In a rapid comeback that would make Reggie Miller proud, the Bulls scored six points in seven seconds in a thriller in Charlotte on Saturday evening that encapsulated another dramatic weekend of action in the NBA. Chicago's Zach LaVine, who was benched on Friday, scored 49 points and sank 13 3-pointers -- tied for the second most in NBA history -- including the game-winner with 0.8 seconds left to beat the Hornets.
LaVine became the first Bulls player with a go-ahead 3-pointer within the final second of a fourth quarter or overtime since Derrick Rose in the 2015 playoffs against the Cavaliers. The last regular-season game-winner came on Michael Jordan's buzzer-beater against the Hornets in 1997. LaVine scored 27 points in the fourth quarter, marking the most in a single quarter by a Bulls player over the past 20 seasons.
On the losing side, Devonte' Graham continued to thrive as the lead offensive creator for Charlotte, tallying his fifth points and assists double-double of the campaign. The surprising breakout talent is one of just four players, including the likes of Luka Doncic, James Harden, and Damian Lillard to average at least 18 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 3.0 3PG this season.
While LaVine is rostered in almost every ESPN league, you can still find Graham for the price of a few clicks and a roster spot in a third of leagues as of Monday morning.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: 49 points (17-28 FG, 13-17 3P), 4 rebounds, 4 TO
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 41 points (15-29 FG), 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 6 TO
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls: 3 points (1-9 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 TO
Brooklyn's Dinwiddie has posted a career-best five straight 20-point games, all coming in Kyrie Irving's absence. Irving continues to deal with a lingering shoulder injury, while the void in usage in Brooklyn's offense supports must-start status for Dinwiddie.
Sticking in New York, the Knicks' Marcus Morris Sr. has posted at least 20 points in four straight and has met this threshold in six of his past seven appearances. Available in roughly half of ESPN leagues, a volume-driven role has Morris providing immense value for proactive investors.
In Jimmy Butler's return game to South Philly, it was former Heat guard Josh Richardson's time to shine. Richardson posted a season-high 32 points, tied for the second most in his career, while Butler had just 11 points, tied for his second fewest in a game this season. Butler continues to lead the league in steals while posting career-bset assist production, so the key story is Richardson's recent revival from 3-point range. You can find the Sixers' shooting guard in free agency in 40% of ESPN leagues.
Atlanta's Young had the third 30-point triple-double in Hawks history on Saturday and first since Herm Gilliam's 1974 opus. It was the second triple-double in Young's career, but both have come in losses for a depleted Hawks roster. Given the missing pieces from Atlanta's rotation, namely Kevin Huerter's absence with a shoulder injury, we find DeAndre' Bembry continuing to rack up impressive defensive rates. The St. Joe's product produced three stocks in Saturday's loss and rates second among small forwards in added value in steals during the past two weeks, behind only Butler.
Doncic needed just 88 games to reach 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists, which is the second-fewest games in NBA history needed to reach those marks behind only Oscar Robertson's 66 games. On Sunday, Doncic recorded his second career 40-point, 10-assist game, joining LeBron James (three) as the only players with multiple such games before turning 21. That is just the beginning of what Luka has accomplished this season; Doncic is averaging a 30-point triple-double over his past 15 games, tied with Michael Jordan for the fourth-longest span in NBA history. Oscar Robertson claims the record at 454 games. No really.
In the intrastate victory for the Mavs over the Rockets on Sunday, Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to shine in the starting lineup with a season-high 31 points. THJ entered the starting lineup earlier in the week, and in these past three starts for Dallas has averaged 22.3 PPG and 4.3 3PG to go with 4.3 APG in a revival of sorts for the scoring guard.
In a close loss to the Lakers on Saturday, rookie Ja Morant tallied 26 points, 6 assists and 5 steals to become the first rookie with at least 25 points, 5 assists and 5 steals in a game since John Wall in 2010.
Injuries of note
The Trail Blazers' Hassan Whiteside (hip) is listed as probable for tonight's meeting with the Bulls.
Golden State's Draymond Green missed practice on Sunday with a sore heel that has seen him in and out of the lineup recently. Green is considered questionable for tonight's matchup with the Thunder, while rookie Eric Paschall remains a strong addition ahead of this matchup.
Analytics advantage for Monday
With 73% of the NBA in action during tonight's robust 11-game slate, we'll want to use some sifting tools to identify points of differentiation for streaming in redraft leagues and stacking DFS play for Monday night.
One simple angle is to consider point totals from Vegas, as tonight's matchup of Minnesota and Atlanta claims an opening total of 233.5, which has already been bet up to 235 points as of Monday morning. This game stands out distinctly, given the other 10 games on the slate average a total of roughly 217 points, making this game in Atlanta a distinctly fantasy-friendly climate uniquely suited to statistical fun.
Top players to watch tonight
The Lakers look for their league-leading 15th victory this evening in San Antonio, as LeBron James needs 54 points to reach 33,000 career points. James will become the fourth player in NBA history to reach this milestone.
While it's incredibly unlikely the league's leader in assists will drop 54 tonight, he also needs just seven field goals to reach 12,000 for his career and will become the fifth player in NBA history to have done so. With the Spurs lacking wing defenders with much size, beyond Rudy Gay, James could enjoy a big night while meeting at least one of these impressive milestones.