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Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Thibs' style is helping Knicks excel in fantasy

RJ Barrett popped off a career-high scoring mark on Thursday with 28 points, as he continues to take his fantasy basketball game to a new level. Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks defeated the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night and have collected consecutive wins over the Warriors for the first time since 2001. With Julius Randle taking his game to a new level and second-year wing RJ Barrett becoming an effective playmaker, the Knicks are finally showing signs of life.

The Knicks won last night despite the Warriors being favored by five points and now lead the NBA with eight wins as an underdog. In the upset, Randle tied Luka Doncic for the league lead in games with as many as 15 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists with his third such performance for New York this season.

Barrett, meanwhile, made his first four shots on the night on his way to a career-best scoring effort with 28 points, marking his fourth game this season with 25 points -- matching last season's total. Barrett has impressively averaged 22.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 3.8 APG during the past seven days.

Looking to the waiver wire, coach Tom Thibodeau continues to have Elfrid Payton play heavy minutes as his lead point guard. Payton scored 15 points with five assists on Thursday while tying Barrett for the team lead in minutes played. Thibs also seems to trust scoring guard Alec Burks to play a large role off the bench, as he played 31 minutes in his return from injury.

Thursday recap

Highlights

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: 36 points (13-25 FG), 6 rebounds, 8 assists

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: 36 points (11-19 FG), 7 rebounds, 5 assists

Lowlights

Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 points (2-10 FG), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals

Thursday takeaways

  • The Jazz are playing some sweet music on the court lately. With a sound win over the Pelicans last night, Utah is riding a seven-game winning streak, extending the longest such streak by any team in the NBA this season. Utah's 248 made 3-pointers are the most by any team through 15 games of a season in NBA history. The team's shooting proficiency is due in part to Mitchell's surge in both volume and efficiency beyond the arc. Last night, Mitchell became the first Jazz player to make as many as six 3-pointers in 10 games in a season.

  • Zion Williamson was quiet on the glass and on defense in the loss to the Jazz, but he did score 27 points to give him his 29th 20-point performance in just 37 career games, tying him with Shaquille O'Neal for third most by a player within his first 40 career games since the merger (1976-77).

  • While the Knicks cruised to the win, Golden State's Stephen Curry sank five 3-pointers and is now just four 3-pointers away from passing Reggie Miller for the second-most career 3-pointers in NBA history.

Injuries of note

  • Charlotte's Cody Zeller is listed as probable for tonight's matchup against Chicago. Zeller suffered a broken bone in his hand in the team's opener and hasn't played since. Capable of putting up respectable scoring and rebounding rates, Zeller could eventually resurface as a helpful fantasy option.

  • Myles Turner is listed as questionable for the Pacers on Friday due to an avulsion fracture in his hand. Turner has participated in recent practices, but it's important to track his availability closer to game time.

  • Jayson Tatum (COVID-19) is listed as out for Boston's rubber match against Philadelphia on Friday. Marcus Smart figures to serve a larger offensive role with Tatum sidelined.

  • Miami will still be without Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley (health and safety protocols) this evening to finish a road series against Toronto in Tampa. Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic remain widely available in free agency in most fantasy leagues and could provide helpful shooting and assist production, respectively.

  • Denver's Michael Porter Jr. has missed much of the season due to the league's health and safety protocols but could return tonight in a key matchup against Phoenix. Porter's return figures to shift Will Barton back to the bench.

  • Oklahoma City will be without Al Horford on Friday, which means Luguentz Dort figures to play a larger role on both sides of the court.

Analytics advantage for Friday

For Friday's game against the Pistons, the Rockets will be without both leading scorer Christian Wood (ankle) and lead playmaker John Wall (knee).

This should lead to Victor Oladipo playing a major role for Houston's offense. In two games with Houston, both without Wall in the lineup, Oladipo has averaged team highs in shots (22.5 FGA) and points (27 PPG) with a Harden-like usage rate of 39.4% during this sample. Given that Detroit has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points per game to point guards on FanDuel this season, it's a good night to build lineups around Oladipo.

It's also notable that without Wall or Wood in the lineup, shooting guard Eric Gordon has produced 15.2 more fantasy points per 36 minutes. Gordon is a free agent in roughly 70% of ESPN leagues.

Top players to watch on Friday

It's been a hot start to the season for Denver's Nikola Jokic, who enters Friday's game with the Suns averaging a 25-point triple-double. With 10 assists against Phoenix tonight, he would join Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (1961-62) as the only players in NBA history to average a 25-point triple-double through his team's first 15 games.