With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined against the Lakers on Tuesday night due to an ankle ailment, Brook Lopez exacted some revenge over his former team. He scored 28 points, matching his season-high. The Lakers are one of many organizations that likely regret not signing Lopez to an affordable deal this past summer, as the Stanford product is (amazingly) ranked No. 13 in the league in made 3-pointers (167) and second in total blocks (161).
Lopez tallied five 3-pointers and rejected four shots in the wire-to-wire win against a Los Angeles team that was missing LeBron James, who sat due to scheduled rest. While I've been championing Lopez as an atypically elite fantasy asset in this space since way back in November, he's still a fantasy free agent in nearly 40 percent of ESPN leagues and shows no signs of slowing down as a critical 3-and-D weapon for Milwaukee.
With an eye on meaningful fantasy performances and relevant statistical trends, let's delve into the night that was in the NBA.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks: 28 points (8-14 FG), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks, 4 TO
Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets: 6 points (3-8 FG), 3 rebounds, 6 assists
Russell has been a revelation for the Nets amid his rapid evolution to stardom. Last night's offensive opus marked a career-high in scoring as he helped the team to mount an epic 28-point comeback. Russell singlehandedly outscored the Kings 27-18 in the final frame and became the first Nets player with at least 44 points and 12 assists in a game since Stephon Marbury notched 50-and-12 back in February of 2001 against the Lakers. ... Friday night against the Lakers (the team that drafted and eventually traded him) will be a grand stage for Russell's return, especially given it's possible Brooklyn can potentially eliminate Los Angeles from playoff contention in the contest. ... Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been in and out of the proverbial doghouse this season, but hit a game-winning layup with 0.8 seconds left and had Brooklyn's second-best net rating in the big win. ... The Nets had entered the game 0-178 over the last 20 seasons when trailing by at 25 points at any point in a game, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the rare bright spot for the Lakers last night with a season-high 35 points, just three shy of matching his career-high total. KCP's eight three-pointers matched a personal best, while he became only the sixth Lakers player ever with 35 points off the bench over the last 35 seasons. Rostered in roughly 6.0 percent of ESPN leagues, Caldwell-Pope has produced 19.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.8 combined blocks and steals during the past five games. Even as the Lakers are reeling, there is still some fantasy fun to be had with the likes of Caldwell-Pope.
Maybe March Madness has Redick raring to go, given how many deep runs his Duke teams enjoyed. The veteran guard (and Blue Devils legend) finished just shy of his first career triple-double in Tuesday's tight win over the Hornets. Redick produced his first career double-double in his 827th regular season game. Per Elias, this is the most games ever played before a player's first double-double.
James Harden produced 31 points and 10 assists in downing the Hawks last night, good for his 49th 30-point game this season -- the most he's had since the 2005-06 season. LeBron James and Allen Iverson had 49, and Kobe Bryant had 56 that year. The performance also marked Harden's 15th game this season with at least 30 points and 10 assists, good for the third-most in any season over the last 35 years. Adding to his already ridiculous resume, Harden has recorded at least 30 points at least once against every team this season.
Another night, another Clippers win. The team extended their lead on the Kings for the final playoff spot to seven games with a win over the feisty Pacers. Montrezl Harrell delivered his 10th game this season with at least 20 points and 10 boards off the pine, six more than the next closest player. While Harrell is nearly universally rostered in ESPN leagues, productive rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a free agent in more than 80 percent of leagues and has produced 15.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.4 3PG, and 1.8 combined blocks and dimes during his past five appearances -- all starts.
Injuries of note
Antetokounmpo is questionable once again tonight, and it's not out of the question to see him resting for another game, given the Bucks are likely to be big favorites over the Cavaliers.
Zach LaVine is listed as questionable with a knee ailment for Chicago's matchup tonight with the Wizards.
Kyle Lowry left the Raptors' recent win over the Knicks with an ankle injury that looked bad as it happened, but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the injury isn't considered serious. Lowry is listed as questionable for tonight's game in Oklahoma City. Jeremy Lin would become an interesting streaming option if Lowry is sidelined.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
The Wizards and Bulls meet tonight in a game that opened with a robust total of 233.5 points, with the Wizards favored by fewer than three points at most books. This indicates an expected high-scoring and competitive contest. This is a coveted recipe for fantasy success since we can confidently project the key players on both sides, namely with DFS shares of Bradley Beal and Lauri Markkanen. If LaVine sits this one out, Kris Dunn would enjoy the highest bump on the Bulls in usage rate and fantasy production-per-36 minutes.
Top players to watch tonight
Russell Westbrook holds the mark for the longest continuous streak of triple-doubles in league history with 11 during his MVP campaign a few years back -- a record he took from Wilt Chamberlain, who had nine consecutive triple-doubles from March 8-20 in 1968. With Jrue Holiday expected to miss tonight's tilt against the Magic with a groin ailment, Elfrid Payton (who currently has five straight triple-doubles) will look to extend his pursuit of both Chamberlain and Westbrook. It also helps Payton's case as a strong DFS option that the Magic have struggled to contain opposing guards. The Pelicans' point guard may also have added motivation, as he faces the team that acquired him on draft night back in 2014.