Devin Booker became the youngest player in NBA history to produce consecutive 50-point games in a close loss to the Wizards on Wednesday evening. The Phoenix Suns' 22-year-old playmaker now has 109 points in his past two games and is the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2005 to produce at least 30 points in consecutive halves. The Suns, however, moved to 0-3 when Booker scores at least 50 points in his career, becoming the first player ever to lose his first three outings with at least 50 points.
While Booker rightfully earns headlines and highlights for his prolific scoring ability, the Wizards won the game thanks in large part to emergent young big man Thomas Bryant, who turned in a career-best 19 rebounds and secured the victory with a late 3-pointer and a clutch free throw in the final seconds. Bryant produced 18 points and now has scored at least 17 in three of the past four games. Floating in free agency in more than 80 percent of ESPN leagues, Bryant should see plenty of usage and minutes down the stretch for a Wizards team that is well outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
With an eye on meaningful fantasy performances and significant statistical trends, let's delve into the night that was in the NBA.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: 50 points (19-29 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 TO
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: 13 points (5-12 FG), 1 rebound, 2 assists
The Thunder handed the Pacers their ninth straight road loss thanks to Russell Westbrook's 29th triple-double this season, the fourth-most in a single season in NBA history. Westbrook: assisted on seven of Steven Adams' makes on Wednesday, his most dimes to Adams in a game this season. Paul George produced 31 points against his former team and now has 31 30-point games this season; the only players with more in a season in franchise history are Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and Spencer Haywood.
Mike Conley suited up for Memphis last night and turned in 22 points in a loss to the Warriors, passing Marc Gasol for first in franchise scoring in the process. The Grizzlies' Bruno Caboclo was excellent on the offensive glass with eight pulls on that side of the floor against Golden State as he tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds with two blocks. Caboclo is rostered in just shy of two percent of ESPN leagues.
Lillard's 11 points are his fewest in a game in the last two seasons, but the Blazers still enjoyed a relatively easy win against Chicago's skeleton crew. Seth Curry netted a team-high 20 points and has scored 20 points in consecutive games for the first time since March of 2017. With CJ McCollum likely to miss rest of the regular season by some accounts close to the team, it's worth noting that Curry -- who ranks second in NBA history in 3-point accuracy (min. 500 attempts) -- is available in free agency in well over 90 percent of ESPN leagues.
They are shutting things down in Chicago, it appears. Lauri Markkanen experienced fatigue and an accelerated heart rate in a recent loss to the Raptors, and now the team is resting him the rest of the way to understand the situation better. Zach LaVine (knee) and Otto Porter Jr. (shoulder) are also expected to sit out the remainder of the team's schedule. With Wendell Carter Jr. already sidelined after thumb surgery earlier this winter and now with Kris Dunn regularly resting with a balky back, the Bulls are going to run out Robin Lopez and a bevy of mostly unknown players. Then again, this is that time of year when unheralded names emerge as difference-makers. Just like how Tim Hightower won fantasy titles for fantasy football managers a few winters back, it might just be some unknown wings from Chicago or an emergent big man for Memphis that sparks your title run this spring. Wayne Selden and Shaquille Harrison are both free agents in well over 90 percent of ESPN leagues and both merit attention from fantasy managers given respectively busy roles to conclude the year for Chicago. I'm particularly intrigued by Harrison, who has averaged 15 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.5 SPG, in 35.4 MPG the past four outings, all starts.
Injuries of note
Miami's' duo of young wings Justise Winslow (thigh) and Josh Richardson (heel) are questionable ahead of tonight's matchup with the visiting Mavericks. Interest in Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters should increase if either of Winslow or Richardson rest.
Anthony Davis is considered probable for tonight's game against the visiting Kings.
The Sixers' Ben Simmons sat for just the second time this season this past Monday with a stomach illness but is listed as probable for this intriguing matchup with the Nets tonight.
Analytics advantage for Thursday
Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for tonight's meeting with the Knicks at the Garden due to scheduled rest. Looking at the team's on/off splits with Leonard sidelined, it's clear that Kyle Lowry is a strong daily fantasy investment today given he enjoys a team-high 3.8 percent bump in usage rate with Leonard in street clothes. Jeremy Lin also gets in on the fun with a nearly three percent spike in usage with Leonard off the floor. With Toronto entering Manhattan as sizable 12-point favorites, Lin could earn additional run in front of a friendly New York crowd if a blowout ensues.
Top players to watch tonight
Found within $100 of one another on DraftKings tonight, I'm eyeing DFS shares of Orlando's Nikola Vucevic and Detroit's Andre Drummond in a clash of Eastern Conference teams jockeying for playoff positioning. Vucevic has produced at least 40 fantasy points in nine straight games using DraftKings' scoring model and is again projected to flirt with 50 fantasy points in Motown tonight. The league's leading rebounder, Drummond is similarly expected to produce around 45 fantasy points with one of the more stable floors of the entire slate given he leads the NBA in rebounding chances (defined as being within 3.5 feet of an available rebound) by a substantial margin.