Tue Jun 18 6:35pm ET
By WAYNE PARRY
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) New Jersey lawmakers are considering loosening their sports betting restrictions to allow the owner of the Golden Nugget casino to accept bets on most National Basketball Association teams.
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the casino and also owns the NBA's Houston Rockets.
When New Jersey lawmakers legalized sports betting last year, a provision in the law banned team owners from placing or accepting bets on any games involving their sport.
It was directly aimed at the Golden Nugget and enacted over protests that Nevada regulators allow Fertitta's casinos to take bets on pro basketball games as long as they don't involve the Rockets.
A bill introduced Monday in the New Jersey Legislature would allow team owners to take bets on games involving other teams in their leagues but not their own.
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic was not his dominant self against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. In 33 minutes of action, Vucevic provided 12 points and nine rebounds along with three assists and two steals. It was the fewest amount of points Vucevic has scored since the restart after posting back-to-back 20-plus point performances to begin the resumed season. Vucevic has become so reliable that it is unusual to see him not post a double-double. Daily fantasy managers that will automatically put him back in their lineups should be wary. The Magic's next opponent is the Philadelphia 76ers with their third-best defense versus opposing centers.
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had a quiet night on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. In a 109-99 win that almost guarantees Toronto the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Siakam registered 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 34 minutes. Last season's Most Improved Player has been quiet during the NBA restart. The forward is averaging 17.3 points, seven rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Those are all below his season averages. Hopefully, he can return to his usual form during the final five games of the regular season and turn the corner before the playoffs begin.
In a 109-99 win over the Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. The point guard came almost as close as you can to recording a triple-double without recording a double-double. Lowry had eight points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists in 38 minutes. After a dominating performance against the Lakers on Saturday, the 34-year-old has been quieter in the box score over the last two games. The Raptors take on the Philadelhpia 76ers next, and could be without Ben Simmons for the game. If Lowry's price tag is lowered because of his previous two statistical outings, I like the idea of slotting him in my daily lineup on Friday night.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred Vanvleet scored a game-high 21 points on Wednesday night. In a 109-99 win over the Orlando Magic, FVV scored 21 points to go along with 10 assists, four rebounds, and one steal. The 26-year-old shot 8-for-13 from the field and made two of his five attempts from behind the three-point line. The guard is averaging 23.3 points, 8.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in a massive 39 minutes per game. VanVleet is having a good run since the season restarted at Disney World, and Toronto has almost locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. FVV's numbers may dip towards the end of the regular season, but, for now, you can pencil him into your daily fantasy rosters and expect a high return in value.
Washington Wizards power forward Rui Hachimura saw a game-high 39 minutes during Wednesdays loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but was unable to cash in on his time on the floor, shooting just 2-for-11 overall. Over his last three outings, Hachimura has shot 8-for-29, failing to reach double figures in scoring in any of those games. A solid contributor on the glass (eight rebounds Wednesday), Hachimura holds DFS cash play value at this stage, but hell need to see a significant price drop before many owners buy in.
Washington Wizards shooting guard/small forward Jerome Robinson continued to lead the teams second unit against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, dropping 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Since entering the bubble, Robinson has been the Wizard who arguably has benefited most from the absence of Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, staples of the teams offense at the time of the shutdown. Having appeared sparingly as a reserve for the Clippers earlier in the year, Robinson now represents a multi-category contributor, having added three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in his 29 minutes. His DFS price tag should remain reasonable heading into Fridays matchup with the ultra-paced Pelicans.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen scored 20 points and made a career-high six threes in 27 minutes off the bench on Wednesday. Allen cashed in on spot-up opportunities all night as Memphis got into the painted area and repeatedly dished it out to him. The 24-year-old has averaged 17.3 points and 4.3 made three-pointers per game in three contests since the NBA's return. While he won't produce many other stats besides points and threes, he's certainly a spark for this Memphis team. He can be a real sneaky DFS play, though he probably shouldn't be used against the Thunder on Friday. They've been stingy in their defense of the arc this year.
Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas notched a double-double for the third straight game on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. Valanciunas held his own against two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, scoring 21 points with 14 rebounds and three assists. The former first-round pick wasn't as efficient as he was in the past two games, but made up for it with his point, rebound and assist totals. Playing on a Memphis team trying to fight for the eighth seed, Valanciunas should be a sneaky double-double machine down the stretch. He'll be a good start on Friday against the Thunder, as he had no trouble with Steven Adams earlier in the year.
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley recorded 23 points with seven assists, five rebounds, four triples and a steal in a 124-115 win over his former team, the Grizzlies. After a slow start in the bubble, Conley is heating up. The Ohio State product has averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 assists and 3.5 triples per game over the last two contests. Most importantly, Conley has excelled at the same time as Donovan Mitchell, which is a good sign because it shows they can both eat for fantasy purposes. Conley is a good bet to stay hot against the Spurs on Friday.
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles was a marksman on Wednesday, drilling six triples en route to a 25-point performance in a win over the Grizzlies. Ingles scored just 12 points in his previous two games combined, so this game was sorely needed. Though he wasn't scoring much, he has been a sneaky source of assists, logging 14 in three bubble games. More importantly, the minutes have been there for the 32-year-old now that Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) is out for the rest of the season. Ingles should be used in DFS against the Spurs on Friday, considering they rank in the bottom-half of the league in both three-pointers and assists allowed.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert double-doubled for the second straight game on Wednesday. Gobert scored 21 points, pulled down 16 boards and added three blocks, two steals and an assist in the victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Amazingly, the veteran big man has hit on 85 percent of his free-throws after making them at a 62.3 percent clip prior to the shutdown. While the shooting almost certainly won't continue, DFS players can count on Gobert as a double-double and blocks machine in the bubble. He gets a great matchup on Friday against the Spurs, who just surrendered a double-double to Nikola Jokic.
Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant continued his masterful development inside the NBA bubble, compiling his third straight double-double during Wednesdays loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant battled All-Star Joel Embiid and managed to finish with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. Prior to the restart of the NBA season, Bryant attempted more than two three-pointers just three times this year; over his last three games, he has fired up a combined 15 attempts, which could be an extra element he adds to his game. With Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Davis Bertans all absent from Orlando, Bryant will have the opportunity to be a massive impact star on both ends of the court for as long as Washington is on the floor in 2019-20.
Philadelphia 76ers point guard/power forward Ben Simmons made it just 23 minutes into Wednesdays contest against the Washington Wizards before sustaining a knee injury that forced him from the game. While he was seen walking away from the court without crutches, he appeared to be in considerable discomfort near the conclusion of the contest. In addition to missing four free throws, Simmons scuffled from the field to the tune of 2-for-10. He managed to compile eight points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals during his time on the court, but those numbers fell well below what DFS owners were anticipating. Tobias Harris figures to continue seeing a sizable offensive role if Simmons is out of the mix Friday against Orlando, while Al Horford could see a larger role on the glass.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid compiled 30 points and 11 rebounds during Wednesdays victory over the Wizards, now having averaged just shy of 33 points per game inside of the bubble. Embiid packed the stat sheet by adding three assists, three steals and two blocks across his 33 minutes, continuing to deliver contributions in ancillary categories. With Ben Simmons (knee) having departed early, Embiid may be looking at an even larger offensive role when he next takes the floor Friday against Orlando. Embiids most recent meeting versus the Magic resulted in him tying his season high with four made triples.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (knee) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was limited to non-contact portions of practice on Tuesday due to soreness in his right knee. The Lakers have already locked up the No. 1 seed, so they can afford to be cautious. JaVale McGee would likely be looking at a boost in playing time if Howard sits out. He could be a low-cost DFS option, but it's tough to trust McGee right now.
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris Levert (thigh) should be back in the starting five for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. The Nets rested LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen on Tuesday because it was the front end of a back-to-back set. It doesn't sound like the Nets are planning to limit LeVert or Harris at all. LeVert has struggled a bit during the bubble, but he is the Nets best scoring threat right now. He'll remain a reliable DFS option going forward.
Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (back) is listed as probable for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. Harris, Caris Levert (thigh) and Jarrett Allen (rest) all sat out of Tuesday's game to rest since the team has a busy schedule. Harris has been outstanding during the bubble, but that is likely because the team is shorthanded. He should continue to be a reliable DFS option going forward. Timothe Luwawu, Tyler Johnson, and Garrett Temple will lose some value with Harris and LeVert expected to return on Wednesday.
Brooklyn Nets guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. He suffered the injury during his bubble debut and was only able to play for six minutes of the game. Both Caris Levert and Joe Harris are expected to be back after resting during their last contest. It sounds like Crawford is day-to-day right now, but it's unclear when he'll be back on the court. Both LeVert and Harris should be reliable DFS options with the Nets depleted right now.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Glenn Robinson III (hip) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards. It will be his third straight game on the sidelines. It's unclear if he'll suit up at all during the bubble. Robinson isn't much of a factor in the rotation anyway. James Ennis and Alec Burks will see a few more minutes without Robinson available. Neither of them are reliable DFS options with the Sixers mostly healthy.
San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli (ankle) is available or Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets. He has been banged up with an ankle issue, but appears good enough to play here. He should get a handful of minutes, but likely won't do enough to warrant ownership in DFS contests. Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson have been gaining some momentum, so both of them are expected to see significant playing time.