Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Looking beyond Harden's funky dunk

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James Harden missed 27 shots in his 50-point game against the Spurs on Tuesday, but one of those missed attempts actually went in. With just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Harden made a dunk which would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. The ball whipped through the net and back over the rim before bouncing off, and the officiating crew mistakenly ruled that Harden missed the dunk and denied Houston coach Mike D'Antoni's attempt to challenge the call. After that, the Rockets were outscored 46-31 the rest of the game and lost by two in double overtime.

Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Rockets are optimistic that the NBA office will act, either awarding the win to Houston or ordering that the final 7:50 be replayed because the Rockets outscored the Spurs in regulation. Harden shot just 29%, marking the worst field goal percentage in a 50-point game in the shot clock era, yet he did go 24-of-24 from the free throw line, tied for the most made free throws without a miss in NBA history, including playoffs.

The Rockets weren't done making history with the bearded one's outlier line, as Russell Westbrook pulled of a triple-double while becoming just the second player in the past 30 seasons to score fewer than 20 points on as many as 30 attempts from the floor, joining Gary Payton, who did so in December of 2000 against the Kings (he also had a triple-double in that game).

Oh, yeah, Clint Capela also tallied 22 points and pulled 21 rebounds while making all nine of his shots from the field, becoming the first player to have a 20-20 game while shooting 100% from the field since Dikembe Mutombo in 1999.

For the Spurs, their 22-comeback victory marks the fourth-largest comeback by the team under Gregg Popovich. Spurring the rapid comeback was second-year wing Lonnie Walker IV, who tallied a career-high 28 points off the pine, including a scintillating 19 in the fourth quarter, the third most by a player in a final frame in the Popovich era in San Antonio.

It's not yet clear if Walker will become a steady part of the Spurs' rotation, but he's been trusted to loft 30 shots the past two games while creating five stocks (steals plus blocks) during this surge. Shooting specialist Bryn Forbes popped off for season-high 25 points, thanks to making five 3-pointers in the rousing win for the Spurs. Both Forbes and Walker remain widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues.

Tuesday recap


Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards: 42 points (16-30 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 TO

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat: 22 points (7-16 FG), 13 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 TO

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 33 points (9-18 FG), 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 TO


Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: 8 points (3-7 FG),4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 TO

Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat: 7 points (3-16 FG), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 TO

Tuesday takeaways

  • Tuesday marked Beal's fourth 40-point game this season, tying for the most 40-point games through the team's first 20 games of a season in Wizards history, joining Gilbert Arenas (2006-7) and Walt Bellamy (1963-64). Beal now has three 40-point games in losses this season, while no one else has multiple such games. The key reason might just be that the Wizards have allowed at least 125 points in four straight games, tied for their second-longest streak in franchise history (allowed at least 125 points in six straight games as the Baltimore Bullets in 1965). Streaming and stacking against the Wizards is almost always a good plan.

  • Isaiah Thomas proved impressive for the Wizards, pouring in a season-high 20 points to go with 12 combined rebounds and assists. Davis Bertans produced a full line rife with strong shooting and defensive results. Both Thomas and Bertans remain available in the clear majority of leagues.

  • Speaking of the Wizards' awful defense, Orlando topped 120 points for just the second time this season, both occurring versus Washington. Markelle Fultz produced a career-high 20 points on 17 shots. We still haven't seen him develop 3-point range or success from the free throw stripe, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Fultz become more relevant as a fantasy option as the season, and his game, matures.

  • Nikola Jokic has been mired in a scoring slump, as he produced just 13 points last night to mark his fifth straight game with fewer than 20 points, tied for his longest streak of the past two seasons. Waning volume and efficiency in the post could be the culprit, as some of his teammates have mentioned how he thrived with more touches on the block last season.

  • For your silly Doncic stat of the day: He somehow produced 15 points and 10 rebounds in the third quarter last night, becoming the only guard in the past 20 seasons with as many points and rebounds in a quarter.

  • Miami's stretch-forward Duncan Robinson was hot again last night with six 3-pointers, while stretch-five Kelly Olynyk was also stellar with three 3-pointers and three stocks.

  • Just missing the highlights section was Detroit's Andre Drummond, who tallied his fifth career game with at least four steals and four blocks, tied with Nerlens Noel for second most in the past 10 seasons (only Anthony Davis has more).

Injuries of note

  • With De'Aaron Fox still a few weeks from a return, it's disconcerting that Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to feel what he deemed as consistent pain in speaking with reporters recently and is listed as questionable ahead of tonight's tilt with the Blazers. Buddy Hield becomes a strong DFS building block if Bogdanovic sits, while Harrison Barnes should also see increased usage in such a scenario.

  • The Bucks' Brook Lopez is probable to play on Wednesday against the Pistons and remains available in too many leagues, given his rare blend of blocks and 3-point production.

Analytics advantage for Wednesday

Ahead of tonight's 10-game slate, the matchup between the Nets and Hawks stands out as particularly friendly for fantasy purposes. For one, the Hawks rank 25th in defensive rating in allowing 113.3 points per 100 possessions. Both Brooklyn and Atlanta rate in the top 12 in pace, which measures possessions per 48 minutes. The combination of porous defenses on both sides with decidedly up-tempo offensive agendas signal some real statistical fun could be had in Atlanta this evening.

Top players to watch tonight

Per Butlers' fifth career triple-double, Tuesday marked his fourth game with at least 10 dimes this season, while he had two such performances during the past two seasons combined.

I'm intrigued to see how Butler handles a tough matchup on the second leg of a back-to-back -- or a SEGABABA as the cool NBA kids might say --- in Boston tonight amid a marquee matchup with emergent wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.