngster heads into the All-Star break averaging 24.9 points per game.
Golden State Warriors forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (wrist) has been listed as questionable Thursday against the Suns. Oubre was held out of Wednesday's game with the left wrist issue- and is probably going to sit out another with the All-Star break coming up. With Stephen Curry (rest) and Draymond Green (rest) already out, Oubre could see a monster workload if he suits up. If not, it will be up to Andrew Wiggins and Kent Bazemore to step up. Rookie James Wiseman could also see increased usage, though he has a tough matchup against Deandre Ayton.
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